Catheters: the final frontier. No that’s not the working title of a Star Trek movie – it’s a suggestion that catheters might be the last taboo out there. People don’t talk about catheters – they’re icky, they’re urological, they’re below-the-belt. They’re not for polite conversation. Fair enough, but it seems they’re not for ANY conversation – even though around 10% of us will end up using one someday.
I’ve been a stand-up comic for fifteen years, and I’ve self-catheterized for thirty. Taboos on the comedy circuit come and go: for a while religion or race or sex are the great unmentionables. But when I’ve used the word ‘catheter’ onstage, you can tell the audience doesn’t know how to react. The word is the butt of a joke surely, not the set-up? Perhaps ‘catheter’ is the new C-word.
The truth is, the catheter is not just a punchline, a stereotype of the old or infirm. For some of us – more than people think – this personal plumbing can join us at any age.
And it’ll be okay. Whether it’s something you’re born with, or the after-effects of an accident or another medical outcome, cathing is just another quirk. I don’t see it as an ailment to be endured; rather, having to use one is like having to duck your head through doors if you’re a bit tall.
In this blog I’ll mostly look at the social side of cathing (not that I do it socially).
Under his stage name of Paul Kerensa, Paul is an award-winning stand-up comedian and comedy writer, with credits including BBC1’s Miranda, Not Going Out and Top Gear, while performing at comedy clubs across the UK three nights a week.
If you’re just starting on your cathing journey, it may feel overwhelming. But things will get better. No matter what stage of life you’re at, cathing doesn’t have to take over or hold you back.
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.