Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ben 'Twister' Ando's Testicle Tale

Hospital, stitches, Volvo drivers...an absolute ripsorter of a testicle tale setting the standard from Ben Ando. If you don't feel like scrolling down to see what this is all about then all you need to know is I'm giving away copy #1 of my new book to the person with the most eye-watering testicle tale. Send your entries here.

TWISTER. A Tale By Ben Ando

To be honest, it didn’t seem like much of a wipe-out at the time. It was nothing like a full on kick-in-the-gonads kind of situation. The lip of the wave just slapped me in nether regions, much in the manner of an accidental knock during a play fight, or an unfortunate underpant tangle when dressing in a rush. Still it was enough to make me catch the next wave in.

Bowed and wincing I tried to catch my breath in the way only a bloke knows after ‘that feeling’… I trudged up the beach, grabbed my gear and headed for the change rooms. It was a quiet day at Bronte, overcast, small surf, a lack of bikini girls on the beach and an absence of strange men hanging around the loos. Just as well because there was enough to deal with as the pain increased, and my sense of concern rose in chorus. You just don’t want your bits to hurt like that.

Shower, change, wince, dress, breathe, ouch, not getting better, hmmmmm…..

I hobbled over to the next bus which was, mercifully, waiting for me in my sorry state. Now the journey home – all would be well once I got there, of course, I just had to focus on getting home. I sat and squirmed as that little ‘slap in the ’nads’ was getting repeated over and over. It now seemed that each time the waves of pain passed through my receptors, they knew how to trek the path with increasing aptitude.

The bus arrives at Bondi Junction and, by some miracle, there was the connecting bus to Double Bay. Back then it only went once an hour, but I was far too distracted by now to appreciate the kindness the Universe was now showing me. In fact I was actually getting pretty cranky with the Universe as my insides lurched with a bit of nausea that had been thrown in, just for good measure.

Sitting was no longer an option. I stood and clutched the seat in front of me for support for the first 20 minutes of the journey whilst thinking; breathe, home, breathe, uuurggh, breathe, ow.

The last 20 minutes were really special as the bus lurched and lumbered through the hills of the Eastern suburbs of Sydney in what can only be described as the most indirect route possible to my house. I now hung from the handrails at the back of the bus with my legs spread and noticed two things. First, the other passengers were giving me very strange looks, and second, my breathing had become rather loud and would probably be more accurately described as a moan – which could have explained the looks from my fellow commuters.

My stop - joy, well, put that in a relative context. I grabbed my board, wetsuit and bag then staggered off towards sanctuary. Home, it would all be alright once I got home. Keep moving.

The door was open. Mum was there – my mum, clever, full of energy always knew what was best.

“Mum, something’s wrong, I feel really bad.” (Insert mental image of 18 year old boy trying to figure out how to broach the subject of testicular torture to his mum).

“Oh well, lie down for a while you will feel better, I have to go out and I am already running late”

My mum – clever, energetic and the least sympathetic person on the planet with regards to sickness or physical injury – always was, always will be. But hey, she is my mum, so off I limp to bed for all of about 30 seconds until the now ever-present nausea is making me dry heave.

“I have to go and see a doctor, something’s really wrong,” I moaned.

“You’ll be fine, stop carrying on,” she parried.

But now instinct kicked in and overruled mum’s fine advice.

Still dressed in what can only be described as rather scruffy ‘around the house’ attire. I garbled something about ‘Doctor Hardy’ and ‘going with or without you’ to mum and headed down the street to the local surgery. Again the universe was kind – again I was not really disposed to notice. The surgery was only a few hundred metres from our house and as soon as I walked in (without mum) they saw the green tinge to my skin, the imploring look in my eyes and possibly the drool running down my chin, and they thought “Now here is a person that really does need to see a Doctor.”

The patient he was currently seeing was ushered out, looking most displeased to be less important than this hunched ragamuffin moaning in front of him (we are talking about Double Bay don’t forget) and it was time for action. I groaned my tale of woe at him and he ripped down my dacks for a better look. Mum had caught up by now and was busy trying not to look whilst still checking out how things had changed down there since she last wiped my butt many years ago.

My testes were a fantastic hue of bluey-purple and were quite swollen, which I felt was not really a great sign. The look on Dr. Hardy’s face wasn’t particularly encouraging either, but he made up for it with pethidine. Now I have done some dumb things, being a boy that is pretty standard. As a result I have a good working knowledge of local and general anaesthetics, but pethidine was new to me, and at that time I thought it was quite marvellous. In fact I vaguely recall telling everyone how marvellous it was, whilst smiling a lot and feeling rather good about the world.

