Staple Removal

One week after surgery, I went back to see the Dr. to have the staples removed. It was essentially painless but I made the mistake of asking the nurse if I could do it standing up instead of lying down. The incision separated a little before the nurse decided it would be better if I lay down. They replaced the staples with tape that was intended to be in place for about another 10 days.

After the tape had been in place for a few days, I developed a sort of pimple or blister where, I think, some ingrown hairs were coming out. It finally burst and I put antibiotic ointment on it but the ointment made the tape come loose at that spot.

Numbness in Thigh

On the 9th day after surgery, I began to develop a numb area in my right thigh. It was about the size of my hand and above the knee and below the foam pad that anchored the catheter. The numbness was at skin level, not inside my leg. I called the on-call Dr. who said it did not sound like anything that was related to the surgery.
I paid a visit to my family Dr. the next day. He said it was probably caused by a nerve being pinched while lying still for a long time or from being strapped. He said it was not really anything to worry about as long as the area didn’t get larger. He recommended application of heat and exercise to make it go away faster and said it takes several months to resolve itself in some cases. The heat did not really seem to help but exercise seemed to help it a lot.

Removal of the Catheter

My catheter was removed 19 days after the surgery (later than usual due to the Doctor’s office being closed for a couple of days during the Christmas holidays). I was really looking forward to getting rid of it.

Here is a description of the removal process. First, the nurse disconnected the catheter bag and long tube from the anchor on the thigh. Next she pulled the anchor off. What was now remaining was a short tube with a “Y” in the end of it. One side of the “Y” opens up into the bladder and the other side goes to the balloon that keeps the catheter from slipping out. She then used a funnel, which was connected to the tube that opens into the bladder, and poured about 150 to 200 cc’s of saline solution through the funnel, draining into the bladder.

They want your bladder to be full when they pull the catheter out so that they can check for your ability to start and stop the flow of urine. Next, she used a syringe (with no needle on the end) to connect to the side of the “Y” that goes to the balloon and sucked a portion of the fluid out of the balloon. She used a second syringe and then part of a third before the balloon was empty. She said she wanted to be sure the balloon was really empty before she pulled on it. Next, she slowly pulled the catheter and balloon out.

The balloon is about as big around as my littlest finger and I could see a big bulge moving along as she pulled it out. There was a little bit of pain but not a significant amount. I think it “looked” more painful than it really was because of the bulge. Then I had to stand up and they handed me a large urine bottle. I was to urinate a little into the bottle and then try to stop the flow and then start it again. This was to be repeated a few times until the rest of the saline ran out. I did not really have any trouble starting and stopping the flow but it was not natural and automatic. It took concentration to do so.