The Day I Became An Urban Legend or The Cautionary Tale of a Cock-Ring Gone Awry

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2.

One night in recent times, I fell asleep with the ring on, and happened to cross my legs. Things seemed in order when I awoke, but later that day, my left testicle began to swell.

It continued to swell, in fact, until it was roughly three times the size of the right one.

It hurt to walk; the pain climbed into my stomach where it incubated into a kind of sickness.

I googled ‘swollen testicle’ and freaked myself out.

“Tell me, G_, what does it mean if one of your nuts swells up?” I asked my friend the doctor when he answered the phone, trying to conceal my panic.

“Mate,” he said, “You need an ultra-sound NOW!”

“Jesus,” said I, becoming more frightened. “Really?”

“God, yes! It could be cancer; it could be anything! Have a feel around and see if you can find anything that shouldn’t be there!”

I did so immediately and discovered something large and hard, the approximate size of a brazil nut.

***

 Of course, the radiographer would happen to be a woman.

“Don’t worry, we see all kinds of things,” she said as she squeezed cold gel from a sauce bottle onto my nut-sack.

“Jesus, my girlfriend was laughing at me,” I lied. “She told me, ‘Come on dude, don’t be such a pansy. I have to go to a gynecologist and have a pap smear once a year.”

The radiographer laughed, and I kept talking, almost hysterical and somewhat embarrassed. I confabulated an entire dialogue with a wry, sarcastic girlfriend, feeling that the only way the whole misadventure could become more embarrassing would be for the radiographer to discover I had inflicted the injury whilst working out solo.

“It’s not cancer,” she said, looking at the screen as she worked the ultrasound gun over my gonad. “It seems to be a little bit of swelling, but I’ll leave it to the doctor to give you a full and proper explanation.”

G_ rang later that afternoon.

“Mate, it’s nothing to worry about. What’s happened is, you’ve damaged the epididymis and created some internal bleeding in there. The brazil nut is a haematoma and it’ll go away with time.

“Just be careful with that thing in the future. Maybe take it off before you fall asleep at night.”

***

“Can u ice your nuts?” I texted G_ while lying on the couch a couple of nights later. I knew that you couldn’t ice a black eye for risk of damaging the eyeball, so maybe the testicles were similar.

“Gently,” came the reply, so I took two ice-packs from the fridge; one for my testicles and one for my stomach.

I had begun taking arnica to reduce the bruising. I had discovered arnica some years ago and the effect on my sore knees and groaning tendons was remarkable.

My scrotum, however, had continued to expand like a diabolical hot water bottle, becoming hotter and more painful by the day.

Being vertical seemed to aggravate it. Given the increase in size and heat, I assumed it had been filling up with blood and the only way to fix it was anti-inflammatory medication.

I arose to go to work the next morning, a Saturday, feeling much better with a scrotum much reduced in size. My optimism was significantly reduced, however, by its sudden re-inflation throughout the morning.

By midday, I felt sick and unsteady on my feet. The pain in my sack was flowing upward, into my stomach. I felt that if someone were to shake my hand vigorously, I would vomit everywhere and fall over.

All kinds of atavistic fears pertaining to gruesome infection and possible castration began to effloresce in my imagination.

“I’m sorry, I just don’t think I can make it to coffee,” I said when I called my friend T_ to cancel our afternoon catch-up.

“Just go to the fucking hospital!” she said. “Get an Uber and go straight there!”

“I think I’d better,” I replied, my fears of losing the testicle finally outweighing the potential fear of surgery and sterilization.

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