Its eight-thirty a.m. on a November Monday. The Foley Catheter comes out today. I’m anxious to have it out—and concerned. What haven’t I been told? What haven’t I asked?
It’s been an interesting five days since my discharge from the hospital. Oh, yes, I was very glad to get home. There ain’t nothing like a welcomed shower to wash all the grunge away.
Then there’s those delicious, home-cooked meals Carle prepares. Mouth-watering goodness!
However, I digress …
When I say interesting, I mean living with the Foley was interesting. I had to remind myself to go ahead and pee, wherever I was. I mean I could relax the bladder muscle and not worry about holding it. After all, the Catheter kept the muscle open and the urine trickled into the daily bag without my consent. I could relax and let go. I just had to remember to do so. Sitting in the recliner at home, driving to or from work, at work, or sleeping. After a while, the daily bag would fill up with warm urine. A sloshy weight collected on my right leg. Whenever I noticed it, I’d go to the restroom, prop my right foot on the toilet edge, unstrap the Foley’s lower strap and twist off the bottom cap, emptying the urine into the bowl. As easy as you please, but still very awkward.
Oh. I forgot to mention the wear-and-tear issue. You see, the K-Y Lubricant wasn’t doing it for me. I’m one of those guys who prefers briefs to boxers. I like that cupped, protected feeling you get with briefs. However, with the Foley bent over and held within the leg clamp, the edge of the briefs rode right along the tip of my penis. In effect, rubbing and rolling the penis tip between the Catheter and the hem of the briefs, giving new meaning to the phrase: “tender-loin.” I needed some help, some way to protect the delicate skin down there.
So, I’m at work in the hospital lab, rocking and rolling along, looking for a solution to my problem. What I need, I think, is some sort of cushion device. I’m processing samples, looking around for a possible fix, when I see a glimmer of an idea! And there’s no time like the present to try it out.
I excuse myself to the restroom; grab a couple of 4X4 gauzes from a nearby stack and head over to the phlebotomy section (these folks draw blood samples, they are the so-called vampires) and pocket a small roll of paper tape. In the restroom, I wrap a single 4X4 gauze around my penis, croissant style, and use small pieces of tape to hold the gauze in place. There, it’s cushioned. Nice and comfortable, like a pig-in-a-blanket.
The pure, clean smell of antiseptic burns my nostrils. I’m sitting in the Urology Clinic, waiting for something to happen. Not knowing what to expect, I’d advised my boss I’d be gone for about two hours. She was very gracious about letting me go. Perhaps she knew what was coming. I sure didn’t.
The door swings open.
“Good morning, Mr. New,” says a young woman in her mid-twenties, dressed in blue scrubs. “I’m your Technician today.”
She smiles like the Cheshire Cat. I know she knows something.
“I’ll need you to remove everything from your waist down. Keep your socks on. Then hop onto the table and cover yourself with this sheet.” She smiles again. “Be back in a sec.”
I do as I’m told. Again, years of training make this easy. I position myself on a large diaper on the exam table and place the sheet over my lap—it’s one of those disposable, absorbable things.
Tech re-enters the room. “Lay back, Mr. New. Here, let me pull out the leg support. There, all comfy?” She pulls on a pair of those purple Nitrile gloves, snap snapping them onto her hands.
Tech pulls the sheet up onto my waist, exposing everything below it. I watch her place a urinal out of sight between my legs, positioning it on the leg support. Her purple clad hands are busy moving back and forth, retrieving various unknown items from drawers and placing them on a table to her right. Some items I recognize, like a bottle of sterile, distilled water; a sixty cc syringe without its plunger; a smaller, complete syringe; Betadine swabs, and a few other items I don’t recognize.
“I’m going to empty the balloon-filled-with-water just inside your bladder, Mr. New. This is what held the Foley anchored inside you.”
She busies herself with that deed. I feel nothing.
“Alright, Mr. New, we are going to play a little game.”
Tech says this straight faced, while her hands are busy between my legs. I’m surprised I don’t feel something.
She holds up the sixty cc syringe, allowing me to see it clearly. “I am going to disconnect your daily Foley bag and discard it. You won’t need it. Then I’ll attach this empty syringe to the Foley Catheter. Okay?”
“Sure.” She sure sounds eager to me.
Her hands disappear down there.
“Now, I’m going to pour about two-hundred cc’s of this sterile water into your bladder. It will take about three-to-four fillings of this syringe to do that. With me so far?”
“And I want you to hold it for as long as you can, okay?”
“I mean, hold it until you feel like you have to run out the door to find the restroom, pushing people out of the way to get there! Okay?”
“I mean, don’t go anywhere, of course, just lie here and hold it. But let me know when you’ve reached your limit.”
“Got it.” I hope I do.
“Here we go.”
She fills the syringe to the brim. I guess it holds about another twenty cc’s of water beyond the markings on the side. I watch the water drain away into me. A second filling. A third.
“How we doing, Mr. New?”
“Okay, I guess. I feel like I need to go, but I think I can hold it a little longer.”
“Hold it as long as you can, Mr. New.”
Tech stands there, holding up the half-full syringe in her purple-clad hands, staring at the volume of water in it. I can see the far end of the Foley trailing down to me.
“How we doing, Mr. New? Remember, you have to fill the urinal above two-hundred in order to go home without the Foley today.”
“Think I gotta go.”
Moving faster than I can follow, Tech lowers the syringe, moves her hands around, and places the urinal in my fingers.
“Pee, Mr. New, as fast as you can! Pee it all out. Now!” She walks away, pulling out the Foley as she goes.
I scream! Oh, the pain! My eyes water, it hurts so! Geez! I pee, pushing the water through the pain! My bellows of agony bounce around the room! But I keep peeing! Distantly, I notice Tech slips out of the room, dropping the used Foley Catheter into a red-bagged trash container near the door. Oh, oh, oh! Good, God-Almighty, this hurts! I blink tears from my eyes. Wow! And I pee some more! I feel up that urinal! I’m going to win this game! I don’t want that thing back inside me, forcing me to go through this agony again! No, sir!
After two minutes, according to the wall clock, the pain eases off, dwindling away to nothing. Oh, things are tender down there, that’s for sure. Only two minutes have passed? No, that can’t be right. Well, maybe it is. I wipe the sweat from my forehead. Wow! What an experience!
I remember to cover myself before someone enters the room. I place the filled urinal onto the table to my left. The one Tech had the syringe lying on. I wonder where the syringe went?
There’s a knock on the door. It opens a crack. “Mr. New? You okay?”
“I’m not sure, but I think so. Come on in.”
Tech re-enters, concern showing on her young face.
“Hi,” I manage to say. “Was I entertaining?”
Tech frowns at me. “Mr. New, we don’t play that game here. Besides, there have been louder extractions than you. Trust me.” She cocks her head at me. “Are you okay?”
I nod. “Yeah, the pain is gone. Everything is still very tender, of course. But, the pain is gone.”
Tech smiles as she walks over to the table where the urinal stands tall, full, and warm to the touch. “Good. I see you’ve expelled well over two-hundred cc’s of water. You’ve won the game! Congratulations! No more Foley!”
I grin back at her. “Fantastic! Don’t want to do that again!”
“Got that right. Okay, then. There are some wipes over on the counter to clean yourself with.” Tech points to them. “You can go ahead and get dressed, Mr. New. I’ll have Surgeon come to talk with you in a minute.”
Final Result: Foley’s gone! Hallelujah!