Monday, 2 December 2013

Why I Spent a Month Balancing an Anemic Slug on my Upper Lip

Movember. It's great, isn't it? All those people. Growing moustaches. It's become so popular too. Moustaches, are in. Movember has succeeded in popularising the moustache to the point that it's now plastered all over everything from pencil cases to cushions.

Brilliant. Success. Movember has clearly achieved its goal of changing the face of men's health.

Except... It hasn't. It's clearly done well as a brand. And they've clearly raised a lot of money for a good cause.

I participated in Movember because I wanted to encourage people to talk and be open about their issues, about their health, about their bodies.

Y'see, I lost a bollock when I was 14.

You could clearly tell something was odd, because I remember being up early that day. Remember being ready for school on-time. Remember rolling around on the sofa in agony within an hour and not making it in to school at all.

But it wasn't my Christmas baubles that were causing me trouble. I had a tremendous pain in my right side, above my waist. My lower back was also killing me.

A doctor's appointment was made.  By the time I got there, the pain had subsided. Everything... seemed to be ok. The doctor was... not helpful. "It could be your appendix, if you hadn't had that out three years ago. It could be your kidneys. It could be indigestion."

The pain got worse.  I was back to the doctor's the next day.

By the second trip, I remember having thought, "I do believe my family jewels are feeling a little unusual." (Ok, that wasn't EXACTLY what I thought, but it was along those lines)

I told the doctor that I thought one of me bollocks was swollen (Is that a technical term?). When you're 14, it's a bit odd getting your knob out and asking another man to have a look at it.  ... In fact, personally speaking, I think it's fair to say that I'd still find that more than a "bit odd" even now.

Oddness aside, the doctor looked at it.  Personally, I thought it had seemed a little swollen. Not by much, just a little. NO NOT SWOLLEN LIKE THAT, AND CERTAINLY NOT IN THOSE CIRCUMSTANCES, thank you very much.

"No," said my doctor, "it's fine. There's nothing wrong."

I believed him. Why wouldn't you? It didn't hurt or feel uncomfortable, and I couldn't say it looked alarming (Any more than usual), and... He's a doctor.

My doctor, in his infinite wisdom, diagnosed me with indigestion.  He gave me a prescription for some cruddy "settle your stomach" tosh.

Now we (my family) knew this was clearly an absolute load of bollocks (there's some irony for you), and my mum wasn't having any of this, so off I went to hospital.

They poked me and prodded me and (I think) kept me in for a night.  The pain continued to persist in my side and in my back. I didn't mention to them that one of my baby-making balloons appeared to have been a little inflated; why would I? The doctor had told me there was nothing wrong, and it had left my mind.

I was sent home from hospital. They could find nothing wrong.

By the next day, or that night; I can't remember, the pain in my side and back was so bad, I was back into hospital again - by ambulance, this time.

I was exhausted, and I had been in pain all day. By the time they'd got me a bed in a ward, I think it was something like 2am. My mum stayed with me that night - she heard one of the nurses on the phone saying "he seems fine; he fell asleep straight away; nothing wrong with him."

The next day, they finally figured out what the problem was. My testes was twisted. (Now, there's a tongue twister for you ;) )

By this point, it had been twisted so long, they couldn't simply untwist it. It had to go bye-bye.  Awhhhh, that poor li'l guy never even got to say hello to a lovely lady ;)

I don't really remember the detail of what happened after that. I remember them explaining that they didn't look for a twisted nut in boys below 15 at the time. I remember a ... What's the collective noun for a group of medical students? I'll improvise... I remember a fuck-load of medical students all coming in with the senior consultant to hear and see all about it.

Come to think of it, I do remember nurses helping me to bathe and clean it. Ohhhh yeah ;)  That makes me smile now, but when you've got a great gash and stitches in your ball sack, it's a bit more difficult to appreciate! (It did sting a bit ;) )

They told me the remaining one got tied down with a "bit of cat gut" to make sure that it can't get twisted like the first. one.  Reassuring.

You know what? I'm bloody glad that human bodies are built so damn well. All these backups. I'm glad I've still got at least one of my lovely love spuds, and that it makes no difference to my chances of making little people.  They told me I could get a plastic prosphetic, but I've never seen the point (then or now).

I try to look after the other li'l survivor. I don't mean that I buy little treats for him every now and again (a fine hat, or an ice cream, maybe), but more... Keep an eye on my health. Speak to my doctor if anything unusual happens - and WHEN it happens, not after a few months of going "I wonder if that's a problem?" - I happen to know that an early diagnosis does make a difference :-P

I trust myself and my body a lot more too. And doctors a lot less.

And Movember?  Movember's a great idea. A great way of "changing the face of men's health".  But... Don't forget what it's about. Don't forget to THINK about your health. It ain't about the 'tache it's about the todger ;) (I'll let them use that, if they ask me nicely ;) )

Movember isn't really "about" what happened to me - a "simple" case of a twisted bollock. But it IS about raising awareness. Not just your meat and two veg, but your arsehole and all the other personal problems that aren't fun or pretty to talk about.  So, just... Be aware of your body, and don't be afraid to go to your doctor, and trust your own instincts and feelings when you talk to your doctor.

Long may you live, and never may your balls be lopped off.

Colin