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calendar   Sunday - September 23, 2012

smoking and tumors and long needles

Well as long as Drew has brought up a health issue in a post ....

I received an interesting email from Drew tonight and part of it got me remembering the past.  Happy to say Drew is doing well with his campaign to end the habit of the deadly weed.  Campaign is a good word as for me it denotes war and quitting smoking is a war.  Of sorts.  Now then, this isn’t a rant against tobacco and as an ex smoker myself I do not agree with the health Nazis who try and make smokers criminals.  Or at least act as if they were criminals.  Good grief.  Smokers are banned from buildings the high taxes they pay, help to pay for the buildings they are banned from smoking in.  Well this post isn’t about that anyway.
It’s more to do with dying, having foreign objects shoved into very private parts
and a caution that bad things can happen to anyone.

I lost people very close to me who were smokers and one who was a chain smoker and drank way, way too much. He was a Nashville songwriter/publisher and all around great guy, gone at 55.  My brother, lung cancer and dead at 46. Six years younger then me.  I recall one very dear friend who was you might say, a smoking buddy.  I say that because in the early years we used to joke about it while we puffed our lives away.  Now he was some years older then myself so when he went (Emphysema) I kind of figured well he was older and so I still had some years ahead and anyway.  I was doing fine.  I remember calling his wife, this was before his death but while he was in the hospital, and called to see if she needed anything the wife and I could get or do for her.  You feel so helpless. Well she told me to call him at the hospital, there was a phone in his room and she gave me the number. She said he’d love to hear from me and it was a matter now of weeks.  So I did, and wish I had not.  There wasn’t much of a conversation to be had and he really didn’t want to hear from anyone. He didn’t say that but you could tell.  And that last call has remained with me all these years later.  And these are only a few examples of people I knew personally. There were others a well. 

Which brings me to the public service part of my …. is this a lecture?  It isn’t a rant.
Lets call it a cautionary tale and a true one based on personal and very unpleasant experience.

I musta been feeling ill or why else visit a doctor? I can no longer remember who I saw or why, but I do recall having an x-ray as part of a check up.  I believe I had an MRI.  A couple of weeks later the doctor’s office called to say there wasn’t anything wrong with heart or lungs (in fact I had and still do, the beginnings of Emphysema but that wasn’t found till later).  But they did see something that called for further examination, and wanted me to see a specialist.  They saw what looked like a shadow on the bladder.  I was referred to a urologist.  I think that’s what he was.
He was also humourless and unsmiling and altogether quite cold but quite competent.

He told me there was this shadow on the x-ray taken, but until he went into the bladder itself, there was no way of knowing what it was.  He also said it could be and most probably was, a tumor.  But unless he went in there, he would not be able to tell if it was malignant or not.  So a date was set for an exam a week away, and I went home happily smoking my non filter Lucky Strikes. 

Hey guys, ever had a needle stuck into your more sensitive part?  OUCH does NOT cover it.  And the FEAR makes it even worse.  I had no idea what I let myself in for.
You’re on this table with your legs open and up in stirrups, there’s lots of cloth of some kind with an opening for your limp and angry friend to peek through. You never imagined it could get that small.  Of course, it had never been that frightened before either, so it was a new experience for both of us. 
Trust me guys, you do NOT want this. But wait, there’s more.

They tell you they are going to numb the passage with painkiller so you won’t feel the examination probe.  Probe?  Hey wait.  Too late. 
Someone has this needle, a real one, not a movie prop, and they gonna put that looooong thing, maybe about three feet long, into your frightened lifelong partner who is now demanding a divorce.  They say you will experience a slight sting which will be the numbing agent.  Wait a minute.  You’re gonna hurt me to make it all better so I won’t feel the next step? It’s maybe no longer then a half inch to an inch but from where you’re viewing it, it’s a yard long needle.  Where’s the damn exit?  But it’s too late and Doctor Frankenstein’s assistant is there with the instrument of torture, and you’re on this damn table trying to back away with no place to go and in goes that thing and you will scream cause it not only stings but feels like the inside of your ex-friend is being torn. 

So now you have to wait about 20 minutes for the numbing stuff to work. And by now your back hurts too.  In comes Dr. Death or at least looking like it to you, and he starts to insert that awful probe.  But guess what?

THE NUMBING AGENT ISN’T WORKING !!!

Now your very limp and ex very angry friend is threatening a law suit at the least or maybe a firing squad. You are hurting and so …..  another jab in the sore part and another wait for that to work.

Result …. doc says it’s a girl.  Haha.  Actually, my doctor would never have thought to say that. I did cos it’s sounds funny.

What he actually said was, it’s a tumor, it’s malignant. It’s large.  It has to be removed and soon.  Wanna guess what part of you is used for the tumor’s exit?  He said these tumors are not painful until just at the end, and I had a month to go.

Ain’t it odd.  I wasn’t having any bladder problems. No blockage, no pain in the bathroom, no bleeding.  Nothing to suggest what was growing there.  But I was assured I’d have been dead in a short time.

After the surgery, and I don’t suppose you folks wanna hear about my hospital stay.
Or the catheter shoved inside me minus any pain killer of any kind.

Well after the surgery as I was saying when I interrupted myself, I was told I had to have an exam in six months time, to see if the tumor had returned. If all clear, another exam in another six months. After that, I was to have an exam every two or three years. I had the first two exams, the pain wasn’t any less let me tell you.  I decided the pain of the exam was not worth the life that might be saved and stopped having them. 

The Emphysema is stable and not expected to get any worse unless I start smoking again.  Fat chance of that.
And please make no mistake.  My experience was directly related to smoking.  I guess it just hits different ppl in different ways.  And NO. I did not sue American Tobacco. Or anyone else.

I have NOT had any further exams even though warned of what the consequences could be.  Well no thanks.  I do not ever want to revisit that experience. 
My ex-friend isn’t on speaking terms with me, and as I told the doctor who gave me the warning re future exams; What? Me Worry?

After death, there is no pain, and no taxes.


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 09/23/2012 at 02:12 PM   
Filed Under: • Health-MedicinePersonal •  
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