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Did you wet the bed? I did. Often.

January 16, 2020
Daniel bed wetter with his faithful dog, Gunther.

April 21, 2016

As excellent–no perfect–as Mark Twain’s writings are, his stories lacked any mention of bedwetting, a common form of enuresis, or involuntary urination.  

So I did a cursory literature review of fiction about children and found that most authors omit it.  Certainly the boys’ books did, such as Tom Swift, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Mark Tidd, Penrod, and that wonderful work of fiction, G-Men Trap the Spy Ring.  I forget who wrote the last one.  Wait.  It was Laurence Dwight Smith. 

James Joyce, in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, included a bedwetting character, as did Orson Wells in one of his stories.

My niece’s son wet the bed last night.  I can sympathize. Identify.

I used to wet the bed almost every night until the eighth grade.  As a result I slept on a stinking, soggy mattress.  Kids in school told me that I smelled funny.  I declined to sleep overnight with the Boy Scouts even if the trip was one night only.  Embarrassment factor. Freezing factor in the winter.

Eventually I developed a method of sleeping with vast quantities of urine.  I considered, and discarded several options:  Sleep in a bathing suit.  Sleep in the bathtub.   Sleep curled up over a funnel of some kind.  Reminds me that in the first hours of my Marine Corps basic training a sergeant told us that we had to surrender any condoms we might have.  He didn’t tell us why, but I assumed that a condom could catch urine and prevent a wet bed.  By the time I had found out how and where to buy condoms I no longer wet the bed.  I wonder if a condom would even stay on a flaccid penis, without duct tape.  I have my doubts, but I don’t know because I have never tried to unroll a condom over one.

My method of coping with my habit of bedwetting in the 8th grade worked fairly well:  1) Place a rubberized pad over the mattress, still wet from the last episode, then make the bed in the usual way with sheets and several blankets.  2) After wetting the bed that night, climb out of bed and sleep on top of one of the blankets that used to cover me.  3)  Find a blanket to backfill the one now in use beneath me.  4)  Repeat steps 2 and 3 until all of the available blankets have been used.  5) get in trouble each weekend for making a kind of “piss lasagna” of the bedding.   

(Mother always seemed to ask me the rhetorical “Why don’t you get up and go to the bathroom?)

Actually my sweet mother finally sat down with me at bedtime. She asked me to mentally visualize needing to use the toilet. “Go ahead,” she insisted, “pretend you have to go.” I did so. I did so several times to practice.

“All right,” she said, “open your eyes. Wake up. Get up and use the bathroom.”

She had me repeat this several times. Well, I really wanted to stop wetting the bed. I really wanted to stop wetting the bed! I practiced several times each night for a couple of nights. Damned if it didn’t work! I was desperate!

Just one more reason I loved my mother so much. Turned out, that was the end of my bed-wetting. Didn’t miss it. I needed to leave home for college in just a few years.

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