Tag Archives: catheters

Just like Jane Austen

The day started well, with a telephone call from the pharmacy. This allowed me to drive down to the shop and use the words “Incontinence Advisory Service” for the second time in three days.  This time there wasn’t a crowd of people listening, so it was a less embarrassing experience than the first time.

I am now fully equipped for the next eight weeks and, as a result, feeling relaxed.

After that it was time for a trip to the jeweller’s. I don’t need any jewellery, watch batteries or repairs but I don’t really need an excuse to gossip and drink tea. With my current set-up I am able to drink tea without worrying about the consequences. It was a relaxing interlude, as it’s part jeweller and part antique shop. As I think I’ve said before I feel at peace in three places – church, antique shops and bookshops.

I also feel at home in “all you can eat buffets”, as you can probably tell from the self-portrait, but for some reason I’m never made  as welcome there as I am in the other places and don’t feel so comfortable. The staff always seem edgy when I walk in…

The last visits of the day were to drop off some Easter cards. It involved more tea and a look at several gardens that I used to look after. One of the ladies showed me her 80th Birthday Album. She had spent the week in Whitby with her children and grandchildren. It looked like a good time was had by all, and the Birthday Cake was made by Botham’s teashop. The picture on top was a view of the Abbey framed in the Whitby Whalebone Arch.


Whalebone Arch – Whitby

As a result of getting out and about I feel much happier, even if the weather forecast is not good.

In fact, with all this tea and visiting I’d go so far as to say I feel very Jane Austen.

My Plastic Footprint

I’m feeling uncomfortable in more ways than the obvious one at the moment. Apart from the feeling of discomfort in the bladder area I have a feeling of guilt about Julia running round fetching and carrying for me. On top of that I’ve just been calculating the amount of plastic waste I’m going to produce before my return to hospital.

It’s going to be six weeks before I return. That’s 42 days.

For those of you not familiar with the equipment involved, it starts with a Foley catheter. Don’t read the link unless you have a real thirst for knowledge, it’s just a catheter that stays in place because they blow up a small balloon on the end to keep it in place.

Definitely don’t read it if you currently have one inserted as I’ve just scared myself to death by reading all the possible problems.

They can also, it seems, be used to stop nosebleeds. The mind boggles.

The catheter is plugged into a leg bag.

It is secured to my leg by Velcro straps, which is a skill in itself. Secure it too far down and you can get quite a twinge when you stand up. If I could find an emoticon showing a man with massive googly eyes and drops of sweat I would use it now. That’s how it feels. I now secure it as close to knee level as possible.

You can get one with a longer tube, but giving one to the man who is six feet two would be too simple.

The whole point of the procedure, from my point of view, is to get a decent night’s sleep so I don’t really want to be getting up all the time to empty it. This is where the night bag comes in. It’s four times the size and you can get about 7 hours out of it before that sense of urgency alerts you to the need for emptying.

The night bag has several feet of tubing attached. I haven’t measured it yet, but it’s long enough to trail across the floor at night and get tangled in Julia’s feet.

To attach the night bag you merely connect the tube to the tap of the leg bag and open the tap. To remove it you close the tap and disconnect. Remember to leave the soft tube on the leg bag. Simple. Even an idiot can do it. Most of the time. I’ve only had one emergency sock change so far, and one trip to root through the bin for the connector…

Anyway, plastic waste.

You use a leg bag for a week, so I’ll need six, which seems a bit of a waste. However, I don’t want an infection to build up so I’ll do as I’m told.

You have to throw the night bag and tube away every day.  That’s 42 bags and about 50 yards of tubing.

I think you could open up the top of the night bags to make flower pouches. They already have eyelets for hanging and a drain hole.

However, Julia says no.

I’m sure there’s a way to repurpose the tubing too, but she isn’t keen.

So that’s 42 night bags, 50 yards of tubing and six day bags.

That’s not the end of the story, as they come in packs of one leg bag and five night bags. I need nine packs, in plastic outers, and at a ratio of 7:1 will have six surplus bags – three leg and three night. I’ll be interested to see if they have a system for taking them back into stock.

To be fair, the NHS is making big efforts in recycling and if I were to get an infection by reusing equipment I would moan at great length. You know I would.

However, I still feel bad about all this plastic.

We also have three pairs of crutches from various rugby injuries because they won’t take them back, but that’s a different story…