When you reach a certain age, things hurt and you forge on. The initial reaction? “Ooh, that wasn’t good.” I waited a second, made a note to myself to move with more deliberation, and dumped the thirty-pound bucket of ice into the soda fountain. I told Dr T what had happened, and returned to forging on.
After a week or so, I called Providence and asked for an appointment. I went to Human Resources, (Liz the bookkeeper) and got the paperwork started. SAIF, you are my new bestest friend…
The ivy near the overpass has been creeping onto the sidewalk. I stepped with caution into the street to avoid the construction workers putting in the new retaining wall. I would be getting a similar procedure soon enough…
On a good day I had few problems if I moved carefully. On a bad day I would be sore, impatient, crabby and intolerant.
“How you feeling?”
Me: “Like I got kicked in the nuts yesterday.”
My diagnostic doctor visit was almost worthy of a Penthouse letter. “I’m here to see Doctor Wang.”
“You mean Doctor Chang?”
I was relying on memory. “That’s probably right.”
“Have a seat.” Soon I was called back. At my clinic, first stop on the vitals check is The Scale. I had been weighed on that scale often, and had a wowsy time. (Sorry.) I peeled off the heavy stuff and stood aboard. When the number stopped at 301.5, I about did a happy dance in the middle of the nurse’s station.
“I am within a pound and a half of my lying weight!”
Suck on that, Jenny Craig! But gently please, I’m kinda sore down there.
Dr Chang walked in. Oh my. Dr Chang was beautiful. (Pretty much 100% certain Dr Chang had no wang) And there I was, wearing only a hospital gown, backward like a shorty Jack Nicholson bathrobe. (They were messing with my up-front, might as well be easy access.) I prayed for an atypical reaction to this scenario as she snapped on a blue latex glove. “I am going to have to touch you in some personal areas. Is that okay?”
I laid back, put my hands behind my head, let the hospital gown fall open. “Do what ya gotta do.” It was not quite as much fun as I make it sound, but if I were sixteen a ceiling would have needed painting.
After a supervisor, who looked like Stephen Colbert and had much colder hands, gave it a look, they conferred in my presence. “Since you have insurance, we are recommending a surgeon look at you. If you hadn’t had insurance, we would likely have suggested you learn to live with it.”
“Nut up, as it were?”
That earned a grandfatherly smirk from Dr Colbert.
I was issued instructions not to lift anything heavy, and to get to an ER if experiencing severe, acute pain or unusual swelling worse than what I’d already encountered. I made an appointment with a surgeon down the hall from the clinic. How conveeeeenient.
My surgeon had an exotic name and resembled the mom in Terminator 2. (My initial reaction: “Man, I wish I could enjoy this more.”) She asked a few questions, put on a glove and felt around my Happy Place. “Normally, I just have a guy stand up, drop trou and I grab a handful. Yours is prominent enough that we don’t need to do even that. You definitely have an inguinal hernia.”
“I’ve been calling it My Alien Baby. I’m just hoping you get to it before it bursts out.”
“Well, I won’t know exactly until we get inside, but this is what you can expect.” She ran a finger diagonally from hip bone toward the base of Mr Winky. “I will make an incision here, then lift your testicle and cord aside, patch up the hole(s) and put a latex mesh in front of that. If everything takes, you should be like brand new in four to six weeks.”
She stopped, smiled at me and said, “I tell all my guys this: I’ve never lost a testicle.”
I smiled right back and said, “Well neither have I. Fer Chrissakes, let’s not start now!”
We were on the same page there, that’s for sure.
I was scheduled for surgery the following Thursday. A week to get nervous. A week to ponder my tiny existence. Would this be my countdown to extinction? What IF something went wrong? It does happen. I always assumed if I tried reverse-bungee jumping, I would be the guy who flies out of the harness and lands three blocks away on Grandma as the kids watch.
Shit happens. I’m hoping only good shit happens to me.