<i>This could be considered a TMI blog entry. I share this information for others that have a similar issue, as I found reading the experiences of others to be beneficial to keep my spirits up during my experience. I won’t be offended if you move on without reading.</i>.
So today I visited the very capable urologist that performed the repair surgery to my urinary system at the beginning of this month. The official procedure is called a urethroplasty. Six centimeters of tissue was taken from the inside of my mouth and used to reconstruct a damaged, scarred area of my urethra. The scarring has been there since 1980 or so. I’ve had two catheters since the surgery on the 3rd of March. A Supra-pubic catheter was inserted through my abdomen on the 28th of January (and was replaced during the second surgery). Originally placed to allow my natural parts to calm down and stop the scarring process, the Supra-pubic catheter acted as a backup in case the second catheter, a regular indwelling Foley catheter that makes most people cringe, was installed during the March surgery. That has been my means of urination for 25 days.
The urologist took some X-rays with contrasting fluid in my catheter, around my catheter and in my bladder. And then before I knew it, the catheter was removed and the doctor had a huge smile. “The graft site is not leaking and looks wonderful. Look at that.” He showed me a picture of a normal looking urethra, something I haven’t had in 35 to 40 years. “You have no strictures”.
I was then expected to urinate using my own parts while laying on a bed under an X-ray machine with four onlookers of the process. I couldn’t do it. Nope. So they filled my bladder with saline solution to the point of where I thought I was going to explode, he saw enough on the X-ray machine to confirm everything was good and then I peed into a special toilet that measured volume, velocity and the like.
Honestly, I broke all previous records in the doctor’s office. Ever. The last record was a man that could pee 40 ml/sec. I went off the chart at 55 ml/sec. I emptied nearly 700 ml of fluid from my bladder in just over 10 seconds.
I passed the test.
The Supra-pubic catheter will remain in place for another week. For the next seven days I urinate like a normal guy, and then I unplug this little tube hanging below my belly button to confirm that I am emptying my bladder. If I’m not emptying my bladder, there’s a problem. So far, I’ve had 14 drops of urine fall from the catheter tube after going the bathroom. Not even negligible residual urine.
The doctor is confident that things are good to go. There was a worry of incontinence, since my scarring was so close to my bladder, but I can easily keep everything under control. Since my bladder hasn’t had to store anything since January, it’s a little weird having that feeling in my gut again, but I’m getting used to it. The doctor says my bladder will lose some of its muscle tone, as I used to have to push REALLY hard to urinate before this operation. As long as I can keep things at 18 ml/sec or higher, I’m good. And he thinks that’s not going to be a problem.
The Supra-pubic catheter comes out next Tuesday. I then have follow up appointments in July, November and then next March, just to make sure everything holds in place.
I cried with happiness, even though I’m still on healing restrictions, including absolutely no sexual activity for three more weeks. No heavy lifting. Keep your precious cargo supported with good underwear. No straddling anything for at least three weeks, longer if possible. I’ve made the decision that I’m going to replace my long-distance cycling with swimming this summer. And as soon as I have the all clear, I’ll be lifting some weights again.
I feel like a Superman. It’s time to start acting like one again.