Slide your fanny a little…

“Slide your fanny a little bit back from the edge.  A little more.  Until it touches my hand.  That’s it.  You got it.”

Risque?  Hardly.  Warm and fuzzy?  No.  It was only Nurse Ratched getting me in position for my long anticipated prostate biopsy.  Sexual innuendos and any semblance of privacy were the farthest things from my mind.

For those of you who have faithfully followed my blog, you may recall a piece I wrote about a year ago that displayed in living color the unrelenting progress of my PSA readings.  Readings that, in some corners of the medical establishment, leave the suspicion of a sinister, cancerous infestation of my prostate gland.

I had dutifully made several breath-holding follow-up visits to Dr. Goldberg my busy, generally humorless, urologist.  This series of perilous events  led to the last one, an all too brief encounter a month ago where he blandly announced “Your PSA is up again.  Time to find out what’s really going on in there.  It’s fifty-fifty on the outcome.”   Huh? I thought.  That’s it?  No preliminaries, no show-and-tell.  Not even a hand on the shoulder.  “Just make a biopsy appointment for a couple of weeks from now and bring your body back here.”

During those weeks I had ample opportunity to think about the worst and to explore in-depth the components of the dreaded procedure.  However, except for a couple of brief light-hearted discussions with friends, I disdained the bountiful educational opportunities offered by the web, the local library and the Jewish Forward.  The most memorable and illuminating conversation was the one had with Harry.  “I spoke to a friend of mine.  He had a prostate biopsy.  No big deal.”  My, how reassuring.

The big day arrived.  I prepared and cleansed my body as instructed.  I swallowed the rather large antibiotic pill taken as a precaution against a possible infection that I was convinced was surely as deadly as 18th century bubonic plague.

Sweetie and I arrived at Dr. Goldberg’s office, early as usual.  I embarked on the obligatory viewing of the same travel magazines seen during my earlier visits and, realizing that I had absolutely no idea of what I was reading, settled back while the clock wound past my appointed time.

Other than the need to argue with the bookkeeper about co-pays, I passed the time wondering what particular urinary malady was afflicting each of the other sullen faced men sharing the waiting room with me.  The Halloween decorations, especially the sheeted ghost hanging by its neck over the entry door, did little to lift one’s spirits.

Nurse Ratched appeared and escorted me to the operating chamber.  I was a bit disappointed, given the singular importance of the upcoming procedure, that it did not look more like Mel Brooks’ laboratory in Young Frankenstein.  Nurse Ratched took my blood pressure, pulse and temperature.  All were functioning…a good sign I thought.  I was then instructed in the proper removal of clothing and the donning of that never to stay in place paper cover-up.  I was left sitting backless and alone on the dissection table.  “Back in a few seconds” Nurse Ratched promised.

Time passed.  Anticipating that I might somehow be forgotten and left to starve to death, I reviewed the contents of the chamber.  The most imposing element was an ultrasound machine.  This clever device is used by the physician to locate, measure and help zero in on the parts of the prostate gland that have been chosen by lottery as the lucky ones for biopsy.

Once located, a small snippet of obviously useless living matter is clipped, removed from the dark recesses of one’s body and deposited in a carefully (I hoped) marked container to be sent off to that mysterious place that none of us has ever visited, called the lab. There it sits ignored for what seems like an eternity while god only knows what is done to it to determine whether it is, in that generic inoffensive terminology, negative or positive.

The scariest piece of the ultrasound machine is the probe that will, when the smiling doctor appears, be shoved ingloriously into your anus on its way to the blessed area occupied by that one ounce piece of meat called your prostate gland.  With time on my hands, I had ample opportunity to observe the impossible size of the probe and I wondered what it might be like to be incarcerated in prison with giant men who have been deprived of female company.  Not a pretty sight.

And for more laughs, I stared at the near life-sized chart on the wall depicting a fully functioning urinary system including a monstrous penis that put me to shame.

Having waited for what seemed like hours, I was preparing to remove my useless paper cover-up, get dressed and sneak from the office when Dr. Goldberg arrived.   Nurse Ratched, careful to make no clever comments about my private parts, began the arduous job of sliding and positioning my fanny.  She then  placed my feet into the same kind of stirrups that you women are more likely to encounter as you pass through life.  I really don’t know how you manage it.

“We’re going to take ten snippets” Dr. Goldberg announced.  “The hardest part is getting this probe past your great wall of China.  After that it’s a walk in the park.”

Around snip number three, and concerned that I might be left prostate free, I asked how much the ten snippets weighed.  “Everyone asks that” Dr. Goldberg laughingly said.  “Your prostate weighs about twenty-eight grams and the snippets will total less than a gram.”  Seemed hardly worth the effort, I thought.

Snippet ten occurred at about the five-minute mark.  Or, in Fred time, about twelve hours.  Done, we all breathed a well-earned sigh of relief.  I was allowed to recover some of my dignity, get dressed and proceed to the waiting room of sullen men where I gave Sweetie a big kiss.  I’m due back in Dr. Goldberg’s office in about a week.

Meanwhile Harry, tell your friend that he must have practiced.

12 Responses to “Slide your fanny a little…”

  1. 1 Harry October 26, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    come to think of it, my friend was just paroled 🙂 I hope everything turns out well and the worst of this episode is over


  2. 2 leila October 26, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Prayers and hugs
    Or hugs and prayers
    whichever does the best job.
    It might help to be drunk for the next week.
    love and best, leila


  3. 3 Judie October 26, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    At least that’s the one procedure the ladies don’t need to have. I had my own, removal of the ovaries. Piece of cake! Hope everything turns out fine.


  4. 4 Irvin Lucks October 26, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    I can fully relate having just had the genetic testing completed ( no marker for cancer) and now an MRI.. My thoughts are with you my friend.


  5. 5 art vander October 26, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    When my turn comes for some equally fraught procedure, I will reread your wonderful piece and thank you again for retaining your humanizing humor.


  6. 6 Andrew October 26, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    Next time I get up in the middle of the night I will be sending good thoughts your way


  7. 7 October 26, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Bob Boschan
    I can certainly relate to your experience. I had the same procedure twice by Dr.Emory over a period of three years.


  8. 8 Fred Kimmel October 26, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Thinking about you. I look at my graph and appears similar to the liftoff of a delta IV rocket. The doctor says no problem. Easy for him to say.


  9. 9 Phil Caruthers October 27, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Your description made me feel as if I was there with you, having the same scary experience. I’ll be nervous all week awaiting the results. Good luck to both of us!


  10. 10 Pa George October 28, 2013 at 10:33 am

    They have not got that far up me Fred, they can’t get by my Colon, 4 Times now, another check in January. Have you heard from MO?. I guess very Busy. Love George.


  11. 11 Roger Conrad October 28, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    All the best wishes from Ruthie and I for good results from the test samples. I had the same procedure a few years ago. Your blog seemed like you were ghostwriting my horrid experience. After going through it I found out the biopsy was unnecessary because the PSA results gave incorrect readings due to having a cold when the blood samples were taken –oh well. Roger


  12. 12 k November 10, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    ….time men went through some of that which we women have endured for years
    keep positive thoughts & especially a sense of humor


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