Thursday, August 12, 2010

To the Doctor!

I went to my GP at the insistence of hospital staff. I handed him the CD of ultrasound photos and a letter from the emergency on-call doctor.
After telling him what they said and did he asked, "Did they get a urine sample?"
"Hmm...could we get one now? I'd rather send out with our lab."
"I...yeah, I think so."
So, I peed in another cup.
He told me the results report from the ultrasound came in to him and that it was possibly the beginnings of a vericocele, which was basically the veins on the left side of my ball become inflamed or larger.
"For now," he said, "you don't have to worry about it as they used words like "might", "may" and "beginnings of", but if it gets worse, come back. This could cause testicular heating and affect sperm production."
"Oh. Okay."
And then he sent me home.

Emergency and Co.

Seeing as I have a hypochondriac for a mother and still being of age for testicular cancer, any remarkable change in my nethers leads me to assume the worst. Such a fright occurred the other day when I noticed one was more swollen than the other. Not wanting to lose one or die, I coaxed dad into driving me to emergency so a doctor could look at it.
"Call to see how long the wait is first."
So I called, "Mate, it varies every half hour. No way to tell how long you'll wait."
A waste of time if ever there was one. We drove to the place anyway and signed me in, "Wait here in the row of blue chairs and someone will see you soon."
A man, not much older than myself, paced in a circle around the perimeter of the room, muttering songs of "Harri Krishna" and "Red Brick House" and things like, "This isn't fun anymore", "go away" and "I don't want to die". He was clearly in the middle of a fiendish high from someone unknown drug and he wasn't enjoying himself. I felt for the wretch, even though he had brought this upon himself.
Two cops came into the ward and asked to be let in as they were called in for an assault which took place within the hospital. Another two later came by to view "the deceased". That was unnerving.
Strangely, the only television in the room was playing gruesome medical shows and any effects the testicular problem was giving me were far outweighed by nausea at the shows.
I was soon called in to the nurse's office to give details on why I was there and then asked to provide a urine sample.
With my little plastic cup an baggy in hand, I moved to the only bathroom in the place. The man on drugs came in muttering, "Hey." he said and took a drink from the sink.
Another man was already in the stall providing his own urine sample and we passed each other as I went in and he came out. The delightful awkwardness was palpable.
Two and a half hours later I was finally called in to see the doctor. She asked me to lie on the table so she could inspect the problem. While doing so, she asked the typical information questions of, "have you had unprotected sex in the last 6 months?", "an std?", "this problem before?".
I lay down and she begin squeezing my gentles in ways that made me squirm obviously, my fists clenched and white, "Does this hurt?"
"Yes." I breathed fiercely.
"I know it's uncomfortable, but does it hurt?"
"Yes." I said again. It was agonizing.
At the end she told me she thought I had a collection of fluid in my left and she was going to give me antibiotics and left the room.
Minutes later another doctor, a Scottish man, came in wanting to inspect. He squeezed me uncomfortably and I winced and felt nauseous. I feared I'd throw up then and there. He said there doesn't seem to be anything too bad, but it is swollen, so he gave me a ticket for an ultrasound. I could now go home.
"They were talking with another doctor outside your room," dad said, "looked like he wanted to get in there and have a look, too. The lady kept saying 'he's twenty, leave him alone' and things like that. Probably an intern wanting to learn something." I laughed and my balls hurt.

Next day, I went in to get the ultrasound out of the way. I went in and they scheduled me in for 12:30. I went and had a coffee at McCafe and read some Pride and Prejudice.
Soon, my hour of joy came and I went back to the Radiology Ward. A nice man escorted me into the room, "I'll be the operator today."
"Don't worry, I've done hundreds of these."
He scanned me, placing warming jelly on the ultrasound rod (what are those called?) and I was relieved it wasn't freezing. It wasn't comfortable, but it was better than having two different doctors squeeze my junk around in a violating fashion.
"These doctors," he said, "they squeeze your balls and ask if it hurts. Course it hurts, want me to do it to you and see if it hurts?!"
I laughed an felt at ease.
When it was over he told me there didn't seem to be anything wrong. The report would be ready in a couple of days and would be sent to emergency but could also be sent to my GP.

Though it was a false alarm and I scared myself for nothing and it was a crappy experience, glad I did it so now I know that it's nothing.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Red Dead Redemption and New Xbox 360

Ok, so I know I'm a little late in coming to Red Dead, but cut me some slack, I've been saving up and my Xbox has been broken.
This, however, was delightfully rectified when EB Games announced a deal that trading in your old 360 would give you a significant discount on the new sleek, quiet, huge HD Xbox AND a free copy of Red Dead Redemption. My ears burned and I traded in.
My oh my oh my.
First of all, the new plastic smell of the new console was almost like heaven incarnate at this point. The new Xbox, not only sporting a huge 250 GB HD (almost unnecessarily big), but is quiet as a mouse. The new power pack barely makes any noise which makes it sound less like it's going to explode than the old model did.

Alright, so, Red Dead. This game, honest to goodness, is more fun than it has any right to be. I mean, really, it's just GTA on a horse in the Wild West - but for some reason, that makes it BETTER.
The open plains of the beautifully constructed world are astounding and the little addition of people either needing your help of trying to kill you by the side of the road is a cute touch towards the reality of 19th Century West America.
Although the protagonist (hero or villain is your choice) is a fairly opinionless avatar of the stereotypical mysterious stranger with a dark past, he is still enjoyable. His a well-defined character in terms of animation, and his lack of too many opinions kind of allows you to role-play him any way you like - though that could be my Dungeons and Dragons playing twist on a less than well-written character.
The story, however, is quite enrapturing in a strange way. I mean, it's typically Rockstar Games/GTA in that you go to different people for missions whom the previous mission-giver introduces you to, but their stories are more interesting than, "I hate this mob boss, murder him for money". I like the, "I'm a creepy grave robber searching for my lost treasure, let's go find it - this will include a lot of murder and mayhem".
Speaking of murder, the fighting - especially the duel-style Dead Eye feature - is more fun. This could be because you have a foreseeable limit to your ammo and you only really carry max 4 choose-able weapons at a time - my favourite is the Winchester Repeater. It also FEELS like a Western flick, with the grungy hero who's good with a gun and enemies slumping over, falling off roofs, etc.
All in all, a shining review for this game. Mahalo.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Official Verdict: StarCraft 2

Well, well, well. So the date came and went for the release of the much anticipated (for some fans, 12 year wait) StarCraft 2: Wings of Liberty. And lo and behold were we not disappointed.
While I sure had strong opinions on what Activizzard had done regarding the multiplayer system of the game, the single player mode is better than I hoped - if not slightly easier than I expected.
The story continues the story of the all favourite Jim Raynor four years after the end of Brood War. Kerrigan is mysteriously silent and Arcturus Mengsk is still in control of the Terran Dominion. The fight goes on in it's normal fashion and then Zeratul returns bearing grave news.
StarCraft 2's campaign allows for a varied and interesting form of play, allowing and disallowing certain units and creating intriguing choices for the player - allowing for moments of role play.
Also, while I may complain about the multiplayer system - and the integrated RealID (which was NOT removed) Facebook friend finger - the multiplayer games are fun and really are nostalgic of StarCraft 1. It is most definitely not "an online experience so good you won't want to have a LAN party", but it's fun - which a game this good should be.
Now I just need to wait for the two expansions to see if this praise is at all founded.