Buckets, plumbing and pipework.


A few days ago Diana and I were waiting in the reception area of the consulting suite at The Alexandra Hospital for a meeting with my consultant surgeon Mr. Vijay Ramani for the definitive results of the pathological examination of my prostate after my radical robotic prostatectomy. This was going to be the day that we had been waiting for. I had a nervous weekend and had neither of us had slept well for a couple of nights and now we were both waiting, sat on a sofa to see Mr. Ramani. Other consultants appeared from time to time calling out their patients names and we waited. Mr. Ramani suddenly appeared and acknowledged our presence and beckoned me forward. He shook Diana’s hand and then mine and as we walked down the corridor to his consulting room he put his arm around my shoulder and my heart sank to my boots. Having duly taken our seats we looked at Mr. Ramani expectantly and he asked me how I was doing. I responded that I felt that I was doing well but I really wanted he to know what he had to say. Mr. Ramani said that we would get to that later and he wanted to know how I was. I then had to say that Diana and I really wanted to know what the results were of the pathological examination of my prostate. Mr. Ramani then asked what I thought the results would be worth and after discussing “a good dinner” he let me have it! It was probably the best news that my wife and I have had in a long time. To cut to the chase and leaving out all the technical stuff it was confirmed that the cancer had remained in the prostate and was now, as Mr. Ramani put it, in the bucket! Obviously, I will be monitored over the next five years but nothing untoward is expected.

Mr. Ramani then delved into the detail of my daily plumbing habits since the operation and expressed delight at my progress. Diana and I then received a lecture on the pipework that had been hacked about and rebuilt during the operation and how there will be a period of time that will pass by before my bits and pieces properly fuse together. Consequently, I was urged not to exercise too much but to build up very slowly and I’m not allowed to fly for three months. It was at this point that “She Who Must Be Obeyed” asked with a knowing look and a smile, whether it was to early for sex! I thought that the poor man was about to choke and after he recomposed himself he felt that this subject should be discussed at a later date. I was obviously relieved at his news and of course his comments. Later in the day “She Who Must Be Obeyed” claimed that her question was in jest but I will never forgot the look of horror on Mr. Ramani’s face.

So, dear reader, it would seem that this time I have dodged that particular bullet but to be serious for a moment the outcome could have been very different unless Diana and I had decide to undertake a private yearly health screening process just over four years ago.

I’m sure that my next post will be on a completely different subject. Until then, toodleoo!

I have been rocket propelled!


I have been rocket-propelled! Well, briefly. Read on and my story will unfold. I’m now at home and have been for a couple of days but today is the first day that I feel that life is starting to return to normal! After my surgery which went very well I was discharged and started the convalescent process at home. Unfortunately, some blood started to appear in my urine together with some spidery clots and then I awoke at about four in the morning and discovered that my catheter had ceased to drain. After a quick telephone call to the Christie clinic and I was in the car, chauffeured by She Who Must Be Obeyed and back on ward three, just half an hour later. One of my consultant’s, Mr. Sengar, had been called in and he proceeded to wash my bladder out. This was an unusual, although not an unpleasant experience. Mr. Sengar decided to keep me in the clinic for a few days during which time I had a couple more bladder flushes. On top of this rather unpleasant experience my bowel had decided to cease to flow and consequently I was becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the days flowed by (or not as the case may be). Last Saturday, I was becoming desperate. Apart from the laxative the clinic gave me, my wife Diana, a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed, descended upon the ward in full force and fed me with a double espresso, six dosages of Movicol, a quantity of fresh fruit salad, four packets of prunes and then the staff nurse inserted a couple of gelatin suppositories for good measure. Everybody decided to take cover and the result after an excruciating twenty-minute wait was, nothing!

I awoke on Sunday morning feeling as if I would burst and was examined by Mr. Sengar again. It was decided that the gelatin suppositories would be attempted again and if they were not to have the desired effect then there was dark mutterings suggesting the use of phosphorous suppositories which mentally suggested a picture of Hades itself. It was but a short time when the staff nurse reappeared with the said gelatin suppositories which were duly inserted much as I expected a soldier would load his musket with a vigorous quantity of black powder, wadding and lead shot, all of which was strongly tamped into the muzzle using the longest and straightest of ram rods. I then waited and waited and waited some more. Suddenly I heard and experienced a gurgling sensation from my lower abdominal area and I moved with alacrity from the bed to the throne and there I sat as the gurgling increased its intensity. I felt as if I was sitting atop a Titan moon rocket and it was T minus 10 and the engines had been ignited. At T minus seven torrents of steam were exploding across the launch pad and then it was five, four, three, two, one, lift off! I swear, that due the full force of mother nature, I hovered above the toilet seat for a fraction of a second. Then, gravity reclaimed my body together with the spent fuel that had duly been emitted by my personal rocket motor. For those of you who can remember, the jubilant scenes in mission control after a successful rocket launch, that would be but a vicarage tea party, compared to what happened on Ward 3 at The Christie Clinic! Now, dear reader, I will be returning to the Christie Clinic tomorrow and all being well my catheter will be plucked from my body and I will no longer have an external plastic bladder attached to my right thigh gently swishing as I stroll around the estate.

