An accident in 2013 left me with a spinal injury and paralysis from the chest down. Spasticity and double incontinence are further consequences. All these have been severe blows to my lifestyle, mood and self-esteem.
Such injuries are not compatible with privacy. Before my accident I had occasionally worked as an artists' life (nude) model. Loss of privacy was not as embarrassing as it might have been. Even so I do sometimes feel ashamed by my incontinence. Nurses give me a bowel evacuation on alternate days. I do feel guilt for imposing this on them. Even worse, two of the nurses sometimes leave without having completed the job thoroughly: there is faecal leakage for the carers to clean. Emptying my leg bag is not a task I like to impose on carers or anyone else.
I do not feel embarrassed by being naked but I am concerned that some of the carers are. Some younger carers in particular and those from different cultural heritages stand frozen or leave the room to make breakfast as another carer gives me a strip wash.
I am unsure what those who do not show clear signs of embarrassment are thinking as they attend to me. Some just get on with the job to finish as soon as they can. A few do appear to enjoy what they do.
I am not embarrassed by erections. I do not get them easily, probably more because of my spinal injury than my incontinence. They are important not only for a feeling of well-being and in relationships but also in maintaining hygiene. Carers help me to get out of bed. This includes a strip wash. When washing a penis it is important to clean under the base of the glans, a much easier task when it is erect.
I sleep wearing an incontinence pad held in place with unisex fixation knickers - like women's full-sided cellular net briefs without a gusset. While waiting for my carers, each morning I slip them down and make myself as ready for washing as I can. I keep my foreskin back permanently. A few of the carers squeeze my penis and pull back my foreskin as far as it will go so that they can wash my glans thoroughly. 'And how are you today darling?' said one as she arrived. I am not sure whether she meant my well-being in general or how many inches, but I took it to be the former.
Thank you for sharing your experiences and kind thoughts Andrew. My paralysis and resulting spasticity are so severe that I am housebound. I have been out of my home only about 6 times since my accident in 2013, all of them hospital visits. Friends have kindly offered to take me out but the jolting on pavements would make my spasticity even more painful. In fact, my incontinence is only quite a minor added nuisance compared with my paralysis, muscle contractions and spasms. Blockages in y suprapubic catheter were a serious problem from January to July 2016 but these have now been stopped (I hope). Although unpleasant for all concerned, bowel evacuations on alternate days have worked well. Again, thank you for your interest and good luck, Barry.
So sorry to hear about the spasms. Thats tough. I deal with that too. There are medications and treatments. baclofen, diazepam or zanaflex. Are a few. As well as phsyical therapies. I don't get out often either. A couple of times a month at best. I need a caregiver or attendent with Me at all times or My husband or sister, mother etc.