Me & Mariah: How my catheter affects my daily life
How to cope when your medical issues collide with your social life and just won’t let you be great.
Most of my friends know me as a busy bee because I’m always doing something or got something on my calendar to handle. I’m quite busy and this past weekend was no different. Friday was supposed to be the beginning of a fun-filled weekend however, life had different plans for me… let me start from the beginning, when everything begin to crumble!
Friday’s are for happy hours and fun cocktails and this past Friday I had plans to meet up with some of my old co-workers from LA County at a local bar/lounge called The Rhythm Room in Downtown Los Angeles. I’m always excited to try new spots and this place is literally right around the corner from my job. After the Rhythm Room, I was suppose to head back to the LBC (Long Beach City) to meet up with my friend Jasmin to see The LaLa’s Burlesque Show at The Federal Bar (I got two COMPED tickets from goldstar.com; if you’re not signed up for some of these discount ticket sites, you’re crazy and overspending!)
On Saturday, I was supposed to meet up with my family at Salt Creek Grille in El Segundo, Ca for a surprise birthday brunch for my mother. After brunch, I was would head back to the LBC to attend the annual Long Beach Crawfish Festival at Shoreline Village with my friend Erica (I also got these tickets on goldstar.com, although my ticket wasn’t free… it was still at a very low price of $7) Finally, on Sunday I planned to meet up with a good friend and mentor at the beautiful Terranea Resort in the beautiful Rancho Palos Verdes. All this sounds amazing right? Busy… but amazing. I was set to have a really fun-filled weekend but all that came to an immediate halt on Friday afternoon; I had to detour my entire day (and weekend) with an unplanned, inconvenient trip to Kaiser Permanente Urgent Care.
Unfortunately living this disABLED life comes with some medical issues that tend to flare up at the most inconvenient times and this past Friday was a perfect example of a true flare-up.
As I mentioned in previous blog posts, I have a suprapubic catheter (you can read more on this particular catheter model by clicking here) and although it was placed to provide a more independent lifestyle, it tends to incapacitate me when it decides to flare up. When I got this catheter, I was told that it would work better, be less of a hassle, that it would give me more freedom… well somebody lied to me. This catheter has taken over my life lol! My days are based on how it performs, will it be a good day with minimal pain or will it be on some “I do what I want WHEN I want” mood. Sadly, on Friday my catheter decided to act a plum fool and stop working, which caused me to go to urgent care.
Now, when I say it “stopped working” people are a bit confused on what that exactly means… so let me clarify. My catheter (which I have officially named, “mariah carey” due to her diva-like qualities) was surgically placed directly inside my bladder, where it is supposed to drain into a discrete bag (most people hardly even notice my bag, I try very hard to keep it hidden — it’s nobodies business.) However, because this is a foreign object in my body it’s susceptible to other issues such as:
Clogging (can be fixed with either flushing the tubing with sterile water OR replacing the entire tubing.UTI’s (normally cured by prescription antibiotics)
Any one of the above issues can cause my catheter to stop working properly and when it stops working it is extremely painful and can put me out of commission for days, sometime even months (if it gets really bad) so to figure out what was causing “mariah carey” to trip out, I headed to Kaiser, which after 4 ½ hours I found out I had a UTI and it was not trying to let me live my best life ANY time soon. It was very clear I was not going to make my Friday night plans, which sucked but taking care of myself is top priority, so I headed home on the Metro Red Line and Metro Blue Line, in pain, praying that my antibiotics would work so I could be back to my normal happy self the next day. Instead, I woke up on Saturday morning still in excruciating pain and realized that I would miss another day of plans.
This broke my heart because it caused me to miss my mother’s birthday celebration and I was officially stuck in bed for another day… all because “mariah carey” was still doing what she does best; causing pain and not working. So all Saturday, I was laid up in pain watching Hulu and Netflix, scrolling the ‘gram (Instagram) as I watched everyone enjoy life. Unfortunately this was not the first time (nor would it be the last) that I’ve had to miss important events because of “mariah carey.”
I’ve missed concerts, family events and work; and with each missed event I’ve learned that when living with medical issues like mine (this is just one of my issues lol) you have to be ok with life detours. It isn’t always fun to cancel plans, especially when others are involved; believe me, I’ve cancelled plenty of times on my friends and I know they don’t always understand but thankfully they are forgiving and patient.
But I’m not perfect and it can be VERY frustrating, but I’ve learned over time (a long journey that I’m still on) the more I come to terms with my needs and how I react to its unpredictable timing, I am able to see things from a calmer, more peacefully perspective. Instead of getting upset every time my medical issues flare up or cause pain, I just think to myself “ well, obviously I wasn’t meant to go to this event, etc” and my goal is to work on how I can stay calm and learn how to work with my body instead of cursing it. Since I was born I have lived with pain, (even as I type out this blog post, i’m working in pain) just as many people do (whether their disABLED or not) and it makes you appreciate the days where you’re not in pain, the days when you’re able to enjoy those special moments with friends and family and not be prisoner to pain and suffering.
This is my life, and it’s different from others so I have to be ok with what comes along with that. I’ve learned… what is for me, will be for me. This past weekend has really taught me how far I’ve come and how I handle things… I can’t drive myself crazy because I’m missing work or lost money on a missed concert or vacation. You learn to foresee and prepare (as much as possible) and when in doubt always buy the “oops…” insurance policy because shit happens… A LOT and the more it happens the more you are prepared for the next occurrence; plus my true faith is in God. He will provide EVERY single time.
Thankfully, on Sunday, the last day of my detoured weekend… I was able to escape my bed and take a much needed drive along the coast and have brunch with my friend at the Terranea Resort. For those few hours, I was able to feel normal, pain-free and enjoy the California coastline in it’s beautiful splendor.
This weekend has really served as a reminder that “me and mariah” *cues Ol Dirty Bastard (RIP) have come a long way from when we started our love/hate relationship about 4–5 years ago… and with each hiccup I learn more about how to handle her temperamental ways and to continue enjoying the great moments when they happen because not every moment is going to be good so we gotta enjoy the sweet spots when they happen. It’s all in your perspective. I could cry every single time something like this happens but how will this help me?!
Everyone deals with something, sometimes it’s big and sometimes it’s small… but no one is exempt from life’s woes but when you suffer… try to suffer well because there is always someone who is dealing with more, surviving with less. You can’t allow circumstances beyond your control break your spirit, without your spirit… you are but a shell. Don’t hide your suffering, instead suffer well and remember to live a vibrant and bold life!
Until next time, this is my world… on wheelz!