Friday, April 4, 2008

Under the 'Scope

This is another blog entry about my plumbing. In fact, it now appears, that I'll probably have a whole reality TV series about my plumbing! Today, I had a cystoscopy, a camera session with the doc. Those urologists - what great equipment they have!

I had problems finding the office. It's just off a main road. The GPS guidance in the car got me close by, but also got me confused, and it took me a few extra minutes. Have you noticed how doctors' offices tend to be full of unhappy looking people? I feel bad about that. It's like going to the doctor is going to be an unpleasant experience, or something.

Nurse Number One escorts me to the dressing room, which is about the size of a broom closet. She spreads out a plastic sheet-like covering on the bench and says, "Take off all your clothes below your waist, but you can leave your socks on. Put on a gown, open in the back." She is a very cheerful, upbeat nurse. I'm thinking, I trust these people. I'm happy that I'm here.

I remove my shoes and jeans, stuff them, my jacket, and umbrella in the locker and read The Economist. Reading world news calms me, and I think the Economist's style is kind of classy. Nothing like sitting in a closet, half naked, reading about Heathrow Airport. The nurse knocks on the door, then leads me down the hall to the surgical suite.

Aw, very interesting. The suite has what looks like a nice Barcalounger-like chair, which I believe is properly called a "table." It's very comfy. Nurse Number Two begins her briefing. Her voice is calm and well-practiced. She, too, is exceedingly upbeat and is acting almost like I'm doing her a favor by being there. "I'm going to clean the area with a Betadine (iodine) solution. It will feel cold." Boy, did she get that right! "We aren't using any needles." I'm cool with that.

"I'm going to drape you. Please leave your hands on your chest. It is very important that you relax completely." I'm beginning to twitch. "I'm going to take this syringe, no needle, put an applicator on it, and SHOOT THIS NUMBING JELLY UP YOUR PENIS." I'm quite sure she didn't shout, that's just what my ears heard. "You may feel some stinging, and it might be unpleasant."

She's saying this with a very calm, happy voice. Then I remember, I'm the one who's getting jelly shot up his penis, not her. I do feel some stinging, and it's distinctly unpleasant. "Dr., you can come in."

My urologist greets me with a happy smile. He explains that he'll be threading a tube through my urethra so that he and insert a camera into my bladder. We're talking about serious photography here. In the process, he'll be irrigating my urethra with a serious amount of water. "You'll feel like it's wet, and it will feel strange." Well, he certainly got that sensation correctly. I felt like I was peeing on myself, but it's really the flow of water up my urethra into my bladder. Nature is sadly backwards.

The nurse told me how important it is to relax, but it's difficult not to tense up when you feel like you're peeing backwards. I feel small tremors in my thigh and groin, and I have to explicitly remind myself to relax. It stings, it's unpleasant, I feel wet where I don't like to feel wet. The doc backs away from the scope and says, "I'll talk with you in my office as soon as you're dressed."

Betadine solution is all over my crotch, making it look worse than it feels. Nurse Number One comes in and fetches me back to the broom closet. I change into my clothes then go see my urologist. It turns out that this is just the second act. I'll be back in a few weeks for a biopsy. It appears that I have some kind of growth in my prostate that needs to be checked out. The doctor told me that the burning during urination after a biopsy lasts about three weeks. I can hardly wait.