Is there a male menopause? As a man in his mid-50s, I have recently become aware of getting older. Increasing age has had a curious effect on my psyche. I am noticing, on an almost daily basis, that I am thinking, feeling and behaving in ways that are starkly different from my youth and earlier adulthood. I will share these experiences on this blog and hope others will join me in describing their own age-related quirks and oddities. I can't be the only one at this "funny age", can I??
When my alarm clock screeched at
6.30 am the first sensation I noticed was the stinging of my piles (or hemorrhoids
as they are more technically known). My second realization was the awareness of
my appointment today at the Colorectal Department of the local hospital to have
my bulbous buddies investigated.
Hemorrhoids have stung the
backsides of many generations of Jones. Like a clutch of cherries growing
towards the light, they sting or leak, always one or the other, never both
together. My arse alternates between sore and menstruating.
I spent 30 minutes in the shower
this morning, 25 of which was devoted to spring-cleaning the area in question;
if guests were going to spend time in the back-room it needed to be
spic-and-span, as one must create the right impression, mustn’t one?
Upon arriving at the hospital’s
General Outpatients’ Department, and showing the receptionist my official
appointment letter, I was directed to waiting area 3 (not 1 or 2) and I
wondered whether this symbolic niche, deep in the hospital labyrinth, was
reserved for colorectal cases. While sitting in the waiting room I observed my
fellow patients and tried to spot those with a similar affliction. A lady
opposite had a continuous half-grimace and seemed a good bet, particularly as
she shuffled from buttock to buttock in her seat. I was distracted from my game
of “spot the hemorrhoid” by squawks of female laughter emanating from a nearby
nurses’ station; I wondered if they were ridiculing the sight of the last
Forty minutes after my
appointment time my name was called and I was escorted to the clinic room by a
nurse and asked to sit on the bed to await the doctor. Mr Evans, the consultant
surgeon, entered accompanied by a young female medical student. Following a
brief interrogation about my bowel habits and pain history, I was lying on the
bed with my trousers and boxer-shorts around my ankles. As I laid there staring
at the wall, the consultant probed and prodded my gaping arse - why do they
always have chunky fingers? While doing so he conducted a tutorial with his
“Come and look at this; a big
hemorrhoid on the outside and two more inside.”
I heard the female student approach
for a closer look into my back passage. “Oh yes, I can see them” she said. I
thought I could feel their breath on my buttocks. And I’m sure I heard an echo.
“So what’s the appropriate
treatment?” he asked.
“I guess he could try applying a
steroid cream …”
“You could if you wanted to
caress the hemorrhoid and watch it grow,” he said. They both giggled; he was
flirting with her with his finger up my arse.
“We could band them?” she said.
“If we tried to band this one on
the outside” – wiggling it like a nipple to demonstrate – “he’d empty the ward
with his screaming. No, this one we will have to lop off.”
So surgery it is, a day-case
under general anaesthetic. I will be sent for within the next four to six
I dressed and left the clinic
room. Walking back through the other patients in waiting area 3, I suspected
that my gait might have resembled that of a bloke who had soiled himself. I was
conscious of their eyes on me. Were they wondering what indignity I had undergone? I
resisted the temptation to scream, “You’re buggered if you go in there!” and
instead hurried for the exit.