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Let's Panic: The Book!

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How to Endure and Possibly Triumph Over the Adorable Tyrant
who Will Ruin Your Body, Destroy Your Life, Liquefy Your Brain,
and Finally Turn You
into a Worthwhile
Human Being.

Written by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy

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Sleep Is
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Chicago Review Press

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At LET'S PANIC ABOUT BABIES, Eden Kennedy and I share our hard-won wisdom and tell you exactly what to think and feel and do, whether you're about to have a baby or already did and don't know what to do with it. → 

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More than you wanted to know about the last 48 hours.

Well, the child recovered from his fever in time to spend the weekend at my in-laws, as we had planned. Scott and I had a great weekend, and because of this, on Sunday night, the Lord chose to strike me down with yet another bladder infection. Yea, he didst render me insensible with pain, such was his wrath, that we should dare enjoy each other's company without a child mewling and tugging at our belt loops.

It began at midnight on Sunday, when I thought, hmm, what's that mild twinge in my lower abdomen? I then made the mistake of going to the bathroom, instead of throwing myself out the window. The less said about what happened in the bathroom, the better, but I will say that I have never experienced pain like that; I would rather have given birth through my urethra, and I'm sorry I just wrote that but there it is. Do you want me to delete it? Too late! Already published!

We spent much of Sunday-into-Monday in the emergency room—and it was the cutest little emergency room you ever did see. So wee! So not spattered with blood and fear! Until I showed up! Although there was only one other guy there, some guy with a cough, CRY ME A RIVER, the ER staff still decided to make us wait for hours, or what seemed like hours. I think I heard music coming from the triage room. They couldn't hear my moaning and weeping over the music and the clog dancing—I bet there was clog dancing—or maybe they could, and it amused them. If they could have siphoned my tears into their cocktails, they probably would have. The devils!

Finally the doctor took a break from his carousing to see me, and declared that instead of giving me the medication that works for bladder infections, he would give me the medication that does not work. I thought this was an interesting strategy, but maybe one that would result in pain, instead of not-pain. He didn't seem to mind that idea. I tried to argue my point, but he had already had enough of me. He was done the moment he entered the room and asked me what was wrong, and I had the temerity to observe that I had a bladder infection. How dare I diagnose myself!

I wasn't even going to write about this. I sat down this morning and thought, "Don't write about your stupid bladder, Alice, no one wants to hear about it." But my hands keep on typing it out. I can't stop them. Anyway, the drugs didn't work, I wept and clawed at myself, the pain, oh the pain, I went to my doctor, he gave me the drugs that worked, I slept the rest of the day, my son came home and I kissed him all over his sweet head, and here I am. The sun is shining, and I have the ability to stand upright. It's a good day.


Reader Comments (65)

Oh I hate that! I hate it when they try to give you something you know isn't going to work. I get that all the time.

"You have bronchitis? We'll give you Biaxin." Uh, no, please don't. I'm allergic to it. "Oh, your allergies are all in your head." Yeah, well when I return complaining that I feel like someone is cutting my stomach out with a very dull spoon, you will be sorry when I decide to re-enact the feeling on you! Just give me the damn Zithromax which I know works!

Only you could make a bladder infection so amusing.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDM
Do the bladder infection meds make you nauseous? Mind did. By the end of the week of meds I would have almost preferred the bladder infection again - I mean, except for the blood and the pain and the constant need to pee. *le sigh*
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDeanna
This instantly gave Bossy that Gotta-Pee feeling.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBOSSY
hoo-boy. glad you're better already.

October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterIsabel Kallman
Unsolicited advice to follow, feel free to ignore/not read at all:

I have had trouble with chronic bladder infections. I even went so far as to have what turned out to be unnecessary surgery to try and deal with the problem. When I finally found a sane, woman urologist who was not trained in the 50's, she told me that the problem was the pill. Some people are particularly sensitive to hormones and the ph balance gets all wonky and blah, blah, blah, chronic bladder infections. The solution was super simple. She gave me a standing prescription for the antibiotics. I just take one pill every time. I don't know if you're even on the pill but maybe you could find your own sane, woman urologist.

End unsolicited advice.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie
Honey I feel your pain. I had the same experience 2 weeks ago only I YELLED at the OB-GYN's office. The kind of "I'm in so much pain I don't care if you write "CRAZY" on my chart" kind of yelling. Why are they so stupid????? Gah.Anyhoodle, I'm glad you are feeling better!!
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commentertulip
You poor, poor lassie! I give you permission to blog about your urethra whenever it behaves quite so shamefully. Other people and their urethras? Not so much do I wish to hear. But Finslippy's urethra? You make it real, pressing, three-dimensional, dramatic, compelling...Now recuperate with a nice strong glass of that hideous pure-cranberry cran juice. Cheers!
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterCrabmommy
Ooh, I'm crossing my legs in sympathy. I'm also resolving to double my water intake for the day.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAverage Jane
Have definitely been prescribed the medicine that does not work before. Why? Why do they do that? And why do they do it on a Saturday and then decide to be closed Sunday and Monday? Do they enjoy having women weeping in their waiting rooms on Tuesday mornings?
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterpseudostoops
I went to the urgent care in my college town once with a giant migraine and asked for a shot. I told this man that I'd been having migraines for upwards of ten years by then and this was only the second time ever that I had asked for a shot. And he gave me A SAMPLE OF EXCEDRIN. And I cried and he said that HA! If the migraine and the nausea didn't go away in four hours then I could come back and tell him he was wrong! HA! And then he billed my insurance several hundred dollars for two Excedrin and lots of condescension. Bastard.

