Maci is an active, outgoing 7-year-old who loves spending time with friends, swimming, and playing wheelchair softball. She was born with Spina Bifida and is paralyzed from the waist down.
"But don't let that fool you," said her mother, Maggie. "Maci is always on the go. Being in a wheelchair doesn't slow her down." Here Maggie answers some questions about what it's like to care for-and catheterize-a child like Maci:
Q: What is it like for your family to have a child with Spina Bifida?
A: My husband and I have two daughters older than Maci, and they're very active with soccer. Maci attends their games like her other siblings. And she's just as active as they are, only she uses a wheelchair for sports.
In order to urinate, Maci uses a catheter four times daily: after getting up, after lunch, before dinnertime, and before bed.
But in a family like ours everyone pitches in. So my older two daughters are a great help to Maci too. When needed they will fix her breakfast, get her water, or help in other ways. We don't see Maci's added cares as a burden. We all accept the situation—it's just our normal life. I think of us as a typical, fun, loving family.
Q: Did you have concerns about having school nursing staff catheterize Maci?
I was fearful at first. Cleanliness was a concern. It's also critical to monitor Maci's urine output, to make sure that she's not dehydrated. And since many nurses don't catheterize often, simply learning the proper procedure was a concern as well.
Q: How did it turn out?
A: Our school nurse was awesome. I was there just for the first few days of school, and she quickly mastered the process. She opted to catheterize Maci in the nurse's office, to avoid using a restroom, a more confined and germ-filled environment. At first there were occasional urine spills and the need to change into dry pants. But then the SpeediCath® Compact Set came out, which has a catheter and bag in one compact unit. Since the nurse has used it with Maci there have been no urine spills. This catheter has been a lifesaver for us.
Q: How did the school nurse ensure your daughter's privacy and allow her to feel comfortable?
A: She always locks the office doors so that no one can enter. In addition, she has the drape surrounding the cot for further privacy. To make Maci comfortable initially, the nurse routinely pulled out a stuffed animal that had a zipper on the back. Each day she would put little items in the zippered pocket of the toy to let Maci discover what was inside. Because the nurse kept Maci occupied in that way, Maci could relax during the catheterization until it became routine for her. The nurse would also sing songs with Maci, just to make it more comfortable for her.
Q: What catheter do you prefer to use?
A: The SpeediCath Compact Set product is awesome. We absolutely love this catheter and bag set —in my mind, it's the best thing ever invented. Plus it's fast, easy, and discreet.
In fact this catheter is so discreet that I can pull it out of my purse in public and Maci's not saying, "Mom, you're embarrassing me." Now it's easy to cath and dispose on the go.
And we're constantly on the go—my husband and I work, and we travel a lot for our older daughters' soccer games. With this catheter I have everything I need in one piece, so I'm not carrying a bottle or urinal with me. It has made life so much easier for us.
Q: In what ways are you involved with the local chapter of the Spina Bifida Association?
A: I want to be there to offer support to other parents. I have a chance to help them out, be a friend, or just listen. A lot of times it's difficult to talk to your other friends about issues with a special needs child. It can be easier to talk with someone who knows exactly what you're going through.
Sometimes it's just a matter of passing along simple tips. For instance I've converted many others to using the SpeediCath Compact Set now too, because of how much more simple and convenient it is.
Q: What do you anticipate in the future?
A: I'm looking forward to the future. I don't see Maci as being unable to do things, despite her need for a wheelchair. I say to her, "you're going to be able to drive a car, trust me."
Because I have a child with Spina Bifida I sometimes anticipate the worst possible situation but I always hope for the best. And I think that by keeping that positive attitude, the best will always be there for us.
Click here to try SpeediCath Compact Set
Disclosure: Maggie has received compensation from Coloplast for providing this information.
Important Safety Information:
SpeediCath Compact Set is indicated for use by patients with chronic urine retention and patients with a post void residual volume (PVR) due to neurogenic and non-neurogenic voiding dysfunction. The catheter is inserted into the urethra to reach the bladder allowing urine to drain. There is a separate device intended for either females or males only.
SpeediCath catheters are available by prescription only. Patients performing self-catheterization should follow the advice of, and direct questions about use of the product to, their medical professional. Before using the device, carefully read the product labels and information accompanying the device including the instructions for use which contain additional safety information. The SpeediCath product is for single use only; discard it after use. If you experience symptoms of a urinary tract infection, or are unable to pass the catheter into the bladder, contact your healthcare professional.