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Embarrassed and Mortified - A Bladderscope You Say?

Over the last few years I have had the opportunity to visit with some very skilled professionals who toil in the medical field. From my Family Doctor to all manner of internal medical practitioners, Podiatrists, nurses and technicians.  All have been exemplary in their professionalism and care and attention to detail. 

The need to avail myself of their services usually comes from reciting some complaint on my physical to my GP and when listening to my complaint he gets the troops mustered and ready for the newest triage candidate - me. The experience today was by far the most humbling and embarrassing procedure I have ever had the need to undergo. I will explain...


As I have aged I have begun to suffer ailments resulting from the sins and activities of my youth. My neck is decrepit from years of judo and a little rugby here and there. My back is akin to a 90 year old thanks to trying to be a super-lifter in my 20’s. And sad to say my internal workings are somewhat disheveled thanks to many forms of self inflicted abuse, too lengthy to recite or too debauched to walk through the memory banks for this story. Suffice it to say, I am now beginning to wish I had been a kinder, gentler and smarter person when I was younger.


Many activities of my youth should have been undertaken with more care but sadly, I was, and probably still am, too stupid to take heed of my own advice. Body damaging contact sports definitely had an impact on my current being, not to mention smoking cigarettes, drinking copious amounts of rum and doing little in the way of exercise other than walking to my car to drive to the store for more cigarettes and rum the last 35 years are the top ranked contributors to my current condition I am sure.


Whether or not kidney stones are related to poor self management is arguable I think, but I have had 4 episodes of them in the last 5 years and the most recent one sent my Sawbones into overdrive to try to determine the root cause. After a myriad of tests he decided I needed to undergo another “simple” test to rule out any potentially serious source of my complaint. He told me someone would be “in touch.” Little did I know what the “touch” was going to be.


A week after visiting with him I was x-rayed, ultrasounded, and cajoled by Nurse Ratched to offer up samples of my being for further examination. All the procedures were mild and hardly horrifyingly embarrassing, until I received “the call”.


The call came from the Grey Nuns Hospital in Edmonton telling me that I was booked by my doctor for a procedure and that I was to attend the appointment at 10:30 am. No special preparation was required she told me and so the appointment was booked for me.  I asked what exactly had my doctor asked to be done to me and she replied that I was to have my bladder looked at. A bladder scope she called it. Okay I thought, no biggie. 


No prep a la the colonoscopy (see previous story elsewhere on this blog) convinced me that it was not going to be anything to worry about, and the fact she told me that it will be less than 45 minutes from start to finish and that I can drive myself home assured me that it was indeed not a big event. Then I did a Google.


When you do a Google search on a “bladder scope” it comes up with the medical term; Cystoscopy. Repeat after me; Cys-tos-co-py. It is pronounced Sis-Toss-Caw-Pee. It is not a big event really except for the fact of where and how they send the camera, which after reading about it is when I began to suffer panic attacks. 

Interestingly enough, if you search images or video on Google you can find actual footage of the procedure being undertaken. I did just that and it turns out that was a very, very, very bad idea. Blissful ignorance would have served me better and not allowed my overactive imagination to wreak havoc with my personal physical operating system. Sleep deprived, exhausted from a series of panic attacks and groggy from a sleeping pill hangover I headed to the hospital. Yes, I am a big baby. Not proud of it but I am, especially when someone is going to do “that” to me.


When I arrived at the hospital’s day surgery room I was met by a pleasant lady that asked me about emergency contact names and numbers, do I have any allergies she asked among the usual questions and then I had to answer the questions on a questionnaire she handed me. I filled out the questionnaire then handed the clipboard back to her and once satisfied I was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth she told me to have a seat and someone will call me soon.


No sooner had I taken my seat than a green garbed woman called my name and asked me to follow her. I did so with some trepidation, but follow I did.  As I was walking down the hallway I read a sign that said Colonoscopy-> on the top and Endoscopy <- on the bottom of the sign. I looked at the sullen faces of the colonoscopy doomed people sitting there and thought to myself, “I glad I’m not them!” and snickered to myself as I walked past. Turns out that turnabout is fair play and I was to be punished for giggling at their colonoscopic fate.


Green Garb led me to a locker room and then told me to take it all off and handed me a gown, housecoat, hair net and booties. I entered the locker room, locked the door then I sat on the bench and began to cry. I crossed my arms across my chest and wailed gently, rocking myself as I did, to try to calm myself down. I also thought about running away, fast, like Forrest Gump, but then the memory of passing a kidney stone on a flight from Edmonton to Montreal somewhere over Winnipeg told me I should go forth and take it like a man. I cried harder.


Once attired in the appropriate cystoscopy uniform I exited my cubicle and walked the walk of the doomed as I shuffled down the hallway, sobbing, sniffing and begging her not to hurt me. Please don’t hurt me!!!! She led me to the chamber of horrors that some would call an operating room, wished me well then passed me off to another Green Garb (must be some sort of cult) who greeted me warmly. I gave the obligatory head-nod trying to avoid making eye contact and walked toward her as directed.


