Extra Padding

Lou_Reed-Transformer-back Anyone with a copy of Lou Reed’s classic (my opinion) 1972 album, Transformer, should flip it over and remind themselves of the artwork on the reverse of the album/CD cover. For those whose music collection is sadly lacking, I’ve pinched a JPEG of it and included it here. Click on it to see a larger image. I draw your attention to “Mr. Poser” in the blue jeans on the right: his jeans look as though they contain about 10ins/25cms of garden hose strategically positioned and clearly designed to impress his target audience, whatever that might have been. Given Lou Reed’s proclivities in the 70s, I’m not sure we really know who his intended audience was. Come to that, I’m not sure Lou Reed in the 70s knew his target audience – absolutely anyone, I suspect.

Good old smutty schoolboy humour, which, of course, I gave up many years ago [Ed: AHEM!], remind me of another similar attraction tactic. Try stuffing a pair of rugby socks into your underpants to impress the girls. [Chortle, chortle.]

I wouldn’t describe my current, hopefully temporary, requirement for continence pads following my prostatectomy to be an advantage, exactly, but the pads certainly obviate any need to enhance my appearance using the old rugby sock ruse. My initial pads were so large, more like adult nappies (diapers, in Amerispeak), that nobody would have been fooled. Those in my emergency supply from our local incontinence service, though, were a little more subtle and may have deceived the unwary, given sufficient vodka.

Why had I had to secure an “emergency” supply of pads from our local incontinence service? I’m glad you asked.

Four weeks ago, at the end of my long day of trial without catheter, I was sent home with a discrete carrier bag containing 15 v. large, subtle-as-a-sledge-hammer pads. Given my usage at the hospital, this initial supply represented only about 5-7 days supply. The urology nurse explained that she’d arranged to have 3 months supply delivered to our house.

After five days, no supplies had been delivered so I phoned and explained my dilemma; leaking like a sieve, pads running out. My helpful nurse re-placed the order for me but we were now approaching the Christmas period when a) people take time off work, and b) deliveries get disrupted by volume, anyway. I was not hopeful. She suggested I try our GP surgery.

I contacted my GP surgery (#1) who passed me on to a local NHS clinic (#2) who had pads available but, because they needed authorization to dispense them, passed me on to the local Bedfordshire incontinence service (#3). Hot potato! #3 incidentally, has its phone manned only four hours a day, two hours in the morning and two in the afternoon. I waited for my afternoon window of opportunity and called. I explained my predicament and, despite not having any paperwork for me (I’m being treated by Bucks not Beds), the nice man at #3 took pity on me and compassionately authorized the release of an emergency supply of pads from #2, the local NHS clinic. What Carol collected was a pack of 42 level 4 pads, smaller and more comfortable than my originals though I was, at first, a little dubious about their capacity. Time had managed to reduce my usage rate, however, and I eventually felt assured that this new supply was likely to last about a month, plenty of time to see me through the holiday period when my urology nurse would be back at work.

Towards the end of said month, as predicted, the second order for my 3-month supply of pads proved to have been no more successful than the first order. Clearly, something in the supply chain solution, maybe the logistics, was broken. On Monday I phoned my urology nurse again and explained that my emergency supply of pads was now getting depleted. “What about other patients?” I enquired, “Is it just me or are they also having supply problems?” “You’re the first using this system”, I was told, “we wondered how this might work.” “It doesn’t”, I replied. Nursey told me she’d bring some to our approaching Friday progress meeting but would place the order for a third time anyway.

On Thursday, Carol answered the door to a UPS delivery driver who presented her with three cartons discretely wrapped in plain black plastic. Carol was confused and wondered what this delivery might be. The packages were not heavy. “I suspect these are my long awaited pads”, I said. Sure enough, a few swift slashes [Ed: interesting choice of word, given the situation] with a penknife revealed 17 packets each containing 20 level 2 pads. 340 of them! The delivery note confirmed that these were expected to last three months. These were a yet lower-capacity pad but a quick calculation made me realizing that I had been allowed four a day. Having been a little fretful until my supplies were secured, I could finally relax and not worry about over-usage. I should feel able to tackle more exercise/tasks.

prostate_logoBeing smaller again, the pads in this main supply are more comfortable. They are shaped more like a padded cricketer’s box. These really are shaped to assist any posing I happen to feel like doing. Of course, regardless of the disappointment anyone deceived might ultimately feel when reality eventually reared its unwelcome head, there really isn’t any point my emulating “Mr. Poser” on Lou Reed’s album up there given that I no longer have a prostate with which to capitalize on my catch. 😀

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