… from the bungalow

Bollocks

29 Comments

“Is this where you felt it?” she asked, indicating the lower end of my right testicle as she pushed it around in its sack. She was asking me about a specific spot, which means she was implicitly confirming the existence of … something.

Five days prior, and on and off over the course of a month before that, I noticed a lump, but it didn’t register as a “lump” until last week. I felt a bit sick over it and scheduled an appointment with Karin’s doctor. I don’t generally see a doctor unless a physical is required for work or to maintain my level of insurance. Not having one of my own, I called hers.

The medical assistant taking my vitals was a man about my age, clean shaven bald, and smelled of Right Guard deodorant. A vague sense of my awkward junior high school days washed over me as he entered my medical history into the computer, asking few questions. The mostly silent period between weighing in and waiting for the doctor gave me plenty of time to get good and nervous.

When the doctor entered the room, she was young and foreign and pretty. Great, I thought, I’ll soon be discussing my balls with this woman. *sigh*

We went over my family history, talked about general concerns, and discussed the possibility of going back to counseling and/or getting back on anti-depressants. She retrieved a disposable paper sheet, said she’d be back with a medical assistant, and told me to remove everything from the waist down, then lie down and cover up.

Of course she’ll bring someone else in here. She’s a woman and I’m a man and she has to cover her behind. I wonder if this medical assistant will be watching over the doctor’s shoulder while I entrust my most delicate bits to the hands of a person I’ve just met.

As I lay there on the table, pants-less, vulnerable, with only a paper sheet draped over my baby-makers*, I flashed back to those terrifying pubescent moments waiting for my family doctor to complete my physical as he spoke his notes about my development into a mini tape recorder, only to be transcribed–surely–by someone who would snicker and giggle about some kid and his body hair. My face felt hot.

The doctor returned with her medical assistant: Mr. Right Guard himself. But he didn’t look at me, or even turn toward me for that matter. He was simply present in case of, oh I don’t know, an errant boner or something. But there would be no misunderstandings. I had entirely too much anxiety. If the good doctor were to see an erection that day, it would belong to someone else.

So here we are, back at the beginning of this tale. After what seemed like at least five minutes of ball squeezing (it was probably less than one), she asked me to confirm what she felt. I fumbled at it myself, but found the spot and agreed. Between the embarrassment of asking this woman to feel my gonads and the worry over the fact that there existed some agreement that something was there, the red heat from my face could have melted an ice sculpture at that point. A giant, phallic ice sculpture.

She told me it’s most likely a varicocele: nothing to be concerned about, but she’d refer me to the hospital for an ultrasound just to be 100% sure. Whew. OK, an ultrasound. That will calm my worry. Right Guard then left the room, and the doc and I discussed referrals. All the while, my pants and undies lay on the floor in a heap, my twig and berries still covered only by a paper sheet.

Finally, she shook my hand (have you ever shaken hands with someone while you were naked from the waist down?) and left, and I was able to shed the sheet and don my duds. After a flu shot from Right Guard, I was on my way, alone with my thoughts of doing it all again, this time with the added promise of cold, squishy ultrasound gel on my delicate scrotal skin.

Goody.

Chris

P.S. I’m super glad it’s nothing alarming and that I most likely do not have a tumor.

P.P.S. Guys, feel your balls for the love of God. Better safe than sorry, and the embarrassment is temporary.

P.P.P.S. Gals, I’m so sorry that every few months you have to get half naked so a doctor can inspect and scrape your lady bits while inserting a cold speculum into your vagina. I knew before that it must suck, but I now have slightly more perspective. Slightly. Perhaps if you’re lucky, your medical assistant will be Right Guard fresh. “Anything less,” as they say, “would be uncivilized.”

*Former baby-makers. A urologist took care of that for me a few years back.
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Author: Chris

A dad with a self-evaluation complex. Also a music therapist, college enrollment administrator, and hippie-nerd.

29 thoughts on “Bollocks

  1. Loved it!

  2. Very honest. Very visceral. To be continued. Don’t make us wait this long for this writing. Your audience.

  3. Nice to hear a male version of what women suffer top and bottom yearly. Hope this is nothing and it will result in one excellent blog.

  4. Great post. I mean, in a cringe-y kind of way. Glad all is well!

  5. Glad everything is okay. Feel your pain for the awkward doctor situation. I started off shy and uncomfortable at the beginning of my pregnancy. At some point I gave up and stopped caring. By the end of it I was a whale at peace with letting it all hang out. I did run into my OBGYN in a grocery store once. It was the same mind-melting experience as seeing a former teacher in a bar: “Why aren’t you grading papers/ performing pap smears right now!?!?”.

