1) Family History

OK then, back to The Journey.  It began, I would say, some 10 years ago.  Let me set the scene.  My dear old departed dad was sitting in his car in a traffic jam, needing to take a pee. The traffic got worse, and the feeling of needing to go got worse.  Anyone who knew my dad, would know he was a lovely man with a heart of gold, but he did have a superb ability to rant.  About anything.  The rant would come from deep within, seemingly years of pent up rage and frustration would not so much explode, but seep out in a tirade of mild to moderate swearing and strong opinion.  His opinion, compared to the opinion of whoever decided the opposite of the rant.  His rants were often particularly astute observations of modern day living, but after the first few minutes we normally switched off until the muttering trickled away. So scene set.  Man in car.  Pent up frustration building as he is stuck in traffic, bladder bulging, face reddening, blood pressure steadily increasing all ready to be released in a torrent of piss seconds after he crosses the threshold of our moderate middle England abode. Eventually, the poor bugger made it home, hand braked his car to a halt inches from the door, and barged his way to the bathroom, muttering a particularly salty string of expletives that raised my mothers eyebrows a little more than normal.  Having made the avocado oasis that was their luxury colour scheme at the time, he, for want of a better word, flopped it all out, and zip, nada, zilch. Nothing. Not even a trickle.  The only torrent came not from down below, but from up above.  His mouth.  Blue as the Queensland sky.  The old lady next door covered her poodles ears.

Now I have never been in that position myself, but one would imagine that having been bursting for a piss for over 2 hours, a flow disruption like that would be, at least, a little unnerving.  So, he consults with my dear mother, who from the back of her brain, produces some of the housewives recipes for dealing with household disasters that were honed through the ages, with absolutely no research base I hasten to add, but worked for great granddad Westwood when he did a white poo halfway up the stairs in 1979.  Put some butter on it, let the air get to it, you know the kind of thing.  Listening to the trickle of water is suppose to make you go, so they tried that.  Not with the other two though.  Good God, the thought of Pa wandering around naked smeared in Lurpack whilst my mum ran all the taps doesn’t bear thinking about.  Anyway, after that failed, or actually made it worse, they come up with the idea of a hot bath. Sounds reasonable, a nice soak in the bath- after all, most of us have probably let one go in the bath, the pool or even maybe the jacuzzi.  No joy.  My mother says enough is enough and it is time to consult a healthcare professional, but unfortunately decides, that a telephone consultation with a nurse 40 miles away, is the best thing.

I decided quite early on in the call that dad would most probably need a catheter, and so an emergency department visit was in order.  However we all know mums on the phone- asking about the babies, did I have a nice day at work, does Katy get the crease in my boxers like she does.  I could hear my father ranting in the background, and thought I should hear it from the horses mouth as it were.  So, he emerges from his aquatic splendour, like an irate purple space hopper with a towel wrapped round it, to state, with a further smattering of industrial language, that it appeared we were underestimating the urgency of his predicament.  I told him straight- “You need professional help- go to A&E!”  Consequently, he jumps in the car and drives himself to the nearest clinic, not A&E, in a fashion that the Stig would have been proud of, albeit in a Diesel Seat Córdoba with 250,000 miles on the clock.  When he gets there he rail-roads the receptionist and hotfoots it into the back, where the nurses are.  He sees a lovely nurse who tells him he probably needs a catheter, and she can’t help him, and tells him to set off to the emergency department.  Now as a nurse myself, I wholeheartedly agree that abuse of the medical professions is a sin, but I would have thought that the poor nurse that day would have a least picked up a couple of 6 or 7 syllable portmanteau swear words that may have never been uttered ever again.  Or at least until I wake up from surgery.  Eventually, he makes it to A&E, and where the pinnacle of relief occurred.  A 15 inch plastic tube and a burly bloke nurse.  They end up pulling off something that, according to him, sounded like half his body weight in piss, and send him on his way a short time afterwards, drained in every way imaginable.  A couple of weeks later they tell him he has an enlarged prostate, and soon after that it is cancerous.

At that, my friends, was the start of my dabble with prostate cancer.

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