I guess I’m on the road to recovery. The problem with the road to recovery, is staying on the road. You are generally at the mercy of the cosmos. By being a good patient and following the instructions, such as taking it easy, not lifting, driving, mowing etc, drinking plenty of fluids (not beer), you can steer in the direction you want to go. However, there are forces in the universe that blow you off course. The side winds, oil slicks, potholes and breakdowns experienced by those of us trying to follow the road.
I’m just over three weeks post op. When I think back to the day I left hospital, I can’t really say that I feel a great deal better. I am better, of course, but I feel that I’m not really recovering at the same rate as the first few hours. When I left the hospital, I felt pretty good and was amazed really, at how good I was. I could walk a bit, pain was controlled by pills, I could sleep. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saddened by this slow down, just surprised. The last few days have been a bit painful. A nagging low abdominal pain that comes and goes. Soreness in the wounds, if not one of the seven, then another one. Pissing blood from time to time. Sometimes I think I may have developed a UTI as I piss out what looks like the dregs left in your home brew barrel. A dirty brown watered down custard. The next time it’s a Mateus Rose, then a cranberry juice, after which it seems to miraculously clear and I’m back to the Chablis Premier Cru of piss. Pale straw coloured, steely and flinty on the nose and echos of the French countryside. I await wifeys return from work and she will deliver me to super GP for a tasting session. I hope there’s no cheese.
I’m still confined in my suburb. I am allowed to walk a couple of kms at a time. That gets me to the local cafe, where I have cleverly stacked up 10 free flat whites in the weeks leading up to the operation. This is where I sit now, on their comfy banquette seat taking in the breeze from the air conditioning and sipping their bean of the week, an Anasora Guji, the Flavours of Ethiopia, apparently. Tastes like coffee to me, although I can’t help but feel it was named after my painful arse troubles of late. I can’t drive for another week, and can’t cycle or motorbike for another three months, they say.
Being trapped in the suburb makes you look at things in a different way. Walking similar routes between the coffee shop and my home, you see things from a different perspective. Life slows down, because you have the time, the time that seems so hard to come by these days. Time that, perhaps, could be limited a little for me. Not that I’m in imminent danger of shuffling off, but the hint of a few years shaved off by a potential recurrence or a malignant reminder of the radiation experienced on the trip. I worked out that this journey has zapped me with over 50 milliseiverts of radiation, plus another 10msv from tests I have had in the past. This is equivalent to 25 years of normal background radiation or 60,000 hand or feet X-rays, and that’s not even considering any potential radiotherapy in the new year… It is enough of a risk to make you think about things differently. Add in a couple of dead parents who didn’t make retirement age, and you begin to see why I spend less time at work, and more time at home.
Normally one would drive these streets, concentrating on the road, finer details imperceptible to the masses. I have joined another group. The trapped. Too young to drive, too old to drive, too sick to drive, all well enough to be out and about, but not yet in possession of the required skill set to drive around. I know where the dead, dried, shrivelled cane toads are. I passed four this morning. I saw a lizard the size of a small dog climb a tree. A couple of black parrots. A possum carrying a baby crossed my path the other day. I hope to see the other creatures sharing my neighbourhood, a koala, sweet, soft and sympathetic to my urinary troubles. A significant proportion of the koalas have chlamydia, and consequently, are probably experiencing the same issues as me. Maybe even a brown snake. Number two on the worlds most deadly. Good to see from a distance. I’ve never seen one, but the local FB pages are forever submitting sightings with photo evidence that they are there in our back gardens and walking tracks. I’m yet to see a kangaroo in my suburb, but they are also out there, on the Fringe, telling bad jokes. Sorry, wrong fringe. Back to the parrots. Black parrots with yellow tails, in my opinion, are bastards. I was wowed to see not one, but two sitting in a tree casually dining on tree nuts of some description, and as I stopped and stared and took out my phone to photograph the majestic creatures, they, both, not one, jumped off their perches and flew directly at me screeching at carrying on like I’d just fried up their eggs in a butty. I pissed my pants. The fuckers. Thank god for Depends or Tena, who saved my shorts from the warm, wet, wazzy patch, the embarrassing badge of the incontinent. It wasn’t a full piss, but hey, they caught me out. First a horse made me shit my jodhpurs, and now two parrots made me piss my pants. I didn’t tell wifey, for obvious reasons. Only the lord knows what will happen should I encounter the local brown snake. A pissing, snotting, vomiting, shitting, orgasmic cock farting frenzy probably. I’ll let you know.
