A few weeks ago I posted on an upcoming surgery and asked for advice regarding bedwetting and diaper usage while staying at the hospital. I've now been home for a little over a week and I wanted to share my experience with what happened, just in case it might be helpful for others with similar concerns.
Like I said before, the surgery had to be repeated because the first time, the doctors ran into some problems along the way and had to stop. So this ended up being my second time going under. However, the first time my surgery ended up being treated as outpatient instead of inpatient -- so I didn't get the hospital experience until just last week.
This was my first time ever staying in a hospital as a patient. And let me tell you - it's not glamorous! Here's what happened.
I had talked with my own case manager nurse ahead of time about my bed wetting and as many of you had shared, she told me to bring my own supplies to the hospital, that this is a problem they see ALL the time, and that I shouldn't worry, no big deal. Because I had access to my charts through their online portal however, I knew this problem wasn't listed with my other issues...meaning I'd have to explain it more than once to different providers unfortunately.
Anyways, I showed up at the hospital in the morning for my surgery. We decided to leave my suitcase in the car since it would be quite a while before I'd be in a hospital room and that location was far away from the surgery suite. Everything went by fast and before I knew it I was in recovery, and then my hospital room. The surgery had gone to plan - I was healthy and happy, but in need of some serious recuperating time.
I ended up staying in the hospital 2 nights and at first, my wife and I were really really worried about the diapers notwithstanding my conversation with the nurse beforehand. I drifted in and out of consciousness in the hospital bed all day long (hard core narcotic pain killers were on board with one of those buttons you can push to control when you get them). On a few occasions, I got out of bed and tried to pee - but actually couldn't. Not uncommon after general anesthesia I discovered. We were both thinking - "well, maybe the diapers will be a mute point during this stay?"
That first night, I woke up at some point very late and I was SOAKING wet. My entire bed was. I told my wife and we called the nurse in. I felt embarrassed and a little guilty for not having talked with her about my problem. We both had just assumed that since I was having trouble and my wetting is relatively occasional otherwise, we wouldn't bother with the potential embarrassment of diapers.
Anyways, the nurse was very gracious and helped get new bedding. I wiped myself off with wet towels (not allowed showers at that point). And got into some new clothes (my own from home). When she was all done and leaving the room, she started to ask (what I can only assume) if I wanted incontinence underwear -- and then caught herself mid sentence, saying only "Oh I guess you have some underwear then?" We weren't sure if she had seen a note from my case manager or some other details in my chart I didn't have access to - but I told my wife that I was wearing a diaper going forward, to hell with what anyone thought or judged.
So for the duration of my stay (which included a second night and most of the third day), I was diapered. Usually I only wear them at night, but I was essentially sleeping all day long and totally doped up on drugs - so we both decided It'd be better to be protected than to be changing clothes and bedding constantly. I did have a couple more accidents but for the most part I remained dry; more than I'd expect to be at home actually.
The ironic part is that when I was awake, I continued to have great difficulty peeing. In fact, I ended up having to be catheterized with straight caths 4 separate times because the urine was building up in my bladder and I couldn't' get it to release. The nurses said that it's very common in men after surgery and that the bladder gets to a certain point where it's fullness actually prevents it from emptying itself. Crap! That was VERY painful. More than once they were able to drain over 850ml out of it - which seems like a TON even for a big guy like me. Each time they just had me take off my diaper and shorts, which I pulled down together like underwear, and lay in bed. They drained it right into a little tray as I sat in bed.
It was quite awkward and exposing...you lose all dignity at the hospital pretty quickly. The nurses each time were women too. I'm unsure if having a man would've made it any better (perhaps worse!)
I wasn't catheterized during surgery at all and this was my very first time to ever have this done to me in my life. I found it a little painful, but nothing approaching the pain of all that urine causing all that pressure in my bladder. Once it was in, I only felt relief. The last little push to get it in place and the last little pull to get it out both hurt the most for me aside from what was already going on.
Anyways, my only guess is that when I did have accidents while sleeping, it was because my bladder had become so incredibly full that it just overflowed out of desperation, not because it spasmed or anything. And because I was on IV morphine, I just didn't wake up or feel it. IDK.
The nurses never helped me with my diapers and never offered. I didn't ask as I was ambulatory enough to do it myself. They did see them several times when I was given shots in the side of my stomach for blood clots, when I had to get the straight caths, when they checked my incisions (on my stomach), and when they used the ultrasound machine to check and see how much urine was in my bladder. No one every seemed to as much as bat an eye. The diapers were a total afterthought.
Each night and morning when the nurses would give report to the new people coming on shift, they'd list my bedwetting verbally as part of my whole package of issues and care. Each time they'd say something like "he has incontinence when he sleeps and he has his own disposable briefs he's wearing." For some reason, i found that to be slightly embarrassing; but also comforting and compassionate in a strange way. None of the nurses second guessed this or asked questions about it. Just accepted like it was no big deal.
In terms of specific items - I brought a couple bags of dry 24/7 with me but only packed a few into my suitcase. I went through those pretty quick so my wife ended up shuttling small deliveries of more of them up to my room in a backpack. We both wanted to keep it quite discreet because none of the rest of my family knows about this issue -- nor do any of the friends who came to visit me. We didn't want bags of diapers just laying around. That worked out well and luckily, as far as we know, no one who didn't already know about my diapers and bedwetting found out. A relief!
SO now I'm back home and recovering. Peeing is back on line like normal -- and I'd say that my bedwetting has been slightly less frequent than what is typical over this past week. Life is good. I'm lounging in one of these new ABU simple diapers with a booster in it, still on some drugs, and trying to get well.
Thanks again for your advice before and hopefully some of this info will be helpful to others in the future.
If anyone has any questions about what happened, what it felt like, or anything else about my experience, ASK away!