This morning we went to urology to have my husband’s catheter removed.
First the nurse poured about 300 ml of water into his penis and asked him to try to urinate it out. He got about 60 ml out. Then she told him to walk around for a couple of hours with a urinal and try to get the rest out. Then come back and check in with her.
We walked around for a couple of hours. He didn’t feel an urge to urinate. We went back, dreading that she’d want to put the catheter back in. It doesn’t feel good. The bags are inconvenient and clumsy and a nuisance to clean. He’s been doing his exercises on our bed because he has to keep his hips above the height of the bag, and this is the only way he can do sit-ups and hip-crossovers.
Instead, the nurse used a sonogram machine to measure the content of his bladder. It was now back up to about 340 ml. We were sure she was going to want to put that catheter back in. It’s been in and out 3 times in the past few weeks.
Then a young doctor came in and talked about how since my husband is older and has an enlarged prostate, he should have surgery to enlarge the hole in his prostate that urine goes through. He sounded so enthusiastic and excited. The more excited he got, the more terrified I felt. I kept thinking – how do I talk my husband out of this? After last week’s two near fatalities (a bowel obstruction caused by suturing the incision for his hernia, and then the atrial fibrillation during surgery to repair the bowel obstruction), I see surgery as Russian Roulette and I don’t want to play. Not with my husband’s life at stake!
An older surgeon told my husband that before he could be considered for the prostate surgery, he’d need a bladder elasticity test. We got that. I’m thrilled to report that his bladder flunked! He can’t have the surgery. Yay! Instead a nurse taught him to catheterize himself if he ever needs to go and can’t. The nurse and older surgeon both said that this is a solution that he can live with for the rest of his life. Yay!
No more catheter bags to wash. No more threats of surgery. The docs even say that the likelihood of infection is much lower with self-catheterization than with a permanent one. And after all that, the nurse put 750 ml into his bladder and he was able to urinate out 250 ml. She said that so long as he can urinate at least 200 ml, when he feels an urge, then he doesn’t need to catheterize himself. He’s fine. He’s home. He’s free of tubing.