‘They Don’t Like It Up ‘Em’, or Carry On Behind – on medical cockadong bumming

dont like it up em tshirt

This morning is the start of my preparation for a colonoscopy – some sort of medical procedure where the doctor ‘introduces’ a camera into my lower bowel through, ahem, the ‘back entrance’. I’m not exactly relishing the thought, but am told it’s a routine procedure, not painful, and that I’m sedated throughout.
Earlier this week I also had a gastroscopy – tube down the throat – which was much less uncomfortable than I was expecting/experienced previously ten years ago in preparation for mitral valve surgery. It was over in the blink of an eye, and the only real side effect has been a bit of a sore throat afterwards.

So, for the last 10 days, in preparation I’ve stopped taking warfarin, and had to learn how to self-inject with clexane injections. It’s not great fun – I’m admiring injecting drug users who can find a new site for their injection every time. perhaps I just don’t have enough skin around my ‘love handles’, or am too conscious of not going too near my remaining scars from the heart surgery, or just a little nancy about sticking myself with a needle. But I’ve managed for over a week, and only pricked my finger once. This Beauty isn’t sleeping yet…

And, a little too late, I found out I needed to stop my iron tablets. Which caused a bit of a furore and a kerfuffle, as they needed to be stopped a full week before they go in. So, procedures were hastily rearranged and I no longer needed to take a day off work because of the dreaded ‘Evacuation’.

We’re two days and counting now, which means starting a ‘low fibre’ diet. Not full of choice for vegetarians, as it means nto eating any fruit or vegetables for 2 days. I’m having to be a little broadminded with my menus.

So – breakfast is fine. Toast (white bread) and even marmalade is OK. With a cup of tea, it’s practically my usual routine.

And lunch after the gym allowed for poached eggs on toast. Not too much of an ordeal so far. I could even have some chocolate with my tea and – if I wanted, and had some – madeira cake. Mmmm … cake ….

‘Evacuation’ Day

The day before the bumming procedure is a ‘fluid only’ day, although I was allowed a breakfast of (slightly burnt) croissants and tea, preceded by my clanex injection.

At ten o’clock, we start the ‘Evacuation’ process with 5 senna tablets, which I thought was just the butt (ahem) of many a Round The Horne innuendo and double entendre (‘Second meaning? I don;t think it had a first, duckie’ as the inimitable Kenneth Williams might say).

From now on, fluids and loo stops only ….

At 2:00 pm I have the intriguingly entitled ‘picolax’ drink mixed with water (is it an animation studio, or a musical instrument?) – with the warning that ‘it might get hot’. I also want it to bubble and form smoke, like a proper Jekyll & Hyde potion ….

The climax of the day – as it were – came at 6:00pm with a combination of two sachets of ‘moviprep’ (which sounds as if it should be a bag of popcorn for you to take to the cinema, but is a rather bitter tasting litre preparation of essential flid, minerals and electrolytes which can otherwise be lost through the evacuation process.

This is the point at which the bottom fell out of my world, and my Netflix programming went on permanent pause to allow me to dash in and out of the smallest room, and to test the power of my Blue Loo cistern insert.

As the say in one of my favourite films, Bridesmaids, ‘it’s coming out of me like lava’. Unlike the infamous scene from that film, I didn’t shit myself in the middle of the traffic wearing a white bridal gown. There’s always someone else worse off than you. And I didn’t shit the bed, which was nice.

It was, however, pretty exhausting, and I wish I’d read the instructions about using a topical barrier cream to protect the Ring Of Fire before starting the Evacuation process. Mother, bless her, had left a whole tub of KY petroleum jelly on the bathtub, which I was a little forward of her, but which now seems to have been her been thoughtful about my bumming the next day. It domes to something when your mother knows more about anal penetration that you do.

So the day arrives, and I’m really hungry, thirsty but don;t want to drink too much fluid in case I accidentally fart and ‘follow through’ with more lava – if there’s any of it left!

All goes well, and  I deliberately wear my Dad’s Army ‘They Don’t Like It Up Em’ t-shirt just to inject a little light entertainment into the proceedings. My nurse offers me sedation, which I almost immediately accept until I quip ‘It depends what the Doctor looks like’, in the hope that in the middle of the procedure some handsome medic will look at my backside and think ‘Nice butt, must remember to ask his number afterwards.’ Although I’m sure the doctors probably score our butts in that psycho gallows humour way that all medics do. For the record, mine is a 10/10.

