The summer of my discontinence: Day 3

By Michael Owen

OK, so far, I’ve found blood in my urine, have been to two doctors and one hospital and now I’m heading back to the hospital for a bladder biopsy.

At first, I’d been told it might or might not be an outpatient procedure. But after the surgery, I was told I’d be held overnight for observation, which likely means someone had a boat payment due. Not that I’m cynical.

That of course meant an overnight catheter, which I’d never experienced. I was blessed on this one, because they inserted it and hooked it up to its big plastic bag while I was still under general anesthesia.

Upon awakening, I vaguely remember groggily telling a nurse that I REALLY needed to urinate. Being groggy (and being me), “urinate” might not have been the word I chose. But she was clear and succinct in her response.

“Knock yourself out.”


A quick glance under the sheets confirmed what I’d suspected. OK, when in St. Francis, do as the Franciscans do.

The next morning, having paid the aforementioned boat payment, I still had to have the catheter removed and then produce a specified amount of urine before I could be released. They have to be sure the bladder is functioning. I thought this was kind of silly at the time, but would later discover it was anything but that.

First, the catheter had to come out. I cannot help but suspect that there is an unofficial competition among those who remove urinary catheters to see who can make the patient squeal not only the loudest, but the closest to a register normally reserved for 10-year-old girls. I certainly hope my nurse won an award that day. You’d have thought he was trying to start a lawnmower.

Then the guy in the bed next to me and I had the same doctor, so we got the same lecture about putting out or staying put. Pee or stay, the doc told us.

Game on!

We sat on opposite sides of the drawn curtain guzzling water and exchanging good-natured urinal banter as our wives shook their heads and rolled their eyes.

At one point, I suggested to a nurse that if she could procure us a few cold beers, we’d be gone and out of her hair in no time. She said that was never going to happen, proving demonstrably that she lacked the compassion of even the guards at Shawshank Prison.

Bless her cold heart.

Whether it was the advantage of age or that my bed was closer to the shared bathroom, I prevailed and got the first wheelchair ride to freedom.

Or so I thought.

(Tomorrow: Wildcat strike grips greater metro Johnsonville)


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