What happened before.
Chapter 1: For 32 year old Anthony, a very successful Wall Street executive, the world starts to change when he suddenly develops a bedwetting problem, and his wife Martha insists he wears diapers to bed until the doctors determine the cause. Without giving a final verdict pending the results of exhaustive examinations the specialist suggests there is no physical cause, which makes Anthony wonder if the relaxation exercises Alice, Martha’s friend who temporally lives with them, gives him aren’t too effective making him sleep too deep causing the loss of control.
Anthony was deeply hurt and furious about the way the specialist had treated him, implying his bedwetting problem was not new and had no physical cause. But gradually he calmed down and thinking over the situation he was convinced that Alice’s treatment had to be the cause.
Agreed, it was a fact that her treatment had immediately cured his insomnia’s without causing any side effect in the beginning. But his sleep had steadily become deeper until the actual situation in which his sleep was so deep he lost all control over his body. It had to be the explanation. He would stop the exercises at once.
When that evening he told her so, Alice smiled sympathetically.
-Are you sure?
-Are you sure this small problem isn’t largely compensated by the most refreshing sleep you ever experienced and by feeling on top of the world all the time? Sleeping with diapers can’t be that bad.
-So you don’t deny it’s the cause?
-I didn’t say that. I’ve treated lots of people in the same way and not one of them developed a bedwetting problem. I’m sure there is another cause and they’ll find it soon enough.
-That’s not the impression I’m getting from the physicians. Until now they haven’t any indication for a physical cause. No, I’m convinced that it must be you.
-OK, OK… If you are decided, we stop everything.
-I wonder. Why can’t we do the same as in the beginning when I slept well but without having side effects?
-Since I told you that it can’t be my treatment I don’t see what I can do. But let’s stop and see what happens. If you change your mind you just tell me. No hard feelings.
Almost immediately his insomnia’s came back, he felt tired again and lost his confidence. In stead of sticking to his strategies he reversed decisions all the time and started losing money again. It was the same vicious circle as before. But even worse, the second or third night after stopping the hypnotic exercises there was another accident. He had been so sure that it wouldn’t occur any more he had refused to wear diapers. Martha was annoyed and the next day insisted he wear diapers until the problem was definitely solved. In those circumstances he decided he could as well resume his sessions with Alice and see what would happen while he waited for the final diagnosis of the specialist. He was annoyed that after all the blood tests, scanners etc were completed he couldn’t get immediately a new appointment. But in the mean time Alice’s treatment worked wonders again, and to his surprise it didn’t cause his bedwetting to resume. When he finally went back to the doctor he wasn’t surprised she told him there were indeed no physical causes. Since he hadn’t had any problem for the last two weeks, and maybe also due to the general optimistic state of mind he had recovered thanks to Alice, he assumed it was over. The specialist hadn’t been so reassuring however.
-Those things come and go, as you know.
-How would I know?
She had given him an amused glance but choose not to react to his irritation.
-Sometimes it doesn’t occur during years and then suddenly it comes back. But for people who have this problem at an adult age my experience is that without proper treatment it won’t go away. But you are a special case. I’ve never had a patient who after having stopped bedwetting as a child started bedwetting again when he was in his thirties. So maybe you are right to think your problem was just incidental. I suggest you wait and see. If the bedwetting would resume however I recommend you seek treatment. Don’t try to help yourself with alarm-clock devices or other things that are readily sold. They address only the symptoms but don’t cure. I’ll send you the address of a specialised centre that is very successful, both with children as with adults, and I’ll provide also a short report about the examinations we did, so that they don’t have to do it all over. But let’s hope it won’t be necessary. Good luck, it was a pleasure having you as a patient.
