How to make a catheter bearable to wear for my Dad or any good recommendations?

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My father went to stay with my brother for the "winter" (forever we hope) and once there had to see a prostate specialist who ordered a catheter due to chronic inflammation sealing the urethra closed. It was determined after a month that it wasn't going to get better on it's own so the Dr. planned to operate on dad to cut away some of the inflammation that had become like scar tissue, hopefully relieving the pressure so the cath could be permanently removed.

The operation was scheduled and sister in law and dad went in for pre-op (two hour drive to the hospital, 5 hours there, 2 hours back - a 9 hour ordeal). Two days later my brother took a vacation day for the surgery only to have the Dr. call at the last minute and cancel the surgery. Turns out the doctor just discovered dad was still on his coumadin. No one had told him or my brother or sis in law two weeks earlier that he was supposed to quit taking it.

It was three weeks out before they could reschedule, and because it was so long he had to go through Pre-op again.. That meant another full day spent for pre-op and then another day for surgery (and vac. day for bro) Surgery day started early, 5 AM. So brother and sister in law and dad decided to drive up the evening before surgery and spend the night in a hotel. They enlisted my help the the evening before they were to leave..and I scheduled them a hotel through priceline. Two hours before they were set to leave the house the Dr. called, surgery had to be cancelled again! Seems he had a urinary trac infection they just found out about. Guess what...priceline doesn't give refunds unless you buy separate trip insurance. Money Down the Drain. Lesson learned...always buy trip insurance (but if you do that then there goes the discount!). Forget priceline.

Third times a charm, right? They put dad on 2 weeks of antibiotics and rescheduled surgery. They said they could forgo preop since they had one only two weeks old and family Dr had checked the infection and it was gone.

The big day came and no phone call. Dad was so excited...He had been over 2 months now with a catheter that was uncomfortable anytime he tried to get up or down or walk, hurt every time they had to change it out, and just made his life plain miserable. Finally it was going to come out and he felt he'd have his old life back. Brother took off work again..it was finally getting done! The surgery wasn't until noon so they didn't have to get a hotel the night before. Dad gave a hip hip hurray when they got to the hospital and hadn't receive any calls canceling anything.

They prepped dad and after about an hour they put in his IV and said the Anesthesiologist would be in shortly to give him a shot then he'd be taken to surgery. 20 minutes whet by and his surgeon came in and said he was so sorry to have to tell them this, but the surgery had to be CANCELED for a third time !@!!

The Anesthesiologist, while going through Dad's charts at the last minute, noticed that dad had a procedure 7 months previously to have stints put into two of his heart arteries. He said the rules say he's not allowed to administer anesthesia to a heart patient for at least a year after any stint or bypass surgery, and then they have to have a complete heart work-up and a cardiologist signing off on it before they will go ahead with anything requiring anesthesia.

WHY IN THE H*** DIDN'T THEY TELL US THIS AT THE VERY BEGINNING??? WHAT IN THE BLAZES IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?????

They told dad he has to now wear the stint for 3 more months (which will be one year after his stint surgery) and then will have to see a heart doctor and do a stress test before they can schedule surgery for the prostate.

Dad is devastated. Now he just wants to die and join mom. He's told my brother he's going back to Ohio where his "real" doctors are (We don't feel he can live alone...he's too weak and he has a cath he can't handle by himself).

He can't imagine wearing this cath a minute longer. We're all afraid he's going to tear it out in frustration. He feels the doctors are all in cahoots trying to get more money from him and his insurance company. After all, they've had two post opps, an additional chest Xray..additional visits to/from the specialist, medicines, and a visit to the hospital with prep for surgery and YET NOTHING'S BEEN DONE... Insurance has to have been billed thousands I'll bet, and for what? Incompetence?

Sorry, I have to rant here... my brother won't let me rant at the doctors. He said dad is going to need them to take care of him in three months when try number 4 might be the charm and he doesn't want any burned bridges.

Meanwhile, dad has to wear a cath for at least 12 more weeks... I need advice on how to make this bearable for him. What he has isn't working. Can anyone recommend a good cath system?

Thanks for reading all this if you did, and for any advice.

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Your poor dad. I feel so awful for him and I know this must be very difficult on the whole family. Of course your dad is discouraged and depressed. Who wouldn't be after being at the receiving end of so much incompetence?

As for the catheter, all catheters go in one way and one way only. There is no other kind of catheter. Even an "in and out" cath still has to go in and come out. But if your dad could stand it, it might be worth investigating an in and out cath. It wouldn't be in 24/7, only inserted every couple of few hours depending on your dad's need. I have inserted hundreds of caths on men and I've never used lidocaine which is a topical anesthetic. I'm not even sure lidocain is ever used in the insertion of caths but maybe lidocaine is an option with an in and out cath.

