Saturday, August 18, 2012

There I Go Again

Here's something I never used to do: feel a sneeze coming on, brace myself, cross my legs, let fly, and say "oh shit." I used to just sneeze.

The first time you pee a little when you sneeze, it's startling. What happened there? you say. You go into the bathroom to find out, and sure enough, what you thought had happened actually happened. When you've gone a good fifty years without accidentally peeing, you sort of take things for granted. Then it happens again. After about a year of this you have to conclude that a new reality is in place. It may not be one you had in mind. You might have thought "some day I will retire, and I will be able to maintain a lovely garden and learn to cook and maybe write a little," but leaking urine for no reason? Never made the bucket list.

It's not a lot of pee. It's just a dot, really, but it's concerning. You got your pee volume on the y-axis, and your age on the x-axis, this is not a graph you really want to plot.

In my case, the culprit was a new subdivision of fibroid tumors in my abdomen. You don't schedule those, either, but there you go. There's usually nothing particularly dire about fibroids, but I'm against them. If anything is just going to start growing for no reason, I don't see why it can't give me more height or longer fingers. Anyway, a posse of them is sitting on my bladder, according to my doctor, who assures me they are a threat to nothing but my underwear.

The doctor tells you to start doing Kegel exercises, as though you had just fallen off the turnip truck and hadn't read a single women's magazine ever when you just spent a couple hours in the waiting room of a gynecology office. Kegels are easy. You just squeeze the muscle you have used all your life to stop yourself from peeing. Those of us with a major beer habit know it intimately. You squeeze and release it, and then you repeat. A hundred times a day--says my doctor--in sets of ten. You can do it all day long. You can do it without anyone knowing! Ha ha! What a thrill it is to look right at someone and think "you believe I am listening to you, but really I am strengthening my pelvic floor." If you don't have a life.

I object on principle. Since I've been potty-trained, I never had to do exercises to keep from wetting myself, and I don't think I should have to start now. Of course, I never used to have to tell my skin to firm up, either. My skin used to hug me like it was in love, and now it just slouches around like the cat's pajamas. Even the skin on my elbow just yawns and says "if you need me, I'll be somewhere around here," without getting real specific about it. I didn't tell my skin it was off duty. It just decided "to hell with it" on its own. And frankly, I don't think I have the moral standing to order my skin around. I just lug it around, I'm not the boss.

So that's what all the internal skin is doing too. It's been holding up all these years, and then it retires, and says to itself, what do I care if somebody's underwear gets a little soiled? I don't care. I'm off duty. That's someone else's problem. Oh, and send down some beer.

All right, fine. Now I'm supposed to exercise muscles nobody will ever see. It's one thing to climb mountains and get quadriceps so mighty you need to floss above your kneecaps. That's sort of gratifying, plus you aren't doing it just for drill. You're seeing mountains. It's an entirely different matter to go through a bunch of exercises for the distant reward of maybe not soiling yourself in public. Not that that isn't fervently to be desired--but it does not have immediacy, reward-wise. Kegels advocates tell you that you can do it while you're parked at a stop light. Waiting in line at a grocery store. Anywhere. And they're right.

My problem is that after I do about ten Kegels, my entire face starts squinting. I don't know what relationship my face has with my bladder gasket, but all of a sudden I'm gaping like an insect, mouth slotted down at the corners, eyes bugged out, ears laid back. It's an awkward look, socially. It worries people. Our bodies probably came with a manual like everything else, but most of us don't bother consulting it until we start getting the error messages, and I'm no different. So I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty confident you're not supposed to be able to blink your whole face with your crotch.

But at least I know how to do them. It's right there in the women's magazines. I also know the most flattering swimsuit style for my body type. But no one wants to let me in the pool.

113 comments:

  1. Oh, bugger! I was all set to type a pithy comment and I coughed...
    Double bugger! I just had a shower and am not wearing knickers.

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  2. I laughed until I.... well.... you know. How I can relate to this!

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    1. So far I'm good laughing and coughing. I guess I have that to look forward to, huh?

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  3. Bwahahaha! You've done it to all your female readers, Murr.

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    1. I wonder if we all did Kegels at the same time if we could alter the tides or lift the economy or something.

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  4. Seriously, I have to stop reading this blog, I can't cough. laugh or sneeze anymore and after 100,000 repetitions (to no avail) the wind changed and my face stayed 'kegeled' I can't risk any more of this funny stuff.

