Waking up in the morning and facing the world brings a sense of wonder. Not in the sense of awe, just in wondering how MS will affect me today.
Is it a good day or a bad day? What will it bring?
Like most people, I guess, one of the first things to do is get out of bed and use the bathroom. Of course, among the symptoms that can be experienced with MS is an increased frequency in the need to urinate.
So I quickly evaluate how urgent is my need to relieve my bladder. Realistically, will I be able to reach the bathroom in time?
If I think I can and, once sitting up, if that confidence continues, it is time to go for it. I have to say, most times that confidence is not misplaced. But if I believe my need is too urgent or I am too unsteady to make it, I resort to using the urine bottle I keep by the bed to cope with such a situation.
Actually, not so long ago, I used to wake up at least twice during the night for the same purpose. That was certainly the case when I lived in the UK, and again when I first moved Spain. But now, nearly nine months later, life is easier in that respect. I can now sleep through the night, and that means I am more rested in the morning.
Being more rested at night means that I am better equipped when that dreaded fatigue hits, as is often the case.
Turning back to the “waterworks,” the change is also affecting my daytime life. My need to use the bathroom every two hours or so is diminishing; today, I can usually go for four hours or even longer. And the sense of urgency, while undoubtedly still having an effect, seems to be lessening.
At one time, things were so bad that I was wearing an incontinence pad all the time, even at home. Nowadays, I only wear one when I go out – to avoid any unfortunate embarrassment. However, the pads normally get removed without being used.
The other day, Lisa and I went out for a meal with another couple. The restaurant was a little drive away and, even though I didn’t use the bathroom before we left and we had drinks with the meal, I didn’t feel the urge again for some time. Yes, despite the drinks, I didn’t use a bathroom for about five hours. I wasn’t wearing a pad, either!
So what has changed to cause this improvement? Not a lot, really.
First, we moved from the mainly grey skies and rain of the U.K. to the almost constant sunshine we enjoy in the south of Spain, and with sunshine comes higher temperatures. Secondly, in Britain, I was prescribed 2.5 mg of a medication called oxybutynin to be taken twice a day. Here, my prescription has not changed but the smallest tablet available is 5 mg.
Now, I know I am supposed to break the tablet in two, taking half in the morning and half at night, but I don’t. Even though the tablet has a clear line to help split it, I don’t do so. Instead, I take one 5 mg tablet in the evening and that is it.
Could either of those changes, or the combination of them, be causing the improvement I’m experiencing? I have no idea, but long may it continue.
This article,written by me, first appeared on MultipleSclerosisNewsToday.com