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Sometimes the simplest of bodily functions can get complicated.

I told you a couple posts ago that I would write about Bob's bout with a urinary tract infection. It all happened in between two bouts of pneumonia--one in May of 2021 and the other in August. So, it was in early July when he got the UTI.

As a woman, I have had my own experiences with UTIs. They're horrible but I think they may be more common for women but as one of his docs once said, "Men aren't as susceptible."

The problem is that Bob has both types of incontinence--urinary and fecal. I'm not upstairs with him 24/7. So, when he has bad fecal accidents and I am not aware and then don't catch it right away, feces can spread everywhere inside his protective briefs.

We don't call them diapers. We call them either briefs or underwear.

Anyway, during this particular summer, he got a bad UTI that we treated right away with antibiotics but by twenty-four hours, he still had not urinated. Twenty-four hours.

"He needs a catheter," I said.

They zoomed a nurse out right away and she installed a Foley catheter. A Foley catheter remains in place because they fill up an inflatable bubble with saline solution. The tube attaches to the leg and drains into a bag which hangs from somewhere on the side of the bed rail.

After three days and gobs of blood and gunk draining out, the urine looked almost normal. Still, they left it in a while longer. But Bob was so uncomfortable, that I begged them to remove it. They did but then Bob still couldn't urinate so back in went a fresh one. They left it for two weeks until I could no longer witness his discomfort.

I've had some triage experience because, in my other life, I was a bird and wildlife rehabilitator. Unless you feel confident you can handle simple medical procedures, I would suggest having someone teach you first. In other words, "Don't try this at home!" Unless you learn how to perform these procedures first.

That's when I started researching intermittent catheters. Intermittent catheters are disposable catheters that a person can use throughout the day.

I went onto YouTube and searched "intermittent catheters for male patients." It seemed so incredibly simple that I ordered catheters enough for a month, and some water-based lubricant. They arrived within two days and I, being one to act on things, removed the Foley by suctioning out the saline in the bubble and slid the catheter out. My poor husband was so relieved I almost cried.

"You're my guinea pig now, honey."

He giggled but not his normal happy giggle. He was a little afraid. But so was I.

We did it though.

The nurse in the YouTube video shows you to do it with the patient lying down. But that was a little painful for Bob so now, we sit him up in the shower on a chair. We do it no fewer than three times a day and usually four times.

We have been catheterizing Bob this way for nearly three years. It's our normal. Many people have to catheterize this way. You'd be surprised how many people cannot urinate on their own for various reasons. I know of one person in particular. She had nerve damage due to a spinal cord surgery when the surgeon nicked the nerve.

There are so many resources available on subjects just like this one. Whether you call a medical professional or search the internet. But if you feel like you want to take matters into your own hands, first learn what is involved or have someone teach you. It can be intimidating and scary but there are many ways to assist your loved ones yourself if you are not afraid to try.

But again, please do not try to perform medical procedures unless you have a medical professional train you first. Even the simplest procedure, like inserting a catheter can injure your patient if you do it incorrectly.

God bless you all, Susan.

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1 Comment

Jo szcz
Jo szcz
Feb 14

Very informative and much needed info for many people! Thanks for sharing it! It will definitely be passed on to others. Love you Cuz! 😍

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