I Wear Diapers No Choice

This post is a corrected version of my reply to the post by dprgrrl399.
 I too have a spinal cord injury. At first I was unable to urinate so had to use catheters. During the first 10 days after the injury I had no short term memory so remember nothing. When the memory came back I first realized something very bad had happened and that I was in a hospital. I had had two major surgeries and had tubes everywhere. I was wearing a trunk brace with chin support, and my right arm was strapped to it. I am right handed. I had several unexpected bowel movements but do not remember getting cleaned up. The next week I was transferred to the rehab floor and relearned how to walk. I was taught to wash and reuse red rubber catheters but the nurses always cathed me. I was put on the toilet every day and sometimes was able to defecate. I was put in reguar underwear.  I did not know that I was also being given laxatives. During the last week of hospitalization I had at least three bowel movements in my pants without warning. I wondered but never asked why I was not diapered. All the while wearing the trunk brace with arm straped to it, 24/7.
 I was released not feeling well and the next day at home I had major bowel movement in my pants with very short warning, only enough to stand up and tell m y wife I might need help,  and I feared that my two young sons (ages 6 and 8) knew about it; they were right there watching as it happened. My wife was very disgusted but did clean me and had me go to bed. I convinced my wife that it would be easier if I wore diapers. She objected but did eventually buy some for me. Two days later when I used the catheter the urine was bloody. I went to the ER wearing a diaper.  This was the first time anyone other than a girlfirend or female friend had seen me wearing a diaper.  I told the ER physician and nurses that I was wearing a diaper before they lowered my pants.  To my surprise no one reacted in any way other than to say OK, no problem.  The diaper was of course dry. I wore it to catch any bowel movement that might happen, but it was clean.   I was diagnosed with a UTI and put on antibiotic treatment.  Later that day I thought I had a bowel movement in the diaper and was thinking I had wet it.   I discovered that now I could urinate, but could not control it. I had wet my diaper!  I told my wife and she was pleased!  My wife this time grudgeinly tolerated the bowel movement as she changed me.  I also now knew that I would wet my pants if my bladder filled, instead of the urine backing up into the kidneys, which can lead to life-threatening kidney damage.  Now I had another reason to wear a diaper. I did at least know when I was wetting my diaper.   A month later I was allowed to take the brace off at night, but I was stuck in bed until I could help putting it back on. A month after that I stopped wearing the brace and stopped wearing diapers, wanting to never wear one again. I had a downstairs office where there was no bathroom. I learned that going downstairs was almost a certain guarantee of a need for a bowel movement, and that I probably would not be able to get upstairs in time. My wife had her mother come to help, but I did not let her help me; I am too much of a private person and did not want the embarrassment of her knowing my full situation. She did however meet me at the top of the stairs once after I had been downstais and had an uncontrolled bowel movement in my pants. I do not know if she knew of my situation. I did rush to the bathroom. There were several accidents over the next several months but I thought I could at least manage the situations. Once on the way to physical therapy I had a bowel movement in my pants and had to have my wife buy diapers so I could change. I think she told the PT people what had happened and why I was in the bathroom. The physical therapists and receptionist were thereafter very nice to me, even more so than usual. I was walking normally but if I fell I could not get up without help. About 7 months after the injury walking was becoming more difficult. About 8 moths after the injury on the way home from a specialist as we neared home I said to my wife, who was driving, that I needed to get to a bathroom, and she wanted to know why. I said I thought I was about to wet my pants. She stopped the car and turned to watch as I did wet my pants. I got home, cleaned up, cathed myself, and put on new underwear. About two weeks later I had an appointment with a rehab physician. My wife missed the turnoff after I told her I needed to get to a bathroom. She asked why and I said I felt a need for a bowel movement. We got there but not in time; as I got out of the car I knew I was having a bowel movement in my pants. I did at least have a liner inside my underwear which caught it. I discarded the liner and got cleaned up. Unfortunatley I did not bring an extra liner (actually a belted protective undergarment).  I discussed the incident and the full situation with the rehab physician in front of my wife. The rehab physician had no helpful suggestions, not even diapers. On the way home as we got close to home I wet my pants but did not tell my wife.  As I was getting out of the car she did see that my pants were wet and she expressed her great disgust. Then two weeks after that I cathed and drove myself to the dentist, believing my bladder to be empty. While in the dentist's chair waiting for the dentist I thought that I surely could not be wetting my pants. In retrospect I should have called in the dental assistant and told her that because of the spinal cord injury I did not know for sure but I needed to use the restroom because I thought I might be wetting my pants and perhaps she could get a dental "bib" for me to sit on. After the dentist was done I did check and the dentist's chair was dry. I went to the restroom, and I knew I was wetting my pants as I headed there. My underwear was soaked and my black pants were wet and I urinated on the floor. I cleaned it up, urinated as much as I could into the toilet and headed for home. On the way home I bought some near-adult-sized pullup-style diapers but continued to wet my pants. I stopped and put on a pair over my wet undies. Upon getting home my wife saw the diaper package and subjected me to an inquisition. I now new that I either needed to wear diapers or be confined to home. Diapers were the choice. A month after the dentist incident my wife said she wanted a divorce. She changed her mind after learning her best friend from high school and college was now a total paraplegic. Her friend visited (along with her extra-marital partner) and my wife then later visited her. I suspect that my wife's friend wet her pants while visting my wife, but I do not know. Although I was living separately my wife invited me to meet her friend. She is now my friend as well. When I visited my wifes's friend's partner had left and the relationship broken off.  While visiting her friend her friend wet her pants at least once and said she was considering wearing diapers. While living separately I was of course wearing diapers and several times  did have bowel movements in the diapers, on one day, twice within about an hour. I also wet my diaper frequently.  Once in a meeting at work I was standing and talking and realized I was wetting my diaper  About a year later I got a wheelchair.  One night I was watching TV, then decided to go to bed.  I turned off the TV, and stood up to get into my wheelchair.  As I stood up, with no sense of a need and with no warning I had a bowel movement in my diaper.  I used my wheelchair as a walker to get to the bathroom adjacent to the bedroom.  The door had been removed to make getting the wheelchair in easier.  However, from the bed my wife had a clear view of me changing diapers and cleaning up.  She demanded to know what had happened and would not rest until I told her. She was very repulsed.  Now several years later I have completely lost the ability to walk, I have no sensation of heat, pain or touch below the rib cage. I can no longer sense the passage of urine or feces, and usually cannot sense a need to go. I now use single-use only catheters (thanks to my wife's friend) which does cut down on UTIs but the fecal problem makes the problem worse. After an unexpected bowel movements I want to wet my diaper to clear out the urethra  before I cath.  Waiting too long between catherizations or drinking too much coffee or changes in weather (how much I sweat) throws all routine out the window, and diapers are required to avoid major social problems.  Even under normal circumstances I find a wet diaper several times a week; I long ago stopped counting or caring, aside from the inconvenience of changing and cleaning up. Getting  properly cleaned is necessary to avoid skin breakdown.  About once a month the diaper is so wet it leaks; if it happens at work at least I am sitting on it so no one including me knows.
  At first during hospitalizations I was simply cathed but during one hospitalization after surgery I was on an IV and learned that my kidneys could produce 1 ml urine every six seconds; 600 ml per hour (1 1/4 pint) per hour), and at the time I started leaking at about 500 ml. Most people feel a need to go at about 3/4 pint. One young nurse noted in a derogatory way that I was wetting as she tried to insert the catheter, asking if I could not control it. I continued to wet about every 45 minutes as long as I was on the IV. I was catheterized every hour which caused urethral irritation which caused more frequent urination… The next time I was hospitalized after the surgery I was again on an IV but my temperature spiked the evening after surgery and now I was kept in the hospital for several additional days. I was on an IV supposedly with antibiotics, but they forgot to include the antibiotic, so more IV. My food was also rich in diuretics. At first I repeatedly wet the pad I was lying on the nurses changed it when I was cathed. The staff finally put me in hospital diapers and changed a wet diaper every two hours and cathed me every 4 hours. I was severely constipated but after three days got taken to sit on a toilet and did have the constipation relieved, but several hours later just after I had been cathed I had another, unexpected bowel movement in the diaper. It took some time to get someone to change me, and the whole thing was very embarrassing.

