As a young man, I prided myself on having a sizable hammer, crank, whanker, whacker, johnson, willy, pecker, peter, mule, or what ever else we macho men called that small joint between our legs. Needless to say, any one of the foregoing terms, if still applicable, would sound good these days. But to be honest, I am satisfied just to have that thing still recognized and referred to, respectfully, as a penis.
Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, BPH, an enlarged prostate—whatever you wish to call it—plagues many men over fifty. It happened to me, but, thank God, my condition is now controlled.
I think I was approaching fifty-five when I started pissing two streams. Other than being amused at my ability to create a small vortex at the center of the commode, I was not particularly concerned. My amusement was short-lived when the two streams turned into a dribble, most of which ended up on my trouser leg or my shoes. The call to nature, which once required thirty seconds or less to accomplish, now took a minimum of five minutes, and had to be repeated an hour later.
After a finger-wave and negative PSA test, my family doctor prescribed Flomax. The pill improved my stream and allowed me to sleep three hours between head-calls at night. This was not ideal, but was a big improvement over my previous two-hour sleeping stints.
A few weeks later, the doctor diagnosed my high blood-pressure and put me on medication to control it. Combined with Flomax, the little pink pill caused my blood-pressure to take infrequent, but deep dips, leaving me lightheaded and unable to focus my eyes. The severity of this condition manifested itself in the middle of WALMART. I squatted to check the label on a can of stewed tomatoes. On my way up, I blacked out and pitched forward into a tier of spaghetti and rigatoni, depositing me and a dozen boxes of pasta in the aisle.
My doctor then referred me to an urologist. Dr. Krautman was a tall, thin man with thick rimless glasses and a cold half-smile. He reviewed my medical history then gave me an extensive long-finger examination. He determined that I needed a ream job, medically known as Transurethral Vaporization of the Prostate or TUVP. This involves the insertion of an electrode into the urethra then vaporizing the overgrowth of the prostate by heating it until it boils away—sounds like fun, huh?
The doctor assured me that I would feel nothing.
“You will be a new man,” he said.
“Sex?” I asked without elaboration.
“Like a baby.” He stood above me as I sat on a stool looking up into his enormous nostrils.
He turned to the sink to wash his hands then looked into the mirror. For the first time since I met him in the examination room, he smiled broadly, his reflection talking to me, “In fact, you will be knocking flies off the wall.”
With that assurance, I was sent to the appointment desk to set up my pre-operative procedures.
At this point, I must digress about the fact that women run the medical systems in this country. Except for male doctors, our care is given primarily by women, even for something as personal as a man’s penis. This fact will be borne out by the time I have completed this little tale.
A few days after my initial examination, I reported to Dr. Krautman’s office at the hospital for a series of preoperative tests. When my name was called, I was ushered into the examination room by a young, attractive black woman.
“I’m Rosemary,” she said, as she held the door open. “I’ll be assisting Dr. Larsson.”
“Dr. Larsson? … But I thought I was seeing Dr. Krautman.”
“No, Dr. Larsson will do the tests today.”
Rosemary handed me a paper gown and closed the curtain around me.
“Put the gown on with the opening in front,” she instructed just before the curtain closed.
When I was bare-assed with nothing more than a large paper towel around me, I climbed upon the examination table and sat with my legs dangling over the end. I looked nervously around the little enclosure as I waited.
Soon, a blond bombshell, holding a clipboard, pulled back the curtain. She extended her hand and spoke to me in a sultry Swedish dialect, “Hi. I’m Dr. Larsson, Dr. Krautman’s associate.”
“Hi,” I said sheepishly, clutching my genitals to make certain nothing peeked through the gown opening.
“You can let go.” She laughed. “I’m going to have to see it eventually.”
Rosemary laughed too then so did I, just to show what a good sport I am.
The doctor cleared her throat. Her voice took a serious tone. “Mr. Whittington, we are going to perform a series of tests this morning to see how acute your prostate problems are. This is to validate Dr. Krautman’s preliminary diagnosis and to determine, with certainty, that a TUVP will help your condition….All right?”
“Yes,” I responded, nodding like a ten-year-old agreeing with his fifth-grade teacher.
“First,” she continued, “Rosemary will conduct an ultrasound of your bladder then I will perform a cystoscopy to check the extent of blockage of your urethra. Afterwards, we will check to see how well your bladder empties when you urinate.”
I comprehended little of what the doctor said, but nodded in agreement. However, I imagined that something was going to happen that would make me regret not being contented with pissing on my shoes.
The ultrasound wasn’t bad. After all, what red-blooded, American male wouldn’t want an attractive young woman to rub gel on his belly then slowly slide a soft rubber transducer breathtakingly close to his genitals? Ah, but it was the cystoscopy and what came next that put a halt to any possible sexual inclinations brought on by the ultrasound. Let’s just say: there was no happy ending.
After Rosemary wiped away the last traces of gel, Dr. Larsson took over. She explained that the flexible hose, the diameter of a pencil with a small light on the end, would be inserted into the head of my penis, down the urethra into my bladder. It was then that my wee-wee—which I once called a whacker—withdrew its head like a turtle. The proud appendage, which once stood erect at the thought of a beautiful woman, was now in hiding.
