08 June 2009

Expositions, Violations and Satan's Tool

DISCLAIMER: I've never had a blog post which has needed a disclaimer but this one probably deserves one. I've been told that knowing me is an education. So, if you keep reading this, prepare to be educated about me and some painful accounts of the nether regions. You've been warned.

I have seen Satan's tool and it is the cystoscope. Well, actually I haven't seen the cystoscope up close and personal - only in this and similar online images. However, I'm scheduled to see this instrument of torture for real in two weeks.

This story begins last Saturday. The family went to see "Up" (HIGHLY recommend seeing it - but it's a tear-jerker for parents and definitely grandparents) and when the movie was over I noticed an odd pain lasting a couple seconds in my abdomen. The sensation seemed the size of a quarter and was in my lower right pelvic area. At the time, I wondered if I had eaten too much popcorn and needed to "take care of business" soon.


That night, the pain continued a half-dozen different times and still lasting only a couple of seconds. As many in my situation would do, I turned to the web in search of a diagnosis. While the web is a wonderful resource, searching for medical diagnosis often creates confusion and needless concern in folks.

I reviewed site after site and concluded the pain might be an appendicitis. However, I had no fever, nausea, or any other symptom for an appendicitis. On Sunday, I was uncomfortable but the pain was generalized and no longer specific. Mashing on my abdomen, there was definitely a tender area to the right of "the family business." Even though the left lower abdomen was also tender, it wasn't the same sensation. I prayed for relief and to not need surgery.

Monday morning, praises to God the pain was gone! What a glorious day! I wasn't uncomfortable and seemed to be in the clear. Until later that afternoon.

The uncomfortableness returned with no sharp pains but a dull, itchy sensation like pants being too tight. Since this was Day One of Georgia being in between school and summer camp, I waited for Kim to get home. Then, off to Patients First - a walk-in primary and urgent medical care facility in Laurel, MD.

After the expected weight/blood pressure/temperature check, urine sample, and blood work, I received the unexpected: a young, petite, Middle-Eastern woman doctor. Well, nothing against female doctors. Just thought they might send in a guy but one may not have been on duty. After mashing on my belly and determining that there was no appendicitis, she asked me to unzip my shorts and checked the region of pain. She quickly cleared her throat a few times and seemed a bit uncomfortable. If she had bought me dinner, it might have been less awkward. LOL!

Donning the rear-exposing hospital gown, some x-rays were made of my pelvis region. Those were negative for kidney stones but my urinalysis apparently had "the type of blood levels associated with menstruating women." Ummmm, okay?! What the heck is that suppose to mean, Doc?! She refers me to a urologist. My trophies: the need to setup that appointment, knowing that this was not an appendicitis, being poked-n-prodded, and nearly exposing myself to a woman doctor.

On Tuesday morning, I call to setup the urologist appointment. I'm hoping for Wednesday. The first available is the following week. The thought of lasting all week with this is underwhelming. I explain my case. "Blood in the urine" is apparently a good phrase for expediting. The woman asks if I prefer the Laurel or Columbia location and a male or female physician. I'm wanting wherever and whomever is available first! An appointment is set with a female urologist for Friday morning. Sigh, not as soon as hoped.

Tuesday through Thursday is a slow boat of discomfort. I'm asked by family and friends if I'm in pain but it's really more discomfort. Pain is something that's constant or frequent. This is not.

On Wednesday, a visit to primary physician confirms again no appendicitis and he suggests I see the urologist. I also get a bonus, the prostate exam. Sigh, it was only 6 months earlier that my doctor visited there with that jellied and gloved finger. All is well with the prostate but the violation has been done.

Friday morning comes and I've lost my insurance card. Nowadays, if one doesn't have a health insurance card, no service. However, I'm on Kim's plan and she emails me a clear picture of her card. The receptionist is pleased and amused. She makes a call. They chuckle some more. Because she can actually see the card and the number (good camera work, Kim), they request its front and back be faxed over. I'm in like Flynn.

Soon after leaving another urine sample for the week, I'm describing my woes to the urologist. Soon after that, my pants are at my ankles while we chitchat about Georgia and her upcoming birthday. Soon after that, my undies are down and she's mashing and meading my nether regions, including "the cough" and pulling back "the hood." Friday was the best I'd felt all week which may have contributed to neither the urologist or even me locating the tender spot. She finds nothing out of sorts. Then, I get a bonus from her. Yup, she gives me the jelly-glove finger. Thanks, Doc, I'm glad every thing's okay. Yes, I'd like some tissues to wipe away the jelly for the second time this week.

It's now that she informs me of my next two steps. One, is to have a CT-IVP of my pelvis. A procedure which should take 15 minutes and involve dye charting my kidneys and bladder. But number two is the cystoscopy. That's scheduled for two Thursdays away and will resemble this image: this urologist shoving "a pencil" with a camera up my penis and filling my bladder with fluid so she and I can look at the inside of my bladder.

There are several flights of stairs between now and then. I'm likely to fling myself down one of them.

So, I was able to secure this past Saturday morning (Saturday evening marks 1 full week of this) a visit to American Radiology for the cat scan. Being conveyed through a large metal donut 3 times with a British voice telling me to hold my breath and breathe normally was part of the fun. The rest was having a thick fluid called "contrast" shot into my bloodstream via an artery making me feel like my skin's afire and that I've peed myself.

On Sunday, now ticking into my 2nd week of this discomfort, I'm feeling renewed. Perhaps it was smearing sports cream over my abdomen and back Saturday afternoon after the CT-IVP, napping, and taking a shower. Perhaps it was taking 3 Percogesic Saturday evening, napping, and taking 2 more 5 hours later before going to bed for the night. Perhaps it was introducing saw palmetto supplements into my daily routine. But I really feel it has more to do with all the wonderful prayer warriors lifting me up through this. Thank you so very much for your love and support.

Later Monday, perhaps I'll know something more. But even through the expositions, violations, and learning about Satan's tool, God is in control and He hurts when we hurt whether or not we know the reason for the pain.

- UPDATE: Saturday, June 13 - Since posting the entry above, I've had at best minimal discomfort. The only pain occasionally during the week reminiscent of something healing. Now, all appears better and has been for days. Praise God!

My appointment with the tool of doom still stands for this coming Thursday. I intend on canceling that and scheduling that same time or another into a consult with the urologist. At present, I don't know the results of the urinalysis and the contents of the 32-pages of cat scans. I'm curios if she can offer thoughts without peering into my bladder via catheter-cam.