Surgery Day + 9 days (catheter removal day)

Today is catheter removal day.
My doctor was fully booked, but as a surgical patient, his office
got me in for catheter removal before his regular appointments started for the day.
So they had me come in for an 8:50 am appointment. (I was all done
and being driven home at 9:15 am)

My instructions were to remove the catheter 7 days after discharge from the
hospital. So, counting the two days I spent in the hospital, today is removal
day.

A nurse came in to take the catheter out before the doctor stopped in. A
Foley catheter is held in place by a small balloon in the bladder that is inflated
with sterile water. The nurse first took a syringe and drained the fluid
out, thus deflating the bulb inside my bladder. Then she slowly pulled the
catheter tube out. No pain really, maybe just a little discomfort, but nothing
really.

Doctor then checked out my belly button incision (which he says is about 1”
wide). Doctor wants to see me in
about 3-4 weeks. Says I will do great. Nurse gave me instructions on how to
do kegels and doctor says I should definitely do them – come up with a plan
or system so I don’t forget.

Later that afternoon, after waking up from a nap at 2:00 pm or so, I felt an
urge to “go” and stood up by the toilet and peed like an 18 yr old. I mean
like a racehorse. I haven’t peed like this since I was a kid. This was a mind
boggling experience. And my whole bladder emptied in like 10 seconds.

After the catheter was removed, I was leaking all day pretty good.
I decided to wear the whole diaper product-thing (Depend® for Men
Underwear) to minimize any leakage around the house. I’ll graduate to the
guards & shields (which are smaller pads) later.

The doc gave me some Kegel information, which advised how to exercise the
pelvic floor muscles. So when I feel the urge to squirt urine, especially when I get
up from a seated position, I clamp down with the kegel, with some limited
success on Day 1 without the catheter.

The day I got the catheter removed, I felt 100% better. I began to feel like
myself again. It must be mostly psychological, because it’s only 1 day different,
but when you can move around better, there’s a spring in your step. It’s like
you’re crossing a bridge back to your old life again, though one in which you
can pee like an 18 yr old, thanks to my surgeon.

You still have to take it easy because it’s only week 2, but I felt like I wanted to do a whole lot more.
I had to tell myself –
resist the urge, you’re still convalescing and healing. I say it’s better to be
conservative now, and let everything heal, so you don’t have any setbacks in
the future.

I found that if I lie down, it’s easier to control leakage than when I stand.
Most research I found indicates you need a good 3 months or so to get
most of your continence back. In the scheme of things, that’s not so bad.
As I change absorbent pads, very often in the beginning here, I think it will
never end. I remain hopeful, though, that I will see improvement in my urinary
control in the weeks and months ahead, and still have the full-strong urinary
stream benefit for the rest of my life. And best of all, the prostate cancer
appears to be gone, never to return.

Surgery day + 10 days

I finally got to roll over in bed last night. Now that the catheter is removed, I
am free to sleep on my left side or right side or whatever. Don’t have to lie on
my back anymore. I removed the big cushions I was using to prop my head
up, and slept on my normal pillow, and slept great.

I used the “Depend® for Men Underwear” overnight and got up about 3 times during the
night to urinate, but each time it was full stream pee, like I even overshot the
toilet on the far side, the stream was that strong. When was the last time that
happened? (P.S. Nowadays, I sleep through the night – every night – without getting up once.)

During the previous week when I wore the catheter, the urine bag in the
morning was surprisingly full – I didn’t believe you could generate that much
urine in one night, so I’m not surprised I had to get up. I was drinking more
water during the day to keep things flushed out, so this extra fluid intake
of mine no doubt contributed to me getting up.

I have got to remember that it’s only been 10 days since my surgery. I feel
really good, almost back to normal.

Ok, I’m going to call it; for all intents and purposes, I’m nearly back to my
normal lifestyle about 10 days after surgery. And with no pain (never had pain
and never even took one pain medication while in the hospital or at home).

Doctor said no driving yet, but I took the car out for coffee this morning.
Every case is different, and everyone will convalesce at their own rate. But I
feel good.

Took a shower this morning and afterwards went with the “guards” (Depend®
for Men Guards) for daily use. My thought is to use the pads during the day
and the underwear at night. I am not the least bit concerned about pride, or
whatever else you want to call it, for having to wear an absorbent pad or a
night time under pant. So I have
to wear these things, so what, it’s not forever, and it will get better, I hope.

One other observation – after my surgery – when my urine stream stops – I am empty, or
should I say my bladder is empty.
This is a whole new world. There isn’t anything left in the bladder – it all
comes out.

I think the tendency, when you’re at this leaking stage, is to reduce your intake
of fluids, and I don’t know if that’s a good idea or not. The hospital instructions
said that I should drink the equivalent of 6-8 glasses of water a day, so I think I
should do that, regardless of the short-term consequences.

Surgery day + 11 days

Not leaking in bed overnight – the bed and mattress are dry as a bone.
Depend® underwear is working really well. But I do notice that in the morning,
the Depend® underwear is “heavier” meaning it has absorbed urine during the
night.

If I felt pretty “normal” yesterday, I really feel normal today. It’s almost like I
never had surgery at all. Got out of bed at the usual time, and will head out for
coffee later this morning.

Wife says I look and act normal, unlike last week. I really don’t feel restricted
in any way, but I am not overdoing it, I am not lifting anything heavy, and still
take it very easy. Again, this is my case; please do not compare my case
to your case. Every case is different, surgeries are different. This is just one
example of how, in my particular case, a person comes back after robotic prostate surgery.

Urinary leakage – I notice that after a nap on my back for 45 minutes in the
afternoon, I release a large volume of urine into the toilet with a strong and
immediate stream, with very little dribbling into the pad during the nap. My
urinary control is better when I’m prone or horizontal.

However, when I’m walking or standing or especially getting up from a chair or
seated position, I’ll squirt urine and eventually use up a guard/pad and have to
change it.
I have to get used to this, but when you stand up to urinate into the toilet, and
it stops, there isn’t anything left in the bladder. You have just emptied your
entire bladder. There isn’t any more left.

Surgery day + 12 days

Suggestion – when you use these absorbent pads, it’s helpful to wear tighter
style briefs, otherwise, they are going to leak. I wore them with tighty-whities.

Surgery day + 13 days

Maybe a tad less leakage today? Not sure, but I have been doing kegel
exercises, and flow seems to be a bit slower now.
I know I’ll look back at this time or period of “leakage” and think that it was
really no big thing in the scheme of things. You can get lulled into thinking
that everything is going to be recovered quickly. Well not everything.
Continence and potency take longer to come back.

Continence usually takes at least 3 months and potency, if you have had nerve
sparing surgery, can take a year or even two years. So, in the interim, leakage
is a real issue and it requires a lot of your attention with pads and underwear all
day and all night, every day and every night until you get your control back.
Does this sound like I’m getting tired of changing these absorbent pads?

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