“Ladies,” I said, “I apologize. … I am terribly embarrassed.”
“It happens to all men,” Dr. Larsson assured me.
“It sure does,” Rosemary reiterated.
“You married to a black man?” I asked Rosemary.
“Yes. Why do you ask?”
“Because I have heard about their enormous members,” I said, with a modicum of decorum.
She laughed. “Believe me, that is just a rumor.”
“Nevertheless, I don’t want you comparing me to your husband. You realize that I am impaired at the moment?”
Now, all three of us laughed.
The doctor turned serious and poked the cystoscope in the direction of my little buddy, which now resembled a small navel. I dug him out of his hiding place in the folds of my belly and held him upright while Dr. Larsson inserted the scope.
After the doctor had her way with me, Rosemary took over again. She described the tests to check how well my bladder expelled urine. The test required the insertion of a tube—similar to a drinking straw—into my urethra. She then filled my bladder with water until I could no longer control the urge to urinate. After several iterations of the test, Dr. Larsson determined I was a serious candidate for a TUVP, and not someone just trying to get two women to play with his penis.
Finally, Rosemary closed the curtains, while instructing me to get dressed. After I was fully clothed and feeling somewhat dignified again, I thought I was in a position to assert myself.
“Ladies, I feel it necessary to advise you that what you have witnessed today is an anomaly, an unusual condition. It is not at all indicative of my sexual prowess. I feel it necessary to warn you, under pain of death, that I expect all details of my anatomy to remain strictly confidential.”
A smile played at the lips of the Swedish bombshell. “Let me assure you, Mr. Whittington, we are all professionals here.”
“I certainly hope so,” I said as I opened the door to leave.
* * *
Dr. Krautman performed the operation four days later. It was uneventful. I awoke to find that a catheter had been inserted into my bladder with a urine bag attached to the side of the bed. Before leaving the hospital that afternoon, I was fitted with a small bag strapped to my thigh, with instructions for attaching the larger bag at night for sleeping. The catheter was to be removed in seven to ten days. It all sounded rather simple.
Wearing the small thigh bag was not a problem, except that it required emptying several times each day. However, the larger night-time bag soon became my nemesis.
At bedtime, I placed the empty urine bag on the floor by my bed. The bag was attached to the catheter hose, running through my penis into my bladder. I normally sleep on my side because of a tendency to snore. I am often awakened by my wife by a gentle nudge and a few choice words, telling me to turn over. But the catheter bag solved that problem for us. Now, when I turned, I found myself with a three-pound bag of piss, suspended from my penis. My wife grew tired of my blood-curdling screams in the middle of the night, and sent me and my urine bag to the spare bedroom.
One week later, I kept an appointment with Dr. Krautman. His verdict, after examining me, was that everything looked perfect and the catheter could come out.
“Thank God,” I said to my wife as we waited for the nurse.
She was all of twenty-five, pretty, and demure. But I had two good reasons for not allowing myself to be aroused when she told me to drop my pants: First, the slightest bit of firmness caused my penis to hurt like hell. Second, my wife was watching.
When I was down to my skivvies, the modest young nurse detached the long hose and urine bag, but appeared reluctant to touch my privates. So, positioning of the remaining short catheter hose became my responsibility. But how was I to know that it should have been redirected from the side of my briefs so it would hang down in front?
The nurse deflated the catheter then made an attempt to remove it, but it wouldn’t budge.
“I don’t know what’s wrong, Mr. Whittington. Is that as far down as it will come?”
“I’m afraid so,” I said. “I’m sorry about that, and so is my wife.”
She laughed and after a moment pointed at my crotch. “Now I see what is wrong. You have to lead the hose out of the front of your shorts.”
“Take a deep breath and blow out slowly when I say go,” she instructed me, just before she yanked on the hose.
I sucked my lungs full of air and held it.
“Go” she said, and yanked. An umbrella opened up inside my penis as she pulled it through the urethra, bringing with it blood, urine and mucous.
My wife slid onto the floor in a faint.
“Whooooo, holy shit,” I exhaled loud enough to be heard in the waiting room. “Bring some smelling salts.”
“For your wife?” the young nurse asked.
“For both of us,” I said. “I think I am going to pass out too.”
* * *
It has been over a year since my operation. I have not, as yet, been able to direct a stream with sufficient force or accuracy to knock a fly off the wall. However, I have drowned a colony of fire ants that invaded my backyard. And I can assure you, the satisfaction of that achievement could not have been eclipsed by the act of killing just one fly.
As I look back, I realize I am a much better man for having undergone these experiences. I suppose I could have accepted my condition and grown used to the idea that impotency is a natural progression of getting older. I could have endorsed the philosophy of Willy Nelson, the country composer and singer, who purportedly said, “I’ve outlived my pecker." I am happy I did not endorse it. After all, what sixty-year-old man gets his crank handled by three young, attractive women in a two-week period? Okay … so it cost a lot of money! But look what Elliot Spitzer, the disgraced New York ex-governor, paid to have his whacker serviced.
I suppose Willy Nelson and I can learn to live with an occasional fly on the wall.
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