4 Things You Learn Having a Disease Doctors Can't Diagnose
We've run plenty of personal experience articles on this site featuring people with real problems, which you'd think would shame me into shutting up about my petty shit, but that's because you think I'm capable of shame. In an effort to show you how hilariously wrong you are, I'm going to write all about my yearlong mystery illness, which, much like my Christmas family newsletter, is going to prominently feature my prostate. Ladies, I realize this might make the article hard to relate to, but if it helps, you can pretend I'm talking about your parts, like the volvo or the lamia. (I don't know a lot about biology. Or women.)
Doctors Don't Have All (Or Sometimes Any) Of The Answers
Last year, I developed a mysterious pain in my hips, which I initially chalked up to the incessant sexy gyrating that I do at local bus stops in my spare time. When it got worse, I went to see the doctor, who had a lot of very smart-sounding things to say about joints and posture. None of which turned out to be relevant in the slightest. That's when I realized that doctors don't know a hell of a lot about sick people. Oh, it's not that doctors or Western medicine are worthless -- they're certainly worth more than positive thinking and the healing power of geodes. It's just that pop culture has convinced me that doctors are basically bio-wizards, and that is disappointingly untrue.
You watch House M.D., and sure, he might be stumped for the first 30 minutes, but he spends the last 10 minutes utterly curb-stomping lupus or whatever into submission. That's the dire misunderstanding that I went into the doctor's office with: that I would come out with an answer. If not today, then tomorrow or next month -- or just someday. But getting sick isn't like watching a medical drama; it's like playing a game of charades where somebody kicks you in the balls every second that you don't guess the correct answer. The only difference between the guesswork of past medicine and modern medicine is that we guess with lasers now.
I don't even mean this as a criticism of Western medicine; I just want people to know they may go through years of specialists and procedures and thousands of dollars only to get a diagnosis of "uncertain grunting noise" and a prescription for 25 milligrams of "suck it up, sport."
Never Let Your Butt-Guard Down
When you finally stump your doctor, you don't get a little trophy and confetti falling from the ceiling. You get sent to a specialist. Specialists are exactly what they sound like: They know a lot about their field and very little about anything else. Which is great if you happen to get the right specialist on the first try. But you probably won't. You know the old saying "To a man holding a hammer, every problem is a nail"? Well, a proctologist is a man with a probing and callous finger, and to him, every problem is a butthole.
If you've yet to be medically fingerbanged, don't worry -- you will. Every man will get a prostate exam, so here are the things you should know: First off, there's no "getting to know you" visit. Every appointment with a proctologist is like the worst jack-in-the-box in the world. You spin that crank for 30 minutes, all the while on edge -- wondering if the little puppet's going to pop out and launch itself up your ass. But it's not if, it's when. I tell you this because, in my experience, proctologists like to save the butt exam for the last possible moment -- when you're just about out the door, thinking, "Phew, it didn't happen! I was all worked up for nothing." That's when they say, "Just one more thing ..." and suddenly you're getting to sixth base with a man in a white coat.
Sometimes They Just Plain Forget To Mention The Most Horrifying Side Effects
At this point, I'd had more hands up my ass than a slutty Muppet, and I'd showed my dick to more strangers in real life than on Snapchat. I was all adorably coquettish and modest about it at first -- "I couldn't possibly whip it out for a stranger!" -- but by the end of the ordeal, I just slapped my wang down on the counter alongside my co-pay. My ass, once the protected nature park of my body, is now a city park. And not one of the nice ones, either -- the one where the homeless sleep at night. My butthole's just another opening to me at this point. Need a place to store your phone, but don't have any pockets? Sure, just pop it on up there. I don't give a shit. Or I'll try not to, anyway -- pretty sure that'll void your warranty.
But there are still plenty of things that can surprise even jaded assholes like mine. I didn't just get exams; I got a prostate biopsy, which means they sedated me and then shoved a mechanical snake with a bunch of needles on the end up there. So that's what me and Gaius Baltar have in common; we've both been date-raped by robots. They warned me afterward that I might feel "some temporary discomfort" and may even "see a little blood" in my urine.
That was all they mentioned.
They did not mention that I would ejaculate like the devil.
At some point I was in the shower, just thinking about Cheetara, the girl ThunderCat -- like you do -- when I looked down to find that I was shooting fountains of pure blood out of my cock. I wish I'd been making a sex tape at the time; I could've sold it to Slayer. That was the fastest I've ever called a doctor -- there was no, "Let's give this a day and see if my dick is still a blood fountain."
Only then did they tell me that this was totally normal, and it can apparently last for months. They also took this time to clarify that orgasms would feel intensely painful the entire time, and then recommended that I ejaculate more often so it will clear out quicker. Thanks, medical science: Nothing puts me in the mood like medically prescribed wanking that culminates in intense pain and a Kill Bill-style arterial spray from my penis. Really makes for a romantic evening.
You Might Get Cured Entirely By Accident
After my dick was put through a gauntlet of medical tests -- which included a doctor jamming a needle into my urethra, then sliding a tube that felt roughly the size and shape of a Slurpee straw down there to inject a solution intended to "cause intense pain in the event of a positive diagnosis" -- I moved on to other specialists. I eventually wound up with a physical therapist, which is what happens when medical science goes all Idiocracy on you and settles for, "Your shit's all retarded."
We went through all sorts of theories, including that one leg is shorter than the other, or that I use my pelvic floor too much and, instead of being able to toss cars with the force of my erections, I had instead pulled a dong-muscle. Then it was my spine being out of line, then me carrying too much tension in my shoulders -- spoiler alert: None of that was the issue. At this point I hadn't sat down in about 10 months. I could stand for a while, or lie down for a while, but had to constantly switch between the two. I was distracted from work, under a bunch of deadlines, and unable to do my favorite thing, which is sit on my ass.
I went to the doctor for antidepressants.
He was reluctant to give them to me, which is fine. I'm all for guarding against the overuse of prescription drugs unless it's Friday and you're out of bourbon. But this time I insisted, and two weeks later, I was better. Not fixed, but improved. And not just my mood, the mystery pain as well. I called the doctor with this bizarre news, only to have him say, "Oh yeah! That's a side effect of the antidepressants; we also prescribe them for nerve pain."
It was a stupid accident that finally helped me, but medical science rolled with it like they tripped down a stairway and accidentally did a front flip.
"Totally meant to do that -- I took four years of flip school from Johnny Flip, inventor of the flip!"
Like I said, I'm not fixed. I still have to work standing up, which I tell myself is something I have in common with Hemingway, instead of with graphic designers named Weston who wear those toe-shoe things. But the pain is diminished, and I've grown used to what little remains. I can't sit in certain ways or for very long, but I can make it through an episode of Game Of Thrones, and that's good enough.
I'm telling you all of this not because I'm an extrovert looking for excuses to talk about my orifices (who needs an excuse, anyway?) but because I can't stop thinking about how strange and silly it all was. It's kind of like the curse from It Follows -- I can't stop thinking about my dick turning into a Gwar concert unless I pass it on to you.
Congratulations. It's your problem now.
Pre-order Robert's hilarious new urban fantasy novel, The Unnoticeables, and get a copy of his drug-fueled cyberpunk novel, Rx: A Tale Of Electronegativity, for free! Read more from Brockway at his own monument to narcissism, The Brock Way, or follow him on Twitter.