I know which people are away, their blinds haven’t moved and their bins are still out. I shove their mail completely in the letter box for them as I pass. I know which dogs come on like a security light as I approach, and the sounds of the dog alarms. Yip yip, throaty bark, squeaky whine or even malignant howling snarl. The sound of doom. A horrible werewolfy death to anyone who should climb the fence, and encroach on the territory. I see the detritus and destruction left by the teenagers. Desecration even. Hell bent on destroying the only things there to entertain them, the parks and the skate ramp. A problem the world over. Maybe the brown snake should appear then. Karma in action. I see the colours of nature. Australia sometimes has a reputation for being barren and empty. The umber, ochre and orange of the red centre offers one perspective, the fertile coasts a different one. The vivid red and green of the flame trees, the lilac of the jacaranda, mixed with the various greens and silvers of the majority, really is worth taking a few moments of your day to behold. You might even see a koala. It’s a shame that it took a dose of cancer and an enforced rest to generate a realignment in perspective.
Thanks for sharing my journey, and listening to my ramble, I hope it made you think for a second. For the English folks reading, I miss so much the bright blue winter skies when the sun shines and the air is just above freeing. I hope you get one soon.
Moving on, let’s talk about viagra. I think I have mentioned that viagra encourages the blood to flow to your parts, thus facilitating better exchange of the good and bad stuff, and helping the nerves get back to work. I picked up my prescription for viagra. Now as a cancer sufferer, one would consider that this is an integral component of a mans recovery. Not so, according to the decision makers in the Australian government. Male sexual disfunction, and body image is not deemed important enough to be subsidised by the medication board, resulting in viagra being dispensed via private prescription, and hence full price, only. Even for people using it to heal following cancer. I can’t help but a feel an element of unfairness. Remember the biopsy? A rectal biopsy carried a 1% or so chance of a life threatening sepsis and was considered archaic and barbaric by the doctors who do them, but is considered the norm, despite another simpler and safer procedure being available, but just not funded in every hospital. The time between my biopsy and the referral was 15 months, then a months wait for results. Wifey booked a mammogram the next day after ringing, and was given her results the next week. I haven’t even got an appointment yet to discuss my pathology, from my proven cancer that was removed three weeks ago, and am told not to expect one for another 6 weeks. Breast reconstruction following mastectomy is covered by Medicare, but not a penile implant. I understand that there are considerable differences here, but hey, I’m just putting it out there, that there is an argument to suggest that women have been so successful at campaigning, that awareness has reached fantastic levels and reaped rewards, whereas men’s health seems to be lagging behind somewhat. Because we don’t do it as well as a gender.
Consider this poll:
Your partner has had the misfortune of a prostatectomy for cancer,
Afterwards, would you rather try to continue what is left of your sex life with:
A) a hard cock, and aim to get things as close to how it was before surgery
B) a soft cock that you have to literally fold up and try to stuff in your choice of hole, followed by the remote hope it might firm up a bit whilst going at it, and won’t sprinkle piss like a colander.
Imagine the consequential loss of esteem, body image and the very essence of your gender. Consider the potential knock on of that. Depression, anger, relationship breakdown, families split, loss of employment, substance abuse, even suicide. Seems very shortsighted. Governments are short sighted generally though. Why create future success, only to have the credit taken by whomever is in government at the time? Only the financially comfortable can have intercourse in Australia following surgery.
It was nice to see UK football managers wearing the little man badge recently (prostate cancer UK). Good on Frank Lampard, and Derby County, the team I have supported for 40 years, choosing to associate with prostate cancer UK this season. We should talk about men’s health more. We need to catch up with the women. Yes apparently, men can earn more, but hey, we’re going to die out soon unless we are more proactive with our health. Help me show people that you can go through this process with a smile on your face, and have a laugh whilst doing it. Some of it is scary, but all up, it’s not that bad. I had a lovely email from a bloke named Jim yesterday, who happened to stumble across the blog. He was in a similar position 5 years ago, and enjoyed a wet weather read of the entries, being able to reminisce and compare his experiences. Fantastic. I really appreciate the contact. It’s Movember. Thanks to my friend Rob back in the UK, inspired enough to be growing a mo, although he is about seven feet tall and his wife, the petite little kitten that she is, won’t even be able to see it unless she stands on a box. Maybe two boxes.
Share my blog. Post it on your Facebook, hopefully to entertain a little, but it might just spur a few more into action. Get checked. It’s only a finger up the bum and a little prick, and after all, and that sounds quite enticing……
Let’s stop us dying young.