Welcome back! In this week's video blog Wendy is back to discuss an exciting new, non-invasive treatment that may reduce complications from enlarged prostate surgery. Watch the video below and let us know what you think in the comments section. Have a great week.
Good day everyone! We are back in this week's video blog to offer our advice on the internet’s latest viral discussion; binge-watching Netflix! Have you ever been so caught up in the excitement of a movie that you don’t even want to get up to use the bathroom? Let’s be honest, we have all been there. So check out the video below and learn some helpful tips on how to avoid those pesky bathroom breaks. Don't forget to leave your questions and comments below.
Topics: Video Blogs
Could expanded education and information reduce the occurance of urinary incontinence after prostate surgery? Watch the video below and learn what the latest research has revealed!
Topics: Video Blogs
If you haven’t viewed the Men’s Liberty’s video blogs, you don’t know what you are missing. In my case, I thought I knew everything after the first attachment of Men’s Liberty. What’s to learn? The directions are on the package, right? Why would I need information such as: the importance of drinking lots of water, or patient satisfaction? There are over fifty video blogs covering all kinds of questions that you might not have even considered. Wendy calls it the learning curve. When I started using Men’s Liberty, I confess, I didn’t read the directions.
Consider the type of shower soap. The directions suggest that I use a non-oil base soap. Did I follow the directions? No. I already told you about losing my Men's Liberty bag next to the fresh blueberries. But I’m not that fast on the learning curve. Sometimes, I make the same mistake twice, just to be sure it’s wrong.
Two days later, while standing in the check-in line at my doctor’s office in a crowded waiting room, I felt the unit slipping down my pant leg. I knew what was happening and (casually) reached down, caught the bag as it was sliding out the cuff and placed it in my pocket. I used the restroom to drain and clean the unit, put on an emergency absorbent and placed the unit in my pocket. Since I was visiting my primary care doctor, I figured I’d demonstrate.
“How does it work, Sam?”
“It works great as long as I follow directions. I need to use non-oil based soap.”
I returned home and watched the first video several times to be sure I understood how to attach the unit. In the process, I discovered the video blogs. Do you know the answer to the five myths about urinary incontinenece? Treat yourself to an “Ah-Ha” experience and start your journey along Wendy’s learning curve.
Topics: Interesting Articles
Every few months I get a message here on the blog. Ironically, it usually comes from a mother. A mother whose child has recently suffered a spinal cord injury and they are looking for answers. Answers I do not always have. Answers I wish were simple and are not. Many want to know if stem cells work, others want my advice on whether or not they should get stem cells. Some are just fumbling in the dark looking for some sort of direction now that the doctors and therapists have sent their baby home. It can be a tough and heartbreaking conversation.
I have noticed a recurring theme in all of these exchanges and it baffles me. It is the sheer lack of preparedness and practical, useful real world how-to information they are sent home with by the medical establishment. They simply have no clue and judging by the information they are given the doctors and nurses have no clue either. It's a crime when you really think it over.
In five days it will be twenty-one years since my accident. I am in astoundingly good health and due largely to the fact that we noticed very early on that with a little common sense and forethought many potentially dangerous situations could be avoided. The truly interesting fact is that 80% of the time doing the exact opposite of what the nurses did or suggested was the safest route. While I am very thankful to be healthy that little bit of info I just shared does not paint a very reassuring picture of the medical profession or its understanding of living post-injury over the long term.
I'll give an example of what I am talking about. One of the major problems to watch out for post-injury health is skin breakdown due to sitting or lying in a particular position for a long time. However, many other skin issues can arise from dry skin, heat rashes, insect bites, burns, soap residue and so on. It is vital that the skin be kept perfectly clean and dry. So in order to maintain proper skin health someone like me must constantly shift their weight, reposition in bed, stay clean and stay dry.
