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Shouldn't you have bought me a burger first?

  • By ian hook
  • 05 Nov, 2015

The medical profession lends a hand

Well, I didn't get to go to Middle Earth, (see previous post), but I did get to go to see the doctor.

Firstly, I would like to say that the NHS do a superb job. The care consideration and treatment I have received, has been world-class, and I have great respect and trust for the huge team of clinicians that have treated me, and continue to care for me….. but….. didn't you just know there was a ‘but’ coming…. there was a bit of a blip at the outset.

I made an emergency appointment to see the doctor and was seen by a registrar at my local practice. Having declined the offer of a chaperone, (the examination was to be upfront and personal, (let the reader understand)), after which, we laid back sharing a cigarette, (I made that bit up), and discussed the findings. The doctor's opening gambit was, “ I don't think there's a problem we will wait for 12 months and see how it goes”, I said, “I would like to be referred for a colonoscopy”, and the conversation continued like this:-

  Dr: that will take three months
  Me: no it won't
  Dr: what do you mean?
  Me: I want to be seen next week
  Dr: that will mean referring you as a potential cancer patient
  Me: OK
  Dr: are you happy with that?
  Me: yep

I guess many people, presented with the answer they want to hear, from an authority figure in the medical profession, would have gone away happy and relieved. Only to discover a year down the road, that the tumour has metastasised and the cancer has now spread liberally throughout the body.

A few days later…..
Some of you will remember the 1963 film ‘Summer Holiday’, and its signature tune. Just let that tune play through your mind briefly, got it, good, now imagine me walking into the endoscopy suite singing, “We’re all going for a, colonoscopy….no more pooing for a, day or two…. fun and laughter with, a colonoscopy…. to make your dreams come, true…. for me and you”. But this camera was going where the sun don't shine!

For some reason, I got on particularly well with the Doctor and team conducting the colonoscopy and because I had opted for ‘gas and air’ as opposed to an injected analgesic, we were able to have some banter during the procedure. At one point I remember someone saying, “I can see your blood pressure has gone up slightly”, to which I said, “You should try having one of these stuck up you’re bum and see how your blood pressure does”, and here's the thing, they said, “We all have, twice”. Respect!

If you've ever been potholing, that's a bit what it looks like as you follow the camera's journey through your colon, (see the very first post for a map). The camera goes all the way through up to the small intestine, and then the detailed inspection is done, as the camera is removed.

By now things were very relaxed; the team could see that I was responding well to what was being done to me, and so the conversation flowed, and there was a running commentary on what was on the screen. One comment being, “Ooo a lovely clean colon”.

That all changed when, what I can only describe as a set of fleshy, bloody stalactites, hanging from the cave roof, came into view. At that point, you could have heard a pin drop. I said, “Right…, don't stop talking now; I want to know what it is we are all looking at”.  I nearly made it. I fell at the last hurdle as it were, right at the mouth of the cave, the rectum.

************** NOTE TO READERS **************
Here's the problem, this part of the story will take a bit more time to develop, but I don't have that time as I am going into hospital next week for an Abdominal Perineal Excision of Rectum, by robotic surgery.
I'm hoping to blog from the hospital, so watch this space...
..... and so, as I ponder the delights of surgery by 'joy-stick' I take solace in this plaintive and comforting ballad..
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