Musical selection: Suite #1 in F from The Water Music by Georg Frideric Handel, courtesy of Classical MIDI Archives, © 1999 Pierre R. Schwob



The Catheter Club is an elite corps made up of those intrepid students who have inserted their first catheter (in a patient; lab mannequins don't count).

When I first created the Catheter Club, I was under the impression that the catheter was first invented in the 1700s by Benjamin Franklin. Well, it turns out that they go back much farther in history. I've been reading a fascinating book entitled Ancient Inventions by Peter James and Nick Thorpe, which claims that the catheter was invented in Rome in the 3rd century BC by a Greek doctor named Erasistratus. Those early catheters were thin bronze tubes (ouch) and were also used for removing bladder stones (thank God for modern medicine). A double curved catheter was found in the ruins of a surgeon's house in Pompeii. It is said, however, that wise old Ben occasionally straight cathed himself using thin glass tubes. Truly he was a great American.

To join the Catheter Club, please e-mail me or sign the guestbook.

Thanks to Mary Mada for her comments:

I had to write to this column because I have actually put a straight glass cath. into someone before. I have been working for doctors since I was 16. Docs can train anyone as a medical assistant to do anything. As an "on the job" trained medical assistant I did procedures that are outside of my "scope of practice" now. But one thing I noticed is that older docs like the old equipment that they are familiar with. They also refuse to pay for "new" equipment when they feel that their older, traditional equipment does the same job. You can't imagine my fear that the slender glass tube would break inside of someone.

(The thought of docs using a piece of equipment that hasn't changed much in over 200 years -- now that's scary! I wonder if they still practice cupping, leeching, or bloodletting. -- Diana B)

The Catheter Club awards its prestigious Medal of Honor to SHOPKINS3 from Mousetown, FL for meritorious service above and beyond

I have a new branch of the "Cath Club"; The Combat Cath Club". I work as a Paramedic/Tech in an ED in Orlando, Florida while going to school. When the cardiacs or the "D&D" ("Drunk and Disorderly") patients or the old men with enlarged prostates and urinary retention come in, who do the call for? The Combat Catheterist! This rare individual is one who can insert a Foley (16 or 18 F, take your pick) in a buckin' male patient, in 90 seconds, if the wind is right. I know, males are less challenging, since everything is mainly in plain sight, but think about some of the OTHER impediments! (I won't go there). Suffice it to say, I have earned my "CCM" ("Combat Catheter Medal")

1. They won't let males cath females in our ED.
2. I'm a "Paramedic-to-RN" Transition student here in the big "O".

The Catheter Club proudly bestows its first ever Honorary Membership to someone who prefers to be known as "Candy Colored Clown" (wasn't that by Roy Orbison?) for this contribution to our knowledge of catheters. This guy or gal is totally deranged, degenerated, and warped. I admire that in a person.

Crazy Eddie, the nut who introduced Tracheotomy Silly Straws(tm) to American beverage consumers in 1996, is proud to unleash the soon-to-be hottest fashion trend for today's aging Baby Boomers-- Wacky Catheters(tm)! Yes, Wacky Catheters(tm) are colorful, goofy urinary disposal devices that are proudly worn on the outside of your clothes! No need to be ashamed of your ever-increasing incontinence problem, 'cause Wacky Catheters(tm) bring the joy of losing control of your bladder back out into the open-where God and Nature intended it to be. Available in four seasonal motifs--White Winter Clear, Light Spring Green, Deep Summer Lemon, and Amber Autumn Orange, Wacky Catheters(tm) are safe, fun, easy to use attention-getters, which proclaim to the world, "I pee through a tube, and gosh darn it, I like it!" With Crazy Eddie's patented Urethra Attachment Appliance(tm), hooking a catheter up to your leaky "faucet" has never been easier! The bright, fluorescent Ureter Extension Tube snakes out from underneath your waistband and feeds into the triple hermetically sealed Wacky Pouch affixed to your hip with the included Crazy Clasp. When the pouch is full, just unzip the ExtendaSpout and pour the contents down the toilet. It's that simple! Order now, and receive absolutely free, an 8-ounce pouch of Crazy Eddie's famously scrumptious Colostomy Confections!

Crazy Eddie says--"Let's put the 'P' back into 'Phun'!"

Our second Honorary Catheter Club Member, Jim, proves that there are some instances where it really more blessed to give than receive! (Why do you think we become nurses? We'd rather give 'em than get 'em!)

A big HI to all you wonderful nurses/nursing students out there. I stumbled across this site while looking for information on handling my swollen prostate. I am one of those awkward people who don't entirely trust the medical profession. Should I duck now while you all throw things at me?

Think on a bit... Lobotomies, circumcision, blood-letting (leeches), straitjackets.. Hey, weren't these all part of the professional canon of your wonderful community just a few years ago??

Yeah, well I have a swollen prostate, I'm 52. Is it connected with the Atenolol I take for my high blood pressure, which as a side effect makes me impotent? Perhaps.

I have a nurse friend who caths me one a fortnight to keep the urethra open. My idea, not my doctor's, you understand. My nurse inserts about 10cc of KY jelly first with a syringe. All done sterlie field, by the way. She then passes in the FC, damn silicone rubber! It burns due to the friction. After draining me, she removes the cath, which stings even more than when she inserts it, because the KY has been washed off in the bladder.

We tried a PVC lubricated cath this week, BUT wow! I was peeing all down the outside of the catheter. I guess the PVC(which is VERY slippery and low friction, almost painless to insert and remove) just doesn't have the urethra/cath adhesion of the softer silicone FC. Any comments?