‘Good luck with that’, the nure quips back, looking at the doctor’s name on my records.

It’s an age in the waiting room, and the poor guy called in next is hiding in the toilet when his names is called out. I spend the time listening to my ipod on shuffle, which ranges from ‘Round The Horne’ to The Sex Pistols in the random way that I like.

Eveentuallt, I’m called in, swishing in my hospital gowns (one being used as a cape – I kid you not!) and back flap shorts and Dad’s Army T-shirt, carrying a drab grey hospital propety bag with street drag and my ipod in.

Carry On Behind

Carry On Behind

The nurse is right. My Doctor’s nice, but I’m glad it’s a medical cockadong he’s inserting into my rectum and not the throbbing gristle that I’d welcome from some Hollywood hunk. I do, however, like the fact that he likens the giving of the anaesthetic to a shot of gin and tonic, and also decline his offer to watch the whole procedure on the television screen. ‘Is it being broadcast on the internet?’ I ask, a little nervous after all the publicity about revenge porn lately.

I don’t notice him enter, and it’s all over before I know what’s happened. Not unlike previous intimate encounters of a less medical bent. And at last this time, I get a tea and biscuit and a recovery room afterwards (jemmy ddgers, bourbons AND digestives – so a few packs make their way into my dreary grey hospital property bag.

It’s over. I walk out like a cowboy from my erotic novel Hot On The Traila little weary and saddle-sore – but the results are good, and my butt isn’t full of nasty surprises. Mind you, there are a few tricks I could have taught him ….

It’s been an adventure, and in future I hope the only thing going near my perky butt in future is a young man’s big cock, without a camera attached …. call me old fashioned, but I love the smell of latex in the morning.

 

 

 

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On why I’d really suck as a vampire …

vampire kit 14

I’d make a really rubbish vampire. Not because I’m particularly squeamish, or because I’m not actually hundreds of years old, living by night and afraid of crumbling to dust in the daytime. Or because I don’t have fangs. Just because I can’t quite get a hold on all that blood taking business.

Some time ago, I blogged about warfarin home testing in It’s only a little prick, sir…! and the frustrations I was experiencing in getting my GP to accept NHS prescriptions for a home testing kit. The good news is that after contacting my Clinical Commissioning Group, I was able to clarify that test strips for the machine are available on NHS prescription, as long as I have completed a ‘training’ on use of the machine and able to provide the Doctor with evidence. The good news is that I’ve completed the training. It lasts all of 20 minutes and is actually  me just doing the Haematology Nurse’s job for her – ie, taking my own blood through a fingerprick lancet device to test my INR to gauage how much warfarin I need. They train for years, of course, and I got 20 minutes. Which is how I know I’m not a natural vampire – I don’t have a knack for collecting blood. Since the training, I haven’t been able to get a single result at home, having now used up all the test strips I had.

It seems simple enough, especially if  you’re as butch as I am and don’t get squeamish about blood. You insert a lancet into the fingerprick device, prime it, stick a test strip into the meter, warm it, up and then dangle your arm to get blood flowing to the tips of your fingers. A gentle massage of your finger and then you have to whack in the lancet (without screaming) to prick the finger (quick, mind, as you only get 15 seconds  before the blood starts clotting) and then you squeeeeze the blood onto the test strip for a count of two. If successful, the machine beeps loudly  and hey-ho you get all sorts of wonderful magic test results. I haven’t managed this at all yet, and just spent an evening swearing and sticking plasters on finger after finger after finger until I ran out of test strips to play with. It looked like something out of Saw by the end of the evening.

I ended up having to go to hospital to get properly trained nurses  to draw blood out of me and do another test. Since then, I had a message  from the GP about my ‘test strips’. I rang back, armed with all the info from I’d got from the CCG, anticipating a battle  over the prescription again. They were just letting me know the prescription was ready – including a sharps box (I’ve always wanted a sharps box, it makes me feel like I’m in an episode of Casualty.) So, I’m going to have to try again.

Unless you’re a vampire, or a murderer, or a trained nurse/heath professional, it is actually quite hard to draw your own blood without making a complete and utter hash of it so that you either fail to get anything at all, or you end up spewing out blood like some crimson geyser. When I had blood tests before my chemoptherapy treatment for testicular cancer, someone accompanying me fainted and had to be looked after by the nursing staff. Guys, aparently, are much more likely to faint around blood than women, which is why they make you sit dwn when they take any. I have never fainted, dear reader, for I am a man’s man.

