“Gotta go! Gotta go! Gotta go right now!”
Do you remember those old overactive bladder prescription commercials?
Even though we used to chuckle at the catchy jingle, I think we can all agree that when you really have to pee, it is no laughing matter.
There is nothing worse than having to pee while you’re on the road. You want to make good time and get where you’re going. Having to stop to pee can really slow you down.
You can try to plan your trip based on what you know about your bladder, but it seems like inevitably you have to stop more than you originally account for in your itinerary.
Recently, I drove to Chicago for the National Caregiving Conference.
In the morning, I drink a lot of coffee. In the afternoon, drink a lot of water. Knowing that I would be on the road for several hours, I tried to throttle my fluid intake to reduce the need for a bunch of potty breaks on my way to the Windy City.
Despite my concentrated efforts to avoid stopping for a break, I found myself having to stop even more than I planned.
After my last stop, somewhere between Springfield, Illinois, and Chicago, I felt it. That soft tickling feeling down below.
No way I’m stopping now, I told myself. I’m so close! I can hold this until I get to the hotel.
As I got closer and closer to Chicago city limits, I could feel the urge to pee getting stronger.
Before I knew it, I didn’t care about making my grand entrance into the pre-conference reception, checking into my room, or anything else. The only thing that mattered was the sweet release of that golden stream.
By the time I got to the hotel, I could barely walk for fear of leaking. My heart racing and my vision blurry, my legs felt like jelly as I made my way into the restroom. Thank God the Marriott put their facilities right inside the entrance!
As I sat down on the toilet, I had an epiphany.
Needing a break is like having to pee.
We are all aware of the dangers of refraining from going to the restroom.
There is literally evolutionary science behind it. Healthline says, “When your bladder is about half full, it activates the nerves in your bladder. These nerves signal your brain to give you the urge to urinate. The brain then signals the bladder to hold on until it’s time. Holding your pee involves consciously fighting this signal to urinate.”
Don’t screw with nature, people!
If you make a practice of holding your bladder, you run the risk of wearing your muscles down there, and ultimately exposing yourself to infections.
Not stopping for the breaks you need comes with its own set of consequences.
- Lack of sleep
- Health problems
- Loss of productivity or even income
And on and on.
My friend and caregiving expert, Amy Goyer, said it best: we don’t expect our cars to run on empty, so we can’t run on empty either!
Or in this case, maybe we can’t run on full 😉
No matter where you are in your caregiving journey, I urge you to carve out time to take the breaks you need. Your well-being depends on it!