A TGB READER STORY: For a Few Mysterious Minutes
The Alex and Ronni Show – 30 October 2020

Old Lady Fancy Pants

If, like me, you have a big-deal disease or two such as cancer and COPD, there is one thing you can count on: nothing stays the same and hardly anything gets better.

That's the cosmic joke. (There are more earthly ones too.)

In the first instance, such diseases progress. No pleading, no appeal to divine intervention, no miracles. It is the diseases' job to grow and from your and my point of view, get worse.

I've always thought it is weird that it works that way. When the disease does what nature compels it to do, it eventually kills its host (in this case, that would be me) and therefore itself. What use in that?

In terms of earthy jokes, my hospice nurse visits on Monday mornings. Aimee-the-wonderful checks my vitals, goes over my medications, discusses my well-being – or, recently, lack thereof – and then we discuss my future, such as it is.

As you who have read this blog for a good while know, I had a long respite until last February when chemotherapy stopped working. I began slowly slipping down hill and the speed has since since accelerated.

Drugs have helped but I haven't needed a nurse to tell me what's happening.

Not long ago, Aimee-the-wonderful began gently hinting at what I'm likely to expect next. She asked about incontinence. Ewwww. But there you are.

I've been retaining water – bloating – for a while which Aimee says will at some point unexpectedly break through – overload, muscles weakening, etc. and that I should purchase what some manufacturers call life-changing absorbent products.

Adult diapers.

There hasn't been a problem yet, but I've only just begun taking the diuretics to rid my body of excess water so who knows. Particularly during the night.

I perused such products on the internet, decided on pull-ups because they work like every other kind of underpants and made my purchase hoping for the best as to size since the websites have little to say about what small, medium, etc. mean.

It was my first chance to try this out on Monday with my first evening incontinence pill at bedtime. I yanked a pair out of the tightly wrapped package, shook the panties open and to my utmost surprise, found they they are trimmed in – wait for it – frilly lace. Yes, you read that right: frilly lace.

Is there anything else to do but giggle? So I pulled them on, pranced around in front the full-length mirror and had a big hearty guffaw at myself – old lady fancy pants.


Thanks for the chuckle. Love you Miss Fancy Pants.

Wonderful surprise ending!! I'm so glad you found the fun in this. Your sense of humor is such a gift to you and to all of us!

Well, that lace gave me my morning laugh. Thanks for sharing.

Fancy pants with lace? Can't wait to see your Saturday's videos . . .

You're telling me that the TV ads aren't doctored? That the pants really do look pretty nifty, these days? You should check to see if they come in your color choice(s).

Prance on!

Oddly enough I was thinking about this very subject earlier this morning. Not surprisingly, it seems to be one that doesn't seem to get nearly as much attention as others, but it is so important!

Those adult one-use undergarments have changed dramatically over the past two decades. When I was caring for my mother-in-law at the end of her life (which was the same time that I discovered and became a fan of TGB) I eventually had to begin the search for those items. In our stores there were not a variety of options, other than brands, but I found name brand and generic ones and the experimenting began. In my M-I-L's case the progression of her dementia became debilitating in this regard only for about the final 18 months of her life, although she had several other symptoms that required around the clock care for more than two years before that. By the time incontinence of both sorts had become as bad as it would get, we had gone through a few brands/sizes/designs as adaptations were needed.

At that time, there was a large online company that I found near the end, which offered a wide variety of these and other products to help make life easier for those with dementia. I suspect that there are now more providers of these things on-line than there were eight years ago. What I especially appreciated were the comfortable and well-sized diapers that opened from the sides for more rapid response, and comfortable diaper liners that extended the life of those diapers and made a huge difference overnight. Another significant discovery was that although comfortable materials and convenient design are available, they are much more expensive and this item can consume a hefty part of one's budget. Hospice actually provided some incontinence products, but they were of a much less comfortable and effective quality. My feeling was that it was bad enough that someone had to suffer through all that comes with dementia, including reliance on these products at all, and for us not to have tried to keep my husband's mother as comfortable as possible through that would have been unconscionable. My advice to anyone going through this would be that, if at all possible, undergarments are not the place to cut expenses and you will never regret paying more for more comfortable and effective ones.

Congratulations, Ronni in having found something not only comfortable but pretty! I am glad to hear that you are able to have these conversations with your wonderful hospice nurse Aimee. It makes a world of difference.

Just another post that makes me love you all the more. You are the most gracious, lovely, fun-loving, down-to-earth, smart, classy, sincere woman around! I've been reading things and questioning myself about what I do or don't add to people's lives around me. How do I want to be known and remembered. You are my model. Because you are known and will be remembered so fondly by me and so so so many others. Thank you for being you and sharing you with us.