Now here's the mix up. Nurses are taught to prevent skin breakdown by keeping the skin soft and moist by covering their patients with copious amounts of lotion. A technique most commonly used and developed for the elderly. It does not apply across the board and it simply does not work with spinal cord injury. What happens is that more often than not lotion is not given time to dry, especially in areas that don't often see the light of day. Instead of that morning dew glow like Beyoncé you get whole areas that never get totally dry. Warm, dark and damp equals a breeding ground for stuff I don't want to discuss. Not only that, but most moisturizing products use mineral oil and not essential oils. The cellular walls of our skin does not absorb mineral oil, but what's worse is that mineral oil keeps water and oxygen, the two things your skin needs most, from moving both in and out of the cell membrane. It's like spreadable cellophane wrap. So why do the nurses use it? Even more, why do they tell us to use it?
I could provide example after example. Each more disturbing than the other and sadly the cause of great physical and emotional suffering, and even loss of life. Sometimes I think we need a cure for spinal cord injury more to be protected from outdated, careless medical practices than the injury itself. The entire system needs a dramatic overhaul before it's too little and too late.
If you are reading this and you or someone you love has a new injury, get online, do more research. Study the products and medications you are using. Talk to those of us with older injuries. Don't be afraid. If you are a nurse or a doctor, listen... LISTEN... think things through. Observe. We don't need any more parrots spouting what they've been taught. We need healthy, bold innovators. Network and find practical, useable resources for your patients. If you are one of these medical professionals who got into this because of job security then God help you and I hope you sleep at night. Yeah, I just said that.I realize this month's post is short, but hopefully it is to the point and made you think.
Thanks for reading.
A couple months ago we sent out an email to our Men's Liberty users to inform them about a new product we are offering that helps keep your Men's Liberty even more discreet and secure. Since then we have had a great response to the UroPants and decided to make a video blog explaining them a little more. Check it out below and don’t forget to leave your questions and comments!
Topics: Video Blogs
My parents taught me not to waste anything. Our village had victory gardens. Because of World War II and gas rationing, we practiced conservation. If driving sixty miles from our house to Williams, Arizona while maintaining a speed of thirty miles per hour would save gas and tires, then my father took two hours to drive our 1938 Chevrolet to our destination. My wife grew up under similar circumstances. Making things last as long as possible became a habit in our marriage.
Therefore, it’s understandable that, if Men’s Liberty says my external catheter is designed to last twenty-four hours, I would attempt to make it last thirty-six or even forty-eight hours. Tony, my advisor at BioDerm, was careful not to reprimand me but he encouraged me to follow the directions. I kept track of the units used, listing them on my calendar. I even bragged to Tony that, one time, the unit lasted seventy-two hours before falling off in the shower. But I realized that I was taking chances...
This morning, for instance, I was into Day Three of one unit’s use. Since I wasn’t planning to go anywhere, I figured that, being home for the day, I could make it last until bedtime. My neighbor was sweeping the sidewalk and, without thinking, I walked out to visit. Standing by the oleander hedge – plunk! The unit fell through my shorts! He was as surprised as I.
“Let me explain about Men’s Liberty’s external catheter.”
“You have an unusual way of advertising, Sam,” he laughed.
However, She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed (my wife), had a different opinion.
“Are you in some kind of contest?”
“Will Men’s Liberty send you a gold star if your unit lasts a week?”
“Then I suggest you follow their directions and rotate the units every twenty-four hours. You’ve just been lucky that you weren’t someplace in public that would cause you and me embarrassment!”
All I could answer was, “Yes, dear.”
Thanks for sharing Sam! I just need to add a little note from all of us here at Men's Liberty. It's true our directions do say to expect a 24 hour wear time because that is what the vast majority of men experience. Some men, like Sam, can see a consistent wear time of 48 hours but there are lots of reasons why this isn't possible for everyone. For example, men living in hot, humid areas where they sweat a lot probably wont see that kind of wear time.
Our recommendation is always to change every 24-48 hours, depending on what your body needs. Get into a routine with your Liberty and stick with it. That's the key to avoiding an unexpected plunk!
