Catheter Connection

Endeavor Games Volunteer Experience

by Tracee June 14, 2013 12:48

Time is never something I give up very easily. Typically most of my free time includes making sure my home is kept up, my work is completed each day, and that I have taken care of my family. I was excited for the opportunity to volunteer at the Endeavor Games, however as the date quickly approached I began to consider my time and how much I had to offer that particular week. Having always been poor at keeping commitments, I decided since I had already given the Endeavor Games my commitment that I was sticking to it.

Military Appreciation

Wednesday night I served at the Military dinner welcoming the Veterans who would be participating in weekend events. I’ve never been humbled like that before standing amongst young men and women who paid a price for my freedom. Many of these men and women had lost a leg, both legs, an arm or were wheelchair-bound fighting for our country. It wasn’t just my time I was giving them; it was my sincere gratitude for what they have done for me. And it was a life lesson. If these men and women could stand tall, smile, and enjoy life I need to do a better job at being thankful for what I have and living the fullest life, despite my shortcomings for the greater good. The dinner may have taken my time that night, but I came away humbled, thankful, and inspired.

Adaptive Sports

Friday afternoon I helped with registration where I got to meet athletes from across the country as they confirmed their events for the weekend and received their info and t-shirts. It was a pleasure meeting these brave kids and their families and seeing young adults excited to compete. I heard one young man walk away saying that he was “going to set a world record.”  I was his fan right away! 

I was soon transferred to the archery event on the soccer field where I had one of the best afternoons I can remember. I was paired up with four young men ranging in ages from 8 to 16. I quickly learned the ropes of scoring, where to stand, and what to do. My job of scoring each round turned into getting to know the athletes, their families, learn their stories, and become an encouragement. 

My favorite player was the youngest in the whole event. He was about 8 years old with purple braces that rose from his shoes to cover his shins. He squinted in the sun as he aimed his arrows but seemed to miss every time. He was almost too big for his small bow that he was still learning on for his first competition. Some of the leaders on the field would come by to encourage him and give him techniques. His father watched from the sidelines and quietly encouraged him. As the rounds moved on he continued to miss the target and hit the grass time after time. Soon we started to encourage him more and more “just a little higher Garrett,” “Anywhere on the target Garrett,” “You can do it Garrett.” 

Poor Garrett, he shared a target next to a young man from Arizona, a modern-day Robin Hood. Kevin was 13 and he had participated in archery since he was 4 years old. Not only did he hit the target every time, he never missed and rarely got outside of the bullseye.  He was all boy and all of 13! He gawked at the medical students helping out at the event and spoke highly of his long hair cut stating “it’s how the ladies like it.”  Aside from the metal artificial leg on his right side he was just like any other kid. He smiled with braces filling his teeth.

As we continued to encourage all the players we began to see Garrett start to improve.  At first it was just an arrow or two on the target. Not close to the bullseye but he made it on the target.  Then it moved to an 8 point shot to which we celebrated with pictures, high fives, fist bumps, and pictures! As the rounds moved on we became a unified archery family encouraging one another, helping with equipment and enjoying the spirit of competition. We would brag about scores, compare rounds and cheer for each effort. Then the event came to a close. We shared pictures together, took pictures of score sheets, and celebrated a great event. As we all started our separate ways, Kevin removed his sunglasses that he had worn all afternoon. He turned to Garrett and said “thank you” as he handed Garrett the glasses. Garrett had unselfishly given Kevin his sunglasses early on in the event to help him see through the bright sun. It was a gesture of kindness and humility, all from an 8 year old. As I said my “good byes” and  “see you next years” I walked away with a smile and gratefulness that I had just offered the one thing I hold dear, my time to the greatest 8 year old I have ever met.  I will always look back with fondness and respect on the athletes and the event.  I am proud to say I have become an official archery judge and can’t wait until next year when I can see Garrett and the others again.

Find out more about the UCO Endeavor Games here: http://www.ucoendeavorgames.com/.

About the Author:

Tracee has worked at 180 Medical for 7 years. She often takes on many different roles here, but her main job title is Purchasing Manager.
  


              

Bard Touchless Closed System Catheter

by Trish April 4, 2013 12:42
180 Medical is dedicated to offering the best possible products to fit your urological needs and to you unique lifestyle. Closed system catheter kits allow for less mess, simplifies disposal, and reduces the risk of cross-contamination. Cross-contamination occurs when the tip of the catheter touches the outside of the urethra, moving the bacteria into the bladder.

