Praying For Pee

pray .jpg

I can’t go. There’s nothing in there...

Well, drink some water and see if that works...

I’ve been drinking water all day… 3 bottles!

Ok… This is where the reality train makes an abrupt stop.

In life, there are facts, and there are fictional fibs. Factual statements are phrases like, “the earth revolves around the sun”; irrefutable, undeniable, and immutable. Fictional fibs are statements like, “I’ve been drinking water all day”; questionable, disputable, and debatable. A fictional fib can sound like factual statement, but the evidence to support a fictional fib is frequently flimsy. In fact, sufficient evidence often exists to refute a flimsy fictional fib, as is the case with Mom’s water consumption. 

The “bottle” in question is an 8 oz. Polar Springs mini that Mom considers reusable (for over a year now), the evidence of repeated reuse being the lipstick and food particles hugging the cap thread. Like Purse, Mom’s water bottle is never more than 9 inches from her right hand; nestled next to her on the couch, distinctly displayed at her “desk” (the dining room table), or prominently placed in the basket of her walker.

With all its presence, one would think Mom’s water bottle is getting a fair amount of action throughout the day - and Mom would certainly have you believe that. When asked if she’s drinking her water, she readily raises her (always full) bottle and declares, “I just refilled it!” Although I do believe she intends to actually drink from the bottle, it’s perpetual presence is more likely a trick to throw me off track.

The reality is that Mom hasn’t taken even a sip in hours. At 92, she understands the premise of cause and effect, and knows that every sip brings her one step closer to needing to go; to stand up, wiggle her walker to “the john”, drop her new stretch pants, and pee. It just feels like too much work, so she preempts my pestering with her fictional fib.

Ultimately, Mom’s body betrays her words and effectively emits physical evidence that her water bottle is merely a ruse, and that very little consumption has actually taken place. She becomes dehydrated (a senior’s most formidable foe), which results in kidney stones, UTIs and erratic blood pressure – all of which end with an extended hospital stay.

Last week, Mom’s cognitive acuity seemed to take a nose dive, and she was dabbling at the edge of dementia. A thorough review of her med box showed that she’d missed three days of Aricept (the brain drug). After downing a dose, we called the doctor who thought it might be yet another UTI caused by, wait for it, dehydration..  The visiting nurse left a specimen cup.  No problem…

The next morning, I stopped in to pick up Mom’s pee, but her tentative face told the truthful story - she’d forgotten to sit for a sample, and now had nothing left to give.   

No problem Mom… Just drink some water and I’ll wait.

(She reaches for her coffee)

No Mom – you have to drink water. I’ll wait.

(She looks at her bottle with disdain, but then, sipping slowly, drains it)

Great!... Let’s go sit on the toilet and see what happens.

But I don’t have to go.

You will… I’ll fill your bottle again…

(She sips the fresh water while seated on the toilet.. )

No action.

After five minutes of hemming, hawing, and hovering, I resorted to the pee-promotion tactics I employed on my kids prior to a long car ride. Trick #1 - I turned on the faucet and let it run, hoping the subliminal message would reach Mom’s nearly deaf ears.

No action.

She settled into her throne… Elbows on knees, head in hands…

We waited.

Five more minutes, and nothing. Mom was getting anxious and her pee-pot was about to turn to pity. I trotted out Trick #2 and placed her frail wrist under a little warm running water…


Twenty minutes in, and I tested Trick #3, refilling Mom’s bottle with warm water.

…And…BINGO! … There it was, a perfect specimen! If I’d had a roll of ‘atta-girl stickers, I would have slapped one right on her chest. Mom too was tickled with her triumph, and visibly relieved to have completed her mission, thus making everyone happy.

My prayer for pee had been answered.

Emily Gaffney10 Comments