A surprise at the urologist’s office #NSFW

NOTE: “NSFW” isn’t quite right. Not Safe To Read, period, is closer. WARNING: This article contains depictions of a doctor inserting a hypodermic needle into a man’s penis and may leave readers lying in a fetal ball on the floor.


by Patrick Vecchio

The local urologist is a nice guy, but I wish he and I had not come to know each other so well over the past months. I’ve learned about his personality, sense of humor, professional demeanor and medical acumen. As for what he has learned about me—well, let’s call it inside information. Three times, he has slipped on a latex glove and lubricated his index finger for what I call the “Star Trek procedure.” That is, he boldly goes where no man has gone before. He was almost apologetic the third time and laughed when I shrugged and said, “Buy the ticket, take the ride.”
He and I met about a year ago after a kidney stone sent me to the hospital pleading for industrial-strength pain medication. I knew what I was dealing with; X-rays simply confirmed it. I was hospitalized for two days, spending the first in a narcotic fog. He discharged me after the pain inexplicably vanished the second day and said if the stone didn’t pass in a week, he’d go in after it.

After a week, I didn’t need more X-rays to tell me the stone hadn’t budged. I’ve passed somewhere between a half-dozen and a dozen kidney stones over the years, and as they scrape their way to the outside world, the stone-passer is in what I’ve seen referred to as “exquisite agony.”


The last half-inch of the stone’s journey is particularly unpleasant. I force myself to drink lots of water so my urine stream can blast the stone out. When a stone shoots out, it announces itself with a little “tink!” when it hits the porcelain of a toilet or urinal. During the week after I was discharged from the hospital, none of those things happened.

So the doctor booked me for surgery. There is, of course, just one open passageway from the outside world into the kidney, and he took that path while sliding a minuscule camera inside me to find the kidney stone. Fortunately, I was blissfully anesthetized.

After the brain fog lifted, I asked him how big the stone had been. He said he didn’t find one. “You must have passed it,” he said, to which I replied, “I’ve passed kidney stones before, and believe me, I know when they pass.” And the X-rays showed this one was the size of El Capitan.
The only trouble with my theory was that I had been pain-free after being discharged from the hospital, and considering that this particular stone announced itself by putting me in the hospital in the first place, my argument didn’t hold. So I went along with the urologist: I had unknowingly fired an asteroid through my apparatus. “You’re not a doctor,” I reminded myself. “Stranger things have happened.”

Earlier this month, strange things started happening again. My first signal something was amiss came when I was standing at a urinal at work and noticed not one, but two colors: the usual mellow yellow, and red.

Blood in the urine is a tad unsettling. Nonetheless, I tried to rationalize it away. “It must have been my workout on the treadmill last night,” I thought. “I really pushed it. I probably just banged up my guttyworks a bit.” And sure enough, the next day the blood was gone. I congratulated myself for the self-diagnosis.

A week later the bleeding resumed, this time after I’d spent the day mowing my lawn. With a riding mower. Workout? Strenuous? Probably not. I went to bed hoping the situation would again resolve itself overnight.

The next morning, after I had finished peeing, it looked like somebody had poured a carafe of Merlot into the toilet bowl. I couldn’t see to the bottom. This was more than a tad unsettling. As the week passed, so did more blood. Clots, too. I looked into the mirror. “‘Tis but a scratch,” I said. “I’ve had worse.” The guy in the mirror didn’t believe me.

I called the urologist, who ordered a whirlpool of tests. I had blood drawn for analysis so often that I felt whiter than the Pillsbury Doughboy. Soon, just one procedure remained. I had been X-rayed. I had been ultrasounded. This time, I was CT scanned. Immediately after the scan, I had an appointment with the urologist so he could discuss the fresh images with me.

I checked in at his office and waited a few minutes. The usually crowded waiting area was vacant. Then the nurse showed me into what I thought would be one of the routine exam rooms where the doctor and I had met before. But I knew something was amiss when she left the room saying, “Take off your pants and underpants and lie on the table on your back.”

Hmmm, I thought, lying on the table and studying the ceiling tiles. This is a change in the routine. I figured she had told me to take my pants off because the starship USS Enterprise was on its way. But a nagging little voice in my brain told me I was wrong.

