Whether she’s travelling, tackling a muddy assault course or working out at the gym, Serena needs a catheter that works for her busy, active lifestyle.
When I was first told I needed to start with Intermittent Catheterisation (ISC) I was embarrassed, I guess most people are.
I attended my bladder care appointment at the hospital and I just wanted to get in and out – show me how to use a catheter and let me get out of here!
What actually happened was quite a different experience.
I was teamed up with an amazing bladder care nurse, who took the time to sit down and talk to me. I told her about my hectic lifestyle – I was always busy at weekends, out and about with the family, and had a long commute to work each day. I am also keen on working out regularly in the gym. She also found out that I was prone to having urinary tract infections. She explained to me that there were many catheters on the market and that we needed to choose one that would best suit me and my lifestyle.
The first thing was to get me over my embarrassment.
First we looked at the range and I selected a catheter that had discreet packaging. If it fell out of my gym bag no one would know what it is. It was the first hurdle over and done with. Then she started to teach me how to self-catheterise. She explained that when I am out and about the only thing that I needed to do was prep the catheter, I just needed to pop it.
I said to her that I was worried that self-catheterising was going to hurt.
She got me to feel the urotonic coating on the catheter and I agreed that because it was quite slippery I would not feel anything, and true to its word I never had any dragging sensation, I never had any bleeding, I never had any friction problems, which was all a concern as I wanted to avoid Urinary Tract Infections (UTI).
She mentioned that there were delivery services available in the UK.
Because of my busy lifestyle I would not have to worry about prescriptions and going to the pharmacy, everything would just come to my door in a discreet package – and true to its word I've never had a problem with the home delivery service.
How do I know I am doing this right?
And after a couple of days of practicing self-catheterisation at home I came up with that question that I bet a lot of people ask. I didn’t want to burden my wonderful bladder care nurse – she is a NHS nurse and I didn't want to go back to the NHS and take up her precious time. So I rang the customer service team and they were fabulous. They talked me through any concerns that I might have very professionally. I felt pleased, that I have been set up with a good catheter.
Trying out other catheters
I remembered the bladder care nurse said there were other catheters available, so I decided to try one. The catheter sample arrived in the post. I went to open it, and it was a twisting mechanism, and even though I don't have any dexterity issues I struggled to open it. I then used the catheter, no problem, or so I thought. But after using some of the catheters I developed a urinary tract infection.
We will never know whether there's a link between using a new catheter and that infection but I quickly went back to using my regular catheter with the isotonic coating and I haven't had any urinary tract infections since, so in a course of seven years I think that I am doing quite well to have such low incidents of urinary tract infections.
I wanted a nurse that would show me how to self-catheterise and let me go back out into the world. She looked at the totality of my life, holistically and selected a catheter that suited my lifestyle and listened to my concerns. Ultimately, she knew she was setting me up with something that would give me a really positive outcome in terms of my health. I'm delighted to use it five times a day, because it makes me feel so much better having an empty bladder.