Friday, February 7, 2014

PART XVIII: catheter is removed - hooray!

This we saw on our drive in
Yes, after a long 10 days or so, no more catheter or catheter bag and tube. Hubby's radical robotic prostatectomy seems to have been quite successful. We won't know for sure until the pathology on the prostate cells and nerves. This makes our 12th trip into the city.

Feb. 5, 2014

10:00 a.m. We packed up his night time catheter, and all the cleaning products, antiseptic wipes, vinegar to sterilize the catheter bag, etc. Checked on the weather, which was worsening, and I packed the car, fed the cats extra food, having had a good shower, after a stress-relieving work out.

1:00 p.m. The appointment was for 8:45 a.m. in the city, on Feb. 6th. We decided to drive in the day before, and rent a hotel room. The snow storm was terrible. Visibility poor, the roads not yet plowed. One guy, on a side road, forced me off onto the gravel as he was taking the road most traveled, and driving down the middle of the road. It took me time to get it back onto the asphalt. It was tense. We
left earlier than we intended, as the storm was worsening.

3:30 p.m. We arrived at the hotel. The drive from hell! Rural roads were terrible, traffic running about 50km/hour (in an 80 zone) around Carleton Place.
Chimo Inn
That done, I parked in front of the main doors to take out our luggage. Hubby cannot carry anything for another month, until his abdomen heals. The man at the desk was short, rude, and when I asked where parking was, he first answered the phone, which was ringing off of the hook, and curtly told me there was parking all around the hotel. I felt stupid. Hubby asked for a bell hop, the desk man told me that the luggage carts were at the back door.

I had hubby guard the bags, while I went out, parked in the snow at the rear, and came back in to haul us and our bags, up to the room.

It was the most disappointing hotel hubby, a world traveler for business, had even been to. Firstly, he could not sit up for long periods of time. He wanted a hotel with room service. Also, with a convenience store, just in case. There was no room service. The pub wasn't open until after 4:30, and the store was closed. I trucked across the street to the mall to the LCBO.

Hotel view from Jennifer Jilks on Vimeo.
After the drive-from-hell into the city, we are settled into our hotel room.

5:00 p.m.  Off for dinner. Hubby ate quickly, then went back up to the room, while I had another glass of wine and played on my computer. At least they had wireless Internet.

It was early to bed, after a long day. A pretty sleepless night, the difficulties sleeping in a strange place, and the catheter seemed to be more uncomfortable and shifting for hubby. I woke at 2:00 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep for hours.

Thursday, Feb. 6th

1/8 sutures
6:00 a.m. Neither of us could sleep any more. Up we got, did our ablutions, changed to the day time, smaller catheter bag, and downstairs for breakfast. However, the elevator floor was dirty, as was the lobby floor, with morning business people: hydro workers, RCMP ride members, people with laptops!

8:00 a.m. Through rush hour traffic, heading for the Queensway, and forced my way into the long traffic line. Thankfully, we were only a 5-minute trip away. People in the urologist's waiting room said it took them an hour to drive in from Kanata, usually only a 20- 30-minute trip at most. We were wise to come in the night before.

9:15 a.m. We were given an exam room at 9:00, for our 8:45 appointment. Finally, the RPN came in,
checked hubby's sutures, rebandaged one that was a bit wonky, then removed the catheter. Freedom! He can have regular showers, now. The tape over the sutures will fall off soon.

Stop here!
9:40 a.m. Our surgeon arrived in the room. He did a wide nerve resection, he said, based on hubby's Gleason Score of 8/10. The pathology is not back, but will be soon. He's to do his Kegel exercises, hold for 5 seconds, a set of five. Work up to sets of 10, doing this four times per day. This should be enough, rather than the 200/day the literature recommends. So says our surgeon. You can wear yourself out!
In 4 weeks his abdominal wall should be good. He is to take it easy. He's to wear men's Depends for as long as he needs, which varies from man to man. This will prevent leakage and dripping. I have a mattress pad for the bed for night time.

10:58 a.m. We were sent along to Vanessa, his fabulous clerk, the answerer of all our numerous questions since the surgery.
Ottawa Hospital
We were sent down the hall to the stop sign. What a great bit of direction/signage! In the meantime, we have a PSA test booked for 3 months from now. Another trip to the hospital, as this is the more sophisticated PSA test, not the screening test most men have, which is pretty bad for false readings.

11:11 a.m. By now we were tired, hungry and thirsty, and there was a line-up to get out of the hospital parking lot.

It took one guy forever!
 On the road, again. The snow was blowing, roads slippery, on the way in, but pretty bad on the back roads on the way home.

Too many roadside memorials

I loathe these roadside memorials. Who needs to be reminded of death and dying on a road trip to or from cancer treatments? Just sayin'.

12:45 p.m. We made it home in good time. Collecting the newspaper and mail at the end of the drive, I had to plow up the driveway carefully.  Thank goodness for snow tires.

I shoveled the sidewalk before hubby walked up it. Ushered him in. A quick sandwich for lunch.

I unloaded the bags, changed clothes and took an hour to do the driveway with the snow blower. It was good to get out into the fresh air and the sunshine. Cats were happy to go out and play.

What a relief to get rid of the catheter. It will take time, and he'll never be back to 'normal', but this hard part was over. A good sleep in our own beds will be nice. This is quite the journey.

What to expect after surgery (WebMD)

Prostatectomy usually requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay of 2 to 4 days. A thin, flexible tube called a catheter usually is left in your bladder to drain your urine for 1 to 3 weeks. Your doctor will give you instructions about how to care for your catheter at home. Bladder control can be poor for a few months after the catheter is removed.
Although prostatectomy often removes all cancer cells, be sure to get follow-up care, which may lead to early detection and treatment if your cancer comes back. Your regular follow-up program may include:

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