AndyJ's stricture and scarring rehab
So, the urologist threw up a hand and rolled his stool backwards, shaking his head. “Nothing I can do for you, you need to see a plastic surgeon.”
Great, after waiting almost two months for an appointment..
I had a staph infection, and then boils, and then a strep infection. After eight weeks on antibiotics my doc managed to get that knocked out, and then we realized that I had been left with massive scarring, adhesions, and urethral strictures. He sent me to what was supposed to a high-end urologist who could fix it. As if.
And then the Coronavirus panic hit, and “elective surgery” wasn’t a thing any more, at least in my area.
Needless to say I was pretty bummed. There was a fair amount of pain involved as my shaft changed size during the day, tugging on scar tissue. And the stricture at the meatus made it impossible to take a leak without pissing all over my feet, my pants, and half the bathroom. It was bad enough I’d undress and stand in the shower to go. I wasn’t trapped in the house, but I couldn’t go too far before hydraulic pressure became an issue; at over 60, when you gotta go, you gotta go.
As the weeks of ‘lockdown’ passed I realized surgery might not happen for a long time.
And then I got mad and decided to do something about my problem, myself.
I cut a piece of PVC pipe to make an extension to pee through. Didn’t work; the stream, coming through the tiny orifice of my meatus, zips out at about Mach 3, hits the side of the pipe, takes a helical path down the inside wall, and spins out the end like a giant fan. Okay, maybe a longer pipe.. Then I got a brainstorm, made a $5 eBay purchase.. It’s a “crevice tool” for a vacuum cleaner; round on one end, flattened out to a slot on the other. The rectangular slot turns the lawn sprinkler into a dribble. Perfect. The crevice tools come in 8” or 14” lengths. I ordered a spare. One for the bathroom, one for my motorcycle tank bag, which I carry around as a “man purse.”
I started checking into catheters. If I can put a contact lens in my eye, I can manage a catheter. But the standard size for catheters is 8mm, which is the bottom of the “normal” urethra size range. I knew I had a stricture, but how bad was it? I ordered a some of the bumpy silicone rubber sounds off eBay; two overlapping sets gave a range from 4mm to 13mm. The 5mm one would go in, the 6mm wouldn’t.
Well, so much for that.. I looked at urethral sounds, then discovered penis plugs, and then that there were hollow penis plugs. Bingo! I ordered a 6mm plug. Took a while to get it in, but after that I could pee like a laser beam. Until it fell out. So I ordered a 7 and an 8. And wound up ordering several more 8s and 9s, sanding them down to intermediate sizes to step up. Penis plugs are basically jewelry. Other than a handful of square-ended plugs (all larger than I could handle), they’re intended to be worn a while, then removed if they don’t fall out on their own, since they expand the urethra and meatus eventually.
About this time I discovered the tetherspout web site. The tetherspout is basically a hollow tube with a small flange, you shove it in, then you push a washer behind it, turn the washer inside the glans, and push the spout back through, so the washer traps it in the fossa navicularis. I bought a set and most of the accessories, and thought I was good to go.. But after removing the 9mm plug, within hours my meatus clenches back to 5.5mm or so. I worked through expanding it a couple more times - much faster now - but the flange on the spout is 8.5mm and the neck is 6mm; if I put it in, getting it back out later might be an adventure.
After a while I figured the spout needed a sleeve. I found some stainless steel tubing with a 6mm ID and 9MM OD, and some clear vinyl tubing. I ordered both, but they have yet to arrive, so I’m still using the tube for now.
The sleeve will hold the meatus open so the spout can be removed, and hopefully the meatus will eventually adapt and stay that size. One thing I noticed after the 8mm plug fell out was that I could pee in straight streams again, so my problem is a simple stricture and not gross deformation of the opening. (and then I had to fish the plug out of the toilet.)
There is a recognized procedure urologists use for dealing with strictures. Several clinics have PDFs of the procedures on their web sites. First they administer general anesthesia or a spinal, then they ram dilators in, tearing whatever is in the way. The average time for the procedure is 20 minutes. Then they send you home with an admonition to go to the ER bleeding becomes a problem. And if they damage the meatus you’ll still have control problems, and the strictures often return, requiring a repeat procedure every year or two. Nooo.. I’ll just stay with my plugs, stretching one or two French sizes at a time.