Tag Archives: urology

All Went Well

Well, that was easy.

I arrived in plenty of time, sat down, opened my book and was called through before I’d had time to read the first page.

Of course, they didn’t want me, they just wanted to move me to the next waiting area. This was crammed with men of a certain age, mostly with a slightly haunted air. This was due, I found out, to the next instruction.

“We’re going to do a flow test today, so I need to ask you to have five or six glasses of water.”

She pointed to the water fountain and left me to it. The slightly haunted air of my fellow drinkers was now explained. Take a man with a dodgy bladder, fill him with water, and it’s not exactly a recipe for comfort and jollity.

I was able to read plenty more of my book, though I wasn’t exactly able to concentrate as the water worked its way through.

Eventually, as I was beginning to feel a touch urgent, I was called through by the consultant.

All is good.

He turned out, despite his formidable qualifications and reputation, to be a warm and charming man with a sense of humour. This is not, as I have discovered over the years, always true of consultants.

He discharged me, told me to see the GP about the disturbed nights, thanked me for my patience and shook my hand.

I shook back then made off in search of a toilet. I may have avoided the flow test, but I still had six glasses of water to unload…

 

 

 

 

In Just Under an Hour

In just under an hour I will be in hospital being prodded and questioned.

I’ve run through it all in my head and hope I have enough answers ready to avoid them following up with more pills or tests. I already rattle when I walk too fast and am still having dreams of long corridors from my last three month session of intensive prodding.

Recently, I have started daydreaming about hospital food. I’m wondering if it may be a form of Stockholm Syndrome. I do hope not, because spending more time in hospital would definitely be the wrong treatment…

When I was in hospital twelve years ago the procedure which now takes a day and a half used to take three or four. It was much more restful and they used to take the catheter out before sending you home.

There are advantages to the new industrial system – probably more people seen, and definitely less chance of becoming ill from something you pick up in hospital.

There’s another thing I noticed – when I was in for three days I was glad to get out.When I was in for four days I was resentful at being sent home on Irish Stew day. I’d been looking forward to that stew.

Ah well, time to go.

Wish me luck.

 

A Quiet Lunch

 

I aimed for a relaxing day today as part of my long term strategy of being nice and relaxed when I pass through the doors of the Urology Centre tomorrow morning.

With this in mind I first went to pick up my prescription from the surgery, then went to the pharmacy (popped into the jeweller whilst waiting), got a phone call to collect Julia and then went to lunch.

It should have been easy, but as usual the day was full of irritation. First, I had a note from the doctor telling me I couldn’t have two sets of pills as records showed I had plenty of them. That was irritating because I had not ordered those pills. You really have to ask about their computerised system…

If I die unexpectedly check my prescriptions!

Parking the car, I found that to get my two hours of free parking I had to walk the length of the car park to get collect the ticket and then walk the length of the car park to put the ticket in the car. Then… well you get the picture. It was a lot of walking with a sore ankle.

Would it be difficult to put the machine in the middle of the car park?

There were several irritating customers in the pharmacy, including one who took advantage of my slow progress to overtake me and then launch into a complicated question. I’m actually immune to this sort of thing now, having experienced it so often, so no problem there.

Lunch was Harvester again, because it was the weather for salad and if I’m to eat salad  it might as well be free of charge. Salad is going to be in short supply over the next two days.

If it seems like we’re spending recklessly on meals out, we probably are, but fun is going to be in short supply over the next few days, so why not?

The only problem was one of the other diners. As he walked past with his family (we were overtaken again!) he plunged his hand down the front of his tracksuit trousers and had a good scratch. I’m not a great one for etiquette but working on the basis of a time and a place for everything, that was neither the time nor the place.

As I said to Julia: “Let’s make sure we get to the salad bar before that bloke.”

Well, you wouldn’t want to handle the serving spoons after he’d been touching them would you?

 

 

The Final Countdown

It’s 9.40 am. I’ve already had my first hospital trip of the week and my time is now my own until 7.30 am on Thursday. At that point (fingers crossed) I should enter the final phase of the operation that has now lasted six weeks. Based on previous experience and the scanty information I was given at the beginning I was expecting it to be over in 3 days. Yes, what an idiot I was.

