Suprapubic catheter falls out – introduction
I acquired a spinal cord injury (SCI) in 2009 after being hit by a tree, and have no control over my bladder. There are multiple methods available that utilise a catheter to empty the bladder and I have a suprapubic catheter. During an operation, a urologist made a hole, just below my belly button, allowing a suprapubic catheter to drain urine from my bladder and into a leg bag. I empty the bag before it fills up and the catheter is changed by a nurse every six weeks. The suprapubic catheter is held within the bladder by a balloon, that fills with sterile water. A suprapubic catheter should stay in for six weeks, but the balloon can deflate, and I’ve recently written a blog about my experience when the suprapubic catheter falls out. It has occurred about four times when I’ve taken my clothes off, and I’ve pushed them back in and kept them in until being changed the next day.
Suprapubic catheter falls out during a swim
After swimming for twenty-five minutes, being in the pool for about forty minutes and drinking a few times during exercise, I detected that my catheter had fallen out. This has occurred five times now with the water escaping and the balloon deflating. The other four times occurred in bed, as I was removing my clothes, and I quickly reinserted the catheter and kept it in, until a nurse is able to change it the next day.
This failure was my first experience like this in the pool, and given the pool is chlorinated and private, I didn’t think there were too many bacteria in the water that could cause a UTI (urinary tract infection) when I reinserted the catheter. I failed to reconnect the catheter, as my hands were slippery and I was floating in a vertical position.
Stay calm and take action
I tried staying calm to make the best decisions, but I’d been in the pool for forty-five minutes, consumed 400ml of water and my leg bag was empty. My bladder is filling up, increasing blood pressure that can cause the medical condition autonomic dysreflexia. I’ve experienced the dangerous condition three times with cramping sensations in my abdomen, feeling hot and then the most terrible headache. If the blood pressure gets too high and stays high, there is the possibility of a stroke or heart attack.
Stroke or UTI?
SA Ambulance arrive
Suprapubic catheter falls out – conclusion
After acquiring an SCI, it is important to understand
- How your body is affected by the injury
- The care required
- What actions to take when faced with an emergency situation, such as your bladder filling
There are times when a solution requires
- inventive thinking
- taking a guess
- asking for help
- going against medical advice – you know your body better than anyone else, and you live with the consequences of the action you take or do not take
And always keeping calm.