angryinch

Gird your loins for this tale of woe can happen to YOU!

IT BEGINS
 
I'm the live-and-let-live kind'a guy who stumbles blindly through life minding my own business, neither stepping on a crack nor putting my shoes on the bed. But turning into my 60s, health was good - well, OK. I had a stroke awhile back - too much on-the-job-pressure. But every four months I'd have a blood test which included my PSA score that generally pranced out of the closet at a passable "2". Zero is preferable and anything above was something to keep your eyeball on.
Over the period of a month, a tenderness and low grade pain came from the dank recess of my nether region and dealt the same cozy camaraderie as if I had sat on a Coke bottle which prompted my doctor to do an impromptu PSA which weighed in at a whopping 28! Yes there were alarms. Something was clearly amiss and the doctor suggested an immediate biopsy.
 
Thus, the fates had me baring my ass for a pair of strange men without benefit of anesthetic. I was however allowed to watch a sonogram monitor of the goings on as the doc plied his trade. Much like those aluminum cigar tubes, the sonogram finds it’s way where, under ideal circumstances, the sun don’t shine. Thereafter follows an insidious wire device with a pair of nasty jaws at the end and what happens next is not for the faint of heart. Sure, the doc gives you a heads up, but there is a sudden and loud ca-chunk! - like that made by a power-stapler and quite frankly, the sensation of having your prostate power-stapled is right on the money; it took my breath away!
What just occurred was those mini-jaws burst through my colon wall traveling at 200 mph (really) into the prostate to take a small but tasty bite of the tissue therein. Oh, my god that was an eye opener! I've been treated kinder by misplaced gerbils.
 
By the third ca-chunk I had lost interest in the sonogram and was ready to call it a day yet as luck would have it we were only half done.
The doctor quipped; “You’re taking this better than most men!” which I took as one of those meaningless comments bent my mustering what little manliness I had left. Little did the doctor know, I didn't have any when I got there!
Or: theory number two: most men actually run screaming off the table into the street which is what I really had in mind.
After six ca-chunks I sat upright; stunned and sure that should I stand, my entire blood supply would pour from my ass in a matter of seconds. While no such calamity ensued, I was informed I may see some “blood in your semen”. I am here to assure you there was in fact no blood therein. There was however a fucking geyser of blood spurting from my cock like a low budget splatter film turning a mere "Big O" into a “What the Fuck?” and it took a good half dozen such bloodlettings before things returned to normal
 
I was hardly over the trauma, when biopsy reports claimed there were four cancerous tumors residing fitfully within the confines of my prostate. The Doc was emphatic my prostate had to be dealt with immediately and outlined several procedures, from blasting with photon rays, implanting radio-active “seeds” to an utter “radical prostatectomy”.
From the beginning of my family tree, no male had lived past the age of 60, all succumbing to cancer. Sure, they were power-smokers to the one, but seeing my father, his sister and my mother’s brother all die of cancer within a year of each other, prepared me for an early demise. Perhaps early detection and modern technology would save my bacon.
Caveats: Photon Rays hadn't at the time been proven that successful. The Radioactive seeds have a number of warnings: You are cautioned from being in close proximity to children; you cannot be cremated; and if the process doesn't work, your prostate has been rendered into a radioactive biscuit and can no longer be treated by any other means - case closed.
Meanwhile, the pain had grown unbearable so I asked the Doctor to chuck the damn thing out like yesterday’s tuna sandwich; and thus it came to pass, a 6 a.m. hospital visit for a radical prostatectomy lay coiled like a snake on my highway of life (sigh).

UNDER THE KNIFE. . .
 
I named my prostate “Roger”, in hopes he would soon be “Roger… Over and Out!” and today, given a sober surgeon he would be on the bus to oblivion.
Gowned and gurnied, I was pushed down one corridor then another until we plowed through the doors of the O.R.
“Humph” I thought, looks like a storage room for old radio parts!
“This is Kiesha”, said the Doc, as I wheeled by. He nodded to a gowned and petite femme tending a veritable wall of shiny if frightening instruments. Hundreds of the things that reminded me of the whooshing gun racks in “The Matrix”.
“How many of those you gonna use?” I inquired.
“All of them” she said with a wicked smile.
Crap! was the only word that came to mind.

And now, if I may digress. . .
So we’re on the same page, the prostate is this garlic shaped organ wrapped around the urethra at the base of the bladder. To remove the thing, you can't just peel it from the pipe, but snip the urethra above and below and stretching the urethra, stitch it onto the bladder. Also during the procedure, a number of lymph nodes and surrounding tissue is removed.