If you are a current user who is seeing a change in your normal wear time, give us a call - we'll troubleshoot things with you and get you back to the wear time you're used to!
Thanks for visiting! And a big thank you to Sam for sharing!
Breaking News: Today we have a zombie apocalypse on our hands!
April Fools! You know we had to give it a shot. Anyway, since we are on the topic of the zombie apocalypse, check out this week’s video blog on how to prepare yourself and manage your incontinence during the zombie takeover! Don't forget to leave your questions and comments below.
Topics: Video Blogs
It's now the second day of spring. It snowed yesterday on the first day of spring. It doesn't feel like spring and these Meteorologists on TV might as well be telling us the Easter Bunny is running behind on chocolate orders and had to outsource holiday deliveries to Godiva. Fortunately the snow is melting very fast.
I'll tell you something else that is melting very fast, the weight around my middle. At least I hope so.
Because my injury is at a high level the muscles below my chest are mostly paralyzed. When a muscle is unable to move it becomes atrophied. The muscles that wrap around the abdomen are the support system for the core of the body. When you sit up, your core pulls you up. When you stay seated it holds you up. When you walk it stabilizes the entire torso. They work without even thinking about it. Their other job is to hold the stomach, intestines and other lower organs in place, tucked up under the diaphragm. When those muscles atrophy the organs slide forward and down causing a condition known as "Quad Belly". It gives the appearance of a beer belly. When any extra fat builds up on the body it tends to build up in and around that area. Also, the forward shift and lack of consistent muscle contraction can cause the metabolism to slow down considerably so once weight is gained it can be difficult to burn off.
It seems that somewhere between the holiday stuffing and gravy, the winter comfort food and the reduced trips to the gym due to below freezing temps and piles snow I started to resemble Boss Hogg on a frat boy Pub Crawl. If you're too young to catch the Dukes of Hazzard reference I simply... well... got fat. This is not good. Fat building up around the inner organs puts me and other spinal cord injury survivors at risk for early on-set heart disease and diabetes. So with summer approaching and my deep-seated need to look sexy in a leopard print thong (but mostly to just be healthy) I got my butt in gear. However, not after a fit of remorse and self-loathing that fed my other deep-seated need to wallow in the kind of selfish vanity only another Virgo like myself could truly comprehend.
I truly love food. All kinds of food. Every ethnicity, type and shape. Baked, fried, roasted, grilled, fermented, chilled, salted, smoked, boiled or raw. Meat, dairy, veggies, pasta, fruit, bread, desserts... my god... I love the culture around food, discovering a great new restaurant or recipe, learning how something made, sharing food with friends, growing and preparing food. In truth, I don't eat bad fatty food, processed foods, fast food or even candy! I just love high-quality, good food. What is it that song by Sting says, "If you love someone set them free..."
So chia seed smoothies and the gym, the continued electrical stimulation bike, smaller portions and a few other techniques have me exercising self-control and little by little seeing results. So screw you Easter Bunny and your tempting chocolate demons! Ironically, rabbits are vegetarians.
My goal is to lose twenty-five pounds... and keep it off. So often people with Spinal Cord Injury live a lifestyle and adopt habits to ease the daily emotional pain and frustration. Whether it be subconscious or not it is often covered by drugs, alcohol or anti-depressants. The need for the comfortable and familiar can run very deep and strong. Certain foods and activities can act as a drug as well. Personally, I believe this condition is a result of the feeling of hopelessness fostered by a long-held belief by the medical profession that there is no cure. These unhealthy life choices cloud the vision of the future and continue to hold many in a permanent winter of despair. We have to look beyond the common held belief and start believing in ourselves. We have to make positive, healthy life choices so we can live and be ready when the solution we've been allowing ourselves to hope for comes.
Spring always brings new life, and while your parents may have told you a libidinous bunny who lays colored eggs delivered all that candy to you... this spring I hope if you are reading this and need to let go of something to stay healthy, you will allow yourself to hope and believe the real truth that a cure is coming, and the next doctor who says, "there's no hope"... well... even your parents told you the Easter Bunny was real.