Whoever thought to put lace on those pants was a compassionate genius. I can almost see you prancing.

as the kids say, LOL... the other thing I'd say is maybe get the pad to sleep on, as well, just in case... BE Prepared kind of thing. Take it one step at a time, and love to you, the election is less than a week away!!!

Jeez, I laugh a lot at myself too. It is great to have a sense of humor that works when other things are not doing as well.

Thanks for the hearty chuckle! I didn’t see it coming! Thank you for your blog, I’ve been following for some years and must say I love how your mind works. Hope your day has an unexpected pleasure and a lovely nap.

☺ Glad you've found the fancy pants! You made me giggle, too.

One question, though: why take the diuretic at night? Did the nurse advise that? Sorry. That's two questions. But taking it in the morning might help you get a better night's sleep.

Although I've been following you and your blog for years, I've rarely commented. The others do it so well, so much better. All the kindness and praise that others heap upon you is well deserved. I have come to love you as a dear friend. Every day I send you wishes for comfort and peace.

What Carol and Lola said :-)

You are absolutely wonderful! Thank you for the morning chuckle, and for the wonderful example you are for all.

It felt so wrong to laugh at this but it felt so good to do so. Nothing like a little lace to make a girl feel pretty.

I recently purchased some depends for my Mom and, like you, was pleasantly surprised by their frilly design and being so much like underwear.
And I just have to say, I am honored by the growing intimacy of "our" conversations. And like so many of your (reading) friends who regularly meet up here, my love for you keeps growing too.

Oh I had to laugh. Your humour is infectious. I take diuretics breakfast and supper so wear an incontinence pad to bed just in case. But lace in the pullups?

Thank you as always for your heartfelt shares.

You rock!


WOOHOO to big hearty guffaws and the mind-blowing woman who can still find them in her.
Thank you. As always and forever, thank you.
PS There is a new TV ad here in Italy showing REAL women and definitely "older" women in bras and panties, some of whom are lying seductively on beds and talking about how much they still like sex despite the occasional "laugh drops" or "cough drops" in reference to urinary leaking. It is, of course, an ad for a brand of padded panties. I am still trying to figure out what I think about this ad and I prefer a folded cotton hankie but I have to confess that when I was bed-ridden for four months with two fractured vertebrae, I was very grateful for this invention.

Thanks for the good cheer this morning! I pictured your cute little bum encased in lacy underwear and you dancing around in front of the mirror.

You promised to share your journey—the good, the bad and the ugly—but I did not expect the funny! Hilarious! (If this were a movie, that scene would have to be in it).

My mom is in her 90s and I buy her the “pullups” (I am good at shopping online). She is pretty specific about what works and prefers the depends, but also must have the protective bed pads, as another reader mentioned (her helpers also put protective pads on her easy chair, since this is also a daytime thing as well).

Shopping for and discussing adult diapers and many assistive devices has normalized their use for me and made me realize how common they are, so when/if my time comes, I will not be dismayed.

There are some situations that can only be approached with a hearty guffaw, and this is one. I know.

What an attitude!!! A sense of humor in the midst of gloom. I like it. B

Bless you, what a blast of laughter your post produced!

Ronni, you're brilliant! Your newsletter makes my day, thank you.

Only you, Ronni, could find humor in adult diapers and make us all laugh about it.
It is a transition in the unfolding drama of ageing that rarely gets discussed.
Thanks for the laugh out loud moment. You are awesome!

Good on you Ms. Fancy Pants! What a lovely little scene you've put in my head, you
prancing around in front of a mirror with your frilly, pink lace trimmed undies! What a giggle! Love it! Love you!

Prance On, Ms. Fancy Pants ! Thanks for the giggle–––and for the "visual."

I ditto every word posted as comment so far, and probably the next 50 or so!
Thanks. <3

Love you Ms. Fancy Pants.

I Love It! And I love you, Ronni! All you find to give so generously makes such a huge difference to all of us. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!

"I see London, I see France, I see Ronni's fancy pants"😊This a gingle I remember boys calling out in my much younger years 😊wishing you continued smoother days.

You are a blessing Ronni - I did not expect to see fancy pants, prance and lace in a post about adult diapers, however you managed to disarm a touchy subject so well! I am still chuckling at the visual....Thank you for your humor amidst calamity.....my love and peace to you

This week was the anniversary of my mother’s death (in 1999). So, as usual, I’ve been thinking about her. Your post brought a particular chuckle. “Miss Fancy Pants” was her derisive term for any woman “rolling in moolah” who flaunted her wealth. In your case, I’m glad you’re flaunting your wealth of humor, regardless of moolah.

