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Wednesday, October 19, 2005


I wet the bed until the fourth grade and other things that make me more interesting. Perhaps.

I was a bed wetter. I wet the bed until at least the fourth grade. I wet the bed so frequently that I probably smelled of urine for the first nine years of my life. I wet the bed so much that my mattress was permanently concave and damp and musty right under the spot where my butt slept. The mustiness wafted to the outer reaches of my room. The room I shared with my sister Julie. Poor, poor Julie. She must have had nightmares about being gassed with ammonia on a regular basis as a pre-adolescent. All because of my overactive nocturnal bladder.

My three sisters must have wondered two things about my bed. Why the big dent in the middle? And why the God-Awful smell? For some reason, my mattress was never covered in a waterproof sheet. I remember from childhood, the stigma of having rubber sheets on your bed. Rubber sheets were in the same category as head lice (which we also had at more than one point) and B.O. (which I might have had if the urine smell had not drowned it out completely).

Would it have been worse to have a dented bed reeking of unrea, urorchrome and uric acid or a semi clean smelling rubber sheeted, stimga- filled juvenile boudious? I can't venture a guess, because I only experienced one half of that equation.

As a somewhat typical girl of 8, 9, 10 years old I went on my fair share of sleepovers. What was not so typical about me was that I left a trail of ammonia-reek at my unsuspecting friends parents houses about two times out of ten.

I keenly remember waking up to an "accident" at a sleepover at my best friend Jenny's house when I was about nine years old. I bolted out the door with a cat-who-ate-the-canary look on my face at the crack of dawn. I returned later that day to retreive my stinky, wet, forgotten-on-purpose sleeping bag. I think I hoped that if I left it, the bag would air out and no one would be the wiser. I desperately hoped no one would notice.

Jenny's dad had laid it on their chain link fence to "air it out". He was a rather stoic, Scandinavian man. He kind of scared me with all his detachment and his no-nonsense attitude. He looked at me, confused, and said "It's all wet. Why is that?" and looked to me for a response. I mumbled something about spilling a glass of water on it, quickly pulled the sleeping bag off the fence and threw it over my small shoulder for the three block walk back home. I was ashamed and humiliated and mortified. I don't think I called for another sleepover for three months at least. I was always scared it would happen.

Another time it happened my cousin Tiffany's house. Kerry, Tiffany's sister and my younger cousin, was gone at a sleepover. I got to sleep in her bed. I was terrified. I must have gone to the bathroom 4 times before we went to sleep. Again, I woke up with that feeling of dread. That damp, cold stink that made me feel like an outcast and a freak. What an embarassment. I had to tell Tiffany and she had to tell her mother, and she was obviously not happy that I had left a big stanky stain on their mattress.

I sulked in embarassment for another week or so. I Eventually got up the nerve and called Tiffany. She and her sisters were making pretzels with their mom (my aunt and godmother). The homemade kind of pretzels that are SO GOOD. I squealed with excitement "Can I come over?" There was a pause. And then:

"That might not be a good idea. My mom is still kind of mad about the bed wetting thing."

My excitement quickly turned back into shame. How could I have forgotten the scourge I had left in their home? The scourge of of a stinky pee-stained mattress. Of course they didn't want me sleeping over. Who wants someone's kid peeing on their nice mattresses? Good heavens. These people were always so nice to me. They just didn't want me sleeping over. I can't blame them.

Mercifully, I don't wet the bed anymore. I grew out of that unfortunate habit sometime during the fifth grade. And I sure hope Maggie doesn't have the same affectation. I would love to spare her the agony of the sleepover trauma. But I guess they have goodnites pants for kids who wet the bed now. We have that. We might not have much but we have that.


Blogger Staci said...

I can't believe they wouldn't let you come over and eat pretzels! You must have been just heartbroken. My sister in law wet the bed until she was like 14! UGH...I can only hope that doesn't pass on to my kids. I don't want them to be excluded from sleepovers...that has to just break your heart.

5:16 AM  
Anonymous Kari said...

Oh, how humiliating. And for your aunt to get angry at you as though you had wet the bed on purpose? That is just terrible!

I remember at sleep-away camp (where we were each paired with another camper), my "buddy" wet her sleeping bag the first night of camp. The counselors didn't know, and I was too scared to tell them (because I thought it would be mean and embarrasing for my "buddy") It was horrible to sleep next to her the entire time and feel like I was going to puke. But then be worried about saying anything for fear of being insulting.

9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh my. Meghan does it help if I tell you that I have NO recollection of this incident at all? And that no one has been holding it against you? And that in all probability it wasn't that my mom was mad but that I was covering up that I was apprehensive about having you over--still reeling from my early days sharing a bed with Kerry when she was a bed wetter?

Finally, if it makes you feel better, remember that the tables were quite turned when, years later, I had my period & "leaked" on the bed we were sharing up at the cabin. So please accept my apology and feel free to gloat over the aforementioned cabin incident. I swear up and down that in my mind you have never been the bed-wetting cousin.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Mary Tsao said...

I wasn't a bed wetter, but I definitely remember feeling very hurt by things grown-ups said or did to me when they "caught" me doing things like picking my nose.

It's good to remember how sensitive kids are and that they're just kids, even when they're 8, 9, 10, and up.

I hope our generation of parents is a tad more sensitive than previous generations!

9:40 AM  
Blogger Prego said...

