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Andy's ISC Journey - Urology Awareness Month

Part of dealing with the life changing task ahead of me being disabled, was very overwhelming and put me in the back foot, so to speak, and everything appeared negative. So it was important to me, to set myself small goals and tackle everything positively. It felt like I had a thousand and one problems all at once, but in reality, I had just one at a time.

One of these challenges, not problems, was going to the loo. I had spent months on a hospital bed with a nurse setting me up with a catheter every 4 hours to empty my bladder. Then all of sudden it was all down to me, which was a very daunting prospect, and the thought of me having to pee into a bag for the rest of my life hit me like a tonne of bricks. To be honest, this technique of going to the loo and self-catheterizing all the time, very quickly became quite easy and very normal. Everyone finds their own way of doing things, or tackling everyday challenges, and once the toilet routine becomes 'the norm', you find it so easy and wonder what all the fuss and negativity was about.

I have an under seat 'bumbag’ style pouch which clips under my seat on my chair, which I call my catheter pouch. I carry up to 4 catheters, 4 drainage bags, 4 disposable little black bin bags plus a packet of wet wipes (which always come in handy). Nobody knows my catheter pouch is even there because you can't see the pouch, so you don't have to worry about feeling conscious that your catheters are there for the whole world to see.

There are plenty of disabled toilets around, so you never have to worry about finding one. Disabled toilet doors are locked with a Radar lock and you can get a Radar key, which I also keep in my catheter pouch at all times, which unlocks every disabled toilet all over the country. 

Hygiene is a must when self-catheterizing, just as it is whenever anybody goes to the loo. I don't transfer out of my chair but the whole routine becomes very quick once you get used to it. A simple 5-minute process, no more than an able-bodied person going to the loo. I very quickly made it a habit that every time I leave my house, I have a supply of catheters in my pouch and my medication, so I can go ahead and enjoy my day. If I was off for the day playing rugby for example, I would take a few spare catheters in my bag, as I would be drinking more fluid than normal.

I can honestly say that going to the loo doesn't even cross my mind anymore, so I can concentrate on having fun.

Andy - England Wheelchair Rugby Sevens

Read more about Andy and his journey with the England Wheelchair Rugby Sevens

  • 01 Sep 2020