“… Beth?” Ellie looked at me, questioningly.
I frowned, before replying: “This is weird. No, it’s beyond weird.” There were several moments of silence, then, I asked “What does it feel like?” I realised that this wasn’t a very clear question, but she seemed to understand me well enough.
“It’s… it’s wonderful.” Ellie paused, and then went on “It’s pretty strange, too, of course, but I have so much choice… you have so much choice, I mean. What about you?”
“I don’t get any choices at all. Everything has to be done for me. You. Whatever.” I sighed. “No privacy, no independence… and what was that with the bedpan?”
“Oh.” Ellie bit her lip slightly- she looked like she didn’t really want to answer. “That’s the suppository- a laxative. To make you empty your bowels so it doesn’t happen at just any old time.” She spoke with a trace of bitterness in her voice. “Yesterday I told mum I didn’t want it because I hate using the bedpan.”
More silence passed between us. Then Ellie spoke again: “Beth… there’s something I should tell you. I… when I woke up, the bed was wet. Your bed.”
“What?! But… but I don’t wet the bed- not since I was really little.” I stared down unhappily at my lap, thinking of my current total inability to control anything at all, while I was in Ellie’s body, and contrasting that with my own body, which I had thought was fine. “Did anyone find out?”
“I’m really sorry, Beth. I told mum. I thought you probably wouldn’t want that, but there wasn’t really any way I could have kept it a secret.” Ellie moved over and sat on the bed, next to me, and hugged me. “There’s something else, too, though- mum made an appointment for you to see the doctor. Tomorrow.”
I didn’t say anything in reply, but I held on tighter to Ellie.
“When do you think we’ll swap back again?” she asked.
“I guess when we go to sleep again, maybe? I think that’s what happened last time…”
“Last time?” Ellie sounded surprised.
“Yeah… I was thinking about it before. You remember that day when we were about six- I was supposed to go to the doctor’s, and everyone kept getting us mixed up- a lot more than usual. We were convinced of who we were, obviously, but I think we might have swapped over then, too.” I explained this to Ellie, and she nodded, slowly, as she took it in.
“And then everything was normal the next day. Yes, I remember.” Ellie looked thoughtful. “So then, tomorrow…”
“It’ll be me going to the doctor’s, yeah.” I completed the sentence.
“I think I’ve had more than my fair share of doctors recently.” Ellie smiled, but not without some sadness in her eyes.
I woke up the next morning in my own room, and sighed with relief. And then, I noticed that something felt rather strange. I wasn’t wearing pyjamas like I usually did, I was wearing a nightgown… and something else. Something thick, white and bulky between my legs- a nappy. One of Ellie’s, in fact. And Ellie must have put it on, too. I couldn’t tell if it was wet or not, but I did know I needed the toilet fairly soon, and so I went to the bathroom. At least the nightgown hid whatever was underneath it, unlike pyjamas, which would have made it pretty obvious had I bumped into mum or dad. She’d done a good job of taping it up tightly and I found it quite hard to get off before I could sit down on the toilet. With that attended to, I had a closer look at the nappy and saw that it was slightly wet. Not much, but it was. I hadn’t wet at night at all since I was a toddler and now, two nights in a row?
Knowing I had to somehow dispose of the used garment, I decided it was best to put it back on- there was nowhere in the bathroom I could hide it, but if I took it back to my room I probably could until I went down to Ellie’s room again. Then I could put it in with all of her used ones. I guess I should have felt more grateful to her for putting one on, but I didn’t… I actually felt rather degraded. Waking up in a wet nappy two mornings in a row, and each a surprise, was not something I could ever really feel thankful for.
“So, Beth, what can I do for you?” The doctor smiled at me, in that concerned way that medical people seem to specialise in, particularly female ones. I glanced at her nervously and then stared at the floor. My mum helped me out by explaining that I had wet the bed, but that it was something I hadn’t done before since I was much younger. The doctor went through a few basic questions and then asked me to provide a urine sample- she handed me the little plastic bottle and pointed out where the toilet was, down the corridor.
I returned to the doctor’s consulting room with the sample, to find my mum had gone back to the waiting room.
“Is there anything else you wanted to tell me, Beth? Anything that’s bothering you? Something you might have taken?” The doctor turned her sympathetic smile on me again as she said this.
“No…” I frowned, before saying “If I had taken anything, wouldn’t it show up in that sample? But I haven’t.”
“I arranged another appointment with your mother, while you were out- I’ll see you again soon. Thank you for coming, Beth.” The doctor ushered me out and I went back to the waiting room to find my mother. I was silent on the journey home, as I thought about what the doctor had asked me. Not that I felt too bothered about the implication about doing drugs- doctors have to ask that sort of thing- but it occurred to me that I didn’t know for sure what Ellie had done while she was in my body. It would have been hard for her to have taken something because she was in the house all day and as far as I know there’s nothing more in our house than the usual kinds of medicines that every family has- cough medicine, painkillers and so on.
Then it struck me- it was Ellie that wet the bed, not me. Yes, she was in my body, but, thinking about it a bit more, it was her ‘mind’. There had to be some exact point when we swapped over, but Ellie-in-Ellie’s-body doesn’t control her bladder function. So what if she didn’t control Beth’s? It would only take a split second for her to ‘let go’ and the result would be a wet bed. Or nappy. And thinking of that, what was I going to do tonight? But then Ellie knows, so there couldn’t be any harm in me asking her if she just sneaked one away or if she took some more and hid them. Mum and dad, though… no, explaining to them wouldn’t be a good idea, so keeping it secret would have to be the plan. If I was correct about the cause, then there wouldn’t be any need to worry about me starting to wet the bed, after all.
I asked Ellie about the ‘supplies’ and she looked a little sheepish at first- she said that she thought it was better to be prepared. She apologised for not telling me what she was doing, but she didn’t want me to stop her. I explained my theory to her, and she seemed a bit upset that I was blaming her, but I think she agreed that it was quite likely to be correct.
I didn’t look forward to going to bed that night. Partly because I wasn’t sure who I would wake up as, and I didn’t like that uncertainty. In that unknowing, I knew there was also a chance that if we swapped again, Ellie would wake up wet in my bed. I didn’t really have any choice, then…
I got undressed slowly, until I was standing in just my underwear. I found Ellie’s hiding place, and pulled out the lotion and one of the nappies, and laid it on my bed, open. I had put a chair behind my bedroom door, just in case- I felt safer that way, though it was rare for either of my parents to walk in unannounced. After removing my underwear, I applied some lotion to myself- it felt very odd, cold and smooth. I sat down on the nappy on my bed and tried to tape it up. It wasn’t easy to put it on myself, but obviously Ellie had managed it last night because it was properly taped on when I woke up this morning. With some adjustments, I was done, and I pulled the nightgown on and climbed into bed. The thick padding felt odd between my legs and around my bottom, and I didn’t like the idea of having to go to bed thus attired each night, indefinitely… but it was rather soft and cosy, all the same.