We’ll send Ryan’s urine out today for culture. For once, not because we think he might have a urinary tract infection (at least we hope he doesn’t). This is in advance of next week’s appointment at Georgetown University for a battery of tests, collectively called urodynamics.
Urodynamic testing looks at how well the bladder, sphincters, and urethra are holding and releasing urine. Most urodynamic tests focus on the bladder’s ability to hold urine and empty steadily and completely. Urodynamic tests can also show whether the bladder is having involuntary contractions that cause urine leakage. One thing we are most interest in seeing is if Ryan is having bladder spasms, which could be a cause of his recurring UTIs. If so, the good news is that this is easily remedied with medication.
In the end, we might only know what isn’t the problem and not identify a source. Still, we will be closer to finding an answer. It’s really just a process of elimination (pun intended).
Probably more for my benefit than reader entertainment, I did some online research to see what’s involved. Here’s what I found that urodynamic testing includes:
- Uroflowmetry. Measurement of urine speed and volume.
- Post-void residual measurement. Amount of urine left in the bladder after urination.
- Cystometric test. Measures how much urine the bladder can hold.
- Leak point pressure measurement. Measures pressure at the point of leakage during a cystometric test.
- Pressure flow study. Measures the bladder pressure required to urinate and the flow rate a given pressure generates.
- Electromyography. Uses special sensors to measure the electrical activity of the muscles and nerves in and around the bladder and the sphincters
- Video urodynamic tests. Takes pictures and videos of the bladder during filling and emptying
With some of these tests, Ryan won’t be able to do them as designed. For instance, we cannot ask him to pee on command or hold it in to check maximum volume. But we still can extrapolate this from other measurements. The results for simple tests — such as cystometry and uroflowmetry — are often available immediately. Results of other tests might take a few days to come back.
Plowing Through It
I know this is necessary. It has to be done. Getting to the bottom of his UTIs is paramount. But, I have to tell you, I am so sick-and-tired of the endless doctor appointments, ambulance rides, and hospital visits. It never ends!
Being a man, I instinctively hate anything medically related. But to authorize and watch my son go through it is too much sometimes. For me, yes… but so much more so for him.
Really! Sometimes it feels like I’m one blood test away from rebranding Ryan’s Rally: We Got This! to something like Ryan’s Rally: Not Again!
Sam Masters Durham via Facebook says
But you won’t be if you get answers 🙂 <3 love you all. <3RKD<3
Leah Cohen says
Praying all goes well & it isn’t too traumatic for Ryan. Happy Thanksgiving to your lovely family & I’m praying for you all!!! Thank you for sharing your life with us, we all love you & think of you often!! God bless!!!
Zenda Stevens Foy via Facebook says
i’ll bet you’re sick of the endless appointments. they must be so weary-ing. i admire you, Ryan, and your family for all that you do make his life as good as possible. know that it doesn’t go unnoticed either here or before God-who-loves-you-so-much. your caring moves my heart.
Jo Hobbs via Facebook says
Yes, one step, one hour at a time, but patience is one of your gifts, Ken.
Hi Ken, I can only imagine how you feel. It’s very stressful to watch a loved one go through these tests, especially when there are so many to be done. And I know it’s even tougher for you because of everything that’s involved — trying to get a good time for an appt., arranging transportation, getting Ryan ready — and so on; it’s never a simple thing. I am praying all the tests go smoothly and the doctors can determine the best approach to preventing UTI’s. As you’ve said before, you’re being forced to become knowledgable and in some cases an expert about things you never wanted to. God bless you, Ken, I am so sorry you and your family must go through this.
Praying for a positive day, somehow, through this gloomy gray sky. Let’s look for light wherever we can find it, and focus on it until it overtakes the gray. Sending you love, prayers, hugs and hope. Please give that wonderful son of yours a big hug from me.
Gail Doyle says
Ken ,Hope the tests go quickly for you and Ryan and you learn something beneficial for him. Can’t even imagine all you have to go through to get ready for these trips to Drs and hospitals.Again thoughts and prayers will be with you and Ryan. Give Ryan a hug from me
PS Think we should call you Dr.”D”
Simmy Ahmed via Facebook says
One step at a time is the way to go! Our prayers are with you!
Ryan's Rally: We Got This via Facebook says
Normally it takes several hours. I expect it to take twice as long Ryan cannot follow directions. We’ll just need to wait for him when he’s ready.
Ginger Henry via Facebook says
Cousin Kay says
Thanks for the explanation and doing this so we can keep up with your lives. I read every posting.
Jo Hobbs via Facebook says
Long day, I am sure. Do they give you any idea just how long?
Ken, this sounds like a very long day indeed! I hope there is a very think pad for Ryan to lie on and a comfortable chair for you. I presume you will stay with him, watchful as ever, during the exam. I do believe you are the most unusual man I have ever met. I know very few who stay right by their loved one’s side at all times — men or women, actually. And this is understandable because they don’t usually want us there anyway during testing procedures — even for a sonogram. I don’t quite understand this. I am so glad that you persevere and stay with Ryan. You’re the best man for the job (too bad you can’t get your M.D. by apprenticeship). I realize that there are times when parents/guardians can’t be present, such as during surgical procedures.
We will be thinking about you and Ryan and praying for all to go well. Love
No, I mean “thick,” but if they ever come up with a think pad, I want one!