My mother said once that I "have a tendency to overshare", and today I'm going to embrace that tendency without apology because this is my space to write about things I regard as significant to my life. You have been warned. Turn back now or forever hold your peace.
Ah, I knew that would just make you more curious, you weirdo.
I have a swollen prostate.
Prostates are one of those things that I probably should have been taught about at some point but wasn't. I learned about their existence from professional smart aleck Carla Ulbrich. "[My dad's] first name is Carl," she said on her live album Professional Smart Aleck, "so we're only one letter away, so when I go to the pharmacy in my hometown they're always gettin' our files mixed up. Try to sell me prostate medicine." The audience laughed. "I guess it's never too early to prevent." The audience laughed again. I deduced that the joke was funny because [cisgender] women don't have prostates, and further deduced from that deduction what a prostate must be. Obviously it's the gland that makes most [cisgender] men think American football is exciting even though there's nothing exciting whatsoever about stopping the action every five seconds.
What I couldn't have deduced with so little information, however, is that, in yet another refutation of the "The human body is too perfect to have evolved by random chance" argument, the prostate is wrapped around the urethra. Consequently, if it gets too big, which, in yet another refutation of the "The human body is too perfect to have evolved by random chance" argument, happens naturally as men age, it squeezes the urethra and makes peeing more of an ordeal than ideal.
I figured out a while ago that something was wrong. Years ago, in fact. But the transition from peeing like a normal person to peeing ridiculously small amounts at ridiculously frequent intervals and waking up in the middle of the night virtually every night to do it again and often having mild discomfort afterward like there's more pee even though there isn't happened gradually. Only in the last few weeks has it made my life hell. It's always worse at night. Sometimes the intervals are literally two minutes. Sometimes I can count the drops on one hand, but those single-digit drops will keep nagging at me and prevent me from sleeping until I let them go. Sometimes it takes three hours to get to sleep.
I still assumed it was a prostate thing, but it got so bad that I investigated other possibilities, Googling things like "Can you get gonorrhea without having sex?" (yes) and "Can men get yeast infections?" (also yes). Actually, I didn't include the question marks when I typed in the questions, but I instinctively put them in as I wrote them here just now because this is a more professional venue. I also looked for home remedies and ways to manage the symptoms. "But Christopher, you idiot," you may be saying, "why didn't you see a doctor? Surely even the United States' medieval healthcare system would be preferable to your futile attempts at managing this chronic problem on your own." Ah, see, that was my last resort because another thing I learned from the internet is that doctors check a prostate's status by actually physically touching it while its owner, which in this case would be me, is fully conscious. If you don't understand how, think about it for a minute and you can probably guess.
The doctor said not to empty my bladder before I came in to the student health center Monday morning, not understanding the depth of the problem as such that if I emptied my bladder right before I left home there was a >90% chance it would have something in it when I arrived. And after I dropped one of my urine sample cups in the toilet, he gave me a cup of water so I could fill it again later, not understanding the depth of the problem as such that this gesture was entirely superfluous.
He checked me out in front first, for lumps, because apparently cancer was also an option. And he actually said I could pull my pants back up before he remembered, oh yeah, he needed to check my prostate. D'oh. He seems to have (correctly) assumed I already knew how that process would work. He didn't explain it or warn me about it at all. He just told me to position myself a certain way and take quick breaths. I complied without protest, because unlike half of Utah's population I subscribe to the radical leftist belief that people with medical degrees know more about medicine than people without medical degrees, though I wondered, Can't you just take an X-ray? I don't care if it makes me infertile.
As I waited in position and took quick breaths while the doctor slathered lubricant over his gloved hands, I wondered, What makes a person say "I want to become a doctor even though nothing on God's green Earth is more disgusting than other people's bodies?" Is it the money? It must be the money. Or maybe they just want to be doctors from childhood and get too far along that path before they realize what it entails. I'm quite certain Doc McStuffins has never performed this procedure, which is kind of ironic for someone named McStuffins.
It was as much fun as I thought it would be. It didn't hurt a bit, might have even been pleasurable if I'd relaxed and allowed myself to consider that possibility, but it just felt profoundly wrong and unnatural and violating and I couldn't stop fixating on it in a neurotic way for a few days afterward. Not the worst experience in the world by a long shot, but one I would have just as soon avoided all the same. So the doctor asked, "How old are you?" And that's not what you want the doctor to ask while he's prodding your prostate, but I already had figured out that mine was rather large for a 28-year-old, which is what he told me after I told him I was 28 years old, so it wasn't too much of a shock but I wanted to finish that conversation real quick so he would get out of me. I wondered, How did you learn what a 28-year-old's prostate is supposed to feel like? Did you practice on volunteers?
Without waiting for the results of the urine tests or the blood test - which, to my knowledge, since he said he would let me know about them, still have not arrived as of this writing, and based on my last experience at Logan Regional Hospital (where the testing was to take place), which instilled me with profound contempt for each and every staff member I had the misfortune of meeting and being immediately dismissed and dehumanized by on what was already the worst day of my life thanks to the abusive ----wit from the Logan Police Department who made me go in for the suicidal ideation that he caused by abusing me, I wouldn't be surprised if someone there just put my samples in a broom closet and forgot about them - he prescribed me some antibiotics to take morning and night for a month. He said they would weaken my muscles so I wouldn't be able to do strenuous exercise like running or lifting weights. I think I can live with that. Having taken a dozen pills thus far, however, I have not noticed any changes of any kind, good or bad. Fingers crossed.
If only I had heeded Carla Ulbrich's cryptic warning: "I guess it's never too early to prevent."
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender male and a Latter-day Saint, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic, so you can't. Unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.