In the room was a bank of TV screens (oh great I thought, I’m on Candid Fucking Camera!), a bed-cum-barber chair with what I think are called stirrups fastened at the end of the platform. Green Garb asked me to sit on the bed between the stirrups and then scoot back to get comfortable and place my legs in the stirrups. I was getting lightheaded by that time with all the blood in my brain rushing to my heart to prevent it from going into vapour-lock and as I laid there I realized the enormity of the situation that I was now the featured attraction in. The light-headedness turned to dizziness and then it became a kind of ethereal experience, out-of-body even...


As I laid there in that compromising position I looked up and what do I see but the cherub faces of a few young people, students, medical students (lovely, just fucking lovely I thought) along side them were a few nurses gathered at the foot of the bed, looking at me, or rather, looking at a specific part of me, one that I normally don’t like to expose to mere strangers. All female and all examining my withered and scared anatomy, I was mortified beyond anything I have ever experienced. Exposed to the cold and attached to a body wracked with fear, I am sure it was less than impressive to look at given the physical manifestation of cold and fear on that part of a mans anatomy, but look they did.


After a suitable amount of time had passed the doyenne of the group stepped forward holding a syringe in her right hand, I looked at that syringe and when I saw the size I shrieked and then began to sob, I withered (recoiled actually)some more. The syringe was bigger than the average turkey baster and she was indicating that it was FOR ME!!!!!! She told me that she was GOING TO INJECT the fluid contained therein into me to numb the route. I gasped and began to hyperventilate. At that point I am sure I heard some young girl whisper to someone that “it looks like a penis only smaller” and then the turkey baster wielding matron began the procedure. My “outie” became an “innie” trying to escape the impending attack. It failed...


Between the hyperventilating, the crying and gasping I felt a twinge of pain in my nether region and as I gripped the sides of the bed to keep me grounded she emptied the baster and then finally her and her cortege left the room, so there I lay, exposed, crying and more humiliated than I had been at any point in my life, and I have suffered humiliations in times past let me tell you! In a few moments the nurse returned with the doctor in tow.


He greeted me with a handshake and then sat down to business. As he did we discussed the weather (it was raining), lawn care (he just laid sod at his new house), merits of watering sod and the Canucks. As he was talking with me I was exposed to the elements, vulnerable to the extreme and he was wrestling with a medical thingy that I knew was “The Scope” all the while. I was now convinced that this procedure would end one of the 2 uses of the appendage forever, if not both design usages. Distraught was an understatement...


Once situated at the end of the bed he placed the probe into position and then got down to business. It was going somewhat okay until he told me it was going to get uncomfortable cause he has to turn the probe right at the prostate and by gum, it did get uncomfortable, very uncomfortable. He pressed on with his attack on my manhood and my dignity and as I watched the show on the TV screen above my head he placed the probe at its intended destination. Taking a look around he made his retreat and then told me he was finished. I breathed a sigh of relief at which point he tells me, “Let’s check the prostate as well.” So surrounded by females and him he completed that part of my morning and told me all is well. I can’t express the joy I felt having this completed. Morbidly joyful.


I can assure you dear reader that I fought valiantly to put forward a brave face while inside I was reeling. The internal conflict I was experiencing was no less than had the Warden, Padre and the black hooded Executioner come to usher me down the corridor for my last walk. Reeling and almost exploding from internal pressure I was, and except for the crying, sobbing, wheezing, sniffling, swollen red eyes and the stain of tears no one would have known how I was feeling inside. 

Stoic was what I was trying to portray, but I may have given the spectators a different face if in fact they were even looking at my face. One look at the syringe and the probe caused my brain to ask rhetorically, “You’re going to put what where?” and the normal calm and indefatigable Bart became a tired looking and moronic marshmallow man once the brain vapour-locked. I continued to try to avoid eye contact with everyone...


Once covered up and having some form of my dignity returned to me the doctor went over the procedure detailing his conclusions (all good BTW) and told me he will write my doctor a report. He wished me well and sent me on my way. Once I had received the post-op instructions I got dressed and ran from there like my hair was on fire (why would one run when their hair is on fire anyway?) not making eye contact with anyone at all, then I got into my truck and raced home. And after suffering through all that no one even offered me a treat. A lollipop would have been appropriate given the stress involved. A rum flavoured one would have been welcome.

I have now developed a great deal of empathy for all women who undergo this type of doctor -  patient -stirrup interaction on an annual basis. I really have...

On the drive home I reviewed the post-op instructions and the morning’s events and decided that since they told me to drink lots of fluids and not to drink any caffeine that I will drink Mojitos as the liquid of choice. Lots and lots of Mojitos. Mojitos to soothe the soul and help to restore my dignity and erase the memory. Thus it was and thus it is.....

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