So I’m needing a biopsy. They have me come in for a pre-admission clinic, which essentially involves seeing a combination of medical types. First up is small and sweet pharmacist. I have to stop taking my curry pills (turmeric), that I take to try to sort out my bursitis in my right shoulder, and elbow. I have to have this in full working order for after the operation, as there’s rehab to do. On my parts. More on that later, no doubt. Small and sweet pharmacist writes down my pills and I’m back in the waiting room. Next up is homely and reassuring, but a bit lazy, nurse. Obviously she has to do the basics, like my blood pressure, which is reassuringly perfect, from a combination of my tablets rather than a life lived as a monk. Having left Australia in the last 12 months and visited London, she informs me I will need a swab. Why? Because my exotic travelling history essentially means I may have come into contact with some dodgy bugs. In her eyes I am a dirty foreigner. I am used to this as an English Australian. I am banned from giving blood, as those of us that lived in the UK in the 80’s and 90’s apparently ate so much reclaimed cow brain and nerves in our burgers, pies and sausages, that we could potentially be harbouring CJD, otherwise known as mad cow disease. Despite me enjoying many of these vile foods throughout my UK residence, I feel that we are largely immune from mad cow disease, as, you may remember, it turns out we weren’t actually eating cows, but horses, which are completely different animals.
Anyway, she gives me the swab kit and suggests that I may want to do it myself. Lazy cow, I think. All she has to do is lean forward and stick it up my nose, give it a waggle round and it’s done. Now this is a classic example of when nurses and doctors get nurses and doctors as patients, you should treat them the same as any other patient. Do not assume they know the drill. Because I didn’t. Last time I swabbed anyone it was at the height of the avian influenza potential epidemic. Bird flu, in other words, and it went up their nose. Or it might have been swine flu.
Hmmm, there’s a pattern here. Remember earlier on when I confessed to not being able to be a vegetarian? I like meat too much. That’s probably because animals have secretly got it in for us. Mad cow, bird flu, swine, flu, mozzies, snake bites, rabies, anthrax, cat poo blindness. Be careful, your pet wants you gone.
Anyway, homely and reassuring, but lazy, nurse says I can do my own swab, at the same time as a urine sample, and directs me to the toilet. This sounded a little bit suspicious. I didn’t need privacy to stick a cotton bud up my hooter. Maybe she wants me to swab my tint. Maybe I should check.
“Where exactly, do you want me to swab?”
And just when I think my arsehole has some respite, she gleefully tells me it’s rectal. Off I trot to the loo. Squeeze out a wee in a pot. This is how you should do a wee sample, if anyone asks. Because in my experience, not many people tell you the technique. Pee a bit in the loo, to clear the pipes, then pee in the pot, then finish off in the loo. Got it? If you launch straight into the pot, then you essentially piss all your pant fluff and micro creatures living there into the pot, and the labs think you have some vile disease. Now moving on to the swab. No instructions for that either. So you stand there looking at an elongated q-tip wondering exactly how to proceed. After a short while, I decided that balancing one leg on the toilet bowl, enabled easier access the target. Next question is how far do you want me to stick it up? Well it has to be 6 inches long for a reason………
Not that far apparently.
Job done. I returned my pisspot and shitty stick to homely and reassuring, but lazy nurse, and I’m ordered back to the waiting room. Where I wait for another hour, until timid and apologetic admin officer comes and tells me that the doctors have all fucked off, and I can go home. To this day, I still don’t know what they needed to see me for.
A couple of weeks pass.
I have to come for the biopsy at 6am. It’s 40 kms away, and I can’t drive because I’m having a general anaesthetic. At that time it’s at least an hour in the traffic, and it’s not fair on the family to drag them all out of bed and there and back before school. I go on the train. So gorgeous, but sarcastic, wife drives me at the station before 5 am. I get on the train, and it’s a 20 minute walk from the station, in the dark. Are you feeling sorry for me yet? I get to Super Hospital, and every person who is having any sort of operation is standing in a massive long line. If I ever get round to it, I would politely inform SH that getting a shitload of starved, anxious patients to stand in a line that snakes around the cafe for half an hour, is a cruel taunt that may adversely affect the mood of said queuers. There was a already a tattooed munter of a grandmother giving the desk hell because her granddaughter/daughter needed to have her baby surgically removed- it wasn’t immediately apparent, from the looks of her, if she was actually pregnant or had, in fact, eaten the child. Anyway, the titanic granny was giving it large until an equally big Maori security officer told her to “cool it bro”, which just added fuel to fire. Away she went effing and blinding, little old ladies scattering, grown men laughing at her antics, until she unfortunately tripped over the magazine table and lolled around on the floor like a upturned giant tortoise, ironically covered in National Geographic magazines chronicling the demise of the very same. Unluckily for me, I was then called up, and missed the ending. I must have beaten the “end of level boss”, because I was advised to go to “the next level.”
