Shades of Grey

Posted: 17 February 2013 in Cancer, Understanding Others
Tags: ,
Keeping DVT & PE at bay.

Keeping DVT & PE at bay.

Pain – you’d think it came in one colour. Well it doesn’t. In comes in various shades, more case of grey that torrid red. Friends and survivors of worse conditions than mine widened my palette, though thankfully (so far), I have not employed the whole range. 

For instance – Terror. Not the operation, for which I was present, but not there. The run up to both operations was quite interesting. Really. And immediately post-op I was off my head with anaesthetic.  I suffered a bout of terror for the DRE, the Digital Rectal Examination. Tim Matheison, Australia’s ‘First Bloke’ told male guests at an official reception in January: “The digital examination is the only true way to get a correct reading on your prostate, so make sure you go and do that, and perhaps look for a small Asian female doctor is probably the best way.” Quite frankly, she could have been so hot that she could fry, but it’d not make one digit of difference to me. The second bout was in having my catheter pulled out. I quivered in anticipation of agony. But 1-2-3-ping! Gone. Then I roared with laughter in relief. 

Searing Pain. No thank God (well, not so far). A friend had is nose cauterised to stem a dangerously persistent bleed. While glad to be still alive, he commented that when the dead are buried at sea, the final stitch in the sail cloth shroud is though the nose. Only the truly dead fail to jump at that one.

Deep Ache. Well yes. And in strange places sometimes. Post-op pains in my right shoulder (funny place to do prostate surgery).  More common – as the Catheter Nurse said ‘saddle sore’. As if Johnny Wilkinson was drop kicking your bum instead of a rugby ball. Ah ha – I now know that the main surgical site is next to your anus wall. Hence the sensation.

            You are glad you learned that aren’t you. Never mind, I can’t complain, I have found the pain killers seem to work on me.

Depression. Fatigue, frequent leaking, indifference to the things that normally get me excited. You feel flat and dispirited. I’ve had a bit of this. But compared to some people, slight. Of course, I am cheered by the expectation that I am getting better. For those for whom their condition is not getting better, and indeed, might be getting worse, depression may well be a frequent visitor to battle with.

Aesthetic Shock. This was a surprise to me. The sense of the assault on the self. Blood in the faeces, blood on the end of your penis, together with a thumping great tube going into it. Tottering around with a carrier bag full of pee, holes all over you, self administered injections. Grimsville. Thankfully the worst has passed. Well, for the moment.

Why Say This? Terror, Searing Pain, Ache, Depression, Aesthetic Shock. All unsought. All likely visitors after major surgery. Not that I really had thought about it much. You don’t, do you – beforehand. But now, I’ve had plenty of time to sit back and experience some of this. And people’s experiences are so different, as I discovered at the Catheter Clinic last week. Some men are so happy to tell you how they are jumping about. Well reader – if you are not jumping about, pleased be assured – you are not alone. I truly hope these words will be of succour to you as the writing of them is to me.


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