Back With A Bump
Wow, just wow. After one month in France I’m back to Earth with a bit of a bump. We’ve now been back 3 weeks and to be honest it feels like we’ve never been away. I’ve had a chance to catch up with all the holiday vlogs now. So am now deciding what next?
Just to rewind a bit. I think if you’re going to vlog and blog your life it’s important to be upfront and honest about things. I don’t know that subscribers and casual viewers/readers want to read everything about my life, but for me, that’s certainly what a blog is for. Yes, I know it’s a caravan based blog, but it’s also about me.
So, just before we went away, literally 3 days before, I wasn’t feeling that great. Symptoms were trapped wind and after taking something to ease it, it did indeed ease. The timing was awful, I didn’t want to spoil the holiday we’d been planning for a year. By the time we came to go, I was feeling well enough to go, so we went.
I’d noticed I’d been getting up during the night to pee more often. I’d previously got up maybe once, occasionally twice, a quick google told me this is probably nothing to worry about, so apart from feeling a little tired due to having interrupted sleep, I wasn’t concerned.
Whilst on holiday I was feeling exceptionally tired. Pretty much from day one, I’d been getting up more than 4 times a night to pee. Initially, I thought it might have been stress or excitement of going on holiday. You know how it is, you try to explain these issues away in your head so that they appear to be nothing too serious.
I was also finding I was more thirsty than usual. Again, it’s the heat, you always drink more when you’re hot. But this was something different and little quiet alarm bells were ringing, it just wasn’t right.
Naturally, Mandy was accusing me of being a miserable git and wanting to spend time in the air con caravan. Being in the Sun was causing me to feel ill. For God sake pull yourself together man! Some days I felt ok, we’d swim in the sea, have a day out at a nearby town/market but others I felt absolutely exhausted. In the end, I had to agree that when we got home I’d see the Doctor and for a man to agree to that….
I Shouldn’t Google Things
All of this time, of course, I’m googling each symptom, maybe I’m peeing at night because I’m drinking too much? Then because I’m peeing at night I need to replace the fluid by drinking? I didn’t manage to convince myself this was the issue.
Google explained everything of course :
- Overactive bladder
- Enlarged Prostate
- Kidney failure
Not a great list of things to choose from and a few of them very worrying.
We arrived home after a month in France and I duly contacted my GP. I rang on Thursday, had an appointment Saturday, blood test Monday and had results the next Thursday.
Blood Results. I Have WHAT?
I was in work on Thursday my phone rang “unidentified caller” I don’t usually answer these, but this one I did. It was my GP. Oh shit, they’re ringing me with the results. After a brief conversation, there was a problem with my blood results and I should go straight to A&E. A&E??! WTF. I was on the other side of London.
It was either total renal failure or an enlarged prostate. I googled total renal failure this isn’t something you should do. Basically, your kidneys are shot, the end. My kidney function was down to 22%. I have to say I’d never previous wished for an enlarged prostate, but I did this day.
I came home on the train, googling symptoms as I went. I decided that if I’d had kidney failure, I’d know. google suggested I wouldn’t get any symptoms, I’d basically just die. Come on google, help me out here!
I popped home first then went to the GP to get a letter and straight to A&E. Waiting in A&E I was convincing myself it was “just” an enlarged prostate whatever the heck that actually meant. What even IS the prostate?!?! I associate prostate with cancer, if you did a word association quiz, you’d say “prostate” I’d say “cancer”.
I was called in for triage, which is where you get assessed by a qualified nurse or doctor. Several questions and to my relief, they seemed to laugh when looked at the GP’s notes about “acute renal failure” and suggested GP’s “always do this”. I had blood taken and was asked to pee in a small container and sent back out into the A&E waiting area.
How Big is a Bladder Meant to be?
About 30 mins later I was called in again and taken to another cubical in A&E. I was asked several questions about my symptoms. They wanted to do a bladder scan. OK, that didn’t sound painful and indeed it was not.
My bladder had almost a litre of urine in it. “Is that a lot?” I asked. The doctor confirmed it was. He asked me to go to the toilet and empty my bladder, which I did. I came back to where I left Mandy and the Doctor had gone. We waited a little while and I decided to try and empty my bladder again. “I’ll empty it myself, I know how they will empty it for me”. I’d been in hospital once before and had a catheter fitted 🙁
After “emptying” my bladder again, the Doctor came back and did another bladder scan. I’d manage to pee out about 330ml (size of a Coke can) So this still left around 700ml! Oh dear, this wasn’t good…
They were able to discount renal failure, which was a relief, enlarged prostate it was. BTW whilst the doctor was away I googled the size of a normal male bladder, what it’s capacity was. I read 300ml – 400ml. Why the heck did mine have 700ml?! Again, more cause for me to worry.
