I recieved practically zero guidance on catheter issues upon leaving the hospital. I've had to learn by trial, research and error. He'res what I know so far:
- Briefs are bad. Wear the loosest pants you have. I think many of my problems with tenderness and some swelling are due to the irritation of briefs and jeans bending everything too tightly.
- Obviously, drink lots of water. I'm shooting for 90oz/day or more. I read somewhere that after 5 days, most cathetered patients develop a healthy colony of bacteria which may or may not caus problems, so keeping things moving makes sense. Also, Sonny says that keeping the bladded "working" is good for long term continence.
- Lube, lube lube. I was told to use antibacterial ointment so that's what I'm doing every time I empty the bag.
- Shower every day and soap everthing up real good down there. Antibacterial soap is best (see point #2 above).
- Wash hands before and after emptying the bag (see point #2 above).
- When cleaning the bag, fill it with 2 parts bleach, 3 parts water and let sit for 20 minutes. Then air dry. White vinegar can be substituted for bleach.
- For the large bag, tape the tube to your leg in 2 places securely. I found some reusable athletic bands that work great.
- Put the cateter in a bowl if it's sitting on the floor or hanging next to you. This saved us once as the tube at the bootom of the bag had become unclamped.
- Aparently, almost everyone develops a UTI at some point (perhaps after removal). My Dr said to take Cipro (antibiotic) one day prior to catheter removal. I'm sure that's to ward off a UTI.
That's all I can think of for now. I'm sure there are others out there that can add to the list.