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Fun with Catheters  Wed - August 31, 2005
So, I'm in the hospital right now following a night of pain and even a brief cancer scare. It all began last night. ManorCare Fair Oaks, the nursing home I'm currently living in, had a foly catheter (or an indwelling catheter) in me and it hadn't been draining. A nurse attempted to empty the balloon used to hold the catheter in my bladder to no avail. After several unsuccessful attempts to remove it, they decided it was best for me to go to the ER . I was relieved that I would be going someplace with people who, I was told, would be able to easily remove the damn thing. The time was 11:50 p.m.

I arrived at the ER to find, after an hour and a half, that they didn't know what the f--- to do either. They called the urologist who, justifiably so, didn't want to come in until morning. So, while the ER was twiddling its collective thumbs, the urologist was getting a sound sleep free of dealing with urethras and such, and I was watching ESPN 's Behind the Lines, my bladder was continuing to fill with no means of draining . It was 2:00 by the time I was put to bed in an overnight room. I took some extra Seroquel (ask your doctor if Seroquel is right for you) to help put me to sleep. The doc would be in at 5 a.m.

I should mention that my bladder had previously been drained completely at 7 p.m. The nurse drained all 10cc's from the balloon and was able to get some piss flowing. Once I was done, she re-inflated the balloon with the specified 30cc's. We assumed that the catheter had partially come out of my bladder because it seemed it only had 10cc's in it.

It was a couple hours later that I discovered, once again, that I wasn't draining AND now there was blood secreting from the tip of my giagantic penis (sorry, I'm still a guy ). I freaked the f--- out. This wasn't good. A nurse tried draining the balloon, but could only drain out 1cc at best. Now we all began wondering if the 10cc's removed earlier wasn't all of it, and if, when refilling the balloon, the nurse was putting 30cc's on top of as much as 20cc's already in there.

So, it was the middle of the night and my bladder was filling. Unlike most quads , I can feel my abdomen and the pressure of a full bladder. I was slowly becoming very uncomfortable and bloated. Much like the sleepless nights I spent in the hospital following my injury, I spent the night watching the clock, waiting for morning. By 4 o' clock I was in a great deal of pain. The nurse gave me some Darvocet (ask your doctor if Darvocet is right for you ), which did nothing. The doctor arrived at 5:30 and promptly ordered a shot of Demorol (ask your doctor if Demorol is right for you ) to kill the pain. He then began feeling me up. In doing so, he discovered a large (no exageration), solid mass between my scrotum. The doctor's demeaner turned to one of noticable concern. "Call my team in" he said, "I have no idea what the hell that is." F---. I had recently read Lance Armstrong 's biography and I thought I might have cancer. If that were to be the case, I decided in my mind that I would throw in the towel; there's no way I'm taking on another battle; I'd give up.

After some rational discussion, the doc and I summized the mass was probably the balloon of the catheter, all the way down in the urethra. He decided to stick a needle into it. When he did so, blood exploded everywhere. I would have flipped the f--- out if he hadn't removed the ruptured cath seconds later. Thank God . He told me that I'd need to go in for a Cystoscopy to see what kind of damage the catheter had done.

By around 6:30 a.m. I awoke with a Demorol hang-over and felt sick as hell and freezing cold. I was shivering uncontrollably and dry-heaving, focusing all my energy to not actually puking . I managed to get a hold of myself aside from the shivering, which exhausted my neck and shoulders. They carted me down to the OR at 7:00 a.m. where I longed to be knocked the f--- out, just so as to bring an end to the crippling shivers. The team went about things calmly. Between shivers, I asked to doctor, "Why urology? Why become a urologist?" I may never know why one would choose to specialize in the sewer aquaducts of the human body, as I only remember waking up in the recovery area sometime later. Anyway, this entry has already gone on too long and has been written over two days.

I'll finish now by thanking James, a random EMS guy who passed by my room. He introduced himself and said that while he didn't know my physical ailment, he would pray for my recovery. Regardless of what he, you or I believe in terms of the he/she/it that is God, his gesture was a human gesture much more than a religious one. He didn't preach and he didn't pry me to divulge whether I believed in Jesus Christ, Buddha, or the Easter Bunny . We all can learn a lot from James the EMS guy. 

Posted at 09:10 PM

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© 2006 jonathan campbell
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