At a funeral for an old school friend a while ago, your typical Irish funeral. You know the one, booze, the tears, the laughter, the inappropriate comments. I once had a person come up to me as I stood over my own fathers freshly dug grave and say, ‘Ah sure he’s in a better place now.’
My childhood friends funeral was one of those funerals, brothers kicking the crap out of each other, the woman he was having an affair with throwing herself on the coffin. Some fella showing up claiming he was his son…….
You get the picture.
The one thing that stood out, thinking back recently, an old class mate that arrived late to the bar, clearly shocked, exclaimed “I only heard last night, Was it sudden?” We all nodded, we mumbled something about it being very sudden and unexpected. He died of cancer, it was neither sudden nor unexpected, preventable maybe, Sudden and unexpected, no. The wilful ignorance of us men gathered in the bar that night in regards to our health and especially mens health was staggering and still is amongst most men today.
You have probably heard the radio adverts for prostate cancer awareness in recent weeks. There has been a lot of awareness drives in recent months, you had Blue September. This month is also Movember that of course needs no explaining unless you’re residing in a cave for the past few weeks. Hordes of Irish men trying to grow something resembling beards, moustachios and all manner of exotic facial hair. All very worthy, if paleontologists years into the future wonder why facial hair never caught on in Ireland on a more permanent basis they will only have to look to Movember.
There are valid reasons and a need for these awareness drives….We the male of the species are not only willfully ignorant when it comes to our health, we are stupid … Yes stupid, thick as 2 planks, thick as 2 kerry men .
This is in regards to all aspects of our health. The minor cut that actually turns out that you need your hand sown back on. That splinter you have in your hand is actually a 12 inch nail and will need removing before you finish the Ikea wardrobe that the dog wouldn’t sleep in.
Unless its man flu of course, because all men know that will kill you quicker than testicular cancer, prostate cancer, a heart attack and bubonic plague all at once. Women may scoff at the deadly Man Flu and say we are only looking for sympathy, which is not true I once had man flu for 3 weeks.
That lump on your testicles… no you’re not growing a 3rd testicle, that will make you more of a man. You really do need to get it checked out, that 3rd lump is not going to make you the most virile man in Ireland. I hate to be alarmist here, but that 3rd lump may actually kill you. No amount of alcohol or joking will make it go away. So check yourself regularly, have a bit of a feel, no not in the lingerie section of Brown Thomas. In private and do it regularly. Seriously, Early detection is the key to survival. You could always get your significant other to check them, I’m sure they won’t mind, and it will only take a minute…… If there is something amiss go to your GP and get it checked out. Your GP may want a feel, no not because he or she may fancy you. They are just doing their job, read more on Testicular Cancer it may save your life, at the very least it will be an excuse to touch yourself.
My own ignorance stretches to such that I once had to ask why women do not get prostate cancer. Incidentally 4 out of 5 men that get prostate cancer survive it. Once again early diagnosis is paramount. Diagnosis may be a bit uncomfortable and no the Doctor is not being a pervert, he is trying to figure out whatever it is that ails you . Sure who knows you may enjoy it….. You can read more on Prostate Cancer here and this is for men on cancer protection and early prevention . Read it now !
That pain you may be getting in your chest, the sweating, the shortness of breath, the tiredness, no you didn’t reach for television remote to quickly, it’s not an old rugby injury or you have not over done it with the flat pack furniture. You may actually be having a heart attack as Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director, Irish Heart Foundation tells us.
“It is shocking to think that almost 6 out of 10 people know heart attack symptoms but when it comes to getting help, only half of these will arrive by ambulance. Every minute lost or delayed in getting treatment increases damage to the heart muscle and may even result in death. The good news is that when caught in time, there are good treatments available for heart attack. Survival rates can be improved by as much as 50% if patients access treatment within one hour of symptom onset.”
You can read more here Irish Heart Foundation
The old cliché our health is our wealth. It is so true, not just for ourselves but for those we love and care for. Our wives , girlfriends , boyfriends , children, parents and friends. When we ignore that pain or lump we are not just putting our own lives at risk but the lives of those whom we hold dear also, for the suffering of losing a loved can be a pain as bad as any physical pain endured. The auld ah sure I will get it checked out next week or when I get paid is not an excuse, it can sometimes lead to a death sentence.
I’m sure people will say nice things to your family and loved ones as they stand over your casket, he was a great man, a great father, a wonderful husband, a great Fianna Fáil man, right right ok I am stretching things there a little. As a friend said to me wouldn’t you love someone to say “fuck he’s moving ”
Deep down though the wiser among us will be saying why didn’t he get himself checked out sooner…….