Bard Touchless CatheterOne popular closed system catheter on the market is the Bard Touchless Closed System. The Bard Touchless Kit has everything you need to cath in one package. The pre-lubricated catheter has a patented finger guide, a 1,100cc collection chamber with built-in sample/drainage port, one pair of gloves, povidone iodine swabs, and an under-pad.



Bard Touchless Catheter Features
Introducer Tip: Bypasses the first few mm of the urethra, which keeps the patient  from moving bacteria up from the urethra to the bladder.

Drainage Bag: Allows patient to measure, for the patient to move the catheter up the urethra without touching it, the catheter is also never exposed to anything other than a sterile bag and the urethra.

Insertion Supplies: Keeps the cathing procedure sterile.

Pre-lubricated Catheter: Allows for instant cathing, and no messing with manually lubricating catheters.

Long Bag: The bag is longer than the other closed systems to allow the bag to rest on the floor while being filled.

Finger Grip: Allows you a place to hold onto the catheter to help keep it from falling back into the bag.

How to use: The patient inserts the introducer tip into the urethra and advances the catheter through the bag. They can pull the catheter out of the bag, when done cathing to dump the urine or they may rip the bag to empty it.

Bard Touchless Introducer Tip
A few words from our founder, Todd Brown:


“My life improved drastically as I began to use a Closed System Catheter Kit. The freedom this product afforded me alone was worth the transition. I could now cath anywhere I had privacy, whether that be a restroom, a private room, or even my vehicle, if need be.”



Contact one of our catheter specialists today (877-688-2729) to find out more about closed system catheters to determine if they would be a good fit for you.

   

About the Author:

Trish Eklund has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters. She is a feature writer for www.bigblendedfamily.com and www.herviewfromhome.com.
   
             

Brain Cancer Survivor Relies On Hope to Push Boundaries

by Trish February 27, 2013 15:13
I was so inspired when I read BethAnn Telford’s story. She is such a courageous, strong, determined, and caring person. It is so easy when faced with adversary to focus on the bad in life. BethAnn held onto one word during her medical, physical, and emotional challenges: HOPE. That one word inspired her to leap over each hurdle life put in her way, carrying the hearts of others in her hands along the way. I had the opportunity to ask BethAnn some questions, regarding her challenges and triumphs. I hope you find her to be as inspiring as we do, at 180 Medical.

In the Winter of 2005, you were diagnosed with brain cancer, and you were obviously terrified. What were the doctors’ prognoses? 

The doctors thought that I would have to re-train myself to walk again, but that running—especially marathons, might be beyond reach. Of course I was definitely afraid about this, since I have been an athlete all of my life, from field hockey and soccer, when I was younger to running, as I grew older.  


What about cognitive function?  

I was definitely afraid of losing some cognitive function. Even now, when I am very tired at the end of a long day, I have difficulty with saying the right words and tend to slur my speech. It seems like the words I want to say are on the tip of my tongue, but I can't seem to get them out.


How were you feeling after that initial surgery? What functions had you lost? What was running through your mind?  

I was definitely in pain and was afraid I would not be able to move and afraid of loss of functions. Of course they tested my extremities to be sure I could feel my legs, toes, etc. immediately after the surgery and to test my strength. Everything went well, and as I gained my strength back, I stood and then started my first steps. I was determined to recover quickly and to not give up. As my strength improved each day, I used the hospital ward hallways as a circuit and tried to go further each day with my friends and family beside me in case I fell.


There is so much involved with fighting cancer. Chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries. I can not even fathom how much pain you endured. Something kept you from giving up, may I ask what shifted inside you to make you so determined to fight to regain your abilities? Did you have a strong support system?

I have been lucky with a strong family, especially my parents. They have always been there for me. My father, MY HERO, was always at my field hockey and soccer matches and would cheer and support me. He taught me to always strive to be better and to never give up. It is something I have always carried with me, and I am more determined then ever to continue my fight, not just for myself, but for others that are battling cancer, over-active bladders and many other afflictions.



How long was the road to recovery, and what did it entail?

