(Please read in its entirety) This is a type of public service announcement, seriously. I have never shied away from talking about anything personal. Miscarriages, breast cancer, menopause, hot flashes, infertility and other sorted topics have surfaced here giving rise to open conversations and awareness. Humor can make things better, or at least easier to face.
This one, however, takes the cake.
I am talking about bladder issues, prolapsed bladder, fallen pelvic floor- whatever you want to call it. It is embarrassing and very disconcerting. Let’s be honest and open and allow some giggles and laughter to flow as we go, OK?
Today I visited the Pelvic Health Center at a local hospital. The environment was old and mirrored the nurse’s station from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Chipped yellow walls and that acrid hospital smell assaulting your senses when you walked in. There was no music playing, minimal staff, and the silence was deafening. Chip and I were escorted to an exam room with the lovely gynecological exam table positioned in the center as the focal point. The lights were super bright and the air sterile and warm. Vital signs checked out and we were awaiting the Nurse Practitioner. The knock on the door came shortly.
Now, those of you who know me understand me and my sense of humor, my openness to discuss things like this and my mental state after slugging a Venti Starbucks. Patience has long since been absent. The woman who entered the room was the antithesis of me. Bone dry in personality; serious, blank stare and I think, basically uncomfortable. She cuts right to the chase and explains in medical terms what is transpiring within me, my bladder and my vagina.
I asked her to break it down in smaller bites and she said, are you ready?
“You have your own personal trainer.”
I just broke out laughing and said, “Don’t you find that funny? A personal trainer for my vagina?”
All I could think of was a trainer working with me on that. How do you do that? Who does that? My GYN said they work with weights! Really? Does the trainer squat down in front of me, eye to eye, so to speak, and shout, “C’mon Karen one more set of 12 then you can rest!”
Just for giggles and grins, search Kegel Exercise Weights on Amazon. Very scary, and why do they all need to be pink and purple? My va-jay-jay can’t see color. Weights at the gym are serious and are usually black with little to no color.
Back to the Pelvic Health Center- poor Cindy, she was stone cold sober, stunned, and proceeded to tell me, “This is my livelihood. It is serious.” She found no humor, no smile, no concession. I stood up, shook her hand and thanked her for her time. Chip and I left, laughing all the way to the car.
Why write this? Because, I know for a fact that many of you struggle with incontinence, leaking and pelvic pain; you have told me so. There is help, and we just need to find out where and connect with a person or program that fits us.
If I am going to have a personal trainer for my va-jay-jay, they better be open, funny and supportive because therapy is the only thing left before surgery and I am not going there. So chicklets, tighten up that Kegel, open your mind and start working out.
I’d love to see how Fitbit is going to measure this workout!
Author’s note: Ladies, I write this to tell you if you are dealing with this health issue, you are not alone, and you can get help, albeit, somewhat unorthodox. Gents, your wife/girlfriend may be dealing with this and could use your support. I hope this sheds some light. Reach out to me anytime, firstname.lastname@example.org .
National Women’s Health Resource Center
On the National Women’s Health Resource Center (NWHRC) Web site, you can find information about PFD diagnosis, prevention and treatment options for patients. The NWHRC is an independent health information source dedicated to the promotion of women’s health.
Women’s Health Foundation
Women’s Health Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to improving women’s pelvic health and wellness.
The Pelvic Floor Disorders Network
The PFD Network Web site has information about recent research, new treatments, and clinical trials. The PFD Network is a group of doctors, nurses, and researchers dedicated to improving the quality of life for women with pelvic organ prolapse and bladder and bowel control problems.