Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Prostate Surgery - Me and my shadow...

As part of my Prostate surgery, I needed to have a catheter installed. This is because of the way a man’s urinary system works.

Urine is stored in the bladder. From the bladder, it passes through the prostate and to the penis and then to the toilet (or tree or snowbank or whatever else is handy). When you remove the prostate, the bladder outlet has to then be stitched directly to the penis. In order to make sure that the new connection heals correctly and the hole remains open, a catheter (usually a Foley catheter) is inserted into the penis and up into the bladder. A balloon is inflated to hold it into place. The catheter tube exits the penis and is then “plugged into” a urine bag.

The hospital supplied me with two types of urine bags. One is an “Overnight bag”.

The long tube is plugged into the female end of the Foley catheter (an interesting role reversal) and the “bag end” is placed on the floor next to the bed. Obviously it makes sleeping a bit more challenging. You need to lie on the edge of the bed (the tube isn’t all that long) and you have to be careful not to turn over and kink the tube while you’re sleeping. In the morning, you unclip the “exit end” and empty it into the toilet.

During the day, I wear a leg bag.

This bag is strapped to my leg and allows me to walk around with relative freedom. I have to be careful going up and down the stairs, entering and exiting car seats, etc., but it does allow me to lead a more or less normal existence. The bag isn’t as big as the Overnight bag and so has to be emptied more frequently.

After usage, the bags have to be cleaned with a vinegar and water solution and then hung up to dry. Before being plugged in, the ends of the bag have to be sterilized with alcohol. It sounds complicated, but you quickly get used to it.

Tomorrow, God willing and the creek don’t rise, I’m getting my catheter taken out. It’s fine and all that, but I’ll be happy to see it go.

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