Yesterday evening, around 8 p.m., I noticed that Steve's urine output (as seen in his Foley catheter bag) was unusually low.
I talked with Dr. M about it. She said to watch it overnight and to get Steve to drink more liquids, in case he was dehydrated.
So Steve drank a lot of water before bedtime -- on top of all the water and juice he'd had throughout the day.
When I went to bed at 11:30 p.m., I was worried to see that there was no more output in three and a half hours.
At midnight, Steve woke up in horrible pain at the catheter insertion site.
I called the hospice answering service. Then I called Cyndi, a friend and RN, who was aware of Steve's condition earlier in the night. Her over-the-phone diagnosis was a clogged catheter. We decided that a pain pill was the best I could offer him until help arrived.
Then the hospice triage nurse called, and I told him the trouble. He called the nearest on-call nurse.
She arrived around 12:45 a.m. She removed the old catheter (which indeed was clogged with sediment) and inserted a new one, all while Steve was in excruciating pain -- a 9 on a scale of 0-10.
By the time she left around 1:30 a.m., his pain had dropped to about a 4.
Today he is pain free but exhausted from the ordeal and lack of sleep.
We are thankful that the problem, though very painful, was relatively easy to solve. And now we know to ask for the line to be changed every two weeks instead of the more standard in-home guideline of every four weeks.