Last Night A Doctor Saved My Nut

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Last night I nearly lost a dear friend of mine. Now this is the sort of story most men, myself included, would understandably want keep to themselves. Although this deviates from my normal content, I feel a duty to tell all in this age of transparency because while I was in the middle of the ordeal, I turned to Google for help and didn’t find the information I needed. I write this in the hopes it helps some unfortunate guy in the future.

mainimageThe story begins late last night around 1:15 AM as I turned in to bed for the night. Tossing and turning, I started to feel a pain in my lower abdomen and right testicle. I could feel that my right testicle was swollen and a bit harder than one would expect. It felt like an impossibly bad case of blue balls. The worst case imaginable.

Since I hate dealing with hospitals and such, I tried to sleep it off telling myself it would be fine in the morning, as if somehow the Nut-helper Fairy would come in the middle of the night and make it all better.

Suffice it to say, when your genital region is in pain, it’s pretty damn difficult to get a good night’s sleep. You shouldn’t screw around (forgive the pun) when you have a pain in that region. So I got up, Googled it, found nothing but scary stories about testicular cancer and painful hernias, and decided then I should go see a doctor. I told my wife I had to go and I proceeded to walk over to the neighborhood Emergency Room at 2:30 AM.

During triage I explained that the pain was around a 7 on a scale of 1 to 10, it was a dull intense pain, not sharp, and it was constant, not coming in waves, centered around my testicle and my lower abdomen area.

After I was moved to a gurney, the doctor began black box testing on me. It’s not unlike debugging a bug in code for which you don’t have any means to step through a debugger. He’d prod around narrowing down the possible diagnoses. However, unlike debugging code, this process was excruciatingly painful.

After manhandling my right nut for a while, the doctor diagnosed me with Testicular Torsion. Wikipedia defines it thusly…

In testicular torsion the spermatic cord that provides the blood supply to a testicle is twisted, cutting off the blood supply, often causing orchalgia. Prolonged testicular torsion will result in the death of the testicle and surrounding tissues.

I define it as ow! ow! that fucking hurts!

So the doctor leaves to order an ultrasound and returns not long after to “try one more thing.” He then proceeds to grab the nut and twist it around, asking me to let him know when the pain subsides.


A man with a latex glove is twisting my nut and asking me when it doesn’t hurt? It doesn’t hurt when you’re not twisting it! 

Exactly how I wanted to spend my Monday morning.

Amazingly enough though, the pain subsided quickly after he stopped. I didn’t realize at the time that he was twisting it back. I thought he was just being sadistic.

The male nurse on duty quipped afterwards…

Probably the first time that someone twisting your testicle made you feel better, eh?

No, twisting my testicle normally elicits feelings of euphoria and joy. Of course it’s the first time! And by Zeus’s eye I hope it’s the last.

Afterwards I was pushed on a gurney into the ultrasound room by a big burly Russian dude who proceeded to ultrasound my testicular nether regions. At this point, there’s really no point in having any shame or bashfulness. I just tried to make small talk as he showed me the screen displaying blood flowing nicely.

As I was being discharged, the doctor told me it was a good thing I went in. Left untreated for around six hours, I could have lost the testicle. I later looked it up and this is what Wikipedia has to say on the subject (emphasis mine).

Testicular torsion is a medical emergency that needs immediate treatment. If treated within 6 hours, there is nearly a 100% chance of saving the testicle. Within 12 hours this rate decreases to 70%, within 24 hours is 20%, and after 24 hours the rate approaches 0. (eMedicineHealth) Once the testicle is dead it must be removed to prevent gangrenous infection.

Yeah, I’m going to be having nightmares too. In any case, it seems that all is well. I still have a slight bit of discomfort not unlike the feeling in your gut long after someone kicks you in the groin and I’ve been walking around a bit gingerly, worried any sudden movement might cause a relapse.

