Thursday, September 10, 2009


Did you read the title right?

Yeah you did. It says "pissy-pissy!". At one point in my life, that was my nick name.

For the few of you who have no idea what pissy-pissy means, that's what you call a chronic bed-wetter.

There was nothing my parents didn't do to deal with this "issue" of their daughter's.

At one time, they said, no drinking of water after 6pm. They were strict about it and if I so much as looked at a glass longingly, I was in trouble.
It didn't work.

At another time, my mom made herself my personal 'peeing-guard'. She'd come to my room and wake me up at least 3 times every night.

It worked a bit but by the third day, I'd have already wet the bed before she got there to take me to the bathroom. And I'd be standing there all drenched in my own urine while my mom dutifully took off my soiled night clothes and changed them. She'd then change the soiled beddings to clean dry ones. Chances are that by morning I'd have soiled those too! Till date, I'm amazed at her patience!

The next thing was my aunties' threatening to go traaditional with me. They told me that back in the village, little boys and girls who wet their beds at
night had snakes and lizards tied around their waists. They swore that it worked wonders and that those children never again wet their beds. I took them seriously and out of fear, I think I actually did not wet the bed for at least a week at a stretch!

But that was as long as it lasted.

Finally, after being "pissy-pissy" for the first 7 years of my life, my parents took me to see a doctor.They were convinced I had a weak bladder. Yet the test results came in and pronounced my 'equipment' in perfect working condition. They put it down to psychological issues.
They asked me all sorts of questions -

Do you always dream that you're pissing in your dream? No.
Do you always feel pressed while you're asleep? No.
All my answers didn't bring them any closer to solving my bed-wetting puzzle. The truth is that I'm not even aware of pissing in bed until I wake up and find my clothes wet. The doctor decided to study my 'pissing'patterns. My parents were to fill in a chart of what I ate each day and to state whether or not I wet the bed each night. I still don't know what became of that study.
Needless to say, I remained pissy-pissy till I was eleven.

While I was busy being excited at the prospect of traveling more than 700km to start boarding school somewhere in the northern part of Nigeria, my mother was worrying herself sick about my 'pissing' issues.
My parents went on a shopping spree and bought us all kinds of stuff to go to school with (my sister and I were admitted the same year into different schools), needless to say that half of the stuff were termed 'contraband' at the school gate and taken away for 'safe-keeping'. But that story is for another day.

The night before I was to leave, my mother pulled me aside and explained to me the exact manner in which I was to make my bed in order to minimize bladder 'accidents'. She'd packed into my box this linoleum spread that we generally referred to as 'mackintosh' way back then.
The way she looked at me with a plea in her eyes almost made me feel sorry for myself. And maybe I did, for about five seconds or so.
I threw my arms around her neck and gave her a huge hug, assuring her that she had nothing to worry about. And I had reason to feel somewhat confident. The frequency of my peeing had gone from three times each night to once every night to once every other night. If you were in my shoes, you'd see that as enough reason to be quite smug.

That trip was one of my most memorable trips. For the first time, I caught a glimpse of just how large and beautiful this great country was. My entire young life up until that point had been confined to the streets and avenues of FESTAC town and a few other parts of Lagos. All the other states of Nigeria were mere pictures of lines and dots on a map.

I arrived the school in that awestruck mood, ready for whatever my new life held in store for me. In a few hours after arriving, I was shown my bed space and locker. I had never had the 'luxury' of sleeping on a metal bunk and I felt quite accomplished after several failed
attempts at climbing onto the top bunk finally yielded success. It was a spectacle to behold. Every conceivable part of my body was involved in the climbing exercise - arms, feet, chin, chest, abdomen...I'm sure you get the picture. As they say, practice makes perfect. By the time it was nightfall, I'd mastered the climbing art quite some. And I fell asleep with a smile on my face. It was my first night in boarding school.

I wish I could explain to you the shock with which I landed on the floor from that height. All my 'de-bunking' skills promptly forgotten, I must have flown off the bed. I was confused. Several voices were barking at me all at the same time and hands were pulling me here and there. I couldn't for the life of me fathom where I was. And all these faces....I panicked! My first thought was to find the nearest exit out of the place or better still, wake up from this really bad dream. And then suddenly, it hit me! Oh! This was school! It all started coming back to me slowly....moving my stuff into the room; placing my toiletories and provisions in my locker; making my bed; practicing climbing onto and climbing down from my top bunk... Twai! A slap across my face hastened the recollection process. I held my left cheek in my left hand and locked eyes with senior Kanayo. Suddenly, I knew exactly what had happened.

I had wet the bed and it had dripped all over her from my bed to hers on the bottom bunk. In all my excitement, I had forgotten to spread the mackintosh beneath my bedsheets.

Several seniors had gathered to commiserate with senior Kanayo and after some deliberation, they all decided that I was to be pardoned seeing as I was a new student and they 'understood' that sleeping in a strange bed could do 'strange' things to anyone.
After several weeks however, it became clear that my pissing in bed wasn't so strange after all as it had become a nightly event. Even though I never again rained piss on senior Kanayo, the stench of fermented adult piss that emanated from my bed could not be mistaken. The name "pissy-pissy" was becoming synonymous with the name Enkay.

By the time we were half way through the first term, my mackintosh was in tatters from being spread in the sun hours on end. My regular bedsheets were gradually becoming thread bare from being washed every other day and my mattress was slowly becoming non-existent. Let me explain that part about becoming non-existent.

My smelly mattress was not allowed to stay in the room - for obvious reasons of course. Every morning, before I left for class, I had to spread it on the front lawn. I was only allowed to bring it in after supper, just before bed time. One of those days, while I struggled to take my mattress into the room, it got caught in shards of glass from broken louvers in a window. That was the first of several tears that had my mattress-cover ripped to shreds exposing only the foam underneath.

It wasn't really a problem at first until I returned to the hostel one day to find a fist-sized chunk of my mattress missing. A fist-sized chunk didn't matter especially when it was at the bottom but it started to matter when the missing chunks increased in size and frequency.
You see, the floors of the apartments in the hostels had to be mopped every morning and the 'mops' were usually chunks of foam and guess where those foams came from? Unsuspecting exposed mattresses such as mine!

Soon, my mattress became the 'mop' target. Every single day, a piece went away to become a mop and my mattress steadily dwindled. By mid-term, the length of my mattress was just a little longer than an average pillow. It no longer qualified to be called a mattress.

One day, just before I left for class I took out my 'mattress', dropped it on the front lawn and silently said good bye to it. It was as though I knew I would never see it again 'cos that afternoon, it rained and my mattress was flooded. There was no hope of recovery.
When night fell, I stood by my empty bunk and watched as everyone snuggled under their blankets and settled in for the night. I was probably going to stand all night.

I had to overcome my 'pissing' problem. You'll see how in my next post!