I think I look like Magnum P.I., however one of my friends decided I was more like Higgins.
I’ll let you decide on that one.
Anyway we are here at the middle of Movember so I thought I’d give you an update on things. Firstly, you can already see that my Mo is coming on nicely, so I think that is well covered. My lovely wife is still very much a ‘No Mo Ho’ as we established last year, so it will certainly be coming off in time for December’s Christmas parties.
As far as collecting is going I have to say I have been very impressed with people’s generosity. Family, friends, colleagues and even some amazingly generous readers (you know who you are) have all clubbed together to raise a brilliant £125 for the prostate cancer charity on my MoSpace.
Thank you everyone.
What else was there….?
I decided I should put my bum where my mouth is.
I went to see a nurse.
I was actually there for a regular check-up that I have to have for a repeat prescription (long story – involves blood), so there was no natural lead in to raise the subject of bottom based jiggery pokery, but still…
I finished getting my blood pressure checked and there was an awkward silence as she wondered why I was still sitting in her office. I’d decided that I would stick a finger up for men’s health (I think that’s the official slogan?) when I made the appointment and I’d been trying to work out what I would say for some time, with absolutely no success.
I just don’t know how it all works. What do you say? How do you ask? It’s really not something that comes up in conversations naturally is it? None the less, I was committed to asking about getting my prostate checked and nothing was going to stop me. This is the second year that I’ve grown a Mo and harped on to people about raising awareness, or trying to convince men to stop being scared to take action, yet I’ve never in my life had it checked myself.
Well not officially any way.
I carefully showered before leaving the house. I had no idea what would happen when I got there and was taking no chances. I thought she would make an appointment with a doctor or a specialist nurse or something, but I couldn’t be absolutely certain that she wouldn’t jump up with an excited “YES!” and throw on some gloves. You can never be too careful.
The awkward silence grew into a painful hush. Dryly, I opened my mouth.
“Yes?” she asked.
I stumbled. I honestly did dry up. I shouldn’t have felt embarrassed. I shouldn’t have felt stupid either, but I did. Eventually my brain decided that this wasn’t any of its concern and the whole matter would resolve itself easier if it just ignored the situation and left my mouth to fend for itself.
My mouth has never really known what it is talking about.
“Er… You see this dashing moustache?”
“Er…?” She gave nothing away. At no point in the following discussion did the nurse show any sign that she had ever heard of Movember. In fact all she did was put her head firmly down and refuse point blank to look me in the eyes for the rest of the meeting. I suspect she may have been seriously struggling to either supress giggles or sickness at the image that I was presenting her.
“You probably think I look this sexy all the time…” Yes my mouth actually did say that, I was seriously panicking by this point. “…but no, normally I don’t sport a moustache at all.”
“Do you not?” The nurse was talking to her monitor, not able to look at me at all.
“No,” She wasn’t giving any vibes that she knew about Movember so I pressed on, “It’s a thing called Movember and it’s about raising awareness about prostate cancer. As I’m here anyway I thought…”
I may have misheard, but I’m sure I heard a faint “Oh good God no” during the coughing fit that the nurse suffered at this point. She had a sip of water and composed herself.
Very quickly and with the best poker face I’ve ever seen (seriously, if you ever sit across from this woman at a poker table, just save yourself the time and pay her your money at the start) my nurse let the wonderful NHS come to her rescue.
I was asked if anyone in my family had ever had prostate cancer – no.
I was asked if I had any issues with going to the toilet, needing it loads for only dribbles or waking up in the night etc. – no.
Finally a flicker of relief revealed itself on her face.
The NHS has, it seems, an opinion on this and, at my practice at least, a doctor will only have a rummage about if he thinks you probably already have cancer, or your dad does. Otherwise could you kindly pull your trousers back up and wipe the plastic seat down, thank you very much?
So I failed.
I completely failed to get myself checked and be able to bring you the blog post that I had already started writing in my head. I even had taken my camera with me, because I intended doing it properly.
But don’t let me stop you trying. Even with my trousers on it was mortifyingly embarrassing talking about all this in front of an actual nurse, but so what? I lived. I like living.
If you suffer from any of these symptoms, or have any family history of cancers, please go now – I’ll wait. Go now, actually walk in there with your pants off and demand someone puts some gloves on.