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Mumsnetters aren't necessarily qualified to help if your child is unwell. If you have any serious medical concerns, we would urge you to consult your GP.


(30 Posts)
used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 13:46:13

My DD is having an operation in three weeks time and will be in hospital the first few days then will come home with a catheter. I'm really nervous about this but the surgeon said it isn't going to be as bad as I think and is a very minor issue in the whole thing. Anyway I am worried and can't even think what they look like, where they are attached etc! Well I know where but can someone just help me a bit with what to expect please? I take it DD will need to wear nighties rather than pjs or is it easy enough to put clothes over them? Will she wear a nappy over it for when she does a poo or would that be risky in terms of infection(she's having an operation on her bladder tubes etc)

used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 13:59:03

Bump. I realise I am probably over thinking it all, it is a good avoidanxce tactic probably! Just want to be prepared.

DumbledoresGirl Tue 16-Sep-08 14:09:03

2 of my children have had ops and come home with catheters, but unfortunately in terms of answering your questions, neither of them were in nappies at the time and they were both boys.

Have you got a pre-op appt in which to discuss these issues? I am thinking of the nappy one in particular. It strikes me you should have all this explained to you. From the point of view of caring for your dd when she has a catheter in, it really is as simple as the surgeon implies. You just have a bag strapped to the leg which fills with urine and you have to keep an eye on it and empty it as and when it needs it. And keep things very clean too to avoid infection.

But with regard to wearing a nappy, I really think you should ask about this at the hospital.

DumbledoresGirl Tue 16-Sep-08 14:11:12

WRT your question about nighties or pjs, yes nighties would be easier but in fact my boys wore pj bottoms and loose trousers during the day whilst they had their catheters in, so it is not impossible to wear trousers with them. In fact, they hide the bag strapped to the leg so the fact that they are wearing a catheter is less obvious which might be a consideration if you had to take dd out.

Aitch Tue 16-Sep-08 14:14:58

i just had a catheter in when i had dd2, i totally couldn't feel it. it stays in because they inflate a teensy balloon inside you, so when they take it out they deflate the balloon and it just slides out. i had the tube running down my pyjama leg, again it was fine. if i'd been in a nightie i'd probably have needed it micropored/taped onto my leg.

deffo ask about the nappy, i just wanted you to know that you can't feel anything. and the bag changing is completely, completely easy and fine. smile

cheesesarnie Tue 16-Sep-08 14:17:40

how old is she?i think its hard to answer your questions without age.
i had a catheter which i had big bag at night,and changed it to smaller one i strapped on my leg in day,you couldnt notice it at all!
i agree with asking lots of questions.

DesperateTooDyson Tue 16-Sep-08 14:18:14

Hi used2bthin - have just emailed you!

I can't think what you would do if they said not to use nappies.

I would imagine loose trousers/pj's might be quite good for stopping dd fiddling with the bag. I'm sure she'll find it fascinatingsmile

Hope all goes well.


used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 14:23:31

Thanks for the replies. We are still waiting for two surgeons to have a discussion about how the op is to be done so its all been a bit up in the air as we got a second opinion. I was told they'd make sure I knew what I was doing before leaving hospital so I expect it'll be fine but I do worry that DD will pull it out or something! Good to know that you can't feel it Aitch and that it is easy. I was wondering about taking her out Dumbledoresgirl as I assume we'll have to go to hospital to have the bag changed? Or maybe someone will come out to us I'm not sure. I know that some people have them in permanently soclothes on the bottom half must be possible. I suppose it might depend on how quickly DD will heal too.

used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 14:26:16

Oh x posts cheesesarnie and desperate housewife, hello! Good point about fiddling with it, I think I will get some cheapy loose pj type things. I bought her a v posh pair of Gap pjs but have realised that they probably are not a good plan for immediately post op. Cheesesarnie she is 2.

bamboo Tue 16-Sep-08 14:27:06

My ds had a catheter in after an op when he wore nappies. The hospital showed us what to do as regards changing him. Basically he wore 2 nappies. We had to cut a hole in the front of the inner nappy to feed the catheter through and then the second nappy went over it. The inner nappy only then needed changing when he pooed, the outer one just as you would normally. We were told not to use the "baby dry" type nappies (I think) to cut into - something to do with the crystals being different.

Hopefully they'll explain all this after the operation. ds had it on for 10 days afterwards - it was nowhere near as bad as I'd imagined. Good luck.

bamboo Tue 16-Sep-08 14:29:04

Though his operation was on his willy and it was bandaged so may have had some bearing on the nappy arrangement!

used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 14:30:23

Thanks Bamboo, that makes sense about two nappies. XP is going to stay here the first night out of hospital but I think I'm going to ask my mum to take some time off work if she can because the reality of however many weeks at home with a very frustrated and not well DD who will probably be quite wriggley is beginning to sink in. Did they come to your house to change the catheter or do they last a long time? Who removed it in the end the hospital?

used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 14:32:39

Bless him Bamboo! Yes it may do actually I suppose as DD's op will be internal so may be more issue with the poo thing I don't know. She gets constipated so will need extra laxatives I am told, to stop her straining. Poor thing it reminds me of after I gave birth all this talk!

bamboo Tue 16-Sep-08 14:39:17

Yeah ds was sent home with laxatives but we didn't need them fortunately. The catheter stayed in for the duration and the district nurse came to the house to remove it. I remember it being sooo long! I can't imagine where it all went! For ds the removal was probably more distressing than actually "wearing" it.

