Sunday, February 2, 2014

PART XVII: What I learned about managing post-surgery care and a catheter

There will be mistakes. That is OK! You need to laugh. There is a lot to keep on hand. There is a lot to remember. You need not memorize it, but you should be prepared.
  • When you are taking pain pills, it's important for both the care recipient and the caregiver to know when they are due, and when they have been given. It's easy to forget what time of night (e.g., 2:30 a.m.) you had the last dosage!
Use a form to record symptoms, and dosages of pills. You'll find you forget. One must be on top of pain control, it's easier than trying to get rid of pain.
Symptom diary
Medication record

  • The literature, handed out by the Cancer Assessment Centre, is fabulous. READ IT ALL! Twice! 
Day time catheter bag, straps to the leg.
It holds about 300ml. 
  • Put in post-its as page markers for those pages/lists you want to come back to: pages for writing down the medicines you have taken, specific symptoms to watch our for, and the 'how-to' pages (e.g., how to change a catheter). It's harder than it looks!
  • When changing the catheter, I find it best to sit in a chair, while hubby stands up. I also use a pee bottle, with a handle, in which to drain the urine. It's much easier than trying to aim for the toilet! Problem is, you need two hands to untwist the blue emptying spout. You twist the blue part, and have to hold onto the top of the portal.  It's tricky! I hold the pee bottle between my knees, then I can us both hands. REMEMBER: You should go to the bathroom first, before you empty the bag! Otherwise, there is a sense of urgency!
Left to right:
  • Large bandaids to cover the incisions.
  • A box of antiseptic wipes
  • Lots of clean face cloths at the ready -for spills!
  • Thermometer - to check for fever, a sign of infection
  • Polysporin - antibacterial gel, also lubricates!
  • Pee bottle - so handy!
  • Antiseptic and antibacterial spray - use it liberally: toilet, floor, etc.
  • Vinegar 

Buy adult briefs for after the catheter is out!
The squeeze bottle is to hold the vinegar solution,
with which you rinse the catheter bag.
NOTE to self: remember to check that the emptying port is closed before reattaching the catheter bag to the portal. Just sayin'!

Night time catheter bag hold more urine (2L)
and can be tied or hung off the edge of
a garbage can, with a book for weight in the bottom.
Laughter is the best medicine. So what; my slipper, my foot, his foot, the floor have been wet by urine. I'm such a civilian!

I'm finding that Buster the cat has been terrific, aside from the time that he jumped on hubby's stomach.
Buster bought hubby flowers, he really was sorry! A pillow on his stomach has helped.


Hubby and his cat-sitter

Buster is fascinated with the bandages!


Take a photo of the sutures the first day.
This helps you figure out if they are healing
or getting infected.

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