Choosing the headlines
Okay, so you’ve made it to the bedroom. Hypothetically, I mean. It’s unlikely you’re reading this in some intimate moment right now. But let’s imagine you’ve got that far. What’s got you here? A degree of confidence, I imagine. Also perhaps time, patience and understanding have been part of the journey too – so cling to all of these.
Hopefully you’ll have chatted to your partner, even vaguely, about your medical situation. It can be a surprise if you get this far and haven’t – but also you don’t need to get too specific in advance – perhaps save the PowerPoint presentations and textbooks. I think it’s good if they’re at least dimly aware that something may be different, though ideally you’d stop short of panicking your partner. Reassure if you need to. The trickiest thing about all this? I reckon it’s the balancing act of honesty, confidence, vulnerability… and what information it’s helpful to drip-feed in advance. (Forgive the mention of dripping on a catheter blog).
I’ve found it helpful to make the seriousness of the condition, or the surgery, being the shock. I had 90 surgeries before I was five. That’s one of those impressive numbers that means I’m kinda showing off. Let that be the headline. Then an off-the-cuff sideline is that oh, I use catheters by the way, but that’s fine, it’s all I’ve ever known, and it means I get to sit down when having a wee. It’s the lighter afterthought, just another thing to mention in the run-up to the bedroom, like, “Oh by the way, you’ll find out soon enough – my bedroom wall is really turquoise.” If I went into the date nervously blurting that: ‘I’ve got something to tell you – I’m a self-catheterizer…’ – then that would be the headline. And I’d rather put that info in a smaller article, continued on page 11 if need be.
So be your own newspaper editor – and if that puts you in mind of Piers Morgan, then I’m sorry, that’s probably put you off the subject of sex altogether.
The opinions expressed here are of a personal and anecdotal nature, and are in no way a substitute for professional medical advice. You should always consult your doctor or nurse if you have any questions.