Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A quick link: Self Catheterization

This is not a subject for everyone, and I'm somewhat reluctant to post it. But it is the purpose of this blog to reach out to other persons who would otherwise feel quite alone in their struggles with losing control of their bodies.

I do not yet use a catheter. In the early years after my diagnosis, my dear Dr. Bhat suggested it because I work and was constantly in the bathroom. I simply went all the time, and I was still wetting myself on a regular basis. In spite of spending a fortune on pads, guards, everything.

Well, I finally began using incontinence drugs. Detrol, and Ditrophan, I think. And they worked. A lot of the time. But the side effects were striking. Never having been constipated in my life, I was amazed to find myself dealing not only with painful-looking, bleeding bowel movements (with no feeling, I could force it as much as I was able--and you should see my abs under the middle age spread), but also regular bladder accidents.

Finally I'd had enough and gave up the drugs. But they actually had helped some. And now, some twelve years after initial diagnosis, I am still not getting much accomodation at work. The bathroom is adjacent to my workspace, but I still must go all the way around the building to use it! Talk about needing a clue. I can practically hear them flushing the toilets, but I have to race around the other side of the floor to get there. And I don't often make it, these days. Any added stress makes it worse, and we are in the middle of a traumatic transition.

So when I came across my baby BlogSister Pearlie's post, I began to feel that a cusp was approaching. She also was coping with the concept. I wept at her reaction; it was my reaction, too. And I read the comments to see who else was facing this decision. Cathy, wonderful and caring, detailed her own experiences. We emailed a bit, and I began to read her blog, Cathy's Rants and Ramblings.

Cathy recently emailed to tell me she's posting on Self Catheterization. If you are thinking that you could never do this, if you are thinking the whole thing sounds insane, it is not. Cathy is proof otherwise.

I remember being catheterized during a medical test. Everything in the post rings true. Unfortunately, so does the nightmare scenario at the hands of an incompetent nurse. In two weeks I will once again broach the subject with my neurologist; this time I will be more amenable to the whole thing. I am long overdue for some relief.

It would be nice to stay out of the ladies room for more than one hour at a time. And make it through a day without an accident, protection or no.

Little Pond


Cathy said...

Hi pb...I have been thinking about you and wondering how things are going. Please let me know what your doc says. I think about you alot!

Nitrile Gloves said...

They used a special type catheter and it was an apheresis catheter (sometimes spelled aphoresis catheter). These are special equipments done in special cases only.

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pb said...

Is this really a person? Readers can check out all sorts of links to the special equipments by clicking on Nitrile Gloves.

I can't think of too many things more special than having to self-catheterize at work.

Unless it's having to change my incontinent pads after a bowel accident.

Incidentally, If I thought I had it bad at the Star-Gazette, the situation is much, much worse now.

Now I commute three hours every day, work in a place where the bathroom is so far away that I wet myself regularly, and can't get time off to go to the Neuro.

Click on the blog header to read the ongoing trauma-drama.


Bill Taylor said...

I have RRMS and the VA just gave me the equipment to self cath a month ago. At 65 and having fallen from the steps of my truck I no longer can work. On the other hand I was urinating every 20 to 40 minutes and wet myself and the bed every night.

The VA gave me 200 Foley Catheters a month and it absolutely incredible to go as much as six hours between voids. I wouldn't expect as much as six hours unless you drove a truck over the road and played in a band though, the urologist was amazed at the volume I can carry.

I'm a male and have MS because of overheated diet soft drinks, the Aspertain. For those of you worried about this, just know that it is painless and very simple. I even did it in San Antonio at Sea World the other day.

pb said...

At this point, I never leave the house without catheters. Even after an accident, emptying the bladder will forestall another. I have absolutely no capacity any more, and it's a relief to know that there is less to leak once I self-cath.

dharmesh said...

That was a really good post. It helped me to make sense of some of the issues with the subject.


Lauren jonczak said...

Great post. I am doing research on self catheterization for a paper that I am writing. I have never had a catheter before so I don't know what it is like but I imagine it being awful. Thanks so much for sharing, this was very helpful.

Shelia M. said...

It is encouraging to see people out there talking about this subject. I work in the medical field and deal with many people who have to self-catheterize, and while it is an unpleasant thing to do and talk about, the regained sense of freedom is almost always worth the temporary embarrassment you'll go through to get there.

While it's easy to want to give up and throw in the towel, I really encourage people in your position to learn more about self-catheterization as soon as they can. Hope this helps!