Bodily blessings

Last winter I spent five weeks on a catheter. The enlarged prostate that required this device is a condition unique to males, but catheterization is something experienced by both males and females. The experience left a variety of lasting im­pressions on me. Mainly I felt older and more vulnerable, and with the vulnerability came humiliation and, I hope, some increased humility.

The first time I walked out of a clinic carrying a Foley catheter bag, I was extremely self-conscious, to say the least, though other patients, with their own worries, probably paid little attention. There I was toting a bag the size of a purse. Winding into it, up from my ankle, was the transparent, urine-filled plastic piping the diameter of my little finger. It might as well have been a blinking yellow tube of neon.


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