My husband, Dear Paul, recently underwent 16 painful biopsies, all of which showed significant amounts of cancer in his prostate. He, at nearly 70, immediately got on the phone- his lifeline, it would seem, as he regularly talks on the phone for hours on end, each and every day. His calls ranged from contacting those he knew had had the same diagnosis, to his nearly deaf 98 year old kindergarten teacher, and he explained in detail his “Dick Doc”- his esteemed qualifications, education and his own upcoming surgery.
Funny part was that most of the people he called remembered him, and even the ones that didn’t were kind enough to listen to his laundry list of physical concerns such as erections, incontinence and adult diapers. You can just imagine the fun! He spread the news far and wide and then some. The good folks at the local hardware store, the checkers at the grocery store, and the barmaid down the street. He may as well have placed a front page story in the newspaper.
Dear Paul has an interesting way of dealing with stress. Generally he ignores the issues at hand and instead reads newspapers for hours or old National Geographics, which was in fact the periodical of choice when his surgeon “Dick Doc” was met with. As the surgeon painstakingly attempted to explain the actual surgical procedure options to him, at one point he exhaled deeply, turned to me and said “Mrs. Davis, if I am seeing this right, it is you I should be talking to and not Paul, correct?” Just then, Paul, like a sneaky little child, looked up and smiled. Then, finally, the doctor attempted to ask him if he had any questions- after a full half an hour of explaining the pros and cons, various treatments, the robotic surgery technique, recovery period etc., the best Dear Paul could come up with was “Well, you’re my dick doc- will I be dribbling afterward and when can I have sex?”
Oh Lord, shoot me now. This is not going to be a fun trip.
We arrived at the hospital for the surgery and, upon being asked a multitude of times what his surgical procedure would be- “Amputation of my left toe”, and what his name was- “Joe Blow from Kokomo”, I finally had to put an end to that nonsense and I did. He was in surgery for a long four and a half hours and the cancer was successfully removed, but the initial recovery period was a wee bit rocky as he was uncooperative with the nursing staff and tried to A: Pull out his catheter and B: Get out of bed. They even made a sign and taped it to his bed that said “Paul, please stay in bed- you just had surgery!”
Upon being released a day later, only after threatening to spray his ever patient RN with the tube from his catheter bag, Paul was up to his old tricks. He insisted upon walking 10 blocks, in his robe, to a local watering hole, the Owl and Thistle, because, after all “I earned a Guinness and I and going to drink one!” I tried not to return the astonished glances from the other patrons. Sheesh! What next??
The good news is that he is recovering nicely and happier once the catheter bag was removed. “Time to Free Willy” he kept saying…but getting to the Free Willy part was a little tricky, partly because the bag filled quickly based on the number of beers he ingested. On the big day of removal he came to Seattle, and I was horrified to see that there he was, shuffling down Madison Avenue in his robe, with a mostly full bag swaying in the breeze. Would it have been uncool to have hidden and not acknowledged him? Know that this gal was sorely tempted.
Rest assured though that the situation quickly worsened to a new level of embarrassment and horror for me, because as we entered the completely full urology clinic, he confidently strode over to the only open chair right by an elegant elderly lady and her equally elderly husband, sat down, heaved the bag up onto the coffee table and began “milking” the urine from the tube into the bag.
“Paul! Stop!” I was shaking with anger and embarrassed to my toes as all of those poor people were staring at us, open mouthed. I was actually thinking at one point I was going to pass out. Just then, Dear Paul smiled at me and said “Screw ‘em if they can’t take a joke!” …and I excused myself to go take a walk down the hall.