Good questions. You got some pretty good answers so far. I am on my 14th catheter, and will be on my 15th next Monday. Not normal, so don''t worry. I have been on so many, I have become quite the conniseiur of catheter and cath accessories.
Don't know how far you have to be driven from the hospital, but its much easier to leave the hospital with the Night bag still on, or some call it the big bag.
The Night Bags come in sizes, but most common is 2000 ml or 2 liter. I had one I called the "clown" bag that held 4000 ml, it was way to big to drag around and looked stupid. The 2000 sounds like a lot, but I have filled them to the brim before on a night when I get a lot of sleep.
Always keep the bag below the natural level of your bladder. You don't want to have the contents back up to your kidneys. I have a dresser that runs along one side of the bed, so I pull the bottom draw out just a tiny bit, and hook the hook on top of the bag along the top of the drawer. It acts just like a little monorail, and as I move and wiggle, the bag can move back and forth on its own.
Most men with surgery only have the catheter in for 7-15 days, so by the time you figure it all out, they take it out of you.
When you take a shower, you can leave the big bag on and run the tube under the shower curtain, so the bag is outside of the shower, or you can detach the bag, and shower without worrying about the bag, it you drip a little in the shower, who cares, or you can plug the end of the cath after the bag is removed. PS, I don't like plugs, because taking them off and putting them in, can cause nasty back pressure pains up the catheter, doesnt fill good.
Leg bags, never lay down and fall asleep with one, it will back up inside. Leg bags are typical 400 ml, had one that 1000 ml. The smaller ones better, easy to empty. Usually step up to the toilet, bend down, open the tap, let it empty. Or if outside, not near a bathroom, do the bend down to tie my shoe trick, and let it empty discretely. I have gotten good at that part.
Some men use lubes or creams on the tip, I have never done that in the entire time of using catheters. Personal choice.
Bladder spasms - some get them, some not, some like me, all the time. Most dr. will prescribe ditropan, a cheap generic drug, that helps some with spasms. If you are having a foley cath, like most men, it exits your penis, a hard enough spasm will make you leak around the tip. I have a SP suprapubic cath in right now, almost 6 months straight, and it has never ever leaked a drop, sometimes I wish it would so it would relieve the pain of a spasm.
The bags should be cleaned out once in a while, unless you are on the cath a week or so. Wife usually does white vinegar and water.
Leg straps - lot of time elastic with velcro. Thats my 2nd choice, when the bag gets heavy, it can pull down. I like the elastic leg straps with buttons, they stay good and tight without hurting.
The device that hold the exit end of your catheter to your thigh is important. You will come out of the hospital with one in place. Make sure you have 1-2" min of slack in it, to compensate when you are lying flat or walking. Got to have some wiggle room. The one you come home will uusally last your time on the cath.
Stalock Stabilization Device is a brand that is good, they have a plastic swivel, so the "Y" end of the catheter can move naturally with you as you walk. Some hospitals used them, I am getting them now from a medical store in Tampa FL on the net. They can last up to a month. They also make cheap disposable holders, but the f irst time you take a shower, they are toast.
If you have any other questions, feel free to ask. I don't know much, but I sure know too much about catheters. Good luck.
David in SC
Age: 57, 56 dx, PSA: 7/07 5.8, 7/08 12.3, 9/08 14.5, 10/08 16.3
3rd Biopsy: 9/08 - 7/7 Positive, 40-90% Cancer, Gleason 4+3
Open RP: 11/08, Rht nerves saved, 4 days in hospt, on catheters for 63 days, 5th one out 1/09
Path Rpt: Gleason 3+4, pT2c, 42g, 20% cancer, 1 pos margin
Incontinence: 1 Month ED: Non issue at any point post surgery, no problem post SRT
Post Surgery PSA: 2/09 .05,5/09 .1, 6/09 .11. 8/09 .16
Post SRT PSA: 1/10 .12
Latest: 7/9 met 2 rad. oncl, 7/9 cath #6 - blockage, 8/9 2nd corr surgery, 8/9 cath #7 out 38 days, 9/9 - met 3rd rad. oncl., mapped 9/9, 10/1 - 3rd corr. surgery - SP cath/hard dialation, 10/5 - 11/27 IMRT SRT 39 sess/72 gys ,cath #8 33 days, Cath #9 35 days, 12/7 - Cath #10 43 days, 1/19 - Corr Surgery #4, Caths #11 and #12 same time, 2/8-Cath #11 out - 21 days, 3/2- Cath #12 out - 41 days, 3/2- Corr Surgery #5, Caths #13 & #14 same time, 3/6 Cath #13 out - 4 days