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I have such a sweet relationship with my family doctor, Dr Pierre.
He’s such an approachable GP that you never feel any qualms about sharing issues with him that would otherwise be deeply embarrassing.
This is useful because, for some reason, the only ailments that I ever present with at his surgery, are embarrassing ones. I think we kicked off with an HIV test, then followed with a litany of crotch-related matters. These are seldom serious complaints, and the very experienced Dr Pierre is always able to deal with them swiftly and effectively.
And like I say, we have an awesome relationship.
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So when yet another crotch malady reared its inconvenient head, I had no hesitation in making an appointment and taking my beleaguered crotch to revisit Dr Pierre. After all, he is more familiar than almost anyone with the ins and outs of the crotch in question.
On this auspicious occasion, the challenge lay with my scrotum, specifically my testicles. I’ve had the problem before, actually. This matter was probably another flare-up of epididymitis – an inflammation of the tubes connecting to the testicles proper.
The illustrious Engler ballbag has a certain impetus, and when I’m in road-running phase, the bouncing effect can cause a small amount of discomfort. Epididymitis is a recognised condition among runners and cyclists, and easily treated using antibiotics.
I was pretty sure this was what was happening, so I made the appointment, comfortable in the knowledge that Pierre and I get on like a house on fire. It would be a fun consultation, I thought.
I arrived at Dr Pierre’s surgery, completed the Covid formalities and was ushered into his office.
There, I was in for a bit of a surprise. Dr Pierre had a medical student visiting him for a week of job shadowing.
I can think of no better place to glean a few medical insights than at the hands of the affable Pierre, but it made for a slightly different doctor’s visit.
Of course, in the spirit of the occasion, I confirmed that I had no problem with a medical student observing my case. I shall name him Eugene. I then launched into a description of my symptoms: mainly gonad pain, not to put too fine a point on it. Probably the old epididymitis again, I speculated.
Oh yes, noted Pierre, this will be interesting for Eugene. He might not have encountered the condition before. It usually presents as a swelling on the testicle. Please climb onto the bed!
“Let’s have a look,” he continued, in the manner of doctors worldwide.
He meant let’s have a feel, as much as a look – to identify the aforementioned swelling. And did I mind if Eugene had a feel too?
Well, by this point I was reclining on the bed with my pants around my ankles, and these two gents were eyeing my crotch with professional intent, so it seemed rather late to play the coyness card. Of course Eugene could have a feel! Knock yourselves out, guys.
Pierre felt each testicle in turn, and determined that it was the left one giving us trouble this time.
You see, he pointed out. If you feel both of them, you’ll notice a small swelling on the left one. Eugene battled to spot the difference. No, no, said Pierre helpfully. Feel here, you see? Where the tube connects!
At this point, the two medical professionals each had a ball in their hands, and they were kind of alternating. Comparing nuts, as it were. There was not much eye contact at this stage.
I left Pierre’s surgery with a fresh prescription and the prospect of some comfortable jogging to look forward to. I was back on the road within a week.
Let’s hear it for medical science. It has served us well this last while.