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    1. Your mother told you if you kept doing that your face would stay that way. She must have been in a position to know.

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  5. Replies
    1. Yes. You just squeeze the muscles you use when having beans with the Queen.

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    2. Oh...so *that's* why the Queen is always making that face!

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  6. After I had my prostate removed the same issue came up. Kegels,yes, but the secret is to wear long shirt tails never tucked in. It's a little informal especially at weddings and such, but nobody sees the wet dot on my pants.

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    1. You know, I'm kinda proud that I've created a place where people admit things like that.

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  7. It's royally entertaining when you've got a cold isn't it?

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    1. Might just as well sit on a bucket for three days.

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  8. Nobody handed out literature about this stuff at Woodstock, did they? Too funny. Too bad there's so much truth to it. Old age ain't for sissies, or for people who have a thing about dry underwear.

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    1. Probably, dignity is overrated. Yeah, let's go with that.

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  9. There was the day I bought Dayquill, Kleenex, and light-day pads, and the middle-aged cashier patted me on the hand and said, "Oh, Sweetie. Don't you just hate it?"

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    1. These are the moments of shared humanity we live for. Because we've given up on the joy of dry undies.

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    2. Quelle coïncidence! With me, it was Nyquil, Kleenex, and Poise Pads (or, as I call them, Poisies).

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    3. Anyone who can jam an umlaut into a comment here should be able to come up with a personal plug of some kind.

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  10. " . . . Blink your whole face with your crotch." Bwahahahah!

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  11. My poor daughter had three and already has this problem and she is only in her mid-thirties! I didn't get it until this year. How on EARTH did you get that photo in the doctor's office? Funny and so true.

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    1. After my other gynecologist left the practice--she offered to take pictures I guarantee you will never see on Murrmurrs--I was very pleased that my new gynecologist is just as great. Now, when I asked my mammogram technician to take a photo, she freaked. Thought she'd get fired or sued or something. That's okay, honey. But it sure is hard to take your own picture during a mammogram.

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  12. Just as the Lorax speaks for the trees, you speak for all women of a certain age, Murr! A most excellent post... had me peeing just a little when I laughed.

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    1. We're going to have to change that tagline "snortworthy." Any suggestions?

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    2. pee-spotable? What does one call a tiny volume of fluid ejaculated under conservative pressure? Mitt? Could it be Mitt-worthy? I laughed so hard I nearly Mitted my pants?

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    3. I think we need to keep working on this, ladies.

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  13. Hey Murr! Kegels are good for so many things, but I find it hard to concentrate while keeping count. Reading is not an option. I lost your whole penultimate paragraph; I'm sure it was delightful. Roth x

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    1. Exercising the old sphincter? Absolutely. Just not while driving or operating heavy machinery.

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    2. boy kegels are reputed to aid in endurance and control in the sack. i have trouble not holding my breath if i try to do kegels, so the lack of oxygen is hard on my brain cells.

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    3. That lack of oxygen to the brain cells is caused by something else. Related, but else.

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  14. Oh my gosh...I'm still laughing and I have a feeling I'll be chuckling about this post for a while. Well...in between those darn Kegals. I keep meaning to do those darn exercises regularly myself but keep forgetting. I had no idea we had to do that many though! Ugh!

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    1. I'm doing them right now and you don't even know it. Oh! Damn!

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  15. OK, OK. More information than I needed. I wonder what the cause is with sneezing and passing gas?

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    1. At the same time? Mind you don't go into vapor lock.

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    2. I have sneezed, farted and wet all at one time!!! Not pleasant!

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    3. It's the Trifecta! To do any better, you'll have to keep your eyes open when you sneeze and have them shoot out on their little strings.

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    4. Newtons third law: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.

      I didn't learn this in Physics. I learned it reading "Slaughterhouse Five."

      "There they go. There they go."

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  16. Murr, my heroine! (not to be confused with heroin) I think I'm addicted to you. Oh, and after a month or two of those exercises, your husband will do anything you ask...

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  17. you are so hilarious. please do a post about all those stray dark hairs that begin appearing on one's chin, like there's an old greek woman inside of you (and by you i mean me), trying to get out. because that happens to other people, right? or maybe you've already covered this, in which case, just direct me to it. i'm new.

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    1. I know I have. At least in passing. Welcome aboard! If all my readers read the archives, I'd never be able to sell an anthology. And I do plan to do that.

