Friday, 31 October 2008

Part Ten - Ultrasound? Ultra poor banter, more like.


It’s been somewhat of a bumper week in terms of hospital visits for your intrepid cancerous reporter. The first three days of my week were filled with a veritable cocktail of hospitalising adventures including passing the halfway milestone in my treatment, getting a CT scan and, finally, undergoing the altogether degrading spectacle of a testicular ultrasound scan. The main outcome of these experiences is the revelation that I’m growing tired of aging men gazing upon my naked form. It’s got to the stage when I think that it would be preferable if they sent me to Nuts Magazine Studios for a day to undergo a risqué photoshoot of me in various playful poses, and then distributed copies to various members of my medical team to prevent me from having to get completely Billy Bollocks in a hospital ever again. No doubt the penny-pinching NHS would claim that transforming me into a glamour model would be a waste of taxpayer’s money though, only in this bloody country…

The tell-tale signs that it was going to be a demoralising ordeal struck me right in the face from the very beginning. Swaggering into the busy reception area thinking I was the cat’s pyjamas, I shook out my headphones which were playing some loud rock and roll music and approached the attractive young receptionist to tell her that I had an appointment at 2.10pm. “Jamie Ross…a testicular ultrasound isn‘t it?” - a deafening silence immediately fell upon the waiting room. At this exact point about twenty people shared a moment of looking at me out of the corner of their eye and, to a man, thought ‘I wonder what’s wrong with his balls?’. Having been firmly put in my place, I quietly nodded and sat down to read Bella Magazine in a desperate attempt to avoid the gaze of every single person in the room.

I was called through after about twenty minutes of reading about Fern Britton’s dieting tips. It was dated March 2008, little did we know what an outrageous, lying, antichrist cow she was at the time. I was told to remove all of my clothes and replace them with a hospital gown which reached down to the midway point of my thigh, making sitting down in the waiting room for a further five minutes after changing a somewhat perilous experience. After experimenting with a series of leg-crossing manoeuvres, I was beckoned through to a small, darkened room by a rather dour looking Frenchman and told to lay down on the slab. It was only upon turning around that I realised, to my utter horror, that there were a further two people in the room looking on - both of them reasonably attractive nurses only slightly older than me. What the purpose of them being there except to make me feel incredibly self-conscious about my genetalia still, to this moment, remains a mystery. Anyway, picture the romantic scene - the lights were dimmed, my dress was flirtatiously raised up to my belly and a gelatinous substance was smeared all over my balls as the procedure began.

When I find myself in situations that unnerve me, I tend to try and make funny jokes. More often than not, these jokes just come out as an indecipherable noise and people shuffle about uncomfortably to pretend that they didn’t hear it. However, on this occasion, I had prepared a cracking line for my testicular ultrasound man and was absolutely certain that it would be a resounding success. With a little confident chuckle in my voice as he moved his ultrasound stick around my spanglers I quipped “So, do I get a little picture to take home and show my family like pregnant woman who get ultrasounds do?”. At worst, I expected this to be greeted with a sympathetic smirk considering that I was an inoffensive, nineteen-year-old, cancer-ridden boy undergoing possibly the most embarrassing medical procedure imaginable. What I got was a straightforward and steely “no“. A cold silence plagued the rest of the procedure as the two nurses, who were still inexplicably in the room, looked on. It had gone down like a shit sandwich.

It took about twenty horribly uncomfortable minutes in total, with the only conversation being “Can you push as hard as you can, as if you were going to the toilet?”. Letting out a colossal fart would have just been the icing on the cake of the horrendous ordeal, but luckily this didn’t come to pass. The procedure mercifully ended, I was handed a tissue to clean myself up with and one of the nurses pointed towards a bin for me to dispose of it. This crucial intervention obviously immediately justified her and her mate being present for the entire unfolding debacle. I scuttled out of the room to got changed, never to return. Happily for me, it was just a little cist and should require no further action. Sadly for you, cancer fans, this means that my testicular adventures at hospital are perhaps at an end - but it was fun while it lasted wasn’t it? Although it did sadly shatter the myth that the ‘ultra sound’ people are the coolest people in a hospital, in actual reality they hate all forms of high jinks and merry-making.

The other two procedures I underwent this week went without a hitch, except for one short moment when the dye that was injected into me for the CT scan caused an agonising burning throughout my arm and I turned the air blue by shouting ‘fucking hell!‘ in front of a visibly shocked elderly nurse. I won’t be getting the results of that scan until next Thursday and, excitingly, it will probably be the stimulus for my next blog. I can almost smell your anticipation.

Finally, there was a flicker of excitement this week when this blog was featured on the UK’s most popular entertainment blog - hecklerspray.com. I briefly became an internet sensation, receiving about 15 emails from kind strangers and the writers at Hecklerspray have been very cool with various pieces of advice on how to get this blog more publicity and, more generally, how to get a foot on the writing industry ladder. A lot of it is just word of mouth so if you think you know someone who might appreciate this please do pass it along to them. You can use the more memorable URL of ‘cancerouscapers.blogspot.com’ to spread the word as I’m sure you will - go forth my faithful cancerous foot soldiers. If you don’t, I’m going to have to start making up stories about having sex with Andrew Sachs as a desperate lunge for publicity. Wow - that was a bit topical, I should really be on Have I Got News for You.

Until next time, take care cancer fans.

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