A tap on my shoulder, “There’s a liquid dripping on the floor from your bag!” Slight panic ensues. My first thought is about the awful smell! Have I eaten asparagus lately? Embarrassment sneaks in.

It happened twice before. A rookie mistake. I didn’t close the clip on my urine bag after I emptied it and it resulted in a colossal mess. So when I saw the puddle this time I immediately checked the clip to pinch it off but it was already closed. I was relieved that I didn’t make that mistake again. The bag must have a leak. Yuck.

The music at church was winding down and the sermon was about to begin. It seemed an eternity that my good Samaritan (who alerted me to my mess) had been gone to find paper towels. Oh no. the lights are going to come on. Fortunately the Spirit was moving and the worship team began another song. This gave the kind lady behind me and Steve precious minutes to clean up my mess. Lysol included. Then I hoisted the defective bag onto my lap and made for a quick exit.

Tears of frustration and embarrassment began to flow as I rolled up my van ramp and locked my power chair in place. I felt defeated. I felt humiliated because a complete stranger just wiped my pee off the floor. I felt disappointed because I spent a ton of energy getting ready for church and wanted to stay and hear my favorite pastor. I wanted so badly to not be in this stupid wheel chair. I wanted so badly to not have ALS. I wanted…I wanted… I let myself wallow all the way home.

FREEZE — Time to reframe this mess.

How do you reframe a pee puddle? How do I keep my sense of humor and return to gratitude? This was an easy one. I only had to overcome public urination and disappointment. Piece of cake.

How to reframe a pee puddle:

  1. I will be able to listen to the sermon podcast in a few days.
  2. Praise God that I have a pee bag! Have I told you lately the freedom and energy savings I enjoy because I have one? I’m so thankful.
  3. It happened during the worship part of the service while the lights were dimmed. My embarrassment would have increased 10 fold if the lady behind hadn’t noticed until the lights came on.
  4. The church floor is concrete. Imagine how much worse it would have been if the floor was carpeted. The church decorating committee would have been in an uproar!
  5. It’s a urine bag — not a colostomy bag.  BOOM.

Dignity and gratitude returned after reframing the situation with a new perspective. Do you have a frustrating or embarrassing situation that needs reframing? I suggest you give it a try.

I’m Forgiven and Free and continuously reframing

P.S. Why do I have a pee bag?
On March 5, 2015, I underwent surgery to have a supra pubic catheter (SPC) inserted directly into my bladder through my abdomen. People usually get an SPC after a spinal cord injury and bladder control is lost. I can still control my bladder, but as a result of the leg paralysis due to ALS, I can’t get to the toilet!