Thanks for reading.
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It's not easy to think of things to write about. Frankly, I dread opening my blogging program for concern that I have wrote my last and I am all out of good ideas. I am probably delusional because in reality I often feel I haven't even scratched the surface of life with Spinal Cord Injury. Then I get an idea...
I am 37-years old. I was injured when I was 16. I was 4 months away from my 17th birthday. I had a job, a drivers' license, hell... I had even flown on a plane all by myself for the first time three weeks prior to my accident. I was just getting a taste of adult independence. Since my return from the hospital I have lived entirely with my family. I cannot be alone for more than three to four hours. I have a revolving door of personal care aides both paid and family to help me 24 hours a day. I require assistance with everything from bathing to dressing to cooking to using the bathroom to even rolling myself over in bed... and that's the short list. It sometimes requires two people to help me do something simple like get from the bed to the chair.
Family is devoted. Finding outside help that is reliable, well, I've fired over twenty-five people in seven years. So getting by with a little help from my friends is not always the easiest thing. The help I do have has been amazing and it is for you guys I write. Very little is said about care giving so this one is for you guys.
Imagine for a minute what it would be like if you couldn't use your thumbs, just your thumbs. Think about all the things you do every single day that requires thumbs. Now imagine your fingers. You can't move them either. How would you brush your teeth? Wait... break it down... how would you just put the toothpaste on the brush? How would you eat? Screw that... how would you even open the refrigerator door? Let's really think here. Just imagine a beautiful, warm summer day. You are sitting outside enjoying the fresh air after a long and brutal winter and as you happen to look down you notice a small, black spider making its way up your leg and disappearing into your shorts. No amount of stomping, shouting, swatting or wiggling can help you now as you can only pray that little F@!cker is 1. not poisonous, and 2. making his way towards daylight somewhere else on your person. Oh yeah, it's happened. It can make you feel completely vulnerable and powerless pretty quick... and that was just your hands. We haven't talked about everything from the chest down.
This is why every day for almost 21 years someone very committed has not only gone about their own daily routine, but also mine as my hands, arms and legs. My brother Ethan and my Mother have been the primary sources of help, but you can add my Dad, my older brother, various friends and extended family members and five paid companions I trust.
It is by no means a glamorous job. There is rarely a set schedule. It can be as simple as handing you the TV remote to as complex as cleaning you up after you ate bad food. Think it's easy? Just when you've finally sat down or fallen asleep you are needed... again. You have to lift, shift, tug, pull, push, tuck, zip, button, scratch, clip, cut, crack, open, close, cook, wash, dry, spread, wipe, clean, brush, smooth, poke, stab, salt, season, hold and fold 24/7 and then some. You forget, you get tired. You get frustrated. You laugh. You cry. You roll your eyes... all the while being the closest friend under heaven and the one thing standing between me and the nursing home, or worse. I snicker a little to myself when people ask my brother what he does for a living and then say, "Oh, that's so nice!" with that oh-that's-not-a-real-job look on their face. They do not realize the President gets more time off then he does. Every stay-at-home mom in America knows what I'm talking about.
My paid aides have braved ice storms, worked sick, showed up on late notice climbing out of their own bed after settling in for the night, sat up with me all hours while I recovered from respiratory infections and much more. It is humbling really. I am alive and healthy because of these people and it amazes me how lucky I truly am.
In a time when doctors and medical management make the big bucks, the reality of it all is that it is those by our sides keep us healthy, motivated and alive. So to all the mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, husbands, friends and aides who have never left our sides... we love you. I love you. Thank you for your devotion, your attention to detail, your heart and all the little things that bring us one step closer to a cure, to walking again and one day returning the favor even when we know there is no way we can ever repay you.
Thanks for reading.
Topics: Spinal Cord Injury with Caleb