I had my annual physical this past Saturday morning. It went pretty well, other than the fact that the doctor found the big purple bruise on my ass quite amusing. “How did you get that?” he asked.
“I came in a little hot on my mountain bike on a curve last weekend,” I replied.
“That’s a nice bruise. It could get a little granular in there,” he reminded me. Scar tissue, you see.
He noticed the bruise on the way to checking my prostate gland with a famous finger up the butt. “Well, that’s doing well,” he informed me. I was glad to hear that.
Prostates are a funny gland that can get unfunny in a hurry. If you’re a guy that has ever had a prostate infection, you know that it burns like crazy and can make you sick with a fever. You may recall that one of the astronauts on an Apollo mission came down with a prostate infection that nearly did him in.
I had a prostate infection a long, long time ago and wound up calling the doc and visiting the 24-hour pharmacy to fill a prescription at four in the morning.
That was a lonesome, painful, bent-over journey in the car on a cold, black night. The pharmacist took one look at me and quickly handed over the meds. “This what you’re looking for?” he asked me. “Any questions?”
“No,” I muttered. Then walked out of the pharmacy like a night crab trying to get out of the moonlight.
Not long after that episode, the doctor called me into the office to strategize about why my prostate was behaving badly and feeling boggy. “Have you tried quitting caffeine?” he asked.
I cut out the Coke and a week or so later, things were back to normal. Turns out my hyperactive prostate gland was super-sensitive to stimulants including caffeine and cold medicines containing anti-histamines. I cut out both of those for decades and the prostate never gave me problems again.
That was good advice from my doctor. But I had to leave his care for a while due to HMOs and other insurance vagaries. Now I’m back with that doctor again. I’m glad of that. Like I said, he gives good advice.
Some of that prostate stuff from thirty years ago was hormonal, I surmise. At some stages in life, men are so driven by hormones their brains are connected to their penises by something like a separate spinal cord that only dissipates and melts into the body with time and age.
We come out the other end of the male hormone years slightly mellower around the midsection. Some guys lose their ability to get an erection altogether. There are a litany of products to deal with that condition. The Little Blue Pill and such.
I’m grateful not to be in that position. After that prostate deal a few decades back, I’ve always been honest with my doctor about how things are going “down there.”
The only other problems I’ve experienced are an occasional bout with numbness in the nuts if the bike fit isn’t correct. That can happen on a rented bike during training trips. You go riding for 20, 30 or 50 miles and suddenly, the crank goes numb. I always carry a wrench for those moments. Tip the seat, hop back on and things tend to clear up.
It’s never fun having a numb crank, much less numb nuts. It’s interesting that the slang term “numbnuts” means a “slow-witted, unresponsive or inept person.” I guess in military terms it means a “recruit who is unintelligent or difficult to train.” At any rate, no one likes to be called numbnuts. And no one likes to have them either. A numb vaginal region is not much fun either, I hear tell.
While my prostate and crank aren’t as sensitive as they once were, things are still working pretty well. Still, I asked the doctor if there’s anything I need to know about keeping things shipshape when it comes to general operations ranging from bathroom business to sex, and he offered two words of advice that seem wise beyond their simple basic meaning.
“Keep going.” Truer words could never be said. About anything. Including swimming, riding and running. Keep going.