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Bladder blues.

A sensitive bladder and frequent urination is common in MS. It's a fact I live with. To help maintain good function, I drink plenty of water and a glass of cranberry juice daily. I've eliminated all coffee, tea and alcohol; and I exercise by participating in yoga and swimming. Even so, this irritating symptom can get out of control.

For several years my husband and I have wanted a dog. Once my MS had stabilized, my husband built a fenced run next to our family room and after reading books on puppy training we were ready to bring home an eight-week-old golden retriever. The first big task, of course, is housetraining. But the weekend we brought our puppy home my bladder started acting up.

As the books say, a puppy needs to urinate frequently and must be taken outside right after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. Basically, a puppy needs to be supervised at all times, especially when she thinks that the thick soft carpet of the family room feels just like the green grass of her pen.

It was hectic weekend in our household as my husband rushed our puppy outside and I rushed to the bathroom. The intensity increased as my husband madly cleaned up puddles on our carpet and I changed clothes because my bladder had no retention power.

My patience was getting strained as I dressed for the third time in one day until I realized our puppy had better bladder control than I. She had two accidents that day, and I had three. At least I only left puddles on the linoleum in the bathroom, not on the carpet as our puppy did.

With the use of medication and cranberry juice, my bladder regained control. My ability to laugh helped me keep my dignity. Today I am, again, fully housebroken and our puppy has learned the difference between carpet and grass.

Nancy Chamberlayne has an MEd in Counseling Psychology and has been researching humor as a tool to improve the quality of life. Her MS was diagnosed in 1987.
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Title Annotation:includes related article and editor's note
Author:Chamberlayne, Nancy
Publication:Inside MS
Date:Mar 22, 1993
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