Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Many you will have had the inestimable pleasure of not meeting my great-aunt Halva recently.

She seldom travels these days, not least because of her need to remain within 28 yards of a loo at all times.

This, it seems, is a common complaint amongst those of advanced years. The problem is that the elderly bladder is less like a balloon and more like a polythene bag - it has lost its resilience. As a result, it goes from being almost-full to get-out- of-my way! in a very short space of time. In short, the curve of pressure versus volume is almost step-like rather than the smooth rise of the younger bladderial organ.

Great-aunt Halva has shortly to travel overseas to a reunion of the Two Pins Club (those of you in the Network will doubtless know it). This seems, therefore, the ideal opportunity to field- test the Buchanan Bladderloon.

The Bladderloon is simply a silicone balloon, imperviable to liquids and gasses. It is inserted (uninflated) into the bladder, by means of a catheter under sedation (gin, usually), and then inflated with about 50cc of air.

Once in place, the Bladderloon will float at the top of the bladder, thereby not obstructing the urethra.

As the bladder fills, the Bladderloon does nothing. However, as soon as the bladder is actually full, the rising pressure will cause the Bladderloon to be compressed.

Consequently, the Bladderloon restores an element of compliance to the elderly bladder, so that the internal pressure rises only gradually (rather than suddenly) as the bladder fills. This, in turn, gives Great Aunt Halva some degree of forewarning.

MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 18 2014


       Bladder pressure is in the realm of 10 kPa, which is about 10% off atmospheric. So for a 10% change in balloon pressure, you'd get a 10% volume reduction (assuming it's filled with an ideal gas), which is not a lot. The cost would be 10% of capacity.   

       Also, I'm not sure it would float unless a substantial amount of urine was present. An empty bladder collapses and the balloon would risk blocking one of the inlets.
the porpoise, Jun 18 2014

       Well, it's too late now - she's probably half way to Tobruk by now.   

       However, thanks to some ingenious non-linearity in the walls of the Bladderloon, I can report that it collapses from 50cc down to about 10cc under an external pressure of about 10kPa.   

       If we encounter difficulties, we plan instead to fill it with a small amount of volatile liquid whose boiling point is close to body temperature. This should ensure that it collapses a little more readily as the pressure increases moderately.   

       A thought just occurs to me - I wonder if I made it clear to her that she shouldn't travel by air?
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 18 2014

       //fill it with a small amount of volatile liquid whose boiling point is close to body temperature//   

       Now that's more like it!
the porpoise, Jun 18 2014

       I thought this was that village that appeared every hundred years. Some sort of loon. Goon? There was a B in it, for sure.
bungston, Jun 18 2014

       You'd be thinking of Brigadoon.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 18 2014

       There's a significant chance that this could obstruct a ureter causing reflux which can be a Very Bad Thing. There's also a non-trivial risk of this becoming a site for encrustation and stone formation.   

       Urge incontinence is usually cause by a bladder that's over active and spasms rather than one that is all saggy and non-compliant.   

       Also, having something free roaming in your bladder is really uncomfortable
oneoffdave, Jun 20 2014

       Listen, I said it was an idea. I said nothing about its being a good idea.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jun 20 2014

       //having something free roaming in your bladder is really uncomfortable// A small urine consuming bladder eel would be an option worth exploring, would it not?
xenzag, Jun 20 2014

       // having something free roaming in your bladder is really uncomfortable //   

       Please, reassure everyone that you're not speaking from personal experience...
8th of 7, Jun 20 2014


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