Advocacy, Care Partnering, Poetry

hail mary i need to pee

In March 2017, I wrote an open letter to Québec’s Minister of Health regarding the rationing of incontinence products in the province’s long-term care facilities. The letter includes a two-minute video, which demonstrates the amount of fluid required to fill an incontinence brief to overflowing, as I found my mother’s to be on numerous occasions. So far, a year later, I’ve not received a reply.

I’ve also written a short vignette on incontinence (based on my mom’s real life experience), in the voice of my fictionalized character Alzheimer’s Annie. Meanwhile, care workers in Ontario held a news conference and talked about how they had no choice but to force residents into incontinence. This poem is about that.

hail mary i need to pee

This poem is dedicated to older adults forced into incontinence. The shame belongs to someone else.

©2018 punkie

hail mary i need to pee

which way to the bathroom?
how and where should I go?
there’s no one to tell me
and no stopping the flow

I really am desperate
can’t afford to delay
“help me, please help me,”
to a young woman I say

“there’s not a minute to take you,”
she replies with a sigh
“i’ve got twenty more like you,
some near ready to die

“you’ll just have to wait
or go in your pants,
stop your complaining,
give up with your rants

“can’t you see we’re all busy
we’re run off our feet
that’s why we can’t let you
get out of your seat.”

“oh my goodness,” i say
“i’m in such a state,
to pee in my pants
is a shame that’s too great.”

“don’t worry my dear,
you’ll get used to it soon.
here the rule to obey
is you sing to our tune”

my bladder releases
it’s wet on my thighs
my cheeks turn red hot
my eyes start to cry

i want to go home
get me out this place
hail mary please save me
with your heart full of grace.”

©2018 Susan Macaulay. I invite you to share my poetry widely, but please do not reblog or copy and paste my poems into other social media without my permission. Thank you.

understaffed nursing homes force residents into incontinence

20 questions to ask yourself about dementia-related incontinence

crazy daughter weighs mom’s wet “nappy” and writes open letter to minister of health about it

#mc_embed_signup{background:#fff; clear:left; font:14px Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; }
/* Add your own MailChimp form style overrides in your site stylesheet or in this style block.
We recommend moving this block and the preceding CSS link to the HEAD of your HTML file. */

Subscribe to MAS now & get 5 free PDFs & a page of welcome links:

Email Address

Take my short survey on behaviour here.

Image copyright: robeo / 123RF Stock Photo

4 thoughts on “hail mary i need to pee”

  1. So sad and timely for me as I have been battling with this issue for my mother again this week and for nearly two years. If you don’t mind I think I will print this in large print and put it up in her room.


    1. Janelle,

      I would love for you to do that if you would please make sure to include a credit to me Susan Macaulay and so people don’t think it’s anonymous.

      And I would love it even more if you took a picture of it in your mom’s room and told a bit about your story and I will post it on the blog to show that this is a worldwide issue – from Australia to Canada and everywhere in between!


      1. Absolutely, puts another meaning on wanting to go “home” too – just get me out of here to heaven or whatever else you want to call it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s