Talkative Tummies

My name is Christel van Eeden and I am a T9 complete paraplegic since October 2003.

I use a self-catheter, but occasionally have to use an indwelling catheter for a day or two, due to my work. I always wash my self-catheter after use, with ordinary hand soap, while I wash my hands. I store the catheter in clean water only, nothing else, since I normally do not have time, or cannot reach the basin from the loo, to rinse it before use. I also "cook" my catheter once a month in clean water in the microwave oven - on High for 10 minutes. If the catheter slips from my hand and into the loo, I do not just rinse it, but cook it as well to get rid of all the bacteria. After it has been sterilized, I store it in the normal way.

I empty my bladder after I have wake up and again exactly one hour later. Then my normal three-hour routine kicks in. I have found that caffeinated coffee irritates my bladder and needs to be emptied one hour after I have had the coffee.

I also cut down on my beverages from 19h00 at night. I only take a few sips of water from 19h00, empty my bladder before I go to bed and can sleep through the whole night without having to get up to go to the loo.

I only use latex indwelling catheters - and only ONCE. After one use, I dispose of it. My leg bags can be used more than once. After use, I rinse it with hand soap as well and let it dry thoroughly. As a precaution, after I remove the indwelling catheter, I take a Cranberry tablet from Vital, just to have my bladder rinsed clean.

A sling was inserted into my bladder in March 2011 to prevent leaks and the best advice I can give, is to NEVER be constipated. That is the only time my bladder leaks with the sling.

I could write a book on bowel care. J The tummy is a talkative organ, so I listen to it. I listen to the noises it makes before and after a "bowel-explosion." It will normally warn me beforehand and then I only need to get to a loo as fast as possible.

I have also become aware of the signs my body gives me. My left cheek always goes red when my bladder needs to be emptied (within the normal three hours) and surprisingly, my right cheek goes shocking red when my bowel needs to be emptied (on days other than bowel-days).

My bowel-regime takes place twice a week - on Thursday and Sunday evenings. On these mornings, I take 2 to 3 Soflax tablets at 07h00 and have a cup of warm coffee or tea no longer than 90 min afterwards, and I have breakfast. That is the only thing you can do to kick your metabolism into action.

At 16h30 I go to the loo and insert a Dulcolax suppository. At about 17h00 I take my coffee and go back to the loo. This is my "me-time" and I do everything and anything I never get time to do. Normally by 19h00 my bowel is clean.

I love fruit, but will never have pineapple, grapes, peaches, plums or oranges. If I have a craving, I only have ONE on the day BEFORE my bowel routine, an apple - or a pear - per day.

I also watch out for yogurt, sweet chilli and peppadews. Anything that has a lot of pepper is not good either and only mild curries. And I never take 100% fruit juices -only apple juice if I must.

When I'm feeling constipated popcorn is the healthy way to go. Oats is great for breakfast and I have salads regularly. Veggies are great for the bowel!