I sat up and looked around. I saw strange machines with weird knobs and baffling gauges. I saw mysterious instruments and vaguely menacing medical accessories. The inside of my mouth started to feel like I had eaten a tablespoon of flour. Thinking back to the empty waiting area, I hoped for a moment that I was in this room because the other rooms were full—but the moment passed. My anxiety started to spread like bacteria in an infected urine culture. I had the caffeine shakes even though I hadn’t had any coffee. Trying to breathe was like inhaling cotton.

My adrenaline surged, but before I could flee, the urologist wrapped on the door twice with his knuckles. He and the nurse came into the room, and he said, “You have a bladder stone.” It sounded benign, considering the other possibilities, and relief washed over me like a cool sheet on a July night. I sat up and started to step off the exam table so I could start putting my pants back on.

Then he asked me to lie back down. The nurse was still in the room. She drew a curtain so that nobody opening the door could see what was going on. The cartoon thought balloon over my head was filled with three letters and a punctuation mark: WTF?

And then he started swabbing the tip of my—well, let’s just say he wasn’t swabbing the tip of my big toe. I bolted half-upright, elbows on the table.

“You’re not going in, are you?”



Male readers—and female readers, for that matter—have no doubt begun to wince, shudder, make horrified faces or cross their legs—maybe all four. I say this because I was doing the same thing. And I was doing the same thing because I immediately remembered being in the exact same situation with a different doctor many, many years ago. It had not gone well—at least until they gave me an IV shot of something; I think it was Valium. Once it kicked in, they could have been going in with a chain saw, for all I cared.

As the doctor continued swabbing, there was no talking my way out of it. Couldn’t I get a shot of something first? Did we have to do it today? Before long, the urologist demanded that I lie back and relax because the more I moved and the more I resisted, the more uncomfortable I was going to be. I tried to relax, but it’s never a good sign when doctors use words like “uncomfortable.”

So I tried not to pay too much attention as he began slipping what felt like a needle into me. This was to numb me—or a particular part of me, anyway. “You may feel some discomfort at first,” he said in an all-business voice. Given what I was feeling and where I was feeling it, I wasn’t sure the word “discomfort” was appropriate, but at the time I couldn’t describe exactly how it felt as he was treating my equipment like it was a pincushion.

Next, he threaded one of those tiny cameras inside so he could take a look around. “I’m inside your bladder now,” he said in a voice that sounded like it was coming from another room. “You have a bladder stone.” After a pause, he said, “I don’t see any tumors.” At that moment I realized why he had looked inside instead of simply relying on images from X-rays and ultrasound and the CT scan: He wanted to see for himself. He was finished moments later. I was dazed but grateful.

We met a few minutes later in his office, where he showed me the pictures from the test earlier that morning. “There’s the stone,” he said. “This is causing the blood in your urine.” It looked like it was the size of a black bean. Clearly, it wasn’t going to go anywhere.

For the briefest of moments, I considered asking him whether this was the missing kidney stone. Had it dropped from the ureter into a bladder backwater—and no farther—where it had rolled around and accumulated a mineral coating like a peanut inside an M&M? At that point, though, I only wanted to get out of his office as quickly as possible, so I didn’t ask. I suspect there’s no way to know, anyway.

So now he’s going to go back in again with a laser to break the stone into small enough pieces to pass. Before the surgery, I am flying to Florida for a family get-together. I am not a good flier. At the slightest bump in the flight, I start death-gripping the armrests and watching the flight attendants’ faces for signs of alarm.

But if the ride gets at all choppy either on my way South or on my way home, I’ll simply think of my reaction when the urologist began swabbing me down. That should take my mind off any bumps in the air.

I just hope the passengers next to me don’t freak out when I start wincing and crossing my legs.

The Tech Curmudgeon – Eau de garbage bag

The Tech Curmudgeon was raking leaves recently when he noticed an odd smell. A flowery, almost sweet odor was wafting from the bag of leaves he’d recently filled. While some of the leaves were wet and had started to decay, it wasn’t the leaves themselves that had the overpowering stench of perfume. It was the trash bag.

Who the hell at Glad thought it was a good idea to perfume a 39 gallon black lawn and leaf bag?

The Tech Curmudgeon understands the idea of fighting odors coming from kitchen bags filled with food. He disagrees – vehemently – but he can at least understand not wanting the stench of rotting food in your house. Of course, there’s an easier solution to this problem that doesn’t require overwhelming the smell of decay with perfumes and coating the insides of you sinuses with Febreeze – get off your lazy ass and take the trash out before it starts stinking up the kitchen. But the Tech Curmudgeon digresses.