“He needs to go to Sydney Hospital on Macquarie St. for surgery immediately, can you drive him, it will be faster than calling an ambulance?” States the Doc.

“Oh, oh, ahh, yes I can drive him,” mumbles mum whilst calculating whether or not she can still make her meeting and contemplating the fact that perhaps this may be a little more serious than she first assumed.

“Hospital hey? I like hospitals, the food is fun there.” I beam at both of them.

I ambled out of the surgery thanking everyone for helping me so much and telling them how nice it was that they could fit me straight in, and isn’t it quite a nice day now, oh and by the way, why is there a needle hanging out of my forearm still?

Apparently I will be given lots more drugs and they want to save me from becoming a pin cushion, so they have just set up a semi-permanent route.

“That’s nice, how very considerate,” I muse.

Now my mum’s lack of sympathy is compensated by her driving abilities. She is a wizard on the roads, fast, ruthless and shrewd. The best bit is the fact that she’s driving a Volvo, which generally catches everyone off guard. She rockets along New South Head Rd and then William Street into town, which is as usual devoid of parking spaces. We have had a great chat along the way about the whole situation and how it is fine that she didn’t realise what was going on, and no, I totally understand, and wow look at how green those trees are.

She mounts the kerb whilst suits aplenty scowl at this mad Volvo drive. Unfortunately it is on the wrong side of the road, and now things are starting to feel a bit less fabulous as, the blessed fog of drugs is thinning. I am not particularly happy about having to cross the road and find my way into the hospital but I am assured it will all be fine, she just has to park the car and then she will find me.


Staggering is back in fashion it appears as my legs and brain have little discussions that occasionally seem quite argumentative. But I dodge a couple of cars (actually they may have dodged me) and recommence my groaning as I try to climb an inordinate amount of stairs to the hospital entrance. Who puts that many stairs in front of a hospital I ask you? Even if it was built the better part of two centuries ago, it just seems like poor planning and it’s something that really does not sit well with me at the moment.

Then I see a light at the end of a tunnel, it is a vision I will never forget. This short white dressed, slicked blond haired, big cheeky smiled nurse out of some fantasy standing there and holding a wheelchair which she says is for me.

She says “Sit down and try to be comfortable as I take you to pre-op.” She is beautiful, I am 17 and male, I would have happily pushed her at that juncture.

Then the pace kicks up a notch. Drugs have worn off and more are really, really needed, now, really.

“No sorry,” says an anaesthetist (I don’t like him much, where did my cute nurse go?), “you will be going under a general anaesthetic for emergency surgery in a moment, when did you last eat and how much?


There is some discussion, some counting back from 10 and then nothing.

I wake up about 24 hours later having slept way longer than I should have after the anaesthetic wore off (its not the first time, I once slept for 2 days after a general anaesthetic, but I digress). I am greeted by the sight of hospital interior and the feel of eewughh.

Yes I am reasonably OK all things considered and no I don’t need to go to the toilet thanks.

Back to sleep.

The next time I wake it is to find two nurses, not the goddess I first saw but pretty cute all the same. They inform me that they need to check on my stitches.

“I have stitches?” I enquire.

Apparently yes, I have about 24 of them, some external and some internal. I wonder how you can have stitches inside your nuts, but there you have it, they are the experts and they reckon I do.

The girls do their best not to smile and look like they are enjoying themselves, which I can plainly see they are – I realise I had better get used to people checking my bits out. They bandage me back up, which is disappointingly unlike anything like you hope it would be when two cute nurses are touching you down there – guess that ruined that option for role- play when I got older.

The doctor comes later and explains what happened. I forget the precise language but the message is still crystal clear…

Basically, some men are born with an internal piece of skin attaching the testes to the scrotal sack, which prevent the testes turning within the scrotum. I was not one of them and as a result, the testes managed to turn and cut off the blood supply, causing them to start dying. This is both painful and potentially the end of fatherhood. He reckoned it was pretty touch and go, 10 or so minutes between losing at least one which had done more turns than the other. The other one he gave another half hour.

His parting comment has always stuck with me.

“Basically, that’s one of the most unpleasantly painful things a guy can go through. We liken it to giving birth for a woman”.

I didn’t really understand how to take that comment, and still don’t.

It eventually dawned on me that I would be in hospital for a while, and what happens when you are in hospital? Well, friends and family come to visit of course. The family was one thing, but friends are something else. I will sum it up with the opening remark from a surfing mate called Ian.

“Hey Twister, how’s it hanging?”

Things all worked out rather well in the end, I lost a lot of bashfulness, gained a great story and now have some rather unique scars which I am generally unable to show people.

Male humans are not all that well designed I reckon.

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