The other great thing a catheter does very well (in my experience anyway) is leak and leak again.
If there is anything more terrifying than smelling like old accident prone uncle Stan (yes he fought in the war flying Spitfires so we won’t put him in a home, bless him) it’s having that tell tell wet patch. That patch that you can only hope that your bag, todays newspaper or a Michael Jackson side shuffle (without the finesse, adulation and money) would hide from an unforgiving world.
Imagine filling a sink with water. Remove the plug and replace it with a ping pong ball. Tap or disturb the ball in any way and you will lose some water. The catheters take on this is stand up, sit down, cough, laugh loudly, walk fast for the bus – leak, leak, leak, leaaaak, and leak again.
Like I mentioned before I had thought of going down the Howard Hughes route and just stay barricaded at home for two weeks but apart from the stir crazy aspect of that plan my sweet mother had given me another important incentive. I had asked for a tub of vanilla Häaigen-dazs (very happy to say it’s on my safe food list). Mum purchased instead Häaigen-dazs mini vanilla selection which is a selection of vanilla mini tubs with other stuff such as choc chips and fruit etc. Hmmm, well apart from not being what I asked for those silly little pots just pester you to ‘leave no man behind’ and eat the lot in one sitting where at least the tub would last one full or two half nights (don’t judge me I’m ill). Well I gently pointed this out to my sweet mum but judge mum barged in on the conversation and took over before sweet mum could say a word.
“What’s wrong with it? It’s all vanilla” Judge mum informed.
“I am a simple man of simple tastes and this is vanilla with rubbish added in” I humbly replied.
There was a huff first from the judge before she shot out. “It’s no different and it’s all they had. You are just being fussy”
“No, if I take it back I am not getting another” The judge slammed her gable down and the sentence was passed.
I had my first black mark recorded in the Ellis Hilton boarding register. Therefore with my supply to the tasty medicinal tubs cut off and a lack of reliable wi-fi I had to be mobile.
We are men, we fix things.
We like fixing things.
We HAVE to fix things!
The exact problem to solve was the fact that the leakages ran down the top half of the tube and only saturated where the tube touched something. That something would either be the left hand corner of my underwear or my thigh where the tube exits the underwear. Therefore a pad lying flat in my underwear would never normally come into contact with the tube except on the extreme left hand corner. So apart from ninety percent of the pad never being used my leg, underwear or trouser will always get wet.
Let’s cue the music, and you are welcome to take your pick or even suggest another….
# A-Team (not the theme tune but the music when they were making something)
# McGiver (never understood how this brudda always got imprisoned next to a cleaners cupboard full of explosive chemicals or they just happened to have a cutting torch to hand but the chicks like him. Not a fan myself).
# Thunderbirds (My personal favourite. Not the animated crap version they have now but the proper original puppet version. The jerky movements, the bouncing, the scary Hood and the strings you couldn’t see as a child but you can see now. Oh and thunderbird two with the pods loading. Sorry I’m reliving a little here).
Scissors, cellotape, womens sanitary pad, duck tape and double sided tape all laid out on the bed, there is something exciting going to happen. Let’s go!
Over the next five days I engineered and test drove the following prototypes,
#1 – Pad horizontally wrapped around tube. Not comfortable and prone to slippage.
#2 – Pad vertically wrapped around tube, additional tape on tube. Not comfortable and will eventually slip.
#3 – Pad vertically wrapped around tube into conical shape. Prone to slippage.
#4, #5… variations of #3 with different tape blah blah
#6 – Pad horizontally wrapped around tube into conical shape. More comfortable. Small amount of duck tape but prone to slippage.
#7 – Pad horizontally wrapped around tube into conical shape. Trimmed to size. Small amount of duck tape but prone to slippage.
#8 – Pad horizontally wrapped around tube into conical shape. Trimmed to size. Additional duck tape to body of catheter. Uncomfortable.
#9 – Pad made into horizontal ‘sandwich’ (sticky side to non sticky side) of two pads around tube. Duck tape pad edges. Durable but bulky and slips.
#10 – Pad made into vertical ‘sandwich’ (sticky side to non sticky side) of two pads around tube. Generous duck taping to pad edges and additional tape to body of catheter.
By Jove, I cracked it on number ten!
I absolutely cracked it!
It ticked all the boxes!
Not only did it keep me dry and was comfortable, it stayed in place the entire time. The maiden flight was a complete success. Due to the eating restrictions I could not break out the bubbly but a toast with strawberry flavoured water was as wild as it got. I was grinning from ear to ear. Mum had seen me return and asked why I was so happy. I nearly took the bait and told her but then thought of the consequences including long explanations and then being grassed up to my sister and even more explanations.
I now had the freedom to roam without worry, there were mountains to climb, undiscovered tribes to bring to Christianity, new frontiers awaiting discovery, an important paper to write for the Lancet. I was completely mobile. I floated upstairs to change it over.
Duck tape, that king daddy of tapes is a curious thing.
Some things it will stick to superbly while others like long carpet it is just crap at. Unfortunately, catheter parts and feminine towels are firmly in a different super duper adhesive category.
Forty five minutes later and I had only removed about half of the duck tape from the wretched contraption I had created.
Men, you might want to look away now.
Every movement either tugged or chafed the King.
I sighed, gasped, closed my eyes tightly, bit my hand, bit my lip, wiped tears from my eyes, cursed, prayed, promised, laughed like a madman, sworn like a sailor, inhaled deeply, exhaled loudly and probably a number of other emotions while trying to remove the perverse duck tape. I actually took a ten minute break at the forty five minute mark.
Physically exhausted, it took another twenty minutes to be free of the lasts bits of blasted duck tape and the adhesive on the pads. I finally sat down and surveyed the carnage now littering the floor.
I had given it my best shot but I was going to walk away from this one, defeated but I could not give a further sticky toss.
Someone else would have to solve this one. I would just keep on counting down the remaining days until it was removed.
While trying not to leak too much in the process.
Quote of the day,
I can’t think why mothers love them. All babies do is leak at both ends. Douglas Feaver