The stench excuse doesn’t apply when it comes to lawn and leaf cleanup. The Tech Curmudgeon seriously doubts anyone (sane) collects trash bags full of leaf litter or grass clippings and brings it into the house long enough for it to decay and stink up the house. As a homeowner, the Tech Curmudgeon knows just how nasty fermenting lawn clippings can get, especially after a rain adds some extra water to the mix, but that’s why he leaves them on the side of the house next to the massive covered trash can. If that smell is creeping into your house and your windows are closed, look for air leaks around the doors and windows and seal them with weather stripping or foam insulation – your sense of smell and your energy bill will both thank you.

Maybe Glad’s lawn and leaf bags are made on the same equipment that makes their “Odor Shield” kitchen bags. Maybe the perfume is just built into the polymers that make up the ForceFlex bags, regardless of whether its the white kitchen bags or the black outdoor bags.

The Tech Curmudgeon doesn’t care – it’s unnecessary and a stupid waste of money to perfume an outdoor garbage bag.

Image credit: Glad Products

OMG! Moov deerz!

This has to be a prank call, right? I mean, NOBODY is this stupid, are they?

If it’s real, have this woman call me. There are SO MANY things I want to ask her about.

Thx to TheChive and hat tip to Rho and Terry for bringing this to our attention….

WTF: handcuffed man's death a suicide?

Back when I was younger there was a story going around about Uganda’s batshit crazy thug dictator, Idi Amin. It said that one of his wives had been found hacked into 13 pieces and stuffed into the trunk of a car. The verdict: “a clear-cut case of suicide.” I can find no evidence that this ever actually happened, but Amin was just insane enough for it to seem possible.

Which brings us to today’s most intriguing headline: Autopsy: Death of handcuffed man in Ark. a suicide.

Wait, what?

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A man whose hands were cuffed behind him in the back seat of an Arkansas patrol car shot himself in the right temple with a handgun he apparently concealed from arresting officers, according to an autopsy report released Monday that listed the death as a suicide. Continue reading

I guess it's #WTF Thursday

I wake up, log in, and see this headline in my news ‘gator:

Suspect in Yuma County double slaying was aspiring comic, necromancer

Then our boy Frank Balsinger turns up with this bit of lunacy:

Ku Klux Klan protests Westboro Baptist Church

No, seriously. Watch. Continue reading

Romney set to make campaign history? (#WTF alert)

Earlier this year, as the Man of the People® Tour rolled around the nation in search of new constituencies to offend, it became apparent that presumptive GOP nominee Thurston Howell III Mitt Romney is the sort of man who sometimes doesn’t think things through all the way. Which is bad for him, but fun for the political theater fans amongst us. Chevy Chase probably has his agent on the phone with Lorne Michaels right now. After what Chase did to the Gerald Ford campaign, it boggles the mind imagining what he’d do with Mitt.

Now this:

Romney steps away from Paul Ryan’s Medicare cuts Continue reading

Just because it's natural doesn't mean it's safe

I woke up to the radio this morning like I do most mornings, and as I was grumbling to myself that I really should have got to bed earlier last night, I heard an advertisement for a supposedly inexpensive “erection enhancement” pill that you could get without a prescription. Annoying, as I’d rather have been listening to music, but whatever. Then I heard this gem of advertising “brilliance”

[Product] is made from all natural ingredients so you know it’s safe.

Um, no. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200.

There are two fails in this sentence, one of which should be obvious to anyone with a functioning synapse in their skull. Continue reading

What the hell is "reconditioned" food?

Here’s a bit of a surprise–moldy applesauce going into baby food and school lunches. MSNBC fills us in:

A Washington state fruit processor that supplies the nation’s schools and a baby food maker is under scrutiny by federal health regulators for repackaging applesauce contaminated with several kinds of potentially dangerous, multi-colored molds, msnbc.com has learned.

Repackaging? What the hell is that?

Food and Drug Administration officials this week posted a warning letter to Snokist Growers of Yakima, Wash., saying the company cannot ensure the safety of moldy applesauce and fruit puree that has been reconditioned for human consumption.

Wait–I thought it was just repackaged. What is this? Continue reading

Nota Bene #93: Linksgiving

Welcome to my home Continue reading