Just When Ya Thunk It Were Gettin’ Better

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

WARNING:This one is not for the squeamish


Just When Ya Thunk It Were Gettin’ Better


To quote the Grateful Dead, “What a long strange trip it’s been”.


Yeah, this whole prostate cancer gig has been a laugh a minute.


I’ve had a revolving door of doctors spitting prescription medications at me for about eight months now, at times with no intelligible medical science behind their actions, or at least none that they cared to share with me.


The Covid thing has put a surreal spin on healthcare in general.  Too many practitioners working endless hours to care for a population that fails to grasp the most basic tenets of preventing a worldwide pandemic.


I’ve undergone too many medical procedures to even recall them all.  My least favorite being the initial pipe cleaning where the urologist told me afterward that he couldn’t find the particular element of my anatomy that he was searching for, so he just scraped around as best he could and called it a day.  THAT one had me laid up in the hospital for almost a week and concluded with some rather harsh interaction with a nurse who, in my humble opinion, took far too much pleasure in removing my catheter.


Yeah, it’s been a hoot!


...and then there was today.


First of all, I gotta tell ya, I have the utmost respect for the professional men and women who administer my daily dose of radiation. They’re a wonderful group. I can’t wait to be missing them when I’ll never have to see any of their cheerful faces ever again. They’re great. Really. 


But once my treatment has run its course, I really hope that I don’t bump into Brian, Chad, Jamie, Erika or any of the other perfectly polite people who have been laying me down on the table of the particle accelerator every day for the last couple of months and hiking up my hospital johnny like a little three-year-old girl at her mommy’s canasta party in the pudding aisle at Safeway.  I’m really looking forward to missing these guys.


Any modesty or shyness about such intimate familiarity with strangers was drummed out of me long ago.  Once you’ve had a couple of nurses shave your nether regions in preparation for an angioplasty because “just maybe”, there’s no going back.


But I keep getting sidetracked.


We all fall into our own rituals and routines with regard to any repetitious activity. Radiation therapy is no different.


When I show up at the Bay Area Cancer Center on any given weekday, the techs prefer that my bladder is full and my bowels are empty...for technical reasons. Chad actually chastises me if my bladder isn’t full enough. He’s a hardcase.


Unfortunately, one of the drawbacks to  prostate cancer is that I feel like I need to use the toilet pretty much all of the time.


Thank goodness that I’m also diabetic, which means I’m also thirsty...all the time. It’s a good combination for me right now.


So until I go in for treatment, every day at 11:20, I try not to eat anything.


And since all I have to do is look at any kind of beverage and I’m suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to use the bathroom...well, I try to fight that urge.  But if I DO succumb, I drink at least two 16 oz. glasses of juice to make up for it.  Hydration is my friend.


Another key aspect of my routine is that, after I crawl into bed for the night, I am up and down about every hundred minutes, on average, to use the toilet. Without fail. At least four or five times between 10 pm and when I finally start nodding off for real at around 6 or 7 am.  THAT really messes with my daily routine.


So far, so good.


The last part of my pre-treatment ritual is that I try to bathe as late as possible before leaving the house for treatment.  I just can’t see subjecting the technicians who work “the vault” to my old man stink. (It’s how I roll).


Which finally brings me around to this morning...again.


 I was just minding my own business, in the most literal sense, all lathered up in the shower with my minty shampoo and Irish Spring bath soap when my fingers discovered a physiological anomaly of some kind that I had not detected before.


I could not immediately discern the exact nature of the anomaly.  It may have been a  boil, a pimple, a blister, or even a wart. I don’t know.  You see, the aberration that I detected with the digits of my right hand was located in the very base of my ass crack. SURPRISE! 


It wasn’t there yesterday, of that I am certain. Had it been, I would have asked the physician du jour if such an anomaly could be attributed to the side effects of the radiation. But it wasn’t, so I couldn’t.


I mean, it’s no big thing, but it is A thing. It’s a thing that, because all of the mirrors in the house are of the very large, fixed in place variety, that I cannot get a good gander at.


Oh I suppose that if I were desperate enough for a good glimpse I could clamber up on the bathroom counter and perform an inverted flying butt muffin in front of one of the 40” square mirrors mounted to the wall above the double sinks recessed into the ancient formica bathroom countertop. But honestly, I’m just not as athletic as I used to be. In all likelihood I’d probably wind up doing a face plant on the bathroom floor and break my neck. I’m curious, but not THAT curious.


I did ask one of the guys in the vault about it...”Hey man, this is gonna sound weird as hell, but...”. (He had no opinion).  I mean, I didn’t want him to look at it, or anything.  And I sure as hell didn’t want him poking at it.  But, since I won’t see the doctor until next Tuesday, I did think it was worth mentioning.  I guess.


If you would have told me a year ago that I would be discussing a zit in my ass crack with a lab technician, I would have sprayed a vanilla latte out through my nostrils. 


The world is constantly throwing curveballs.  You never know what to expect next.


I have an old uncle who is fond of saying “He wouldn’t make a pimple on a (whatever)’s ass!”  by way of describing a person’s lack of qualifications or personal short comings.  I guess now I can tell him “maybe so, but I would”.


Only 19 days until I walk out of the vault for the last time, as the calendar crow flies. Sounds almost like something out of one of those twisted Bob Rivers non-traditional Christmas songs...almost.


Yes sir. What a long, strange trip it’s been. Indeed. Merry Christmas to all and yadda- yadda-yaddah.


Submitted: December 04, 2020

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