Vampires are a favourite for erotica stories, and series like Vampire Diaries and films like The Twilight Saga, contribute to an increasing popularity of their mythic status. I’ve always found vampires faintly ridiculous and don’t quite understand the fascination. I wrote a vampire strory, ‘The Ward’, for a collection of vampire erotica Blood Lust, and which is included in my own anthology A Happy Finish. It’s a modern take on vampires, and was based on my experience of heart surgery. You wouldn’t believe the amount of blood they take from you after surgery ! Well, it has to go somewhere …

I need to hone my vampiric nature as I’m not giving up on the home-testing. I’ve booked a long weeekend in Transylvania in the hope that on a dark night, on a lonely country road leading to a moonlit gothic castle, some handsome Eastern European aristocrat might seduce me with his vampiric charm…. MWAHAHAHA.

links:

ACSMA is the Anti-Coagulation Self-Monitoring Alliance and campaigns to support self-testing, and for home slef testing to be provided on he NHS. It lists the benefits for individuals and theNHS on its website, and suggests how you might help.

It’s only a little prick, sir …!

One of the side effects of heart surgery and having a loud, mechanical valve thumping away in your chest,  is having to become a long term user of rat poison/warfarin. As I’ve written before, it deprives me terribly of cranberry juice,  and  leaves me a ‘responsible’ drinker (with my reputation!). The medication is aimed at preventing nasty blood clots, thinning my blood to an INR range (no idea what it means) of 2-3. According to my dentist, they are now looking to replace warfarin but all alternative treatments are ‘too expensive’. It needs regular monitoring, which has meant frequent and inconvenient trips to the hospital. The Haematology Unit there is able to conduct a short fingerprick test, which is less painful and less complicated than a full blood test which becomes necessary if you opt to go anywhere else. I’ve had so many blood tests recently, my veins have become quite difficult to access and the warfarin itself means I bleed like a stuck pig. Dignity, always dignity.

So it seemed like a great idea when the haematology nurse suggested ‘investing’ in a home test fingerprint kit. No more hospital visits. No more needles. Much as I loathe the notion of an NHS becoming privatised – which is what a scheme such as thiscould become the start of – I am willing to invest in my own health. So the manufacturers, Roche, offer a home test machoine for the *bargain* price of £299 – at a reduction of £100 – which can be paid for in 24 interest free monthly installments. Now, that ends up being cheaper than having to pay parking fees or bus costs over the same period, so it is becomes appealing, particularly for a life-long ‘condition’. There is a catch – your GP has to agree to prescribe the testing strips on the NHS, otherwise you wind up having to pay 6o odd quid for those also.

That doesn’t sound a problem, right? Quick chat with GP, strips on prescription, I can order the machine and life becomes so much simpler. But, gentle reader, what a world of fantasy you inhabit! Initially, I was told by GP reception that I have to get the strips from the Haematology ward. After a call to them, I’m assured that isn’t the case and it’s the GP who prescribes them, but am urged to contact the maufacturer Roche for all the details. I speak to a helpful lady there who tells me it’s a clinical decision by the GP, but that most of them ‘see the benefits (which sounds a little Orwellian). She kindly sends me a fancy-pants glossy brochure and expensive dvd advertising the testing kit, delivered in a box far, far too big for its contents. So I go back to the GP, who’s very helpful with everything else (I went bcause my scar had started bleeding and I needed some magic antibiotics) but on this matter she’s been told by the Practice she ca’t prescribe them without ‘Something from the Haematology Department. It’s not, I’m told, just a problem with the surgery – perish the thought! – but a ‘Coventry wide problem’. ‘Is that noise your heart?’ she asks , drawing attention to  my Thumping Mechanical Valve. ‘I thought it was a clock’. Tick. Tock.

Meanwhile, my erstwhile cousin makes enquiries at her hospital, and it’s clear this shouldn’t be a problem. I’ve now got my gander up (which you wouldn’t want to see. It’s like a camp Incredible Hulk) so decide I’ll take the fight straight to the Dark Tower itself and write to the newfangled NHS commisioning board/group/body, the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG):

 I am a long term warfarin patient and was recently given details by Walsgrave Haematology Unit of the option to buy a home testing kit. My GP has said coventry surgeries are ‘not allowed’ to prescribe XS test strips unless they have a letter from haematology instructing them to do so. I have contacted both the haematology dept and the manufacturer, Roche, who have said it is a clinical GP decision. In addition, I understand that you have allocated a budget to help facilitate this Both my GP and haematology nurse consider home testing useful, both because I am a long term warfarin patient, and because fingerprick testing is better for me than blood collection through a needle, which can be more problemmatic for my veins. I am frustrated that I am not being supported in an exciting and cost/time effective initiative which will bring me huge benefits, and which I am willing to self-fund through investment in the self-monitoring Meter. Additionally, I see benefits in this freeing up NHS testing resources.Can you clarify how I can access these test strips on prescription and what your guidelines on this are?

