Friday, March 21, 2008

And now a word about the bladder (by Suzie)


         Like a lot of women, I guard against urinary tract infections. My bladder got damaged during surgery and radiation, and I catheterize. Sometimes I get an infection, and sometimes I just have the symptoms.  
         Last year, while heading to the Brooklyn Museum (see below) from my Manhattan hotel, I HAD TO GO. I dashed into the Hard Rock CafĂ© but was told only the store was open. The restrooms would open in a few minutes when the restaurant did. I waited and waited and finally told a clerk that I had a disability and might urinate on his floor if he didn’t open the restroom, which he did pronto.
          The availability of restrooms is a feminist issue because women get UTIs more often than men; women often have longer waits for public restrooms; and we cannot urinate in an alley quite as easily.
          Anyway, I took some medication and scampered down into the subway. I began to feel sick to my (empty) stomach. I barely made it to the stop in Brooklyn. I got off the train and plopped down on the floor near the booth of the ticket-taker, who did not give me a second look. I figured, not only was I not the first person to get sick in the subway, but I probably wasn’t the first person to get sick that morning.
        After the nausea passed, I dragged myself into the museum, where a volunteer proffered a wheelchair. Sometimes I used it as a walker; other times I sat down and padded along with my feet. What a great invention.
        For all of us who struggle with UTIs, I recommend Megan Gogerty’s educational song “Ain’t Nothin’ Good About a Bladder Infection.” (Some of you also may enjoy her songs “Hillary” and “I Miss Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” as do I.)