Monday, September 21, 2009

Urethral Spelunking

While I try not to obsess about my readership (or lack thereof), I enjoy going to Google Analytics every once in a while. My favorite info is the section where it tells you what people googled to get to your blog. Remember? How to clean semen out of your hot tub?

The other day, I found out someone googled *Urethral Spelunking* and ended up on an entry where I apparently discussed the urethra and spelunking all in one post. But urethral spelunking?

I immediately thought of an Amazonian fish I learned about a couple of months ago when I read The Lost City of Z. It is called the candiru, and it is a urinophilic fish. Very few human attacks are documented, but there are many "urban" legends (ha ha we are obviously in the Amazonian jungle) about how this fish will swim out of the water toward a human stream of urine and lodge itself into the urethra, causing incredible pain, and sometimes necessitating amputation of certain body parts for relief. Luckily, (or not, really) it is easy for a male to find relief upon amputation - stories of female attacks are rarer and more problematic, I learned, from my limited research.

But aside from the candiru, I can't think of another reason to google Urethral Spelunking. I guess there are certain bacteria and viruses that might imagine the urethra to be a cave-like haven, but are they really googling? I don't think so.

Foley catheters are inserted into the urethra during surgery, paralysis, etc. to relieve the bladder, but it is a bit of a stretch to imagine that the catheter is spelunking. Maybe performing a cystoscopy exam to look at the bladder is a little like spelunking - I imagine, although I have never seen one, that the urologist must have a light at the end of the tube to look at the bladder mucosa and take pictures to put in the medical record and share with the pathologist who will be looking at the biopsy. When we get the bladder as a surgical specimen we insert formalin and blow up the bladder like a water balloon to fix the tissue, overnight, for easier sectioning and evaluation. A darkened, in situ bladder with its thick muscular wall and undulating, edematous mucosa may not evoke stalactites and stalagmites, but I can see drawing parallels to a cavern.

I have exhausted my thoughts on urethral spelunking. Anyone have any other ideas?


Anonymous said...

I'm gonna have nightmares.....I can't believe you used the work "lucky" and male amputation in the same sentence. Maybe you should ask the person who actually googled the search phrase for ideas on the concept, or even better, maybe you might never want to talk to such a person, I am at a loss. It's hilarious though. Love you! -matt

Anonymous said...

That thing looks like a catfish, but I hope it is much smaller : )

Gizabeth Shyder said...

I have no idea who googles things, I can just see what is googled. Keywords. Maybe that information is available somewhere, but there is so much information in google analytics that it's a little overwhelming.

Don't you love the candiru? I either saw a pic or read a description of a man urinating off of the side of a boat and the fish swimming up to his urethra. Fascinating! So no, I don't think it is the size of a catfish.