I’m convinced this will be lost in the bureaucracy of the NHS but lo! am pleasantly surprised a couple of days later to receive a helpful and clear reply:

 

Dear XX

I have been asked to respond to your query regarding coaguchek testing strips. Firstly apologies for any delay but this message has only just come through to the CCG.

Coaguchek XS strips are now allowed in Coventry on GP prescription but, with agreement with the haematologists, who wrote the protocols, only when the GP is supplied the guarantees that the patient has received the appropriate training and that the machine is going to be regularly maintained. We have to insist on this as we must ensure that testing is appropriate, as getting the dose wrong can result in significant patient harm, and that the test results are accurate at all times.

 There should be no reason why your specialist should not have provided this and I will contact them to ensure this. In the meantime please ask your specialist again.

 I apologise for any delays.

 Kind regards

XX

Which, aside from the odious ‘kind regards’ signature, settles things ONCE AND FOR ALL.

I have appointments with both my GP and the Haematology Unit on Thursday. So we’ll see how they respond in the light of my Flaming Torch of Knowledge…..but for the moment, I’m feeling heard and vindicated. And wondering what The Training they refer to might be. I hope it doesn’t involve role-playing, or Name Games. Or some sort of blood testing exam. With any luck, they’ll just give me another copy of that swanky brochure and expensive dvd…

 

links:

ACSMA is the Anti-Coagulation Self-Monitoring Alliance and campaigns to support self-testing, and for home slef testing to be provided on he NHS. It lists the benefits for individuals and theNHS on its website, and suggests how you might help.

Sleepless In Coventry

My second night where, although exhausted, sleep hasn’t come easy. One of the things about being ripped open like Christmas is having to sleep on your back as the scar and chest heal. It’s not my usual style, so I have a mound of pillows for support to keep me upright, like the princess with the pea. I’m wearing my invisible tiara.

I’m cutting down on painkillers and that rat poison warfarin keeps changing, so the drugs may be having an impact too. Some of the meds are supposed to give me vivid dreams … If only! It’s all been a bit of a dream, full of Chinese paintings and alligators and floods and curtains getting changed at midnight in the hospital.

I’m trying to catch up with 9 months backlog of Doctor Who Monthly, started reading books again but hiding from daytime TV.

And people are being kind. Cards, good wishes, hampers, DVDs, a family offering 24/7 support. Return to living on my own in the flat where I collapsed is a daunting prospect, as is yet more surgery. This time last year I was just coming to terms with cancer and losing my least favourite testicle.

But Peter Capaldi is the new Doctor, and tonight I might sleep. Apparently my scar ‘looks great’ but not to me. I’m going to pretend it’s a shark-bite or an attempt at cyber-conversion. I’m still hoping to be Upgraded …

Gotta Go Home (Barbara Streisand)

So I finally broke out of hospital and got home Sunday night, with that song running through my head. It reminded me of thinking I was cool at the gym when the guys were singing what I thought was the Boney M song but was in fact Duck Soup’s huge club hit…
It took four hours to get signed out and they lost my meds meaning my brother had to make a return visit.
Yet it’s also strange not having the dependency of being in hospital – no regular tests, no hospital routine. Yesterday we went to the warfarin clinic which I’ll need to be on for ever and a day. Rat poison, I ask you! Aside from ‘moderate alcohol’, I can no longer drink cranberry juice. Now I want to be drinking cranberry juice.
My parents took me shopping, in a wheelchair, afterwards and I mischievously told staff I had no idea who these people were and for Security to GET HELP.
Today a visit from the nurse and I find out I’m anaemic and have low blood pressure. I need to eat nuts…
So I’m staying with my parents for a couple of weeks starting a 3 month rehabilitation programme. Every now and then I hear the click of my new heart valve which is disconcerting. Especially when it’s nowhere near the disco minimum of 120 BPM …