Answering The Call of Nature

Pee Kit

Have you ever wondered how I do it when I have to answer the call of nature? The above are the devices that I use when I need to empty my bladder. There is the kidney dish, a tube of KY Jelly and a catheter. I seldom leave home without them. Although I can micturate the normal way, it was recommended by the urologist that I should empty my bladder every four hours to prevent a reflux. A reflux is when the urine flows back into the kidneys from the bladder. The pressure from the backflow will damage the kidneys. A majority of those with spinal cord injury suffer the same problem if they have a spastic bladder.

I have been doing what is known as intermittent catheterisation since 1991, five times a day without fail. Every four hours, I lubricate the catheter with KY Jelly and insert it into my bladder through the urethra. The catheter is long latex tube with one rounded edge and eyes on both sides much like the eye of a sewing needle. That is for draining the urine. The other end is a flared opening where the urine comes out and collected in the kidney dish. After I have completely drained my bladder of urine, I remove the catheter, wash it and keep it for the next use. One catheter can last up to four weeks after which it has to be discarded. The catheter I use is called a foley catheter or balloon catheter.

If there is a need to keep the catheter inserted for a period of time, the balloon inside the catheter is expanded by injecting distilled water, usually 30ml, through a valve by the side of the flared end. The enlarged balloon will prevent the catheter from slipping out. For indwelling catheterisation, the flared end is attached to a urine bag.

Intermittent catheterisation has become ritual I practise every day without fail. It has kept my kidneys relatively healthy up to now. Some damage is bound to happen. I hope that with a proper diet, intermittent catheterisation, medication and routine medical check-up, my kidneys will last for many more years.

* This entry was posted at Bloggers are Morons for Blogathon 2005.

Author: Peter Tan

Peter Gabriel Tan. Penangite residing in the Klang Valley. Blissfully married to Wuan. A LaSallian through and through. Slave to three cats. Wheelchair user since 1984. End-stage renal disease since 2017. Principal Facilitator at Peter Tan Training specialising in Disability Equality Training. Former columnist of Breaking Barriers with The Borneo Post. This blog chronicles my life, thoughts and opinions. Connect with me on Twitter and Facebook.

2 thoughts on “Answering The Call of Nature”

  1. Peter,
    It is good that you share this with others.
    Now I understand even better why people with spinal cord injury have to use the toilet frequently and more the reason for us to have clean accessible toilets in public places. I imagine how many people had to stay indoors most of the time, before we have all these facilities since the mid 1990s.
    Ever since my arthritic hip became worse, I have been managing some exercises dedicated to be done everyday to strengthen my legs. And it is with all these little things that makes a big difference to our lives and for us to enjoy a bit more.

  2. LecturerUM,
    When I go out, I drink slightly more water than usual because of the weather and being in an air conditioned environment dehydrates me faster. I usually make three to four trips to the toilet when in a shopping complex on a full day out. It is no fun sitting in a wet diaper.

    Yes, it is the little things that make it easier for us to integrate into society, if only people understand the purpose of these facilities and not abuse it under outrageous pretenses.

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