A Little Bit Off The Top

“Your problem is called ‘phimosis'”, said the doctor. He pronounced
it FIE-ma-sis. I knew the word, but had always thought that it rhymed
with other problems I had, such as psychosis and halitosis. Well,
however it sounded, the symptom was clear: I couldn’t pee straight.
This made me a little unpopular in public washrooms.

“You could try treatment with a topical cream,” he continued.
Topical? Great, a conversation piece. Just the thing to talk about
over dinner. “However, they are often ineffective. I recommend
circumcision. If you agree, I’ll set a date in early December.”

I couldn’t help reflecting that I had recently had an eye operation.
It might have saved time and trouble to have combined operations, doing
it all at one time. Heck, if they needed any skin for grafting, that
would have been ideal opportunity. But doctor, I imagined myself
saying, it might make me cockeyed. Not at all, he would reassure me,
it will give me foresight.

* * *

You don’t go in for an operation, even day-surgery, without a
lengthy interview with hospital staff. Much of the time is taken up by
the filling out of forms, and even more by just waiting around.
Eventually, I got to chat with an admitting nurse.

“You do this under general anaesthetic? Why? This seems like a
minor procedure to me.”

The nurse didn’t seem to know. “I’m not sure. We often perform D
and C with just sedation and a topical.”

D and C? Oh boy. They’d better not mix up their operations when I
go in.

“Your dressing may not fall off before you leave the hospital,” she
said. That’s a strange way of putting it, an inverted negative. It
may not? Should I take that as meaning it probably will? What do you
do when your dressing falls off? For that matter, what do you do if
anything else falls off? As it turned out, this would be of some
importance to me.

* * *

The anaesthetic question still bugged me. Why didn’t they want me
to see what was going on? Would it be upsetting to see the surgeon
whip out a set of pinking shears?

Maybe they didn’t want me to hear during the operation. Apart from
comments on size and beauty of the object (or the reverse), there might
be other things they would rather I did not overhear. Such things as
“Oops!” or “Has anyone got page 24 of the manual?” or “Bad dog! Come
back with that!”

Perhaps they were afraid that I might get an erection in mid-
operation. There didn’t seem to be much danger of that, but it might
be hard to cut a straight line with the thing moving around. Come to
think of it, had I thought to ask if my surgeon had any problems such
as Parkinson’s or Tourette’s? I recall seeing very pretty things done
with radishes at formal dinners, but I didn’t want anything that
artistic done on my radish.

* * *

Operation day arrived. My admission time was set for 6:30 a.m. It
was indeed a dark and stormy night. As I made my way to the hospital,
everyone around me seemed to be holding a cup of coffee; but I was
under “nothing to eat and drink” orders.

It seems to be a universal hospital joke that all patients must wear
a gown that shows their butt. It was a little cold in the changing
area; I found was humming “Blue Moon”.

I got to the operating room quite a while before the surgeon. Seems
that the winter storm had delayed him, and then he had had problems
with the scrubbing machine. Did this sound like a lucky day or what?

* * *

I came to with an oxygen mask over my face and an animated blood
pressure cuff over my arm. For the next hour, I was left mostly to
myself. Nobody came to tell me how well things went, or for that
matter how brave I was. I recalled that newborns have their picture
taken right away, and wondered why they didn’t have a similar service
for my situation.

An attractive nurse rolled me away to a hospital room. She told me
that I could not be discharged until I had peed, which she estimated
would take an hour or so. She offered a juice or tea, which I quickly
accepted. If she wants me to pee following a morning of no food and
drink, I’d better have something to drink.

There was a telephone there. I called my wife to give her an update
and an estimated time I’d be ready to go. She said, “What happened to
your voice?” I was croaking.

Oh, God. My voice! Maybe they had done the wrong operation – the
other one whose name also starts with ‘C’. I tried lifting the
bedclothes and taking a look, but the gown and bandages meant there was
little to be seen.

“Why is my voice like this?” I asked the nurse.

“Just the anaesthetic,” she said, “They probably had a tube down
your throat.”


* * *

About an hour later, the nurse came around and asked me if I’d like
to try peeing. It was like toilet training all over again.

I got out of bed. The nurse looked at the bedclothes, and said,
“Looks like your dressing came off”. That figures. It’s doughnut-
shaped: there’s nothing to keep it on. Surgical tape would be used
sparingly in this area.

I set off to the toilet area. “Oops!” she said, “You’re dripping!”
I looked back; there was a trail of blood drips on the floor. “Keep
going!” she said, “I’ll mop this up”. I suppose that blood on the
floor of a hospital room is not only unsanitary, it might be
demoralizing for other patients. “And stay in there. I’ll put on a
fresh dressing before you come out.”

As it happened, I wasn’t quite ready to pee yet. So I signalled to
the nurse that I was finished there for the moment. She came into the
bathroom area and asked me to stand and hold up my gown.

The nurse got down on her knees and took my penis in her hand. I
held my gown higher. She was reaching for the dressing material when my
wife walked in.

* * *

The stitches come out in about a week.