Until my next post, Toodleoo!

Six and a half hours in surgery and I didn’t feel a thing!


I had my surgery yesterday (August 28) and I must admit its a bit of a blur. I arrived at The Christie Clinic at about 6.30 am and as my appointment time was before regular hours I was received by the cheerful security team and shown to my room on the third floor. I had just unpacked my bag, pajamas, toiletries, slippers,two novels, MacBook Pro, iPad, 2 external hard drives, internet telephone and a portable scanner when Sister Vicky welcomed me. After a spot of paperwork, my BP, temperature and pulse was taken and then my calf and thigh were measured for some very attractive white tights that I will have to wear for the next 28 days. Needless to say it won’t be the same pair of white tights just in case you were wondering. I was then visited by my anesthetist  and I signed my life away yet again. He then went on to explain the procedure in detail but the short version is that I would be operated in an inverted position on an inclined board so my head would be lower than my legs. Thankfully , I have no memory of this as I was fast asleep. I was then greeted by my consultant, Mr. Vijay Ramani, and walked me through towards the preparation room. There was a slight delay in entering the preparation as the fire alarm went off and rang for what felt like a considerable time (apparently there was a faulty sensor in one of the path labs at the far end of the complex in another building!). You could say that they were “Ringing out the bells for me and my prostate” but it doesn’t seem to scan that well!

On entering the preparation room  I was positioned on a level board and duly anesthetized and then my arms and legs were bound to stop them getting in the way. It was either that or the nurse had been reading “Fifty Shades of Grey”. Obviously, I have no memory of the procedure or being taken into the recovery room some six and a half hours later. My next memory is a somewhat drowsy recollection of being back in my bed and my good lady wife, Diana, a.k.a. She Who Must Be Obeyed helping me to drink water and then later a cup of tea. I was reasonably comfortable even though I had a drain in from the operation and a catheter fitted but I was exceptionally thirsty and drank copious quantities of water and tea. I was then fitted with a pair of compression “boots” which gently compressed the calfs in an alternate manner. I was also hooked up to a morphine pump which was really good! The idea was and it worked very well in practise, that as the anesthesia wore off and I became slightly uncomfortable I just had to push a button and get a shot of some really good stuff! Diana a.k.a She Who Must Be Obeyed, was particularly happy to press the button often. However, the pump was set up in a controlled manner so I could not overdose on on the product no matter how hard Diana tried!

I don’t remember too much about last night other than I awoke a few times feeling very thirsty but having drank some water and hitting the good stuff I quickly drifted off the sleep.

This morning I came round which is probably a better way than saying I awoke. Today has been a busy day and started with a very early visit from the urology team who announced that my operation had been successful and so I’m now in the recovery phase. The prostate has been sent to the laboratory for analysis. My cannulas have been removed and I’m now on oral pain medication and I’m feeling fairly comfortable and getting used to the attached bag which shouldn’t be there for too long a period (probably about a month). It reminds me of an old Billy Connelly story of two family members on holiday and one said to the other “I’m sure that I can here the surf beating on the beach” and the reply was “Nah! That’s just granddad walking down the corridor!”

It’s amazing who you meet here. I was talking to Ibrahim who was cleaning my room earlier today. He lost his entire family in war torn Somalia including, he thought, his one year old son, some fifteen years ago. However, The British Red Cross found his son eight years ago and they have made a new life for themselves here in England. I went for a walk with Ibrahim along the hospital corridor and we were looking at the photographs that adorned the walls of Manchester scenes. Areas of the city centre that I take for granted but Ibrahim was radiating pride in his city and his new country. In turn it made me proud to be part of Great Britain.

I have to have an injection in the subcutaneous layer of my stomach every day for the next 28 days. She Who Must Be Obeyed got very excited by this as Diana will have to this when I’m at home. So, this evening, with an excited gleam in her eye and under the watchful supervision of the lovely nurse Roxanne, Diana duly approached this task with some vigour. Diana approached with arm raised high and duly plunged the needle into my stomach where she quickly depressed the plunger andministering the chemical that will help me to avoid clotting. I must say that She Who Must Be Obeyed appeared to hugely  enjoy this procedure and is already looking forward to tomorrows administartion!

Finally and on a more serious note. It is my beleif that early screening is a major key in the battle to beat Prostate Cancer. So, who do you know that’s male and is aged between 45 and 120? If you feel that its appropiate please share this blog with them.

Until my next post, Toddleoo!