You just get used to it. But the only thing is that you have to use the right size. It can’t be too big or too small, because either way it will be uncomfortable or just not really enough.
Gabriella, age 12
Double bag it
Put the cath in a bag and double bag it so people can’t see it.
Eric, age 8
Eric: I carry them in a mini-backpack.
Interviewer: Is it ever hard to remember to bring it places?
Mom: Do you need some reminding sometimes?
Eric: A little.
Mom: We always keep the backpack in the car and we have to remember to refill it, but then he has to remember to bring the backpack out of the car! So we are trying to get in the habit of having at least one in a plastic baggie in his pocket.
Eric, age 8, and mother
Just one instead of two
Before I had to bring lubrication and the catheter, but once we came back to Children’s, because we thought it wasn’t emptying correctly, this lady gave us a different type of catheter. And it’s actually really cool, because it’s, like, folded up, then you unfold it and at the top is a bag of water, and you just squeeze it and the water flows down. And you have to let it sit for thirty seconds, then you rip it apart and empty out the water, and then the catheter is all lubricated! It’s kind of cool because it’s just one instead of two.
The only thing is, it’s kind of slippery, so you have to do it for a while before you get used to it.
Gabriella, age 12
Catheters are fine. They’re not really hard to use once you realize where to put them. And it’s not really a big deal, you just have to get used to going to the doctors and getting the right sizes and stuff. And remember to use lubrication because then it can irritate the spot and sometimes bleed.
Gabriella, age 12
They just blend in
I keep them in a makeup bag with other types of containers that sort of just blend in, so nobody really thinks anything of it if they see it. I keep it in my pocketbook, and I keep some in school.
Jenna, age 16
Find a bathroom where you feel comfortable
Mom: I think it’s helpful too if people can have a bathroom where they’re comfortable, like it’s not in a public restroom.
Val: At school I would always go to the third one, which was all the way in the corner so when people walked in they couldn’t see you. That was like my bathroom.
Val, age 19, and mother
Soon they’ll even be better!
Dad: We’ve moved to these catheters which are much faster than the old ones.
Ellie: This one takes like five seconds! It’s like 50% faster. I’m not sure how much faster – probably 75!
Dad: Yeah, Ellie’s pretty good at cathing.
Ellie: I went from five minutes to five seconds! We went through lots of different catheters. There are four different kinds – no, wait, three. There are the really bad kinds, the bad kinds, and the good kinds! And probably soon they’ll even be better!
Dad: We started out with a Mentor 310, so the long straight ones with no lubrication at all. We went to the hydrophilic catheters just encased in saline solution, and they were nice – they were the ones Elizabeth recommended. And now we’re using the so-called “SpeediCaths.” They’re a plastic perforated cylinder, twisted…they’re nice and compact and they fit anywhere. They’re great for Ellie.
Ellie, age 8, and father
When you push the catheter in I used to be all tight, but when you relax it doesn’t hurt.
The absorbent underwear has really helped me to not have visible wetness on my shorts.
Ryan, age 11
A big makeup bag
I have a cathing bag that I have for school. It’s like a makeup bag, but a big makeup bag, and I just put all my stuff in there. I put it in my backpack – like right now it’s still in my backpack from school.
Kayla, age 14
It’s really quick!
For awhile the caths came in this plastic wrap. I needed to undo them, put them in lubricant, and do that whole process. But now there are caths, they’re called SpeediCaths, and they’re pre-lubricated. And they come in this thing that you just peel the sticky off, stick it on, peel it down, take it out, and it’s sterilized and pre-lubricated and it’s really quick! When it was just in the regular plastic wrap and I had go through everything manually, it was a lot more tedious. The process was a lot longer.
Elizabeth, age 16
I want that safety net
In high school I think I kept some supplies at the nurse’s office. Before that, when I wasn’t catheterizing, I would leave a change of clothes. Then I think I would put emergency catheters in the nurse’s office, and have some on me. Then obviously in college you have backpacks and stuff, and I’d always have extras in there.
To this day, I hate being driven by people, because if you go in my car, you can open up where the spare tire is and find a catheter. I have them hidden everywhere, just because I want that safety net.
Sam, age 32