If I knew your dad I'd send him a wickedly funny card to try and boost his spirits. Poor guy.
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This is such a sad story for your dad and should have been prevented, but at least by sharing your story you have made others more aware of the questions to ask. This was pure incompetence and I would be very wary about using this hospital and that surgeon in the future even if it means the expence of traveling to a major facility further away. There is absolutely no reason why the pre testing can not be done locally. Also the cardiology consult can be done closer to home. You can also ask about using a spinal anesthesia and sedation for the surgery.
I think taking the catheter in and out several times a day even if dad could cope with that would cause much more discomfort than keeping the catheter in. When the catheter is changed they could use a local anesthetic which is squirted into the urethra before the new catheter is inserted. Make sure the balloon is properly emptied before it is removed. The Cranberry juice would be a good idea if dad was not on coumadin. It is not recommended because it interferes with the coumadin and makes the blood too thin making bleeding more likely. Another thing that can be done is irrigate the bladder a couple of times a day with an acetic acid mixture. It is basically a weak solution of vinegar that the pharmacy makes up in a sterile solution. Dad or brother in law can do it for him. You simply use a very large syringe and fill with the acetic acid and connect it to the end of the catheter and gently squirt the fluid into the catheter then allow it to drain out.
There is another solution which dad may not care for and that is to insert what is called a supra pubic catheter. A small incision is made through the lower abdominal wall into the bladder and a larger catheter is inserted and drains into a bag as the current one does. This is a very simple surgical proceedure that is done under local anesthetic with maybe a slight sedation if dad is particularily nervous. This will hopefully relieve the painful sensations in the urethra. Dad will probably pass some urine the normal way and this could still cause some pain if he is still very inflamed. It all depends on what dad is willing to bear.
After all the problems you have had I would recommend that any urologist dad consults is board certified. This ensures he has the necessary experience and training in his specialty.
Dad certainly does not sound as though it is safe for him to live alone but it might be a good idea for him to return to Ohio to have this problem sorted out. There is probably better acess to quality care as long as someone can take care of him for the duration. After this is all sorted the summer will be almost over and he can return toTexas for a nice warm winter. make sure dad keeps up a good fluid intake unless he is restricted because of his heart. Blessings
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Meant to say ...he's the one who screwed up (meaning the Dr.)
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pstegman...you made me smile. Actually, I guess I worded it wrong..it was my dad who cried, not the MD. The problem is that the Urologist is the only one who comes anywhere near the little town of Omaha, Tx or any of the tiny surrounding towns. He's only there once a month, but the other choice is to drive two hours into Tyler. The are just going to have to be on the ball on making sure to push the Dr, asking a lot of questions, like you are aware of my dad's past medical history now, right? You're aware of all his medicines, right? etc., etc., etc. Dad won't get a bill since he's already met his out of pocket for the year but you can bet his insurance company will be receiving bills for all three hospital trips, although he's the one who screwed. That's just not fair... no wonder our insurance is so high!
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In my opinion the Urologist has made too many mistakes and I would not go back to him. He ignored history, he gave incomplete prep, did not consult anesthesia, and if he sent a bill I would tell him to eat it. Of course the MD cried, he knows he's an IDIOT.
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Yes you have a right to be livid. If your father has to frequently change the catheter it risks infection. Hope he has relief soon. Poor guy!
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Oh, and Dad doesn't have dementia. He's pretty with it, except for the fact that he's a stubborn old man who thinks he can still live alone and is now hell bent on going back to his home in Ohio. Sadly, it looks like there's no way for us to stop him. He's so weak from all this, and the other illnesses he's had to deal with in the last 12 months. He just doesn't want to be a burden and doesn't see that he's not, that my brother and sis in law love him dearly and want him to stay with them. But we all know if he goes home, he's going to end up severely injured, sick, or even dead within months if not weeks. There's just nothing we can do and we're feeling sick about it.
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Norest, that's what makes me so mad about all this. When, Dad first went to the prostate Dr. he had to fill out a new patient medical history page and it asked for all of his latest medical procedures as to what and when. My sister in law helped him fill it all out completely. They had all that information, as well as copies of his medical records from his GP. My bro had her make copies of all the important records before they left Ohio. In fact, this is exactly why the anesthetist said he couldn't be put under. He read what the Doctor should have read before he ever scheduled the 1st surgery 8 weeks ago. I don't know what else Dad could have done. He also had to report everything on a form when he went for his 1st pre-op. He informed everyone and then put his faith in the hands of the professionals who were supposed to know what the were doing!

They also brought up that they lived two hours from the hospital, and though they did allow him to go to a closer clinic for the UTI test to see if the antibiotics cleared up the infection, they said they had to do the pre ops at the hospital and they had to be done at least three days before the surgery. So the first two surgeries required two trips to the hospital where they were there a minimum of 5 hours each trip.

So Dad and my brother and sis in law did everything right. It's the doctor and the pre op people who messed up big time.

The Urologist is aware of dad's discomfort. He broke down the last time he saw him. He did say he could give him a removable cath that might be more comfortable to wear, but it has to be removed two to three times a day and reinserted. He won't even consider that since it hurts so bad taking it out and putting it in. I was just hoping there was something else out there that might be better then the freebie the Drs office gave him.

I appreciate the cranberry juice tip.
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This is a situation where medical records were not available to the doctors where your father was staying for the winter..It is unfortunate all that has happened. Normally if there is going to be surgery, a patient has to go for pre admission testing, ordered by the surgeon. A complete history would have been taken then and he would have needed a cardiac clearance before surgery based on his history. It is so important for people to have a complete history, dates of surgeries/ procedures med lists, allergies names of physicians/ phone numbers and medications when they travel. I encourage all to ask for copies of ALL tests, labwork, xrays etc to keep at home in their own file. The stents should have been known by your father unless he has dementia and is a poor historian or forgot to mention. It all is very hard and you have every right to be upset. The catheter is held inside by a tiny balloon that is inflated with fluid with a syringe to keep the catheter from coming out. Your dad is very irritated due to his problem. The catheter could be moving if it is not secured to his leg properly and gets tugged, irritating him more. I don't think another catheter would be helpful unless maybe he can go down a size. But make sure the urologist is aware of the discomfort. Since he has had UTI's and has been treated give him cranberry juice 3 times/ day for prevention of future UTI's. Sometimes the pre admission testing could be done closer to him rather than the long drive to the center they had done before. They may not have realized he had such a long way to get it Hope this all works out!
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Sorry, meant he'll have to wear the cath for 3 more months until they can do anything about it. That will be one year after stint surgery.

Sorry this is all so long. I just had to get it off my chest. It seems so senseless.

I need to help dad accept his Cath...and maybe a more comfortable cath is out there?
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