When my doctor found blood in my urine two years ago, he urged me to see a urologist.
I didn’t do anything about it.
I was worried that I would be wasting everyone’s time and it would turn out to be nothing.
Two subsequent urine tests followed over the years and both had microscopic amounts of blood in them. My doctor – who I’ve been seeing for 15 years – would sigh when I told him I hadn’t seen a specialist, hand me another referral and urge me to get it checked out.
I still didn’t do anything about it.
Then I got a really bad UTI that seemed resistance to antibiotics, which scared me a bit. So I sheepishly decided my doctor had been right to push me to get my bladder issues investigated.
I resolved to finally make an appointment to see a urologist and called my doctor to get help with my UTI, but receptionist told me he was gone.
He’d bought a one way ticket to Europe and she didn’t know when he would be back, if ever.
So I booked an appointment with the dour doctor who’d moved into his consulting room. She tested my urine and confirmed there was still blood. Then she sent it off to see what infections it contained and asked if I was a smoker.
Doctors invariably ask you if you’re a smoker when there’s blood in your urine because lots of them get bladder cancer.
I’ve assured everyone that I am not a smoker, although in my youth to steal drags from other people’s cigarettes when I was drunk. Well, I didn’t tell the doctors that last bit.
The tests on my urine showed absolutely no sign of infection, which freaked me out even more, as things did not feel right down there.
So I finally gave in and booked an appointment with the urologist.
The urologist asked if I was a smoker.
Actually, I sounded pretty healthy when he ran through his list of questions. I’m not on any regular medication and I am still in possession of all my organs.
He informed me that cancer cells in the bladder shed microscopic amounts of blood. If someone had explained that bit to me earlier, I might have been more eager to sort it out.
The urologist sent me for a bladder ultrasound, and, just in case you missed that blog post, I almost had a nervous breakdown waiting for the results because the receptionist totally freaked me.
She said the doctor needed to call me to discuss the results of the ultrasound before she could organise my hospital visit. I can’t remember her exact words, but the implication was that the radiologist had found something that impacted on the next steps.
The urologist finally called at 9pm. I sat down for the bad news and he proceeded to tell me that my kidneys looked good, my bladder looked good … but …
I braced myself … and he gravely announced that I had a very large fibroid in my uterus.
That was not news to me and shouldn’t have been to him – he had obviously forgotten that it was noted very clearly in my referral.
Anyways … the next step in the process to confirm I didn’t have bladder cancer came last Friday.
The hospital called me on Thursday afternoon to say I needed to be there at 6am the next morning.
Six freaking AM.
I texted my sister, who was driving me there, the bad news.
About an hour later, the hospital called back and said they needed to change the time to 5.45. For one brief, illogical moment I thought they meant 5.45pm – hallelujah – then I realised they meant AM.
My poor sister got another text message and agreed to get up at sparrow’s fart to be my taxi service.
At 7am I was wheeled into theatre. The anaesthetist asked if I had any health issues and I gave him a five-minute rundown on all my major symptoms of concern and, when he finally got a word in, he explained he just needed to know about any actual, documented health issues that might affect me being sedated.
Ah. No. All good.
The last words I uttered as I was wheeled through the doors were that everyone would need to forgive me because I’m a MAJOR chatterbox. Then I shuffled myself onto the operating table and …
I’m not sure where or when I woke up again, but I spent the next few hours in recovery while they waited for my blood pressure to come back up. It was 91 over 50, which Dr Google told me could be life threatening.
Regular readers may recall that the last time I had a general anaesthetic my pulse kept plummeting, so the hospital did an ECG at 1.30am in the morning and announced that I’d had an ‘abnormal cardio event’, which is a polite term for “heart attack”.
The cardiology department was contacted, two more ECGs were performed and many questions were asked, then I was left in the darkness to fret for 10 minutes.
A doctor returned, sat on the edge of my bed and told me how terribly sorry he was …
I swallowed nervously … then burst out laughing … because what he was sorry about was that the nurse had forgotten to reset the ECG machine after the last poor bastard’s dire reading.
My ECG, on the other hand, was completely normal.
Anyways, I digress.
This time my blood pressure eventually climbed to 114/75, which the nurse told me was very good.
Dr Google agreed with her. According to bloodpressureok.com, to maintain my blood pressure at this “excellent level”, the following can help:
- Regular sports and exercise
- No smoking
- Low salt intake
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol
- Reduce stress
When they say it like that, I have absolutely no idea how it’s excellent because I am a salt, caffeine, alcohol and stress addict who doesn’t do any regular sports.
After the nurse took my blood pressure she hung around for a chat because it was a bit slow in the recovery department at that moment. We became fleeting besties, discussing middle-age, downsizing and potential holiday destinations.
Eventually the doctor arrived and told me that he didn’t find anything in my bladder other than a bit of inflammation.
As I thought, it was all much ado about nothing.
That said, there was a lot to like about spending half a day in hospital.
I got to lie in bed doing absolutely nothing. I had a heated blanket tucked over me. I was wheeled around everywhere. I enjoyed an hour of blissful anaesthetic-filled oblivion. I was served some nice sandwiches in bed and delivered two cups of coffee. And I was wheel-chaired to the car afterwards.
It was very relaxing.
About the only traumatic part was being asked how much I weighed and underestimating the actual figure by 15 kilos. So now I feel obliged to give up french fries and Kit Kats and reboot my pump class attendance.
Plus, it turns out that having a camera shoved up your urethra makes it very unhappy, so I spent the rest of the day feeling like a really bad UTI again. Frequent urination, burning pain, that sort of thing.
Not bulk fun.
Speaking of bulk fun, I need to have some soon. Enough with the endless rain and health issues.
Blimey, the rain! I reckon it was the worst it’s been all year over the weekend.
But I didn’t let it stop me getting my Sunday roast fix with DD at his local, though I had to drive there the long way because the Wakehurst Parkway was flooded out.
And now a working week filled with bucketing rain begins. Stay safe out there!
Song of the day: Jackson 5 “Can you feel it?”