So, there’s me happy and care free, having relations with the wife as often as she lets me. Equipment functioning in tip top condition. I take anti-hypertensives, and for those not in the know, they lower my blood pressure. I’m a bit excitable, you see. And genetically challenged, in that, you guessed it, both Mama and Papa had elevated blood pressures in their 50’s, so of course, I develop it in my forties. Just have to keep on getting things sooner. Anyway, medications that fiddle with blood pressure have the potential to mess with your kidneys and liver, so once in a while my GP orders me to come in and have routine bloods, supposedly yearly, but obviously me knowing better than a fully qualified doctor, I went every 2 years or so. Everything was always OK. My liver function was occasionally a bit borderline, but I put that down to too much booze in the preceding days. About seven years ago they sneaked in a PSA which was 1.1. Less than about 2 was fine for my age at the time. All good. Fast forward another seven years….. I have cunningly avoided having another PSA, by various means, because I did not want to open the can of worms that would follow if it wasn’t normal. The kids were small, I was busy at work, we had recently emigrated to Australia, and things were good. Then one day, out of the blue I was suddenly struck down with the worst god awful pain that I could ever imagine.
I had just finished a lovely meal at around 7pm, accompanied by a cheeky little Chianti, that really took it to the next level. I was lazing in a mild food and wine coma, when all of a sudden I was overtaken by a distressful, anxiety initiating pain, unlike anything I had ever experienced. Now as a nurse, part of my career was spent triaging patients in a health centre. Patients, who, on direct questioning by the receptionist, would answer “Yes” to the worst pain imaginable, then proceed to sit their hefty carcasses in the waiting room, munch on chips, and fiddle with their phones, whilst getting necked by a rake thin skinny dude with a black eye, and a Burberry cap- Occasionally shouting at young TJ, who was doing his best to squirt the water fountain into the handbag of an elderly lady who had forgotten to buy laxatives when the chemist was still open. And she hadn’t taken anything for this pain, which miraculously disappeared after taking a dump. Anyway, that was not me. I was truly in pain, and we did debate calling an ambulance, which are still free in the UK and Australia (as long as you’re appropriately sick). However, the stiff English upper lip reared it’s ugly head, so I tried my tried and tested theory of curing most things. 2 Paracetamol, 2 Ibuprofen, a big glass of water and 15 minutes sitting on the toilet. This, in my opinion, should cure most minor aliments, and if you are still suffering afterwards, you have the potential to have something serious. Of course, poor Katy had to bundle me in to the car and drive me to A&E. With the kids in tow.
I have never been properly ill really. I have moaned about being ill, when I am a bit unwell, but I have, never, in my life, had a serious illness, broken bone (apart from nose) or even a stitch. My best friend once shot me with an arrow in the guts, when we were children, but as I had a well developed six pack at that stage ( I was about 12 and fairly athletic then, but really skinny I should add in case you are building a picture in your mind…), it broke the skin and stuck in my muscle, we pulled it out and all was good. We used to play Cowboys and Indians. One had an air pistol, the other had a home-made bow and arrow. Problem was I had the air gun, and missed with my one shot. He had me cornered on the coal bunker, and as I surrendered, the clumsy fucker let go of the arrow, which promptly struck me in the belly, and I fell to the floor with a 3 foot sharpened garden cane protruding from my innards. Like a porcupine with one spike. Or stick man with a massive erection, if you like. Come to mention it, he also gave me two black eyes, and broke my nose in several places on the way home from the pub one day as we play fought as knights armed with rhododendrons. I ducked his uppercut, and it was good night Vienna, hello gutter. We were 26 years old. Maybe we should have a chapter dedicated to our mishaps, because he once crashed his car into a tanker, hopped out and legged it and hid behind a wall, whilst waiting for the impending explosion, with the tanker driver in hot pursuit. Turns out the milk tanker driver thought he was a joyrider who had done a runner, and was about to perform a citizens arrest…….whilst my mate tried to explain what he obviously thought was going to be yoghurtaggedon. Anyway, he talked his way out of it some how. The only time I had a car accident, I crashed in to him. He was a shit magnet. He’s a headteacher believe it or not!
So, I’m fit and healthy, but have this mean ass pain and I’m on the way to the ED. Unfortunately, the pain was bad, and so I was forced to moan and groan a bit. Especially over bumps. My eldest is telling me to shut up because it’s embarrassing, my youngest is crying cos he thinks I’m dying. Katy’s trying to drive, in the dark, not really knowing the way. It’s a Saturday night, there’s a heatwave, it’s been 40c for 3 days straight, it’s a full moon, and we are having a family outing to emergency. Fantastic! In we go, I’m standing, barely, in a bit of crouch. The triage nurse sees I’m a bit sicker looking than some of the others, and she invites me straight in. As I make my way in to the treatment area, I hear the nurse saying something along the lines of “she’s alert, and looking around. In fact, look, she’s eating chips and drinking that can of coke…..” to a mammoth behemoth of a lady wearing a sweat stained vest a few sizes too small, so much so, that we were treated to half a nipple protruding from each side, who was berating the staff because her daughter was in grave danger of something or other. Anyway, she soon sat back down, and finished off her can of Mother, and started a new game of Candy Crush. Some things never change lol. A lovely young doctor comes over, sticks a cannula in my arm and lets rip with some Fentanyl. It does sweet fuck all for the pain, but hey, I feel a bit more chilled, and settle down to observe the Saturday night shenanigans. The doctor seems to think I might have a strangulated bit of bowel somewhere, so tells Katy and the kids I’m likely heading to surgery, and so they all go home and leave me to the adventure. I get a bit worse and get moved down the hall. They give me dose after dose, of IV painkillers. I can hear them saying I can have more, as I’m fairly big. Talk about adding insult to injury! I was 90kgs, but I am 6 feet tall. As midnight comes and goes, all of a sudden I’m better, just a bit sore. I was waiting for a CT scan, and they take me off for it, and I feel great. Mild pain, and I’m chilled. They find a kidney stone in my bladder. I spent the night squeezing it out, and now the worst is over. Yay! I stay in for the rest of the night, and they let me out in the morning, the doc mentions my impressive tolerance for opioids, and suggests I may not shit for a week. Katy comes to get me at 6am, we drive past all the piss and sick stained drunks who spent the night under observation, as they try to flag us down for a ride home, and then I’m home, bashed bruised and hungover.
The next day, it’s my day off, but I’m pissing Rose, and feel like I’ve been struck by a 10 ton weight, and so go to the GP’s, to get a medical cert for work on Tuesday. I reckon a couple of days chilling and I’m all good. Then it happens, my sneaky GP plays her joker. “What are you doing tomorrow, now you have the day off?”
“That’s great- you can come in for a well man check. We will do an ECG, take every blood test we know, chop off any dodgy moles, have a finger up your bum, listen to your chest, look in your eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and feel your balls, just in case.”