It is now three days until the operation and seven more before the catheter comes out. I am counting…

Although I’ve tended to concentrate on the urological side of things, as there are ready made elements of pathos and low comedy in that, I’m also been investigated for a range of other problems, all identified on my visit in December.

Take the Great Warfarin Farce as an example. I asked for the tests to be left until I’d finished with the operations but the doctor insisted. It involves visiting a hospital on the other side of town twice a week and eating rat poison. They may call it Warfarin and pretend not to know it has another use but I’ve fed bucketfuls of the stuff to rats over the years. It was first sold as a rat poison in 1948 and as a medicine in 1954. I leave you to draw your own conclusions

I went for my first appointment and I got off to a bad start with the nurse by enquiring why I had to give the same information every time I visited and why they couldn’t store it from visit to visit. She didn’t like that.  To be fair, she probably hears it a lot.

Things worsened when I told her I couldn’t make the next date for testing as I would be in hospital. Basically she called me a liar, and supported this by calling up a copy of my discharge letter to prove it said nothing about part two of the operation.

I suppose she thought I just wore the urinary catheter for fun.

“That,” I said, “is the discharge letter from the emergency admission last week. You need the one from 10th April.”

“Ah!,” she said, “I see.”

However, the operation didn’t happen and I had to stop the Warfarin five days before the next operation. That meant I was on Warfarin for five days.

I’ll cut to the chase – on my last test the nurse, a more practical and cheery individual than the first one – said: “I don’t even know why they started you on Warfarin until after the operation.”

So, I’m off Warfarin at the moment, though Julia has intimated she’s at a point where, if I don’t stop whining about the NHS, she’ll be happy to feed it to me, whatever the nurse may say.

Resting, Reading and Recuperating

One of the horrors of old age that I have observed is that at a certain stage people stop reading. My father, despite everything, is still hanging in there. He’s never been a massive reader but he’s always done crosswords and puzzles and, although they may be getting simpler, he’s still doing them. This, I feel, is a good thing.

Ever since I had tonsillitis. in around 1964, and my mother suggested reading as a hobby, I have been a lost cause. She bought me a copy of Biggles of The Special Air Police and the rest is history.

I still have the book – it’s within feet of me as we speak. Sometimes I wonder what would have happened if she’d bought Jane Eyre, as she later did. Would I have grown into a sophisticated professor of English Literature? Or would I have given up reading? I suspect the latter. Having been persuaded to read several classics in my early reading career I then gave them up until recently when I thought I should give them another try.

It didn’t really work out well. You may have seen my comments on this previously – that Don Quixote would be much better if it was half as long and had a murder on the first page, preferably Don Quixote himself. My feeling on a number of other classics is similar.

The nearest I’ve been to a classic in the last twelve months is  John Buchan. I’ve managed The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle, Mr Standfast and The Three Hostages but I’m having a rest for now. There comes a time when casual racism wears a bit thin, even if it is authentic contemporary racism.

I moved on to Dr Thorndyke but after four of them I started searching around for some variety. Having read a book on Q Ships I’m now on Nature Cure by Richard Mabey.  Clare Pooley recommended it to me when I came out of hospital. I broke one of my normal rules and paid £4.99 for a Kindle edition, but it’s been worthwhile.

Clearly the man is marching to a different drummer, even when he isn’t suffering from depression, but it’s a relaxing and informative read. I looked forward to his account of male urology, as this is one of the points where our lives converge. He likens it to a mythical linking of his internal water with the water of the Fens. That’s why he’s known as an elegant and spiritual writer.

I have never thought of it as mystical in any of my three stays in Male Urology, I just use it as a source of broad humour. My internal water is linked to the water in my kettle.

That’s why I’m not known as an elegant and spiritual writer.

Finally,  moving back to the point. It’s surprising how much energy it takes to read and concentrate. I struggled in the days after leaving hospital, and I’m still not fully back in the swing of things. With the sort of time I’ve had on my hands recently I should have seen Nature Cure off in short order, probably in a day. It’s only 240 pages in the paper edition, which is not a long book.

