So, I had my follow-up BPT and finally … RESULTS!! I had to undergo the same old intrusive procedure with fine tubes up my front and one inexplicably up my back but this time with an audience of 4. In addition to the 2 urology nurses I was joined by a radiographer and a consultant urologist, who, thank goodness, was incredibly competent, confident, efficient, professional, slick etc. As I lay there with a flimsy piece of kitchen towel, which doubled up as a modesty sheet, over my you-know-what a massive space-age machine was manoeuvred into position above me.
The gathered party took great delight in watching my bladder go nuts; dancing and contracting all over the shot – a fairly common problem with MS’ers apparently. This time around there was no confusion, just pure fascination at the wonder of my body and, joy of joys, an answer to just what the heck was going on.
Dignity back in place I was summoned into an office to speak one-to-one with the consultant. Cut to the chase, in addition to tablets I will need to start self-catheterising… pause as I nod resignedly. My consultant waited a beat, clearly disappointed, before saying, “People usually freak out when I mention catheters…”. The thing is I had my freak-out moment 5 years ago when, in the spring of 2011, I was told by my MS nurse that the way things were going I would definitely need to self-catheterise at some point. Coming as this did just months after my diagnosis I was not in the right mental state to deal with such developments and had a mini meltdown.
Fast forward to the present day and hearing those words has come as somewhat of a relief. I have struggled with various private & invisible issues all this time and I finally have someone taking me seriously and offering a solution to what has become an almost unbearable situation. Does this mean I’m happy to be using a catheter aged 34? No, absolutely not, but I am at least hopeful that my quality of life will start improving. And in any case, having MS means you constantly have to adapt and roll with the punches; so although this feels like a particularly hard punch, it is one that I am going to try my best to take on the chin.
First published 29 September 2016