For more than two years now I have been receiving welcome phone calls from a woman, whom I barely know, with an attractive voice. After some polite preliminaries, she asks me a lot of personal, anatomical questions—the sort one’s partner would likely also be able to answer for her. My responses to her enquiries are in no way shielded; in fact, I have been unabashedly open with her. We have a few laughs. No longer. These quarterly exchanges have now come to an end. Though I could take some comfort in knowing she’ll give me another pre-arranged call in about a distant six months’ time, as is the routine.
The woman I have been confiding in is a urology nurse at the large Melbourne hospital where I had my prostate removed. Part of her job is to monitor the progress—or otherwise—of men who are now getting about without that infamous gland which until the surgeon got to work on mine (assisted, in my case, by a state-of-the-art robot) was central to the release of both semen and urine. So, it’s a bit of a loss. It is infamous because, for reasons that in my understanding remain largely mysterious, except for the fact that age usually comes into it, the prostate is now a relatively common location for the development of cancerous growths. The longer men live, the greater the chance they have of playing host to them. It is a leading cause of death. Therefore it’s a good idea, if possible, to make an early counter-move against the menace.
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