Two weeks after the scan revealed the tumour, I was invited in for its removal. I had a frustrating day waiting before being sent home at the end of the day as the schedule for that day had overrun. I was given another appointment in two days’ time and had better luck. I was told it would be just a one night stay but I ended up being there for six nights.
To remove the tumour I had an operation of forty five minutes under general anaesthetic. A wire was inserted via the penis and then the tumour was electrocuted.
When I came round, I had a catheter through the penis which drew blood clots and bloody urine/water from the bladder into a bag: an irrigation unit was attached that dripped water into the bladder. I was to stay in hospital until the urine cleared and there were no more blood clots. I was told that my blood clots were unusually large and they kept getting stuck in the tube inside the penis. This caused pain I wouldn’t have believed possible. It was as if a red hot poker was inserted. On the first night after the op I was shouting in agony so loudly, I was told later, that I could be heard several wards away. This was said not with scorn but with respect. Dr Mike was summoned. Codeine and paracetemol were about as effective as a handful of Smarties. The pain ran for two hours between 11.30 and 1.30 at night. I was shouting most of the time, oddly, with no profanities:
Cut the damn thing off! I’m too old for shenanigans and I don’t mind peeing into a bag. Cut it off. Better still … saw it off slowly … I don’t care. What about the Hippocratic Oath? … I bet there’s something in there about avoiding pain. And God! What are you doing about it? Just sitting there. I need anaesthetic. Stick a needle in there. Better still general anaesthetic … take a few seconds … let’s do it. Second thoughts … forget anaesthetic … I need time travel.
It was Dr Mike who eventually thought of the solution: replace my catheter with a wider one so the clots could flow more easily. And the pain stopped. The peace that followed … the absence of pain … gave me joy, ecstasy, bliss. On the peak experience scale it was way up there.