Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Update on Don's condition

Last Thursday Don had his first follow-up appointment since he was hospitalized for acute kidney failure a couple weeks ago. Thankfully his kidneys are working fine now, but he spent the last two weeks with a catheter and catheter bag. Not fun. He's also been on medication to shrink the prostate, which is at the root of all these issues.

So on Thursday morning, we were instructed to remove the catheter six hours before his appointment (meaning, about 8 am), which we did. It rapidly became apparent that the catheter was still necessary because he was still blocked from urinating. What fun.

Several calls to the urologist's office followed, and it was determined that he needed to come in earlier than his scheduled appointment. I drove him in to Coeur d'Alene, he disappeared behind closed doors, and they withdrew a quart and a half of urine from his bladder. He felt MUCH better afterwards.

So obviously the problem is persisting. The urologist determined that the prostate is still grossly enlarged and had been slowly enlarging over several years. It just reached the tipping point in early April when all this started. The medication is taking so long to be effective that we'll have to see how things are in another two weeks or so.

Meanwhile they taught Don how to self-catheter. Yes, you heard that right. He's been an absolute trooper about this procedure, and in fact is quite cheerful about it, especially since he doesn't have to wear a bag or have the catheter tube in all the time. "Hey, urination is good!" he says jauntily. That's my man!

Bottom line, we're strongly considering some laser therapy treatment at some point in order to permanently shrink the prostate and keep this problem from periodically flaring up. We're also thinking about the long-term outlook. If Don had not had prompt access to hospital care when he did, this situation could have turned out far, far differently. We don't want the prostate to keep causing him difficulties which could prove grave if immediate medical care isn't available at some future point.

One outstandingly phenomenal piece of news -- thanks be to God! -- is there is no cancer in the prostate. That had us deeply concerned for awhile.

So that's the skinny so far. I want to thank everyone once again, from the bottom of our hearts, for your prayers and well-wishes, your get-well cards and emails, and your overall support. It means more to us than we can say.

UPDATE: A reader sent this, which I thought was remarkably apt.


  1. You da man Don! Hang in there. Patrice, you hang in there too. The ones taking care of the sick ones need support too.


  2. My dad went through this. It turned an overnight hospital visit into one about two weeks long. The Flomax eventually worked its magic.

    Hang in there!


  3. He's a better man than I am. LOL!!! Still praying for you guys.

  4. Aw, man. I was hoping this was all behind you. It looks like it's going in the right direction, though.

    (That's how I always gauge illnesses -- If someone is better than they were a week ago, even a little, then it's going in the right direction.)

    Sorry to hear this is turning into a long haul.

    "Huggs" is right - Caregivers need support, too. Hopes and prayers that this doesn't drag on too much longer. Everyone take care. Thanks for the update.

    P.S...Your garden comes before us out here in cyberland. You can't plant corn in July. We can wait.

    Just Me

  5. Well it sounds like they are on top of things and that is great. I'm praying everything works and he is back to normal. So sorry you guys have to deal with all this. I've had a catheter and it's not fun, but never is being full of urine that can't escape!!!

  6. SO glad there is no cancer! And he really is a trooper! Not sure I could do that if it was me...
    your post really gives one pause to stop and think about possible scenarios where medical may no longer be available....

  7. Patrice, I've been praying for Don and you and the girls. Do your research on medications for shrinking the prostate (clearly Don's case is very serious!). We learned from sad experience that Avodart causes permanent loss of sexual function in some men (after asking the doctor about the issue at the first Rx and him saying it was not a side effect). I'll keep praying! Jennifer in western NC

  8. Good news is always...hmm...well, GOOD.

  9. My husband had the laser surgery done on his prostate a few years ago and it really helped him a lot. Whatever course you take, I'm sure the urologist will give you some good advice. And thank God for catheters :) Nancy

  10. Patrice and Don,
    Once Don is better and all the plumbing working again, please look in to Saw Palmetto to keep the Prostate in check. Natural, Herbal, effective!

  11. Prayers sent up, hang in there, hospital stuff is never easy. :)

  12. Patrice and Don,

    Hubby and I are happy to hear it's not cancer. Sending prayers for a speedy recovery.

  13. Don

    I had a total stoppage of urine flow 10 years ago. It was due to an enlarged prostate. They did the roto-rooter treatment (trans-urethral resection) on my 70th birthday. It was no where near as bad as I had been led to believe. Then 5 years ago I had what turned out to be a bladder polyp. Again the roto-rooter. Things have been fine since then.

    Hangtown Frank

  14. I'm glad there is no cancer. Thank God for small favors I guess. Hope it can get figured out soon.

    Wish you all the best,

  15. So glad to hear he is doing better! I immediately thought of this poem by Garrison Keillor:


    O what a luxury it be
    how exquisite, what perfect bliss
    so ordinary and yet chic
    to pee to piss to take a leak

    to feel your bladder just go free
    and open up the Mighty Miss
    and all your cares float down the creek
    to pee to piss to take a leak

    for gentlemen of great physique
    who can hold water for one week
    for ladies who one-quarter cup
    of tea can fill completely up
    for folks in urinalysis
    for Viennese and Greek and Swiss
    for little kids just learning this
    for everyone it's pretty great
    to urinate

    of course for men it's much more grand
    women sit or squat
    we stand
    and hold the fellow in our hand
    and proudly watch the mighty arc
    adjust the range and make our mark
    on stones or post for rival men
    to smell and not come back again

    women are so circumspect
    but men can piss to great effect
    with terrible hydraulic force
    can make a stream or change its course

    can put out fires or cigarettes
    and sometimes
    laying down our bets
    late at night outside the
    we like to aim up at the stars

    (c) 1999 by Garrison Keillor

  16. Prayers for the prostate to shrink and for Don's full recovery. So glad to know there's no cancer. Thanks for the update.


  17. hi,a good book to read is johns hopkins prostate dis orders.it is 19.and worth every penney.each person is not the same but this book gives you all yhe treatments and the side effects and problems.at 88 i have taken hytrin for 20 years with no problems it is in the book.you can order on line at the hosp.web site. ed

  18. Patrice,

    My father went through this same thing about a year ago, and it was extremely frightening. Thankfully his condition didn't quite get as bad as Don's, but he was "out of it" from the fever/infection for quite a while, and he was weak for weeks afterward.

    I'm so thankful Don is improving. When I read that he learned how to self-catheter, I smiled, shook my head, and said, "I'm not surprised!" What a guy!

    Blessings to all of you,

  19. So glad Don is doing better! A friend had the laser done and is fine now. Boy, Don sure is brave to do his catheter. Please wish him a speedy recovery from all of us!

  20. Sorry that Don is having all these problems. It is something that many of us men have to deal with at one time or another. The up side is that we are living long enough for the prostrate to become a problem. So glad that there was no big C. That is always a VERY good thing. Hugs to all of you!

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  22. Patrice, we just got back from visiting my brother in hospital. Had a cancerous tumor on prostate. He had the nerve sparing removal, and is fine did not spread.Not sure if any other commenter s mentioned but saw palmetto works very well shrinking the prostate , also pumpkin seeds. If Don wants to try drug free route. God bless and good luck.

  23. Is there an alternative medication or even with some people say that this kind of organic saw palmetto berries can be a good one for prostate enlargement? I still have many things in mind regarding this one, what do you think guys, Is this really an effective one or not?