There are times in life when you just have to take a little time to clean a few things up and take on the odds and ends that need to be addressed before proceeding down life’s path. This blog is going to wander around a bit, and talk about a few things that have been on my mind. Fishrocks is after all, a blog about things that I am interested in. A quick warning. The last part of this blog deals with a rather graphic conversation I had with someone in the recovery room after my prostate surgery. It deals with penile pain. If that subject makes you a bit squeamish, you might want to skip that part.
First off, I want to thank all my regular readers for the response to my last blog, No Mas. It was by far the most viewed blog that Fishrocks has ever had. Over 1200 views in 14 different countries. Now, that’s not the level of say, a viral post from someone as cool as Leo Dicaprio, but for me, it was pretty good. I was very encouraged by the comments I received from a lot of concerned friends about my latest decision to stop my cancer treatments. Almost all the comments were positive and helpful, and none were preachy about what I should do next or that I’m crazy for not continuing my current regiment of hormone treatments. This battle I am currently fighting is frustrating to me and sometimes confusing to you muggles without cancer, so I am very grateful for the support, love and prayers.
As far as how the battle is currently progressing, many of you that I have seen in person have asked how I feel since stopping the treatments. The answer to that question is I feel the same, or maybe even a little worse. That may be surprising to you, but the fact of the matter is hormone treatments will take months to get out of my system, and until that happens I will continue to suffer from hot flashes, depression and mood swings. It might be autumn before I start feeling better. So, here’s to another hot summer with hot flashes and an overall feeling of despair. Good times! But at least I can look forward to the light at the end of the tunnel.
In my latest blog, I kind of quickly talked about my latest hospital stay, so I will attempt to describe that day here. I had a couple of dizzy spells at work, so after security was called, I was transported via stretcher to an awaiting ambulance for a slow trip to the hospital to check things out. I say slow trip because the ambulance driver apparently was unaware that there are expressways in and around Grand Rapids that can get you downtown considerably faster than local surface streets. Even laying prone in the back of an ambulance I knew a better, faster way to get to the hospital. Lucky for me I wasn’t having some sort of cardiac event, although I was becoming more and more agitated. I have some road rage issues. If you need evidence of that read The Bad, the Good, and the Ugly, Part One. It ain’t pretty.
After arriving at the hospital, it was decided that I needed a CAT scan to determine what was going on inside my body and head. Oh boy. Just what I wanted, another CT scan. I was set up with an IV port, and then transported to the lovely scanning area, where I waited in the hall for about a half hour. Why do hospitals make you wait in the hall for these things? My theory is they do this so that you can see other sick people going by and think, “Wow, this really sucks, but at least I’m doing better than THAT guy!” Unless, of course, you are THAT guy.
After getting the lovely contrast in my IV and pumping it into my bloodstream, which proceeded to make me,
1. Really warm
2. Really nauseous
3. Really feel like I’m peeing myself
I was wheeled back to my room to wait on the results. After about an hour the docs told me that for some reason the dye did not travel up one of the arteries in my neck, and in order to see what was blocking it, I needed to get an MRI. Great. More tests. After a few requisite questions about claustrophobia and if I would freak out in the MRI tube, I assured them that I was an old veteran at this, that I had done it before and it wasn’t a problem. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I have had MRIs twice in my life, once on my ankle and once on my back right after I was diagnosed with cancer.The one for my back was fully in the tube, lasted about 45 minutes, and I listened to music and was otherwise unaffected. Easy peazy, no problem. Well, the difference with getting an MRI for the back and getting one for the head is the stuff they put on your head to make sure you don’t move your head during the procedure. Remember when Hannibal Lecter was transported from place to place? They put that weird mask on him and strapped him to a board? Yeah, think that kind of head apparatus, and then getting shoved into a plastic casket. The techs put what seemed like a ceramic bowl over my head which I could barely see out of. Then they shoved this plastic thingie under my chin so I couldn’t move my mouth. Then two plastic cushions were blown up on either side of my face under the bowl to hold my head still. Then, right before I went into the tube they asked,”You ok, Dan?” To which I replied, “Yuugillump.” I think I meant to say,”You betcha!”, but it didn’t come out that way.
I wasn’t ok. I was supposed to be in there about 45 minutes. I may have lasted 45 seconds. I seriously panicked. I started pounding on the sides of the tube and yelled as loud as I could, “Lutmeoushofhereahhhhh!!” For a few panicked seconds I thought maybe they couldn’t hear me and I would have to be in there for the whole 45 minutes and they would pull me out screaming, “IT’S LONGER THAN YOU THINK, DAD! LONGER THAN YOU THINK!!” If you want to know the origin of that phrase, google it. Or google Stephen King’s short story “The Jaunt.” I’ll wait.
You back? Scary, right? 45 minutes in that tube would have turned my brain into pudding. It was one of those moments when I realize that I would be a really crappy secret agent. Put me in a claustrophobic situation and start asking me questions and I would fold like a $10 tent from Walmart. I would give up the positions of the troops, tell the bad guys any codes I had, and probably divulge my parents home address. Luckily for me the techs heard me, and got me outta there in a few seconds. After taking the various apparatuses off my head, they talked me down from the crazy and said I would have to be sedated to get the test done. Cool. How long does that take?
Because you have to coordinate the MRI schedule with the schedule of the anesthesiologist, I had to wait until the next morning to get all this stuff done. Yay. A night in the hospital. I’m not even gonna go into how disappointing that was.
The next morning, I was taken down once again to the MRI room again. “Hi guys, remember me? I was the big baby that freaked out on you yesterday.” Kind of embarrassing. They assured me that it was not uncommon to have someone lose it like I did, which made me feel a little better. I talked to the anesthesiologist for about a minute, and the next thing I knew I was feeling REALLY GOOD. He said goodbye, and all the sudden there is some guy yelling my name trying to wake me up. I felt great, like I slept for about 12 hours. It was really a wonderful experience. Thank you good drugs.
Here’s the thing about the anesthesia. I have had 5 surgeries in my life where I had to go under with anesthesia. Every time I woke up, I was in pain. Knee pain, shoulder pain, whatever was worked on, when I woke up, it hurt. After having my prostate removed, I woke up to a different kind of pain. I had some, um, pain in my penis. A lot of pain. And apparently coming off the anesthesia is like a truth serum for me because I don’t hold back.
Guy in recovery room- Dan, how do you feel?
Me- My dick hurts.
Guy- Well, you have a catheter in and you are probably feeling bladder spasms, like you have to pee.
Me- Uh, my dick hurts, make it stop.
Guy- Ok, we can give you medicine for that, but we have to roll you on your side so we can give you a shot in your butt.
Me- I don’t care what you do, my dick hurts, make it stop.
Not exactly Shakespeare, but you get the idea. After this particular bout of anesthesia, nothing hurt. It was a wonderful, pain free, one and a half hour nap. I can see why Michael Jackson got hooked on this stuff. Oops. Too soon? Sorry.
The results of the MRI showed nothing, which my wife Holly will tell you she has suspected as much for a long time. Just a simple bout of good ol’ vertigo, except with a lot more drama.
Well, that’s all for this blog, cuz I don’t want to write anymore today. I’m hoping in the near future to write about something other than my health, maybe get into some politics or sports. Or maybe I’ll find a beach this summer and read a trashy novel.
Yeah, right. I just started a 650 page tome on the Korean War. Don’t judge me. To each his own.
Thanks for reading.