#amazeballs – Never Mind The Bo##ocks

It’s a year since I had all that unfortunate business in the ‘downstairs department.’

Originally, I went for a check up to distract me from waiting around for heart surgery. ‘It’ll re-assure me’, I thought, after thinking ‘it doesn’t quite feel right’ for a while, although I already knew I had a torte (undescended testicle) and that seemed OK. I’d been reassured several times I was still fertile and could have children (leaving me feeling weirdly, and rampantly, heterosexual).
The Doctor – a young and very polite trainee – was terribly, terribly embarrassed by the whole thing. I’d gone with a list of things including repeat prescriptions, request for flu jab, and finaly thecheck up. Clearly, doctors need to feel another man’s genitalia a lot more than they do in training.He waited until the very end of the consulation befoe donning blue latex gloves ‘for that other thing you mentioned’ and asked me if I wanted a chaperone, which sounded quite glamorous. He fiddled around for a while and then went out of the room and came back with a more experienced colleague who introduced himself with his hands round my nuts saying ‘this is an unusual way for me to introduce myself’. ‘Not for me’, I nearly quipped. He then asked if I could get an erection. ‘What, right now?!’ I thought before letting him know that I had no problems performing thank you very much. They sent me for an ultrasound’ ‘just to be sure’.
The appointment came for the day I wa due to be ‘ringholder’ for a friend’s wedding vows renewal. They cover you in KY jellyfor the ultrasound, so I figured someone could be in for a fun night later. We know what straight men are like at weddings.

Eventually I was given an emergency appointment with my GP – which I knew was a bad omen as you can never get an appointment that quick usually. He told me that to expect things like this ands the heart surgery ‘at my age’ but that everything gets better when you’re in your fifties. At one point he paused the consultation as another patient wanted to know if they’d left their bag in his room. He shook my hand, wished me luck, and told me he hadn’t had any of his patients die from this. Which was comforting.

I was offered surgery pretty quickly, and as the Macmillan nurse felt my crown jewels, I learned she knew my mother – formerly also a Macmillan Nurse. Not the most comfortable of conversations to have whilst undergoing that sort of exam. ‘We never did physical examinations’ my mother told me later, leaving me unsure if I’d been molested or not. They mark which testicle to lop off with a big blue pen, and asked several times ‘which one?’ Fortunately, I kept giving the same answer, and did the marking myself, commenting the right one was always my least favourite anyway. I was offered a ‘replacement’ but, disappointingly, that didn’t include my request for a glitterball (bit or razmatazz, I thought) or even a dongle – ‘That could be really useful, I thought, like you do when you see a pineapple corer or other kitchen item you know you’ll never use. Like my pasta making machine.

The oncologist offered me a single course of chemotherapy to reduce the (slim) chance of a recurrence. That wasn’t pleasant, but I’m glad I did it, even if I ended up like a pin cushion following the pre-treatment blood tests they carry out (I counted 20 injection points where they tried to get blood from). My brother accompanied me, and fainted in the corridor.

I was in and out of hospital within a day, and told friends I was walking lop-sided after the operation. The outlook for this thing is very good, apparently, apart from the annual facial horrors of the well-meaning fun ‘charity fundraisier’ Movember, where guys can show support for testicular and prostate cancer by wearing the most ludicrous and terrifying facial hair furniture. Why not just grab a mate’s gonads for a good feel and check-up instead? At the hospital today, I saw a man attempting suicide, trying to jump from the top of the car park. He was by the entrance where I left after the surgery – ironically, next to the ‘mother and baby’ ward. He was prevented from jumping by 3 or 4 burly, but caring, security guards and paramedics. Just another reminder of how difficult, painful and fragile life really is.

For more information, try:
www.everyman-campaign.org

Macmillan Cancer Support

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ooo matron, it was just a little stroke

Last week, I was dribbling with a droopy face (according to my mother). Not the sort of thing you want to hear from family on a Sunday morning, and definitely not the look you want. So an ambulance was called, and another day spent in hospital. Fortunately, all the test proved fine. I had a scan (it was like putting your head in a washing machine), which managed to find a brain but nothing sinister.The fear that it might have been a stroke proved groundless, and they also didn’t think it was Bell’s Palsy as there was no sign of infection in my urine sample. The nurse was a bit shocked when I  handed her the sample (in what amounted to a cardboard egg box)  and said ‘It tastes fine!’ Last Monday I had a follow-up appointment at the Transient Ischaemic Attack clinic – and more tests – of course, blood tests (the blood didn’t stop flowing so I left the cubicle looking like something out of a Tarantino movie,  dripping a trail of bloodfrom my arm onto the floor They gave me a neck a neck scan (‘the type of scan you have if you’re pregnant’,the doctor explained, although I was pretty sure that wasn’t the problem and did wonder why they’d scan your neck to see if you’re pregnant anyway)- ‘You have a very good neck,’ said the Doctor. ‘Thank you, it’s one of my best features’ I replied. So, apparently everything is OK, and it’s just One Of Those Things. Which isn’t actually very reassuring as all I heard the Doctor say when he explained it was ‘BLAH BLAH BLAH TIA Stroke BLAH BLAH BLAH arterioscleosis BLAH BLAH BLAH happen any time.’Apparently, my translation isn’t so accurate as he was  explaining there’s nothing to worry about.However, I’m extraordinarily gifted in always being able to find something.

Especially asI wasn’t even aware of anything happening. And he observed that my face was definitely dropping on the left hand side.  I just happen have an asymmetrical face and even when normal look like someone who’s had a stroke. Charming! I feel like Dali’s melting timepiece, The Man In The Iron Mask or Karfel from the Doctor Who episode – Timelash. I just paperto to  find a paper bag to put over my head, or a sinister mask.  Can I get a   SCREAM mask on the NHS? I’d love to see the faces as I walk into hospital wearing that.

In the meantime, I’m on a gym rehab programme. I’m sure it’s not right to have the background music for recovering heart surgery patients to be Queen’s Killer Queen, It seems to give out the wrong message, although all I said to the physiotherapist standing over me with a whip and a taser to make me work HARDER, HARDER, was ‘It’s a bit 70’s, isn’t it?’ He was humming along quite happiy. It shouldn’t bother me as I bring my own ipod, although I always dread what’s going to come on my shuffle,as I either tend to mince along to the handbag anthems, or start singing out loud without realising it. I’ll let you know how a bunch of OAPS react to me belting out ‘I was a Male Stripper In a Go-Go Bar…’

I’m now hoping to stay out of hospital for at least a couple of days. And looking to Work That Body at my next gym session. Apparently, it’s likely to involve weights. I hope nothing else will start drooping as a result. Otherwise I’ll need an enormous paper bag, and possibly a onesie.