An thus, we return to the story. . .
I scooted from gurney onto operating table, under a nova-bright light and had just gotten comfy when the gas-man introduced himself, but before I could engage him in pleasantries, raised the mask and I was out before it touched me.
Six hours later I awoke in a comfy bed, in a comfy room. The operation took 3 hours and the rest of the time I hear tell, my carcass was parked in the hallway, awaiting an available room, no doubt an object of interest by curious flies and evil children.
 
hookedupAlanEasing in and out of consciousness much like enduring a late night screening of "Attack of the Mushroom People", a nurse came in and detailed the happenstance of my environs.
“Here’s the Morphine button” she cooed "which, every 10 minutes allows you a quick fix".
"Oh Yeh!"
The Doc appeared beaming and exclaimed the "Operation was a complete success!" and continued, "The nurses… will have you up and walking around tomorrow!”.
Fat chance I thought and faded off mid-sentence.
 
The rest of the day proceeded in vignettes:
I awoke to find a bowl of ice cream in front of me.
I awoke to find a bowl of melted ice cream in front of me.
I awoke to find the bowl gone.
I awoke to find a bowl of orange Jello® in front of me.
Only able to move my arms, I clumsily grabbed the bowl before it too vanished and tried eating. I never realized just how delicious Jello® was.
 
Once nourished and bored, slowly I slid my hand under the covers, skimming over my stomach… there it was… from pupik to pubis, a tidy row of twenty-three metal staples.
They’ve installed a zipper! I thought, and continued in a southernly direction where I found… to my horror, a rubber hose protruding from the end of my most horrified member. The hose was taped to my thigh and snaked over the side of the bed; to where I could not ascertain.
 
It wasn't long before a nurse arrived and removed the mystery to my circumstance. The hose terminated in a plastic bag that hung from the bed and at regular intervals she would empty the contents into a plastic canister and hold it up as if she had had just won a trophy (bless her heart). Whatever grisly substance that came out of me was thick, black, and had I’ll wager a foul taste.
Following this she would likewise empty a clear plastic, hand grenade sized device called a Jackson Pratt Pump; an ingenious thing that once a hose is pushed through into my guts, by virtue of squeezing the thing, it leisurely returns to its original shape while slowing sucking the goop from your guts… clever.
 
The next day, between visits to empty bag, bucket and grenade, the nurse, as promised showed up to pry me from the bed. Sitting up was an effort, not only from the morphine, abdominal pain, fear my guts would explode and sure that with my luck I’d be forced to clean up the mess!
Tremulous I shambled down the hall, hunched and inching along, pushing my drug dripper with one hand and toting my catheter bag in the other. Clearly, under duress, the first thing to go is vanity. If you look more like Yoda, feel like crap and your gown is flapping open, you just don’t give a fuck. Thus, three times Friday and Saturday I was pried from the bed and mushed down the corridor and back, but the fun didn’t stop there. Also three times a day came the ritual urethral backwashing where 66 CCs of saline are shot up the tube into the bladder. The pain was such I would have confessed to anything, easily given up the formula for the secret rocket fuel and divulged the leaders of the underground. But, that’s just me.
It amazes me you can be cut open on Thursday, and thrown into the street come Sunday but such was the case.
 
It was good to be home. Yes, I was still toting the catheter bag, which I named Betty and for the foreseeable future, we would remain very close. It was impossible to sleep in bed, so I set up shop on the living room couch and like Cleopatra on her barge, reigned supreme over the living room and channel changer for the next two weeks. Those two weeks by the way, consisted of waking, sleeping, trying to eat and walk.
The catheter is a miserable device and wagging Betty to and fro was a dreadful experience. Catheters aren’t all bad however. With a catheter installed, you can drive from Vegas to San Francisco without ever needing a pee break and you can sit through the entire “Berlin Alexanderplatz” without missing a scene. Alas, however, you feel like doing neither.
The wife was doting enough, bringing goodies and seeing to my needs. Showering was an experience, tethered to a bag and all, but I just stood in the shower and let the wife hose me down. It was a necessary thing, as evidently, the drugs leach from your skin to give you a cadaverous odor and thus a shower was always welcome.
 
I was only taking one drug for pain, whose label boasted “Avoid rapid head movement”. I had no clue what that meant, until the wife offered to brush my hair; simple enough. While sitting, I let her have at it and at one point, the brush caught a bit of twisted hair jerking my head not more than a half inch to the left. Suddenly the gelatinous contents of my noggin began to spin, faster and faster, then Pop! I passed out colder than a mackerel and remained so for the next few minutes while the wife, keeping her cool, prevented me from sliding to the floor, and, as she confessed later, slapping the crap out of me.
 
Over the next two weeks, I watched Betty’s contents go from black, to Hawaiian Punch, to Kool-Aid to Bud Lite and early Monday morning had us at the doctor’s office ready to remove the staples and turn Betty into a memory. The divorce proceeding was impromptu and ungainly. I stood over a tall waste bin, the Doc cut the cord, and let Betty tumble into the darkness. He gave a yank on the remaining stub and the catheter slid quickly from my bladder into the bin and while not a painful experience, felt like pulling a pound of liver through a keyhole.
Free at last! A joyous occasion, not only to be without Betty but to get news from the Doctor on the outcome of the operation which was both good and bad. The bad being, there were not 4 cancerous tumors as originally thought, but a whopping 9 of the bastards. The good news was, there was no evidence the cancer had spread outside the prostate. He was most emphatic on my good fortune saying “Another few weeks would have made the difference”. A sobering thought. No chemo or drugs will be needed.
Only two weeks from the operation and in retrospect, it wasn’t that bad. Sure, it’ll take a few days to get up to speed, but the worst is over.

