The Karma Strain: Part 1 of ‘Invasive Medicine: An Adventure in Hospitalization’

[Originally posted at my WordPress blog – Geeky Music Listener Boy – on December 19, 2008 at 1:47 pm]

Pissing blood is never a good sign.

I can confirm this. It’s (sort of) what my mom keeps repeating to me every time I discuss events from last week. Last week, when I woke up and found that I could pull off ‘water into wine’ more magically than the messiah himself. Of course, I wouldn’t recommend you drink either my water or my wine, since the water was bodily waste and the wine was bodily waste tinged with a fair amount of blood. Much to my personal satisfaction (as a new found messiah), I also found that my semen looked like the white of a cracked egg, minus the white, except tinged with more of my own personal ‘wine’. I was like a walking advertisement for why men should have regular prostate exams (minus an appearance by the Autobots), and I figured that something should be done.

My mom’s a doctor. A psychiatrist, sure, but still someone who’s studied medicine and has an opinion on any problems with my physiology. A couple months ago I was coughing like a maniac – probably had something to do with the fact that I’d started smoking again after quitting, but she didn’t (and still doesn’t) know this – and she immediately believed I’d contracted TB. Interesting how her motherly concern interferes with her sharpened ‘doctor senses’, honed (we hope) over the last 30+ years of “doctoring”. Anyway, at the point where I was leaking blood from places I shouldn’t necessarily be leaking blood from, I felt like God had been the one doctoring my personal space, and my body. This was like a faded red warning light to remind me I was a bad boy. Karma in your urine, folks. And your semen. Not pretty. I got an appointment with a urologist – the same one who’d been involved in performing a prostate operation on my father last year – and I made my way over to him. I suppose my parents found it appropriate that they’d sent me to a Muslim urologist. I didn’t, but I had little say in who I went to see. What was my major problem with a Muslim urologist? Well, it just comes down to me not being very good at religion. I know the information, I’ve processed it all as logically as one can, and I’ve come up with philosophy fighting religion like Mortal Kombat on Ice. Trepidation does not sum up me having to deal with a guy who would probably judge me more than the average doctor, simply based on my religious background.

Oh well…

I had to remove my clothing and pull on one of those hospital gowns. They’re ridiculous items. I know you normally wear them so that the back is the open side, but I decided I’d double-check with my doctor anyway. This was after he’d already done a brief interview with me and asked questions about recent injuries, jokingly (he thought) asking if I’d been “kicked in the nuts” lately. What a winner, huh? His name, by the way, is Doctor Barmania. It’s a different kind of name, but I don’t suppose it’s any coincidence that “Bar” and “Mania” are in there. I was thinking that maybe my bar-hopping and manic existence might account for the blood in my piss. It’s been almost a week and I still don’t know if that’s the truth, but it still strikes me as a solid theory. So Doctor Barmania tells me I can put on the hospital gown either way, and I chose to go with the open front. I got to keep my underwear on, of course, though that only lasted a couple minutes before Doctor Barmania began his examination. I’ve got very little issue with a man wearing rubber gloves feeling up my penis and balls. It didn’t hurt. It wasn’t particularly uncomfortable. It just seemed necessary. I felt fine throughout the whole early half of the exam. Even when he squeezed that familiar clear gel onto the end of the thing that looks like it can be used to scan bar codes, I was calm. He gave me the cursory warning of “This will be cold”, but I’d seen enough movies featuring pregnant women and ultrasounds to know that part already. It was chilled lubricant, but, like the guy groping my testicles and asking me if it hurt, I was fine with it. And I was tumor free in my kidneys, bladder and scrotum. Hooray. I was still fine with all this. It was the next part of the exam that unsettled me a bit more.

Do me a favor, anyone who’s reading this, and hold up one of your hands a few inches away from your face. Make a fist. Turn it so you have a neat lateral view of your own clenched fist, now extend your index finger. Now that you’re pointing, hook that index finger and wiggle it around. That’s the next part of the exam, except your hooked, wagging finger is in my asshole. Maybe it’s my lack of sexual experience, or the absence of a kinky partner, but the thought of a finger up my ass never aroused me. After the prostate exam (and especially during), my opinion hasn’t changed. I could tell, from the finger in my ass, how this may be something some people could dig, but I could also tell how maybe it wasn’t the best idea to use this moment to learn if I dug it or not. Barmania, still holding my ass cheeks apart with one hand, asked me, in all seriousness, if “this hurt or was just uncomfortable?” – I went with uncomfortable, for the sake of us understanding one another. After he was done I was allowed to put my clothes back on. Mmm. Much better. Though I felt weird walking, sitting or standing for the next little while.

The last part of my first day of real fear, I had to piss into a machine that would measure things like the rate at which I pee, and how long it takes me to start, etc. I admit, I’d had some water, so I had to go anyway. The machine looks like a little plastic bucket with a hole in the base. The hole is placed over a spinning black disc, so I felt like I was taking a leak on someone’s record collection. All the piss is funneled down into another little bucket, which I’m sure someone (probably the helpful 50-something “sister”) has the misfortune to have to empty on a regular basis. I wonder, now, how women have the same test done. Do they make them squat over the bucket while Kool & The Gang’s “Cherish” spins underneath them? I hope not, because there were some fossils present at Barmania’s shared medical suite, and I imagine squatting is even tougher when your osteoporosis is acting up. Either way, once I’d filled the cup (which I was repeatedly presented with by the ‘sister’, for some reason) they needed to run tests on my water, and I went to see the doctor again. He recommended that I come in the following day (last week Thursday) for an endoscope. Yes, he wanted to shove a camera on a tube up my penis and view me from the inside. I wasn’t enthused, but he persuaded me that it needed to be done, so I signed up and spent the rest of my afternoon walking down hallways looking for a woman named Joyce. She was the one who was going to handle the medical aid side of things, making a few calls to Profmed to find out if they’d cover me on this one (they did). She was off, but another woman – Portia – helped me. More on her later. Finally, my first day of learning what it was like to be a geriatric man was over.

But that’s just Part 1. In Part 2, I’ll go into even more unpleasant detail about my experiences at the hospital, my urine, semen, blood, and endoscopes. Fun!

[There never was a Part 2.]

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