It's probably a more common occurrence than we think, but it's a pretty goddamned lonely feeling. Fortunately, I never had a chronic problem... Just a couple accidents like crapping my drawers walking home from fourth grade, and pissing myself in NYC in my twenties. It's true. I had a kidney stone lodged in my ureter that jiggled, dislodged and unleashed a gallon all over my pants before I managed to undo my zipper.

Try walking 20 city blocks in THAT condition as an adult. There was no way I was going to jump in a cab.

Regardless, nice human interest story; though if I had a teenage daughter, I'd encourage the bedwetting. There isn't a bigger deterrent for pregnancy than fear of pissing the bed linen at some horny boy's house.

11:06 AM  
Blogger God's Child said...

VERY brave of you to share this story. I didn't wet the bed regularly but I distinctly remember once dreaming I was in the shower (I think I was about 7) and thinking it'll be okay if I pee in here, and then waking up at the sensation of peeing in my bed.

1:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for posting this. My daughter is almost 9 and she still wets fairly consistently, unless we rouse her for the bathroom. Have tried alarms, restricting fluids, etc...and nothing works. It is good to know that there may be hope.

8:05 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

Once I was at church camp, and we were at a little pond-lake with no bathrooms. You had to walk up and over this big hill and avoid the cowpies if you wanted to relieve yourself, and then you had to hope no one else came over the hill to do the same thing and catch you with your pants down.

I had already been up there to pee two times, and I had to dook one out. I was in the lake, so I just moved over my swim bottoms in a unpopulated part of the swimming area and let it go, then swam away towards the other kids.

About ten minutes later, the kids all started screaming about the poo that was floating by. I (being scared that someone might actually suspect it was me) said that probably it was one of the dogs that was running around.

I'm mortified that I'm actually admitting this story. I've never told anyone!

8:46 PM  
Blogger PapaCool said...

There is hope. We are worried about our soon-to-be 4-year-old wetting his bed every other night!

12:54 PM  
Blogger mothergoosemouse said...

I will tell you something that I haven't told anyone but my husband. I shit my pants (just a little bit, but still) one day at work shortly after returning from maternity leave with Tacy. I was fucking mortified. Ditched the underwear in the bathroom and stuffed an old freebie t-shirt in my drawers. Thank god I was wearing some ridiculous overalls and could hide the t-shirt while sitting at my desk.

It breaks my heart that people were so unkind to you as a child - adults in particular. Please give that little girl Meghan a big hug from me.

9:31 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

My oldest son was wetting the bed once or twice a night until a nurse-practioner friend told me there was medication available.
Now he gets an inhaled spray of Desmopressin at night before bed, it worked right from the first night. Too bad your parents didn't ask your doctor for help.

2:12 PM  
Anonymous pjindy said...

I have never been a fan of sleepovers for many a reason, your story is just one more.

Sleepovers are nasty!

12:36 PM  
Blogger SaDiE said...

Mummy showed me this place because this is my problem too and its..h o r r i b l e

yeah ..thank god for pullups they keep my bed dry .... unless they leak and they sometimes do.and thank god its not offen like it used to be for me...im 16 now;but still it happens somtimes ;~(

3:24 AM  
Blogger trollz_r_cool said...

It's really odd- cos I honest to god never wet the bed and neither did my sister. No-one believes me when I tell them- but it's true. My parents limited our water intake before bed- and I was always like a camel when I was little. I think I must be a freak of nature- as I only actually wet myself on 2 occasions in the 1st week or 2 of being potty trained.
Anyway- basically everyone wets the bed at some time or other- some have worse problems than others.
I had a friend who always stank of urine and on some occasions faeces.
I remember going round to her house in like yr4 (I dunno what grade that is- like age 9). Anyway- her bed was soaking wet- I sat on it and put my hand down behind on the bed- felt the wetness and went running off to their bathroom to wash my hands. She must've been offended- cos she started crying like 10 mins later :S Ooops.
Then another time this same girl came round- and there was this revolting smell of poo all the time. I kept asking her if she needed the loo- but she swore she didn't. It was terrible- I couldn't breath. Then we went off to brownies- with her reaking of poo. Later that day we found poo all over our toilet seat- like under the seat bit. Eeeeew. I feel sorr for her even today.

11:09 AM  
Anonymous Kelly Kane said...

We have worked with and cured thousands of children and infused their parents with hope at the Enuresis Treatment Center in Farmington, MI. Besides being a deep sleep disorder, research shows that bedwetting is also genetic. If both parents have a history of bedwetting there is a 77% chance the child will also wet the bed. The average length of treatment is 6 months, and we are certain we can correct the sleep disorder and end bedwetting. Go to www.freebedwettingguide.com for more info.

12:03 PM  
Blogger Cat said...

that is terrible... i am 12 years old and i have been wetting the bed for as long as i can remember... i went to the doctors office today and she told me about the poddy pager... but the only bad part is you have to where boys underwear!!! ewwwww

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Some people can control it others wake up knowing they got to piss, and they just lay there because they don't want to have to get out of bed to go, or they don't want to stop playing for 2 miutes to go, so they piss in their pants and don't say anything about it. In this individuals case, doctors hae ruled everything out. They say she is just plain lazy. I think bed wetting is a bunch of crap and a big pain in the ass.

11:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you must have been so mbaressed i wet the bed still and im 12 i have to wear pull ups at night.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am 13 i still have bed wetting problems i dont like sleeping over cause i wear pull ups and im afraid my friends will make fun of me. i remember last year i went to camp with my freind and i thought i wet the bed but i had my periode

12:01 PM  

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