This piece was written in response to a particularly inconvenient trip to A&E.
It’s 2am on a Tuesday and John Hartson is making me scared, and so is my pal Archie. A couple of searches on Google images is provoking a terrified stream of expletives. One thing they all have in common is that they are warning me not to leave it too late because of embarrassment. It’s pretty natural to be embarrassed it’s not a good area to take an injury to particularly for someone leading a sporting masculine lifestyle. On Monday night seconds after coming off the sidelines in our game of five-a-side football I took a big hit to the groin area as the ball rebounded off the crossbar directly into my path. Huge cause for hilarity accompanied by overwhelming pain for a couple of minutes as standard, but now it’s been more than a day and the pain is still here.
Embarrassment almost cost John Hartson his life, by the time he eventually went to be examined he was in the advanced stages of testicular cancer which had spread to his lungs and brain. As regards Archie he too was too proud to go to the doctor’s right up until the point where he literally couldn’t stand up due to the pain. Unfortunately by this point the blood supply to his right testicle had been cut off for a couple of days and it had to be removed. The horrors revealed by a brief search on Google are truly beyond words and I can’t even replicate them in writing.
I’m not entirely sure if being hit in the balls can directly give you cancer but at this stage I’ve now convinced myself that anything is possible and spending £15 on taxis to and from A&E is well worth it. To be honest anything is worth it to not end up looking like that horrific green pus filled mess that I found at the bottom of a particularly dark chasm in the internet. It’s all starting to get a bit complex now though, what if they laugh at me? What if there are only male doctors? Even worse, what if it’s some kind of bizarre A&E ward straight from a cheap porno and staffed entirely by stunning women and there’s some kind of inconvenient incident during my examination?
There’s no chance of sleep now, the paranoia is too overwhelming. I need them both, surely? I go ahead and call a cab and it turns up pretty sharp, probably because I said I was going to A&E. I’m kind of hoping that the driver doesn’t ask questions and just puts the foot down, but this is Edinburgh and the cabbies love to blether. ‘So if you don’t mind me asking pal what’s up, nothing serious I hope.’ I explain the situation to him with the line I’ve prepared for the doctors. ‘Aw well pal, better safe than sorry eh, it’s quite the sensitive area, ye dinnae want to lose one ae yer meat and two veg, can ye imagine a burd’s face when she reaches down and there’s only one!’
‘Aye, cheers pal.’ Thankfully that’s us there and I don’t have to deal with his bedside manner any further. The place is empty and I check myself in. Something that has plagued me my whole life comes to the fore. ‘What’s wrong with you sir?’ asks the less than cheery night receptionist. Again I deliver my standard issue line. ‘OK, name please.’ Oh god, the sheer irony, a guy with sore balls whose surname is Dick, please god don’t make this any worse by laughing. A cheeky snigger blurts out from the corner of her mouth and my embarrassment is driven further. She hands me some notes and sends me through to give my notes to a nurse and wait. I walk through to the waiting room that is also in what appears to be a ward and nobody even notices me. I’m just standing here alone with my balls while nurses walk around all over the place. There’s a bit of a furore going on in the corner while loads of alarms are going off, it’s pretty obvious that someone is about to snuff it and I feel like a total timewaster.
Eventually I get seen to, shock horror, a male doctor is my first point of contact and he takes my pulse, temperature, and blood pressure then sends me back to my seat. My hands are dripping wet; please don’t let this be the person who feels my balls. Is it possible to request an asexual hermaphrodite doctor? A couple minutes later a nurse comes over. ‘Hi pal just fire over to cubicle 2 and remove your bottom half clothing and stick the gown on.’ I just want to go home, John and Archie I am with you now.
It’s too late now I’m on the bed, I’m in the gown. I’m still embarrassed; all 3 billion of us out there with balls would be too. A cute blonde doctor comes through the curtain and introduces herself to me, she’s got a hot Scandinavian accent and she uses it to ask me if I’m comfortable with her doing the exam, everything feels suspiciously like a very cheap porno. I’m now too tired and embarrassed to care and say it’s OK. As expected she gets in amongst it and begins the exam, but then she says something that throws me massively. It’s not even that relevant to the exam, but to get a better view she says ‘just let me move this.’ Oh please, you could have called it anything; knob, cock, penis, epic phallus, but instead you went for ‘this‘. In fairness worrying over why my penis is a this rather than anything else helps me keep control of myself in that area and after a couple more minutes of light medical fondling it’s over.
‘Well Mr Dick, your testicles are fine, the left one is bruised but it will be better in a couple of days. You have done the right thing coming in though, so many men your age would be too scared or too proud and I’m pleased you were brave enough to drop by.’
I guess that’s some sort of vindication and I’m massively thankful that all I have to deal with is sore balls for a couple of days and I can carry on with my lifestyle of five-a-side football.