Tag Archives: catheter

The Final Countdown

It’s 9.40 am. I’ve already had my first hospital trip of the week and my time is now my own until 7.30 am on Thursday. At that point (fingers crossed) I should enter the final phase of the operation that has now lasted six weeks. Based on previous experience and the scanty information I was given at the beginning I was expecting it to be over in 3 days. Yes, what an idiot I was.

It is now three days until the operation and seven more before the catheter comes out. I am counting…

Although I’ve tended to concentrate on the urological side of things, as there are ready made elements of pathos and low comedy in that, I’m also been investigated for a range of other problems, all identified on my visit in December.

Take the Great Warfarin Farce as an example. I asked for the tests to be left until I’d finished with the operations but the doctor insisted. It involves visiting a hospital on the other side of town twice a week and eating rat poison. They may call it Warfarin and pretend not to know it has another use but I’ve fed bucketfuls of the stuff to rats over the years. It was first sold as a rat poison in 1948 and as a medicine in 1954. I leave you to draw your own conclusions

I went for my first appointment and I got off to a bad start with the nurse by enquiring why I had to give the same information every time I visited and why they couldn’t store it from visit to visit. She didn’t like that.  To be fair, she probably hears it a lot.

Things worsened when I told her I couldn’t make the next date for testing as I would be in hospital. Basically she called me a liar, and supported this by calling up a copy of my discharge letter to prove it said nothing about part two of the operation.

I suppose she thought I just wore the urinary catheter for fun.

“That,” I said, “is the discharge letter from the emergency admission last week. You need the one from 10th April.”

“Ah!,” she said, “I see.”

However, the operation didn’t happen and I had to stop the Warfarin five days before the next operation. That meant I was on Warfarin for five days.

I’ll cut to the chase – on my last test the nurse, a more practical and cheery individual than the first one – said: “I don’t even know why they started you on Warfarin until after the operation.”

So, I’m off Warfarin at the moment, though Julia has intimated she’s at a point where, if I don’t stop whining about the NHS, she’ll be happy to feed it to me, whatever the nurse may say.

An Awkward Moment and Some Good News

I went to the dentist this morning, which proved to be a prelude to an embarrassing episode. As I was leaving, I noticed a couple of small pools of liquid on the floor.Oh dear.

A quick inspection revealed that the tap on my leg bag was open. Whether this was due to me not closing it properly, or whether I caught it at some point, I don’t know. Fortunately it didn’t leak on me, just the floor.

This left me embarrassed, and the dentist with the impression that he must have frightened me.

Ah well, I suppose it had to happen some time. If you store urine in a bag attached to your leg you must expect accidents. After my time in Male Urology I know that worse things happen…

The good news is that my teeth passed muster, though the gums need attention. As a result I’ve been trawling the internet to check on ways to enhance my gum health.

It seems it’s all down to eating the right things, and not eating the wrong things. In other words, it’s just like other sorts of health.  As you would expect, some foods appear on both lists.

I may start writing lists for the blog. How about a list comprising chips, chocolate, cheese and cake?

One week it could be Four Foods to Avoid, the week after Four Favourite Foods and the week after that Food Alphabet – Letter C. That’s before the sound of barrel scraping and the inevitable What I’m Having for Tea Tonight.

Finally, some good news. I’ve just had a letter from the hospital. They want me to present myself with an overnight bag in two week’s time. I’m not getting too excited after what happened last time, but it does seem that there might be reason for hope.

Random Reflections

It’s now ten days since the medical profession applied heavyweight medical equipment to some of my more delicate bits. I’m pleased to report that the bleeding has stopped, the swelling has gone and I’m now resigned to the indignity of the catheter. Only five weeks before the replay.

I’ve been doing some thinking about my leg too and with a combination of exercise and stretching it seems to be improving. If I can keep that going I should be back to proper walking by the end of the week.

The only remaining problem was the changing of the leg bag. I haven’t changed one before so I was slightly apprehensive about what might happen. As it turned out there was no problem – everything went without a hitch and I am now connected again.

There was a potential for trouble but I managed to avoid it. Depending on which brand of product you use there are between two and four lengths of tube between catheter and leg bag. The brand issued by the hospital  has 4 lengths. They fitted me with a 30cm tube after the operation.

So they obviously gave me 30cm tubes with the kits they sent me home with. Well, you’d think so. Even with a 30cm tube I have to take care how I set things up. The consequences of getting it wrong is that you squeak like a hamster and have to wipe the tears from your eyes.

Fortunately I checked before opening the packets, as the tubes supplied by the hospital and District Nurse are all 10cm. Fortunately I’d ordered the larger of the two sizes available on prescription (a different brand from the hospital supply) so the ones I collected yesterday allow me to walk without trouble.

It’s tempting to launch into a collection of catheter anecdotes (I have a few…) but I will maintain some pretence of good taste. Well, I will after a couple more paragraphs.

My latest scheme is to experiment with food colourings. I’m looking forwards to showing the doctors a bag of lurid-coloured liquid and seeing what they do. Julia is refusing to help with this, but has suggested beetroot. It is, after all, well known for turning urine red. I’m currently taking a proton pump inhibitor as part of my doctor’s crusade to test every sort of pill known to man, and this may prevent the desired result. I also really hate beetroot, which is another drawback.

On the other hand I’m not sure what constitutes a lethal dose of food colouring. It’s the sort of thing you need to know, because although brightly-coloured urine is a joke, food poisoning is no fun.

 

 

A Tale of Tubes and Tears

The last few days have not been great, though due to the magic of blogging you won’t know that. When you’ve been reading about the trip to Wales I’ve actually been in hospital in Nottingham. On balance, despite the unpleasantness of a stay in male urology, I prefer Nottingham. There were no Kites, and no bilingual road signs, but the food was better and there was no problem with finding a toilet when you wanted one.

However, as a consequence of the operation and the bad night that followed I’m feeling subdued and tired, so I’m taking the easy way out and talking of hospital rather than Wales.

I quite enjoyed the first part of the visit, though I really don’t like spinal anaesthetics – being stabbed in the backbone isn’t my favourite procedure and I’m not fond of anything that involves putting my feet in stirrups whilst men with beards mess around with urological equipment.

The operation was OK, and being awake allowed me to watch what was happening and talk to people. The recovery room was also quite fun, and the nurses on the ward were very cheery. I even arrived on the ward in time for lunch (fish and chips followed by apple pie and custard).

They even, to look on the bright side, fitted me up with a personal toilet system. It has taken care of the problems I had with passing water, and it means that I can no longer be caught short as I have all I need strapped to my leg.

I was horrified at first when they told me I was going to have a catheter for 6 weeks, partly because it’s the sort of thing that only happens to old men, and partly because I was hoping to have everything fixed up in one go. It seems they want me back in six weeks to tidy things up and remove some stones from my bladder. Typical NHS, you go in for help with one problem and come out with another.

Tea (served at 5pm) was tomato soup followed by  leek, chicken and ham casserole with mixed veg. I had the tinned fruit for dessert to try and increase my intake of fruit and veg. You don’t really get enough fruit and veg in hospital, which is strange (a) because it’s healthy and (b) because nurses are obsessed with asking about bowels.

The food was excellent, far better than when I was in 12 years ago. It was hot for one thing, which wasn’t always the case last time.

I could do a post on hospital food, and may well do that later. I won’t, however, dwell too much on catheters. I can be quite amusing on the subject, but it’s really more suited to the rugby club crowd rather than the sophisticated readership of WordPress.

No pictures today – there wasn’t much that was suitable to photograph.