Catheter removal day (30/12)
I attended Addenbrookes at 10 AM today for the removal of my pipework. Mixed feelings really as though it is inconvenient having it in I was aware that having my catheter removed could result in me being incontinent. To begin with, my puncture wounds from the operation were duly inspected by the nurse and given the all clear. She then invited in a colleague and explained what exactly was going to take place.I was told to strip naked, lay on the bed with my back on the mattress and whilst the second nurse chatted to me the first nurse ( a matron in old money) drained, using a syringe and the drain port on the catheter pipework, the saline solution from the balloon holding the catheter in place. Once the balloon had been emptied, I was told to turn my head towards the wall and cough 3 times. During my second cough the catheter pipework was removed. No pain or sensation at all. So, a win-win. For those wondering why I was told to cough, it is because coughing relaxes the pelvic floor muscles and makes it easier to remove the catheter.
Having got redressed, "Matron" told me that I would need to show that I could pass urine and could empty my bladder before she would allow me to leave her care. She pointed out that because there were no spare beds available she was very hopeful that I could do both. I was told to drink as much water as I could, to wander around the hospital (but not the wards area) and to try and urinate at least a couple of times. I was duly sent on my way at around 10.30 am and told to call back at 12 noon. During my wanderings, I drunk at least 10 disposable plastic cups of water but only managed to dribble when I went to the toilet. Returning to the unit at the prescribed time, I mentioned to "Matron" that I had not been able to go too much and she suggested I try again. Interestingly, whether it was her words "you must go"or the fact she was standing outside the toilet door, but go I did and with a reasonably good stream. The trouble was I was still leaking (thankfully I had a Tena pad in my underwear) walking back to her room and continued to do so when standing up or moving around (sitting down was fine). "Matron" suggested that my pelvic floor muscles were not strong enough ( I had been undertaking the required exercise regime daily for 6 weeks prior to my surgery) and said that I would have to continue to work on them. After checking my bladder level (it contained less than 1 ml of fluid), after giving me a couple of pairs of incontinence pants( I had only bought one spare pad with me) and further instructions and guidance I was, at 12.50 pm, sent on my way.
Based on my experience, my recommendation when going to have your catheter removed is that you take at least one change of underwear, at least 4 pads and a couple of pairs of incontinence pants.