I got to there and they called me in. The nurse was lovely. Needs a name…….let’s call her super professional, knows her stuff, and loves her patients nurse. SPKHSALHPN. She tells me I need to get my kit off. A bit forward, I feel. We’ve only just met. She gives me a gown. Luckily having worked in procedural nursing I know how to put said gown on. So I do, but I have significant trouble trying to fasten it, chasing my self round in circles like the dog trying to chase its tail. So much so, that I have to ask for help, and she laughs as its only got one tie. Fuckers in the linen room, they knew that and let it go out anyway. It must be the highlight of their day. I had a summer job once in a hospital laundry, it was grim and I was on the clean stuff too. I only lasted one day, so I can’t begrudge them their fun, because I would have done the same. New gown works well. Disposable pants. I have seen plenty of patients come out the cubicle wearing disposable pants as a hat, so I am keen to not make the same mistake. My tip would be if they have leg holes, they are pants. If the they don’t, it may be a hat. Either way they are a token gesture, a mere suggestion of an underpant. More like a slight fog for your nether parts.
I wander off, never too sure if the ghostly kecks, are still in situ, or have become a trip hazard. SPKHSALHPN gestures to a comfy armchair. She puts me some lovely skin tight stockings on, only knee high mind, there’s no room for eroticism here. Jovial, relaxed, maybe too relaxed, anaesthetic registrar comes to see me. Has a quick look down my cake hole, to make sure they can ram all their hose pipes down there unhindered, and then I’m asked to hop on a bed, and I’m off. Wheeled down the corridors of theatre staring at the ceiling, into an ante room. The anaesthetic team work on me. They are all fantastic, I should add. All, even the wardie/porter, introduced themselves and told me what they were doing or about to do. I couldn’t have felt safer, and I was really relaxed. Ok cannula went in, ECG stuff is on, and I’m wheeled through to op room. This GA is to be initiated by gas. Breath deeply for few minutes, to make sure there’s plenty of oxygen floating round your system, because once you go under, they only have a short time to get you set up and the tubes in, so it buys them more time. Super skinny Chinese medical student is going to hold my mask on. He sticks it on my chops. I need to breathe the anaesthetic gases in to go under, but he is struggling to get a seal. We stop for a minute.
I tell a joke about seals, probably because I’m nervous.
“An Eskimo breaks down on his snowmobile. He goes to the Eskimo mechanic. The mechanic says, you’ve blown seal, to which he replies, “that’s just frost on my moustache”.
Doctors and techs laugh, super skinny Chinese medical student doesn’t get it.
We are off again. This time his technique is better, but it’s still not air tight.
“I can still breathe” I say, laughing. He adjusts his grip and then it’s on. I’m out.
It gets done. They stick 12 needles through my tint, and each one takes a core of prostate out, like testing a wheel of cheese. These will go to the labs and they will see if any cancer is growing in there.
I wake up in a bed.
Imagine if you grasp your balls and lift them up out of the way, and then someone with stilettos on kicks you in the tint from behind. That’s what it feels like. Not too terrible, but you know something has occurred down there. They’ve given me drugs, and I feel pretty good. I stay where I am for half an hour, then get moved across the room to the more awake side. Stay there for a bit longer, then I’m told to piss, and I get to eat, and I’m good to go.
Gorgeous, but sarcastic wife comes to get me, suitably pissed off because I told her the bit to get me from was definitely not the bit to come and get me from, despite actually being the correct bit to get me from. A lovely lady wardie stays with me, while wifey tours the campus, and eventually were are home. It was my day off, and I wasn’t back to work for a couple of days, but I could probably have gone the next day, or most certainly the day after. My tint was bruised and ended up black. It was dark. And having a wee was a bit sore for a day.
SPOILER ALERT there is a high chance of over-sharing here, so look away now if you don’t need the sexy details. The purpose of the blog is to let me ramble, inform my friends and family how I’m travelling, hopefully entertain, and hopefully help people who may be in the same position. Provide a bit of information to the grey areas and comfort and brotherhood to the similarly afflicted. Answer the questions no one asked haha. I needed to see if everything worked properly. Make sure I had not paid the ultimate price as it were. So two days later, we had a try out. Functioning fine until bright red blood shoots out the end. Whoa! That was a shock, but it felt the same though, and over the next few weeks it all went back to normal, so don’t worry!
Instructions are- Come back in 2 weeks and find out what they’ve found.