Experience with a Foley Catheter?
January 21, 2017 2:48 PM   Subscribe

I acrobatically managed to break three ribs, puncture a lung and spent a week in hospital. There they inserted a Foley catheter. They pulled it the day I was to leave, but normal urinary function did not return, so they inserted a new one and sent me home. I've been out a week now and have some questions...

1. I've had trouble getting into see a urologist to hopefully remove the foley. It's been in now for 8 days. Will having this in longer make it harder to return to normal urinary function?

2. Have you been through this experience? How did removal and return to normal work for you?

3. Do you have general advice related to this thing - general management and getting out in public etc?

posted by ecorrocio to Health & Fitness (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

I'm not sure why you need a urologist to remove the foley. Any primary care doctor or nurse can do it. Just don't try to take it out yourself as there's a little balloon inside your bladder that will damage your urethra if it's not deflated before removal.

It's not unusual for bladders to take a little longer than usual to get back to normal functioning after being catheterized. If your bladder is otherwise healthy, I don't think it'll affect your urinary function long term.
posted by greatgefilte at 3:00 PM on January 21, 2017 [6 favorites]

I am a nurse but not your nurse.

Foleys are perfect environments for bacteria that cause UTIs and kidney infections to grow. (Frankly I'm surprised you've had yours for a week, most places try to remove them ASAP because of the infection potential.) It shouldn't affect your long term bladder function to have one in this long, but definitely check in with a doctor if you have any UTI-like symptoms now or after removal. (Frequency, burning with urination, blood in urine, etc).

Seconding that any primary doctor or nurse should be able to take out the catheter and advise you on basic things to watch out for post-removal, though you'll want to talk to the urologist about any longer term plans.
posted by ActionPopulated at 3:32 PM on January 21, 2017 [7 favorites]

Going out in public shouldn't be an issue if you have a leg bag that straps to your thigh or below your knee. They hopefully sent you home with a couple.

Drink lots of fluids. Lots and lots.
posted by pintapicasso at 4:23 PM on January 21, 2017

IANYD but... when we have patients in the hospital, our general procedure is to have patients follow up with a urologist (we make the appointment - one of the perks of being an academic institution) and they are seen in the office, usually 7-10 days. I agree that it's probably fine to see your PCP and see if they can remove it.
posted by honeybee413 at 4:23 PM on January 21, 2017 [3 favorites]

Sometimes being on narcotic pain medications of the type you are likely to be taking after breaking some ribs can cause urinary retention (with constipation) as side effects, and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen/naproxen can cause it too. As you're weaning off those medications it may be more likely you will get your normal bladder functioning back with the Foley removal.

IANYD but we typically do follow up with a urologist as our standard of care as well. It might be an American thing, or at least a regional thing. As far as I'm aware, I don't think there's any magic to what they do, though, I think they just take it out and +/- wait for you to pee before you leave their office. The referral is convenient though if you end up having any further problem with it.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:40 PM on January 21, 2017 [1 favorite]

Some years ago I was an in-patient and they wanted to discharge me but my waterworks weren't. For whatever reason they didn't simply send me home with the catheter. First they took it out, and then they used me as a training patient for student nurses learning to put one in. They were very surprised when I said I had no problem with a random nurse being led in to try and do it every three hours or so, but I found the whole experience amusing, and got to be such an expert at lying there being catheterized that I once had to gently stop a student who had scratched her nose, "You're not sterile" Poor soul had to throw out everything and begin all over again with a brand new disposable catheterization kit.

Well, they couldn't send the student nurses to my house and barring the fact that my pelvic floor didn't work, I was as chipper and energetic as anything, so they got me to take six hot baths a day, as hot as I could stand and try to pee while submerged in the hot water. That got my tissues able to cooperate enough that I could pee on my own albeit only in a bathtub full of warmer-than-body-temperature water.

Now likely the reason I needed the foley was different from the reason you need the foley. In my case I had just had an emergency forceps delivery and everything was bruised and swollen. However part of the purpose of the sitz-baths was to help prevent or discourage bacteria from happening and for whatever reason sitting in a hot bath causes some people to pee whether they like it or not, and at least will help you go back to peeing on your own again.

So not only do I suggest that you might want to try taking a few hot sitz-baths, just in case it serves as a preventative of the unfortunate side effects of having a catheter in, but I'd also like to mention that they let student nurses put catheters in and take them out so you really don't need to see a urologist to get yours removed.

I hope you are pain free and recovering fast. Best of luck.

Finally.... this being Trump's America, do NOT see if you can score half a dozen sterile soft catheters still in the wrappers that keep them sterile, while you are going through this not-so-fun experience. A soft catheter inserted through the cervix while observing the best sterile precautions you can, and twiddled around quite a bit may induce a miscarriage when a woman is in the first few weeks of pregnancy. There is no danger of scraping or injuring the tissue as there is with the classical knitting needle. There IS danger of infection. Repeat, there IS danger of infection. What makes this especially nefarious is that once the cramping and minor bleeding starts the criminal receiving the abortion can present at Emerg saying that she thinks she has just had a spontaneous miscarriage, and with luck will receive a D & C to remove any residual uterine contents, if necessary, and antibiotics, ditto. So you must not try to score a few soft catheters for whatever friends you have who may want to use them in a criminal fashion in future.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:19 AM on January 22, 2017 [9 favorites]

Oh, and to get your function back afterwards; Kegels and Squats. Squats have done wonders to help me retain longer and avoid urinary urgency, where thousands of kegels did very little. Rather than a campaign of squats look for lots of ways that you can incorporate squats into your daily life several times a day, such as petting the cat, picking up a dropped item, tying your shoelaces, getting things out of the bottom cupboard etc.
posted by Jane the Brown at 6:25 AM on January 22, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have a friend who uses a catheter full-time, and he drinks SO MUCH WATER to avoid UTIs. His tip is to heat the water almost to boiling- as if you're making tea- then add a little cold water until the water is just super-warm. That helps it go down faster and allows you to drink more. He drinks about 1/2 litre at a time, several times a day.
Using a leg bag should allow you to go out in public- just strap the bag around your calf and off you go.
posted by spraypaint at 3:12 PM on January 22, 2017

« Older Easiest way to spoof a wedding invitation?   |   This time, it's (a) personal (website) Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.