For the next month or two he didn’t wet his bed and at the same time he had regained his wonder-boy reputation at the office. In the beginning Martha had insisted he continue to wear diapers at night but after a while agreed it didn’t seem necessary any more. He was glad to be back in control of his live, taking advantage again of his success with beautiful woman and resuming his flirtations with Alice. Still, not everything was perfect. He was frustrated that Alice didn’t respond to his advances. It was the first time in his live that he couldn’t get the woman he wanted and to his surprise this made him long for her every day more. He wondered if he had really fallen in love with her. At the same time Martha was behaving different and he increasingly resented her closeness to Alice.
After 1 or 2 months he started having accidents again. First just once but then it happened another couple of times and he soon found himself back in diapers at night. At first it had been sporadically but after a while it had become an almost daily problem. He limited his liquid intake, effectively stopping to drink after lunch time. But this didn’t affect the number of accidents, only their size. Martha, worried that he might damage his kidneys, wanted him to look for some form of treatment but he refused, insisting that it would solve itself soon enough. After a while he got so used to using diapers at night that he resumed normal drinking habits. At the surface it seemed as if he didn’t care, but both Martha and Alice knew better. At first they never talked about it, sensing it was a taboo subject. But after a while it seemed as if Anthony had accepted his condition. From time to time he would come downstairs looking for something, wearing diapers under his shorts even when he knew he might encounter Alice. On one of those occasions the two of them had been chatting for a couple of minutes standing in front of the refrigerator when suddenly Alice decided to break the taboo.
-Martha told me it doesn’t bother you anymore to wear diapers.
Anthony was surprised, blushed slightly, but responded calmly:
-I guess she is right. I’m used to it.
-Do you wet them every night?
He blushed a little more.
She came closer and tapped him on the bottom.
-It feels funny.
Her interest excited him.
-Can I have a look?
He hesitated but then pulled down his shorts. Alice smilingly told him to turn around.
-It looks cute.
-Do you think so? I think it looks silly.
-No, and Martha too likes it.
-She never told me.
-She is afraid you might get upset. I told you once that in her eyes it makes you more vulnerable, more accessible. But she thinks that’s not how her macho husband wants his relationship with his wife to be.
-I’m not that macho, I’m just strong. And the fact that I wear diapers at night won’t change that.
He pulled up his shorts and started to leave the kitchen.
-Strong? Anthony don’t kid yourself. You have always been a little boy. And that’s exactly what I have always liked in you. And you’re so cute trying to give yourself a macho attitude.
Anthony had stopped and looked at her. She was smiling, but gently, not in her usual sarcastic way.
-And you wearing diapers makes you even cuter.
He didn’t know what to say, so without answering he turned around again and left the kitchen.
From then on the fact that he wore diapers at night was nothing special anymore. They hardly ever mentioned it but it was no longer taboo. When for instance one of the women was going to the supermarket Anthony would remind her to buy diapers. From time to time a gently mocking remark would be made but he wouldn’t take that in stride. If however he had thought it would go on like that without further consequences he was in for a bad surprise.
One day Martha had asked him to accompany her to the opening of the exposition from one of their painter friends. Alice was gone for the week-end and Anthony was happy to take his wife out. At the exposition they had had a couple of drinks and then had to listen to some boring speeches. As they were standing there his mind wandered off until he suddenly felt some warm wetness running in his jeans. Looking down he noticed that there was a large dark spot in his crotch and on the inside of one of the legs. He couldn’t believe it. Immediately he started moving to the exit, attracting quiet some attention. Martha followed him wondering what was going on. When they were outside he stammered he didn’t feel well and wanted to go home. They were lucky to get immediately a taxi. Once inside she wanted him to relax on her shoulder but he pulled away, and feeling that his pants were really wet, he installed himself on the edge of the seat fearing to soil it. She didn’t understand and wanted to know what was going on. At first he told her nothing but on her insistence he promised to tell her when they would be home. Once home he led her pay the taxi while he went immediately to his room to change. When she entered the bathroom he was still washing himself and the wet trousers were lying on the floor. Martha couldn’t believe her eyes.
-God, Anthony what’s going on?
