POTENCY PROBLEMS: DON’T LEAVE HER IN THE DARK

Sometimes, the desire for a “quick fix” to an erection problem backfires because the woman’s needs, and the whole structure of the relationship, are ignored. It’s important that both partners agree on the therapy.

Martin’s experience illustrates just how crucial the involvement of the partner can be. This quiet man had been married for some 30 years and was nearing the age of retirement. He’d suffered from erection problems for the last 10 years, but didn’t think anything could change that. While in the hospital for a minor surgical procedure, however, Martin began talking with the nurses and doctors, and found out about penile implants. Martin decided this was the solution he was looking for.

A few weeks later, Martin showed up at the clinic. He was very direct about the problem and the solution. Tests showed that blood-flow problems were the culprit in his inability to get an erection, and a penile implant was suggested as a solution. First, however, the doctor wanted to explain the procedure to Martin’s wife. “My wife thinks the implant is the greatest thing since sliced bread,” Martin declared, and explained that she had been called out of town on pressing business. He assured the doctor, however, that he had explained the entire procedure to her, that she had no questions and that she was totally in favor of the operation.

The urologist, taking Martin at his word, performed the surgery without talking to or meeting Martin’s wife. Everything went without a hitch, and, after several days in the hospital, a happy Martin was sent home to recover, with instructions not to use the implant until the doctor said it was all right (usually, several weeks after surgery).

Martin had done extremely well in the hospital, with few complaints of pain. But after he returned home, he was very uncomfortable. Several office visits failed to establish any cause for the unusual amount of pain, and in fact Martin was healing very well. No one could find anything wrong with him, but he was clearly unhappy.

Finally, just three weeks after the surgery, Martin returned once again to the clinic, this time demanding that the implant be removed. “Take it out or I’ll cut it out myself,” he yelled.

He was adamant that the “thing” be removed, and would not answer any questions about his wife’s feelings about his operation.

Faced with this situation, the clinic doctors decided they had no choice but to schedule surgery to remove the implant. But the staff was troubled by Martin’s dramatic change in attitude. Finally, a staff member, attempting to reach Martin at home, found himself talking with Martin’s heretofore elusive, always out-of-town-on-business wife. She was extremely angry. “How dare you put this thing in my husband? It was those young nurses in the hospital who convinced him to have this done! I won’t let him back in the house until you remove it,” she said.

Martin’s wife said further that she had told him from the very beginning that she did not want him to have the surgery. She was through with sex, and she wanted things to remain as they had been.

As it turned out, Martin had never consulted his wife about having his potency problem treated. Like many couples, Martin and his wife had lived with the erection problem for ten years, and in many respects had adjusted to that situation. To change it suddenly without the clear and informed involvement of both partners was a disaster.

The surgeon, resolving to never again put an implant in a married man without first interviewing the wife, removed the prosthesis from Martin. He recovered without difficulty, and returned home.

Cases like this just reinforce the fact that the woman should be involved in treatment to boost potency.

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