Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Re: crunching the stone

It's been a while. Not surprisingly, no one's come calling in a while either. I've just returned home from hospital after an operation my urologist calls "a scrape". I always thought that was a term for an abortion, and indeed, the same body area is involved. Chaps, brace yourselves. The procedure is as follows. They thread a kind of loop down the hampton, into the prostate, and proceed to whittle it down to a more reasonable size. As awful as it sounds, I was ready for anything after a few months spending most of the night standing groaning in the loo to little effect. Still with me?

So I checked in on Friday, thinking, no worries, it's a minor procedure and the only hassle is the four-day hospital stay till the bleeding dissipates.
They wheel me into the theatre waiting area, alongside an elderly woman with yellow hair. We nod and smile ruefully. C'est la guerre.

Along comes the anaesthetist to check up how far he can go without offing you. This is a guy with a small head, exceedingly wizened face and huge, muscle-knotted forearms like a superannuated Arnold Schwarzenegger. He has an intense, jiving style.
Usual list of questions re health. Then: "Not necessary to do a general, we'll give you an epidural (yes, ladies!) and drift you away with a light sedative. OK?" And off he goes to the woman next door.
Anyway, to the theatre and he finally does his thing. "Where's the music, sister?" he asks the masked auntie-like figure patting me on the shoulder. "You bring any CDs, Mr F?" By now I'm numb as a crash test dummy, and they arrange my limbs for a full-frontal assault. I'm giving birth in reverse.

I drift off for a bit and come round just in time to hear the surgeon say, "Good heavens. There's a stone in your prostate. Well, I never." I check this out on the large plasma screen nearby. The stone appears to be the shape and colour, although not quite the size, of a mussel shell. (The picture doesn't get the colour right).
He commences thrashing it about with his loop, getting it stuck in various apertures. "It's no use. It's very large and I'm going to have to break it somehow," he explains.

Now at this point I lose track of the narrative, because, I suspect, Arnie the Anaesthesiologist gives me a merciful extra jolt of joyjuice.
The next thing I remember, the surgeon/urologist is leaning over me, saying: "It's all over. Interesting case!" he adds.

Much later, I'm lying in bed attached to the catheter and a lot of other stuff, and the urologist comes in, merrily shaking his head. It turns out the op took an hour and a half, not half-an-hour as scheduled, and I don't remember all that much. "Hell of a business," he says. "I finally found some (sounds like) duck tongs to break it and that did the trick. Otherwise I would have had to order the laser from the other hospital, and then it would have gone on a lot longer."
The good part is that he gives me this perspex container with fragments of stone. They are a malevolent black. They're on my mantelpiece as I write. Now you must excuse me, I have to ...


Blogger llewtrah said...

My colleague has regular kidney stone problems. You could compare notes with his experiences at Poor chap is getting the twinges of another stone and not looking forward to another scrape. He wasn't allowed to take his stones home though.

2:02 PM  
Blogger DavetheF said...

Kidney stones are excruciating. I had a very small one once, and thought I would pass out from pain. Thankfully, the one in my prostate lived there without causing any pain at all. Neal Stephenson keeps referring to his characters having "the Stone" removed, and I have been wondering what sort of stone this is.

9:38 PM  
Blogger BiScUiTs said...

Whoa that sounds like a bit of a trial!

It's mad that people can get stones forming inside them. I wonder if you tried really hard you could get a few trees, some grass and maybe a small biosphere to form.

Good to hear it all got sorted out anyway!

12:17 AM  
Blogger DavetheF said...

It is strange, Biscuits. I suppose with all that fluid and calcium and stuff, they slowly agglomerate.

5:18 PM  
Blogger BiScUiTs said...

Sort of like those stalactites things, except round instead of long. Weird.

10:40 PM  

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