No Spring Chicken #1
My mother always said that getting old wasn't for the faint of heart. So I guess that on this week when I turn 60 it is fitting that I had another example of that. In olden days, when we got older and had maladies we died of them. These days they can do a number of incredible investigative procedures to find out what is wrong, and a number of other rather marvelous procedures to fix those things that they find. Now, instead of dying of obscure maladies we get embarrassed by them.

So, it should come as no surprise that I had a bit of indignity this week.

At my annual physical last month I complained that the "urinary frequency" medicines were no longer working as well. My doctor said that unless I wanted to go back on the female hormone-type medicines I was beyond what she could do for me. So she referred me to a urologist. This turned out to be a rather nice fellow who really enjoyed his work. You should have seen the size of his grin as he discussed the various operations to "fix" my problem, all of which involved putting a device up where a catheter might be placed and "doing" something (scraping, frying, vibrating or looking). The "device" might be a bent wire to scrape with, a laser to fry, a sonic vibration source to shrink, or a camera to look around). Those of you who know me well will realize what my twisted mind might think about that doctor's grin (sometimes called "shit eating"), and I commented to that effect to the Doctor. He allowed as how he really liked his job, which I suppose is a good thing. He won't be messing up on purpose out of spite. We had a nice visit, he looked at what my symptoms were and decided I was a good candidate for corrective surgery, if things looked inside like it sounded like they would. So we scheduled a follow-up procedure to "look around".

Now, if you had told me ahead of time that you could stick a 1/4" diameter camera (thank God they are smaller these days, said one friend) in there and it wouldn't hurt I'd have called you a bald faced liar. But it is true. After only minimal preparations ("take your clothes off from the waist down and lie down here") and a quick cleansing (which I probably would have enjoyed more if my female GP did it than when the male urologist did it) they take an injector (plastic, dull, no needle) and shoot a novocain/jelly solution up there. ĘThen they stick a camera (fiber optic, with light & water jets) in a little ways and turn the water on to "open things up", and move the camera on in to look around.

As a quick sidelight, they have a large monitor to watch all that is seen on, and had it angled so both the doctor and I could see it. So I got to see what is going on in there. Yup. That prostate is enlarged. Well, I've had two finger tests (this has become old-hat enough that it hardly classifies as an indignity any more) in the last month to determine that before the camera, one by each doctor. So that was no surprise. But just what things look like in there was. Especially when the doctor does a "flip" with the camera once inside the bladder and looks back at the way it came in. Sure is a strange view of things. But you can definitely see where the prostate is pushing in and reducing space.

The funny thing is that none of it hurt. There was a bit of a weird feeling when he did the flip, but other than that it was just a strange feeling.

Of course, the water they pump in there as "opener" tends to fill up both the bladder and all the plumbing, so there is an immediate need to visit the restroom, despite their request for a sample before we began all this. I don't know if they really needed a sample, since they got one last week when I was in for the initial visit, or if they just wanted to make sure they were playing to an empty house, as it were.

Now all I have to do is decide what I want to do about it. The options are:
  1. Nothing - live with the current situation. Which includes some days when I can't go 1 hour without a trip to the bathroom. That doesn't work out too well when I do 90 minute sessions out in the launch coaching the crew team.
  2. Go back to taking the female hormone-type medicines (and shrink up to the point where I can and do pee on my own scrotum regularly, can't get a real erection and ejaculation is only a wet dream [if you will pardon the pun]).
  3. Let them go in there with a wire and scrape out excess prostate tissue (which involves scraping out the urethra to get to the prostate tissue and results in scar tissue).
  4. Let them go in there with a laser and burn out the urethra and extra prostate tissue (more scar tissue, but an in-office - as opposed to in-hospital - procedure).
  5. Let them go in there with a specially designed microwave field generator and microwave the prostate into shrinkage (in office, no scar tissue, but 5 days thereafter with a catheter and a bag strapped to my leg). This involves a pre-trip visit to map the prostate so they can generate the proper shaped field to hit it only, nothing else.
  6. Shoot myself so I won't have any more of these indignities to face.

I've tossed out 1, 2, 3 & 6. I have to decide between 4 & 5 and I'm almost certain to choose 5. But I have to find a time when I won't mind having a catheter and a bag strapped to my leg for 5 days. That would be when I don't have any desire for a soak in the hot tub, no performances that involve changing in the same room with a chorus full of other guys, and no fancy events (none of my tux or suit pants have room for the bag).

Ah, the joys of getting older. But the alternatives are rather grim, so I guess I can put up with it. Ah, but it could have been worse. After visiting the plastic surgeon to follow up on her facial reconstruction surgery (and the resultant infection) on Friday morning, Janet had to get a mammogram Friday afternoon. There was an expression my grandparents' generation used for a tight place to be in - "tit in the wringer", which came from the old clothes washers that had a wringer to squeeze excess water out of the clothes before you hung them on the line to dry. I guess if you did it wrong you could get parts of your anatomy stuck between the rollers that formed the wringer. That strikes me as very much like a mammogram. That would not be as easy to ignore as the old prostate-finger-check.

Anyway, all this was so much fun I thought I'd share it. If you are older than I it will serve to remind you of wonderful times past. If you are younger it may well give you something to look forward to. If you are female it will give you something to be glad you don't have to look forward to. If you have a sense of humor it may have given you a chuckle. If I sent this to you you are probably not the type who doesn't give a shit!


In a world without walls and fences, who needs windows and gates?