But you know? Having had both, I'd still take a migraine over a bladder infection. Glad you're better.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSuperfantastic
I know this sounds really unromantic, but it makes a huge difference for me if beforehand I urinate and then drink a glass of water, and then as soon afterwards as I can make myself get up - ideally pretty quickly - I urinate again. The afterwards part is particularly important. Asking your doctor to just give you an extra prescription so that you have it on hand and can take it when you have to helps too. And lots of cranberry juice and lots of water once you feel it coming on make it less bad, believe it or not.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMarge
I feel your pain. I suffer from frequent UTI's also. However, I've found an over the counter pill that helps within a half hour. I even carry them in my purse in case that little tinge in my nether-regions shows up whilst we're away from the house. Here's a link to it if you're interested. They really help me a lot....
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter=^..^=
So sorry you had to suffer through that. You may be way beyond this, but I think Marge is right. I used to be plagued with frequent UTIs and my doctor told me (at Student Health, no less!) if I would immediately get up and go to the bathroom afterwards, then I would be okay. That was in the mid-80's and I've only had one UTI since -- the one time when I fell asleep for 8 hours instead of getting up to go to the bathroom. So I am firmly convinced that it works.

Also I'd heard about cranberry juice forever, but I only just recently read that it works because something in cranberry juice makes bacteria slip right off wherever they would normally hang out and multiply. (!) So now I put cranberry juice in my girls' apple juice.

Glad you're feeling better!
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commenter3 to get ready
As a former chronic UTI sufferer, I'm delurking to second the recommendation above of the OTC med Phenazopyridine Hydrochloride. It turns your pee orange, which is somewhat alarming, but does provide -- um -- numbness, which is very very useful while waiting for the good drugs to kick in.

Peeing at strategic moments (before and after recreation) is also useful, particularly if you use a diaphragm (TMI alert!).

October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterRuthWells
Whole Foods or any health food store also sells cranberry extract pills - my mom had chronic UTI's due to being catheterized for a very long period and they helped tremendously. That and drinking extra fluids during as well as all the other helpful advice above.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Prince
I'm so glad you shared. I had a bladder infection last year and it was so horrible I wanted to tell the whole world how much it hurt. Now be glad you didn't need to get an ultrasound like I did while having the bladder infection. ANd if I was pregnant on top that I would have died!
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterTaylor Blue
Dr. Pain sounds awful
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterelise
I had an ER visit 6 years ago with a kidney infection. I get ya. Rather have nails driven under my fingernails...
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAmy
Delurking with a suggestion, ignore if you'd like:

One thing I learned the hard way is that you can ask to have the 'sample' cultured. This will allow the drs. to see if the prescription they gave you will work on that particular strain of infection. In my experience, they will not do this unless you insist upon it. Results within a couple days.

I had chronic infections for over a year until I did this, got a different prescription and now it's been 3 years, infection free! Knock on wood.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterjenny
Every day, in every way, I hate doctors more and more.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMomVee
You poor thing, I had my first bladder infection last year and I never knew pain like that exsisted. This one was so severe that I had to try three different medications and it kept coming back so it lasted three weeks. I second the over the counter medication Phenazopyridine Hydrochloride (Uristat) to control the symptoms however you can only use it for two days in a row, it interfers with urinalsis tests, and you will still need antibiotics. Hope you feel better soon.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterKristi
Oh mercy. I am so sorry you had to endure Medicine That Does Not Work. I'm glad you're better now. The comment about birthing through your urethra did, indeed, make me double over in psychosomatic and sympathetic pain, though.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJenni
You poor thing! My urethra hurts for you, if that is possible. I'm glad you are feeling better and they gave you medicine that works. Why would the doctor give the wrong medication? That's just silly and wrong.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterandrea_frets
Hey, don't knock your story; you had all the classics of the Hero's Journey! The aloneness (your husband, try valiantly though he might, was unable to grow a sympathy girlbladder), the quest (to rid yourself of the mighty, mighty pain!), the foes (bad doctor! bad!), the searching and the utterly satisfying ending. Joseph Campbell would totally approve.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBarbara
Always pee before, always pee after and always, always, ALWAYS wipe from front to back. And if your guy hasn't been snipped, ask him to wash first. Sound unromantic? So is a bladder infection, which by the way,if it moves into your kidneys, can kill you.
October 23, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLL

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