-I, I don’t know. Martha please help me.
-You must seek help. I can’t believe there is no treatment. Maybe you should see another specialist.
-Well, to be honest, she did give me a recommendation for a specialised centre.
-And you never went there?
-At first I thought it would stop, and then I got used to it.
-What are you planning to do now?
-I’ll make an appointment.
On Monday he called.
-I would like to make an appointment. Dr Carpenter recommended me your services.
-Ah, a bedwetting problem?
-Let’s see. How about Thursday at 7.30 PM? That’s not too late?
-No, that’s perfect.
-Could I have your name please?
-All right, and what’s your son’s name?
-I need the name of the patient too.
-I’m the patient.
-Oh, I see. Well, Mister Cleveland we’ll be expecting you on Thursday at 7.30 then. Looking forward to meeting you.
-Thank you. See you on Thursday.
The next day his boss, one of the senior partners of the firm, wanted to see him urgently about an investment scheme he had proposed to the board. This was very unusual. The scheme was the last and essential piece of the strategy he had devised to recover all the risks that were still looming from his previous mistakes. If the scheme didn’t work the losses would be enormous but based on all the analysis’s he had done he was extremely confident it would work. Normally his boss went along with all his proposals but the fact that he wanted to see him before the board meeting was a bad sign. And indeed his boss wanted him to change the proposal. Anthony defended his idea brilliantly, all the while pondering if he had to tell this was his only hope to recover the outstanding bad positions. It was obvious that his bosses didn’t realise in what position he was. But after a while he sensed he could convince his boss without having to clarify the relation with his other investments. When his boss left his office he felt elated. The meeting had been a complete success with his boss assuring him he would defend the proposal in the board, which guaranteed its approval. Sighing deeply Anthony relaxed, closing his eyes and leaning back in his seat, when suddenly he felt he was wetting his pants. He jumped up and ran to the private bathroom next to his office. His pants were really wet but since he was wearing a dark suit it didn’t show too much. He remained in the bathroom for a while pondering what to do. Of course he couldn’t remain in wet pants for the rest of the day. He decided to inform his secretary he was feeling sick and to go home.
The next 2 days he wore diapers to the office, and on Thursday evening went to his appointment. He was received by a young, very pretty secretary.
-Mr Cleveland? Nice meeting you. You are right on time.
-After having heard your voice I couldn’t wait to meet you. And I’m not disappointed.
-There are still a couple of patients before you but don’t worry, it are just follow up visits. If you could go to the waiting room for a moment, I promise it won’t be long.
There were two women waiting with theirs kids, about 7 and 10 years old respectively. He felt embarrassed wondering if they knew why he was there. After a couple of minutes the secretary came in.
-Mr Cleveland I’m ready to prepare your file, so if you could come over to my desk we can do the necessary paperwork.
Anthony had the definite impression that the two women looked at him in an amused way. If they had doubted until then they knew now.
The “paperwork” at first consisted of entering the normal data in the computer: identity, marital status, profession (she seemed impressed by his vice-presidential position), insurance, medical history…. She asked for the report of the specialist and then started to fill in a specific questionnaire.
-How often do you wet your bed? Almost every night, 2 or 3 times a week, once a week, 2 or 3 times a month, once a month, or less?
Anthony was surprised by the direct way of entering in the subject. Blushing slightly he stammered:
She looked up smiling and seemed surprised. He didn’t know is she was surprised because of his answer or about the change in his tone. But she continued in a neutral voice.
-Since when has your child. Oh sorry, I mean, have you been bedwetting?
-A couple of months.
-Have you had previous periods of bedwetting?
-Not since I was a small child.
The questions went on for a while: in what part of the night did he urinate, did he wake up after wetting the bed, did he fecundate too during his sleep (he was of course offended by this question),…
-Does your child, oh excuse me again. Do you wet your pants during the day?
-I do, since this week, he whispered.
