Recently I was hospitalized when I broke my leg playing old man ice hockey. You can see the Zapruder film version of the injury here:
(I’m the dude lying lifelessly in the corner at the end)
When I arrived at the emergency room I thought they would just set the leg, throw on a cast, and I would hobble on out early in the morning. Apparently that wasn’t in the cards for me as I received a surgically implanted permanent rod in my leg and a few day stay in the hospital. While in the hospital I got introduced to my personal nemesis…. The catheter.
We were formally introduced after my surgery in the recovery room where the nursed informed me that I would be getting one in order to empty my bladder. Me, being every defiant told her that she would do no such thing explaining that it was “An outie not an innie.” (Drugged up translation, “It’s an exit only.”) I grabbed the bedpan and tried to urinate, nothing. Then I told her I needed more water to go… Nothing. Next I decided that it was this annoying guy that was also in the recovery room talking to his wife, who can piss with someone talking… yeah that didn’t hold water (obviously I was). Finally I used a walker to head to the bathroom to try and pee. Repeating over and over, “I just need one personal victory today.” The personal victory was not hurting myself trying to get to and sit down in the bathroom. I returned to my bed and suffered my defeat with very little dignity.
A few days later urine watch 2015 was on; as one of the conditions of my release from the hospital was that I was able to evacuate everything in my bladder completely. Time after time the nurses would try to get me to go to the bathroom and time after time I would end up with a catheter, including one overnight.
Whenever they would check in on me before I used the restroom they would do an ultrasound on my bladder to see how much fluid I was retaining. Usually I was around 800ml but at a certain point I started going about the 1L mark, which was a cause of concern for the staff because they felt my bladder could burst and a cause of concern for me because the catheter bags were only 1L in capacity. I’m no mathematician but those numbers did not go together well.
On my third night there they wanted to give me every opportunity to go on my own because the anesthesia had worn off (minimizing the amount of drugs impacting my ability) and didn’t put an overnight catheter in. This is probably a good time to explain two things about me.
- I have a very shy bladder
- I hate being told what to do and when to do it
The pressure of knowing I have to pee to get home, the threat of the catheter, and what we later learned, my pain killers, made it impossible for me to go. After one failed attempt it was time for the 1L catheter to take out 1.4L of urine. Needless to say I filled the bag quickly, of course everyone had left the room and I was left ringing the alert bell as urine started to fight it’s way back from whence it came. They came in to empty part of the bag using a release valve and a bin.
Three hours later I was given a second chance. This time I was measure at 1.3L before I attempted to go. Once again it didn’t happen and they had to bag me, this time though as I began to fill the bag and ring the call button the same nurse didn’t respond it was the nurse’s assistant who proclaimed that they “have never done this before”.
I wondered how hard could it be? Oh did I learn.
Mistake 1: He decided he needed some slack to deal with the bag, so he started yanking on… everything. It’s never burned when I have peed, but now I clearly know what the sensation feels like as dude was yanking my cath as I was peeing. That did not feel good.
Mistake 2: He decided that instead of emptying the bag in a logical fashion that he would turn the bag the opposite way and leak urine all over the bed. Not only did he attempt to rip my dick off he decided that he wanted to add insult to injury by dousing me with piss.
It was 3am and I couldn’t deal with it anymore. I screamed at him to stop and walked him through how the previous nurse did it.
After he emptied half the bag he returned to empty the rest. I asked him what he was doing and said he was going to finish emptying it. I had to explain to him that I had 1.3L measured; he took 500-600ml out, so I only had 300ml left to fill 400-500ml. As the wheel cranked in his head and the candle burned you could see him doing the math and understanding what I was saying. He left the room and I looked down on my damaged friend, thinking of better days.
It took me another two days to pee on my own. I haven’t been that proud to take a piss since I was toilet training.
What is the worst bedside interaction you have had to deal with?