Wednesday 19 May 2010

Insults and Indignities

Incontinence does not have to be an indignity. And we've seen big improvements in provision in the past decade - after inviting one incontinence "advisor" to leave after she told me my teenage daughter had no right to expect anything better than she was being given, and that anything more absorbent would be too bulky between the legs, and that wet patches and puddles on the floor were indeed more age appropriate than a bit of extra padding; well, after that, you'd hope things could only get better.

And they seem to be. We have lovely paper-backed, rustle free incontinence pads. We have catheters smaller than tampons. Shopping centres are slowly starting to put in adult sized changing benches; the indignity of stripping down in the back of a van in the carpark is reducing but not altogether gone. We can choose between nappy style pads, pull-ups, waterproof backed liners for regular underwear, or a combination of all these.

The indignity of having to pick them up from the doctor's surgery, cart them through the crowded waiting room and then across a busy part of town to the carpark persist; I try to ensure the child's name is hidden and the child is not with me at the time. Not always possible in the summer holidays.

The indignity of having someone administer catheters and suppositories regularly persists, but with age (and possibly with surgery too) will come independence. The indignity for another child in being told the only way to manage constipation is to give that child frequent attacks of what others might consider to be diarrhoea persists - brown smelly sludgy puddles are not pleasant and not discreet. The indignity of carrying "nappy rash ointment" to school persists - come on Sudocreme, please consider providing some alternative packaging for older clients.

The indignity of wearing especially designed swimwear, covering layers of rubber and wadding persists too - but possibly better than the indignity of swimming in a brown cloud.

And, when you're a smaller child with incontinence, there's the added indignity of having to wear not just "nappy-style incontinence pads" but actual baby nappies. Now, if you buy pull-ups or dry night type stuff yourself, for your older child who just happens to be taking his own time in managing to stay dry overnight, you'll get something reasonably discrete, slimline, with a juvenile not infantile pattern (or completely plain), designed to fit under pyjamas and be invisible at sleepovers.

Lovely. Important actually; manufacturers and parents recognise that having other children thinking you wear nappies like a baby is probably not good for the ego. But, be incontinent and be tiny, and you'll be given baby nappies. With baby prints on them. They're cute prints when your baby is one or two, they're fine when that baby becomes a toddler and just needs something reasonably cute and ridiculously watertight overnight. They're not ok when you're swinging in the playground or getting changed for PE or just leaning over in the classroom.

So we were really very pleased when our supplies had a "new improved" design which proved to be plain unprinted white and boring. Fantastic. Just like her big sister's pads. Grown up incontinence supplies for the smaller bottom.

Except that was last month. This month, they've improved the design again. And, perhaps I'm over-picky, but would you want to go around with this as a slogan pasted across your rear end?
"Think Big"



Yvonne said...

Tia, I've seen Sudocrem advertised in this tube form recently and it is being sold for nappy rash, sunburn etc. Not sure if it would seem nicer than the big tubs but here is link anyway:

The woman in the advert rubs it on her arm, not her bottom, but maybe they will improve packaging if buyers become more diverse?

Claire said...

Not the best design in the world. A whole lot better than, crawling babies for a 10 year old though, which I have seen.

Can she wear knickers over them?

I'm not sure if you have seen these. They sell girls and boys pants, with padding and waterproofing, but they look like normal underwear.

Good Luck with the fight.

Anonymous said...

someone who was in America recently sent a photo of some nappy cream they saw for sale over there - named butt paste! Is that better or worse I wonder?!!

And as for think big - think there is another size that says 'walk tall!' - great for our kids!!

Tia said...

Ah I'd forgotten Bodreaux's butt paste! We stocked up on that last time we were over - lovely stuff.

Hazel said...

Reminds me of when the Guide Association for some strange and inexplicable reason thought that it was a good idea to rename the Ranger programme "Look Wider"... just the thing for size-concious young women...

As for the nappies, it strikes me that we'll have made real progress when we get to the point that it's no longer considered a stigma to need one.

Doorless said...

Here in the states the nappies come delivered to our door once monthly. Ours are plain white or ight blue and Alicia and Mikayla wear what is called an adult small.
They have this line in the middle that turns blue when wet through.
We used to buy our own and bought Molicare diapers. Loved them a really nice light lavender color.

kitchu said...

OMG. think big? i wanted to laugh but damn if that didn't feel a bit like a slap in the face.

i have found since we started cathing Ellis that she is dry 95% of the time between caths (unless a "cho cho" is coming, in which case she'll leak some).

dealing with these issues is really tough. i look forward to the day our girl has surgery so she can more easily manage her bladder...

Unknown said...

You made some excellent points in that post. I find this a really interesting subject.

WildKat said...

I realize that in the UK the "norm" seems to be to use enemas instead of suppositories. Has anyone ever mentioned "Magic Bullets" before? They are suppositories, but they are water based, instead of oil based and work really fast! I've had a spinal cord injury since 2004 and have tried many other products, but still go back to using them. They are the least "trouble" and the fastest.

Have you spoken to the people where you pick up the supplies and asked them if it was possible to send you the supplies? I'm in Canada and I get a plain brown box sent to me each month. It's so much better than having to go pick things up in crowded places!

I can't believe they can't find some plain white products that are not covered in prints! I realize that the printed products may be a bit cheaper, but does there really need to be a price put on dignity?

Hopefully some of these things will get sorted out for all of you sooner than later.


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