used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 14:42:23

Oh yes I bet that bit was hard as I expect they put it in while the child is still under anaesthetic. Good that she came to you though I think. Oh dear it is not going to be easy. I'll be glad when its all over though. How old was your DS when he had his op?

bamboo Tue 16-Sep-08 14:45:51

ds was 18 months, and your dd?

used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 14:46:53

She wil be two on sunday. Hard when they are so young as its hard to explain it very well.

bamboo Tue 16-Sep-08 14:50:07

It is hard, but now ds doesn't remember a thing - will it be a one off operation for your dd?

used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 14:55:30

Hopefully. Although they are discussing whether it will be done in one or two stages so fingers crossed it all gets done at once. If not though it will be one very small procedure in october then the bigger internal one next year. Its looking likely for all at once though I just wish they'd hurry up and decide so that I know whats happening. I think when she's older she'll need some work doing but not for a long time. Good point aboiut not remembering, thats why we were keen to have it done while she is small, need to keep thinking of that though as I'm bound to feel guilty about my part in "choosing" to have it done now rather than waiting a few years.

DumbledoresGirl Tue 16-Sep-08 15:52:53

I wouldn't necessarily recommend going out while the catheter is in place. With ds1, I foolishly took him to the park and the catheter leaked. Mind you, it then continued leaking until we had a new bag put on so it might have been going to leak anyway, but I realised afterwards that taking him to the park was a bit silly. He then only went out for rides in the car - just for a change of scene.

With ds3, I kept him home, but he still went out into the garden, went on the slide, got accidentally kicked by another child and came in bleeding profusely. I thought I had been responsible for allowing him to rip his stitches out, but it turned out to be less serious than that.

So all in all, I would not recommend taking your dd out, but otoh, you have to get on with everyday life, and a trip to the supermarket say would not be impossible.

I too have had a catheter twice in my life and I can back Aitch up from the pov that it does not hurt. When the time comes to have it out, it may well hurt your dd though as it will be in the site of her operation. Both my boys had ops on their willies and the taking out of the catheter was the worst part of the whole experience. I don't want to upset you, but it is better to be forewarned about this.

DumbledoresGirl Tue 16-Sep-08 15:57:03

Oh and btw, the guilt you feel as a mother at putting your dd through this experience is entirely understandable and totally par for the course. I felt awful for my boys. Ds3 went to his first party the day before his op and I was so upset seeing him so happy and knowing I was going to be responsible for putting him through so much pain and misery the next day. You have to grit your teeth and think of the bigger picture.

My dss were 5 (ds1) and 3 (ds3) when they had their ops. Ds1 remembers his, but ds3 only "knows" he had an op on his willy, he does not remember the actual experience. So you are doing the right thing by your dd getting it done when she is 2.

bamboo Tue 16-Sep-08 17:17:50

I went out and about with ds in the buggy, shopping and to do the school run etc but I didn't let him out. Maybe your dd is young enough to be content with that too. It's a change of scenery for both of you isn't it?

Clothes weren't a problem for us as the catheter didn't have a bag, it just drained into the outer nappy. And two disposables were only about the thickness of his cloth nappies. I just made sure he wore stretchy bottoms.

It was stressful at the time, especially ds going down for the anaesthetic (dh took him), but tbh ds bounced back really quickly from his operation. Hopefully your dd will do the same. Let us know how it goes if you get chance.

used2bthin Tue 16-Sep-08 22:38:06

Thanks both of you. It is so stressful especially as I still can't yet be certain of what is happening until I get the letter from the surgeons after they have discussed it. Dumbledoresgirl I know exactly what you mean about the party. DD had a general anaesthetic last year so that the surgeon could look inside her and see what was what and the first time(she got sent home the morning of the procedure twice due to not being fit for aneasthetic)she was 7mo and wasall happy and smiley as we went in, I felt awful as it was as if she thought she'd been taken on a nice day trip. The next one was two days after her 1st birthday party so I kept thinking little does she know! By the time they actually did it I was so desperate for it to go ahead that it wasn't so bad in a funny kind of way.

From what you say then I probably won't be taking her out but glad to hear that it will be ok to go out in the buggy when she's up to it occasionally. She will be on codiene I think so probably won't be as active as normal but we've been advised to hide ride on toys for a while. She is having a mini epidural initially but it will be out by the time we come home.

cheesesarnie Wed 17-Sep-08 11:08:47

the changing it ,theyll probably show you how to do.if shes mobile she'll probably have small one you can strap to her leg in day and change for bigger(over night) one at night.easy to change once youre shown how.does she have a favorite dolly(really good if one that wees but whatever teddy,dolly will do)so you can ask for one for dolly?

uptomyeyes Wed 17-Sep-08 11:25:48

I had a catheter after DS3 - it stayed in for 2 weeks. It wasn't unconfortable - even when being taken out - I wonder if it is more uncomfortable for boys than girls - or perhaps being older I was able to relax more in the knowledge that it would all be over pretty quickly.

Anyway - my experience was:

1. I got thrush because of the tube coming out - so perhaps watch out for that.

2. The small day bag - just wasn't big enough - often had to empty it every hour.

3. The night bag was quite large and DH rigged up a hook so I could hang it on the side of the bed so it wasn't pulled around and didn't drag on the tube/catheter.

4. The velcro straps that attach the small bag to you leg don't stay elastic for very long. Once over-stretched the bag would slip down my leg - not the most elegant time of my life I must say grin

My Ds1 is having an op under GA tomorrow so I'm having all the same anxiety feelings that you are ....sigh sad

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