(Illustrations by Nick Nold)
It was one of those rare moments when you realise the predicament you’re in can’t easily be fixed. I was having sex, and then there was a pop. The next minute, I sat stupidly at the end of the bed, staring down at my crotch – eyes wide, jaw hanging open.
“Is it just dye from the condom?”
My then quasi-girlfriend was a little too casual for my liking. I continued to stare at my penis, too stunned to answer.
“No, it’s definitely not the condom.”
After running a quick play-by-play in my head, my worst fears had been realised. I had pulled out a minute before, hastily tearing off the black condom and smacking the light switch to examine the damage, only to find out, to my horror, what looked like a growing blood blister on the side of my most dear possession. There’s only one thing I could do: begrudgingly ask this girl to drive me to the hospital.
Keep in mind, up until this point, I'd successfully managed to dodge my doctor for months. Even now, at the age of 26, my own mother has to lie in order to dupe me into getting somewhat regular check-ups. I’m pretty sure I broke my right hand three years ago, and even though I get shooting pains from my pinky to my elbow, I remain resolute. In this particular instance, I wasn’t going to take my chances. I also happened to be living just up the street from one of the only decent hospitals in Oakland.
After an awkward drive and a very cautious two-block walk, I hurried through the emergency room, hoping that a broken dick is the triage trump card. Past a half-empty room filled with sickly 30-somethings, I sidled up to the desk to be greeted by the last person you'd want to see in this situation: a tall, bald and buff Brazilian dude in scrubs and Crocs. Very calm and collected, with the pitch-perfect amount of pep you'd expect from someone wearing a WWJD bracelet, he turned to me.
“Hey, man. How can I help you?”
He barely got out the question before both my palms were flat on the desk.
“I think I broke my dick, and I need a doctor right now.”
“I think I broke my dick, and I need a doctor right now.”
His quizzical head tilt was almost reptilian. This is not a hospital that gets a ton of action. Moments later, I showed this stranger my junk, which was looking worse than it had at the scene of the crash. Understanding the urgency of my condition, he skipped the pager and yelled for a doctor.
I was escorted to a room where a nurse wearing officially licensed Grey's Anatomy scrubs put me on an IV. Before I could decide whether or not I should trust a medical professional who wears TV-themed uniforms, the on-call doctor was in the room breaking down the situation. Each plausible treatment scenario sounded worse than the last.
“Well, we have to explore the options, but most likely we will give you a shot up your urethra, which will make the veins more visible, and take it from there…?”
'At least she can give me Vicodin,' I thought.
The on-call doctor went on: “Dr Cherrie, our urologist, has been woken and should be here within the hour to follow up.”
And so I sat there waiting. Later, I’d find out that urologists are notoriously lazy. You know the guys who golf three times a week and phone it in the rest? That’s your dick doctor.
By now, the girl who had given me a lift was gone. The nurse gradually cranked up the morphine so that by the time Cherrie strolled in, I was at an 11.
The resident penis expert seemed annoyed to have been summoned and, like everyone else, not terribly concerned. I asked him whether he had hit any traffic on the way here.
“It’s three in the morning – Jesse, is it? Take your trousers off, Jesse.”
He inspected my penis for about 20 seconds before shrugging.
“Well, it looks like surgery.”
His professional assessment was as close to folksy as medical language can get. He told me I had a penile fracture, which is the professional way of saying, “Welp, your dick’s broken." He was about as insightful as a mechanic explaining a flat tire to you. In this case, the tire was my penis.
He gave me the option of waiting a week or two (minor tears can self-repair) but noted that the risk of permanent damage increased dramatically. No questions there; I called my friend Nick and told him that I would be needing a ride in the morning. Then I let my head slam back onto the pillow and let the morphine run its course.
The next thing I remember is waking up in post-op. With a sleepy smirk on his face, Nick was there, and like an ace, he was early. He took me back home, where I slept, for what would end up being the last time, next to the girl who had broken my dick.
The next morning, feeling almost a decade younger than I was, the shame settled back in as I waited for my dad to pick me up. As my luck would have it, my mum's car pulled up instead and I got in.
The ride was deathly silent before my Mum finally spoke up, "Whatever you did, or tried to do, never do it again.”
I spent the next month in bed high and in pain. At my bedside, my dad, who was very sick at the time, had left some of his “You’re gonna die anyway” opiates and weed he’d called “too strong” for his taste, alongside an ice pack.
Why an ice pack? To shrivel up my morning boners, of course. You're not allowed to get those for three weeks after the operation because, if you do, you'll rip the stitches in your penis. There's no reverse Viagra. Just alcohol and ice packs.
I was healthy enough to "get back out there" about four months later, but my heart wasn’t in it until the next autumn. It took a full year and a lot of booze to stop worrying at all.
I’ve tried perfecting this as a party story, but it’s a little varsity for polite company and, to be honest, my friends tell it better. If you’re wondering what my dick looks like now (or if it even works, for that matter), then yes, it's totally fine.