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Thread: Catheter Separation Anxiety

  1. #1

    Catheter Separation Anxiety

    This has been on my mind a lot lately: what do you do if you get separated from your catheters for some reason?

    I have a neurogenic bladder to the extent that I haven't leaked a drop for the fifteen months I've been injured and furthermore, I have allowed it to fill to the point of being fairly uncomfortable on various occasions so I know that it is not going to start leaking at any comfortable pressure.

    I just feel like I keep resetting a time bomb every time I cath, giving me five hours or so until the pressure builds to a point where it becomes unbearable and then I don't know (or want to know) what happens after that.

    But it is looking like I'm going to be dealing with this for a lifetime, and as is the case with most lifespans, shit will happen - so I'm just terrified of the time when my bag gets stolen, misplaced, damaged, etc. and I'm not in a position to get to catheters within a few hours. I travel overseas a lot and spend a lot of time hiking in fairly remote locations, so it is not entirely implausible for me to end up in a canyon someplace or in a very foreign location without the ability to take a piss.

    Any ideas? What are your contingency plans?

    I know that some can void using abdominal pressure (valsalvia?), but I haven't had any luck with that. My abs are plenty strong, and I have put on enough pressure to the point whe it starts to hurt and I back off because I don't want to do any damage. Is it just a matter of going for it, or are some people neurogenic enough that they just can't void no matter what?

    Thanks.
    Last edited by shveddy; 01-25-2013 at 06:05 AM.
    L2 incomplete with a pretty bad limp since 10/31/2011.

  2. #2

    back-up plans

    I'm sure many of us can relate to your anxiety. Your backpack should contain everything you need to cath. It's on the back of your w/c so it is always with you. However, if you should misplace or forget it, put at least two catheters, lube, and wipes in your w/c pouch. There is usually an empty water bottle or other make-shift urinal around but, depending on your mobility and location, you can pee directly into the toilet or on the ground. Third, put all your cath fixin's into a collapsible bag that will fit into the glove compartment or some other area of your vehicle. A small towel and empty water or juice bottle should also fit. I used to have a collapsible drinking device that fit in my pouch or anywhere, but I left in a bathroom somewhere. This gives you three options. All you have to do is remember to replace the items you use, so they'll be there the next time. If you do forget, you have two back-up place for your stash.

  3. #3
    Same issues for me, so:

    • I have caths in my van; thats where I usually IC when away from home.
    • I have a cath in my wheelchair, no wipes or lube.
    • I have caths at work (in an unused room with a sink that they let me use - real nice).
    • When I go handcycling I crap a cath in my pocket.
    • When I take a small plane flying I have some caths in my flight bag.
    Failing all of that there is just one EMERGENCY LAST-CHANCE solution. I cannot pee with abdomen pressure, my bladder is like a fortress; nothing comes out. BUT - if I do not pee before doing a bowel program then I will leak at that point and only then

    So - in an emergency I would have to drop my pants, lean way over and get my finger in my arse (glove or no glove). This would then leave me to pee.

    So, yes, the thought of being in a crowded elevator that gets stuck, while on my walker, with no catheters.......and then having to ask everyone to look the other way as I stick a finger up my arse....LOL......

  4. #4
    From Cider House Rules by John Irving:

    With the fever had come the stiffness in his neck and back, but when the fever broke and he stopped vomiting -when the headaches were over and the shaking chills were gone, and he wasn't even nauseous anymore- that was when he noticed the paralysis. At that time, it was a stiff paralysis in both his lower and upper extremities. ('Spasticity,' Wilbur Larch would have called it.) Wally's arms and legs stuck straight out and he couldn't move them; he was delirious for two or three weeks and when he tried to talk, his speech was thick and slow. He had trouble eating because of the tremors in his lips and tongue. He couldn't empty his bladder, and the natives had to catheterize him with a tiny, rough bamboo shoot - in order for him to urinate at all.

