Saturday, 3 December 2016

The Condom Conundrum

I've got a new excuse for tardiness in my life. "Sorry for being late. I had some trouble with my catheter." I tried it out for the first time yesterday, attaching it and setting it up with little difficulty. It works just fine. Of course it would work for me just fine; it's worked for millions of men before me. The manufacturer has had a long test cycle.

This morning, however, did not go so well.

To attach this piece of personal low technology to my body takes a bit of effort. First of all, there is the attachment of the condom catheter itself. As the name suggests, it fits over the penis like a condom. However the beast under attack is not all that cooperative. To use the medical term, it is flaccid. Like a child on the mall floor not wanting to cooperate, it simply plays the "I'll go limp" game and disrupts by default.

The design of the condom catheter is excellent, with a long, loose capture sleeve at the end of the portion which you must wrestle down a loose and floppy target. At first contact, the target retreats inwards, seeking the shelter of its natural resting place. So you kind of have to pull it out, long and skinny, and place the cap over your cap. Then you have to roll the condom portion down while attempt to retain some form of a grip over your pocket snake.

If you want to understand how this might be difficult, go try putting a regular condom over an non-erect penis. Sometimes it works perfectly. Other times it is a challenge. That is all I have to say about that.

The next step is attaching the tubing, a fairly simple process. The equipment is designed with the appropriate attachment ports and comes with the appropriate tubing. Once again the manufacturer has had many years to perfect this little tool for your tool. It all fits together well.

Finally you strap the bag at the end onto your lower leg. This might seem simple enough. It would be simple enough if I had control over my legs. To attach the bag with the included velcro straps, I have to lift my leg onto my bed. Unfortunately if I lift it to an angle and rest it on the bed, it slides off unless I can hold onto it. But I need two hands to attach the bag. If I lift my leg and lay it on the bed straight, turning my body sideways, I run the dual risk of falling sideways off the bed and of not being able to reach down to the lower strap, the one near my ankle.

What I finally did was both. I pulled my leg up in the angular position to strap on the lower part of the bag, trapping it in place with my M-rail. Then I stretched my leg out straight, once again using the M-rail as a brace and attached the upper strap. This, of course, all happened while switching my hands between doing the straps and balancing myself while sitting upright. It's a bit of a circus act.

All in all, this new device adds about 30 minutes to my dressing time, assuming I put it on first thing in the day. I can do it later in the day while sitting in my wheelchair; it takes about the same amount of time. This means my total waking and dressing time can now easily run into about 90 minutes if things go poorly, or be as short as 60 minutes if things go well. No wonder I am late today.

Now all I need to do is head out into the world and hope my bad job this morning doesn't result in wet pants later today. It's a risk. It's always a risk.


  1. Is this because you are losing bladder control, or because using the restroom out in public is too much effort?

  2. It's a combination. I still have bladder control, to a point. But having a jug on hand and having a washroom available can be a bit of a crap shoot. I also find that peeing into the jug while sitting in the truck or on my couch is an uphill shot, so I get a bit of messy backwash.