I absolutely applaud Ronni's sense of humor. I've stated for many years that if I ever became totally incontinent, I would purchase a 5th of vodka (my first in nearly 50 years), find my way to a tall bridge or building (if there are any tall buildings with windows that still open), take some BIG swigs and jump! Or I could always stroll dramatically into the ocean--that is if I could still walk far enough over sand to get there.

Funny what we think about in our 80s. . .only six days until the election!


Just thank you.

For any of us who deal w/ incontinence... the frilly pants story will live on!


You are a total hoot, Ronni! Good for you. I've been wearing incontinence pads for a couple of years now to catch the drips and dribbles that plague me, especially when I cough, sneeze, or laugh too hard. Needing to go badly is also fraught with peril!

I'm sure fancy pants are somewhere in my future, and I vote for nice colors. Pink, black, light blue, even violet and jade for those special occasions would be nice.

I can remember when bikini underpants came into wide use and we all ditched our granny pants. Not to mention thongs, which strike me as unhygienic and self-imposed torture. Oh, the insanity of women's underwear!

Keep prancing and dancing, dear Ronni.

OMG, Miss Fancy Pants! Thank you for that much needed chuckle!

I too have COPD among other problems, one of which is incontinence. I prefer the incontinence pads in lieu of pants, but that was before I knew they come with frilly lace!

Much love to you, Fancy Pants!

I loved everyone’s responses.
“Fancy pants” Is definitely pictured in my mind.

Oh my what a laugh you gave me 'fancy pants'. I've some on hand ever since I had my stroke. How about the butterfly to indicate the direction? :-)

I wish as much thought went into the ones for men. When my brother needed them, he struggled with trousers, braces, pads and the pull-up pants. The washing line was evidence of how badly they failed him.

It's wonderful that no matter what nasty things nature throws at you, you're able to find something to throw in its face and laugh, this time it's fancy, lacy knickers!

I am enjoying the comments.
Ronni, our generation sure have had to pull on our big girl bloomers a lot these days, haven't we?
May we know the brand?

Thank you,Ronnie, once again for your honesty and specifics. We will all travel your path and telling us what may lie ahead makes the journey easier. Thank you!

What a wonderful story, somber and silly at once. Thank you. I will miss you when you're gone.

I echo what everyone else said. And I'm so so glad you have someone you consider "the wonderful" to talk this over with in person. That is tremendous! And maybe you'll get a chance to show off those fancy pants... I understand that now everyone is on Zoom, no one wears pants anymore!

Your post and everyone's comments lifted me sky-high with joy for your life, genius, writing, wit, courage to face head-on realities as they unfold, share with us, and today, wrapping up with a hoot! XOXO

Ronni, I came here because I saw you on Gabnet. I just wanted to say you are a gentle angel. An inspiration that one’s final days can still be vital and joyful.

Ronni, as with so many others, you and your words occupy a special place in my heart. Thank you for injecting some welcome humor into that place today! I’m starting to really feel the pangs of loss coming on and your attitude is such a relief!💖

Nothing wrong with fancy pants!

My 95 year old friend loves those pop on pop off undies!

She’s also a smart cookie.

Whatever works, do it.

Comfort all the way.

Also, Cathy- you’re an angel.

I like my pull ups.
Add Arthur-itis to your COPD and cancer.

Love this, love you.

Ronni, don't be too surprised if you are contacted by Kimberly-Clark (the maker of Depends), Reassure, and other competing companies for your endorsement. Hold out for the big bucks..... :-)


This takes me back.
Somehow, the need to relearn bladder control never came up before my prostatectomy. It did come up when the catheter was removed!
Keeping good thoughts for you as always, Ronni!

I love this image! You prance, girl!
Laughter truly is the best. So glad that you have Aimee-the wonderful to keep you prepared and ready for anything- frillies included!

Love (lots of it) from Juliet in Seattle xxxx

One of the commercials for adult incontinence wear shows a woman gaily eating popcorn and laughing like a hyena. She laughs on and on. I turned to my husband and said, "I can hardly wait to start peeing my pants. It looks like great fun.'

He about fell off the couch.

You've got a lot of spunk, and spunk comes in handy when dealing with difficult things.

Oh, I imagine your surprise to see lace trimming the pants. You did have to giggle, it was so unexpected. I love and admire your attitude.

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