Tag Archives: Graeme Rocker

NotSureGraeme Rocker is a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax

Editor’s note: Part I of this series appeared as a Humanities article in CMAJ; parts II and III appeared on CMAJ Blogs.

Extending the range

At week 2, my family doc gently removed staples and catheter. Her opinion was that, with good health, no diabetes and age on my side, I might avoid the spectre of incontinence. As my D-day approached (Depend underwear day), I was a willing participant in some surgical gallows humour. Fellow aficionados of international rugby posited whole new ways to escape the half-time line-up of thousands of men going for a pee. With the right under-clothing, friends could sit and enjoy another pint. One might empty a leg bag over the shoes of the opposing side’s supporters at English Premier League soccer matches. Such impure thoughts brought levity to an existence ruled by distances to nearby bathrooms and sleep fractured by contorted positions imposed by the catheter and leg bag. As it happens, my family doc was right and the box of Depend was stored away quite early. ...continue reading

NotSureGraeme Rocker is a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax

 

 

Editor’s note: Part I of this series appeared as a Humanities article in CMAJ; part II appeared on CMAJ Blogs.

Days 1–4

Early days at home, with no major events until day 3. I simply could not get warm. It was the same on day 4. My extremities felt like blocks of ice coupled with which I had persistent cramps in hands and feet that wouldn’t shift. It finally dawned on me that this might be carpo-pedal spasm in a setting of some subconscious hyperventilation caused by overall discomfort. Whatever the cause, it was a lousy way to spend a day.

Day 5 Intense bladder spasms coupled with colonic gas distension pain made for, if not the worst pain, certainly the most discomfort yet. I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a horrible orgasm, but a bladder spasm in the early stages must come close to it. It’s a foul experience and for 5, 10, 15 seconds you pray for relief from an internal surge of gargantuan proportions and thank some deity when it passes. ...continue reading

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Graeme Rocker is a professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax

Editor’s note: Part I of this series appeared as a Humanities article in CMAJ.

I woke from the anesthetic with the worst dry mouth ever and the agonizing sensation of a massive overfilled bladder being ripped apart from the inside. I let loose some very repetitive Anglo-Saxon expletives not generally expected of a health care professional. When asked to rate the degree of agony on the usual scale of 0 to 10, I spluttered 15! Finally, a hydromorphone bolus kicked in, and I then settled into a few hours of patient-controlled analgesia. At some point that first night I felt the most sublime sense of calm, as if my place in the universe was just as it should be and that all would be well for all time. I can only presume it was an opioid haze. It still felt as if a mule had kicked me in the pelvis, but for a while it just it didn’t matter. That remarkable feeling never came again, but I was awed by the powers that these drugs have when used in the right amount, time and place. ...continue reading