Well, that was easy. Relatively, so. Last Monday I got to remove my catheter all by myself. Not the sort of thing one looks forward to — doing the removing, that is — but I was looking forward to having it gone and able to go back to some normality in my daily life. While I have grown somewhat adept at wearing, caring for, and changing the urine bag, it certainly isn’t something one wants over a long time.
Actually, it was quite easy and painless; afterward, I felt a bit chagrined over the anxiety I had felt prior to the act. I stood in the shower and merely snipped the drainage tube for the balloon (following the simple instructions in the pamphlet the hospital sent me home with). I let the water drip out so it emptied — only a few seconds — then held onto my penis with one hand and with the other pulled the catheter out. Gingerly, but it slid out without any problems.
Irritation was minimal, with a small expression of blood occasionally, and only for the first few days. To my delight, I suffered no significant incontinence or leakage afterward, as I had with the removal of the previous (and larger diameter) catheter I had lived with for two weeks after surgery.
And to make it even better, I have (so far) no indication of the UTI that has followed my previous experiences hosting a catheter. But this time, I’ve been drinking cranberry juice every day since I took it out to help prevent a UTI. And, of course, I had the catheter in for a much shorter time (four days) than previously.
Aside: most cranberry juice sold in grocery stores is labelled “cocktail” and is shite. It’s a diluted mix with other fruit juices, often grape or apple, and usually added sugar — no telling how much cranberry is actually present. I tried some of the cranberry cocktails from several stores and they were all awful, syrupy crap. One house brand was so sickly sweet I took it back to the store and complained. If you plan to drink the juice for UTI reasons, then buy the undiluted stuff and mix your own. I did find Terra Beata brand (a Canadian company, too) undiluted juice at the local Loblaws store, and that’s what I’ve used, diluting it only minimally. Far superior to the cocktail mixes.