Not sure what all of you were doing on Christmas night, but I decided to visit my second home at the Hospital for Sick Kids ER. And I brought my son Mac.
I swear, I never thought I'd be writing this post. Short version: he's home now, on not enough painkillers and very strong antibiotics and we have to keep careful watch over him for the next few days. And most likely we'll be going back there anyway.
He came to me last night about 10:30 after we were getting him dressed in his jammies. He was complaining that his testicles hurt and were all red and swollen. All our dinner guests had just left (We were 12 in total around the table this year.) The Boys and I had talks in the past about using proper names for all of our private parts, just in case a doctor ever asks a question and needs to know exactly what hurts. And frankly, as a method of safeguarding the boys from creeps. We'd also talked about checking their testicles and penis regularly for any changes (lumps, bumps, redness, sores, swelling, pain, etc.) and how important it is to tell us or a Doctor and not to ever ever be embarassed by it.
Now to be honest, I'm always embarassed by the subject, but hell, it's part of raising boys right? And thank God, I didn't let a little blushing get in the way of Mac's health. Thank God Thank God Thank God----I just can't repeat that enough right now, scuse me.
So his testicles hurt, and I told him I needed to see them, thinking geez, what did he do now? Bash them on something? Little guys who are daredevils can hurt themselves pretty easily. But no, his left testicle was ridiculously swollen and bright red. It was in sharp pain, but the rest of his groin wasn't. I called my husband upstairs and we both sort of wondered what the hell was going on. We gave him some Advil and let him go to sleep.
I plugged his symptoms into Dr.Google, and found various articles on testicular torsion. I read the parts about urgent medical emergency, risk of infertility, sterility, loss of testicles, and decided to go to the ER.
My husband couldn't come, because he had been drinking wine with everyone at dinner and couldn't drive, and he had to stay home with Kaz. Lucky I was pregnant so I was sober....so I bundled him up and drove to Sick Kids. We saw the nurse at triage right away, and then got moved immediately to a room. Mac was in so much pain he had to use a wheelchair. We saw a resident, then gave a urine sample, then saw the attending Doc. The resident was convinced he saw a reflex response (called cremasteric reflex) on Mac's leg that shows testicular movement, and therefore he was fine, but I didn't see them move. I may not be a Doc, but I've got eyes! The attending couldn't find the reflex, so he suggested an ultrasound.
That took forever, since the resident and the fellow needed to do the ultrasound over and over to get the right pictures and figure out whether he needed emergency surgery or not. I kept calling my husband keeping him updated....we were there for hours by the time everyone consulted with each other.
The consensus is that his testicle twisted on the cord, and went into torsion, then untwisted, and his epididymis is now seriously inflamed, possibly infected as a result. We finally left at 5:30 am with a scrip for cephlex and instructions to watch him. I'm still convinced this isn't over....but I'm so tired right now, I'm feeding the kid meds and taking a nap.
Do me a favour? Anyone reading this post---talk to the men and boys in your life about their testicles and tell them not to be too embarassed to get help when they need it. They could end up sterile, or castrated, or even, gulp, dead from infection or gangrene or cancer. And all because men hate doctors and don't want to talk about their balls.
If you love your son, your husband, or your Dad, practice saying the word TESTICLE out loud.
Tell them a 7 year old was brave enough to tell his mom he needed to see a Doctor and save his own balls, so maybe men like them can do it too.