2nd June 2017

Taking the Piss!

Taking the Piss!

Day 1-3 | 24 – 26 April 2017 

[Sorry for the lack of pictures]

Welcome to the Piss Pot Games!

One thing that definitely didn’t occur to me before having a nasty leg injury is that going to the toilet might become suddenly more difficult.  When physical mobility becomes somewhat limited getting up to go to the toilet becomes a huge effort and in the first few days physically impossible.  Before you know it you get invited to something I called the “Piss Pot Games” and one of these strange implements suddenly becomes a big part of your life…

Getting out of bed one, two, even seven days after the accident was excruciatingly painful so this becomes your very own portable WC!  You get one of these pots and it sits nicely in a convenient little holder next to your bed.

It’s fair to say the whole pissing in a cardboard pot palaver is an unpleasant experience and here’s a few reasons why….

There’s a time and a place

Now, relieving yourself in a cardboard pot, is not even half of the challenge.  It’s amazing how quickly it becomes second nature after that initially bizarre sensation of having a wee whilst sat in your bed, where you spend the other 23 hours, 59 minutes of the day…

Making I aimed directly in to the pot and not embarrassingly wet my bed was the first challenge. Thankfully I can confirm that I was pretty accurate so no accidents there!

The main challenge comes in when and how you go… And how embarrassing it can sometimes be for you and others around you.

DAY ONE…the first day of pissing in a pot you follow what you assume to be the protocol and buzz the nurse to ask for your curtains to be drawn.  Then relief yourself and either wait for collection or buzz again to get them back to remove the smelly pot from next to your bed.  This all seems very polite and sensible and no one needs to be embarrassed.

A FEW HOURS IN…If you are like me and you need a wee almost every hour you soon realise that the whole curtain routine and distracting the nurses from their real job just to save a tiny bit of your dignity is a little selfish and unnecessary.

I became aware of this after three wees and a few hours in, and after realising that everyone else had clearly dropped their curtain routine. You then learn to live with the fact that weeing in front of at least three other people under a sheet isn’t that bad.

Where to Look?

The guy next to me, Frank the Flirt, who had been in hospital for three weeks with two broken feet wasn’t even discrete.  He would just flop it out, no sheets required and crack on, I didn’t know where to look sometimes.

Then there was the weird eye contact, particularly with Boris the Russian… either when you were weeing or others were weeing.  Where were you supposed to look?!  I tended to look randomly around the ward generally focusing out of the window minding my own business.  But occasionally you would inevitably catch someone with direct eye contact, that was weird, why were they looking directly at you peeing?!

Then there were the more awkward moments (for me) where I accidently locked eye contact with someone in the act, it was an accident (I promise!) but where do you look after that?!  Sometimes the scowls back burnt in to your soul.  You just wanted to shout I have a wife and kids, I am not interested in you peeing, it was a accident!

Warning: I’m having a wee!

Weeing in a pot sadly became very natural, very quickly. But this is where the fun, or excruciating pain comes in and the real Piss Pot Games commence…

In quick summary the biggest challenge was when people approached you whilst having a wee.  There seemed to be no way of silently relieving yourself in to those hideous cardboard pots.  In fact, it seemed to amplify the sound if anything, so you certainly always knew who was weeing and when.

Like I say this all became very interesting, when you had visitors to your bed, if this was the wife or a friend, it was relatively easy to say just a sec love/mate I’m having a wee can you come back please.  The same phrase never seemed to naturally slip out when a nurse or doctor or even cleaner or lovely tea ladies came up to you.

So you then reach the big decision point.  Do you:

  1. Man up and say can you come back later; or
  2. Continue as discretely as possible hoping not to be called out; or
  3. Try to stop and hold it and hope to God that they would be seconds, rather than minutes at your bed!

Now I would typically go for the third option where possible, which happened to be the most painful and potentially riskiest to bladder health and embarrassment.

