Perhaps like me, you’re a lifelong urologee (my word invention). Or perhaps at some point life has thrown you into the world of urinary diversion and uppity bladders. Either way, it’s possible that your medical CV has steered your career path too. For my specific condition (the relatively rare bladder exstrophy), I heard of an occupational study pointing to a remarkably high proportion of us going into either healthcare or entertainment. Certainly of the few cath users I’ve met in person, I know of a couple of nurses (inspired by their time in hospital as children), then there’s another stand-up comic as well as me, and a Hollywood screenwriter, and even a professional clown. For us entertainers, I guess after spells in hospital (including in my case a couple of near-misses on the operating table), you come through thinking, “Why spend my life doing a job I hate, or even just tolerate? Why work for ‘the man’? Let’s try and have some fun along the way instead…”
I also know cath users who’ve gone into teaching or city trading, and one or two who’ll do whatever pays enough to fund their world-travelling. Whatever it may be, I hear of lots eagerly thriving rather than just surviving – wanting to go above and beyond, whether to prove a point to themselves or their doctors, or just with a renewed value on living right and working right.
One of my dream jobs led me to working with a big (yet, sorry, unmentionable) name on a TV show. We’d meet at the star’s house to write the script for the show – a mix of stars, producers and writers. It was a business meeting in a domestic setting, so I used the house toilet as usual… All fine, till we came to leave. I tapped my pocket, where I expected to find a used cath from earlier, ready to dispose of it in the next public bin I saw (I didn’t fancy clogging the celeb’s domestic waste with this). But feeling my pocket, nothing was there – well nothing but the empty wrapper. The cath itself had vanished. A nervous hunt ensued (just by me – everyone else carried on the meeting), and a few sweaty minutes later, I spotted my lost tube, glinting off the probably-very-expensive plush carpet near the loo. Whether or not anyone had spotted and stepped over it, I’ll never know. I’m normally so careful, but it’s typical, isn’t it – the one time you’re in a celebrity’s house…
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.