For years I have had to leave work to go home to change diapers because of uncontrolled bowel movements. Now with the loss of sensation I sometimes find that my bladder has close to 2 oz urine, and that amount is close who where it can back up into the kidneys and do real damage. Sometimes I wet the diaper and do not know it; sometimes I have a very urgent sense of having to go, but it really means I am wetting my diaper and have no chance of stopping it; sometimes I have great sense of a need to go but have only about 1/3 oz. In short the sensation is meaningless. I was hospitalized twice over the summer (different hospitals), the first time for surgery. Both times the hosptial staff put me in diapers but the fluid intake and catheterizations kept me from having any wet diapers and no bowel movements after the surgery. I had two issues that I was not going to let delay the surgery. I had new abrasive wounds that I could not feel, and I had bowel movements that were largely urine-colored liquid and small flakes of stool. I was having visible large bowel contractions that someone with normal sensation might feel as cramps.  Sometimes my diaper would show there had been a very liquid bowel discharge. i did not know when there was a bowel movement. I wear diapers that do a very good job of hiding the oder. I discussed these issues with my primary care physician and he sent me directly to the hospital suspecting a dangerous bacterial infection. Again I was cathed regularly and given antibiotics that did something to treat the symptoms. On the third day in the hospital, after it was clear I did not have the suspected infection, I called for the nurse and said to one of the nurses who came I thought I needed a bed pan but she said it was too late. I was in the midst of a massive but solid bowel movement. Her much less experienced companion (probably with a few days experience) complained that she had not "signed up for this" . I said I was very embarrassed, to the point of humiliation, and the more experienced nurse asked why, and I told that these accidents really bothered me. She again asked why and said to me that yes, I have these accidents, and wear diapers, but I was otherwise a very functional person and should just accept that I have these problems and go on and do the things I could do.  They cleaned me and put on a new diaper. On the other hand I could not get through to the hospital specialist physician that I did  not live in a nursing home.  She could not accpet that I was so independent.
   Having lost lower body functionality and sensation completely, but still with arm strength I can manage as long as I do not fall. After being released from the hospital I had home care nursing (for the wounds) and home care occupational and physical therapy. Whoever came always helped me put on a diaper if I needed a new one.  I always tried to shower before they came and except for the wound care nurse always tried to be dressed before they arrived.  After watching me transfer wheelchair-toilet and back several times they said I could not do the the transfer safely. It was impossible for me to get on a bedpan. One time when she was alone with me the occupational therapist suggested that after the wounds healed it would be safer for me to go in the diaper then clean up in the shower; she said that is what she would do. She had had abdominal surgery and had her mother come to take care of her at home. I now wonder, given how readily and almost without thought had made the suggestion, if she had been confined to bed 24/7 to avoid damaging the surgical wound and had worn diapers and had gone in her diaper and her mother clean and change her. I have no idea.
I did figure out that I would more likley fall if I tried to get on the toilet in the evening or if I was too tired or not awake enough. I also take back pain medication and muscle relaxants that knock me out and make me drowsy for several hours. I do not even try to get from bed to wheelchair until the drowsiness clears up.  
 I do now suspect that several times I have had bowel movements in the evening or early morning before I get to the toilet.   Somehow I still cannot sleep well if I need to have a bowel movement, so I do not think they happen while I am asleep.  Sometimes as I transfer onto the toilet it turns out to be a race to get the diaper off quickly.  I keep the diaper on until I am on the toilet to avoid more abrasions.  

