For one reason or another (and sometimes several reasons at the same time) I've posted so infrequently in the last few weeks/months that I'm in danger of forgetting my Blogger password. After supposedly getting over my illness a week or two back, things took a turn for the worse again a few days later. Without going into too much detail, the infection had obviously not been completely eradicated, despite 2 separate (and different) lots of antibiotics, and I was back to feeling rather sorry for myself, though admittedly nowhere near as ill as I had done the first time. So I decided to go down the organic/natural route. No, not wines, but copious amounts of cranberry juice, yoghurt, probiotic drinks and as much tap water as I could physically drink without exploding. 5 days later, things hadn't got any worse, but neither had they really got any better.
So off to the doctor's I toddled once more, knowing full well what was in store for me this time. Again, I won't go into too much detail, but the words "digital" and "arse" may give you a clue. And the fact that said digit belonged to a young, pretty, female doctor really was of no great comfort to me, I can assure you. Anyway, to cut a long story short (thank goodness for that, I hear you say) my "examination" revealed nothing particularly sinister going on in the "gentleman's innards" department, save for what I assume is a bit of age/infection-related enlargement. 2 days later and a third (and different again) course of antibiotics seem already to be working their magic. And so they should, because they look like bloody horse pills! Always assuming that my latest water sample comes back to reveal only an infection, I'm hoping and praying that I can finally put all of this behind me and get on with life again. But it has made me realise that I really should take up the offer of my free "over 50's health check", sooner rather than later. I'm not sure why I have been afflicted by this problem in recent weeks. Whether it is simple bad luck, or some underlying problem that might need further investigation, I don't know. Hopefully, being relatively young and healthy, it will turn out to be the former. But if it were to be the latter, I think I'd rather address it, rather than ignore it.
Why am I telling you all of this? Well, for a start, I have always tended to wear my heart on my sleeve - or perhaps I simply know no shame! But if my being candid happens to resonate with anyone reading this who may be harbouring some or other similar worry, you never know - it might inspire them to get checked out. More importantly, my Dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer when he was in his early 70's. He was already in pretty poor health by then, meaning that an operation was more than likely to kill him. Under the circumstances, he was told he probably had a year or two left to live. Mercifully, he died a few months later from a heart attack, before the cancer had a chance to subject him to a long, slow decline. I last saw him a just a couple of days before he died, and although he was by then tired and world-weary, he was still sharp as a knife.
Of course, just because my Dad had it, it doesn't necessarily mean that I will get it too. But I doubt it reduces my chances of getting it sometime in the future either. The received wisdom used to be that things like prostate cancer were old men's diseases, but that simply isn't the case. I know at least two or three men who have had (or currently live with) the disease as young as their 50's.
Up to now, I've been pretty lucky - in my whole life, I have never had to spend so much as a single night in hospital. And I intend, if possible, to keep it that way. But as I get older - in body, if not in mind - I'm beginning to appreciate the concept of prevention, rather than cure. But beware - not all doctors are equal. I've known some pretty good ones in my time, but I've also known a couple of pretty useless ones.............
A good few years ago (when I was in my late 30's actually) I visited the doctor with a somewhat similar problem to what I have experienced recently. He was pretty dismissive, to say the least, suggesting that I was worrying about nothing and stating quite categorically that prostate problems only affected men in their 70's (or older). When I told him that one of my golfing buddies who lived just across the road had just died from prostate cancer at the age of 51, he asked me his name. When I told him, he said, quite matter of factly, "Oh yes - he was one of my patients".
Right - back to wine!