It happened AGAIN last night! I have had half a dozen “accidents” where my catheter comes unplugged and I spill pee on myself and – much more embarrassingly and difficult to clean up – on the floor. If I’m lucky, it happens in the bathroom or some other place where the surface is hard and smooth. Last night I was not lucky. Well, at least not in the sense of the spillage happening on carpet vs lino.
But I WAS extremely lucky in one very important sense. I was wearing the kind of catheter securement device that sticks to your leg, as opposed to the stretchy-fabric-and-velco kind. See my post on bag securement devices here: Tips For Holding Your Catheter In Place.
I was so luck, in fact, that had I not been wearing the Zefon GRIP-Lok stick-to-your-leg type of device to hold onto my catheter (a suprapubic catheter, BTW, which is the kind that sticks through the gut – see our post What Is A Suprapubic Catheter?), I would have likely pulled the catheter, balloon and all, through the tiny hole in my belly and completely out!
Here’s what happened. I was wearing my bedside drainage bag (as opposed to my leg bag), which has a very long tube. You wear this type of bag around the house and when in bed. You also have to wear shorts with this kind of bag because the tube is so long and the bag so big. So I was getting up from watching TV to go into the kitchen. I picked up my bag and hung it on my pocket like always. But when I turned, the loop of tubing lassoed the arm of a chair and I did not see it. So I continued swiftly on my way. I just about “clotheslined” myself for a second as the tube tightened and stopped me in my tracks. Then a half-second later, something popped and I felt wetness on my leg and shorts, and of course, saw drips on the carpet. Thank the heavens above that the popping was the end of the bedside bag’s tube pulling out of the end of my catheter (it’s lodged in there pretty tight), and not the catheter pulling out of my gut! It was the strength of the GRIP-Lok sticker that took all the force of the pull – and it was a hard pull! Not only did it not come unstuck from my leg, but the velcro straps held perfectly. When I looked at the site after the accident, I couldn’t tell anything had happened.
If the Grip-Lok had not been in place, but I had instead been wearing one of the stretch-fabric-with-velcro types that my urology clinic provides, I would have been severely injured. I have no doubt that my catheter would have been ripped out of me through tiny hole in my gut. The problem would have been compounded by the fact that my wife was out and I had no car to get to the ER. I would have had to call 911. Also, the insertion site for a suprapubic catheter closes within seconds. So I would have had to undergo surgery just to re-insert my catheter. When I think of what COULD have happened had I not had the Grip-Lok, it terrifies me.
To order a Grip-Lok (yes, you can order them one at a time now!), CLICK HERE.
I know I’ve talked about the stick-on-your-leg securement devices being preferable in other posts, but this time I think I can truthfully say they are safer as well, especially if you are ambulatory.
So the first lesson is to do your best to rid your common walkways of anything that your tube can catch on or loop over. But a very close second is to use, if at all possible, the kind of catheter securement device that sticks onto your leg.
Something new and better, especially if you don’t like having stickers stuck onto your leg – The Freedom Belt.
Here is something new (as of 2017) that is superior to a Grip-Lok. The Freedom Belt is – well – a belt with straps on it designed to hold any type of drainage bag completely secure.
You can read more about it here – Get Active Again With The Freedom Belt
I hope that helps someone! If you have a similar cautionary tale, please post it in a comment below!