Which Came First, the Odor or the Leak?

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Preventing accidents with intentionally-designed, quality incontinence products

Article written by Dr. Ara “The Doc” Sayabalian

After saving your dollars and cents, say you splurged on a luxurious Armani CASA sofa. Although it’s meant to be sat on, you cherish its design, form, and function so much that you seldom sit on it, only to feel accomplished and significant. You regard it as a work of art and treat it accordingly, rarely using it as a daily piece of furniture. You might place it in the “fancy room” reminiscent of the Palace of Versailles, where all furniture is pristine and untouched. You derive joy from admiring the exquisitely designed and decorated room, and the sight of the Armani Casa sofa’s lines is enough to please you. In fact, the thought of lounging on the Italian masterpiece brings you more satisfaction than actually sitting on it because its visual appeal is sufficient.

It’s graduation day, and you have decided to host your child’s graduation party inviting your siblings, parents, cousins, and friends to your home. At first, you contemplate if you should purchase red velvet rope to cordon off the area with the fancy furniture… Too much? You don’t think so, but some people may take that the wrong way and possibly get insulted. You then think maybe you should cover the sofa, after all, it is fine Italian fabric, its light color beige, so fine… But then, that would be like putting a face covering on the Mona Lisa; Da Vinci would not be proud. Therefore, with all due respect to Giorgio Armani, you say to yourself, “I’m gonna keep my eye on the sofa during the graduation party to make sure it’s not being abused, it’s being kept clean, and no one is eating while sitting on the sofa.” You feel nervous, but you convince yourself it’s the right thing to do. After all, let’s celebrate!

After picking up Mom and Dad, you spend a long day at your child’s graduation, hot, sweaty, and tiring. However, the euphoria of watching your child’s graduation and the sense of pride masks it all. After graduation, you smell a slight odor in your car; it’s the sweat, the tears, and possibly a little bladder leakage from (very normal); you remember I just bought Mom the name-brand pads that should work. Oh, it’s been a long day, and we will change her liner pads when we get home.

You get home, assist, and ensure Mom changes her pads; in fact, you put two pads because two are better than one, right? (This is the worst thing you can do according to “The Doc”). For Dad, who’s had a prostatectomy, discreetly changes into a fresh pair of the store-bought disposable pull-on. There’s still a bit of odor, but you’re almost used to it by now, and sadly, they’re used to it (this does not have to be expected). You gently guide Mom and Dad to “their” sofa in the house. This sofa has taken a lot of abuse, and you’ve taken some subtle precautions to protect it from further insults. You’ve put a washable covering on it because of the leakage episodes from Mom and Dad, so you’ve found a solution. On with the party! Let’s celebrate!!

Family and friends begin to come to your house, and you strategically escort all persons to sit where you’d like them to. A few of your friends comment on that Armani Casa Sofa, and you feel good and thank them. This also helps you create some small talk about Italian design. Finally, the Krikorians arrive, the meticulous and clean couple; who better to enjoy the sofa than this couple? You feel confident that they would treat the couch with the same reverence and respect that you have. It’s time to eat! You go to the kitchen, and although you decide to cater the event, you’re handling the kitchen and, at the same time, sipping wine. Of course, you decided to serve white wine because it is cool and refreshing with the summer heat and because if someone spills the white wine, it won’t stain as bad as red wine. Also, the lower calories in white might be a good thing.

You make a plate for Mom and Dad, they’re good, you put some music on by Rufus Du Sol, and look at your child with such happiness and adoration. You’re so proud!! You decide to have the second glass of wine; some time has passed, and halfway into the second glass, you realize you’re talking to the Krikorians who’ve entered the kitchen; others are standing around, and your Mom comes up to you…. She says, “Darling, such a beautiful party. We’re so proud of our grandchild and love you all.” In a moment of lucidity, you do the immediate calculation in your head. Mom is out of her sofa, the Krikorians are out of their sofa…

Who’s sitting on the Armani? Which one of my guests is having the pleasure of experiencing an elegant, sleek, Italian-designed piece of furniture… who is having the opportunity, the experience, the bliss of hand-crafted perfection? You look over from the kitchen to the den parent’s sofa and don’t see Dad sitting. You ask Mom, and she shrugs her shoulder. Can it be? It can’t…It takes three seconds to casually walk to the fancy living room, which seems like an eternity. Sure enough, Dad, with his cane in front, is sitting on it having a jolly old time! You breathe, in through the nose and out through the nose, and realize it’s ok. All is well…what’s the big deal after all. You say, “Time for dessert,” but you’re really saying, “I love you, Dad; you are my life, my sun, my north star, but please get off my beautiful sofa.” As he stands up, you are frozen with horror. In fact, you turn white, almost lightheaded.

When he stands, the floodgate opens, and he has a bladder leakage all over his clothes, your floor, and the sofa. For a moment, you imagine a cinched garden hose or a cinched plastic tube and realize that is what the male urethra is when sitting down. When the male stands, you un-cinch the “bladder tube.” You will have bladder leakage if the muscles are not strong enough to hold back the urine. Bladder leakage is normal. Leakage out of the protective garment onto clothing causing embarrassing moments and loss of dignity, are NOT NORMAL and can be prevented with clinical-grade absorbent products. Clinical-grade products are made to absorb and keep the skin dryer for comfort and health. For a fleeting moment, you also realize how uncomfortable and hot your Mom’s double padding can be and think she would be so much more comfortable and happier with the right product, but no time for that; you gotta spring into action.

You casually escort your Dad to the restroom and ask your partner to tend to him; after all, both of you have been caregiving for them for the past two years. You get the cleaners and rush to get the urine out of the sofa. The fabric is not waterproof; liquid has gone through the material into the couch. You have a fading thought, “Did Armani design for leakage episodes.” You do your best, clean what you can, and decide not to ruin your mood but go straight for a shot of tequila, the good stuff. You pour a shot of Clase Azul and fast sip it… no salt, no lime, no ice.

After the party, the lights go down, and the odor lingers. In fact, the smell is the uninvited guest that will not leave the party, and the truth is, it will never go. The odor will get worse because the liquid urine seeped into the sofa and will break down into ammonia, making the smell much worse.

This could have all been prevented. A clinical-grade product that protects from leakage may have been a better option. A better choice not only for the sofa, but you think maybe a more comfortable option for Mom and Dad. You ask yourself, it must be horrible to live with the fear of leaks all day, every day. You also think of the emotional and mental health impact on your Mom and Dad. A clinical-grade product to pull the liquid away from the skin would also help with the daily odor from the urine against the skin. For now, you convince yourself it’s ok; it’s just a sofa, but is it? Ask Mr. Armani…

Form, Fit, & Function – These are the three key elements when searching for a protective product. Like purchasing clothing, Form and Fit MUST be correct. Function is the absorbency levels and rate of acquisition metrics that prevent leaks. If all three F’s are correct, then leakage episodes will be prevented.

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