By the way, the packet recommends using TAP WATER to reconstitute the PVD lubricant. They must be joking. Out here, TW contains bacteria, fungi cockroach parts and mosquito larvae. We use 0.9M sterile saline instead (although saline tends to sting the urethra.)

So don't laugh too loudly as you are sticking the cath in some poor guy's penis. It's not so funny from our end of the equipment!

Love to you all, and write!

The return of CATH MAN! Another tale of the tube from the above mentioned Jim.

I am pleased to see that you still have my personal cath story on your catheter club web site. Can I add a warning to it about PVC catheters?

I mentioned that pre-lubricated PVC catheters passed in and out of the bladder and prostate without discomfort. WELL! Can I clarify that with some further experience? My dear nurse was cathing me as usual, using a rehydrated PVC catheter. She passed it in straight, no problem. THEN, she started twisting it around as she withdrew it - like it says in the textbooks, to empty the bladder more completely. HOT DAMN! I felt a sharp pain in my penis (urethra). When she took it out, some blood came out also. Turns out that the PVC lubricant on the catheter is quite easily removed by friction with the urethra. So PLEASE, only do the turning thing with silicone catheters - even then, is it really helpful? Don't turn the PVC coated type of catheter, you'll tear the patient's urethral lining. And, I promise you, it hurts to pee for a day afterwards!

Diana's warning about sterile conditions is well heeded. We pass the cath to dilate the prostate, not really to drain the bladder, though it helps avoid frequent night-time micturation. Straight in, ten minutes later, straight out. After 2 years of fortnightly cathing, no infection of the bladder has yet occurred, thanks to my dear nurse!

Please write if you are interested - no one has replied yet (except Diana!).


A salute to the winners of our coveted "CATHY" award

  • Shannon Delatte, SN, Technical College of the Lowcountry, Beaufort, SC
  • Michelle Croxton, SN, North Central Texas College, Bowie, Texas
  • Crystal Pennington, SN, Platt College, Tulsa,Oklahoma
  • Tina Archipley, SPN, Sacramento City College, Sacramento, CA
  • Vanessa Lyons, SN, Paducah Comunity College
  • Chuck Cranford, SN, Blue Ridge Community College, VA
  • Steve Schultz, SN, Madison Area Technical College,Reedsburg Campus, WI
  • Rebbecca Paige, SN, Wayne County Community College, Michigan
  • Verne Champagne, SN, Northwestern State University, Shreveport, LA
  • Darlene Drezenski, SN, Clevland Community College, Shelby, NC
  • Kelly Scarboro, SPN, Piedmont Tech, Greenwood, SC.
  • Michelle Gerald, SN, Our Lady of the Lake College, Baton Rouge, LA
  • Leah J. Pederson, SPN, SCTC, Fairbault, MN
  • Julia Love, SPN, Platt College, OK (Nominated by her instructor, the below mentioned Linda Mitchell-Mueller!)
  • Linda Mitchell-Mueller, RN
  • Marlene Darragh, SN, Western Oklahoma State College, Altus, OK
  • Stephanie Kurzawa, SPN, St. Clair County Community College, Port Huron Michigan
  • Kristy Julian, SN, Southeastern Illinois College
  • Jo Hamilton, SN, Portsmouth University, School of Health Studies, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham, Hampshire, England.
  • Maddie Dinte, SN,Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
  • Diane C, George Brown College, Toronto, Canada
  • Courtland Hampton, RN, EMT-P, Missouri
  • Juli Heidenga, SN, Grand Rapids Community College,Grand Rapids, MI
  • Chris Millard, SN, Confederation College, Ontario, Canada
  • Raquel Nelson, SN, Helene Fuld School of Nursing, Blackwood, NJ
  • Ric Perlstein, SN, College of the Canyons, Valencia, CA
  • Linda Ruggio, SN, Mt. San Antonio College (Her account in Nursing School Follies is truly shocking!)
  • Marie Corrado-Santoro, SN, Massachusetts Bay Community College, Framingham, Ma.
  • Christy Rogers, NS, Bevill State Community College
  • Angela Snow, SPN
  • Amy Murray, SN, Kishwaukee College, Malta, IL (Another wild catheter tale in Nursing School Follies!)
  • Michelle G. Samo, SPN, Westark College, Fort Smith, AR. (Be sure to check out her story in Nursing School Follies!)
  • Jeanne Hallett, SN, Central Oregon Community College, Bend, OR
  • Beatrice Olden, SN, Columbia Union College, Takoma Park, Md.
  • Vicky Van Dalsen, SN, Grand Rapids Community College -- first catheter, first ever clinical!
  • Lisa Grant, SN, Antelope Valley College of Lancaster, CA
  • Edward D. Labrador USN, University of Nevada, Las Vegas (4 in 2 semesters - way to go, Ed!)
  • Becca Arvin, SN, University of No. Carolina, Wilmington
  • Don Nichols, SN, Washburn University, Topeka, Kansas

My homegirls at Ocean Co. Vo-Tech in Toms River, NJ!
  • Jackie Ruiz, SPN
  • Debbie Sullivan, SPN
  • Laurie Stauffer, SPN
  • Sue Carlo, SPN
  • Maria Pipitone, SPN
  • Sandi George, SPN
  • Eileen Russo, SPN
  • Lillian Kocisko-Becker, SPN
  • Dawn Popick, SPN (our catheter queen - 3 since Nov!)
  • Helene Keinle, SPN
  • Diana Bitritto, SPN

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