Sunday serialisation – Knight after Knight, 17.4

Knight after Knight250

In Knight & Deigh, Hannice Knight suffered a back injury that left him without the use of his legs. Sophie Deigh, physiotherapist and recent widow, devoted herself to supporting him.

As Hannice’s body recovered, he became ever closer to Sophie, and soon they found themselves in a relationship they had neither anticipated nor intended and for which neither was fully prepared.

A bump in the Knight followed Hannice as he juggled business, hedonism, marriage and ultimately parenthood.

Knight after Knight is the third and final part of the Hannice Knight story. Starting after the marriage of Hannice and Sophie’s only son, David to Jess, the only child of Jason and Noelani Reeves of Hawaii, it traces the Knight family’s progression through the generations.

Knight after Knight. Chapter seventeen, part four.

A few days later I had a call from Dr Ray.

“I have the results of your biopsy, Hannice,” he said.

“I thought you were going to email it to me, so I could see the actual report.”

“I was, and I will, but I wanted to talk to you about it first.”

That had me worried. “Go on, then. Tell me what it said.”

“We did a couple of tests whilst we were there,” he said, “we checked for colo-rectal problems as well as your prostate, and took some blood for a full work-up.”

“You didn’t say you were going to do that!”

“So sue me. Okay, I didn’t ask for your permission; are you complaining?”

“No. I was just taken by surprise. So what did you find?”

“Mostly, that you’re in remarkably good health for a man of your years.”

“I feel a ‘but’ coming on.”

“You’re right. There are some problems with your prostate—”

“We knew that.”

“Yes, we did. But we didn’t know exactly what we were dealing with, which is why we took the biopsy.”

“Go on.”

“I’m delighted to say it’s not cancerous, but we do need to take some action before it deteriorates much farther. We can address it with medication, a single pill each evening; no serious side-effects as far as we know; or we can perform a minor surgery.”

“What’s the surgery?”

“It’s called a Trans-Urethral Resection. Under local anaesthetic, we insert into your prostate, through the urethra, a small instrument with a camera attached. We then remove some of the excess material, resulting in a reduction in the size of your prostate.”

“So you’re talking about pushing a Rolleiflex into me through the end of my willy.”

“Hardly. It’s a fine fibre-optic. You’ll feel nothing at the time and only mild discomfort for a few days afterwards. We’d need to keep you in for about four days.”

“Side effects?”

“Two of note. Firstly, it often results in what we call retrograde ejaculation. That means that any ejaculate passes back into your bladder instead of coming out through your penis.”

“I think I vaguely remember ejaculation. Not a problem. Two?”

“There is a risk – a very slight risk but it would be wrong of me not to mention it – of pre-cancerous cells being excited by the operation—”

“I’m glad someone’s excited by it!”

“Hannice, please. The procedure can marginally increase the risk of prostate cancer. For that reason, if you elect to have the surgery, I’d need the urologist to check you each year. Just as a precaution.”

“Do it.”

“The operation?”

“Yes. I have no wish to take yet another pill every day for the rest of my life – it’s just something else to forget, isn’t it?”

“For what it’s worth, I think you’re making the right decision. I’ll book an appointment with the urologist. Any preferred date?”

“It would have to be a day when I’m not busy.”

“When would that be?”

“Every day,” I said drily.

The email confirmed what Dr Ray had told me, and included a couple of leaflets explaining the procedure. Apparently, I’m to be knocked out briefly so they can give me an epidural, then brought back for the operation. According to the leaflet, it’s quite common for the patient to observe the procedure on the monitor that the surgeon is using to see what he’s doing. I don’t know if that was intended to reassure me, but it didn’t. However, I had made my decision and had no intention of changing it.

I told the family the result of the biopsy after dinner. I gave Jess and Hannah the option of leaving before I went into any detail on what was to happen to me, but they both chose to remain. They all listened intently to what I had to say, Hannah unsuccessfully hiding acute embarrassment when I spoke of the likely side-effects of the operation but, to her credit, she didn’t rush out or show any distaste.

The operation, which took place at the nearby hospital, went exactly as I’d expected. In a semi-dazed state, I watched the whole thing on the monitor, but when I asked if there was anything better on another channel, no-one saw the funny side. I had a momentary panic whilst in the recovery room. When the nurse who was looking after me asked if I could raise my legs, I found I couldn’t and had a flash-back to that awful period all those years ago after I’d damaged my spinal cord. She saw my concern and explained that the epidural had numbed me from the waist down and she had to check that I was getting movement back before she could release me back to the ward. I understood what she was saying to me and took it on board, but my subconscious stayed in panic mode until I was able to move my legs again; just a little at first, but sensation and movement returned incrementally and I was finally wheeled back into the room where David, Jess and Hannah were waiting for me.

“How are you, Granddad?” Hannah asked, looking at the tubes connected to a bottle of clear liquid on one side of my bed and, shall we say not-clear liquid on the other.

“Okay now,” I said. I looked at David and asked, “Did they tell you anything about what they’ve done?”

“A bit,” he said, “they said you were worried when you couldn’t move your legs at first.”

“Worried? I was terrified. You have to remember I was still groggy from the anaesthetic – still am a bit, truth be told. When I had no feeling below the waist, I started thinking that maybe it won’t come back; that what they’d done had opened up the old would and I’d be stuck in a wheelchair again. This time for good!”

“But that’s not happened, has it?” Jess said.

“No, thank goodness.”

“The doctors say you’ll stay in here for a few days, to give your prostate time to recover. When you come home, they’ll give you details of what you have to do – mostly taking it easy for six weeks or so, and they’ll give me instructions of what we can do to help your recovery.”

“David, did I do the right thing?”

“Yes, Dad, you did. And I’ve booked an appointment to have all the tests that you had. I’ve been too busy to keep on top of these things, but even though you don’t have any signs of cancers, the possibility that you may have had it has shaken us all into having all the screenings available.” Jess and Hannah nodded. It seems they’ve decided to take advantage of the programmes, too.

Back at home, the recovery went well. I was concerned at first to see blood in my urine, but I should have expected that. The six-week period was the time it was expected to take for the prostate to heal fully. Before that time, things were clear and I was regularly glad that I’d had the procedure. I could sleep all night and had what the doctors call a good flow.



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