Bedwetting–Primary Nocturnal Enuresis or (PNE) is a recognized medical condition. One of my childhood friends was troubled by PNE. It had to be embarrassing for him. Perhaps, the worst incident occurred at summer camp. The shame couldn’t be hidden. He was allowed to stay–which didn’t always happen.
There were several devices advertised in the back of magazines to stop bedwetting. One was an alarm, triggered by electronic circuits, in a pad placed over the mattress under the sheets. The idea was to teach the offender to get up before the damage was done.
Of course there were rubber sheets and rubber pants. Older boys didn’t want to wear rubber pants. Rubber pants were for babies and toddlers. One thing was for sure–then the same as now; shaming a person over bedwetting never worked.
Some fathers threatened to put their sons back in diapers as punishment–the cloth ones, because that was all there was. That did absolutely no good. Some kids took longer to gain control of urinary functions at night–especially boys.
The real name was Ledbetter Hall, twisted by college boy smart-alecks to Bedwetter Hall in the late sixties. A crazy college boy dorm prank was to immerse the hand of a sound sleeper in warm water. It was supposed to relax muscles and induce bedwetting; the unsuspecting would be embarrassed, and jocularity would ensue.
It never worked, and subsequently the victim was doused with remaining warm water. “Hey, what are you guys doing here?” was one of the nicer responses. That was just one of many college pranks done for cheap laughs.
The worst part–the prank played to shaming surrounding a serious medical condition. Incontinence is not a popular discussion topic. Those affected should not be subjected to ridicule. There are better, more sensitive ways to deal with such issues.
Image, http://www.mac.edu (Not Ledbetter Hall)