Foley Memories

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?

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.

 

 

Choices

He was recovering from his surgery. Blood, of course, kept seeping into the bandages. They told him that would happen.

The surgery’s grogginess was finally gone by the next morning, but he was surprised by how much the surgery limited him. His movements were slow and tentative. Talk about a damn anchor. He felt pain, too, dull, throbbing, and steady.

They’d given him pain killers. He read the label and all of its warnings. Taking hydrocodon ACET 5/325 might make him drowsy or dizzy. “Do not drink alcohol with this drug.”

Well, that was that. He preferred a glass of wine or a mug of beer over some pain relief. Besides, if he took the hydrocodon, he wasn’t supposed to drive. He’d been driving since he was fourteen, beginning on the back-country roads of western Pennsylvania over fifty years ago. Not drive? That was unacceptable. He kept his red Camaro convertible clean and polished. Forget all of his education and work success; driving was one of the foundations of who he was, driving, beer and wine, and rock and roll.

That was him.

Eating Guide

Time for me to eat lunch. It’s a tougher choice with recent health issues (nothing major), being on meds (nothing major), and de-conflicting healthy choices, hunger, social justice, environmental issues, price, and convenience. To help make decisions, I created this handy matrix to help me decide. It’s so useful, I thought I’d share it, in case others are in a similar situation. You’re welcome!

(Okay, it is a lil’ bit o’ Friday snark. Forgive me.)

 

A Healing Massage Dream

I experienced many dreams last night. One of the most interesting ones was the healing dream.

I’d been walking and my feet hurt, so I sat to massage them. A man sat beside me. Large and black, his head was as round and bald as a basketball.

“What’re you doing?” he asked.

“Massaging my feet because they hurt.”

“I can help you with that.” He held his hands up. They glistened with oil. “I have the power.”

“Okay, cool.”

Taking my feet, he rocked back and forth, humming and massaging them. Skin sloughed off my feet. Pain and soreness went with it.

He finished and rose. “Thanks,” I said. “That was amazing. I really appreciate it.”

Nodding and waving, he said, “No problem,” and then ambled off.

I was still sitting when a woman then approached me. I couldn’t get a clear look at her. It seemed like a misty gauze moved with her, but from glimpses, she seemed slender, young, and white. She wore light blue but her arms were bare. She said, “You look like you could use a massage.”

I debated it and then said, “Okay, sure.”

Darkness fell around us until we were in a circle of yellow-white light. The air grew cooler. She began massaging my chest and shoulders. Her hands and arms went into my chest. I could suddenly see into my chest. Her fingers embraced my heart and massaged it. Shocked and amazed, I just sat there, gawking.

A little girl ran up. The woman took my heart out of my chest. It looked like a piece of fried chicken. She gave it to the girl, who gave the woman a new heart.

As the girl ran off with my fried-chicken heart, the woman put the new heart inside of me. “That feel better?”

I couldn’t speak because I felt so amazed, so I nodded.

“Good.” Shifting her hands, she began massaging my lungs. Air rushed into them like never before. As she massaged me, my perspective changed, so that I was now watching her from outside of myself. Next, she massaged my liver, and then my stomach, and then moved her hands up, and massaged my head. I held my breath as I saw her squeezing, shaping, and re-shaping my brain.

“There,” she said. “Done.” She was gone, and I was back in my body.

I awoke feeling like I’d been scrubbed clean from the inside out.

Cannafloofbidiol (CFD)

Cannafloofbidiol (CFD) (floofinition) – A chemical reaction induced by talking, petting, or being with animals, useful for reducing people’s anxiety and stress, with end results often said to be similar to ingesting or inhaling CBD.

In use: “She wanted a glass of wine, or even some marijuana to relax, but first Louise had to sit and let her brain empty. As soon as she did, her lab curled up with her. Within minutes of talking to the lab and stroking her fur, the cannafloofbidiol had mellowed Louise to the point that anything else seemed redundant.”

Personal Update

Time for some self-congratulations. Medical appointment went well today. Lost seven pounds since August 8th. Blood pressure was 230/131 on that day; today, it was 130/64. Cool beans.

All the blood tests came back with nothing there to explain my high BP. It all looked good on paper. I always suspected weight and sodium. Based on that, I went on a three-day-green smoothie that began August 9th. Then we began a modified green-smoothie-diet. Based on the book, “The Green Smoothie Diet”, we consumed smoothies for breakfast and lunch. For breakfast, I also had a banana, prune, a handful of raw nuts (usually walnuts) and a boiled egg. Fresh veggies such as celery, radishes, and carrots were consumed for lunch.

Dinner was usually a romaine lettuce salad and then fish with something. For example, Monday, we had a salmon Caesar salad. Tuesday was cod with ginger sauce with rosemary oven fries. Wednesday was steamed broccoli and a baked sweet potato with the salad.

