A catheter is the greatest invention in the world, unless of course, you have a penis! OMG, how do you explain to someone what a catheter feels like? I feel like a river trout with a fishing hook buried deep inside me, and there’s some red-headed 7 year old trying to wiggle it out every time I take a step. This is the bane of my current new existence.
There is a trade-off, of course, the ability to drain 2 litres of fluid at night without ever having to get out of the bed. Thank goodness I was unconscious when they inserted it.
There are two types of catheters, the urinary foley catheter and the Trucker’s Friend. I have the former. I wish I had the latter, but in retrospect it looks kind of messy and ineffective. The purpose of the foley catheter, and its extended presence in my body is two fold.
Firstly, it acts as a drain for my bladder, which has been altered with the removal of my prostate, and secondly, the shortened urethra requires that it stay in for 3 weeks to act as a guide and template for the reattachment of said urethra to the neck of my bladder.
Because the bulbous end acts as plug/funnel within the bladder, you lose sensation in the bladder sphincter [who knew] since it’s permanently in the open position. It’s very weird to be standing over the toilet, with the catheter tube disconnected from the holding bag, and see urine trickle thru the hose into the bowl below, without feeling anything. Whatever your kidneys decide to let thru, exits immediately stage right. Trippy. Now I understand why there’s always urinary incontinence [hopefully temporary] when they remove this device. I’m counting down the days for that. Every step I take, feels like that fish hook and the seven year old are having a battle royale in my groin. I’m now applying Polysporin to the tip of my penis to try and ensure that the hose does not dry out and begin to chaffe my other “eye” …
My other fear these days is getting a bladder infection, or as the doctor may designate it a Urinary Tract Infection. My home nurse comes by daily to make sure all my dressings and stitches are clean, but the problem with the catheter is it’s an external hose that’s connected to my internal plumbing. My biggest fear is that bacteria, germs, whatever, will use the hose as a means to enter what is normally a “closed” system. I’m drinking a special cocktail everyday comprised of 3 squeezed lemons, mixed with real cranberry juice. Not the sweetened, Ocean Spray variety, but the real, bitter thing you buy in the health food store. Tastes like crap, but so far, no infections.
Argggghh. I loathe this thing inside me, 17 days to go and counting.