    • Isn’t it funny how we associate people with their roles and our history together? Like it doesn’t even occur to us that they’re human beings with lives just like us. I’m sure if I saw my new doctor at the grocery store, I’d feel compelled to strike up some testicle-related small talk. :/

  6. Chris, as a woman thank you for sharing this. It is very important for all men and women to inspect their bits and get checked out despite what embarassment may come. My first pregnancy was horrific in this aspect. I was under the care of a teaching hospital. Medical students…my age!! By the time I was in labor…I mostly didnt care who saw what. However…the moment when my sons heart rate dropped and wasn’t coming back and suddenly there was a huge crowd gaping at my lady bits…..that embarassment all came back. My thoughts at the time were “oh my god am I pooping on the table? Did all these people just witness me doing this??” I kid you not there were no less than 37 students, doctors, specialists and nurses surrounding my nether region. Of course this resilted in an emergency c section but back to the point. The sheer fact that you have shared your experience as a man is comforting in more ways than one. Thank you for sharing. And Please keep us posted and you will be in my prayers that all is well and there is no tumor for you have to deal with.

    • Yes, that sounds pretty horrifying. I laughed out loud at “pooping on the table”! I’ve often wondered about that. My ex-wife had C-sections for both of our children.

      Thanks for your thoughts, Christina. I’m sure it’s nothing, but I didn’t want to risk it as this was my first time really noticing something different going on.

  7. You scared me. So glad to hear that everything appears to be ok though. And yeah, being exposed like that does suck – but it’s important to get it checked out and make sure that all is well! Love the post – you did a great job with it, my friend!

  8. Yes, we women do that annually. Fun, isn’t it?

  9. Interesting and strangely refreshing. I’m glad that you have nothing to worry about.

  10. Well written. I enjoyed it while squirming a bit. That’s why I know it was well-written as your words transported me there with the thin paper sheet over my “bits”. I’m glad that what you are dealing with is most likely nothing to be concerned about and that the doctor is being extra sure. Good luck!
    RUss

    • Thank you, Russ. It’s been a good experience overall. Now that I know it’s nothing to worry about, I’ll be better prepared if something different pops up.

  11. I read your post with the utmost professional nurse demeanor, insuring your comfort and dignity, maintaining composure through all the necessary references to genitalia……until the twigs and berries comment! bwwaahhaaa….sorry, just couldn’t hold it in any longer!

    A. I’m so glad that things check out and that there doesn’t seem to be a problem.
    B. Please keep us posted on your ultrasound results.
    C. Keep encouraging the men to do their self check. I think its particularly well received from a panic stricken man just given a pardon.
    D. So glad you have a more personal understanding of a woman’s gynecological and reproductive life!

    Good stuff…..

  12. I loved this post! So well written and flowy and such!
    As a former medical assistant of a gastroenterologist, I have to admit that I always kind of wondered what was going through the patient’s minds as I assisted with rectal exams. It was awkwardly difficult to stand there in the corner of the room while THAT was happening to a person. I can only hoped I smelled just as nice.
    I wish you health and luck on your U/S today 🙂
    -Amanda

  13. Hilarious, Chris, and so sorry to say at your own expense! But, a super funny synopsis of a not-so-fun experience. And, yes, we women have been enduring the half-sheet showsies for decades. It never gets any better -EVER. I just went in for my annual exam the other day only to get undressed and all for the nurse to come in and say, “Oh, I’m sorry Ms. MacInnes…the doctor actually can’t see you today.” Well, gee, thank you, miss! So glad I disrobed for that! Ha, ha…glad you have a sense of humor, and relieved it is nothing serious! Indeed! XOXO-SWM

    • Couldn’t see you? That’s a bummer! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Yes, it is OK to laugh at my expense, as long as I’m the one telling the jokes. 😉

  14. yes, yes I have shaken hands with someone while naked from the waist down. I have one better, my OB was a hugger, every visit was a hug dressed or not and a kiss on the forehead. He delivered all the children so he has knowledge of the nether regions that is up there with my better half 😉 VERY nice work, and I am glad you took the step to check it out. Those boys and that beautiful wife need you

    • Thanks, Joy! Sounds like you have a pretty close relationship with your doctor. I imagine that’s a nice thing to have. I’m not sure how I’d feel about all that!

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