I also cut back on coffee, beer, and wine consumption. For perspective, I drink few things beyond those three items and water. I drink a lot of water.

Meanwhile, checking my regular foods for sodium, I was horrified by the findings. I’d always checked foods for sugar, fat, and fiber, along with general contents. Now I see that sodium needs to be on the check list. Once again, it comes down to being mindful. Well, it’s paying off.

Put me off my writing schedule by a few hours but got my coffee now. I’m in the seat. Time to write like crazy, at least one more time.

Off the Cuff

I’m writing about me again. I know, it’s my favorite subject, innit?

My surgery scheduled for last Friday didn’t go off. My blood pressure was 231/131 during the prep. “Too high,” they decreed. “Let’s wait and check again.”

I was checked on the left and right sides several more times. Everything was documented. The BP didn’t go down. No surgery with that level, it was decided.

It was depressing. I hadn’t eaten for ten hours plus, and I was all naked and everything. Instead, I was referred to a nurse practitioner for treatment. NORVASC was prescribed. I began taking it that night.

Meanwhile, my wife and I started a three-day green-smoothie fast. We’ve done it several times, usually to help her cope with complications, inflammation, or pain arising from her RA. This time, it was for both of us.

Weird, I felt fine. The NP listened to my lungs and heart and various arteries last Friday and found nothing to upset them. I don’t have any issues. I generally walk eight to ten miles a day. As my wife put it to the medical staff, “He’s very active.” I’d quit smoking ten years ago and I’d never been a heavy smoker. BP issues don’t run in the family. Honestly, though, my weight is higher than I desire. I’d slowly been creeping up toward the mid 190s, and I ‘ve developed a wheat/beer belly that bugs me. It’d be nice to rid myself of that adornment.

Two days later, I wondered if there was any change to my BP with the smoothies fast and meds.  Needing data, I bought a monitoring cuff on Tuesday and started tracking my BP. Naturally a spread sheet was employed.

Date Time Sys Dia HR Comments
15-Aug 8:27 119 78 68 After being up ninety minutes
14-Aug 22:01 125 59 65 Before NORVASC
14-Aug 7:47 149 71 75 After being up forty-five minutes
13-Aug 23:20 137 70 63 1 HR after NORVASC taken
13-Aug 19:27 149 68 69 First reading
Average 145 70 69

I was surprised by how much my BP had dropped in such a short time, especially this morning’s reading, 119/78. Makes me wonder if my high BP prior to surgery was due to white coat syndrome.

I don’t know. Some blood work is scheduled for next week to see if a root cause can be ferreted out. Meanwhile, I question the purchased cuff’s accuracy or if I’m using it wrong. We also tested my wife, though, as a baseline. With an ongoing chronic condition, she sees a doctor and has her BP checked every other month. She knows her usual BP range. The cuff’s BP had a result that she expected. We tested it twice. Both were in her normal range. I remain dubious.

I’ll probably go to the drug store later and use their cuff and compare it to my results. I’ll probably post about it later.

I am my favorite subject.

For Her

The house was always silent except for his quiet and her cats. He was aware of how much he sighed, and the cats…the cats were always darting underfoot, jumping up onto the furniture, counters, and tables, and peering around corners.

Flowers and plants were everywhere. He’d told everyone to send money to her causes in lieu of flowers and that shit, but…well, here they were. Here he was.

She was always trying to get him to eat healthy. The ‘frig was lousy with salmon and salad ingredients. Sighing (but what else?), he prepared the salmon per the instructions, sharing some with the cats, who were enthusiastic in their enjoyment, and made a salmon Caesar salad and poured a glass of wine for himself. Eating, he told himself, for her, chewing and swallowing the despised flavors, washing it down with wine.

For her.

The Medical Bill

My latest medical bill arrived. This was a follow-up to the doctor’s office. On that day, I was weighed and then peed in a cup connected to a computer to measure my flow and output. Then a nurse asked me some questions about how I was doing, before the doctor came in, read the reports, and made some follow-up actions. Including waiting — they were overbooked and I waited twenty minutes to see him — peeing, and talking, I was out of there in about forty minutes.

Before going further, I want to say that I’m amazed and grateful that my military retirement gives me health benefits. I can’t say that enough. That’s not what this is about. This is about a neophyte in the healthcare’s billing process.

The bill began as a total of $277.10. That’s not bad, I thought. Insurance covered $59.36. Cool. Then, total adjustments and discounts were $180.84. Of that, $4.10 was a discount given to me for the prompt payment of previous bills. The other $176.74 was an insurance adjustment. The total due for me to pay is $36.90.

I’m not complaining so much as stating my surprise and confusion. What in the world is that insurance adjustment that reduces the bill by sixty-three percent? Is it a volume thing between Tricare and Asante? Makes me wonder about the original bill and its legitimacy.

I don’t know. The discount wasn’t explained. I suppose I could do an Internet search, but, well, I’d rather just note it and press on, at least for today.

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