I didn’t have the energy to start it for a couple of days and I’ve been doing a section each day. I still have a bit left, though to be honest I’m now able to read faster and I’m just trying to prolong the pleasure of reading.  I’m doing puzzles now and looking at the web, though still not up to full speed.

Has anybody else noticed that reading can be such an effort? Or am I just getting old?

 

 

A Tale of Tubes and Tears

The last few days have not been great, though due to the magic of blogging you won’t know that. When you’ve been reading about the trip to Wales I’ve actually been in hospital in Nottingham. On balance, despite the unpleasantness of a stay in male urology, I prefer Nottingham. There were no Kites, and no bilingual road signs, but the food was better and there was no problem with finding a toilet when you wanted one.

However, as a consequence of the operation and the bad night that followed I’m feeling subdued and tired, so I’m taking the easy way out and talking of hospital rather than Wales.

I quite enjoyed the first part of the visit, though I really don’t like spinal anaesthetics – being stabbed in the backbone isn’t my favourite procedure and I’m not fond of anything that involves putting my feet in stirrups whilst men with beards mess around with urological equipment.

The operation was OK, and being awake allowed me to watch what was happening and talk to people. The recovery room was also quite fun, and the nurses on the ward were very cheery. I even arrived on the ward in time for lunch (fish and chips followed by apple pie and custard).

They even, to look on the bright side, fitted me up with a personal toilet system. It has taken care of the problems I had with passing water, and it means that I can no longer be caught short as I have all I need strapped to my leg.

I was horrified at first when they told me I was going to have a catheter for 6 weeks, partly because it’s the sort of thing that only happens to old men, and partly because I was hoping to have everything fixed up in one go. It seems they want me back in six weeks to tidy things up and remove some stones from my bladder. Typical NHS, you go in for help with one problem and come out with another.

Tea (served at 5pm) was tomato soup followed by  leek, chicken and ham casserole with mixed veg. I had the tinned fruit for dessert to try and increase my intake of fruit and veg. You don’t really get enough fruit and veg in hospital, which is strange (a) because it’s healthy and (b) because nurses are obsessed with asking about bowels.

The food was excellent, far better than when I was in 12 years ago. It was hot for one thing, which wasn’t always the case last time.

I could do a post on hospital food, and may well do that later. I won’t, however, dwell too much on catheters. I can be quite amusing on the subject, but it’s really more suited to the rugby club crowd rather than the sophisticated readership of WordPress.

No pictures today – there wasn’t much that was suitable to photograph.

The Titles That Never Were

I just loaded this by accident, which shows what sort of trouble you can get into when you’re blogging. It’s ironic, since the post is partly about the trouble I could get into from Julia if I posted some of these unsuitable drafts. Fortunately it was ready to go, though it was intended for Tuesday morning.

If I tell you I still have posts about Free Range Rats and Hitler and Birdwatching in the pipeline you’ll get some idea of where I draw the line.

Julia draws it in a slightly different place. Which is why you won’t be seeing the following posts.

Nursery Crime: I was saving that for a blog about horrible young visitors to the Ecocentre, but as we were ejected from the centre and no longer deal with schools I don’t think I’ll be needing it. It’s a shame, but it didn’t take much creative effort to adopt a Genesis song title.

My Life and Times in the Urology Ward: It starts when I walk into the wrong clinic – mistaking  genitourinary and urology. Easy mistake if you don’t have medical training. As a general rule, a room filled with middle-aged men looking embarrassed is urology. A room filled with youngish people of both sexes looking shifty is genitourinary. After that, the tone of the piece goes downhill.

Cheap Toilet Rolls – The Curse of Modern Society: Julia has vetoed this one. I’ve edited it several times to make it more socially acceptable but she remains intransigent. To aficionados of  toilet humour this will surely rank alongside Shakespeare’s Cardenio, Love’s Labour Won or the musical version of Macbeth as a lost gem. Oh yes, there (probably) was one. Thomas Middleton is thought to have edited it in 1615 to allow more time for musical interludes, because nothing says tragedy like a musical interlude.