Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Progress Report.


Look, the operation itself was nothing much. Couldn't have taken more than half an hour. When they walked me out to the recovery area, there was another bloke in a one of the chairs, having a bit of a laugh at my mushy efforts to talk through the fast-fading sedatives. Maybe twenty minutes later, he was gone -- and they walked another bloke through the door, and it was my turn to giggle at him.

He had it worse than me, mind you. I've been through enough minor surgeries to know what to expect. Oh -- and the fact that the anaesthetist had to try three times before he found a useful vein probably helped me remember the situation, whereas the new bloke wasn't even certain he'd been through the operation yet. I reassured him that yes, they'd done the job and all he had to do was sit and recover.

The anaesthetist was actually a bloke I know - very decent chap - and I don't blame him for having a bit of trouble. My skin is notoriously leathery. This isn't the first time I've confounded the needlestickers. I hate it, because when they have to struggle and the toughness of the skin keeps them from feeling the sensations they're used to, sometimes they slide the needle alongside the vein rather than into it. That really fucking hurts.

Aside from the leathery exterior, there was the fact that I was under strict instructions not to eat or drink for six hours before the procedure. Given that my appointment was for 1115, that mean nothing to drink from 0515... which effectively meant my last dose of water was about 2200 the previous night, and I was somewhat dehydrated. Note for future reference: either get a later appointment, or get up bloody early and have a decent drink.

I can't say I felt particularly good for the rest of the day. Didn't need the prescription painkillers, though: a bit of paracetamol was enough to see me through. A week? No worries!



The discolouration kicked in about a day or so later, and slowly spread. And the swelling, yep. And the discomfort. Not simple pain, but pain associated with movement. Discomfort, you see?

But what the hell. My various mates online were all happily telling me how they were playing touch footy and kicking the ball around just a day or so after the event. Obviously, things were gonna get better, right?

Well, today I called the surgery because the nurse who tried to call me on Monday had a bit of a fail-attack. The conversation went a bit like this:

"Hi. Yeah. It's me. You didn't manage to reach me, so I thought I'd call back. I've got a couple of concerns, really. Mostly about the swelling. I kind of thought it would be going down, five days after the event."

- What size is it?

(Flinthart thinks: jeez. How do I describe this? Happily, the nurse comes to the rescue.)

- An orange? A grapefruit?

(Flinthart thinks: oh, good. Fruit. I can work with fruit.)

"Well, if we were talking an orange it would be a very damned healthy navel orange. In fact, we really are much closer to the grapefruit end of the spectrum. Only you should maybe think more in terms of ripe avocadoes or even eggplant for colour, eh? Not all over, mind you. There are blotches. Big ones. And the specific shade of purple kind of varies. Puts me in mind of dependent lividity, really. And that's a bad state of mind to be in with regard to one's scrotum, I think."

- Is it hot?

(Flinthart is now completely flummoxed. How hot should a scrotum be? Should he account for the obvious inflammation and bruising when discussing the hotness of his 'nads?)

"Ah. Well... you know scrotums, right? It doesn't seem..."

(Flinthart trails off. The nurse offers no help, but that's okay because Flinthart's brain has kicked into gear.)

"Oh! You're worried about infection, aren't you? Oh, well, there's no increase in pain or tenderness, no spreading redness, no obvious focal point, no fevers and no localised warmth that can't be accounted for by the fact that my scrotum looks like I lost a fight with Peter Dinklage. Does that help?"

- Oh, good. Yes, we do worry about infection. Look... if it's just the swelling and discolouration...

"After five days!"

- You can try an ice-pack.

"Yyyyyyeah. Did that. Didn't much like it. Didn't seem to do a lot of good, either." 

- Well, these things can take a while. Look, why don't you call us back in a couple more days if you're still concerned.

"Oh. So... this is within the normal parameters? For post-vasectomy scrotum behaviour?"

- Reasonably.

"Oh. All right. I'll... call back if anything untoward happens, then.


And there the conversation closed. Leaving me - where? Well, the good news is that this apparently is within the normal spectrum of things. The bad news is that my end of the normal spectrum is a hideous shade of purple, with orange and yellow around the edges. And what, exactly, might be considered untoward enough to justify another phone call continues to elude me. I'd recognise infection, sure. But what else is there? As far as I'm concerned, a blotchy purple, highly tender scrote the size of a moderate grapefruit is pretty fuckin' untoward. Since that's obviously not untoward to the scrote-manipulating medical fraternity... I really have no idea what MIGHT be considered alarming.

I've seen those photos of the poor African bastards with elephantiasis, carting their hideously swollen 'nads around in custom-made wheelbarrows. Is that untoward? Or is that just another shade of the normal post-vasectomy scrotal spectrum?


Well... I think I've gotta go and change the ice-pack I've got tucked under my personal aubergine now. I'll get back to you folks if there's any real news. But I gotta tell you: I'm very fucking tired of walking bow-legged, tired of sleeping with a pillow between my knees, tired of ice-packs, tired of jabbing pains every time I bend over, tired of struggling to get into the little car, tired of waking up every time I roll over in my sleep... so any of you bastards who want to tell me what a lark all this is: do drop by sometime. I believe I may be able to help you understand the experience more fully. Just... shut your eyes while I swing the cricket bat, okay?