Very few guys I know are comfortable with the thought of an aging gentleman inserting a well lubricated finger into their bum first thing on a Monday morning, or any morning for that matter, even if that aging gentleman just happens to be the local GP, and up until yesterday I was just the same but now I feel like I have been liberated.
*Tip: Guys, if you want to save time reading this the best advice I can give you is just go and have the check done, it doesn’t hurt, it’s not too embarrassing, it takes just a few minutes of your day and you might live longer as a result.
I had been putting off going for a prostate exam for a few years for no good logical reason, not because I was not aware of the risks and not because it is something that is not advertised or discussed, there were no good reasons at all for not going, just the usual man type reasons for not going to the Doctors generally, these reasons range from thinking it won’t happen to me to convincing myself I didn’t have time and bla bla bla, just excuses generally, but lately I had been noticing more and more nudges to just go and do it, from overhearing a friend of my wife talking about her dad dying from prostate cancer to seeing a postmark on a letter that came the other day raising awareness of the disease, so I thought, bugger it, I had best just go and do it.
I phoned the Doctors surgery last Friday and went through the usual sorry shenanigans of having to tell the receptionist what I wanted and then waiting to get a call back from the Doc before I could get an appointment, (how and why did making an appointment become so bloody complex?). The whole daft process of making an appointment is enough to put most blokes off ever going to the Doctors especially when most of us on the Isle of Wight live in small communities where everyone knows everyone. Did I really want to tell the Doctors receptionist, who also happens to be one of the mums I see occasionally picking up or dropping off at school that I wanted to make a prostate exam appointment?, No I didn’t, but I did it anyway, but I can see how this crazy system of having to explain to the receptionist what you want and then wait for a call back from the Doc can be a big reason for a lot of guys not bothering. Anyway appointment made and off I went yesterday morning with bottom maticulously scrubbed and lightly talced.
I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew at some point the finger up the bum would happen but wasn’t sure of the process before hand. Would we have a chat, set some mood lighting, watch a bit of TV, discuss the political issues of the day or would it be straight in, bend over and take a short sharp breath!
The Doctor called me into his room and the first thing I noticed was the size of his fingers and the cut of his nails. I can’t say I have ever paid attention to the size of the Docs fingers before when I have been in there in the past for an aching shoulder or a chesty cough but on this occasion I was conscious of the fact that he had some proper sausage sized fingers and whopping great long nails to match… Dear lord, I hope it’s only one finger!
The Doc explained the symptoms of prostate cancer and made a few notes confirming that I didn’t have any of them, that in itself was a bit of a relief and I started to relax a bit. He then went on to describe what the actual examination involved and made it sound like just a run of the mill part of his day so seconds later and at his request I had rid myself of my lower items of clothing and was laying on the examination table on my back with the family jewels getting some air, at this point I remember thinking I wish I had put some nicer socks on.
The Doc pulled on the examination gloves with a resounding flap and then explained he was going to feel my tummy which he did in the same way that your wife might have a pre natal tummy examination. A couple of pokes of the tummy later and after confirming I wasn’t pregnant he then asked me to cough a couple of times while he felt for any sign of hernia, that all being fine he then explained he was doing a check of the meat and two veg for any signs of lumps and after a few seconds of gentle squeezing on each of the boiled potatoes he confirmed that everything was fine in that department.
It was then time for the big one!
“Roll over on your side sir and bring your knees up to your chest”.
At that moment I felt a quiet grip of panic thinking there’s no going back now and was just in the process of wondering how can I get out of this when the Doc said, “OK, that all feels fine, there is no need for concern”… that was it, over and done with in a second or two. I had felt a slight pressure as the finger did it’s work but it was nothing like the total invasion and battering I had built it up in my mind to be. I would describe it as an unwanted visitor popping his head through the door to look around for a second rather than a mad axe man running wildly up the hallway waving his arms!
A couple of minutes later and I was fully clothed and sat listening to the Doctor explaining what he had done.
I felt a warm glow of re-assurance as I wandered back to geek central to share the good news with my wife.
Guys; it really doesn’t hurt, it’s not too embarrassing, it takes just a few minutes of your day and you might live longer as a result.
For anyone thinking they should go and get checked, take it from me, it’s really not that bad and the feeling of re-assurance that oozes over you afterwards is bloody marvelous.
Total time spent thinking I should go and do it: 4 to 5 years.
Total time spend actually doing it: 4 to 5 minutes.
Fore more info and advice on prostate cancer see the NHS Website here http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cancer-of-the-prostate/Pages/Introduction.aspx
If you know a man that hasn’t been for a check up please share this.