Wearing a catheter for your urinary retention problem? You can still enjoy life with no worry of humiliation, shame, and embarrassment. The On-The-Go Pants campaign saves chronic catheter wearers from ridicule and improves their quality of life. The pants allow for mobility and give back their social lives.
According to the Department of Health (DOH), the number of patients suffering from kidney failure or end-stage renal disease in the Philippines has risen to an alarming level. From 4,000 kidney patients who undergo dialysis treatment in 2004, the number increased to 23,000 by the end of 2013. It continues to increase at a rate of 10 to 15 percent per year.
Prostate cancer is also frequently observed in the Philippines. The Philippine Cancer Society reports it as one of the most common cancers affecting Filipino males, being the 4th leading cancer type among Filipino males. In 2005, about 4,000 new prostate cancer cases were diagnosed in the country.
Dr. Alfredo S. Uy, Jr., Head of the Urology Department of Veterans Memorial Medical Center agreed that the incident of having to wear catheter is increasing. “If you have 10 patients in the clinic with prostate enlargement problem, 1 or 2 patients will be on catheter. It’s not only in the field of my specialty. Other specialists have patients who are on catheters like your family medicine specialists, cardiologists, medical specialists, etc.,” he said.
Because of this, patients have to wear catheter which in turn requires them to develop their own coping mechanisms on how to carry the urine bags.
“What I usually see in my clinic when my patients are on chronic catheter insertion is that, some patients will tape their bags around their leg, pin it at their waist, shorts, and pants, or hide the urine bags inside their pockets. Most of the time, majority of these patients really do carry the urine bags themselves-the catheter is inside the pants or shorts but one can see the tubes and the urine bag sticking out,” he added.
That’s when the inspiration for this fashion innovation of On-The-Go Pants began since its inception in December 2015.
When his 83-year-old father became hesitant to go out in public fearing he will be mocked because of the exposed urine bag attached to his leg, Mon Pineda, an art director at ad agency Campaigns and Grey, thought of a design that could be the solution for his father’s condition. He conceptualized a messenger bag that can hold the drainage bags.
On the other hand, Noel Orosa, one of the executive creative directors of the same agency, spearheaded the advocacy of helping catheter wearers by coming up with a better and more practical solution: cargo pants with large pockets to store and hide the urine bags. Orosa. Thinking that they will need the help of a designer, Pineda and Orosa initially approached noted fashion designer James Reyes.
Orosa recalls, “James Reyes did the initial sketches of the catheter-enabled cargo pants. The problem is that, James Reyes doesn’t really have a ready-to-wear (RTW) background. That’s when James referred us to Dennis Lustico. With the help of Dennis, we were able to come up with the final design of the cargo pants that will enable the catheter wearers to hide their condition.”
Dennis Lustico, an experienced fashion designer in both custom-made and ready-to-wear (RTW) categories, has teamed up with Campaigns and Grey for a one-of-a-kind “kawanggawa” or advocacy. He defines the collaboration as a passion project that has brought his creative talent together with his medical background as a licensed nurse. He made design improvements such as the added zippers on the pockets to allow the patients to check the urine level in the bags from time to time.
Lustico told InterAksyon in an interview, “In developing the pants, as a nurse, I had to take in consideration the comfort of the patients and the technical side—how the tubes will go to the catheter and how to anchor it properly. As a designer, you should put yourself outside the pants and think of ways to come up with a good design which is not obviously patient-oriented, rather more of functional and utilitarian-designed pants.”
On-The-Go Pants is designed to carry and conceal urine bags. It allows the bag to remain at a level lower than the groin area, allowing gravity to naturally pull urine down the tube, ensuring that toxins are drained from the patient’s body.
Its two spacious cargo pockets, one on each leg, can hold two urine bags which is ideal for long travels of 2 to 3 hours. The pockets contain special openings or concealed zippers so wearers can easily check their liquid levels and empty the urine bags as well. A buttonhole accommodates the insertion of tubing into the inside of the pant leg. The specially designed loops running through significant length help secure the catheter hose in place and keep it from coming loose.
“Anchoring the tube minimizes and prevents the kinking of the tubing. With this design, there is a convenient flow of the urine coming from the catheter towards the urine bags. There are fewer traumas to where the catheter is placed, as well as less irritation, less immobility, and less infection,” Dr. Uy emphasized.
Made of cotton twill fabric, skin comfort is also an edge with the On-The-Go Pants. No more pain from the abrasion of the plastic tubes and bruised skin from tight garter bands. The sturdy material also prevents spills from sharp objects poking holes into the catheter bags. Positioning the bags in pants and wearing them will just be a piece of cake for catheter users like Pete Pineda.
Despite his condition, Pete Pineda has gone back to being sociable because of On-The-Go Pants. The retiree now enjoys meeting his friends, traveling with his family, and catching up with relatives, which he was unable to do for the past four years when he started using the standard catheter. His leisure time is now spent without the worry of ridicule and mockery from others.
“Malaking improvement sa social life ko ito. Ngayon nakakapag-interact na ako sa mga kaibigan ko. Nakakapasyal na ako sa mall. Hindi katulad noon, medyo naging introvert ako. Minsan nga tinatanong sakin ng mga bata, ‘Ano yan?’ because the catheter bag is visible. In fact, pwede na nga ako mag-ballroom dance eh. Nakakalakad narin ako ng husto,” Pete Pineda said, with a visible grin in his face.
Wearing a catheter attached to urine bags is emotionally stressful on a patient and his quality of life. Considering this project as his “first real advocacy,” Lustico goes back to the inspiration and purpose of giving back the dignity of the people who will eventually wear the On-The-Go Pants.
On-The-Go retails at Php800 and comes in five colors: navy blue, black, khaki, beige, and gray. There are five wait sizes for men: Extra Small (29 inches), Small (30-31 inches), Medium (32-33 inches), Large (34-35 inches) and Extra Large (36 inches).
To order, contact Alyssa Lustico at 0926-7560494 or 846-0015. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. On-The-Go Pants are available through Lustico Apparel and can be picket up at 9672 Pililia corner Obrero Sts., Rizal Village, Barangay Valenzuela, Makati City, Philippines 1208.
To pay, deposit the payment to Lustico Apparel, BDO Savings Account, #004170212064. Outside Metro Manila, courier/shipping charges will apply.
Check out On-The-Go Pants’ case study video: