Wednesday, November 26, 2008
A Visit to the Urologist
Okay boys and girls, here we go again. I had another appointment at the Wilmington Veterans Administration Medical Center this morning. That meant rising out of a deep slumber this morning at 4:30 am. Oh how I love getting up at that hour. I couldn’t sleep anyway, knowing that I had to get up that early.
The American Legion Post 29 van picks me up at Routes 5 and 1 (just up the road about three miles) at 6 am. I was there about 20 minutes ahead of time. I wouldn’t want to miss my ride. The van arrives about 10 after 6. Just the driver and another old grizzled vet like me are going up today. The trip up was uneventful. In fact traffic was light. We arrive at the “city on a hill” (the way the VA building looks in the early morning sunlight just off of Rt. 141.) First thing upon entering the lobby, I have to scan my VA card. Yes, it confirms that I am 67 years old (you have to put your age in the computer to verify you are who you are) and have an appointment with the urologist today. My appointment with the urologist today is to go over the results of my CT-RAD scan of last Wednesday. That was when I had the dye injected though my blood stream by an IV injection.
The result of the CT-RAD scan is that I do have a renal calcli (that’s a kidney stone to those of you who haven’t had the “thrill” of passing one.) The good news is that it is small, only 4 millimeters. The bad news is that I will probably pass that kidney stone sometime during my lifetime. That’s a day I’m not looking forward to.
However, there is another interesting development. Since I passed blood the night before I passed my kidney stone (January 2, 2008 – oh I remember the night and following day WELL), the doctor felt obligated to advise me to get a procedure done that I was dreading. I’ve never been subjected to a catheterising before. That’s one bullet I’ve dodged. Well, the good doctor advised me to get a cystoscopy. What is that you say? Uh, it’s a small camera (yes, a camera) on the tip of a flexible tube (yes, they tell me it is very flexible once it is all greased, er, lubricated up) and inserted in my penis to take a picture of my bladder. They’re looking for a tumor which may or may not be cancerous. Here’s the problem. My brother had this done by a doctor who wasn’t really paying attention and the doctor punctured the wall of his urethra. My brother ended up in the emergency room because his blood was clotting in his urethra. Oh, did I mention he told me it was EXTREMELY painful. He said it felt like he had a lightening bolt hit him between his legs. He said he did not know such pain existed. He thought he hit the ceiling.
Needless to say, I expressed some reluctance at receiving this procedure after my brother’s experience. However, the good doctor was not to be swayed. He called in reinforcements. The head urologist came in and explained to me that the whole procedure, while not “pleasant” would take a total of 20 minutes, only 3 of which I would have the “flexible” tube inserted in my urethra. He explained to me that this is their standard procedure when there is blood in the urine. Now remember, I haven’t had blood in my urine since the night before I passed my kidney stone on January 3rd of this year. It is my understanding that blood in the urine before passing a kidney stone is a classic symptom. Now I understand why the doctor wants to check but I’m wondering, is this really necessary? Of course I don’t want to take the chance of being injured. As far as modesty goes, that’s been out the door a long time ago with my visits at the VA. A lot of them at the facility know me very well. In the ten years I've been using the VA facilities, they’ve seen everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. There is no corner or cubby hole of me that has not been examined, poked, or exposed to many and varied eyes of both sexes. I have no secrets. I'm an open book.
So here is my dilemma. Do I have the cystoscopy or not?
Just to end a perfectly beautiful day, on the way back to Slower Lower (Sussex County) in the van, we encountered a traffic accident on the other side of Dover. We sat in traffic a good hour and a half until we were directed to go back. Thus, the three of us took a meandering tour of the western side of Route 1 until we could connect to Route 1 again in Milford. We saw parts of Delaware we did not know existed. Delaware is such a small state, everything pretty much looks the same. Flat land, big chicken houses, WalMart trucks heading north and south (lot of WalMart in Delaware), and the big sky. Nice tour but we were all anxious to get home. You can't get lost in Delaware. Route 1, 13 and 113 run the length of the state. The other roads like Rts. 9, 16 run east west. Sooner or later one of those roads intersect with the powerful Route 1.
During our unexpected detour,I had plenty of time to think of “should I or shouldn’t I?” Originally they were going to schedule my appointment for December 24th. What a perfectly lovely way to spend Christmas Eve. No thanks. I reschedule it for January 29th, 2009. After I got home I called my brother (he lives in South Carolina) and told him of my situation. It brought back a lot of painful memories for him. He said if it was him, he wouldn’t have it done unless there was something wrong. I’m not passing blood now so, technically, there is nothing wrong. But, I’m still undecided.
While I was up at the VA today I had both of my computers on. I was transferring some of my 25,000 plus pictures from my old computer to my new computer. In those 25,000 pictures I have a lot of different people, places, and scenes. However, there is one picture I don’t have. If I do decide to get it done, you can be sure that will be my “picture of the day”. You might want to take the kids out of the room when you pull that one up.