This too, too solid flesh

My urologist’s gloved hand delicately pointing out some structures in my bladder with his pinky.

Those of you who regularly read my scribblings know that I’ll write about anything at all. The past 800 columns reflect what’s on my mind at any particular time; I learned long ago that writing a regular column merely requires paying attention, and that attention may be placed on anything at all; for the past week it’s been on my dick. While taking a piss on a Saturday night about three weeks ago, I peed blood.

It cleared up in a day, but I called my physician nonetheless, and he suggested I follow up with a urologist. “At our age, you never know,” he said, “get it checked out.” He made a referral and a week later I lay down on an examination table. Call this chapter of the story “Spelunking Larry’s Urethra.” The urologist threaded a camera up my dick while I watched, passing through my penis and prostate gland, all the way up into my bladder. It’s just plain wrong for things to go up there that way. I’m not complaining, mind you; I appreciate the benefits of modern medicine, but let me tell you, it was weird.

Captured on camera, in his opinion everything looked normal, but he recommended I get a CT scan to make sure nothing more was going on. The next day I reported for my scan, and by the end of the day it had been analyzed: I seemed to have a “filling defect” in my right ureter, the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder. That “defect” could have been from a small kidney stone lodged in the ureter, a growth of some sort, or pressure from an adjacent vein. “We’ll need to take another look,” said my urologist, “but this time with you in the hospital under anesthetic.” Oh, joy!

I checked in a few days later. Everyone was very nice. The anesthetic was effective, and I remember nothing between the moment they placed a gas-emitting mask on my face and when I woke up in the recovery room a couple of hours later. The doctor came by. “I’ve placed a stent in you ureter which will need to be taken out in a week or so. It may cause some discomfort,” he added. Let me tell you, discomfort is an understatement.

All day I feel like I need to take a piss. My poor bladder is totally confused, and often when I stand at the toilet, absolutely nothing happens; I’ve taken to humming “Let My Sphincter Go.” The stent extends from my kidney into my bladder, where loops on its end keeps it from slipping around but also irritate my urinary tract. When my bladder contracts, it pushes urine through the stent back up to the kidney, which responds with a painful ache. At the end of all this misery, my ureter should have dilated and resolved the “filling defect.”

For now, however, I’ve got a string hanging out of the end of my dick. Its other end is connected to the stent, and next week I will visit the urologist and he will pull it all out by tugging on the string. I am not looking forward to that at all.

So, this is what’s been on my mind this week. In honor of my late friend Kurt Von Meier, I’m classifying this column as a “Report to Soofi Central” from agent Barnett, currently stationed as a human on planet earth, detailing, in the words of the great bard, the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune.”

7 thoughts on “This too, too solid flesh

  1. sounds more like strings and arrows than slings.

    you need to get stoned instead. or maybe take the acid test.


  2. Larry,
    A great essay in true Sonoma vernacular. Keep them coming.
    I think it would be good to be able to “Leave a Reply” with the
    author-genius without having necessarily having it published.
    Es posible?

  3. Dear Lar – So sorry to hear of this offense against nature. Last summer I couldn’t pee, was given a catheter, which leaked – four days later I started shaking like a leaf in a hurricane, was told to go straight to KP ER, where they told me I had a massive infection in my bladder. Which had gone to my kidney and into my blood and I was racing towards sepsis. 3 days of getting pounded with antibiotics, they said, “What we were afraid of doesn’t seem to be happening.” Like dying? No response.
    Today I celebrate my 73rd birthday starting my ninth week with sciatica. I’m afraid I’m on a downward slope!
    I hope they can pull out that little device without serious discomfort. But the outrage!! The violation! Who knew? Another thing they failed to warn us about. “Old age, sickness and death” sayeth Sakamuni.
    Big hugs and best wishes

  4. When the doc pulls the string on the stent to pull it out you should either: a. fart or b. make a loud popping noise. Make sure to have this procedure videoed for future parties. Maybe it’ll go viral, you should excuse the expression.

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