The first time I bled was almost two months ago when we spent a weekend at my friend Ezra’s cottage in Rockaway Beach. I’d forgotten my Surgilube™, and inserted the catheter the doctor had told me to use dry. The next morning when I peed I bled. It was very disheartening.
The blood stopped the next day, and I forgot about it.
Later that week I had a Cystoscopy, where the good doctor inserted a camera through my penis to “Have a look around.” It’s always fascinating to look at the inside of my body. He showed me the two little holes in the bladder that lead to the kidneys.
“Here’s the left one, here’s the right one.” OK, doctor.
So I started bleeding A LOT a few days later, due to the damage done by the Cystoscopy.
“Sorry about that,” the doctor offered when I went to talk to him about the upcoming operation.
It’s called a TURP, where a little rotary type tool is inserted into the prostate to remove “material,” opening up the urethra more for a better flow, which was my problem. Poor flow, not emptying my bladder, etc., all the symptoms of BPH.
I had the operation on August 15th, just about a month ago.
It was a great success; I was surprised at the improvement of the flow.
There was blood; of course, my urine was a deep pink right after the operation.
I was advised to take it easy for a couple of weeks, no work, no sex, no heavy lifting.
I felt fine, I though I could lift whatever weight I usually lift. I felt stupid when we went to Maine and Danusia insisted on carrying our suitcases down the stairs, and when our host Charlene insisted on carrying them up the stairs at their home.
I did some work when we got back from Maine, after all I was let go from my job just days before my operation and I have bills to pay, so I did some free-lance handyman work. I didn’t think it was too strenuous, some sanding and painting. Re-plastering a big hole in a ceiling. Nothing extreme.
The blood would stop and the blood would start again the next day.
After having sex for the first time after waiting two weeks something changed, it was as if I hadn’t had the operation at all.
My flow was weak again, and my bladder wasn’t holding much. I had the urge to go almost constantly. Blood one day, gone the next.
That all changed last Wednesday.
I had painted a friend’s ceiling, and I don’t consider painting a big strain. But while I was there, I used the toilet before I left and bled real red blood. Not pink, but bright red almost pure blood. I hoped for the best and went to Fairway to pick up some groceries on my way home.
I was alone, Danusia had gone to a MOTH Mainstage and drinks after.
I made dinner, ate, and watched TV.
I went to the bathroom around 9 for the first time since I’d gone when I got home at 7, when the pee was pretty clear and I’d already forgotten about the earlier blood incident.
This time there was a tremendous flow, like a dam had burst, but it was thick, red blood, with a lot of solid clots coming out.
Now I was afraid. Nothing like the sight of blood leaving your body to scare you.
I cleaned up the toilet and drank a big glass of water. I figured I had to flush out.
All this time I was wondering what was happening inside, how does an inner injury heal? Would there be a scab? Swelling?
I kept imagining that I was bleeding to death inside.
Ten minutes later I got a really intense pain in my groin, and when I tried to pee I could only squeeze out a thick, solid blood clot and that was it. I was totally blocked.
I got dressed and called 911. I texted Danusia I was on my way to the hospital.
The EMTs got there in about 10 minutes, and by that time I was doubled up from the constant pain. I was sweating and shaking.
I was able to walk, and I figured we’d get down faster if I walked, so we got down to the ambulance.
It took a little while for the guy to check my ID and get the go ahead to take me to the VA Hospital emergency room.
“We’re good to go,” he announced to his partner who was driving.
It was a 20 –minute trip down to 23rd street, and I didn’t even get the siren.
When we got to the emergency room it didn’t seem very busy, but a nurse announced I should have a seat because they were busy.
“Where’s the bathroom!” I managed to croak out. The nurse pointed and I ran.
“Wait!” The EMT guy said. “They might want a specimen.”
They did and the nurse handed me a specimen bottle.
I went into the bathroom and managed to squeeze and ounce of pure blood into their specimen bottle.
“Where do I put this?” I asked approaching the nurse’s station. Her eyes got really wide when she saw it.
“OK, let’s get him inside,” she said. There’s nothing like blood to galvanize people into action.
She tried to insert a catheter, but the blood was so thick it clogged up.
The urologist on call showed up and took over.
He started to pump me out, shooting saline solution into the bladder and drawing it out through the catheter. After a half hour and 5000 MLs, he announced he was going to have to admit me.
By then Danusia had shown up.
He’d inserted a drain bag, and he’d gotten out enough of the clots that the pain was beginning to subside.
“The team will see you in the morning.”
I lay in the emergency room for another hour as the arrangements were made. I told Danusia she should go around 1 AM.
It was a rough night, every time the drain bag filled up it would back up and start the intense pain again. I slept for 5 intermittent hours.
The Team came in the morning and started an irrigation drip.
The team consisted of Dr. Katz, the guy who’d done the Cystoscopy, Dr. Syan, a woman I’d only spoken to on the phone before, and the redheaded hipster doctor who’d done the actual TURP. There was a young doctor I’d never seen before that just watched.
The irrigation did not work, and when they came back on afternoon rounds I was flushed out again, enduring almost unbearable pain. Dr. Katz got the honors as Dr. Syan filled the syringes with saline and emptied them.
“You’re doing great,” Dr. Katz would say every time I let out a strangled groan while writhing in pain, gripping the bed frame with all my might. That was what Dr. Mung had said the night before in the emergency room. I figured they were taught that, like I was taught in the army that you told a guy he was going to be OK when administering first aid even if you knew he was a goner.
After 15 minutes the blood stopped.
Lucky for me the flow remained clear until the next day, when the team arrived to announce that if stayed clear I could go home in the afternoon.
A couple of people came to see me, Ezra, Jenny, a woman named Karen I know that works at the hospital. Danusia, of course. As luck would have it I was alone, I didn’t have to deal with the guy I had after the operation who couldn’t make a sentence without using the word “fuck” at least twice.
The team arrived sometime around four.
“It looks good.” Dr. Syan announced. Dr. Syan is a very pretty Indian woman in her late 20s. They were all kids.
“You feel like going home?” Dr. Katz asked.
“You bet your ass I do,” I said.
“You can go, but you have to leave the catheter in.” Dr. Syan announced.
This had been an issue after the operation; they wanted me to wear an indwelling catheter and a collection bag for a few days. I wasn’t going up on stage in Maine wearing a collection bag. I had a wedding to go to on Saturday, but there’ll be other weddings.
“OK.” I said. Dr. smiled a triumphant little smile.
“Come back Monday and we’ll take it out.”
I can’t wait for tomorrow, Monday.