I don’t know whether it was for a medical reason or just an age thing. But after eight years of just unplugging a permanent catheter (well, a succession of different ones thankfully – one for eight years would be ill-advised), it was time to gain my independence. I became a self-catheterizer.

It was an alarming change. Every time I needed to pee, I didn’t just pop a spigot off the end any more – now I had to actually (sorry if you’re having your lunch, or if you’re not a catheterizer and this sounds ‘a bit much’) do some inserting. No matter what age you are, that’s a strange prospect. You’re literally going against the flow. You’re introducing some man-made plastic device into the natural, sacred, not-today-thank-you human body. Your instinct is to put up No Entry signs. Turn back. Do a U-turn. Then again, what’s the alternative? You have to pee somehow.

So these thoughts only briefly stopped the eight-year old me. Because you quickly realize that the only way is up, so to speak. Onward. No going back. Wrong way up a down escalator – if it’s the only way to travel, then let’s go.

My new-found freedom was doubtless a great thing. The fact that I didn’t have a tube in all of the time meant that swimming became easier, as did wearing, well... anything. No longer did tubes have to be strapped down or pushed awkwardly out of the way (I’m wincing now at the memory – don’t yank that there!).

Were there teething problems? Sure. Next time, on Paul Relives His School Memories And Shivers At Quite A Few Of Them.

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.

Adjusting to cathing can be tough but you don’t have to figure it out alone. Talk to a member of the me+ support team today at 1-800-422-8811 (M-F, 8:30 AM-7:00 PM ET).