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Maria's story

Older woman sitting outside with younger woman

Maria and her daughter-in-law

“Thanks to my daughter-in-law, incontinence is no longer the big deal it was at first.”
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"When I lost control of my bladder and wet the cushion on my favourite chair I was mortified. The chair wasn’t even mine. I was staying with my son Henryk and his wife, Anna, while I recovered from a hip fracture. When my granddaughter made a fuss about me being locked in the toilet I was furious – I was trying to get the stains off the cushion! I felt embarrassed.
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Anna came running and I told her to mind her own business in no uncertain terms. I thought I’d got away with it, but nothing gets past Anna.
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She started dropping hints about seeing the doctor, which annoyed me. I thought, I’m not going to tell some doctor I can’t control my bladder!’ I hoped the problem would clear up once the hip mended, but it just got worse.
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One afternoon, Anna came into the kitchen and told me I’d blocked the downstairs toilet with all the cotton wool I was using. She said that everyone in the house knew about my problem because they could smell it! You can imagine how horrified I was, but after I had calmed down a bit, I agreed to let Anna take me to the doctor.
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Our doctor was really nice about it and said she had at least three patients a week with my condition. I was very surprised to hear how common it is.
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A few months later, I ended up even more reliant on the family. My hip started playing up worse than ever and, to my horror, I was actually confined to a wheelchair. It was all very distressing but Anna and I muddled through. In a way, I think it actually brought us closer – you can’t be dishonest with someone who has to help you in the bathroom department!?
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The best thing is, with the help of Anna and the information from our doctor, I feel as though I have my dignity back. I’m not afraid of embarrassing leaks or smells and feel I can relax and chat with the grandchildren. I use incontinence pads during the day and incontinence pants at night as they feel more secure. There’s not a great deal I can do about getting on in years and having a dodgy hip, but I’m still enjoying family life – long may that continue!”
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