Total Incontinence is an issue for at least a week or two after open or robotic surgery, and it affects most men and their wives or partners. After that dribbling or more can occur for another 6 months or even longer, but that's something to discuss another time.
Most of us who've "been there" recall this temporary incontinence of any length is an inconvenience, and maybe a cause for some embarrassment, but it's not a real problem. After all, the hardest part - inserting the catheter into the penis, occurs during the surgery while the patient is still "under", so all urine swiftly exits your body into a Foley catheter bag, which can be emptied every 2 to 8 hours. But what next?
A few days ago, following her husband's prostatectomy (removal of the prostate through radical surgery), a woman asked what she and her husband ought to expect during the first couple of days at home. Here's what I counseled:Expect slow mobility during the first couple of days. That's likely and frankly preferable, based on what I experienced after my robotic surgery 3 years ago in April 2007. The key is for your hubby to "listen to his body" and literally "go with the flow"! As a rule of thumb don't expect a return to a normal gait until the catheter bag is removed.
What really helped me, as I describe in my book, was my wife's willingness to take care of using a vinegar solution to empty the walking bag or night bag with its larger capacity. That was truly an act of love! But it was MY job to first thoroughly empty each bag before placing it in a plastic basin in the bathroom sink to soak in its premixed vinegary solution!
Incidentally while still using the catheter bag, a man should not force himself to pee into it. Regrettably that's what I initially did, though only for a few days, until the doctor told me to avoid pushing down too hard on the bladder while it and you are still healing. Hey you just had surgery and you don't want to overdo it!
Once the bag is removed by the doctor one or two weeks later, normalcy sets in. Yes, the moment will come when, rather than feeling tethered to his Foley catheter bag, your husband will feel like a new man!
Continued healing to all!