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.


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