Seven words are guaranteed to strike fear in any man: “You have an appointment with the urologist.”
For years we avoid talking about anything below our personal equators and, then, we hit “a certain age” and it’s something everyone wants to discuss.
A family practice physician broaches the subject, throws out things like PSAs, prostates and “weak streams” and, before you know it, you’re bent over a table realizing this is something you spent a lifetime avoiding.
Breathe a word of it to a friend and, quickly, you’re regaled with stories of their own close encounters of the gloved kind. If the doctor finds something wonky, you can be sure you’re headed for that place with plenty of plastic cups to pee in.
I got my marching orders after mentioning that I had seen blood in my urine one night. That set off the uro-alarm and led to pretests, ones that didn’t nip this in the bud, so to speak.
I got the appointment and, like a soldier marching off to battle, I made my way. There, other equally weary candidates sat in chairs, looking just as shell-shocked.
Because I didn’t know what was going to happen, I didn’t go to the bathroom before I got there. “Where’s the rest room?” I asked the receptionist.
“Grab a cup and go in.”
“Grab a cup and go in?” I thought. What does that mean?
“Everybody leaves a sample,” she said. Following orders, I nervously filled the cup, wrote my name on it and set it on a table for god knows who.
Had I been smart, I would have bought some urine on the black market that didn’t have traces of blood in it. Instead, mine showed a little problem, which led to more discussions.
To really check what was going on “down there,” the urologist would have to take a look – inside.
A flashlight, I assumed, was not good enough.
Instead, I was told, he would need to put an instrument where the sun also doesn’t shine. And, as med schools train their young to say, “you might feel a little discomfort.”
To be honest, I nearly passed out at the thought of someone looking inside anything.
“We could numb the area or we could put you to sleep.”
Now, if you know me, no amount of numbing is going to seem remotely preferable to sleeping. So I opted for the latter, slated the ‘scoping and began googling every possible scenario. The worst, as Dolly Parton said in “9 to 5,” would turn me from a rooster to a hen.
When the day came, I was fairly stoic, but still freaked. Even after I was given a television remote, a heating pad and a recliner, I was skittish. The doctor told me what was going to happen, led me into the “operating” room and gave me a good look at more instruments than you’d ever think they could use in brain surgery. There were stirrups, too, but, thankfully, I never was awake for that portion of our show.
Instead, when it was done, I woke up, got dressed, got medication and was told that ol’ discomfort could appear every time I peed.
He had to do a biopsy, too, to make sure everything was fine. The results, he said, would be ready in a matter of days. Meanwhile, I got some pills to help relieve that discomfort.
What he didn’t mention was that those pills turn your urine orange and when you’ve been to a bathroom, you’ve marked your turf. No dog has left this kind of trace in the snow.
Women always complain about the poor aim men have. With that tracking device I can now say they’re right.
Obviously, the days until I got the results were agony. I had mentally written a new will, planned a funeral and come to the conclusion I wouldn’t be able to donate my body to science.
When I did get the call, it came with good news – the kind that makes you want to jump up and down, if you weren’t afraid of wetting your pants.
Now, I view the urologist’s office in a different light. Perhaps I should have gone years before – just to be safe.
I won’t dread it anymore. But I will offer a piece of advice: If you have to pee before you go there, just wait. No matter what the problem, they’re probably going to hand you a cup anyway.