22. Home & away with catheter

A catheter can be quite useful from time-to-time. It certainly makes it easier to accurately water the lemon tree. But it introduces a level of obstruction that can be quite inhibiting and it sure feels good to have the tube removed.

This morning, Priscilla the urology nurse, gave me a shot of antibiotics in the bum and injected some saline solution through the catheter into my bladder. Then she pulled out the tube (didn’t hurt) and asked me to demonstrate my ability to to s s stop and s s start a pee over a kind of portable toilet. She then gave me a bag of pads (like nappies) which you stuff into your undies. I’m optimistic because I seem to have some control over when I pee. Getting in and out of cars and standing up from sitting seems to involve a warm feeling associated with leakage.

For anyone who’s never had a catheter, you still have the urge to pee, but not the direct capacity. It just seems to happen of its own accord. The main problem that I’ve experienced with the catheter is where the rubber tube goes into my zab (penis). It’s somewhat tender and the more I walk the more tender it gets.

It took me a day or so to realise that the way the nurse had set it up on my leg was wrong. First, I moved the holding band round to my inner thigh where it was a little more comfortable. Second, I tightened the rubber loop that holds the main drain tube. This was too loose and, as a result, when I was walking up the street I could feel the whole thing sliding down my leg and tugging at the tube in my bladder. It’s a trade off between being tight enough to hold a full bag and loose enough not to cut of the circulation in my leg.

catheter tube arrangement

catheter tube arrangement

I’ve also learnt to take it all off when I have a shower so that the elastic leg bands don’t get wet. This just leaves the tube hanging down and is much easier to clean.

A lesser problem is that the leg bag (being plastic) is quite sweaty. A delux model catheter would have some kind of non-sweat backing, a rounder tap (so that it doesn’t catch) and some form of non-constricting (crimping) entry and exit points. Being a compulsive measurer, I do like the ml graduations. It’s quite reassuring to see a good 500ml in the morning night bag. My practice, at night, was to leave the bag on the floor and make sure my leg was aligned to the edge of the bed so that the leg bag wasn’t crimping. Anxiety about crimping disturbed sleep.

Yesterday I had a call (mobile). One goes into a special space on mobile calls that can involve walking around a bit. At one point I was out in the street and some passers by looked at me strangely. Of course, I was in shorts (due to the heat) with my catheter hanging out. Could this me the new punk look for the over 50s?

the new fashion

the new fashion

A friend sent me this image: ‘On Cup day a few weeks ago I saw a 40ish woman getting out of the train, wearing her best purple satin flowing dress, obligatory little feather hat. It was obvious that she had had the odd drink during the day. Her extremely full leg bag had obviously slipped down and was hanging somewhere on the inside of her knee. It was a very curious sight. Must have been quite uncomfortable to walk with it.’

It’s been a week (last Tuesday) since I came home. I’m amazed at the body’s ability to repair itself. On Wednesday, I was able to walk up to Northcote Plaza (about 2K) without any difficulty or exhaustion. We went to see a film and saw ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. I had been warned that it might be painful to sit, and it was a little, but this has mainly passed now. From Thursday on, I felt even better and 20% more agile each day. By agile, I mean able to stand on one leg and put on my socks, able to do up my shoe laces, able to pick things off the floor, comfortable sitting, able to lie in comfortable positions in bed, able to go up stairs normally - not one step at a time. Able to walk as far as I liked.

Since the operation I’ve been taking two capsules of 500 IU of Vitamin E each morning along with a Osterlin Vitamin D (25mcg cholecalciferol) and since yesterday, two antioxidant compound tablets morning and evening. Prior to the operation I was taking one of the antioxidant tablets each day and two 1000mg Fish oil capsules with a vitamin D.

The secret to this miraculous recovery, I put down to the 3G modem and your daily encouragement.

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