This time she was genuinely amused. Without looking at the questionnaire she asked:
-Twice a day?
-No. Two times this week.
-How do you arrange to work?
Now she smiled broadly but not unkindly.
-A vice-president in diapers!
Her amused spontaneity worked contiguously and Anthony couldn’t help smiling himself.
-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make fun of you.
-That’s all right. It probably is funny, if you look at it from the right angle.
-I’m glad I didn’t offend you. But let’s finish this thing. We’re almost through.
After finishing the questionnaire they continued chatting for a while. There was a kind of sympathetic intimacy between them and Anthony had dropped his usual flirtatious manner. In the mean time the two other patients had been received and after his file had been brought to the consultation room he was ushered in. He was met by a good natured, somewhat heavy lady in her mid fifties who came from behind her desk to meet him.
-Nice to meet you Mr Cleveland. Have a seat.
-Mr Cleveland, or can I call you Anthony?
-Of course. What is your name please?
-I prefer that my patients call me Misses Bernstein.
-Ah. I see.
-Right. Anthony you are quiet a unique case.
-Cases of adults who wet their pants during the day are not very common. Cases of adults who suddenly develop a bedwetting problem are even more exceptional. I’ve treated both kinds of cases but never a combined one.
-So, what are my chances?
-Oh, don’t worry. We’ll cure you. But I’ll come to that later on. Let me first give you some insight in our method.
-Right. Our treatment is based on the assumption that non-physical induced incontinence is a sleeping disorder caused by affective insecurity.
-God no! Not that kind of stuff. You must be kidding.
-Don’t jump to conclusions. Let me explain first. I said that it is based on an assumption. We don’t have any proof and we don’t try to proof it. We only know that the treatment based on this assumption is highly successful. I told you it is a sleeping disorder and you are wondering how that can be since you have day time problems. Right?
Anthony nodded and Mrs Bernstein droned on.
– Right. We all have split-seconds of sleep during the day. We don’t realise this because the moments are too short. When we sleep our sub-consciousness takes over. Normally this happens when we are deeply asleep but in some people the sub-consciousness takes over much faster, even instantly. Don’t ask me why, we don’t know. Finally I told you we assume it is caused by affective insecurity. This means that we assume that persons who suffered a sudden loss of affection or are fearing to lose it, unconsciously defend themselves by returning to a state in which affection is given unconditionally: a dependent diapered baby
-That’s what I feared. Freudian bull-shit.
-Not exactly. We don’t explore the long forgotten past to explain and cure the present problems. We look at the actual affective relationships and base our treatment in those. Let me give examples. In children, bedwetting is often caused by obvious reasons, for instance a divorce of the parents, or the birth of a sibling. Of course we can’t undo the divorce or take away the sibling. But we can help the child to recover his affective security and by doing so take away his need to resort to unconscious remedies. In some cases there is absolute recovery within a couple of weeks. With adults the causes are less obvious. In exceptional cases like yours the treatment can take months, even years, but I’ve never had, or read about a treatment that didn’t succeed.
– Months, years? You must be kidding.
– No, I just don’t like to make empty promises.
Anthony was pondering his options. And just as he was thinking he had nothing to lose Mrs Bernstein said the same.
– What do you have to lose anyway? Give it a try, if you lose patience just drop out and continue to wear diapers as you do now anyway.
– I know, you have a point there. But what does the treatment consist of exactly?
– Well, you will have to come here once a week. I suppose you don’t have time to come more frequently, do you?
– Right. Next time you should come with your wife.
Anthony reacted surprised, but then nodded again.
– Right. We will give you exercises to do, here but mostly at home. And then we will see. Each patient is different.
Anthony didn’t think he was much wiser with that explanation, but nodded again.
– Right. What do you say? Taking a chance?
– OK as you said, nothing to lose.
– Right. Ok let’s start then.
– Why not?
Anthony hesitated for a second, but then agreed.
