Prostate II (A Slight Return)

This little outpouring of middle-aged angst that is ‘Getting On’ actually all began, four years ago, not with inspiration, but with the sound of latex, the smell of Vaseline and the words “Now just raise your knees up to your chest and relax” and all I can remember thinking is, given the circumstances, what kind of person could actually relax.  Lying on my side in a doctor’s surgery, aboard what looked uncomfortably like a mortuary trolley, whilst a lady doctor – who it turned out had got much bigger hands than anticipated – prepared to slip in through the ‘out’ door, was not a situation for which the desire to relax sprang easily to mind.  And I realise that the gender of a medical practitioner is irrelevant, but, frankly, when you are naked from the T shirt down and have adopted the foetal position, prior to receiving a sheath full of finger, it does add to the discomfort.   You determine to breathe deeply and evenly, and you take in one giant gulp of air, releasing it about three minutes later when the voice behind you says “Ok, you can pull your trousers up now” and you hear the distinctive clank of the pedal bin lid.

I have to admit, it was not the first time I had an index finger up my backside.  It had happened to me just once before, when I was sixteen and it was, again, a doctor’s digit making the intrusion – lest you should have any contrary impression.  On that occasion, it turned out to be acute appendicitis he detected – I ate a pillow that day – but this time I was ready, I knew what was coming, and I had an idea of what the result would be.  On this occasion the words “It’s very big and very hard” were not the ones I wanted to hear.  “Nothing of concern there,” would have been very much the preferred option: “Go home, eat chocolate and don’t worry; there is no further reason for me to go back up there” would have been nice.  The knowledge that further investigation was required and that my rectum was the only available means of access did not fill the mind with joy (any more than the later realisation that it isn’t the only point of access – but that’s a different tale, for another day, after you’ve eaten.)  Suffice to say that, for one reason or another, and excluding my ears, I have now had a camera inserted into every available point of access and I feel that my lights have possibly been the subject of more photographs than the zebra crossing on Abbey Road.

Initially, I did actually consider calling this little blog of mine ‘Prostate’, but I quickly realised that despite the very ragged nature of this particular not-so-little gland, it was actually going to be about so much more.  It was going to be about the potential future of failing eyesight, collapsing teeth, expanding belly, trapped wind, untrapped wind, sagging knees, crap on the telly, short-term memory loss, inability to adapt, short-term memory loss and ‘Oh dear, has Mr Floppy come to play again…’ and ‘You can pack that in for a start…’  This blog is about growing old.  It is about addressing fears (principally, that I might one day smell of wee) whilst embracing life.   It is about being old, but it is also, I hope, about somehow finding the joy in it.  And – you’ll be thrilled to hear – my prostate barely ever features…


7 thoughts on “Prostate II (A Slight Return)

  1. The art of growing old with dignity. Is it even possible? I think you have the best of all answers. To grow old with humour.

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  2. Yeah it’s not a particularly pleasant experience. I had a colonoscopy ….My God. Being skewered for ten minutes with a very cheerful, chatty doctor whilst I’m sucking on gas and air is something I’ll never forget. ..


    1. When the nurse/doctor (I’m not sure) pointed at something the size of a small bungalow and said ‘This is what we use…’ I found myself saying, ‘You’ll never get that all up there.’ she said, very seriously, ‘Don’t worry, we’ll lubricate the end!’ She’d probably used the line a thousand times before, but it made me laugh.


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