When the doctor returned I was lead to a bed in A&E and the curtains were closed. Oh gawd, here we go, I knew what was coming next. Yep, an inspection of the prostate. I’d read about this, of course, I had. “Digital rectal exam”, I read that with some relief, I thought the doctor had to stick a finger up your back passage. Digital suggested some sort of software, not hardware. Thinking about it now, of course, fingers are known as digits. 🙁
I’m here to report, to all those gentlemen fearing a prostate examination, it isn’t at all bad, it’s not as far up as you might fear. I was tempted to say it was enjoyable, but I wouldn’t go that far. You could think of it more as a prostate massage, rather an examination.
Fitting of a Catheter
So, my bladder wasn’t emptying because the prostate was partly blocking the tube. It made sense in my mind, I could picture this being the problem. It can be quite a serious issue if left. How do they drain a bladder? They insert a catheter. A tube goes into your bladder and drains any urine present into a bag, nice.
Is it unpleasant? Well, yes. BUT. From a male perspective, they first squirt an anesthetic gel where the tube is to go. This gives a cool feeling and the tube being inserted doesn’t actually hurt. It’s the NHS’s favourite saying. “It’ll feel uncomfortable”. It did.
“Did you feel the part where the tube had difficulty going in?”, asked the Doctor, once it had been inserted.
“All of it you mean?”
“No, that was it going past your enlarged prostate”
After about 30 mins I was in some discomfort so informed the doctor. He mentioned something about air maybe being trapped, so proceeded to squeeze my Penis (I’m sorry there’s not other word I could use.)
“You feeling ok?” he asked me. Then said after looking at the expression on my face “Well as OK as you could be with another man holding your penis”. Absolutely priceless and strangely made me feel much better. You see, it was a funny situation, it made me laugh. Mind you, I did feel oblidged to laugh, he had me in a compromising position!
“I’m ok as long as you aren’t taking photos and uploading to Facebook”
So, there I am, prostate examined, a catheter fitted. I’m told I’ll be staying in for observations and am eventually wheeled up to a ward.
On The Ward
Life on the ward started it’s routine of sleeping, eating, medication repeat. I wasn’t on any medication though. I was admitted Thursday. Friday morning I saw the Doctor. Before he came around I heard him telling some poor bloke that he’d need an operation and would have to keep the catheter in for 2 months. Holy shit imagine that! I’ll just get some tablets to shrink it, I read about it you see….
“TWO Months?” I exclaimed once the Doctor told me I’d need an operation and would have the catheter in for two months. My mind was struggling to process this information. The option was to basically keep the catheter forever. But my blood results had improved, I just needed an ultrasound scan to check my kidneys and I could go home. Great.
Unfortunately, the ultrasound results weren’t great. Enlarged kidneys. What is it with me and enlarged insides? I’d have to stay in the weekend.
On Monday the Doctor asked if the nurses had monitoring liquid in and out. They hadn’t. I had to stay in another 2 days. I was told to drink as much water as I could to flush the kidneys. I drank for much I felt ill and peed out 4 litres of water, that sounds a lot, I thought, not really knowing how much I normally pee.
The next day the Doctor looked at my chart.
“Yes, is that good?” I asked.
“Do you normally drink this much?” he asked, looking at the chart of “fluids in”.
“Well, no, I was told to drink as much as I could to flush my kidneys”
“Just drink your normal amount today and we’ll check again tomorrow”
Another day in the hospital. I ended up staying a week.
Oh, something I forgot. On the Friday night, during evening visiting hours when Mandy was visiting, my phone rang. Looking at the phone it read “CAMC Brighton”
“Caravan Club site at Brighton is ringing?”
“Oh bloody hell”, said Mandy, “We were meant to go today”. Mandy answered it and explained the situation and they were very understanding. We had completely forgotten, I mean it hadn’t even entered our head, being hospitalised came as a bit of a shock.
So, now I’m home and been able to process what happened in a week. I have an enlarged prostate. I believe the medical term is Benign prostate enlargement (BPE). It usually affects men older than me. Indeed if I had been older they might have just given me medication. But apparently from about the age of 25, it starts to enlarge, so me being so young (:-)) it’s worth operating on as it’ll only get larger and you don’t want to be in a position where you can’t pee!
I have a few appointments lined up, further examinations. I have a catheter in until I have the operation to trim the prostate, this is known as a TURP, which involves removing part of the prostate. After that, I can get the catheter removed. The good news is the prostate appears to be benign, when felt it’s smooth, rather than bumpy!
As far as the caravan goes, I’ve not stepped inside it since we got back from France. I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve actually been avoiding it. Maybe it’s some sort of trauma (not truma!)
I had planned to do a vlog at the weekend but kept making excuses. Anyway, I’m sure things will settle down soon and things will be back to normal. Life goes go on and it could have been a lot worse.