I guess I didn't feel fully recovered until I was able to run the Marine Corp Marathon in the fall of 2005. I first felt the symptoms of my brain cancer while running the Marine Corp Marathon in 2004 and had my first brain surgery in the spring of 2005. I did my first 5K about two months after the surgery. I originally was just going to walk the 5K, but when I was about halfway through, I heard my father cheering me on, so I started jogging slowly and kept it up until the finish. I started then very slowing trying to build up my endurance, though I definitely had bad days and weeks were my body wasn't physically able to do what my mind wanted. I did it though, and managed to make it back to where my long journey started.


Running is a huge part of your life. How did it feel when you began training again? Was the love of running one of the things that kept you so determined to regain your strength?

I learned from my father to be independent and that I could do anything I set my heart and mind to. Running was always a way to push my boundaries and to see how far I could go. After the surgery, I was determined to get right back to where I was before and to not let this change how I lived my life.  Running was a way to test myself and push my boundaries all over again. It became a yardstick to measure myself by and I was determined to not come up short.


Describe the first marathon after your recovery. Were you afraid? Were you in any pain? How did it feel to cross that finish line?

As I said above, the Marine Corp Marathon was where I first felt the effects of my brain cancer and it was the first marathon I attempted after my surgery. I was definitely afraid, but I didn't want to let my cancer change how I lived my life. In 2004, around mile 18 of the marathon, around Hains Point in DC, I felt a "pop" in my head and was disoriented. I stopped along the road as runners streamed past and leaned over trying to figure out what was happening. I distinctly remember looking up at a street lamp, as I fought to clear my head and continue on. I managed to finish the marathon, but I knew that something was wrong. What I originally thought was an inner ear infection ended up being brain cancer. 

So, as I ran the Marine Corp Marathon in the fall of 2005, I was definitely apprehensive, especially as I approached Hains Point. As I rounded the turn near the bottom of Hains Point I started to look for the lamp post that I remembered so vividly. I spotted the lamp post and stopped for a moment thinking about how far I had come, since I was last there. It seemed like my steps grew lighter as I passed the lamp post and continued on my journey, knowing that I could finish this marathon and many more.


How many marathons have you performed after your recovery?

Since my recovery, I have averaged probably around three to four marathons a year. Usually one or two in the Spring and one or two in the fall, so I would say I've probably run around 30 marathons, give or take a couple. I think the most I've done in a year was five, the Shamrock Marathon and Boston Marathon in the spring, and the Air Force Marathon, Steamtown Marathon, and Marine Corp Marathon in the fall.


Tell us about your race of a lifetime, the Ironman, and how you won the chance of a lifetime.

In order to gain entry into the Ironman World Championship, you have to qualify based on your result time from a previous triathlon. Unfortunately, I was never fast enough in all three sports (swimming, biking and running) to qualify, as the spots are very few and the competition is incredibly difficult. So, over the last seven years, I would enter the Ironman lottery hoping to gain an entry slot. Unfortunately, I was never able to win a slot. However, this year Ironman gave athletes the opportunity to submit videos to its Facebook page as part of the “Kona Inspired” competition. Hundreds of us shared our respective inspirational stories about why we wanted to race in Kona. From there, it was left up to the fans, as they voted online for each video. There were three rounds of voting – hundreds of entries for just eight race slots. After nearly two months of waiting, I am thankful to have been chosen as one of the Kona Inspired winners.  It was my chance of a lifetime and something I will never forget, especially all of the support I received from the community from my friends, family, and many others that took the time to watch my video, hear my story, and help me reach my goal by voting for me.  


 I read that there is a special little girl, who is battling brain cancer, who you The Team Inspiration Organization was working on to compile enough air miles to fly her and her mother to Kona for your race. Did they reach their goal?

Yes, they reached their goal! Anya and her Mom Karen came with me when I went to Kona, Hawaii. My parents and a few friends were able to come, as well. It was truly an amazing experience, made even more special by having Anya, my parents and friends to cheer me through out the long day and to meet me at the finish line!  It is something I will never, never forget.


What would you say to those facing health challenges that feel hopeless?

My favorite word is "Hope." I believe there is always hope, no matter what the circumstance. So much so, that I had the word tattooed on my inner left wrist, so I can see the word as I run, to remind me where I've been, where I'm going, and why I fight as hard as I do. I have been blessed with a great family and friends that have supported me over the years. I would ask those that are struggling with their health, to reach out to others for help and to feel hope again. Whether that is through your friends and family, through your church, through the hospital staff, or the many others that support people in need. Hope is there, waiting to be discovered and believed.


