I’ve blogged previously about the pitfalls of travel as a cath user – and most of those can be solved by planning ahead. Thankfully most work trips are planned within an inch of their lives. The few I’ve been on have come with risk assessments, timetables, schedules and detailed plans of hotels, first aid, tea urns and sandwich bars. Alright, some are more haphazard than that, but if you know what time your train leaves and arrives, it’s common sense to plan your toilet trips around it. Maybe you can get away with going the whole trip without needing to tell your colleagues about your urological matters? Or maybe if you’re on the third round of drinks in the hotel bar, you find this is actually the time to realise that we’re all human, you might as well drop it in, and who cares what they think anyway… (unless they think nice, supportive things, in which case I care, because they care too).
My weird life as a stand-up comic once led to a peculiar business trip of sorts: going into the Big Brother house. For a non-broadcast pilot test run, they wanted half-a-dozen comedians to try out a spin-off show; famous comedians would be brought in for the broadcast version, to live in a camera-covered house for a week, performing shows every other night until the audience vote you (and your jokes) off the show. I umm-ed and ahh-ed about doing this, then thought “You’re only young once”, and went for it. If I’m in doubt, I do it.
One stipulation was that our bags were searched for banned items – no phones, no technology, no books… nothing but clothes and bathroom items. For me of course, ‘bathroom items’ includes a few dozen catheters. So I had to explain to the executive producer what these weird plastic things were that I couldn’t enter the house without – but ideally didn’t want on television. He was very sensitive to that, and I needn’t have worried. Only problem was, as a pilot run of the show, some of the house wasn’t fully working yet – including the lock on the bathroom door. While there were no cameras in the bathroom, I did suffer the embarrassment of one ‘housemate’ (and fellow comedian) trying the door and it opening, to reveal me on my throne, trying desperately to cover up. Arguably I got away with it, until I heard, from behind my gawping housemate, the sound of the kitchen ceiling camera swivel around to zoom in on the bathroom… Days later over post-show drinks, vision mixers and camera operators came up to tell me how funny that bit was. I’m just ever thankful that bit never made it to air.
You can plan ahead with packing and toilet times – just do what you can with the bathroom locks…
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.