– Right. Well the first thing, very important, is that you accept that you are incontinent. OK?
Anthony nodded a little hesitantly.
– OK, say it.
– That you are incontinent. I want you to say it loud and clear.
Anthony looked lost but then did as he was asked
– I’m incontinent
– I’m incontinent!
– Right. Incontinent persons wear protection.
– Euh, I guess so.
– You wear diapers now, don’t you?
– Euh yes.
– Take of your trousers.
– Short sighted persons wear glasses and incontinent people wear diapers, right? Nothing to be ashamed of.
– I guess so
– Take of your trousers then.
Anthony turned all red but did as he was asked. When he was ready she continued her instructions telling him he had to wear his diapers visibly as much as possible. Just as he would wear glasses.
– What do you mean?
– To start with from the moment you enter in this institute you take off your trousers. At home you should do the same. And when you are ready you will do it with your friends, at the office, …
Anthony burst out in laughter.
– You must be kidding.
– I can’t force you, but if you accept that wearing diapers because you are incontinent is your normal condition, the faster you will recover control over your bladder. It’s up to you.
Before Antony could react she buzzed for her assistant who came into the room immediately.
– Maggie could you show Anthony around, and make the appointments. He will be coming every week from now.
She extended her hand and said good bye. Anthony embarrassed to be in diapers in front of the pretty assistant tried to cover his diapers by holding his pants before him, but Maggie took them out of his hands.
– OK you can give those to me, I will show you were you can keep them.
And holding the door open for him she followed him in the other room. When they were on their own she didn’t wait a second.
– Very cute Mister Vice-president, very cute.
Anthony turned around and smiled meekly. She showed him some lockers next to the entrance, disposed his trousers in them and suggested he take of his jacket which he did. Next she made appointments for the next couple of weeks. He could choose between Tuesday and Thursday mornings. He wondered what he was going to tell at the office, but settled for Tuesdays.
Next she asked him to follow her again. As they passed the waiting room he noticed a young man of about 20, reading some papers wearing diapers without trousers. Anthony, very conscious himself of walking around in diapers, nodded back but the fact that both of them wear wearing diapers didn’t seem to be of any importance to the other patient.
Anthony moved fast but suddenly turned towards Maggie and asked her why the two little boys that had been waiting there before had not been wearing diapers. Maggie explained that most patients only had a bedwetting problems and didn’t wear protection during the day. By that time they had entered a large play and gym room. There was nobody inside and Maggie went straight on to an adjoining room. It was a large dressing room with a number of banks, shelves and clothing hangers. On one side of the room Anthony noticed the entrance to the showers. A classic dressing room of a gym club. Except that at the far end he noticed a number of small benches with thick cushions. Next to those benches there were some shelves with stacks of diapers. Maggie went up to them and taking a diaper, she handed it over to him:
– Before leaving you better change, don’t you thin?
Anthony looked down and was surprised to notice he had been walking around in a wet diaper. He turned all red and hesitated for a moment.
– You don’t need any help I suppose?
He looked up to see her gentle but slightly mocking smile. He wanted to take the diaper she held for him but then had a sudden inspiration. With a big grin he answered that indeed he did need help. Maggie looked at him, saw his grin, and laughed.
– Naughty boy, you would like that, wouldn’t you? Well no, that’s not included in the package.
She pushed the diaper in his hands, took him by the shoulders, turned him around, and tapped him on his wet diaper.
– Hurry up now mister vice president.
Anthony changed into a dry diaper and went back through the waiting room where a mother with another young boy where waiting. He almost ran through the room convinced they had looked at each other in an amused way. When he arrived at the reception desk Maggie was occupied on the phone. She covered the speaker and whispered
– See you on Tuesday big boy, and don’t forget to bring your mommy.
Since she uncovered the speaker and started talking again on the phone he couldn’t answer to that snippy remark.
He went to recover his pants and drove home, wondering if he was not crazy to go on with this treatment