King of Excellent (according to Scaryduck)

Tuesday, January 6

The Definition of Pain III

This story was relayed to me last night, by poor Barry. He'd recently been diagnosed with the worst nightmare that is the big C, but with the added consolation that it was his prostrate and of all the cancers to get, this is probably the most successfully cured. In his case, off he went for a 4 hour operation to have it removed.
(You just know this is going to hurt...)
The operation involves a large incision, made from below the belly button down to the waist. Once opened up, the surgeon prods and pokes all the bowel to one side, apparently tying it back (not with bungee cord like I'd imagined), before reaching the offending organ. He then, with a deft snip and a couple of clamps, removes it, sews anything that should be sewn shut back into place, and then returns everything back to order before closing up the patient.
(not that painful, but the worst is yet to come...)
The problem was the following days afterwards. The large intestine doesn't like being poked around, settling into the gaps between the other organs. If it's moved, it has a tendency to 'solidify', sort of becoming hard and uncooperative. This in turn means that poor Barry is constipated. Things back up, after each and every meal provides more fuel for the (now not unsubstantial) fire that was waiting in the bowels of hell. The problem was the gases were getting through, that each movement would produce another large bubble of noxious gas, that could pass through the small openings. Each time, this would press against the inside of the scar tissue, meaning poor Barry would yelp in pain as the gas tried to exit between the stitches and half sealed skin. Or it would exit with gusto in a sound akin to a large rumbling thunderstorm in the distance.
(You think that's bad? Here come worse.)
He'd been taking laxatives. They didn't work. He'd also been taking industrial strength fibrogel, up to 3 times a day, but this was just making the gas worse. Each fart would be precluded by crippling pain as the bowel again moved out the way to let it pass through, and so he spoke to his doc. The doctor asked how many sachets of fibrogel he had left, and when he told him he had about a dozen left, the doc told him to put 8 (yes, 8!) sachets into one pint glass of water and to drink it (with a spoon presumably) over the next hour.
(here it comes)
3 hours later, and after a lot of belching, farting, coughing and sneezing, things started to move. It started with diarrhea. Just a small squirt, but accompanied with the usual cramps. Then, as he described it, a small nuclear submarine. Tearing, twisting, all hell broke loose. Holding onto his stomach (so that the scar didn't burst), he pushed with all his might. Congratulations, it's a long brown boy, as he filled the toilet. As he sat there, sweating profusely, he realised that he'd not finished. The tailback was now moving, and moving pretty fluidly. He reckons he didn't stop again for 15 minutes, but I would have gone on for a lot longer. He also reckoned he had to flush 4 times.
So the next time anyone tells you this prostrate cancer's easy to beat, Barry begs to differ. And I'm inclined to agree.