  I sit in a wheelchair and use a catheter so that is no problem, unless the diaper is wet.

I had fallen in the bathroom several times in the past two years resulting in serious but unfelt abrasion injuries. I will never understand how I avoided infections. A month passed after the first injury and all I knew was that I was tired and there was always a fludi in an unusual place in the diaper. I mentioned it to my then primary care physician and she took unfastened my diaper and took one look.  She had a pressure-relief hospital bed and home care nursing ordered and I was confined to bed 22 hours a day, all so fast I did not even know what had happened. Sometimnes the home-care nurse would help me put on a new diaper.  When my wife did the wound care, which the insurance demanded, she would have nothing to do with diaper changes.  Recently I have several times at work had diaper-filling bowel movements (once up to the waist), that I did not know about until I got home. After another such diaper filling bowel movement I cleaned up then over the next day had several red bloody mucousy discharges in my diaper. I went to the ER.  My wife was concerned only that I get out in time to go see my son play in the band at a football game.  By this time my wife had once again said she was going to divorce me.
   I am on a "bowel program" and so now have an unknown bowel movement about once a week. Before I started the bowel program I had an unknown bowel movement in my diaper about once a week. Getting in or out of the car is one good way to bring on a bowel movement. Getting up from a fall is another way to bring on a bowle movement.  While taking off the soiled diaper I have to go to major efforts to prevent the fecal matter from getting on the wheelchair cushion; otherwise I have a major time-consuming cleanup problem.

   Being male one important factor is getting the penis aimed upwards so I can see whether the diaper is dry or wet, and to avoid getting fecal matter on my penis. If it is aimed as the directions say, downward into the diaper I can be very wet and not see it.
  I have tried everything available to me from belted undegarments to pullups to true diapers.  I now wear store-brand diaper style diapers with breathable covering and refastenable tabs. The refastenable tabs are essential for me to be able to cath without changing the diaper.  The breathabel covering prevents wsweat accumulation and so keeps the skin dry.  The Depends style diapers are plastic covered and the tapes cannot be taken off and refastened after a few minutes. The plastic covering also causes sweat to accumulate, sometimes to the point of changing the wetness indicators. They simply cannot be used in the way I use diapers.

I would be very interested to know what kind of diapers other people in my situation use;  I am always on the lookout for better solutions.

 Sorry for the novel length tome, but this is my experience, and I thought I should share it.  Maybe others can relate to it.
scinosensation scinosensation
66-70, M
2 Responses Dec 18, 2010

Thanks very much nhdl. It is rough for me now, but I will get through it. I am actually now convinced that I probably will be better off divorced from her, but I do wish she took into consideration the devastating effect on especially my younger son.

Sounds like you are or had a very rough time. It sucks that your wife is not very helpful or supportive. Hope things get better for you.