Friday, May 13, 2022

Urine or Ur-out

URINE OR UR-OUT  (of what?)   😀

WARNING:  THIS WILL BE A RATHER LONG POST TAKING SEVERAL DAYS TO COMPOSE.  It will not be humorous - funny - gagging - or even perhaps eye rolling. Instead it will be a running description of what has happened since the end of last year.  I am NOT looking for sympathy or hugs.  At age 81, hugs are rather an advanced stage of groping and propping up.  I have already heard all of the "doctors can do great things" comments.  I don't need those either.  Just need to move on..

As of this writing - May 5th, 10:45 a.m. - the weatherman on TV is showing a storm heading this way.  He is talking strong winds - potential for a tornado - HAIL - rain - we got it all.   There was a time in my life when I wouldn't say:  "Hail."  I thought it was too close to Hell -   I always said that we had "Heck."  When you get older, your mind seems to wander (or wonder) at times.  HAIL comes up later in this edition.  The worse thing about  a storm approaching at this earlier hour is:  you have to watch morning TV to see the weathermen.  They break in and out of the morning shows.  Meanwhile you must endure the morning personalities:  smiling faces, jabbering females, uninspired topics, asparagus recipes, 

So my introduction is complete.  I shall now go to our spacious kitchen and begin preparing a delightful lunch.  What will it be?  Certainly won't be asparagus and tofu fondue.

Let me add that I have been a quiet person all of my life when it pertains to my personal self.  There are just some subjects I never attack.  With this entry, all of that changes.  You will see.

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Last December, I was starting to have problems going to the bathroom.  There are 2 types of bathroom:  as in my childhood, we have #1  and #2.   My problem was #1.  I had always heard that old guys have this type of problem.   Since I had a GP doctor appt after the first of the year, I figured I could hang on till then and start the new year with the new insurance deductible getting paid.    Financial reasons.

In January, I was scheduled for a doc visit (we diabetics tend to see doctors on a regular basis.).  By the time the appt. arrived I was having more problems and my lower abdomen was hurting some.   I talked about this problem with the doctor.  It didn't seem to be an emergency to me.  The doctor arranged an appt with a urologist in Temple - Baylor Scott & White Hospital area.  Fine with me - but about 2 months away.

That was on a Tuesday.  On the following Monday, I went back to the doctor.  My stomach was really starting to hurt, and I was visiting the bathroom on the average of once an hour - day and night.  I discussed that I thought I might be constipated.   He suggested a certain laxative.   We eventually went on our merry ways.

My daughter Christine was working at her hospital Fri-Sat-Sun.  When she came in from work late Sunday, I knew that I was in trouble.  We loaded me up with the spouse and headed for BSW  (Baylor S&W) emergency room.  I was hustled into a room -  discussions were had - a CT scan was done of my lower abdomen.  Now, comes my favorite part of the story.

The emergency room doc came in and introduced me to a "catheter."  If you are as dumb as I was, you should look that up...C-a-t-h-e-t-e-r.  It is a fact that I did not understand catheters - their use - or the overall process.  I got a quick education.  They took a tube and inserted it inside of me - and water began to flow.  They measured the water.  My bladder held 2 full liters plus about 15 more ounces.  Think about the two liter coke bottles at the store.  I could have the extra ounces number wrong by a bit.  When I was emptied, my stomach quit hurting.  It was a miracle; except now, I had a tube running out of me.

I was transferred to a hospital bed after some lengthy time. My family came and sat by my side.  The doctors felt like it was a good idea for me to stay a while.  The tube extended to a bag.  The nurses dutifully emptied my bag constantly.  I discussed with the staff if perhaps my 2+ liters was some type of a world record.  They thought, "maybe."  For a person who is very self-conscious about anything to do with that area of the anatomy, this was traumatic.  Little did I know it could get worse.

Just for the record:  by the time I was placed in the hospital bed, it was Valentine's Day.  Aside stone:  food in the hospital.  I saved all of my menus from the hospital.  It was my aim to reprint them here.  Now, that time has flown and this recitative has become lengthy, I will save them for later. Surprisingly, the food wasn't bad.  There never was enough to equal a trip to Rosa's Mexican Restaurant or the Golden Corral buffet - but it was adequate.

On the 17th, I went home - urine bag in hand - tube sticking out.  An appt. was made with urology for the future.  After a couple or more weeks at home carrying the bag, the urology appt approached.  Meanwhile, I had learned how to disconnect the tube from the big bag and attach to a smaller one which I strapped to my thigh.  Later, I learned these were to be attached to the calf of the leg.  I didn't know.  The leg bag was better than the big bag carried in hand.

Another CT scan was taken.   When I arrived for my urology appt, I was ushered into a room where a short discussion was had with staff.   Then on a table, I had the tube removed.  A female nurse had me stand & I was told to fill the jug.   Big Jug.  I tried.   I failed.  I could not make anything work.  

I paraphrase here:  She said something like FINE...or  OKAY .... or ALRIGHT THEN - You get the picture.  She waltzed out and back in carrying 2 large sacks.  The nurse handed me a catheter about 18 inches long.  I am standing there with my pants down and a catheter in my hand.  She told me to insert it.  Yes, my education continued.  I was able to insert the tube - it doesn't really hurt like a hammer hitting you in the head - but it is a quite uncomfortable experience.  Tube inserted, water started to flow.  She handed me a sack of new catheters.   I was told to insert a catheter 4 times a day to empty my self - then, pull it out and discard.  I went home with 2 large sacks of catheters.

I learned that Medicare pays for catheters.  The staff put in an order with an Oklahoma company for more catheters and sent me home.  I had no large bag - no leg bag - but a sack of catheters.   

