Mike I am so much happier to know that Amanda's persistence has paid off. Everyone in your position needs an advocate, whether it be a partner, a son or daugher, a friend or neighbour, we would all do well to think about who would do that for us in that situation, because the NHS is like an enormous ediface, where the people who bang loudest on the doors are the people who get treated first and best. And when you are ill, you just don't have the energy for all that.
My parents generation, who went through the war, always had a habit of imagining that there were other people worse off than themselves, and they didn't want to be a nuisance. But being like that, nowadays, will get you nowhere with medical treatment. With my Dad, we had to transfer treatment from Surrey to Lincolnshire (between operation and follow up - radiotherapy et al), and that was incredibly stressful - exactly the grey area that Dove talks about, self imposed yes, but at the time my mother was in decline, and I couldn't manage their problems from 200 miles away, hold on to my job, deal with having a child and a husband with M.E./chronic fatigue.
The NHS and social services will use 'family' as much as you allow them to, and that is part of what I would want to tell you and Amanda. You both need to be very clear about what she can commit to, given her own situation. The NHS in Surrey were very good at wondering why I wasn't there with my parents, just as the parents of the children to whom I was teaching GCSE and A-level in Lincolnshire were very good at wondering why their child's teacher was off work again.
Hopefully, you do not have some of the complications my dad had (like having macular degeneration in his eyes which meant he couldn't see properly to connect and disconnect the day-bag to the night-bag himself) and insufficient memory to be able to be trusted with his pills - not that he had Alzheimers or anything, just never was that good at remembering things!
The way we had this described to us was that the bladder is like a balloon which inflates and deflates as the urine builds up and is released. Over time, like a balloon which has been blown up and let down, the quality of the rubber, or muscles, will deteriorate a bit. You have had an operation on the balloon, and the less inflating and deflating that goes on, the quicker it will heal - so the catheter takes away the urine before it has a chance to gather and cause a stretch. So unpleasant, and painful as it is, it is doing an important job, and is not so much a leftover from the operation, as an aid to internal healing. When it comes out, your muscles will have to go back to work, and sometimes that requires a bit of re-adjustment. I hope it will be out very soon - if not on Friday then in two weeks as they said. Let us know when your appointments are.
And if you are bored, ring me anyway. You have my number. It is a wet old day here right now, so I can't get on with all the things I wanted to. Hugs as ever - Bee xx