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No i’ve not changed my stance on controlled substances nor did i find myself afoul of the law here in Oman. i had a 2.3 cm long vesical calculus (stone) lodged in my bladder caused apparently by a slightly enlarged prostate. The stone was causing discomfort and haematuria (blood in urine).

So i spent five days in Sohar General Hospital recently. It was an adventure i would sooner have avoided but, apa boleh buat? (What to do?). Went in last Friday evening for pre-op observation and to ensure that i did not eat or drink anything in the half a day before the procedure.

Dr Joseph, a urologist, told me he would remove the stone and possibly remove my prostrate if need be, the decision for the latter would be taken “on the table”. Saturday morning i woke up to find breakfast waiting for me (the catering staff hadn’t been told i shouldn’t eat). i was a good lad and avoided eating.

i was wheeled into the OR at 11:25 and a spinal was administered. i noted three young trainee doctors there to observe the procedure, i figured why not? i train teachers so why not let student doctors observe me being worked on?

crushed bits of my bladder stone after removal

A green curtain was put up and Dr Joseph entered quietly and immediately got to work. He told me later that the stone was difficult to remove as it was large and the center was very hard.

While he was in there he decided to do an endoscopic resection of my prostate because he felt it was what had caused the stone in the first place. So i’ve kept most of my prostate which is good.

While resectioning my prostate the good Dr found many small stones which he also removed (the smaller bits in the above photo). Then came the insertion of the catheter. This was painless as i was still under the spinal despite already being able to move my feet at this point. The anesthesiologist had done a wonderful job of estimating how much to give me so i would feel what was going on.

After a very short while in the recovery room i was wheeled back to the male surgical ward where i spent the next few days hooked up to a drip into my bladder to help wash the wound. The removal of the catheter was a totally new experience that doesn’t bear repeating. i was rather amazed at how long it was… 30 cm of the 40.5 cm length had been inserted up my yazoo. When the nurse took it out he told me to take a deep breath, i ended up having to take two deep breaths. The coins are the same size as a quarter dollar.

So now i’m supposed to take it easy for the next several weeks, no straining, lifting or bonking allowed… apa boleh buat?

What did i learn? Well Pete Townsend’s “hope I die before I get old” dictum wears thin after fifty. i’m thinking i’m definitely no longer “young” so i guess i must be getting old or at least older. i’ve also learned that good medical care is priceless. The surgeries cost about OR630 (you do the exchange). Gary, my American colleague said it was a fraction of what it would cost back in the States. my employer provided healthcare should cover most or all of it. Alhumduillah!

i’ve also learned that there are stark differences between Omani culture and ours. Kim’s students couldn’t understand why she wasn’t at the hospital all the time this week; she told them she had to work. Omani families in their hordes descend upon the hospital when one of their members is ill, some even staying over night. Kim came once a day while i was recovering, during the posted visiting hours. It was more than enough.

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5 Comments

  1. Glad to hear you are okay, my friend! Sounds like medical culture and practices there are very similar to those of Egypt, that is, lots of students watching, a bit awkward on details and many relatives expected to be with you all the time. For gall bladder surgery my husband was cut from the chest area down to below the appendix—which was removed without permission—but no one ever typed his blood or even took his blood pressure before the surgery. He says to tell you the catheter experience is hopefully once in a lifetime! HA. On the positive side, costs in Egypt are much less than in the USA, as you said about your location. Even my dental work is very cheap, though the quality is great both for the materials and the dentist himself.
    Hope your recovery goes well. Wishing you the best always, Earlene

    • thanks Earlene, my doctor is from India. Other patients with doctors from other places don’t necessarily have the same good fortune i have. Still in recovery mode, am impatient but i guess i just have to relax and let my body heal from the inside out. Our family dentist is in Kuching, Sarawak in East Malaysia. Costs much less expensive than here in the ME.

  2. “Al Hamdullillah 3ala Al Salama” Sir… I am glad to see you back at the uni :D
    Well, I even find it very weird that you stayed alone at the hospital… It is true that our cultures differ…
    For us, someone has two stay at the hospital with the patient even if it takes weeks or months !

  3. enlarge prostate can be also reduced by using anti-androgens…

  4. Hi there, I log on to your new stuff like every week. Your story-telling style is awesome, keep up the good work!


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