It was under advice, good direction, and being to the end of my rope that I am finally telling my story, or at least the side no one knows of…
May of 2012, I was hit by a drunk driver on my way to work. It was a horrific crash that left me severely injured, including 9 broken bones and a very serious brain injury that required 6 surgeries and a medically induced coma to even have the slightest chance to survive.
It was the longest waiting game for my mother, who sat there day after day by my bed not knowing if I was going to survive and if I did survive, preparing herself to take care of her vegetative 24 year old son.
Sept 2012, I was eased out of the coma and a few days later showed signs of waking. What my mother witnessed when I did was devastating. Her 24 year old son, and only child, in an infant-like state. I could not speak, understand, sit up, eat, walk, roll over, toilet, etc. You name it, I lost the ability/control.
Fast forward five years to how I am today… I have far surpassed every prognosis and prediction doctors have made and I continue going to PT, OT, and ST 3-4 times a week to continue my recovery. I have regained my speech, hand/eye coordination, I can feed myself, change my clothes, pretty much all functions except my mobility is still somewhat poor and I certainly can not walk the way I use to. I’m very unsteady and require a walker and leg braces.
While that has been frustrating gaining my mobility back, I have had very little progress over the years regaining my bowel and bladder control, even through specific training and treatments. At home, I have been able to manage things a bit better, but I still have accidents because 60% I have no sensation with either bladder or bowels and simply can’t control having the accident.
Within the past few months, I have been looking at incontinence product options with the goal to get away from the diapers and possibly be able to wear the pull ups or even the washable incontinence briefs. I decided to give both a try and the pull ups worked well for being at home, but if I was having to go to therapy, I needed to wear a diaper because of the increase in bowel accidents I have when exercising.
A few weeks ago I was having one of my days where I just felt beat up, defeated, ashamed, embarrassed… My mother has unfailingly cared for my every need since my car wreck and I hate to admit that even still to this day, my mother sometimes has to help me change, especially if I’ve had a soiling accident. This day also decided to teach me a lesson about knowing what you can and can’t do, regardless of what you want. I decided that I was at the end of my rope with having accidents and decided that maybe if I wore my washable incontinence briefs it would make pay a bit more attention to my body and possibly get to the restroom quicker. It was time for my mom to take me to PT, so she grabbed my change bag, helped me up and to the car, and we headed on our way.
We get there, go in, and as always, my mother was there every step of the session, cheering me on. I was doing set of standing exercises and transitioned to my sit-ups. I was laying on my back on the PT table. My PT, his assistant (who’ve I’ve had a crush on for years now) and my mother. Amanda, the assistant, was helping me do my exercises when all of a sudden, without warning or sensation, I began having a bowel movement… And of course with that came a sizable wetting accident… All into a brief that wasn’t made to hold very much urine, and no bowel movement at all. I froze. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t speak. Amanda very quickly asked if I was okay. I very quickly and frantically responded no, all while still soiling my briefs. I kept trying to stop but my pants filled up more now up the front. I laid there, still petrified and completely humiliated. Amanda leaned down and very quietly whispered in my ear asking me if I had just had an accident. I nodded very quickly. She alerted my mother, they both helped my get up and took me into the bathroom. Amanda offered to help my mother, but my mother politely declined. Words can not express my embarrassment. I just soiled and wet all over myself not only in public, but in front of Amanda.
Accepting these issues has been the hardest thing to do. Swallowing my pride and forgetting all about privacy at 29 when your mother has to change you. It has become a misery and very private aspect to my life. I do not date, I do not go out with friends, I do not leave home unless necessary for therapy.
Amanda has come over a few times to try to get me out of the house but I have refused every time and have been completely honest with her as to why… Essentially, fear of public humiliation if my brief leaks in any way.
This is not what I like to call quality of life, but unfortunately it is what it is. Avoiding accidents is obviously impossible, but most days I’m just glad that my diaper has kept the soiling/wetting accident contained.
Hopefully sharing my story can help you all feel just a bit better.