In one of my favorite movies, Andy Griffith as Airman Will Stockdale tells his commanding officer that the latrine he’s cleaned is as clean
“As the operatin’ room where they’re fixin’ to cut out your heart.”
And for the past month or so that’s all I can think of, how clean the operating room will be.
Of course, I’m not having my heart cut out, just a part of me cored out like an apple.
That’s a TV reference from somewhere, I can’t think of where right now but if you get it drop me a line.
About 5 weeks ago I went to the VA hospital urologist, I haven’t been to one since mine retired and then I lost my medical insurance, and it was getting harder and harder to sleep through the night so I felt it was time.
The clock in the waiting room was permanently stuck at 9:17. I wondered if they took the battery out so you wouldn’t wonder how long you’d been in the waiting room.
I wasn’t there too much past 8AM before the doctor saw me. After a quick sonogram and peeing into the “flow-meter” the doctor told me she was disappointed with my flow and the amount of urine in my bladder.
“You’re not emptying your bladder completely,” she scolded. I’ve heard this before, and it made me wonder if scolding 101 is in the med student’s curriculum. It wasn’t so much the words, but the pouty face she made, just like my first urologist, the small and dapper Dr. Yuvienco when he told me I wasn’t empting my bladder.
“You have a half liter of urine in your bladder, I can’t let you go home like that…”
Now I really felt like a naughty boy, headed for detention. I was glad I had a crossword with me.
The Doctor’s solution was to send me to another room where a nurse taught me to use a catheter. I’ll spare you the details.
She also scheduled me for a cystoscopy, a kidney sonogram, chest x-ray and blood and urine work.
I went home with my new supply of catheters, a big brown box marked plainly
CATHETERS and a tube of Surgilube. If anyone on the subway noticed, they didn’t say.
I’ll also spare you my new adventures with that new device, if I decide to write a blog dedicated to medical procedure I’ll be sure to let you all know.
Those are quite popular, I have a friend who when I urged her to read my blog said, “I only read cancer blogs…” She has kidney problems.
Four weeks ago I went for the cyscoptopy.
After sitting in the 9:17 clock waiting room for a half hour a nurse handed me two hospital gowns, hospital footwear (those half socks with rubber dots on the soles for traction) and a towel. I was instructed to don these things (one gown open in the back, the other one in front) and put my clothing in a locker. Then I sat back down to wait on the cold hard plastic waiting room chair. You don’t know how cold something is until you’ve sat on it sans pants.
I was taken into a sterile room where the nurse asked me to lay down on a bed and then proceeded to bathe most of my privates with a generous dose of iodine, it felt like a whole bottle of iodine and then I realized why I was toting around a towel.
The clock on this wall was stuck at 12:03. On this one there was movement, the second hand kept bouncing off the 12, never getting past it. I was beginning to wonder if this was hospital policy.
The Doctor came in, this time a different one, a man. I’d already talked to him when he’d explained the procedure.
He donned scrubs, washed his hands and the assisting nurse put his mask, gloves and goggles on for him. My wife Danusia calls them gargles, by the way. Very cute.
I’ve had a colonoscopy before, so I was prepared with what the doctor was going to share with me on the monitor.
It was a pretty painful experience, and again I’ll spare the details, but I’ll have to say looking at your own bladder and enlarged prostate is quite an experience. I didn’t believe the amount of “stuff” floating around in my insides.
The prognosis was that I should have an operation. The suggestion was to remove the prostate altogether, but memories of my dad’s results made me balk.
The other option is the coring option, and the doctor assured me I would not end up incontinent or impotent. Very important to me.
The other option was to use catheters four times a day for the rest of my life.
He gave me a week to think about it.
Three weeks ago I consented, and this Monday the 22nd it will happen. So wish me luck.
I’ve never been anesthetized, except by my own hand and that doesn’t count; so this is a little scary.
I had a sinus operation when I was 17, which was an experience with two young residents pounding away with a chisel through my maxilla. I was awake because as a Medicaid patient I didn’t rate anesthesia.
I’m glad that as a veteran I do.