The stand-up comedy show I’ve been touring this year was called ‘Navelless Gazing’. Finally, a chance to put catheters out there – whether audiences wanted them or not.
All right, I stopped short of exhibiting a catheter itself. Although I did joke about the audience’s obligation to support our reserved, potentially embarrassed cath community by telling the world about urology in a positive way. Do it on our behalf – because we might be ashamed or unwilling; the least that able-bladdered people could do is help us out by pretending that they, not us, have bladder conditions – safe in the knowledge that they’re fine really. So to help change public perception, I offered to give each audience member a free catheter to take home and leave in a public place of their choosing. But I didn’t want to waste new, finite supplies, so I told them I’d been stockpiling used ones for them...
Of course I didn’t really. But it got a satisfying response from the crowd.
This was an experimental show. Laying myself bare (not literally) and trying something different. Also, in a way, it was doctor’s orders: I see my urology consultant for annual check-ups (that’s “annual” – someone misheard and thought the check-up was, well, in the wrong area), and he knew I did stand-up comedy, and that I often mentioned my lack of bellybutton. However, he incorrectly thought I also talked about my catheter use.
At my last visit, he said how good it was to be talking about these things, to try and in a tiny way change the culture. If one of those audience members one day needs a catheter – perhaps after a road accident, or bladder cancer – they won’t think their life is over. They’ll realize catheterizing folks can look like that stand-up comic in front of them.
So, that’s why I had to do this urological comedy show. I didn’t want to particularly, but it was a chance to get a few things off my chest, to normalize bladder issues... and to scare the crowd that I was going to hand them used catheters.
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.