There was a time when I had to go through and do self catheterisation, this is not funny, actually it's very difficult and very hard.
It was given to me because it was very, very difficult to pass water even then and at that time you needed something to keep you going. And in the end, I had to have a catheter in with a bag on my leg and I've got this today and I shall have that basically for the rest of my life.
You have the bags which I keep on usually for 1 week, sometimes less. You have to be very careful that they don't burst. You must, or I wash mine every night completely through, cleanliness has got to be now, there isn't the time when you can come home tired and say 'I won't bother to wash,' you've just go to do it, it doesn't matter how tired you are, or that's the rules that I make for myself.
Can you explain how you wash it please?
Yes it's quite simple. Remove the bag which is easy to do and leave the catheter in of course. You empty the wee down the toilet, then I've got a funnel which I put on the end of the bag, making sure the bottom tap is turned off (laughs) because if you try and fill the bag up with water as I've done a couple of times then it all goes over the floor. And this is what I do, I wash the bag out, if I have any slightest doubt of the waterproof of the bag then I dump it and put a new one on. There is another thing which you're going to come across before long and that is when you forget to do up the tap after going out to the toilet at night or you knock it when you're in bed or it comes undone between the catheter and the bag. When this happens it goes over the mattress, and you wave bye-bye to the mattress because of course no way can you clean it, it just happens and it's one of those things. Another thing also that can happen is when you're out and again you forget to do up the tap and you're walking along and you think 'my foot's wet, why?'and again you haven't done up the bag so you get used to it. You just go to the nearest convenience, you take your shoe and sock off, wash your sock, ring it out and put it back on again.
So how often do you get a new bag?
I usually go 7 days for a bag but as I said if you've got any doubts of the bag then you dump it and put a new one on.
So you can do that yourself?
Oh yes it's a very simple connection. I find that I strap the bag just below the knee on a long lead or a long tube and this I've found is the best way of doing it, there's no way out as far I know.
And how often do you have to have a new catheter put in?
You should have a new catheter every 2 to 3 months. I try to get mine to go as long as possible because it's something that I do not like having done. You've got, when that catheter, new catheter is being put in you've got 5 minutes of pain but then it's only 5 minutes and you get used to it, you have to.
I don't sleep through the night. I usually get up about 3 or 4 times, a good night is getting up twice, that's a good night. But then again I would worry about going through the night because I think that I'm pretty certain the bag would burst again. You can get bigger bags and some people do this and have them outside the bed, I've tried it and I couldn't get on with it so I leave it strapped to the leg.
With the catheter you are more than likely to wet the bed so, because the bag has let you down. So therefore my advice is that you get a waterproof sheet to put on the bed, put a blanket on top of that, then the sheet, the normal sheet and then you can buy from Boots a blue short pad about 2 foot 6 by 3 foot 6 which you put on the bed. This is very, very good because it absorbs a lot of the liquid should anything happen.