My Journey with Diapers
By Gary B., 71
My journey with incontinence started when I was in my teens. I noticed that I seemed to need to go to the bathroom more often than my friends. At that point I would just try to go whenever I had a chance and did not use any absorbent products. In early years of marriage, I had a 40-mile one way commute to work. Many days I had to stop on the way to work for a bathroom. At that point I started to buy the large size baby diapers and put them in my underwear so I didn't have to stop. When I no longer had the long commute, I was fine.
Later in life I was on the board of a non-profit ministry and would drive to the board meetings, 8 hours each way. At that point Depends tape on diapers were available in some Walmart’s, and I would stop in the morning to buy a package for the drive over and back. I never minded wearing or using the diapers, but didn't want anyone else to know. I think there has been so much stigma associated with adults wearing and using diapers that even though making the decision to use incontinence products was quite a relief for me, I still did not want anyone else to know about it.
As I got older, I began having more issues with overactive bladder. I began to use protection in my late 40s (I'm now 71). I started using the pullup style diapers at first. However, I learned that the tape on diapers were often so much more absorbent. I began reading posts on incontinence sites to learn what products exist, and that also helped me to understand that I was not alone, that it is OK to use diapers to help me lead a normal life. So, I finally made the choice to use tape on diapers for overnight, I was waking up 3-4 times per night to get up and go to the bathroom because of overactive bladder. Since I made the decision to wear and use my diapers at night, I wake up so much more rested. I still wake up if I need to pee, but can use my diaper and go right back to sleep. I have used cloth in the past, but am using disposable tape-on diapers now and very rarely have any leaks. These past few years I have also had more continence issues during the day. I use a combination of tape on diapers and pull-ups during the day and that has really removed a lot of stress from my life!
Don't be afraid to wear protection that protects your bed and gives you a good night’s sleep. For me, waking up in a soiled diaper is so much better than waking up with wet clothes and a soaked bed! My wife and I have traveled quite a bit in Eastern Europe as missionaries. One friend we stayed with consistently is a nurse. So instead of trying to hide the fact that I was using incontinence supplies, we talked about it with her. She was very supportive and would even have some supplies for us whenever we arrived. So don't be afraid to share your situation with those around you that love you.
My wife has been super supportive and now that she sometimes needs some absorbent protection as well, we can certainly help each other. I have also been able to help several friends that have gone through surgery for prostate cancer. I was able to bring them samples of products and talk about my journey with incontinence. They really appreciate having someone to talk to and learn about the products that actually work like LivDry. Those products are not sold in any retail stores so it is great to find them easily available on the internet. Do research, try different products, and find out what works for your situation. Also, make sure to talk with your doctor and make sure that you have no underlying serious medical conditions. Never let others’ comments or thoughts define who you are!