Thursday, August 12, 2010

Don't Catheterize My Husband!

I know from experience that catheters are bad. I’ve been catheterized 3 times and gotten 3 bladder infections. The first time was during delivery of my first child. The second time was during my second pregnancy. I was getting my pre-natal care at a medical school training center. There I was with my legs in the stirrups and the woman (pre-doc?  Pre-nurse?) Asked if I was having any trouble with my bladder.  I said I was urinating more often than usual. This is common for pregnant women.  Next thing I knew she’d jammed a catheter into me.  “I didn’t authorize that!” I said.  “You said you were having a problem with your bladder,” she replied.  I was so grateful to be getting the discount-priced medical care that I didn’t rat her out to her supervisor.  The third time was during the surgery when I got my tubes cut. Every time I got a bladder infection.  I’ve learned how to treat bladder infections with peach leaves and cubeb berries. I’ve also learned to refuse catheterization in front of witnesses.

My husband had a hernia that he wanted repaired.  He was not suspicious. The first hint he’d had that he had been catheterized was blood in his urine.  I immediately made him a pot of peach leaf and cubeb berry tea.  He drank it.  He even asked for a 2nd potful, which I made and he drank.  That was yesterday.  He has been unable to sleep. He needs to urinate every few minutes and he says it stings like a bee. The blood stopped fairly quickly. He does not have a fever. The stinging is constant, even when he’s not urinating. He doesn’t have a worse sting at the end of urinating. He has no signs of infection.

The doctor called and asked how he’s doing.  He told her about the urinating pain. She said that would be overwith by tonight and that they needed to get the urine out of his bladder before they could do the surgery. And she said they don’t have enough toilets to let all the patients use them.

This excuse doesn’t work for me.  The surgery was in a hospital. They have bedpans.  And if there is still urine in his bladder all they need to do is push down on the spot and the urine will come out.  There is no need for a catheter.

Later the doctor’s assistant called. Before giving the phone to my husband I told her, “He can’t sleep. He can’t sit. He’s in pain. Yes he’s taking the Percocet. It’s not helping and it’s making him constipated. He needs to urinate every few minutes.”  All she said was, “I’ll tell the doctor. And call if you have any other problems.”

My husband has had good luck with medical procedures before this. As a child he had surgery on his eyes and on his knee.  He had no problems.  When a truck hit him a few years ago, and broke his elbow, he had no problems with either of the surgeries to repair it.  

I can only guess that these previous surgeons didn’t catheterize him.  And now I’m on the lookout – no surgeon will catheterize him again unless the surgery is on the bladder itself.  My husband is a complete grouch when he is in pain and hasn’t had his sleep.  When the doc jammed that tube where it didn’t belong, she took away far more than the contents of his bladder. She took away his peace of mind and body.  That is the opposite of good medical care. 


  1. I'll bet catheterization for/during hernia surgery is just protocol. That nonsense about not having enough toilets is ridiculous and you should rat someone out just for saying that. If he doesn't have an infection, the tissues are irritated and urinating should help along with whatever you are giving him to make him pee.

  2. Alison, It was the Surgeon herself who said that line about the toilets. And a catheter so crudely used that it caused blood in the urine can't be protocol. The herbs treat infection, and serve as diuretic. This morning I added dandelion root, as bladder healing agent.