Some responses based on my experiences in September, 2008:
1. What's this band or strap people have discussed with regard to the catheter bag? Where can I get that? (I have a broken down wetsuit that I no longer use. Can I cut up the neoprene and make a strap? I am not handy with a needle and thread so don't expect me to do anything extensive).
Before I left the hospital, a day and a half after surgery, the hospital required that I sit and watch a 15-20 minute video (on the room TV) that illustrated how to attach the catheter bag and care for/clean it. My nurse attached the first bag for me, and then had me do it in her presence - to make certain it was done right. I was sent home with a couple of bags to use for the less than two-weeks I'd have the catheter in me. One bag was for walking around - the one that affixes to your leg. Straps came with each of the bags to hold them in place - there was no need to purchase or make one (they were of the velcro tabbed elastic strap type). The other bag was larger and for night use, when sleeping. Each bag had a tube attached to it which was connected to the nozzle-type end of the catheter tubing.
2. With respect to the catheter, boxer briefs?
My Urologist, and Nurse, strongly recommended boxer shorts because jockey shorts would be too constricting. What I did at home, though, was wear summer shorts around the house which gave me the freedom of movement. I found that the tubing, though tethered to the thigh, needed ample room. I did, though, wear boxer shorts under my ahtletic sweat pants when going out walking, etc. As has already been noted, jockey-style briefs have worked best for me, using the pads once the catheter came out.
3. What is the name/brand of the male continence pads?
There are several/many brands. Tetra/Serenity is one, Depends is another, and then there are generic brands sold by pharmacy chains such as CVS, Walgreens, etc. I've used them all. I find the extra absorption pads the best for me, but they're almost impossible for me to find in Chicago, or near where I live in Chicago - so I buy the best (best absorption level) I can. I also purchased some protective briefs, but used them only for a few days - and found them unnecessary (but keep them around as a sort of security blanket).
If it hasn't already happened, ask your Urologist/Surgeon or someone on the office staff there for a complete list of supplies you'll need for the post-surgical procedure. I found it very helpful to purchase these items and have them in the house so that when I returned home from the hospital I didn't have to worry about how I was going to get the stuff; I live alone.
Some of what my Urologist suggested I purchase, and was glad I did is:
- Saline solution: to rinse the catheter bags and tubes
- White vinegar: to clean the catheter bags and tubes
- Alcohol: to sterilize things
- Alcohol wipes: used to wipe the catheter connections, tubes and da Vinci procedure incisions
- Sterile gauze bandages: for the drain and other incisions spots, as necessary
- Adhesive (or other) tape suitable to affix sterile pads to skin
- Cotton balls
- Stool softener (Senekot): suggested for at least the first three to four weeks
- Tylenol: for ache/pain relief, used in place of the stronger pain relief the doctor prescribed but asked me to refrain from taking, except if I had very severe, prolonged pain (which I didn't)
- Thermometer: to monitor my temperature, in case of fever
- Antbiotic ointment: to apply to drain and/or other incision points and to be used on catheter tubing and end of penis until after catheter was removed.
- Mattress protector: similar to the type of square pad you see used in hospitals, placed under the rear-end of patients to protect against soiling bedding. I was concerned I may not have bladder control overnight, even when using pads, so I used the matress protectors just in case (didn't really need it, as it turned ouot - but it served as a security blanket for me).
On the way home from the hospital, I stopped at the pharmacy to fill a prescription for a pain killer (to be used as a last resort, said my M.D.), everything else, including food supplies for two-weeks had been purchased in advance.
Maybe some of this will be helpful to you as you plan for the surgery, and the recovery period.
Your husband is fortunate to have you by his side during this - I went through it alone and there were some logistical issues at times not easy for me to manage.
Best wishes for your husband, and your, speedy recovery.