13 October 2015
Many men put off going to the doctor, including nutritionist, Shane Bilsborough. Follow Shane as he visits urologist, Dr Ross Snow for a check-up. He also learns from other men who have had life-threatening medical conditions, such as writer and actor, Alan Hopgood and personal trainer, Rohan Green why it is so important for men to see their doctor.
Shane: We're macho, we're tough. That's what Aussie males are all about, right? Wrong. It seems we're big wimps when it comes to doing one thing and that's going to the doctor. I thought you you'd buy me dinner first, doc.
Dr Ross Snow, Consultant Urologist, Cabrini Hospital: I'll send you some flowers.
Shane: There's something about going to the doctor - needles, blood, internal examinations - urgh. Yes, we know women do it all the time and don't they love to remind us, but they're on to something because visiting the doctor is one of the women live longer than us blokes.
Dr Snow: I'm just going to have a very good feel, Shane.
Shane: This is one of the things that really scares us.
Dr Snow: All done, Shane.
Shane: That wasn't too bad and you know what? A moment of embarrassment can actually save your life.
Alan: I'm telling you, Ross, for every man there's a girl.
Shane: One person who knows this first hand is writer and actor, Alan Hopgood.
Alan: Well, I had prostate cancer 13 years ago and when that hand, you know, hits you on the back of the neck and somebody says you've got cancer. Yeah, your whole life changes, but of course, I didn't realise the way it would change my life. It sent it right off on this wonderful detour really.
Shane: Alan turned a shock discovery into a success story.
Alan: I wrote a book about it and out of the book, I derived a play, which most importantly, I made a comedy because prostate cancer is forbidding enough a subject, so it needs a little bit of comedy to alleviate it. And I found in the process, of course, it made a lot of otherwise confronting points quite palatable. And in all cases, it's a matter of you've got a health problem. Don't hide it away. Don't push it under the bed. Bring it out in the open because you'll find you'll get wonderful support.
Shane: Dr Ross Snow has a few thoughts about why us men stick our heads in the sand over health.
Dr Snow: You know, men often feel well, especially in their 30s and 40s and 50s. They think they're pretty invincible, and it hasn't been in our culture that you run off to the doctor when you're not feeling sick.
Shane: What can you say, doc, to get me motivated to come and see the doctor?
Dr Snow: It's in your interest a lot more than the doctor's interest.
Shane: Now, I need to face my biggest fear - needles.
Nurse: So, the doctor's ordered you a couple of blood tests today.
Shane: Yes. Like most men, I hate needles. Urgh, how's this for embarrassing yourself on TV? Well, I'm not happy and I'm very nervous. Oh, I can't look; this is just terrifying. Oh, I'm absolutely petrified and you know what? I don't care about facial expressions or anything. It's traumatic for a bloke to get a needle. Oh, but it's going to get a lot more traumatic when I get home. My wife is probably laughing her head off.
Nurse: You alright?
Shane: I'm absolutely fine.
Shane: Have we done, have we?
Nurse: We've finished.
Shane: Oh wow. There you go, didn't feel a thing. Go figure. Okay, I admit it, I'm a sook. Time for me to toughen up. So, I've enlisted the help of Rohan Green, who's a personal trainer at Fitness Kick in Flemington. Rohan's a man's man. I mean this bloke just underwent heart surgery and he has a massive scar to prove it. Rohan, can you explain the operation?
Rohan: It was called a David procedure. So, I had an aortic aneurysm, which is a dilation or a widening of the ascending aorta, which is the vessel that travels up to the brain from the heart. I didn't do much about it up until when I went through the passing out stage. That's when I realised it was serious and thought, “My God, I've actually got to do something about this.” So yeah, I was in denial, right up until the day I got told that I needed the operation.
Shane: When Rohan started passing out constantly, he knew it was time to get serious about medical attention.
Rohan: I was actually body-building at the time. There was a big change I would have had a rupture in the heart and dropped down pretty much.
Shane: Dropped dead?
Rohan: Dropped dead pretty much, yeah. Come on mate, keep it up. I'm going to need a bit more than that.
Shane: Okay, Rohan's hard hitting message has hit home. We macho men shouldn't be scared of the doctors, we should be worried about our own mortality.
Rohan: I suppose I've got a new lease on life now. It's kind of woken you up a little bit as to how to respect your body, how to make things better for yourself in the future and generally look after yourself.
Shane: Rohan, what will they do, eh? Will they supercharge your heart? Because I'm stuffed.
Rohan: Yeah, they supercharged mine. Now, it's time to supercharge yours, buddy. Let's get upstairs and go for a sprint.
Shane: Oh have a heart, mate.
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