Uncategorized

Escaping Bladder Hell

I thank two quite different urologists for my escape from Bladder Hell. That awful state is bipolar: urine dribbling at the benign end and pee flooding the shoes at the catastrophic end.

David Paulson is my 80ish, ATO fraternity brother at Duke and retired chief of Urology at the Duke Medical Center. Brian Geary is a 40ish University of Alabama-Birmingham Med grad who lives in Macon, GA, my home.

Paulson is formal and elegant, always has been. Plays golf and tennis at his retirement home in the Palm Beach area.

Geary calls himself a Bladderologist, favors a scruffy beard and wears baggy, blue scrubs  for office visits.

He knows of Paulson; Paulson knows him not. No surprise.

Geary uses a Sharpie to draw cartoon-like pictures of urinary anatomy and function. We giggle a lot together at office visits. He’s very glib and extremely funny.

Paulson expertly guided me to the University of Florida Shands Center for expert PD treatment.

Geary is retraining my bladder, with my small assistance, to quit dribbling, then flooding urine. I have reduced my urinations 50% in six weeks. No catastrophes during this period. Minimal dribbles.

Bladder problems are common in Parkinson’s cases and difficult to treat, say both Paulson and Geary.

Geary, compassionate and wise beyond his years, believes the medical community should care as much or more about extending patients’ quality of life as they do extending biological life. I’m with him on that.

Excerpts from a very interesting email exchange I had with Brian follow, quoting his words.

“I hope you will use your influence in the Parkinson’s community to give them some hope that their ‘pee problems’ are not ‘always’ because of the Parkinson’s. But that’s what happens when the neurologist are the first docs to ask (or actually listen) about bowel/ bladder issues.

“It’s been my experience in caring for these patients that bladder/bowel issues play a major role in the conscious and subconscious self-esteem and thus overall quality of life.

“Remember medicine –as a collective whole– has spent the last 50-plus years prolonging life without ever stopping to focus on the quality of the years added.

“One day I hope there will be a sub specialty in bladderology, so I won’t sound as crazy when I tell my patients that I’m a bladderologist.

“Don’t forget to let me know when you sit down with Doctor Oz to discuss your book. Remember to ask him why he likes to wear scrubs two sizes too small for me.”

Shall do, Brian. Want a press agent? I’m it, Amigo.