When I got down to 2 days of catheters, I called the staff and asked about the replacement ones.   It seems that an error had been made and the order never placed.   There was all kinds of scurrying about.  A new order was placed and my order was "overnighted" to me.  They did arrive the next day.  I have learned much about this process.

I did figure out that 4 times a day was not good.  On many days, I needed 5 times a day because of  the long over-night hours. I called Staff - new RX was made and more catheters overnight arrived in order for me to do 5 times daily.   Me thinks I may drink too much tea and diet coke.

Life went on.  I was still waiting for my urology doctor appointment to arrive. One morning, I was unable to insert the tube.  No matter how I tried.  It would not work.  I tried another tube with extra lubrication (yes, they are pre-lubricated).  I tried and I tried.  My bladder began to fill.  I made a quick phone call to urology -  loaded the wife into the car - and headed for Temple.   Once there I laid on another table.  A nurse tried to insert the tube.  She couldn't.  A doctor was called in.  Nothing.   Finally a team of 5 or 6 doctors and nurse worked on me.  Imagine me on the table with my pants down during all of this.  On 2nd thought, don't try to imagine that.

One doctor inserted a camera inside me - they DO have a camera that small.  Diagnosis:  When I had inserted the tube, it had taken the route of least resistance, right into the Prostate.  The doctors tried to insert another tube.  A smaller tube was tried.  The eventual answer was a wire which was able to make the trip - then a tube was inserted over the wire -guiding its path.  Tube in - the water began to flush.  I filled another couple of liters.

The new catheter was attached to a leg bag - I was given extra bags - and I went home.  No more self-insertion ----- self mutilation if you will.  Meanwhile, my phone message to daughter C brought her flying from work up to rescue the both of us.  I am going to point out here that the date was March 17th ... St Patrick's Day.   First hospital on St. Valentine's - 2nd emergency problem on St. Patrick's.  This does not bode well for Halloween - All Saint's day???

Just in case any of you are as dumb about this as I was.  The prostate sometimes increases in size as a feller ages.  This presses against the tube coming out of the bladder.  Eventually, it increases enough to completely close off the tube.  That was my joy.

About a couple weeks or so later, I finally had my first visit with my urologist.  We sat and talked for a while.  He said that he needed to feel my prostate.  I dropped my pants.  When he was done with his 5 second feel, he returned to his chair and said: "You have prostate cancer."  5 seconds.  None of my other doctors since January had noticed that.  This doctor decided in 5 seconds.  We talked.  He explained things fairly well.   I am going to jump ahead here.

He has given me a hormone shot - actually an anti hormone shot.  Later, he performed a prostate biopsy.  This exam uses a device to remove 12 different small pieces of my prostate. I felt nothing. The 12 samples are examined and a determination is made.  It verified cancer.  Mine is called level (4+5) 9 - which means aggressive.  This is not the same as stage I or IV or V cancer.  It is different and can be found on line.  Once the cancer was verified, we moved on.  

I went in for a day surgery.  They performed what is called HoLEP.  You can look that up online.  He explained that I had two problems.  One was the cancer and the other was the catheter.  The HoLEP made it possible for the catheter to be removed.  I am going to simplify here.  A device is inserted.  It goes into the prostate gland and removes the inside leaving only the shell.  I don't know if everything is removed or just most of it.  At any rate, I slept through the procedure - happily.  I spent one night in the hospital.  I had to urinate 2 times on my own before being released.  I won't go into this gory detail or the description of my roommate, but I did my 2 jobs and went home - no bag - no catheter.

Meanwhile, being concerned about the spread of the cancer, the doctor had me go for a Nuclear Bone Scan.   This was on Tuesday of this week.   Arriving at 9:45, a tiny bit of radioactive material is put inside my veins.   Then, at 1 p.m. I laid down on a table while the big ole machine passed over me taking pictures.   I asked if I could get an 8 by 10.  Apparently not.  It looked at whether cancer had spread to the bones.

Three days later, I received the call that my bone scan was negative.  There is no cancer in the bones at this time.  Now we are in the process of heading towards radiation.   That's it. I don't believe they ever cure prostate cancer...prolong,  but not cure.  We'll see.

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Now in an effort to make you feel sorry for me.  Other things have happened during all of this.

#1  My little dachshund Sadie suddenly had back problems.  The day after I arrived home from the hospital.  I had problems moving.  Luckily daughter Laura was here - She and my wife rushed Sadie to a vet.  Pills and drugs were given.   The next day, I changed vets to go to one who offered Laser treatments.  About 3 weeks later, Sadie was moving again.  I'm not sure she is perfect, but we hope so.

#2  Our dryer quit.  Bang.  It was older.  I decided to buy new instead of  fixing.  It took a week to get a new washer/dryer ordered.  Now get this:  it will be delivered on May 31st.   It is taking over a month for the items to arrive and be delivered.  My wife is going crazy waiting.

#3  We had the Salado tornado and hail storm.  The tornado missed us.  We had 3 inch balls of ice pound the house.  The back window of the Marauder was broken out, and the car took damage.  When the adjuster arrived, he calculated that all was fixable but the car would be totaled.  It is a 2003 Mercury Marauder.   However, the next day he called.  It seems that the Marauder has an $11,000 value while a normal 2003 Mercury is only about $5000.  The car is covered and not totaled.   It has been to a shop and is home in the shed.   Aside:  when it arrived, the left back window had fallen out of its track.  That window is halfway down and won't move.  Next thing is another trip to a mechanic.

#4  Roof damage.  Adjuster said only the north and east side of room had any damage.  Insurance would pay for half a roof.  He assured me that roof was plenty stable without new shingles.  I would have no problems with roof.    There is more.  That will come later.  Mtz