“Do you know you have varicocele?” the doctor said, matter-of-factly. I said, “Huh? What is that?” It sounded serious. I was having a routine exam for incoming students at SF State. She explained this was a condition that many men had, caused by too many blood veins in the testicles. It was not dangerous, but could be painful over time.
Men are familiar with the exam where the doctor checks for a hernia by placing two fingers at the base of the penis and says, “Turn your head and cough.” Well, it was during this exam that my problem was discovered. The doctor said, “The diagnosis for this is that the scrotum feels like it is full of spaghetti. This may not be a problem, but keep an eye on it.”
Years went by. I was feeling more and more pain. The Kaiser urologist recommended a simple out-patient surgery where an incision is made above the scrotum on the left side. The vein that supplies the scrotum is cauterized. This then solves the blood-flow problem and the veins in the testicles whither away over time. He advised, “This may or may not relieve the pain. It is about 50% successful. Still interested?” I said, “Absolutely.”
I checked in for my 11:00 surgery. About 10:15 a happy care-free orderly bounced into my room to do my “prep.” He pulled back the sheet and started shaving the right side of my public hair. This puzzled me, but who was I to tell him how to do his job? He stepped back to admire his handiwork when I commented, “The urologist said the incision will be made on the left side. Uh, I’m just wondering.” He feigned exasperation, and in a fake high-pitched voice said, “Well, all righty then…” He danced over to the other side of the bed and repeated the procedure. This time, though, he left a narrow band of hair about 1/2″ thick down the middle. Again, not my place to tell him how to do his job.
As the anesthesia began to kick in, I remember being wheeled into the OR. The surgeon greeted me in a friendly manner and pulled back the sheet. My last memory before I faded off to never-never land was the surgeon shouting, “Jesus Christ! Who the hell did this? Nurse, get me a razor.”
Happy to say, the surgery worked fine. Years later, I’m still pain free, but I do miss my “pubic Mohawk.”