Archive for Sunday, March 20, 2011

Boomer Girl Diary: Getting a grip

March 20, 2011


There was a time when I could wait.

I remember — it wasn’t that long ago, really — I could shop for hours on end without a single pit stop.

I once consumed an entire Route 44 Diet Coke and sat through “Gone With the Wind” with nary a nod in the direction of the bathroom.

In 2002, I rode shotgun from Lawrence to Hays in a minivan with bad shocks, after two large cups of McDonald’s coffee, without uttering the words: “Rest area, one mile!” My husband still refers to that trip as the Memorial Day Miracle.

There was a time when holding it was an option. I could fend off nature’s call indefinitely or, at least, until a moment more convenient for me. Not anymore.

These days, my life is a 24-hour loop of every Detrol commercial ever made: “Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now … gotta go, gotta go, gotta go!”

That’s me: The panic-stricken middle-aged female cop, directing traffic in a busy intersection, her mind obsessed with the impending implosion of her bulging bladder. That’s me, too: The 50-something lady juror with a look of horror in her eyes, begging the bailiff to be excused from the courtroom, so she can “Go right NOW.”

I used to laugh mockingly at those ads. Those days are down the drain.

Lately, anywhere I go — bistro, bank, eco-boutique — my first order of business is to locate the restroom and calculate the time it will take me to reach its door. (Note to shop owners: No public potty, no patronage. A john-less joint is no place for a woman with urinary stress. I don’t care how cute those sandals are, or that I just got paid.)

Desperate times call for desperate measures. (Am I right, ladies?)

It may sound shocking but, in busy restaurants, I will not hesitate to use the “Cabelleros” room if the “Damas” is ocupado, especially after a couple margaritas. Let the chips and salsa fall where they may.

Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go immediatamente!

Recently, I got a new job. My office is pleasant and spacious with a floor-to-ceiling window affording a lovely view of hard-bodied construction workers next door. What’s not to love, right?

There’s just one problem: The restroom is one level down and is kept under lock and key. (Or so I thought.) I suppose my mind was wandering during orientation, so when I found myself on Day One standing in front of the restroom door — desperate to “go right NOW” — I was dismayed to discover the small brass key I held in my hand was useless for the COMBINATION LOCK before me!

Pressing my thighs together, my feet pigeon-toed, I climbed the stairs, crying, “Must ... get … combination ... from the drawer” while a chorus of “Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go right now” played in my head.

And that’s the kicker, my uninitiated friends. The “urge” isn’t just a physical one. It is 65 percent mental.

Once upon a time, I knew I had a good 20 minutes to make it to the comfort station from the time the inkling struck. Now, I can’t even say “inkling” without thinking of tinkling. And, sprinkling!

Sometimes, I walk into the house, my arms full of groceries, and just eye-balling the powder room door brings on instantaneous leakage.

“I KNEW I shouldn’t have stopped to buy that Powerball ticket!”

But, I’m a defiant one, I am. I’m not about to let a little thing like urge incontinence cramp my style. Not this frisky 55-year-old.

So, I started Kegeling. (Google it, gentlemen. I’m not going to explain.) I Kegel constantly. I Kegel at work. I Kegel at home. (I’m Kegeling right now, in fact … and now … and now!)

My new thing is to Kegel every time the Jayhawks make a field goal in the NCCA tournament. Not to jinx it, but if President Obama’s prediction comes true, by the end of “One Shining Moment,” I’ll have the pelvic floor of a 15-year-old.

Join me, won’t you, ladies? Let’s start a movement. We’ll call it Kegel Madness. The Big Squeeze. Think of the benefits: No more running to the loo with 30 seconds left to play. No more one-drink-per-half limit. Heck, by the Final Four, we’ll be ready for a pitcher and double-overtime … Depends be damned!

—Cathy Hamilton is a public relations and marketing consultant, author of sixteen books and blogger at Contact her at


RoeDapple 7 years, 2 months ago

I was all in while I was pronouncing it keg (short "e") - all. Then the little woman yelled from across the room "KEEGEL", Long "E !!" as she got up quickly and left the room - during a time out. Hey dd, Kooka and jhawk, I never have figured out why the women like to discuss lord knows what about every body function of every stage of their lives. Heck, around here I'm out-numbered 3 to 1 when the offspring are here. I swear they follow me from room to room, discussing everything that has gone on since earlier in the day when they all conference called. Last time they were all here I know I heard one say "Are we grossing him out yet?" The other, now I ain't kiddin you, said "Not sure. Should we talk louder?"

LadyJ 7 years, 2 months ago

OK guys, we women are constantly bombarded with "erectile dysfunction" commercials. I swear they run them in every show. My email is flooded with spam related to "erectile dysfunction". I was looking for medicine for the cat (insulin that is available on websites for humans) and every website offered to send me free Viagra. I think of Whoopi Goldberg's new commercial for incontinence as payback to you men for years of "erectile dysfunction" commercials we have endured.

On another note, guys, stop and think real hard for a moment. I mean, really think. The Kegel exercises have a benefit for you men too. They exercise another set of other muscles (in the same vicinity) at the same time. Who knows, fewer men may need Viagra if their wives did Kegel exercises.

Scott Morgan 7 years, 1 month ago

Funny stuff Cathy,

There seems to be some order to the universe. A ying to yang.

My bride of 30 years an I take many driving vacations. Always have. Always had to make irritating "break" stops, and never just anywhere. Time time time, we were losing time.

Always "breaks" had a set of essential rules, let's just say the first law, the place must look clean and nice. A monumental task in the Panhandle or Gary Indiana for instance. It was irritating, until our "break" graph lines crossed.

Those dreaded words, you need to look for a stop soon, not now, but within 15 minutes are met with a legit Okey Dokey nowadays.

Age has made it so a good stretch, a quick trip to the men's place and short walk around is just dandy. No arguments anymore even if we only made 80 miles. God is a pretty smart dude.

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