I’ve had two Foley catheters installed in me in 2019. The Foley has a long tube that’s snaked up your urethra and into your bladder. A balloon filled with fluid in the bladder keeps it anchored in place. Meanwhile, the catheter extends from the tip of my penis to a clip on my leg that holds the catheter in place. Another tube is connected to the catheter’s exposed end. That tube is attached to a collection bag. The installed Foley let me pee, so the bag is emptied when it fills. In essence, I was just about always peeing when the Foley was in, which amused me. I liked to drink a beer and say, “Look, I’m multi-tasking. I’m drinking and peeing.” I thought it was hilarious. Nobody else did.
As background, I had the first Foley installed because I couldn’t pee. My prostrate gland had enlarged (BHP), blocking my urethra’s access to my bladder. That meant that I couldn’t urinate. The result was a medical emergency.
The second Foley was installed after a cystourethroscopy and direct vision internal uerthrotomy. Essentially, scar tissue from the first emergency was blocking about ninety percent of my urethra. While I was still peeing, because I’m now on Flomax (Tamsulosin), the cysturethroscopy was a proactive measure to prevent another medical emergency. It has a fifty/fifty chance of working. We’ll know more in a few months.
While I was conscious during the first time a Foley was installed, I was unconscious under deep conscious sedation for the second. That was mostly because the cystourethroscopy required them to delicately cut the scar tissue in my urethra until they reach healthy tissue. There would be pain.
The procedure went great. After fasting, reporting in, being prepped, and waiting, I was wheeled into the OR, given the anesthetic, and was gone. I woke up a second later, it seemed like, and it was all over, except the aftermath. That’s where the Foley came in.
Like the first time, I had two bag options for the Foley. One is a bag that attached to my leg. That let me walk around more freely. It’s not a big bag, and had to be emptied several times a day. It also couldn’t be worn at night. The leg bag had to be worn below the knee, which meant I had to loop the tube around the leg but leave it loose enough that it didn’t pop free of the catheter, and had enough give to move.
The larger bag, which hangs separate from my body, must be worn at night. It also must be dragged around. That makes it inconvenient. I kept it in a clean plastic garbage bag and hung it inside a small waste basket. No, we didn’t put any trash in with it. It was only used to hold my urine collection bag.
I did need to discourage the cats from investigating. They were always walking up to the waste basket and trying to look into the bag with a “What the hell is this?” attitude.
I appreciated the smaller bag and the flexibility it allowed, because it freed me up. I admit, though, walking around with felt like someone was using a saw on my pecker’s tip. Every once in a while, too, a little blood could be felt squirting out. I monitored the blood levels through the days, watching as it decreased. The first day’s blood, after the surgery, was about a quarter cup. Ruined my underwear, but I was wearing old underwear which really should’ve already been tossed. By the last day, it was very light spotting.
Opiates had been prescribed for me for pain management after the surgery, but I just shrugged the pain off. It was mostly mild discomfort, at first, like someone was trying to pull something up out of my pecker. Sometimes, there was also light stinging. Not of it was a bad as a bee sting for me, though.
I sometimes fantasized about having a longer tube attached to the big bag. Although the big bag meant that I was tethered in location, the leg bag wasn’t that comfortable. If I was wearing the big bag with a longer tube, say twenty feet, I could leave it hanging in the waste basket in a central location while I walked around. I also speculated about putting wheels on the waste basket or putting it on something wheeled, but it was only five days, and I’m lazy. Walking around with the big bag meant picking it up every time that I moved more than three feet. Oh, the inconvenience.
Each morning and night meant a routine of cleaning off blood, showering, and then switching bags before dressing for day, or getting into my sleep clothes. The first time that I had a Foley, I went into the hospital and a nurse deflated the ball and ripped it out. The second time, I did it myself, per their instructions. Just grab hold and yank, right?
But first ensure you deflate the ball holding it in place, right?
All went well, and I thank the doctors and nurses who took care of me. All were friendly and professional. Sometimes, the system works as designed. I’m one of the fortunate ones, because it did.