After your prostatectomy you are sent home with a catheter. Most men receive two bags. The first is a large bag for overnight usage. The second is a leg bag for daytime use. The leg bag is smaller and needs to be emptied a few times in the course of your day. An embarrassing incident led me to part company with my leg bag.
On that fateful day, I was at the mall shopping. During this outing I went to a bathroom to check the urine level on my leg bag. The bag was almost full, so I pulled down my pants and started to drain the bag. Unfortunately, I missed the toilet, spilling most of the urine on my pants. When I pulled up my pants, I discovered I had a huge, noticeable wet spot in the front of my jeans. I was humiliated and ashamed, so I decided I’d stay in the stall for the next five hours, until the mall closed.
As I reached for my phone to call my wife, I discovered I forgot to take my cell phone with me. This meant I had no way of telling my wife where I was, what happened, and what I intended to do. Against my will, I left the bathroom stall and walked through the mall to meet my wife at our prearranged place. My walk through the mall in urine-soaked jeans was my walk of shame. I never used my leg bag again.
I purchased a pair of baseball pants with snaps on the side. I ran the tubing through the space between the snaps and put my overnight catheter bag into an opaque shopping bag, which I held by my side. By using my overnight bag in the daytime, I could sit through a movie, a concert, or any other event without needing to check the urine level in the bag. If the shopping bag got heavy, or the opportunity presented itself, I’d go into a stall and empty the bag into the toilet. This was a convenient and worry-free way to live with and travel with my catheter. At bedtime, I found sleeping in a recliner was much easier and more comfortable than sleeping in bed.
You’ll want to do everything possible to prevent an infection:
- Never place your bag higher than your bladder.
- Prevent kinks or blockages in your tubing at all times.
- Follow all sterile techniques you were shown at the hospital, including a thorough hand-washing every time you change bags or clean your catheter.
- If you experience painful bladder spasms, call your urologist, There are medications that effectively stop spasms.
Here’s a link for additional information: Caring For Your Catheter
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