PROSTABLOG NZ: More on catheters.
An English industrial design student called Sam Gough has been in touch to ask if he can use my account of having a catheter after surgery last March (see Comments).
Sam is researching medical equipment and is interested in the catheter.
If any of you have stories to tell about this indispensable – but seemingly at times devilish – piece of kit, please contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
I recounted a couple of negative anecdotes about catheters in last night’s blog, so perhaps I need to balance it with others that aren’t quite so downside.
One mate who went through radical prostatectomy a year before I did said it was a handy bit of gear: “You could go to the pub and just piss the beer straight through.”
He was surely joking, and it was probably just an attempt to allay my fears.
Another said: “Ah, the catheter…you’ll grow to love your catheter.” More irony, I guess.
Barry Young, president of the NZ Prostate Cancer Foundation told me that when he was recovering from surgery 10 years ago he had his catheter removed after a week or so, as you do, but then had recurring incidents of not being able to pee.
It would happen at the most inopportune times, so he had to learn to insert a catheter tube on himself.
Imagine that! After all, for some of us, the damned thing is put in place when we’re under anaesthetic, so we can only look and marvel later at how such a bloody big thick piece of tubing can be introduced to what you always imagine is a such narrow space.
Incidentally, Barry had the problem only temporarily. He has been fully recovered for 10 years, and probably – like all good boaties who suffer hell in a storm then quickly forget about it in the safe haven of harbour – now has trouble remembering the details. Maybe not.
The growing-to-love-your-catheter comment came back to haunt me straight after my surgery, when Bob Hale, the highly professional urology nurse at Wellington Hospital, came to see me in the recovery ward.
I made a gauche comment about “loving my catheter” and he looked at me sternly: “Having a catheter is one of the most uncomfortable experiences a man can have,” he said.
Bob turned out to be anything but stern. He was the one who took the tube out later and he did such a great job I felt no discomfort at all.
One more catheter anecdote: I have an old friend who, nearing 80, was admitted to Auckland Hospital with urinary problems and was discovered to have a very enlarged prostate. He had a catheter inserted for temporary relief and surgery was advised.
His response: no way. And he still has the catheter – a year later.
He truly loves his catheter.