Are you thankful you can pee?

December 19, 2018 | My Jottings

From the archives:

I’ll bet you’ve never read that for a blog post title before.

Are you thankful you can pee? Because I am, and I’ll tell you why.

Years ago I had to have sudden and unexpected bladder surgery. (Here’s your chance to click over to another blog right now since you have an idea about where this is going.) One week I was on a cruise with my husband in the Western Caribbean, and the next week I was being scheduled for surgery, and feeling stunned.

When the surgeon told me that part of my recovery called for a supra-pubic catheter and explained what that meant, my courage almost failed me. For those of you who are rusty with your Latin, supra means above, and pubic means, well, you don’t have to speak Latin to know what that means. I wasn’t going to have a normal catheter, no. I was going to have a tube surgically inserted through my abdominal wall above the pubic bone, straight into the bladder. Just the thought of it again makes me sort of shudder.

Anyway, when someone punches a hole in your lower abdomen and pokes a stoppered rubber tube the diameter of your little finger through it, puncturing your bladder and securing the tube to the inside of your heretofore faithfully functioning bladder by inflating a tiny balloon there, it’s an event. Take my word for it.

After I dried my tears and went home from the hospital, I had to learn how to pee through the tube. I couldn’t pee the normal way. In a day or two I got the “hang” of it (here’s your second chance to click over to another blog if this is getting to be too much for you) and finally felt I could bear it while my bladder healed. I had never before been able to walk into a bathroom and pee in a sink, but now I could. And did. Do you think I’m going to tell you whose sink I peed in? No, I’m not. You’ll never get it out of me, because then I might have one less friend than I do now. I did clean the sink however, if you were wondering.

After about a week of being able to pee (do the British say “wee”?) like the other sex, I was scheduled to have my supra-pubic catheter removed. I was more than ready, because the puncture wound was painful and I wanted to get back to normal again. The deflation of the balloon inside my bladder took less than a minute, and when the whole contraption was no longer one with my body, I let a few tears of relief run down my cheeks. And I thanked God I had made it through.

But the hard times weren’t quite over. The surgeon warned me that my bladder had most likely become lazy while healing, and that it would take a while for it to relearn how to do its thing the old way. Oh brother, that’s all I need is a lazy bladder, I thought. But I had no idea how true this would be, and how painful.

The first time I had to pee, I did what most females do, and sat down on the toilet. But my bladder had forgotten its function and I couldn’t go. Oh, how it hurt. And I returned to our room and cried a little, and asked Michael to pray for me while I sat on the edge of our bed and got up the courage to try again. You know you’re blessed when your husband closes his eyes, rests his strong hands on your shoulders, and asks out loud for God to help his wife pee, with as much sincerity, faith and fervency as he prays for someone who is dying or who needs to turn their life over to Jesus.

It took several attempts, and it was the most unbearable kind of pain at times. Like nothing I ever want to experience again, and I’ve given birth to three good-sized babies without pain medication. When I finally emptied my bladder for the first time after having that dreaded SP catheter removed, I cried in relief and praised the Lord. Out loud. While I was peeing. “Thank you Jesus! Thank you for helping me! Praise you Lord….” and so on. And Michael could hear me peeing and praising and he stood outside the door and did the same. (The praising part, not the peeing part. I would have had a fit if he had stood outside the bathroom door peeing on the floor and praising God, and then the holy moment would have been ruined.)

Right then, sitting on the toilet, I made a promise to God. I promised Him I would never, ever take the simple act of emptying my bladder for granted again. And while I don’t remember to praise the Lord every time I pee, I do thank Him wholeheartedly now and again while I’m sitting there. I will never forget how something I rarely thought of and took completely for granted went haywire, and taught me about how blessed I am in so many ways.

My eyes can blink today. Can yours?  We can thank Him for that, no matter what else is going on in our lives. My voice works — I am able to tell someone I love them. Can you? What a gift! My fingers can move — I can type this blog post to tell you I think you should give thanks to God the next time you pee.

I would never try to boss you around (although I’ve been accused of being bossy more than once in my life), but today I just want to be bold, and tell you that if you haven’t thanked God for the privilege of peeing without help, peeing without pain, I think you should do that right now. 🙂

Peeing and praising. It’s a good place to start.


  1. Patty says:

    Oh my Julie, I can’t tell you the number of times I have conversed with God while on the toilet! Sometimes, in the midst of the chaos of a household with four adults and one little Princess, the only place that is quiet and you can hope for five uninterupted minutes is the bathroom. I have shared some of the most frevent prayers I have ever prayed while sitting there. I have often wondered if God thinks I don’t have any manners….inviting Him to chat with me in such a place. But I know He is listening, even then….