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    2. i look forward to that and will definitely front up my paypal to acquire it. :-)

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    3. Yahoo! Five bucks practically in the bank!

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    4. As a 68 year old woman of Greek ancestry, I have to say that my chinny chin chin hairs arrived first in a lovely shade of gray.

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    5. I must be a Norwegian with Greek in the woodpile.

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  18. My gyn kindly performed a procedure called a Burch Suspension- so I no longer leak under stress. I am the only 49-year-old woman I know who can sneeze witlegs crossing her legs. Don't know if it would work with fibroids. Those buggers are supposed to shrink as we age.

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    1. Yeah, most recent check-up verified that they have, but I still like to blame them because otherwise it's Old-Lady Tissues.

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  19. Well, thanks for the laughs today. Your comments are pretty hilarious too. I just got all those pesky fibroids and all their playmates removed, and got my bladder reseated, reshored, refurbished, or something while he was in there. Life is much easier now. The 8 weeks of recuperation were tedious and now I'm more out of shape and lazier than I ever thought possible, but I guess it's a small price to pay compared to Poise pads.

    I think your anthology will be a best seller :)

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    1. New paint, cork flooring and a wet bar while he was in there I hope? And stainless appliances?

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    2. For the price he charged, I sure hope so! Thanks for the laugh out loud this morning!

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  20. Only you could have your readers doing Kegels all through your post. And only you could have folks admit this sort of thing. I'm just at the tail end of a nasty cold. I've had to do a lot of laundry.

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    1. You are not referring to hankies, are you.

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  21. It may be like when you see someone else yawn, or think about someone yawning, and need to yawn yourself, but I just read this and now I need to pee.

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    1. Congratulations on knowing you need to pee before you need to pee. That's at least half the battle. So much better than "guess I needed to pee."

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  22. I am dubious about the efficacy of Kegel exercises. I do them on the way to work. I do them at work. I do them on the way home. I do them at home. I do more than 100 a day. I should be able to pull nails from a board with my vaginal musculature. Yet I am still making the Poise pad inventors rich. Clearly, the Communists must have something to do with it.

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    1. My goodness, just think if you weren't doing them (good job, by the way). All your organs would start hanging out, one by one.

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  23. You have indeed created a welcoming place for confessions of a humiliating sort. For the record, my face gets all wide-eyed from the concentration and exertion of doing Kegels, too. And you have raised the bar for how many reps we need to do. Sheesh.

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    1. Don't blame me! It was my last gynecologist! She just whipped out that "hundred" like it was nothing. Pipsqueak.

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  24. I am not certain whether I am sad or glad to see that this teeny, weeny problem besets so many of us. I am getting a bit tired of the bits of my body that are refusing to play. I would like a refund.

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    1. Can't get a refund. There was a warranty. It ended a couple years ago.

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  25. Been there. Had to have surgery to remove about 15 fibroid tumors in my uterus about 13 years ago and it damaged my bladder, so ended up having another surgery for pelvic sling as the exercises did not work--darn. Good luck with the Kegels, and if you are out in public doing them and notice people looking oddly at you--relax your face. Otherwise they may think you are a bit odd (OH YEA! You are!!).

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    1. Yeah, it doesn't bother me at all any more. The looks, I mean.

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  26. I thought it was just me and my bladder. I'm relieved to know I'm in good company.

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  27. I refuse to do Kegels while driving. For someone who can't even talk and think at the same time, that would be insanity.

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  28. OK, I laughed so hard that tears ran down my leg...
    Good one!

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  29. Murr, you are so-o funny... and so are the comments you solicit. I've always trusted my body to know how to take care of itself. But I have to admit that lately it may be getting a little lazy in the muscle dept. Sneezing and coughing is dangerous (so far laughing is still OK).

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    1. So there's nothing wrong with us that a little Zicam can't take care of. Right?

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  30. Excellent post dear Mary. I am heading into 5th bladder procedure on the 28th and think I will print this for my female urologist! I felt I had single handedly made the Poise folks rich until I read all these 'replies'. I had one bag packed exclusively with pads for our two Malaysia trips. Geesh... Nice to know we're not alone and thanks for bringing out the humor... Maybe you should write an article or some such for one of these woman's magazines!

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    1. Thanks! I have a feeling my particular style is not necessarily welcomed in the Ladies Home Journal. But I don't know.

