Yep. You read that right.
I’m re-training my bladder.
I had my annual check up a few months back and was told by my darling 30-ish nurse practitioner, Kristen, that — not to worry! –my little problem was a simple matter of re-training my bladder.
Like my naughty German Shorthair, Lola, it seems I have also been lax with the training of at least one of my internal organs.
It appears that when I apologize for Lola jumping up on guests, or whining at the door, I now also have to apologize for my urgent need to pee. Why is it always my fault?
Here is, apparently, what I have done wrong: I have taught my bladder that it will be rewarded upon my car’s arrival at my mailbox after any amount of time gone from home, be it 20 minutes or six hours. It’s a simple Pavlovian response. Mailbox = bladder reward.
It should be noted that I have an iron bladder and can go literal hours on end without the need to find a bathroom. I take great pride in that, by the way.
Next, I find myself arriving in my garage and about to exit the car while simultaneously giving myself a pep talk along the lines of,
“…you can do this. this is insane. you are a grown woman. it’s all in your head. ok. ok… OK.”
Then I steel myself and hop out of the car, my arms predictably loaded with all manner of items: coffee cup, phone, mail, newspaper, trash. And then: Noooo! not “go”! At which point I drop everything on the step, bend at the waist, and do an extremely flexible looking crossing of the legs… and wait.
Sometime I read the mail while I wait for the urge to pass. Then, eventually, I stand up and go into the house. And here is where I know I have mental problems:
I usually totally forget to pee when I get in the house. Because, you know, when it’s over, it’s over. I don’t have to go anymore.
Until I go to the kitchen sink, that is.
Then we start the whole process over again. Because, apparently, I’ve also trained my bladder to think kitchen sink = reward.
I wonder what other mistakes I’ve made in my life that I’m completely unaware of?
So here is what I’m supposed to do. I’m not supposed to “give in” to my bladder. I must “stand firm”. Wait at least 5 minutes, and then go. That is where my mistake has been, you see. I wait until it passes, then I completely forget. (Another menopausian nugget of fun). I forget for maybe another hour or two. Until I go back to the trigger (mailbox or sink). After one or two of these episodes, I eventually give in and run — not walk — to the bathroom.
It’s like I just fed my dog from the table. And she won’t forget that reward any time soon, if ever.
So, after months of this mental exercise I can tell you that it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks. And while it has improved slightly, I have resigned myself to this fact:
I’m just a bad dog trainer.