Monday, July 7, 2008

Anna's Urology Update

Anna had her Urodynamic study completed at the beginning of May. It should be called the Urotorture study. The poor baby cried for an hour straight. And I just love the nurses who ask if maybe she would like her binkie or a bottle. Oh yeah, that's going to help. Anna took the binkie and threw it. Ah, told ya so.

As with most people with spina bifida, Anna has a Neurogenic bladder. This means that the muscles that control the flow of urine don't receive the messages to hold or release the urine. This is because of the nerve damage to her spine.

This was Anna's first (and probably not her last) Urodynamic study. The purpose of the study is to measure exactly what is happening with her bladder and the muscles. We were told most of the results right after the study was completed. The good news is that the muscle that controls the flow of urine is working but it doesn't appear to receive any messages so she doesn't know when she has to go to the bathroom. Somehow that muscle is opening and closing though, allowing urine to flow out of her bladder. If that muscle wasn't working at all, it would be in some state of atrophy. Her bladder is not as soft as it should be and therefore was not holding as much urine as it should. In addition, their tests showed that she was not completely emptying her bladder during the tests. We were told that because this was an abnormal situation (laying down, catheter in place, etc) she may actually be emptying it completely on her own.

Rich brought Anna to her Urologist last week for a follow-up appointment. Rich, my mother and I are going to have to go back with Anna so that she can have yet another bladder/kidney ultrasound and then learn how to catheterize her. Sounds wonderful, doesn't it? She will need to be cathed every two to three hours throughout the day to ensure that her bladder is being emptied. She will also be prescribed medication to soften her bladder.

As a reminder - If you do not empty your bladder completely of urine, you are at risk for a urinary tract infection. UTI's can cause bladder and kidney infections. We want to avoid this. It is important that her bladder and kidneys remain as healthy as possible.

I really am not looking forward to having to cath her. We knew that this was coming. I've had over a year to prepare myself. I just feel so bad for her because she doesn't understand what is happening. I am looking forward to the day when she can talk and explain to us what she feels. That will make the process easier for all of us.

Hopefully, the cathing appointment won't be as bad as the Urotorture study because I WILL have to return to work afterwards. I left the Urotorture study with vomit, urine and blood on my shirt. I have a feeling that this is not appropriate work attire.

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