The moral of this story is when you have an intense pain in the balls, don’t be a tough guy about it. Go to the emergency room and be safe about it. No use trying to be stoic and losing a nut over it.

My next step now is to make an appointment with a Urologist so I can have yet another doctor see me in all my glory and make sure it’s all good.

To the doctor at the local neighborhood Emergency Room, I owe you a big one. Because of him, the next time someone asks me, “Hey! How’s it hanging” I can answer, “Pointed in the right direction.”

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45 responses

  1. Avatar for Scott
    Scott September 10th, 2007

    ffs Phil. I'm sitting here with my legs *very* tightly together. You know how it is when you hear stuff like this...the rest of us men totally sympathize. did the right thing going in...rather than trying to be all macho about it. Never mess around with the general health of your boys. Glad everything turned out ok (get it?).

  2. Avatar for BCS
    BCS September 10th, 2007

    I can say without risk of error that that is the strangest analogy I have ever heard make use of the term "black box debugging".
    BTW, take a look at at the Google adds.

  3. Avatar for Wife
    Wife September 10th, 2007

    This will be a good story for the grand kids...

  4. Avatar for Sascha
    Sascha September 10th, 2007

    I know how you felt. Some months ago I had something like this, called 'Hydrocele Testis'. Well, to say truth I had this for about 6 years and in the months before I went to doctor it became really uncomfortable for me. So I went to an Urologist and he removed the water - three times I had to come back because it re-filled. The pain I had after this was the worst I ever had (9 from 10 on a scale). So I went to hospital and they said to me that it was time to come because the doctor maybe didnt see the infection inside that has build from his 'playing around'. Yeah, great eh? Well, I got operated and now everything is in normal size again and alive.
    Well, the person who initially debugged me - it seems he had not really experience with it - maybe he should try to find a new version of brain to extend his 'debugging' functionalities. ;)

  5. Avatar for Koba
    Koba September 10th, 2007

    You said, "discharged..." Heh.

  6. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked September 10th, 2007

    I got home at 5:30 AM from the hospital and went into work. Tonight, I'm a little afraid to go to sleep. Crikey!

  7. Avatar for engtech
    engtech September 10th, 2007

    What were you dreaming about to make that happen!?

  8. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked September 10th, 2007

    @engtech I hadn't fully fallen asleep. I must have scratched an itch a bit harder than usual. Who knows?

  9. Avatar for Kris van der Mast
    Kris van der Mast September 10th, 2007

    Hi Phil,
    one of my best friends also experienced the same thing last year but in his case he couldn't walk again so his girlfriend had to drive him to the hospital. He also had to be operated on his testicals so no twisting for him. Just to let you know, he recovered fully of it.
    Grz, Kris.

  10. Avatar for Damian
    Damian September 10th, 2007

    Happened to a friend of mine. Just sitting there in a lecture one day and he nearly passed out with the pain. I believe it's not altogether unncommon.

  11. Avatar for Simone Chiaretta
    Simone Chiaretta September 10th, 2007

    Doh, I felt bad reading your post...
    Good to know everything went fine

  12. Avatar for JonR
    JonR September 10th, 2007

    i only made it about 75% through this article before chickening out and skipping to the comments. i hope to god this never ever ever happens to me. kudos for posting about it.

  13. Avatar for Owen Cutajar
    Owen Cutajar September 10th, 2007

    Wow... that's a pretty intense experience. Glad everything is ok now though!
    Hope you weren't browsing the Web while you were in hospital. That Wikipedia article could have really freaked you out !

  14. Avatar for Glen Germaine
    Glen Germaine September 10th, 2007

    Thanks for this Phil.. My wife and I were both in tears... hers from laughter... mine from sympathy.
    She asked if it was like having 'a stitch'.. I sat here dumbfounded... having 'a stitch' is a walk in the park compared to this.
    And yeah, the google ads surrounding this are hilarious in the context of a 'geek' blog.

