I turned up at the hospital on Tuesday for what I’d expected to be an outpatient urethrotomy. The staff on the ward seemed to think that I’d be staying in overnight but bad communication is pretty standard for my local urology department.
After changing into the not especially flattering gown I waited for a couple of hours before eventually being taken down to pre-op. Then I waited for about another hour before I was taken to theatre.
Some time later I was coming round from the anaesthetic and I vaguely remember some discussion about a damaged and leaking suprapubic catheter. They decided to just tape it up to fix the leak.
Once I’d woken up a bit more I had a look and discovered that I had a suprapubic catheter in but no urethral catheter. When the surgeon passed by (very briefly) I asked him if they’d done the urethrotomy and he said they had but ran off before I could ask any more questions. I was still pretty woozy at this point anyway.
I was feeling quite OK otherwise, I don’t seem to get nausea from general anaesthetics. When the post-op nurse said I was ready to go up to the ward I told her I was starting to feel pain in my belly she said she’d tell the ward staff and she’d also ask them to change my urine-soaked bedding.
I had to wait about an hour until they finally came to take me up to the ward and had several more hours of sitting it my own urine before the bedding was changed and I got some painkillers. The nurses kept asking me if I was in pain but then forgetting to do anything about it.
Eventually it became obvious that I wasn’t going to get to see a doctor that day and I’d have to stay in overnight. One nurse mentioned something about them abandoning the urethrotomy but that they didn’t have any more information.
Dinner was a surprisingly decent meatloaf. Oxycontin and earplugs helped me get an OK night’s sleep despite all the snoring in the room.
Finally I got to see a doctor during morning rounds. He said that they’d discovered that my urethra was almost completely closed and they’d given up on the urethrotomy. In 2-3 weeks I’d have a urethrogram and then they’d work out what to do next. In the meantime I’d have to keep the suprapubic catheter.
I explained to him just how angry I was about the whole situation. How I’d written to the surgeon about how severe my symptoms had got, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise, and how it had only got so bad because they’d wasted so much time scheduling my operation. He said he’d arrange for me to meet with the surgeon to discuss it with him and that I should get to go home later that day.
The rest of Wednesday I mostly passed hanging around, waiting to meet the surgeon and to be discharged. When I eventually got to meet him the surgeon was very conciliatory and acknowledged that things had gone wrong but that they were just following procedures. He also explained that I need to wait a couple of weeks before the urethrogram to allow the inflammation to go down.
I then had to wait for the suprapubic catheter to be replaced. Although it wasn’t leaking I’d noticed that it was sucking in air bubbles and I wasn’t happy with the idea of going home with it already damaged when I’m going to have to live with it for weeks. On the other hand, after my last experience I wasn’t looking forward to the procedure.
This time the new catheter went in on the first attempt but the sensation of having my bladder filled to bursting point was just as horrible as before. They’d also not waited very long after injecting the local anaesthetic, so it was a bit more painful too.
Because of all the hanging around it was now too late to discharge me properly but the staff agreed I could go home on “leave” for the night.