My first post on this blog mangled a bit of Shakespeare. Let’s do that again with this misquote from Twelfth Night: “Some are born catheterizers, some achieve catheterizing, others have catheters thrust upon them.”
Alright, that sounds wrong. But the point I’m clumsily reaching for is that some of us come to these funny little tubes late in life. For me, though, I was born to cath. Starting with your bladder on the outside of your body will do that to you.
Obviously, I don’t remember my earliest years of urological nonsense. I recall the in-dwelling cath through my first years of school – which granted me access to the special staff toilet. In those early years, my perma-tube would stay in for a few weeks, then was switched at home for a new one in a short, slightly dreaded ceremony.
It felt ceremonial anyway. My Mum was trained up to carry it out (it helped that she used to be a nurse – till I came along and occupied enough time to be her only patient). Items would be carefully laid out on the bed: a towel, magical apparatus, various vessels of water. There would be deflation of a balloon, theoretically painless… perhaps this is why I never enjoyed balloons at birthday parties. Then out with the old and in with the new – and off I went to carry on being a child.
Despite some mild discomfort, mostly due to the dramatic build-up, the system worked. But just as a child’s rosy view of the world changes when you discover taxation, learning to drive, and that no one really knows how democracy works – so too was my world rocked when at the age of eight I discovered... self-catheterization.
But more on that next time.
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.