The Midnight Trot..Part One –

The thing about what my daughter when she was young called men’s ‘dangly bits’ is that they are simply great when they function perfectly and they are simply awful when they begin to show signs of  wear and tear.  If you are young, virile and your water works and reproductive organs have never needed routine maintenance, wipe away that smug smile – your dangly bits can turn nasty on you at very short notice – no matter what your age!

Now  I am not talking about erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is frankly yesterday’s topic. Pick up any magazine from Cosmo to Men’s Health during the last ten years and you’ll soon find some slant on the old ‘my old soldier won’t stand to attention’ routine. I mean you are simply not in with the in-crowd if at some point you haven’t been under sufficient stress or tension, work related preferably, to cause a failure in the pumping-up department. ‘God, Jerry has it hard in the city all day, no wonder he can’t get it hard at night’ has been the rallying call of the middle classes for far too long.  And anyway, since Viagra (blessed little penile pumper) it’s not half the problem it was.

No. I’m talking about restless nights. I’m talking the midnight trot. I’m talking the drips down the leg. I’m talking the soggy jockeys. In fact, I’m talking ‘Prostate;’ that dubious little gland tucked away at the base of every  bladder; a gland so cunningly hidden, so modest about its presence, that you won’t even know it’s there until it decides to go wrong – and even then, as I have recently discovered, it is prone to  hide its misdemeanours  behind a whole host of symptoms that could be anything from a chill to a back ache.

My dalliance with my prostate began nearly 14 months ago when I became vaguely aware of being more tired than usual. My wife pointed out that this was probably because I kept interrupting my sleep (and hers) in order to visit the loo.

Now I came to think about it I realised that I was going far more often than I used to. Being adept at doing such things with my eyes barely open, I hadn’t really been aware of this until she pointed it out. Of course, once she had pointed it out my nights were ruined: first I would lie in bed expecting the urge to go, then I would try to resist the urge when it arrived and finally, giving way to it, I would start a vicious circle in which having been once I would almost immediately want to go again….and again…..

Lying in bed, crossing my legs, I would try not to go by thinking of other things but no matter what fantasies I dreamed up – Tottenham winning the League or Joanna Lumley begging me to stop – they quickly changed into aquatic scenes of running water, rivers, waterfalls and dripping taps – until in despair I would make my first loo bound trip.

I don’t know if you are  familiar with that old magician’s routine where an empty glass keeps filling itself with water, even though no one’s pouring anything into it -  well that’s what my bladder was like – there was a seemingly endless stream of urine from some miraculous source deep within me and the flow was irresistible. I would lie  there like some urological King Canute  but the tide just went on flowing through me and the miraculous spring just carried on welling up  – if I had been a ‘source d’eau mineral’ I would have been inexhaustible and bottling a fortune.

After suffering this for a week or two (convincing myself, of course, that I had galloping cancer of the dangly bits) I became aware that someone had wrapped an elastic band around my crotch – very tightly just below the scrotum – at least that’s how I explained the sensation when I eventually plucked up the courage to visit my GP.

‘Any other pain,’ he asked with the detached air of one who had not himself spent the last month doing an imitation of a waterfall.

‘Slight aching here…’ I sketched a line vaguely across my groin, in a slight diagonal, ‘and some back ache…here.’

‘Right then. Let’s take a look at you.’

My Doctor ran his hands over my groin and  parts, whilst I affected a look of casual detachment – I find eye contact very disconcerting in such circumstances.

‘Errrrm…. I’m not sure…’ he said. (Ah, I obviously have such galloping cancer he can’t face telling me.) ‘..but I think you should see a Urologist. Might be prostate..’.

Prostate?? The only reason I know for having a prostate, is so you can get cancer in it.  Which is obviously what I’ve got.  I’ve read about it in the press. I know…

To be continued…