Steve's Journey Part 7
Eleven days on from my operation we had reached the next milestone, today was Catheter removal day!
We were up, showered and on the road for 6.45am, taking into account the current state of the A14 road works to allow us enough time to get to Addenbrookes for our 9.30 appointment. Marie (Matron as I now had to address her) had everything planned and organised in her usual manner, and stowed away in my travel bag were 2 pairs of pants, a selection of incontinence pads, jogger bottoms, a bath towel and an expandable vessel that would be utilised should I need a wee on the way home. Before we left I had my daily Heparin injection and took Paracetamol and Ibuprofen in anticipation of the procedure ahead. Today was Percy's big day and a quick look down below gave me the impression that he was up for the ordeal ahead!
I was generally feeling good in myself, in weather reporting terms - today would be sunny intervals, a chance of a light shower and a strong wind continuing from a southerly direction! My bowel movements were still causing me discomfort, but my wounds were healing well and my catheter bag contents now had the look of a classic Sauvignon Blanc. The removal of the catheter and my ability to wee following the procedure had been playing on my mind for a few days. Would the removal be painful, would I bleed and of course the million dollar question - would I be able to control my newly refurbished plumbing?.... and how long potentially would I have to utilise my extensive collection of incontinence pads.
We arrived and checked in at Clinic 4A, I was soon called and led along to a consulting room by a nursing Sister. I was asked various questions about my general health, before I was the given a Ciprofloxacin tablet that would help in preventing the possibility of infection following the removal. I was then asked to "drop my trousers" and lay on the bed. The nurse explained that the procedure would be very quick and I should not feel any major discomfort. 10ml of water was flushed via a syringe up Percy's pipe, and then the small balloon at the top of the pipe, which had held it in place within the bladder since the operation, was deflated. I was then asked to cough four times...it sounded like I was clearing my throat in readiness for a speech, but before I could say anything I felt the catheter pipe slide out, which was a strange sensation, but to my relief painless. The nurse confirmed that everything was good, that there was no bleeding, just a small discharge which was normal. I was pleasantly surprised at the pain-free speed of the removal.... once again Percy had been there for me at my time of need. I looked down at Percy, who no longer had anything connected, and at last seemed at peace with the world. Another hurdle had been overcome and whilst from an environmental stand point I had embraced our local supermarket's "Bag for life" Campaign... I had no problem with the disposal of this one! I inserted a pad into my pants, pulled up my trousers and was then told to drink around 700 ml of water to see if I could get the urge to pass urine.
I walked the corridors of Addenbrookes with Marie, drinking water and praying the urge would develop, sure enough about an hour later I made my way to the toilet and sitting down as instructed I had my first wee via Percy for twelve days......no pain and a steady stream that to my amazement I seemed in control of. There was a very small amount of watery blood but nothing to worry about. As I exited the toilet Marie joined me in the moment, as we celebrated Percy's perfect performance. We returned triumphantly to the clinic, the nurse checked my abdomen and did a bladder scan to establish how much urine had been retained. She was happy with the results and we were told we could go home.
Our journey would require three short stops, as I continued to expel the vast amount of water I had taken on board, but I was still in control and had not so far experienced any little accidents. Once home I recalled the Consultants comments as I had laid in the recovery room "The operation had gone as planned and we have been able to preserve the Lymph Nodes and have also worked aggressively in protecting the nerve endings" - clearly my ability to pee and control my bladder at such an early stage was the result of the Consultants expertise and care, with the added advantage of our decision to attack the Cancer early whilst I was strong and it was weak. The remainder of the day continued in a similar vein, with me getting the urge and Percy delivering the goods....and still no accidents. Bedtime arrived and being carried along on my success to date I announced I would go to bed without pads. Matron spoke sternly " I would suggest you wear the pad tonight". I wasn't sure whether this was based on her professional knowledge or the fear of having to sleep at the shallow end, but I did as I was told and retired padded up!! I slept and would wake around three times, with the natural feeling to empty. The night's sleep passed without any accidents and I awoke with a dry pad. Matron Marie congratulated me with the words "Good Boy". I recalled the last time I had been praised for staying dry throughout the night I had received a colouring book and crayons at the age of 3. I'm sure my 89 year old Mother would be equally proud of her son's latest effort. The next morning I showered and decided I would discard my baggy tracky bottoms and replace them with a pair of Levis. I remembered the nurse's words as I had left the clinic - don't forget your Pelvic Floor exercises. I was determined to maintain my amazing progress to date, and have continued to religiously carry out the exercises that I had been shown at Addenbrookes Physio Centre on the day we had requested the operation. Another major hurdle was behind us. Before I sign off I would like to personally thank Percy for his resolve and for delivering when asked during this daunting period in my life! erhaps Percy's biggest challenge still awaits him, when he is asked to rise to the occasion and stand to attention once again!....To Follow....