THE REVENGE OF BETTY. . .
 
Easier said than done for a few hours later it was clear we had a problem. I stopped peeing at some point and the pressure in my bladder was becoming painful. The wife called my doctor bidding us flee to emergency and get re-catheterized immediately and by the time we arrived, I screamed like Fay Wray. The wife found a wheelchair and there I sat, screaming my head off in the crowded emergency room.
Interesting to note, that should you not actually be dripping blood, you sit, regardless of anyone else in the emergency room. So there I sat, over an hour watching (between screams) fat little families, hopping, laughing and dancing in to see the doctor for some petty rash or stubbed toe. Meanwhile, the entire populace of the waiting room had backed themselves into a corner as far from me as possible without sitting in the parking lot.
 
At last, I was called and wheeled to Room 13 (oh great). Once on the table a young female doctor entered with a huge syringe in one hand and (ulp!) catheter in the other. She gave me the shot - 60 CCs of morphine. “There!” she said, “That would knock out an elephant!” and certainly, a majority of the pain vanished quickly; but since I hadn’t been knocked out, I paused to reevaluate my opinion of elephants.
 
She grabbed my terrified manly bit, slathering it with lubricant. “So far”, I thought, “This is pretty nice”. Then came her snaking that thing into my bladder. No go… and retrieved it to find it caked with blood clots. Again, with the same results. Again and again. Each time whipping that thing out of me like the dipstick on a ‘84 Peterbilt and eliciting screams of agony. A dozen times she tried, with the same results.
Oddly, if snaking out my plumbing wasn’t peculiar enough, at one point she broke into an odd reverie of how hard it was to find good men in Las Vegas. “Oh crap” I thought, “It's going to be a long night”. The doctor on-call came in and gave a half-hearted and failed effort at tube reaming. At last, my own doctor showed up about 10:30 p.m. and surveyed the devastation. Another operation was in order and off we went to the O.R.; his Mission Impossible Team once again at the ready and whatever he was going to do had to be better than what was happening. The gas-man bypassed the pleasantries and I was out in a microsecond and awoke in the Intensive Care at 3:00 am. The wife was there and so alas was Betty, having a last laugh.
 
What a night: part of my urethra had collapsed after the catheter was removed, packing me with blood clots and setting off this chain of events. To make things even more ridiculous, in her catheterizing frenzy, the nurse had punctured my bladder. . . several times. The events of this one night eclipsed my entire 4 day stay in the hospital. Instead of returning to work in another week, it became two more weeks on the catheter, on the couch.
Two months later, Betty has once again been relieved of duty and all that remains is incidental pain here and there and an immense scar - a surefire ice-breaker at any soirée.
 
alanrecoupsImmediate Results: Prostate gone forever; any sign of cancer gone for the immediate future and hey, I’m down 24 pounds; if I could just stand up straight, I’d look great!
 
Long Term Results: Every six months getting another PSA test and hope the cancer levels remain at “0”.
On the downside, it appears “Sex” is a thing of the past, much to the delight of my wife and “Depends” are a thing of the future, much to my chagrin.
 
Resolve: Give an occasional thought to cleaner, if not clean living.
 
Observation: Because of my family history, cancer will no doubt reappear some day and smite my ass… but it ain’t today.
 
WHAT THEY DON'T TELL YOU. . .
 
I had been prepared for the possibility of kissing my boner goodbye; comes with the territory (sigh). What no one mentions is a phenomenon peculiar to radical prostatectomy known as "Post-Op Penile Shrinkage" where your already distraught member is dealt the final humiliation of a considerable reduction in size. Yup, my junk has been reduced to little more than a peculiar and non-functioning ornament. In the grand scale of things, I'm glad I'm still kicking, but it's a shame to see my devoted comrade dwindle to such a state. I had pictured my later years as a dashing rake, but such such are the schemes of mice and men! Now sex is much like trying to pack a marshmallow into a piggy bank (sigh).
 
Down the Road: So this has been a few years ago now, it's great to be alive and my PSA tests have remained negative. There is still a slight bulge to the left of my incision where I've been told a lot of scar tissue remains and X-rays show a handful of plastic clips still inhabit those troubled guts.The incision was a nasty thing for several years but settled in as a pleasant pink arrow pointing in the direcion of what once was.
WHO KNOWS WHAT EVIL LURKS IN THE HEARTS
(or naughty bits) OF MAN?
Sure as hell not me!