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  31. And here I thought that, if I hadn't had all those kids, I wouldn't have had these problems! I guess it's inevitable. No wonder we ladies tend to sit with our legs crossed.

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  32. Oh the joys of hitting the over 50 mark! Hairs on our lips, run away skin on our arms and knees, and things that grow on the inside. Thank goodness Poise pads are in vogue now that Lisa Rinna is using them.

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    1. She IS? Is that what she has in her upper lip?

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  33. Yeah; body parts that wear out, or take on new characteristics. Sigh! One of mine is behaving strangely, and giving me a similar kind of problem to yours. My doctor thinks some pills will help. (He is so like a doctor, in thinking that pills help everything!)

    Best wishes in your exorcises, er, um, exercises.

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    1. He's absolutely right. The right pills help everything. I think they're Vicodin.

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  34. "... you're not supposed to be able to blink your whole face with your crotch."
    Peed my pants laughing.

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  35. This is one of the funniest posts about peeing one's pants I have ever read. Enlightening too... Thank you for that.

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    1. Now you have me perplexed by precisely how many pants-peeing posts you've perused.

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  36. Men can do Kegels too, to help with something else, that I really don't want to expand on here, but there is always Google.

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  37. Laughed so hard at this I peed myself. Unfortunately, that's not much of a compliment these days as, like you, I've reached the "leakage" birthday and what a rude surprise indeed. As for kegels, I almost mean to do them then I forget all about it. I'm leaking brain cells, too. Welcome to my world.

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    1. Yeah, if that is my measure of literary success, all I really need to do is attract an older audience. We won't even get into the brain cells.

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  38. Had I been thinking better, I would have searched thru the bathroom cabinet for some of those "light days" thingies I have saved - just in case, before reading this. Or at least sat on a plastic bag. Laundry I can do, but the chair won't fit in the washer! Da-yam (That's southern for there it goes again!)

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    1. Two words: Laptop on the toilet. Okay, there was some excess word leakage there.

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  39. Loved - and chortled through - every word of this particular entry, and same with the replies which were also extremely funny. Obviously timely for a lot of your readers but me too, having just seen a physical therapist for 4 sessions of becoming "reacquainted" with how to do Kegels. Sending us ladies of a certain age to a PT who specializes in pelvic floor fitness (how do they describe that specialty in mixed company?)seems to be what the GYNs do here. There's a little sensor that gives feedback on a computer so you know if you are Kegeling the right muscles. I was. But remembering to actually DO the 100+ per day turns out to be the bigger problem. You know, leaking brains cells etc.

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    1. Oh heavens. Linked to a computer yet? All you need to do to know if you're using the right muscles is see if anything ELSE is jumping around.

      I sure hope we don't have to deal with Anal Seepage after this.

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  40. I just wonder if the QUEEN has sneezed, farted, and peed at the same time? Or does someone do that for her?

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    1. Reminds me of the old tale about the queen sitting on her horse and the horse farts and the queen says "oh, sorry" to the footman at her side; and he says "quite all right, your majesty. If you hadn't said anything, I would have thought it was your horse."

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  41. The question is what happens when your facial mussels start to give out? Do they have an exercise for that too?

    On the plus side it could do wonders for your sex life. :-)

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    1. Facial mussels? I oyster know, but I forgot.

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  42. this was great! congrats on your POTW!

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    1. POTW?

      A publicly owned treatment works (POTW) is a term used in the United States for a sewage treatment plant that is owned, and usually operated, by a government agency. In the U.S., POTWs are typically owned by local government agencies, and are usually designed to treat domestic sewage and not industrial wastewater.

      How timely!

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  43. It can be worse, As Jack Nicholson suggests, I never trust a fart.

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    1. I do. I know how to do laundry. Boy, do I know how to do laundry.

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  44. My mother used to have to run to the bathroom every time she started laughing. So ... older men have trouble peeing and women have trouble not peeing. What a system!

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    1. When you put it that way, I think I like my problem better.

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  45. funny stuff .. wait .. dont laugh .. over from Hilary's to say congrats on a POTW and if you send me your address i will send you some wee wee pads ;)

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    1. I just visualized my mailman sticking wee wee pads in my slot.

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  46. Sneaky darn pee attacks (doing endless kegels hasn't helped anyone I know)...flaccid body going to hell...facial hair...my girlfriends and I have had numerous discussions on these subjects, but your version was the bomb! ;)

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    1. It's the pits when you have to hold your book club meetings on buckets.

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