  2. Just Julie says:

    Nice to read what you wrote, Patty! I think God is left out of so much of peoples’ lives, that He gladly comes in to wherever He is sincerely invited. 🙂

  3. Ember says:

    Such an interesting (and funny and touching) post. The only time I have had to do with supra-pubic catherers was having to empty one, and flush it through from time to time) for a lady with MS I was nursing. She had been in residential care for some years, being completely helpless and unable even to sit up or turn herself in bed. Her husband came to visit her from time to time, and she had beside the bed in her rather cramped room a photograph of him and her children, all of whom she had been obliged to leave behind. So I thank God for my family, and that we are together, and for being able to walk down to the bathroom and pee (yes, we do say that here too), and type, and climb the stairs up to the garret again, and sit in any position I like without help . . . life is good and also fragile.

  4. Just Julie says:

    You have seen a lot of life, Ember. And thank you so much for sharing your gratitude list here…..xxoo

  5. Ginny says:

    I saw this first hand and it made SUCH an impression on me that I STILL have a “moment” when I pee!!!!! Seriously! I saw the dreaded tube and I will spare viewers details as it was a belly laugh time, but probably only appreciated by the weird of mind…
    Please tell me that it was not my sink!!!!!

  6. Just Julie says:

    I knew you would remember. And here’s the truth: it was not your sink. But you gave me a mouse toupee once made out of hairs not from a mouse. :O

  7. Shari C. says:

    I hear ya, Julie! Although I’ve never had the surgery you’ve had, I have had at least 7 (I quit counting somewhere in there) gynecological surgeries. After one of them they would not let me go home from the hospital until I had peed for them in their measuring beaker. Well my bladder froze and I had to stay at the hospital longer than I wanted to… so I prayed a lot and finally the pee came… 🙂 Ever since then I am so thankful that everything is working properly. I realize everyday how much of my body I take for granted and I thank God for health and good days of feeling healthy.

  8. Just Julie says:

    Seven surgeries Shari? I don’t know what to say – how trying. I’m so thankful that things are working well now, and for the opportunities God gives us to turn to Him, and the joy that comes from the relief He brings. 🙂 LY

  9. Ganeida says:

    I literally don’t know what to say. Between laughter & horror & sympathy & the visual picture of you & Micheal, either side of a closed door, fervently praising God I am literally speechless! :O [After I’ve yabbered for a good 5 minutes that is;P]

  10. Just Julie says:

    :D. You and I suffer from the same kind of speechlessness, Ganeida. I totally get that. 🙂 God bless you….

  11. Kay says:

    This post made me laugh and almost cry. You have a wonderful husband, Julie. And I too, am truly blessed with a kind, patient, caring, loving, Godly husband. I had to have a major operation in March 2010 and Alan was amazing. I knew he would be though, because he had been a marvellous carer to his first wife who died of MS. When I met Alan four years ago, I was relatively fit and healthy. But I soon found walking very painful and it was diagnosed that I had coxa profunda – basically mishapen hip joints from birth that deteriorate over time. So the only way forward was to have an operation which meant that I needed a full-time carer. Alan was fantastic! Your story hit home to me because I remembered that I suffered a not serious but uncomfortable side effect of the anaesthetic, very bad constipation. (Hey, we’re getting to share confidences here!). Alan held my hand and prayed while I struggled to ‘perform’. I felt no embarrassment (too much pain) and was soooo grateful for his presence.
    Oh, I must add that my lovely husband has his own problems. He’s an insulin dependent diabetic and has moderate haemophilia which often causes spontaneous, internal, painful bleeding. But he is a TREASURE!

  12. Just Julie says:

    Kay, I feel the same way about your post — the things we’re discussing here could be laughable if they weren’t so painful and real to those who endured them! If people don’t like to read about pooping and peeing there are other blogs in the world. 🙂 Your Alan sounds truly remarkable, Kay. Tell him that how he cares for you blesses me, even though we’ve never met. Thank you for sharing part of your story, and may God bless you both this week….

  13. Jessica says:

    This post (and it’s subsequent comments) has to be my all time favorite so far. LOVE. IT. I’m working on my own gratitude list right now as I tromp through life and the moment of joy and laughter that you have just provided me in a time when I feel completely lacking of both is a treasure in my day and will definitely be added to my gratitude journal!!

    See, I’m not kidding when I say that you bless me every time you speak. Even about peeing. Seriously.

    And a mouse toupee out of hairs not from a mouse? Now THAT is a story I would love to hear.

    Thanks for being a ray of sunshine in my day. You are the best.

  14. Just Julie says:

    Jessica, I don’t know what I ever did to deserve someone so encouraging in my life. While you’re tromping, you’re blessing. Thank you so much! And the mouse toupee story….I think that should be a blog post, don’t you?

  15. Savannah says:

    Go and youtube “Honest Cho”. It’s a video blog (vlog) of a Korean American girl named Hannah Cho… and that video titled “Honest Cho” is immediately what I thought about when you wrote that you peed in a sink. It makes me laugh.
    And yes, now I am thankful to be able to “wee”. =)

  16. Just Julie says:

    Okay – I’ll look that up, Savannah….thank you! I’m glad you can wee/pee too! 🙂

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