I made my first visit to the Urology Clinic at the Queen Margaret Hospital in Dunfermline the other day, the 14th March 2016. My appointment was with Dr Leung but on arrival, I learned that he wasn’t available. But, when I got home I had to analyse the urology clinic visit and how a cystoscopy was stressful.
I have long had problems with my waterworks and this investigative visit was to ensure there was no underlying problem with my bladder. I had been referred to the urologist by my neurologist whom I had consulted recently. He agreed that my symptoms were most likely down to my multiple sclerosis but had to point out that there were other possibilities. Bladder problems are a frequent problem for us MSers. This is not my only post on the toilet implications of MS. More recently, my MS nurse recommended some bowel training as toilet exercise.
Urology Clinic Visit
I had to look up the term cystoscopy as the procedure was not called by this name during my visit to the urology clinic but, a camera inserted via a catheter along the urethra into the bladder is the procedure I endured. I say endured, but it was not painful or especially unpleasant. The prospect of receiving the cystoscopy was much more alarming than the procedure itself.
Yes, it is a little embarrassing, having to remove your gown when you are naked from the waist down. Particularly, in front of a room full of young female nurses. While I was embarrassed, the nurses had seen it all before.
I had visions of an embarrassing accident when the catheter breached my incontinent sphincter. However, no such flooding event came to pass.
What I hadn’t expected was the subsequent test. Whilst the camera was in the bladder and the catheter was bridging the bladder sphincter, the urologist pumped water into the bladder until I could feel the urgent need to urinate.
Post-Void Residual Measurement
Shortly after the examination, very shortly after, I had to find a toilet. A nurse directed me to an adjacent room where I found a toilet. The medical staff needed to assess my urine flow after the cystoscopy.
The nurse had shown me to a toilet fitted with a large funnel. The funnel was to collect my urine, in order to measure the flow rate. Finally, a nurse, using an ultrasound scanner, measured my residual bladder content. A process I discovered, after some research, is known as post-void residual (PVR).
This measurement revealed that my bladder had retained some 250ml of urine, which was of some concern to the orologist. I had been aware that my bladder didn’t empty fully. As I had had a similar test some years ago. Although at that point it wasn’t measured. Furthermore, my flow rate was low, suggesting poor muscle function around the bladder.
My urologist referred to this PVR process as a flow scan test. A test, it seems, that I failed dismally.
This urine retention factor is a worry as it can and often does, lead to bladder infections, also known as UTIs or urinary tract infections.
The urologist recommended a pharmaceutical medicine that ought to improve muscle control although the one side-effect he mentioned was that it may lead to a lowering of my blood pressure which may cause light-headedness or possible fainting. Time will tell. I have submitted the urologist recommendation to my GP and should receive a prescription in due course.
A Stressful Experience
Nothing about the cystoscopy felt in the least stressful. But, I know that stress seriously impacts my MS, usually, with fairly rapid consequences. I didn’t think that my visit to the urology clinic caused me any kind of anxiety but, I was wrong.
As we descended in the lift, to leave the hospital, my wife asked me if I would like to stop at the WRVS cafe for a coffee. I considered this for a moment and thought, No, I just want to get home.!
We stopped at my GP’s surgery to hand in the urologist’s recommendation letter and then returned home. I felt shattered. My fatigue had set in with a vengeance. I felt drained, almost nauseous.
I might have gone back to my office to do a little more work, some more blogging, but I couldn’t face that. Something had stressed me and I was paying the price. What had caused this? I couldn’t work it out. I had been on my feet far more than I would be normally, maybe it was just fatigue. But, it didn’t feel like that.
I don’t have a phobia about hospitals. The anticipation of receiving an injection with needles does not bring me out in a cold sweat. Even doctors with cystoscopes don’t cause irrational fear.
I had not been aware of any worry that the urology clinic visit was having on me. However, the after-effects made it clear that this had been a stressful experience. The subconscious mind can be a very powerful force and almost impossible to analyse.
I should get my new medication soon and will report back when I have had time to assess its efficacy.