  15. Avatar for Andy Stopford
    Andy Stopford September 10th, 2007

    Ouch! Glad it was ok, less time on the stair master huh ;-)
    I once read a story about a guy who needed operating on with this and I guess if the docs twist had not worked you would have been under the knife. I don't think this is likey to occur and any lasting damage has been done but do take it easy mate.

  16. Avatar for Gavin Joyce
    Gavin Joyce September 10th, 2007

    Ouch out loud, what a horrible thing to happen. Glad your ok.

  17. Avatar for The China Tattler
    The China Tattler September 10th, 2007

    Guys have got to take their Boys more seriously.
    A serious medical condition is not something to laugh about. Articles like this, aim to inform men about their health, and it really isn't taken in the vein its intended.
    When a guy's testicles are involved, everything becomes a big joke. A medical emergency, because it's related to a man's penis is a laughing matter.
    Seems strange.
    Now, lets all have a good laugh about Ovarian Cysts.

  18. Avatar for Scott Kowalczyk
    Scott Kowalczyk September 10th, 2007

    Glad you're doing better. I was was going to ask what you where doing to your boys beforehand, but some questions are better left unanswered.

  19. Avatar for Rytmis
    Rytmis September 10th, 2007

    Having been through the same ordeal (with the notable exception that the un-twisting was done by way of *surgery*), I know *exactly* how you felt.

  20. Avatar for Filini
    Filini September 10th, 2007

    You have my sympathy. It happened to me when I was a kid.
    After bathing in an uncomfortable position (not my fault... just a stupid bathing tub where you have to bathe while SITTING), I felt the biggest pain EVER from one of my jewels :-P
    Hospital > jewel-twist > end of pain :-)

  21. Avatar for Ubercoder
    Ubercoder September 10th, 2007

    You heard that a million times, but this is an example on how the internet changed our lives.
    The very first thing Phil did was to search the internet to get help; he didn't call his doctor or go straight to the hospital.
    I did the same thing in a similar medical emergency.
    I feel your pain. I had an operation in that area couple years ago and I know the PAIN.

  22. Avatar for Sonu Kapoor
    Sonu Kapoor September 10th, 2007

    Glad to see that you went to the hospital. I am also one of those guys, that always thinks "It will be ok the next day". However it has proven me so many times that its better to not rely on "just" that :) Good story!

  23. Avatar for beebe4
    beebe4 September 10th, 2007

    The beauty of this story is that you didn't need to add anything to make it funny, all you had to do was have the balls to tell the story.... to the whole world.
    Funny how a story's humor is amplified by the size of the audience.
    (PS @The China Tattler... just because one finds humor in a story does not mean that they don't understand the severity... if anything it serves as a mnemonic device)

  24. Avatar for Grogh
    Grogh September 10th, 2007

    Man, I thought sympathy pain was just something you got when your wife was in labor!
    Thanks for posting that, I needed it in more ways than one! I hope your boys (or anyone's for that matter) don't disagree with you again.

  25. Avatar for Dwain
    Dwain September 10th, 2007

    I can't believe no one has mentioned this, but there was an entire episode of The Venture Bros. where young Dean Venture experienced acute testicular torsion. YIKES. Glad you didn't suffer his fate.

  26. Avatar for Haacked
    Haacked September 10th, 2007

    If you can't find humor in a traumatic experience with a happy ending, then life must be a real drag.
    I think the fact that I went to Google first is not only due to this day and age, but due to the hour, I'd hate to wake up a doctor I've never met (my HMO primary care physician) at 2AM.

  27. Avatar for Twisty-Nut
    Twisty-Nut September 10th, 2007

    I had that when I was 15. Woke up in the middle of the night with agonizing pain in my left nut. Parents drove me to the hospital, where a nurse smeared my sack with cold blue goo for an ultrasound (not the first experience a man should have with a woman touching his balls), and an hour later I was unconscious while a doc cut it open and stitched the apparently free-spinning testicle in place (they're supposed to have an anchor to the scrotum to keep this sort of thing from happening, guess I lost the genetic lottery on that one).

