Cloister Commentary, Day 307: Mengele Clippers

I have been preoccupied over the last few days with the prostate biopsy I underwent yesterday. I’d had a cardiology appointment the day before that the biopsy actually overshadowed. I have some advice for those of you who may have one in the future:

1) Don’t read up on the possible after-effects. I realize this may be difficult if you’re trying to decide to assent to one–I was pretty much ordered–but they mess with one’s imagination, wake you up in the middle of the night, and make you paranoid. Besides, after the procedure they will tell you about these effects in detail anyway. They are rare, you take meds before during, and after to prevent them, and the ones I experienced were dwarfed by my imaginings.

2) You will be told about a device that is used to collect a sample of your prostate. What you will not be told is that this device, when in use, sounds like something invented by Josef Mengele (I am not kidding). As it is used on you, you may be skeptical that you will emerge with a prostate at all. Its snap is worse than its bite, however. It smarts, but doesn’t last that long.

3) I didn’t read the instructions on the required Fleets Enema until it was time to use it. Absence of specific pronouns in the directions plus concerns about my flexibility caused me to consider, with great trepidation, whether I would need to employ Nicole. I am happy to say that, though I am only slightly less stiff than Mike Pence, I managed. And if I could, you can. If I couldn’t have? I am fortunate enough to be loved enough.

4) One of my biggest concerns was having my agéd butt stared at, not just by a doctor but also the inevitable nurse. Don’t ask me why I was worried the urologist’s assistant would be a woman (I do not assume one would be)! However, I should have been more worried about a different part of my anatomy. She indeed was a woman, and, to my instant horror, she first asked me to take off my shoes and socks. I had not treated myself to my annual toenail clip, and when she saw my naked feet, I swear I saw her freeze. Nicole had reassured me prior to the procedure when I told her I was worried about farting, “Phil, they’ve seen everything, believe me!” Maybe not quite everything.

5) You will be numbed up, but “just to take the edge off,” the assistant corrected me; I was hoping to go under, but no dice. It is not like getting a crown or a filling; you are much less numb. Still, you are asked to have a ride to and from the procedure. In spite of my being completely unaltered as I walked out of the clinic, the echo of the Mengele Clippers was ringing so loudly in my ears that, when I walked out to Nicole’s car and tried to open the door, I heard the locks click. “This isn’t your car,” the horrified woman’s bulging eyes yelled to me. Oops. Nicole had not yet arrived. I awkwardly waved, bowed in apology, and crawfished hurriedly back to the clinic doors. Words of wisdom: stay focused when you’re in the parking lot!

The events of the day, even William Zabka‘s brilliance in Cobra Kai (Nicole calls him “The Lost Overeem Brother), paled in comparison to my trip to the urologist. But as I told my friend Rex, I basically Samantha-blinked and it was over–it hurts more than a colonoscopy (which does not hurt at all), but lasts a fifth the duration. Bottoms up!

Streaming for Strivers:

Message from the cosmos: “Send more Gil Scott Heron!”

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