Since May 2017 I've used a catheter after having a urinary retention episode that showed my bladder had become atonic, a fancy word for not working any more as it should, likely due to my lengthy history of an enlarged prostate.
I haven't written a whole lot about my experiences with a catheter. Recently I decided I should, starting with a post that has a rather plaintive title, "I've learned a lot about using a catheter. But does anyone care?"
In that post I listed some questions that I wanted to address in other blog posts, regardless of whether anyone cares. If even one person finds what I have to say useful, that's good enough for me, even if I can't be sure that this person exists.
Question #1 was What brand of catheter is best?
That's easy to answer: the SpeediCath Flex Coudé Pro. Yes, it's more expensive than most other catheters. But you get what you pay for. And in my case, Medicare is paying for most of the cost.
At first I was given some sample catheters by the nursing staff at my urologist. I started off using the basic red catheter that has to be lubricated. I wore plastic gloves because that was advised and I didn't want to get a urinary tract infection. That catheter took considerable preparation to use and wasn't very comfortable.
Then, on a return visit, a nurse gave me a sample of the original Flex Coudé prior to it becoming "Pro." I instantly realized how much better it was.
After washing my hands in a sink and cleaning the end of my penis, I simply open up the sterile packaging, take out the catheter, unhook the ends that are fastened in a circle within the package, and drain the lubricant into the sink.
Then the pointy end goes into the penis. A sheath covers the plastic catheter, so I never touch the part that goes into the urethra. Thus no need for gloves.
The design of the Flex Coudé Pro just seems really well thought out. There's nothing else like it, I'm pretty sure, because I've looked for a better catheter and haven't found one.
By the way, the "Pro" designation came after a minor redesign of the tip after a competitor, I gather, complained to Medicare that supposedly it didn't have a genuine coude tip.
So now the tip is angled slightly, rather than straight as in the photo above. I didn't find much difference in how easy the catheter was to insert between the original and Pro versions.
My urologist's office suggested I use 180 Medical for catheter orders. I've been happy with their customer service.