So, when we last left off, I was on my way to Long Island College Hospital in an ambulance. As I began to throw up into a kidney-shaped plastic container, we pulled up at the curb next to the hospital. The paramedics carried me onto another stretcher and wheeled me into a waiting room of sorts. Shannon was furiously texting Rachel who had, at this point, biked to three different hospitals before finding the one I was at. I looked around at a line of stretchers filled with elderly people who looked to be on the verge of death and wondered, yet again, if I had over-exaggerated the severity of my situation. As I hunched over in pain and felt another vomit coming on, I figured probably not.
While waiting to go into triage, the paramedics tried to keep me occupied with light conversation. The male paramedic seemed to be extremely concerned (men especially seemed to get queasy when discussing my situation) and kept asking me if I needed anything. I ultimately settled for a cup of ice which he quickly brought over.
Shannon told me that Rachel was in the waiting room and she exited to go find her. A few minutes later, Rachel came into the stretcher area. I immediately grabbed her torso and brought it towards me in an awkward, crippled sort of hug. She then allowed me to hold her hand and I grasped it so tightly that I thought I might break her bones. Rachel is currently a surgery resident at another Brooklyn hospital. It was kind of wonderful having my own personal doctor with me to explain what, exactly, was going on.
Although technically only one visitor was allowed in at a time, Shannon managed to make her way back into the waiting area before I was escorted into the ER. Up until this point, this entire experience had been extremely surreal and it continued to be so for the rest of the day. Up until last Tuesday, I had never been in an ambulance, I had never been on a stretcher, I had never been hospitalized, and I had never had surgery. As I was wheeled into the ER, I looked awkwardly around at doctors milling around with clip boards, nurses drawing blood, and patients lined up in beds along the wall. I was ultimately wheeled into a corner of the ER next to a pair of awful plastic armchairs. A nurse came to ask me a few questions and told me that a doctor would come to see me soon.
Although I was still in an excruciating amount of pain, this did not keep me from my obsessive need to document every moment of my life. Ignoring the pretty obvious “NO CELL PHONES” sign posted up on the wall, I logged into the hospital’s wifi network and began Twittering nonstop. I then handed my phone to Shannon and instructed her to take as many pictures as she could before the doctors returned.
You get the idea.
Eventually, a doctor came over and told me I would need to take off all of my clothes and put on a hospital gown. I told Shannon and Rachel to please hide from view and stripped down. Once I was fully undressed aside from a hospital gown and my underwear, the doctor returned.
“What seems to be the problem?” she asked.
Still a little bit awkward about my ball situation, I hesitated slightly before saying, “Uh… I have extreme testicular pain. In my left testicle.”
She proceeded to ask me a whole slew of questions about when the pain started (8:30am), whether I was sexually active, how old I was, whether or not I had had surgery before, etc, etc, etc. I didn’t know it yet, but by the end of the day, I would become an expert at answering these questions because I would be asked them probably A HUNDRED TIMES. After the questioning ended, the doctor put on a pair of gloves and began to examine my groin region. As she moved from the right to the left testicle, I began shout in pain. “Ow, ow, ow, OW!”
She took off her gloves, told me that I would need to get an ultrasound, and informed me that somebody would most likely be coming over to give me some morphine. After she left, Rachel returned and I told her everything the doctor had told me. As I waited to be brought down to the ultrasound area of the hospital, Rachel and I had another impromptu photoshoot.
I was never given any morphine, but a woman did eventually come over to wheel me down to the ultrasound lab. After weaving through the maze of linoleum and bad wallpaper that was LICH hospital and taking the elevator down to the basement, we arrived. I was immediately brought into a very dark room filled with computers and was introduced to a portly, friendly-looking man with a mustache. After the stretcher was pulled up beside a flickering computer screen, the man proceeded to lube up a small probe. I warned him that my testicular region was extremely sensitive before he brought the probe down and began rubbing it all over my junk. Aside from being a little bit cold, it was surprisingly not uncomfortable. I looked up at the screen and saw, for the first time ever, what balls look like inside of a scrotum. As the man brought the probe to various areas along my nether region, he took screen caps on the computer.
After a few minutes of this, he left the room and came back with another doctor who gave him further instructions as he probed my balls. I was unable to understand all of their medical jargon, but I did pick up something about reduced blood flow. Once this was done, the two doctors left the room to examine the photographs. In the meantime, I snapped a few more photos.
Soon after, the mustached man came back into the room and informed me that the other doctor was making her diagnosis and in the meantime, I would be brought back up to the ER. I was again wheeled back through the beige maze and back to where I was before. Once I arrived, things seemed to be kicked into overdrive. Several workers came over to ask me more questions and have me fill out paperwork. A nurse arrived with a tray of needles and tubes and immediately inserted an IV and took about eight small vials of blood.
After I had been sufficiently drained and prodded, a scruffy looking man came up to me and informed me of the doctor’s diagnosis. As I had feared, my testicle was indeed twisted. Quite severely, in fact. In order to save the testicle from dying and becoming gangrenous, I would need to be operated on immediately. I would need surgery. On my balls.