Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Tips for Living With a Catheter

After your prostatectomy you are sent home with a catheter. Most men receive two bags. The first is a large bag for overnight usage. The second is a leg bag for daytime use. The leg bag is smaller and needs to be emptied a few times in the course of your day. An embarrassing incident led me to part company with my leg bag.

On that fateful day, I was at the mall shopping. During this outing I went to a bathroom to check the urine level on my leg bag. The bag was almost full, so I pulled down my pants and started to drain the bag. Unfortunately, I missed the toilet, spilling most of the urine on my pants. When I pulled up my pants, I discovered I had a huge, noticeable wet spot in the front of my jeans. I was humiliated and ashamed, so I decided I'd stay in the stall for the next five hours, until the mall closed.

As I reached for my phone to call my wife, I discovered I forgot to take my cell phone with me. This meant I had no way of telling my wife where I was, what happened, and what I intended to do. Against my will, I left the bathroom stall and walked through the mall to meet my wife at our prearranged place. My walk through the mall in urine-soaked jeans was my walk of shame. I never used my leg bag again.

I purchased a pair of baseball pants with snaps on the side. I ran the tubing through the space between the snaps and put my overnight catheter bag into an opaque shopping bag, which I held by my side. By using my overnight bag in the daytime, I could sit through a movie, a concert, or any other event without needing to check the urine level in the bag. If the shopping bag got heavy, or the opportunity presented itself, I’d go into a stall and empty the bag into the toilet. This was a convenient and worry-free way to live with and travel with my catheter. At bedtime, I found sleeping in a recliner was much easier and more comfortable than sleeping in bed.

You'll want to do everything possible to prevent an infection:
  • Never place your bag higher than your bladder.
  • Prevent kinks or blockages in your tubing at all times.
  • Follow all sterile techniques you were shown at the hospital, including a thorough hand-washing every time you change bags or clean your catheter.
  • If you experience painful bladder spasms, call your urologist, There are medications that effectively stop spasms.
Here's a link for additional information: Caring For Your Catheter.

Note: This article appeared in Prostate Cancer News Today 

Rick Redner and his wife Brenda Redner wrote two award winning books. The first:
provides men and couples with information and support before, during and after prostate surgery.

Their second book was written for couples living with!erectile dysfunction. After living with erectile dysfunction for four years, Rick chose penile implant surgery. The couple share how implant surgery changed their lives and relationship.
The title of their book is:

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