Today I came home from work at lunch time. My wife took me out to a cafe to have lunch. I looked at the food in the shelves and the hot drinks being made and said, "I don't want anything!" Now anybody who knows me knows that when I turn down food I must be sick. I came home and spent much of the afternoon in bed trying to sleep while preparing a sermon in between times. I had been moving furniture back into place after the Christmas dinner and found with each bit of physical exertion I had spasms of pain. Every step seemed to hurt and hot flushes came over me interspersed with feeling cold. My wife told me to go to the doctor and I grumped, "Doctor? Its because of doctors I'm in this predicament! Every time I see one I finish up worse!"
A few years ago in October/November I had a bout of glandular fever. I got over that but in the process of getting blood tests I suggested they do the test for enlarged prostate. The doctor told me the PSA reading was high and she did the usual digital test. A hospital appointment followed and after more fingers, tests and a biopsy they said I was clear of cancer. But the biopsy left me with some inconvenient changes in functioning. Life went on and a couple of years later I was once again referred to the specialist who after tests asked me if I wanted another biopsy. I asked him what he recommended and he simply said, "Its up to you?" I remembered how it set me back so I decided against it. A few years later, and further blood tests I got sent back to the specialist. He decided I needed another biopsy. I eventually got this in January of 2012. My prostate was enlarged, and there was inflammation but they could not see any cancer. They didn't treat the inflammation? In the week or so after I discovered I was having incontinence problems at night. These were infrequent at first but by mid year were becoming an embarrassing nightly occurrence. My GP referred me to the hospital again who put me on a heavy dose of antibiotics. For a month I felt sick but it made no real difference to my condition. I went for a consultation and a bit shell shocked came out with a catheter and bag. I was retaining big amounts of fluid. The first few days were almost unbearable with spasms that doubled me over in pain. I persisted and things became comfortable. Nearly three months down the track I went to my GP for a catheter change and he put me off till after New Year. I feel like my system is beginning to smell, in spite of all the washing I can think of. I have tried not to let the "bionic plumbing" system hinder my work or exercise, but I must admit it sorely tries my patience and persistance. I am on a waiting list for a TURP operation sometime! (They have recently given me 6 months supplies of stuff so that's not very promising.) I was coping OK but on the night of 23rd December I did a lot of physical moving of furniture in preparation for the Christmas Dinner. I noticed I was peeing blood and had pains "down there". We discovered on the 24th the heavy Christmas tree had fallen over and I tried to fix it by myself. The ghastly spasms returned and through Christmas, boxing day and till today I have had painful troubles, struggling to sleep, with any physical exertion causing pain or discomfort.
Out of the experience I have lost faith in doctors and the medical system. It seemed like every contact and procedure I had made the situation worse. I wonder if I would be in the same boat today if I had just ignored my problems? I suspect the medical procedures have mucked something up. At nearly every doctor's visit I have been on I have felt I was not listened to. Whether it be my GP or the hospital doctors I have just begun to tell my story and they jump to the supposed remedy! There never has been any real discussion and questions were answered as briefly as possible. Just "here's what we are doing... now get out the door" kind of thing. "It's my body!" I want to scream. I wonder too if they had to wear one of these contraptions if the waiting time for an op would be so long? It is hard going when you have a busy lifestyle, it might be easier for retired blokes to handle.
It's not funny.
I am intrigued at how many people think it is funny. "Old men's peeing problems...ha.. ha." When I asked the doctor if the catheter meant an end to my sex life, he said, "Yup!" with a grin on his face like that was funny! Imagine joking about breast cancer in the same way? All hell would break loose! I joke about it to try to make light of it for my own sanity, but that does not mean others can! It is not very funny to live through and there is a good deal of uncertainty still the future. They always cover their butts by saying, "As far as we can tell, there is no cancer." They then say, "There is no certainty about that."
I was looking forward to a summer holiday with tramping and some physical exercise and work. Swimming and having time to catch up on running was something I was looking forward to. If the last few days is anything to go by, I doubt I'll be doing anything like that. I will be just having to endure watching others do stuff.
Now I know only too well that there are a lot of people worse off. I used to be proud of our once egalitarian medical system, but, like in many areas of society it has become part of the "haves verses the have nots" divide. It has become two systems. One system for those who can afford medical insurance and a totally different one for us poorer folks. I also know that in spite of this the NZ medical system is still better than many countries. But I'm just letting off steam, and I am allowed to.
Anyway, that's my rant. I hope I improve over the next few days. It's a bugger getting old. Tonight I have been comforting myself by listening to old country and western songs on YouTube. I promise to be more positive next post!