You will be featured on the Discovery Channel, on March 9th for “The Silent Epidemic of Overactive Bladder: Challenges and Barriers.” What are some of the biggest challenges of Overactive Bladder you face, especially as an athlete?

Because of my brain cancer, I have also had other medical issues to deal with. Over the last several years, I have had increasing issues with the operation and function of my bladder. I am a patient of Dr. Tiffany Sotelo from the George Washington University Hospital, in Washington DC. She is the Head of the Pelvic Floor Center, as part of the hospital, and has been wonderful. I have had two surgeries for the implant of a nuerostimulator to help control my bladder functions. Though these surgeries have helped, my bladder has continued to decrease in capacity and has reached a point were Dr. Sotelo is concerned about the function of my kidneys. I will undergo a cystoplasty (bladder) augmentation to relieve the stress on my kidneys and hopefully allow me to better control my incontinence. 

I guess the biggest challenge is how my incontinence has affected my daily life. Now when I go to work or travel, I'm always looking for where the restrooms are located in case I have an emergency and have to rush to one.  I also have to self-catheterize at work, though where I work there is medical treatment office for employees, so I am able to go down to the office and self-catheterize in private, rather than having to do this in a normal business office restroom. It makes it a bit easier, though I do have to plan for this, as it is not too close to my office at work.  

As an athlete, I still have to worry about when I can't control my bladder, but I have increasingly learned to be a bit bolder and to not stress as much over it. When competing, I bring along catheters to use (I also have a great friend who runs with me and is kind enough to carry things for me) and will go into a "port-a-potty" and self-catheterize when I need to, but sometimes I will just "let it go" and then splash myself off with cups of water at the water stops along the way. I also bring a change of clothes, so I can quickly rinse off and change into fresh clothes when I'm finished competing. I guess it helps that my friends all understand and it makes it less of a worry that I will offend someone. 


How has having to self-catheterize impacted your life? Does cathing make it more difficult to participate in marathons? Was this discouraging at first?

See above.  It was difficult at first, but I'm not one to shy away from a challenge, so I've grown a bit bolder. Sometimes people alongside me at the event will ask me if I'm okay, I will tell them a bit about my story. They are always amazed and encouraging, once they know I'm okay.


How has 180 Medical impacted your life?

Being able to self-catheterize is a huge blessing, less embarrassing, and has enabled me to live a more normal life. I am able to "go" when I feel the need, without the fear of an "accident" or having to rush. I can take my time and go when my schedule allows. This has definitely increased my feeling of confidence and freedom, whether I'm in a business setting or out on the road running a race. 180 Medical has answered my medical questions when I call for support and has been very prompt with supplying me with my catheters on a regular basis.


Do you have any advice for others beginning self-catheterization?

You can do this! It may seem difficult and embarrassing at first, but after a bit of practice it will become so much easier and give you the freedom to live a more normal life. This is something you can do for yourself and not be dependent on others! That is such a great feeling and helps build confidence in yourself, knowing that you are able to do this!


I feel so strongly that knowledge is power and so admire you for using your voice to inspire and educate others. What are some of the unexpected blessings that have come from your challenges?

Throughout my journey, I have met some truly amazing, caring, and giving people and feel blessed to have them in my life. From all of my co-captains on Team BT for the Race for Hope – DC, my medical doctors and the nursing staff, and all of the others battling cancer, incontinence, and many other medical afflictions. Their spirit, determination, and compassion continues to amaze me and gives me strength to continue with my fight.


To learn more about BethAnn, visit her website: http://www.teambt.org/

The program about BethAnn Telford's surgery will be part of the Discovery Channel program called "The Silent Epidemic of Overactive Bladder: Challenges and Barriers," which is set to air March 9. Check your local listings for times in your area.
  


About the Author:

Trish Eklund has worked for 180 Medical for almost three years, as the Nebraska Office Coordinator. She lives in Nebraska, with her husband and daughters. She is a feature writer for www.bigblendedfamily.com and www.herviewfromhome.com.
    

                           

Customer Comments

by Kier September 30, 2011 10:36
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Melanie's Story

by Kier September 15, 2011 10:17
Almost a year ago Melanie's mom sent us this video to tell about Melanie's story and her condition as well as how 180 Medical has helped make their lives a little bit easier. Take a moment to watch the video and you'll soon understand why Melanie continues to touch all of our hearts.