Cloister Commentary, Day 334: 4WD

I had never before piloted a four-wheel drive vehicle, but, due to the additional snow and our need to get one of our cats her feline leukemia booster shots, I locked in the Chevy Silverado I inherited from my dad and had a smooth trip to and from the vet on pretty nasty roads. I thought it was going to be complicated but it was easier than shifting gears. I’m not a car guy. Even less a truck guy, though I’ve driven one for over a quarter century.

After the urology lab kind of forgot about the results of my month-ago prostate biopsy, I finally got the results: negative. Cool! I asked why my PSA levels were so high, then. “We don’t know.” Oh. Follow-up in August.

Started up a Facebook fundraiser to benefit the Equal Justice Initiative for my birthday. EJI is primarily dedicated to providing high-quality legal representation to individuals unjustly incarcerated or otherwise unfairly trapped in the legal system–plus the memorial the organization has established in Montgomery, Alabama, to recognize the victims of the thousands of lynchings that have been perpetrated on this land is powerful.

Dinner was Parmesan portabellos, fresh spinach, and baked potatoes. We finally finished the gargantuan batch of cookies Nicole made–just in time for the Girl Scout cookies we bought from our wonderful lil’ neighbor.

My former student from eons ago, Alex Pulley, tagged me in a post: when I taught him and his gang of dudes as Parkview ninth graders, I frequently made them mixtapes. Alex, now middle-agéd, just discovered The Minutemen (accurately referred to by my friend Mike Rayhill as “The Minutestuds”) and couldn’t understand why I’d not hipped them back in the ’80s. I responded with several comments and replies in rat-a-tat fashion without waiting for responses. Once your teacher, always your teacher, dude….

Streaming for Strivers:

Owed T’Alex (that allusion’s a nudge in another musical direction)….

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!”