"Was it a vision, or a waking dream?
Fled is that music: - Do I wake or sleep?"
It seems after my appendectomy, there was a problem: I couldn't urinate.
(Our lovely model holds a Foley cath. Looks inviting, yes?)
Well, I sorta could with wincing and silent cries as what seemed to be burning liquid passing in a trickle. It certainly wasn't a flowing font. The bladder (and other organs) frequently temporarily shut down after surgery due, as it was explained to me, to the anesthesia. Evidently, mine chose to do this.
Or was this the issue? Nay.
The evening nurse noticed that my output was not adequate compared to the fluids they were giving me via an IV. Mucho IV fluids post-op are common. So, Nurse Wretched gets a machine that takes a sonogram of my bladder and sees that I'm not passing enough. Only one way out of this: a direct cath. (A direct cath is a one-time deal down the sacred pipe whereas a Foley cath is the one they use during surgery. It has a balloon that inflates in your bladder. Exciting and fun, yes?)
It's simple in concept, but excruciating. Perhaps my pain was due to the fact, discussed later and openly agreed with by my cardiologist, I had had my urethra traumatized during surgery. When Nurse Wretched did her direct cath, at the lovely hour of 3 AM, there was a bit of blood and what seemed to be a clot.
[I am sorry this is gross, but there is no way to tell this tale without the grim facts.]
I kept telling them that it fucking hurt. Who listens to a patient?
Well, six hours later, Nurse Dude says (at 9AM) the same thing- time for another cath. The old bladder is full and needs a draining. Holy fuck me in the ear drum!
He tries to be consoling, but nothing can take away the agony. You just take a deep breath and hold yourself back from strangling the motherfucker who is doing it.
Let's count them, shall we kids? That makes three caths so far. Get the picture???? Each one, with the exception of the surgery because I'm out, a screamingly painful affair.
At this point, I'm wondering a few things:
1. Can I slip out of here without being noticed?
2. Why isn't Old Faithful working? Have they screwed it up or are my works still anesthetized?3. When's my next pain pill?
4. When's my next pain pill?
You better believe I requested pain meds after that. Besides, I was scheduled for meds anyway for the abdomen discomfort. I should have been prescribed meds just for having Mr. Oxy as a roommate who continued his moaning and groaning throughout all this.
My surgeon is alerted to the situation and eventually he shows up. Evidently, Nurse Dude did not tell him about the blood. The urologist is alerted as he wants to do a contrast sonogram of my bladder. Contrast being the dye they put in to see everything on the big screen.
You see, my surgeon is wondering whether or not he has nicked my bladder during surgery (He pretty much admitted this.) and he is probably more worried about that than my pain. Still, I like DR. P and plan no law suits or harbor ill will. I do contemplate the law suit idea immediately after each cath, but can you blame me?
Down to the basement of torture. The basement of CAMC is sort of a menacing place which seems more akin to a post apocalyptic bunker, a warehouse of medical odds and ends, and where huge, scary machines are always on a humming standby.
A young nurse comes and talks to me. She is attractive, but you can't help notice the speech impediment. There's a history there to be sure. She's very pleasant and all, but leaves in frustration with these parting words: "They told me that they were going to cath you upstairs."
Wha??? Cath? Surely not. Another cath? Goddamn. No way. Fuck, I can get out her right now. Fuck it, my water works will come to life at home. In between the caths, as painful as they were, they were already starting to come back. Again, who listens to the patient?
Sure as shit in an outhouse, a young cocky John Stamos sort of lookalike pauses in front of the room, checking his iPhone. He's got scrubs on, so let's assume this is the urologist.
Yep, and in order to see everything the dye is shot into the bladder via yet another cath.
I tell him, the nurse and another guy who I have seen before in radiology, that I have been experiencing horrific pain every time the monstrous cath is done. To which he replies these golden words:
"Why does it hurt?"
Is he fucking kidding? Should I jump off the table and clock him (Let's face it, I probably had no more clocking power than an old Timex after surgery. My wounds were hours fresh and my bladder feels like I drank a small lake full of beer.)?
"I don't know, but there's been blood and each one has been worse than the other."