    My advice, therefore, would be to become compulsively aware of remembering to have catheters with you at all times (distribute some to friends you're traveling with in the event your bag is stolen) and stay away from natives with bamboo shoots.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by MarkB701 View Post
    Same issues for me, so:

    • I have caths in my van; thats where I usually IC when away from home.
    • I have a cath in my wheelchair, no wipes or lube.
    • I have caths at work (in an unused room with a sink that they let me use - real nice).
    • When I go handcycling I crap a cath in my pocket.
    • When I take a small plane flying I have some caths in my flight bag.
    Failing all of that there is just one EMERGENCY LAST-CHANCE solution. I cannot pee with abdomen pressure, my bladder is like a fortress; nothing comes out. BUT - if I do not pee before doing a bowel program then I will leak at that point and only then

    So - in an emergency I would have to drop my pants, lean way over and get my finger in my arse (glove or no glove). This would then leave me to pee.

    So, yes, the thought of being in a crowded elevator that gets stuck, while on my walker, with no catheters.......and then having to ask everyone to look the other way as I stick a finger up my arse....LOL......
    Couldn't you just keep a cath in your ass like you do when you go flying?

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by t8burst View Post
    Couldn't you just keep a cath in your ass like you do when you go flying?

    Noooo.....I am just saying that my stuck-on-a-desert-island-with-no-catheters FINAL SOLUTION.......should ALL ELSE FAIL.........is a finger up my arse.

    I have catheters everywhere. I always try to assume that something might go wrong and try to plan ahead.....

  7. #7
    Yea, whenever possible I try to distribute catheters to different locations so that the odds are slightly better, but as a general rule I just have one backpack. Walking around isn't really a problem for me, all things considered, so I am just compulsive about making sure I have enough catheters on hand at all times but since it is hard to walk around with two different backpacks and since catheters come in packages bigger than my pockets - I am typically forced to put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak.

    I'm looking for Mcgyver type solutions here; stuck on desert island type scenarios (as MarkB701 said). I'm spending a few days at a time in the mountains of Southern Turkey and I might be heading over to the Kurdish area just north of Syria, so I'm talking about some serious distance between me and easy access to western amenities.

    But so far anything creative sound really really bad. After a bit of contemplation, all I came up with was drinking straws and mayo, which sounds to be only slightly better than bamboo shoots on the "oh my god, I'd rather die" scale.

    So finger up the ass it is. I have the same thing where I leak during a bowel movement, although my bowels are fairly functional so I don't use digital stimulation which means the whole process is fairly quick and therefore the leaking is not nearly enough to make a difference.

    MarkB107, are you able to get a steady stream and more or less completely void when you're poking around in there? Does anyone know if this is a common and well documented occurrence or maybe have any pointers (hah) on where I should go poking around to see if it works on me?

    Keep the ideas flowing!

    P.S. Stephen212 - I am very impressed with the topical literary reference.
    L2 incomplete with a pretty bad limp since 10/31/2011.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by shveddy View Post
    MarkB107, are you able to get a steady stream and more or less completely void when you're poking around in there? Does anyone know if this is a common and well documented occurrence or maybe have any pointers (hah) on where I should go poking around to see if it works on me?
    Well, it is not a method I ever use as such, so I don't know.

    I just know that I have to IC right before doing a program; otherwise I will start to pee.

    I suspect that if I had a full bladder (like 800+cc) and started a bowel program, that it would floweth forth.....but never tried.

    I am like you - I like to be prepared and think about worst case scenarios. I like watching Dual Survival etc....

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Sue Pendleton's Avatar
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    Google or whatever the local words for what you need. I think you could find some flexible rubber tubing in some hardware stores or bazaars but you'd need to be able to tell them the width too in millimeters then cut the end at an angle. Many countries have pharmacists that can prescribe or might point you in the right direction. Actually, write up what you want to say then put it through a translator in several languages. In Turkey add German and if you are insane enough to hike Kurdistan these days get it in Syrian Arabic versus Egyptian Arabic and French besides Turkish.
    If you go in and out of the same city/town then stash more in a train station locker.
    Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow."

    Disclaimer: Answers, suggestions, and/or comments do not constitute medical advice expressed or implied and are based solely on my experiences as a SCI patient. Please consult your attending physician for medical advise and treatment. In the event of a medical emergency please call 911.

  10. #10
    Get pocket sized catheter kits.

    I keep a stash in my car, in my computer bag, at my desk at work, etc and I've always got at least one in my pocket. If worst situation comes about and I think I might not have access to a fresh catheter, I'll keep the used one in its sleeve in my pocket and wash and reuse it until I get to my car/home/office.
    Daniel

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