  28. Avatar for Luke Maciak
    Luke Maciak September 10th, 2007

    Jesus Christ! My nuts hurt just from reading this. I'm glad it all worked out ok for you.

  29. Avatar for Scott
    Scott September 10th, 2007
    The very first thing Phil did was to search the internet to get help; he didn't call his doctor or go straight to the hospital.

    And this is a good thing?

    The Venture Bros.

    Holy crap, that *is* where I first heard about that condition. I thought I had heard about it at work or in school. Man, higher learning through "Adult Swim". Who knew.

  30. Avatar for ian
    ian September 10th, 2007

    Actually, I think it is a really good idea to deviate from content for just these kinds of purposes. Honestly, if doing a basic web search did not provide any decent hits; I think it's your duty as a person with a popular site to publish such a story.
    PS - Yes, that actually was one of my favorite Venture Bros. episodes as well!

  31. Avatar for Gary
    Gary September 10th, 2007

    Wait, so did you pay extra for the happy ending or not?

  32. Avatar for Scott
    Scott September 10th, 2007
    Wait, so did you pay extra for the happy ending or not?

    It should have been covered under his insurance.

  33. Avatar for Wife
    Wife September 10th, 2007

    Gary, Gary, Gary... hah!
    @Scott - we have an HMO... I think that's an out of pocket expense...

  34. Avatar for kevin
    kevin September 11th, 2007

    phil, glad to hear things are AOK.

  35. Avatar for husbandswife
    husbandswife September 11th, 2007

    And I thought the story about my husbands "V" was entertaining. He wasn't fully numb so when he felt pain he lifted his behind off the metal plate and sparks flew from his boys. He said he could smell burning flesh.
    Glad to hear your boys are fine.

  36. Avatar for drew
    drew September 11th, 2007

    Sucks guy! Sorry for the pain. My 15 year old son had the same thing happen to him last year. I wanted to cry for the guy. All better now though. Good luck to you!

  37. Avatar for Brian
    Brian September 11th, 2007

    hahaha my big bro the nut job! or one who got a nut job
    and hand job, wow, all in one night
    way to go

  38. Avatar for Robin
    Robin September 11th, 2007

    Thanks for sharing that story. Glad to hear you're Ok now.
    Best wishes.

  39. Avatar for GOD
    GOD September 12th, 2007

    Sorry about the twisting, we found the bug in our code.
    public class Testicle: ITwistable //Michael:Need to take out
    { //this interface
    //Please recompile

  40. Avatar for Dominic Cronin
    Dominic Cronin September 13th, 2007

    Wow! Thanks for having the balls to share this story.
    (Seriously - that's what I meant to say, but erm... also pun intended :-)

  41. Avatar for tannacker
    tannacker September 16th, 2007

    I feel for you brother. I am sitting here freaked out and bent over just thinking about your pain. This is something a woman will never understand. But damn I feel your pain as all men that read this probably do. I'm that you're okay.

  42. Avatar for Caffeinated Coder
    Caffeinated Coder September 30th, 2007

    The September 2007 Caffeinated Codey Winners are...

  43. Avatar for Martin Aatmaa
    Martin Aatmaa March 7th, 2010

    I used to frequent the ArsTechnica forums back in the day, and the most common medical advice given there was JSADYFT: Just See A Doctor You F****** Tool.
    Should create a "let me Google that for you" type site in your honor. :D

  44. Avatar for Dylan
    Dylan October 4th, 2012

    My left nut is doing this...I'm still laying in bed ....I'm only a teen just starting Middle school (8th) grade and don't no what to do...please help ........

  45. Avatar for Jacob
    Jacob August 21st, 2015

    Does anyone else realize he referenced Wikipedia... Don't ever do that..... Ever