It is said that writing about something can be cathartic. Let’s hope so.
Whatever comments I have previously made about hospitals, two other things must be said. Firstly, the staff that I met were universally terrific people doing a great job. Secondly, in my case hospital seemed to work; it must have because, having been given some reasonably major laparoscopic surgery on Thursday 2nd December, my systems had rebooted sufficiently well for me to be booted out just three days later on Sunday 5th December.
As a result of the surgery, I had five holes in my abdomen: four smaller holes for various surgical implements to be inserted and one larger hole where the subject of the operation had been extracted. For 36 hours or so following the operation I was treated to a very effective dose of epidural analgesia. After that was stopped, I was on simple, standard paracetamol. Throughout, the nurses regularly asked me to assess my pain threshold on a scale of 0-10. I started off saying 1 and later zero, though I think any difference was hardly noticeable. Honestly, at no time did I experience anything that I would call post-operative pain.
To get me mobile, my catheter, which I have to keep for two weeks following the operation, had been attached to a leg bag rather than the large capacity container on my bedside. On Sunday morning I excitedly discarded my hospital issue, fetching pink nightshirt and dressed in street clothes once again. This simple act taught me an immediate lesson. However loose or baggy one may have thought one’s trousers were, when it comes to making room for the catheter pipe work and leg bag, they are nowhere near baggy enough. It’s enough to make you become claim Scottish heritage and wear a kilt though great care would be needed tucking the skene dhu into one’s kilt hose lest the catheter leg bag get punctured. 😯 Nonetheless, dressed I eventually was and Carol gave me a very comfortable ride home despite our appalling road surfaces.
I’ve now been at home for seven days and I’m no longer taking any paracetamol. At no time did I get anywhere near the big guns, the tramadol. I have still not experienced anything I’d call pain as a result of my operation. Excellent!
I wish I could say the same for the catheter. Once dressed in truly baggy trousers, preferably with soft seams, sitting still can be relatively (though definitely not absolutely) comfortable. Moving around the house tends to make the catheter wobble which, in turns, tends to rattle various tender bits of the male anatomy about. It is a strange sensation that fairly quickly becomes decidedly uncomfortable. A feeling similar to having been bruised seems to result. I’ve never been good at sitting still but, quite suddenly, I find it strangely appealing. The discomfort can be worsened by wearing less appropriate clothing and by rerouting the pipe work but it seems it can never be got rid of. At least, I’ve yet to find a combination that gets rid of it. Which would I prefer, wearing a catheter or giving myself repeated taps on the end of my dick with a ball-pein hammer? Hmmm – difficult choice!
The catheter also seems to produce an almost constant burning sensation which ebbs and flows but, again, never seems to go away. Most bizarre considering the function of a catheter, is the relatively frequent sensation of bursting for a pee. Given the overall discomfort and particularly the burning sensations (which can be associated with cystitis), I decided to call the specialist nurse at Wycombe hospital. I explained that the catheter was far worse than anything resulting directly from the operation itself and asked, “is what I’m describing particularly unusual?” “No”, she replied, “I’m afraid not – all catheterized men coming back to us say, ‘get this bloody thing out’”.
I can only conclude that catheters were developed in the same Nazi torture chamber that came up with the Alpine ski boot.
I have an appointment back at Wycombe hospital on Thursday 16th Dec for “a trial without catheter”. Whilst I may not be looking forward to the actual withdrawal of it, I am certainly looking forward to getting rid of it. My fingers are firmly crossed that they don’t find it necessary to put it back in.