Prostate Cancer Post 8 – First Week at Home
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Disclaimer - I am not medical professional. I am describing my experiences in hopes I may help others facing this cancer.
Now that we've figured out how to change bags, I’ll share a few more insights with you.
The catheter was attached to my right inner thigh. I had all kinds of questions. How I would sleep at night? Would the tube get compressed as it ran from my thigh to the bed bag? Would I accidentally pull on it during the night? Would I forget I'm “attached” to the bed when I woke in the morning? Fortunately, none of these concerns amounted to anything.
We tried running the tube over my left thigh and down to the bag, but that was a bad idea. The upward pull on the tube as it crossed over my thigh was not comfortable. We next ran the tube under my left knee and that seemed to work well if I slept on my back. I sleep with a pillow under my thighs because of back issues, so that kept my legs from pressing on the tube. Later in the week, when I was able, I rolled onto my left side occasionally, without clogging the tube with my body weight. It’s like the surgeon told me before surgery – you'll figure it out.
I'm looking forward to Thursday, October 29th, the day the catheter will be removed. The urethra is cut and sewn back together during surgery. The catheter must remain in place for a week, so the urethra can completely heal. On Wednesday, the 28th, we learned Hurricane Zeta was heading full steam into our area, with forecasts of heavy winds and rain for the 29th. Because we had a 50 mile drive ahead of us on Thursday, we decided to reschedule the catheter removal for Friday the 30th. Could have used some ability to see into the future, because the weather cleared by mid-morning on Thursday, and we could have kept the appointment.
I had my almost final moment of lost modesty on Friday, during the catheter removal. The nurse was quite nonchalant about the whole thing, and I guess I was too. She used a syringe twice to remove the fluid from the catheter’s balloon that held things in place. She asked me to breathe and then breathe out slowly. She removed the catheter as I exhaled, and it was done. No pain, barely felt it. At least, not until she began removing the adhesive path on my thigh that kept the catheter in place.
Now, before surgery, they shaved my abdomen as part of the prep. Did they shave the area on my leg where the catheter patch would be placed? No! The nurse had to gradually peel it away, using alcohol and a cotton swab to dissolve the adhesive. It was a bit uncomfortable.
The surgeon gave me a generic (Tadalafil) Cialis prescription to help with the sexual part of my recovery. He recommended I break the 20mg. tablet in half and take half on Monday and half on Thursday.
This ride home was much more comfortable than when I left the hospital. While the catheter was mostly an irritant, I was glad to be detached. Now, I feel I can really begin my recovery, but one final piece of advice.
After the nurse removed the catheter, she told me to really “pump the fluids.” If I had not urinated on my own by 3 PM, I should call them immediately, because they would need to reinsert the catheter. Apparently, the bladder can spasm, and maybe other things can happen to block urination.
The advice is to schedule your surgery with catheter removal in mind. I was looking at going into the weekend when the doctor’s office was closed. Had a problem arisen, my only option would be the emergency room and dealing with unknown personnel. Fortunately, I had no such issues.