As for the destination itself, thinking of these things in advance might mean less worry while ‘en vacance’. So watch out for:
- Dodgy toilets: I know I sound prudish, but some countries have different toiletary standards to what I’m used to. Just be as hygienic as you can, touch as little as possible, and try not to get ill. Most are fine now. Those French holes-in-the-ground have come a long way.
- Healthcare systems: If you do get ill, healthcare varies globally though is improving all over. Don’t forget your travel insurance, plus it’s well worth having a bit of paper with your condition spelled out for any medical staff in case of emergency. Say the words, and they may not pick it all up. This stuff matters, so make sure they understand. We can’t all learn the local lingo for ‘I self-catheterize due to a rare congenital bladder condition called exstrophy’ – or whatever your urological flavour might be.
- Swimming: Let’s not be so gloomy. You’re there to sunbathe or swim, not stay in hospital. Poolside toilets are often nicer than beach ones, but catheters on a beach are one of those necessary annoyances. Us tubists don’t get to pee in the sea like your average Joe (and I hate to sicken you, but they do), and beachfront toilets aren’t known for their five-star ratings. Cleanliness is next to godliness, but it’s not next to the sea. A local restaurant may offer nicer facilities – but you might have to buy a Coke.
- Out of routine: Cath users often thrive on regularity. On vacation, that’s all out of the window, so just roll with it. Have a wee before the coach tour, learn where the nice loos are, that sort of thing. Make it your home from home.
- Tap water: If the water’s thought to be dodgy for us incomers, bottled water is often in cheerfully cheap abundance. The hotel might charge you $5 a bottle, but step outside to the local Kwik-e-Mart and you’re bound to find a gallon for far less, so shop around, and buy in bulk. Oh, and water’s not just for cath use – drink lots too if you’re in the sun. Enough of this advice now, I’m not your mom. Have a nice trip!
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.