Two-stage urethroplasty: stage 2, day 14 after surgery – catheter removal

About four hours driving today for a 15 minute hospital appointment but neither I nor the surgeons who did the urethroplasty really trust my local urology department.

The surgeon seemed very happy with the appearance of the wound. I agree, they did some really neat suturing. There’s one suture at the foreskin end that’s sticking out a bit and he said I could remove that myself.

He pulled out the catheter without any trouble and it wasn’t really any more uncomfortable than usual. I had an early lunch and had a pee before getting back in the car, my first normal pee since October 2015! The flow seemed good and strong and it wasn’t too painful.

Later in the day it was getting a bit more painful and there was a hint of blood but I’m guessing that’s just irritation of the wound on the inside.

The only instructions I got were no sex or cycling for another two weeks and to generally avoid strenuous exercise that might affect that area. Once I get to four weeks after surgery I can apparently do whatever I want.

I’ll have an appointment at my local hospital in about a month for a urine flow measurement. The surgeon was very emphatic that they shouldn’t do anything else and I should contact him with any questions rather than the local urology department.

Two-stage urethroplasty: stage 2, day 4 after surgery

We walked into town for lunch today and the only problem I had was the usual discomfort from the urethral catheter.

I’d had a shower earlier in the morning and my husband changed the dressing for me afterwards. That meant that I got to see how the wound looks and get some pictures.

It’s looking surprisingly good, considering what my penis has been through over the last few years. Not very much bruising and really neat suturing, you can hardly see the stitches. At the foreskin end you can see that the wound veers off to one side; I think that’s where the surgeon took a little bit of skin to repair the fibrotic area from the temporary urethral opening that was there.

Operation + 3 days (Friday)

I slept fairly well, still with the occasional erections waking me.

Still no output from the suprapubic catheter so I headed up to the urology ward around 08:30. They seemed to be expecting me, so I sat at my bed and waited for rounds.

The doctor suggested trying flushing out the suprapubic catheter again. So a nurse came round to do that. As she removed the dressing from the suprapubic catheter the whole thing came along with it. I could see quite clearly that the balloon had burst and the catheter had obviously pulled out of my bladder.

It looked a lot like when the nurse had used forceps to remove the old catheter bag that had over-pressurised the balloon and burst it.

After a quick consultation with the doctor and a more senior nurse it was decided that I’d manage over the weekend with just the one catheter and go back in for discharge on Monday as planned.

I had a comfortable afternoon at home watching TV. The upside of not having the suprapubic catheter is that I didn’t have any of the belly discomfort I’d had since the operation.

The non-stick dressing on my penis and scrotum had started to come away from the stitches so I could see how far down onto my scrotum the wound went. That explained why there was so much tenderness and bruising down there. Click here for photos.

Sleeping was easier with only one tube to wrangle.

Operation day (Tuesday)

I got up at 05:30 for the 300 ml of pineapple juice that was all I was allowed to drink before the operation.

On arrival at the urology ward there was a bit of a wait because “my” bed was still occupied. The hospital is suffering from terrible bed shortages, so that wasn’t a huge surprise. I ended up in a room that had been “closed” and was partly used as an office for the final checks and to change into the stylish surgery clothes.

A very friendly nurse and two student nurses wheeled me down to the surgery department, where there was more waiting in the pre-operative room. I had my last pee for a few weeks and then one of the students nervously put a cannula in (and did a good job). Lying there in the almost empty room I felt surprisingly relaxed, although a bit shaky, which could have been due to the lack of food.

The anaesthetist was being held up by another patient, so the anaesthetist nurse wheeled me through to theatre and they got to work preparing me while they found another anaesthetist. The pre-med made me pleasantly woozy and I vaguely remember chatting with the staff then I was out like a light as soon as the anaesthetic went it.

Waking up was much less peaceful. I don’t remember much, apart from being convinced that my husband was there (which he wasn’t). The nurse told me I had been quite confused and difficult.

I stayed in post-op for quite a long time, at first quite disorientated but then just bored. I got to talk to my husband on the phone. They had me lying on my right side (they’d taken the graft from my left cheek) but the bed was too short so my legs got really stiff and painful and nobody seemed to pay attention when I complained about it. I wasn’t feeling any other pain though, they’d given me fentanyl.

A┬ásurgeon passed by and told me that the surgery had gone well but that the anaesthetists had had some trouble. They couldn’t get the breathing tube in through my nose, after attempting with both nostrils until they were bloody, so they gave up and put one in my mouth instead. A nurse appeared with hot towels and helped me get rid of some of the dried blood on my face.

A bit later my husband sneaked in, still in his scrubs from work. That seemed to remind them to get rid of me. They’d thought I was still tired from the anaesthetic but I think it was mostly just that I was napping because there was nothing else to do.

I had a quick look under the covers and things didn’t look too horrific. There was blood soaking through the dressing on my penis, which was taped pointing up towards my belly button, and a bit around the site of the suprapubic catheter. As expected there was also a catheter coming out of my penis. I was starting to get a bit of pain from the suprapubic catheter wound now, it felt a bit like muscle soreness from too much exercise. Click here for photos.

Once I’d been wheeled up to the urology ward I got a bed beside the window in a four-bed room. My clothes and valuables appeared along with some water and my husband came back just as dinner was being served.

Dinner was pancakes and pea soup. I let the soup go lukewarm and managed it OK but left the giant lump of cauliflower sitting in the bottom of the bowl. My cheek was a bit tender where they’d taken the graft but much less painful than I expected after reading other people’s experiences. Some aching in my groin too, my scrotum was looking pretty bruised and swollen.

I got some antibiotics, the nurse stabbed me in the leg with some blood-thinning drugs and I got a horrible nightgown to change into. I was even brought a little dish so that I could clean (half of) my teeth. At this point I realised that maybe bringing the toothbrush with the tongue scraper on the back hadn’t been such a good idea.

It was obviously time for bed so I settled down and tried to get some sleep, without much success. A little old lady arrived quite late in the night and was very noisy. Eventually she started continuously wailing and crying for help, as well as talking to someone who wasn’t there. When I called the nurse for her she said she was fine. After a couple of repetitions of this I called the nurse again and told her that I couldn’t sleep with all the noise, even with earplugs, and the little old lady was moved to another room.

I had trouble sleeping for more than short bursts because I could only lie on my back. My left side was out because of my cheek and if I lay on my right side my swollen scrotum was painful.