The Birds, the Bees and the Dialyses...
This is embarrassing...
Mum, Dads, Aunties, Uncles, and especially Daughter, feel free to never read this post... ever.
I have had sex. Shocking, I know, but I've had a baby and you were going to find out eventually, so I'm going to get ahead of this thing. The problem is, when you've got a husband on dialysis, intimacy doesn't really have a place in your life anymore. Throw in a newborn and your hot sex life goes up in flames.
The more I thought about it, the more I realised this is one of those things you need to talk about with someone who's been there. Over gin if possible, but I thought writing a post about it would probably be less humiliating for all involved.
When Curt's Peritoneal Catheter was inserted, he was in some discomfort for a few weeks until everything settled down. When it did settle, he always had fluid in his peritoneal cavity left over from the last dialysis session. I was terrified I would either catch the tube and pull it out (don't panic fellow spouses, this is next to impossible - even if you're really, really mad at them), or the tube was going to get in the way of... stuff...
I did some googling on the subject and we spoke to Curt's doctors, and found there was no real reason peritoneal dialysis patients couldn't be intimate. The whole idea of it is that you can live as normal a life as possible, so there's nothing stopping you other than your understandable reservations.
Take it steady
Yes, there's a tube coming out of your / your partner's stomach. Yes, it's a lot to get used to, so start slow. For us, we started with me just touching it. Get your mind out of the gutter... I meant the tube, not THAT. I was so scared of the catheter at first, so just touching the tube helped because I saw that I wasn't going to hurt him if I came into contact with it.
Talk to each other about how you feel. Curt hates anything that involves opening up, but it is important to try and talk about your worries because if you don't, you can end up feeling alone in all this and that is the LAST thing you need. Even if you're the one who doesn't want to talk, your partner may need you to, so wo/man up. I've written an entire blog post about my sex life to support fellow dialysis couples, so if I can do this, you can do that.
When you are ready for the next step, the reality is, it's completely the same as it was before. I mean, after a baby it's not the same, but I won't blame that on the catheter. When we both felt ready, we were out of practice, and I won't disturb you with the details, but the short of it is, I head-butted him in the teeth...
And guess what? We laughed about it, and we're still together. The catheter is fine, Curt is fine, I am fine, albeit head-bruised, but it's all fine. To be honest, with the PD Belt on, you don't even think about it being there - it's just like they are wearing a tight top.
If you're not ready for that step, don't worry. Sex is by no means everything in a relationship. Like all things in life, it will happen when and if it's supposed to. Don't lose faith, and don't lose sight of what's important in your relationship - each other.