Sunday, October 28, 2012

As King Felix Was Finishing His Perfect Game, a Nurse Was Sticking a Camera Up My Shaft To See If I Have Bladder Cancer

At the beginning of the summer I went in for a physical, for two reasons:

1)  It'd been 10 years, and my wife kind of insisted, and
2)  I want a vasectomy.  We have a matched set of a boy and a girl, and we're completely good with two.

The doctor's visit itself was fine--he said I'm fat, and I agreed--but the fun started two days later when I got a letter in the mail saying that there was blood in my urine sample, and I'd need to come in and leave another specimen.

The thing about hearing that you have blood in your pee is that it causes you to look at your urine in a whole new way.  Overnight I developed a queer eye for shades of yellow--is that a gold, a makado, or a jonquil that I just sprayed into the john?--which is something I spent an intense two days doing before realizing that I really have no idea in the world what color pee is supposed to be, nor if what I was squirting out now was any different than last year's vintage.  It's pee, fer chrissakes.

I left a second sample.  Yes, there was blood.  No, there wasn't an infection, which actually was a bad thing because infection would be the easiest thing to solve.

A few days later my lower half was stuck into an imaging machine to check for kidney stones, bladder stones, and the like.  A few days after that I was at the dick doc for a consultation.  There were no stones that showed up on the scan, nor any physical abnormalities that were readily apparent.

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With my daughter's health issues the pattern was set: get a diagnosis, start with wikipedia, work your way over to WebMD, and see what there is to see.  With hematuria, blood in the urine, I'd pretty well memorized what the potential causes were, in order by how common they are.

Infections or STDs?  Clean on both.
Bladder stones or kidney stones?  Not a thing on the scan.
Benign prostate problems?  Nothing indicative on the blood work.
Trauma?  My only contact sport is competitive sitting.
Kidney disease?  No signs were present.

....and that got us down to the cancers.  Fuck.

And that's how we get to me, naked from the waist down, intently following the afternoon Mariner's game on my cell phone while a nurse wheeled in a cart with the Pecker Checker 3000, followed by the Urologist who promptly used one of my exits as an entrance to tell me that, while my bladder looked like that of most teachers who have to hold it until their prep time, there at least wasn't any cancer, and that was a good thing.  My one regret from the afternoon is that the screen was turned away from me, because I really would have rather like to see what my bladder looked like on the inside.

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And after that--nothing.  No answer, no next step.  The urologist sent his report, and my GP let me know that they'd ruled out bladder/kidney cancer, but as far as I know I've still got the blood in my urine, and no reason why.

I've debated with myself whether going to that first physical was a good idea.  On one hand, I know I have this thing.  On the other, there's absolutely nothing that I know to do about it.  If I wasn't told that there was something wrong with me, I wouldn't know that there was anything wrong with me, and if I wasn't aware, what would the harm be?

But I know.  I have something to watch.  I've got another round of testing tomorrow, and then we'll see what from there.  I'm thankful that I have a job that provides health insurance, and the ability to have sick leave to get this thing figured out.

And that's my report on my summer vacation.

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