I’ve had a bad couple of hours. I went down to the shop to help V with some paperwork. He had a gallon of orange juice and a bottle of vodka, so we chatted amiably (or as amiably as V can manage without going all brusque and Russian) and we drank together as he gave me a lesson on how to grade diamonds. I popped next door to the pub toilets to rid myself of the screwdrivers and…
Not the tiniest drop.
I did notice this morning that I was having a bit of trouble but, typical me, I chose to ignore it. So I had to leave V to his paperwork, go home, call my nurse, and have a length of wire rammed up my dick. (Y’know, some people on the scene actually pay for this shit, it’s called ‘urethral play‘, and the very thought of it makes my bones shiver. I can’t think of anything less sexy than this…!)
Imagine the scene: young man, skinny thing, distended stomach full of orange juice and Tetley’s tea, legs akimbo on bedsheets that haven’t been changed for, oh, a million years, surrounded by condom wrappers and kit-kat detritus, whilst a beautiful nurse whips out a yard of way-too-thick tubing and casually threads it through the second most important hole in my body.
“You done anything nice this summer?” she asks.
“mumble mumble ow.”
I’m no stranger to catheters – but for me it’s the most disturbing aspect of my illness (so far). Your body image is totally shattered. I know I shouldn’t bring sex into all of this, but personally this one tiny memory is the only thing that makes this all bearable – the last time I had a catheter ‘fitted’, I got drunk and Toscar and I were fooling around in my bed. I kept batting his hand away saying ‘No Tosc, it’s terrible, please don’t…’ and he asked me to close my eyes. He took my jeans off, slid down my boxers, and said ‘c’mon – what’s so ugly about that?’ and kissed me. I love the way he cuts through the shit of everything; and I damn well know that not many people would be that understanding in the face of such grossness. He seems to think it’s all just another loveable quirk of mine.
So now I’m sitting here in bed, stinging, smoking, feeling a little bit sorry for myself but I’m sure the feeling will pass. It just takes some getting used to, is all. Nursey recommended that I keep the catheter in until I see my neurologist at the end of the month, and I may have to start thinking about something permanent. The way forward is – apparently – ‘self-catheterization’ which is every bit as horrible as it sounds. But at least it’ll give me the freedom at times like this to control my body and keep it mine, without having to rely on the NHS to come and save me whenever something goes wrong. I have a team of lovely nurses (one lot take care of my physical health, the other are my mental-health lovelies) and I must say – my nurses are angels, every one of them, goddesses. I must buy them some flowers or something.