Tatiana: When I was growing up and I was learning to catheterize myself, I used to have to go to the nurse’s office. People always wondered why I left with my bookbag to go to the nurse’s office, and I never wanted to talk about it. I wish somebody would have taught me to be proud of it, and I want the future generations to be comfortable with it.
How often do your bladder issues interfere in your daily life? Probably much more than you want them to. Once you have mastered the technique and routine of intermittent catheterization it will have a positive impact on your life and your feeling of independence.
Still, it is perfectly normal to have worries and doubts during the different stages of changing to a new bladder management routine. If this applies to you, here is some advice that may be useful when you are starting up catheterizing:
Phase 1. Receiving the news:
When you are first introduced to intermittent catheterization (IC), you might feel overwhelmed. Maybe you feel it’s too early for you to be introduced to catheterization. Perhaps you are still struggling with coming to terms with your situation. It is important that you feel that IC is your own decision and that you are well-informed by your healthcare provider about what is going to happen, and that you are given the time to get used to the thought.
Phase 2. Being taught how to do it:
We would normally feel very intimidated by the thought of a “stranger” watching or touching our private parts. It is important that you receive proper instruction from your healthcare provider and that your need for privacy is respected. If you feel that the demonstration was insufficient, don’t hesitate to get the steps repeated.
Phase 3. Trying it at home for the first time:
If you become uncertain when back at home, don’t be afraid to ask for more help. IC is not just a walk in a park. You might need to try a couple of times before you feel confident that you can do it on your own. You might also be afraid of inserting the catheter yourself without any assistance. Knowing your own body is key to understand where the catheter goes. If you haven’t really examined that part of your body, it might seem a bit awkward at first.
- If you are a man, just looking at the catheter tube might make you think that it is very long – and perhaps the thought can make you afraid of damaging something inside you.
It might help you to watch a short animation about the male anatomy to see where the bladder sits in your body and how the catheter gets there.
- If you are a woman you might find it difficult to find the urethral opening. Try out different positions if possible and use a hand-held mirror.
Also read 'Finding it hard to cope with?' which addresses some of the worries you might have about using a catheter.
Phase 4. Finally into the routine and now facing new challenges:
When you need to get back to work or want to travel, your bladder management routine may be challenged by a changed schedule and a new environment (for example public restrooms) and you might even need another type of catheter, which is more compact or includes a urine bag. It is important for you to continue your IC-routine and do not skip catheterizations even though your feeling of security and privacy is not the same. Some planning is all that is required.In the Care Lifestyle section you can find inspiration and tips for being away from home; travel, work, sports and socializing. Your Coloplast® Care team is more than happy to direct you to the information you need.
If intermittent catheterization (IC) is not a temporary solution for you, you may need to come to terms with having IC as part of your daily routine– and possibly the rest of your life. Just remember, as compared to other available bladder management solutions, IC only takes a short time out of your day. The rest of the time, you can live your life without having to think about your bladder. Over time, your intermittent catheter needs may change. You may have changes in your medical condition or your ability to perform IC. There may also be newer, innovative products that you may like to try. Meeting with your healthcare provider from time to time is recommended as you strive to avoid complications and to maintain good bladder health.
This way you continue to have the product that is right for you according to your needs and lifestyle.
These are general guidelines meant to help you with typical questions. You should follow the specific instructions provided by your healthcare provider and the intermittent catheterization solution you are using.