Despite my tale, it's time to lie down and "take my medicine." He shouts, "Don't hold your breath! Don't hold your breath!" Barking commands at me like he's some DI at Paris Island boot camp. NOT my favorite doctor to be sure. In fact, I'm going to kill him once I get better.
After Niagara Falls flows away, the nurse and the other guy take all sorts of pictures. I have to move around which is painful enough. They are compassionate and kind and I deeply appreciate not feeling like a goddamn test subject.There I was, exposed in front of three strangers (one of them a woman), my works hanging out and all cathed up for the fourth time. Helpless, hurting like a bitch in my back, my abdomen and of course, Mr. Happy was seriously unhappy. It was then that a change happened to me. I no longer had any embarrassment about my body and anybody who saw it.
This is a Foley and it's staying in. So, no more caths and Mr. Bladder is free and clear. I can stop worrying about this for a while.
Let me say this at this juncture that I had many a sweet nurse who never delayed in bringing this old boy his meds, the standard and the good stuff. My philosophy is this: they have you bent over a barrel, so being an asshole isn't going to help your get what you want. Plus, you have to do some things for yourself. For instance, when the old liquid gold bag got too full, I dumped it into two receptacles provided for such use. One nurse exclaimed, "You did that by yourself?? You are the best patient ever!" Trust me, while her name now eludes me, she doted on me. You have to NOT be a pain in the ass (like my roomie) to them.
You develop a sense pretty quickly which nurses are the creme of the crop and which seem to be nice, but you wonder if they are in over their heads.
Though I went in on Tuesday morning and was released Weds, I began to feel like my mind was unraveling. With the drugs, the endless worry and anxiety, the procedures, my wacko roomie, and the endless parade of nurses coming in at all hours of the night to take vitals, there was a feeling of such chaos in my mind that it felt a bit like an acid trip. I probably had had two hours solid sleep in 72 hours. Sleep is not something you get in a hospital.
There were some comical moments. Always, yes?
I was woken up at 5am to have an intern tell me that my bladder was OK, only to be told a few hours later by another intern the same fucking thing. I was laughing inside at their attempts at gravitas. It wasn't working. I don't listen to twenty-somethings with too much seriousness anyway, let alone those dressed causally in North Face fleece or those that have their names embroidered on clean lab coats. I am a test subject to them, a patient to see on appointed rounds, someone to "practice on." No thanks. Give me a grizzled, old gray haired bastard that's seen it all. Gimme the real doctor please.
(By the way, Urologist John Stamos lite did come in and told me that my bladder was OK. gee, this play is repetitive. I got a call during his brief visit and he turned my iPhone to silent. Hmm....taking liberties are we? Still don't like him. No sir.)
I had my right arm across my forehead and I swung at what I thought was an intruder. It was a sweet nurse who remarked, "Good thing I spoke to you before taking your temperature." Yep. I was a case.
I was discharged by my surgeon, but there came one huge, disheartening catch before I would be released. Something that was told to me by the afternoon nurse just when my hopes were so high: the urologist wanted me to be able to empty my bladder adequately before discharge. I felt like a prisoner. FREE ME.
After calming down, I realized he was fucking right. Goddamn it.
I set about getting as much liquid into those urine bottles as I could, sitting them up on my movable table like they were bowling trophies.
"Look! Loookie! I can pee! Seriously!" In fact, the pipes, although very tender, were coming back. Hotdamn!
I ask her about discharge again (finding a nurse is much harder than pushing the old red button provided for you) and she announces another bummer: "Your bladder has to be below 100 mils before he will release you."
Trust me, I actually did this. I watched a video on YouTube of Niagara Falls. You know how water sounds makes the pipes flow, so quit laughing. Actually, it was funny to me and by God, I was desperate to get the hell out of there.
Remember that Mr. Demerol was still doing his "Ooooooooooh...........Ohhhhhhhhh" all the time. Well, sometimes they gave him meds which put him to sleep. Thank you very much.
Eventually, I cleared the Golden Bar with a 76 mil count when she finally got the old bladder sonogram machine on me.
I was going home. Yay! Yay!
Little did I know, I would return very soon. More on that soon.