ALS, To Cath or Not To Cath…

There comes a time in every pALS condition when a difficult decision must be made. This relates to making it to the facilities in time, in time for #1.

There are options for pALS such as: pads, diapers, portable or bedside toilets, bedpan’s, urinals, and lastly catheters. I will refrain from discussing all but one, condom catheters. Why because this is what I have experience in, and I’ve been asked to share it.

Like many men I was hesitant to use a condom catheter. I resisted, even as my wife strongly encouraged me. I even convinced myself that a diaper was an adequate alternative. How twisted is that, that I would rather sit in my own piss rather than use a catheter. I was being childish in my obstinacy. The logistics and effort needed to change every time I required it was taxing me and my caregiver. Something had to give, or rather someone…me!

What convinced me to accept this transition in my condition? My wife.

Ultimately she sat me down, well I’m always sitting right, and talked to me bluntly.

“Use the damned catheter or you will sit in your own mess. Behave like a child, I will treat you like one!”

An ultimatum if I ever heard one. I’m obviously taking creative liberty with my recounting the conversation. It was in fact an appeal from her to consider the effect of my hesitance. Not only the logistics of my actions and behavior, but the stress, time and interruptions to the flow of our days.

“You’re being selfish by not using the catheter, you can’t make it to the bathroom in time.”

“ You’re going to get skin breakdown if you don’t change in time.”

“ You aren’t hydrating enough because you’re trying to avoid going, that’s not healthy.”

Do these statements sound familiar?

If they do, then you are being stubborn about using a catheter also. You are genuinely out of excuses or reasons. Do your family and care team a solid, start using it! It beats hunting for an accessible bathroom to change. By the way, the catheter is in fact comfortable and the bag can be hidden while secured to your leg.

So stop being a drip about it, the obvious choice is… To Cath.


One comment

  1. Joanna · January 22, 2022

    Greater love hath no man than this; that he give up his preferences for another’s well-being.
    Thank you for sharing this story of the road to showing love to yourself and your caregivers!


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