So vision this, nurse walks on to the ward (they were all females!). Do you:

  1. Stop as soon as you see her
  2. Wait to see which bed she goes to?

I started with stopping but quickly moved to waiting for the sake of my poor bladder.

So when the nurse did come straight to my bed (1 in 4 chance), I would stop and hold, and really hope that it was just a quick question. The typical alternatives where more of a challenge – drugs administration or the dreaded obs.  Drugs was fine, unless it was the awful evening DVT injection (more on this in a later blog), what was definitely not fine was what I called ‘the dreaded obs’ mid wee.

Others around the ward were clearly not as embarrassed as me and took the much bolder options of either continuing discretely or telling the nurses to go away.  I was too polite some of the nurses were scary  hence why I wimped out of these options.

One Pot, Two Pot Three Pot, Four

After getting over the initial embarrassment and risky decisions of the Piss Pot Games the next game was more tactical but also quite fun… getting more than one pot at once.

Now this doesn’t sound much (please remember being in hospital is seriously boring – no TV or wifi!) but actually it could become quite essential, particularly over night… Apparently I have a particularly large bladder (800ml according to the nurses who measure your piss!) so this was very important for me!  Perhaps this wouldn’t even be a game if NHS cut backs weren’t as tough as they are and the nurses didn’t have to ration everything including essentials such as cardboard pots for urinating.

Anyway, sweet talking nurses to get more than one pot became quite fun and seemingly every guy on the ward was trying it on so I thought I would get involved.  My tactic was plain and simple I had a big bladder, I seemed to wee frequently, I didn’t want to bother them.

I thought that seemed fair enough but some of the tougher nurses wouldn’t seem to budge which was a bit of a joke.  My neighbour, Frank the Flirt, spoke to the nurses in hushed tones, whispering sweet nothings, and they would suddenly magic up another pot or two for him.  I’m sure I could see four poking out of his bed at one point.

I managed to peak at three pots after three days after finally cracking a bit of sweet talking.  This quickly became two again (still a bonus) when I had to help out a newbie in an emergency by throwing a spare pot over to him.

Poor Old Andy!

When my good friend and work colleague Andy A came to visit me on day three in hospital, by which point I was confident, if a little blasé, about weeing in a pot I was unsure what to do.  Rather than make him leave the ward or shut the curtain I just said sorry mate I’m having a piss and grabbed the pot, put it under the sheet and cracked on.

The blood drained out of his face, he said our friendship had reached a whole new level! To say he’s a big rugby league lad (he never mentions he used to play for Cas Tigers!) he looked quite embarrassed by the whole situation.  He still went to shake my hand shortly after when he left, fortunately I saved him from that and quickly wiped and sanitised.  At least he didn’t have to move the piss pot though…

Wife Emptying Pot

One evening my lovely wife visited and I had just finished a big wee filling most of the pot.  I had only just asked the one of the grumpier nurses to take my last pot so I thought it wouldn’t do any harm sending the wife to the toilet with mine as she was going anyway…

On the way to the toilet my wife seemingly bumped in to quite a senior doctor, didn’t splash wee on him thankfully (now that would have been funny!) but he took the pot off her and gave to a nurse nearby.  I got a telling off from the grumpy nurse who already didn’t like me so now the nurse, doctor and wife were all annoyed at me, not a good position to be in.

Final Thoughts

Like I alluded to at the start of this post I had no idea that weeing would be so difficult, eventful and embarrassing just having one leg out of action.  It had been a fun game and a bit of a novelty for a few days but after a week I was already growing tired of going to the toilet in a pot.  I really feel for anyone that has to lose their toilet-based dignity for any more than a few days, it can really play on your mind and your bladder.

Probably worth mentioning that there won’t be an equivalent blog post on bowel movements (as they call it in hospitals) – pooing!  No bed pan or commode for me (thank god!) as I managed to go four days without such movements.  This was good for my dignity in hospital but not so great for my body…

Thanks for reading what was my first ever blog post and did start at over 3,000 words!  I’ve really enjoyed writing this one, even if it was a bit on the personal side!

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