Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Didn't know I was ill didya? Well, I wasn't ill exactly, but I was suffering from a bit of a problem.

Three nights ago as I was getting ready for bed, I discovered the sudden appearance of what could well have been a third testicle (or a tumour of course - I'm not one to look on the bright side generally). I went to the doctor's the next morning and he said he reckoned it was an abscess. He said it would grow rapidly for a few days, probably hurt like hell and then explode. If I was lucky I would be able to get to the doctor when it had ripened, and he would lance it.

I was told to visit the clinic daily to have a magnesium dressing applied. This morning, the nurse said that the doc wanted to inspect the progress of my new toy, but he was working the evening shift so could I come back later. Okey dokey. I trotted down there at about five pee emm, and the doc was disappointed that the thing wasn't bigger and more painful. He said he still thought it was definitely an abscess, but wanted to get a second opinion. He tried to phone a specialist at Rashid Hospital's Emergency Department to see what could be done. Nobody was answering the phone though, so my doc asked me to come back or phone in an hour or two. I gave the doc my number just in case he felt inclined to use it, and retired to Jebel Ali Club (which is conveniently located next door to the clinic), for a pint and some food.

I was just starting on my second pint when the doc called. He'd spoken to the specialist, who was willing to have a look at the thing this evening, and possibly drain it tomorrow morning. I started to protest a little bit about the timing of it (I didn't tell him that I wanted to watch Liverpool v Chelski later that night), and the doc said fine, I could wait 28 days for an outpatient appointment, but I might be seriously unwell by then.

So I abandon the second pint (absolutely unheard of!), whizz round to the clinic to get the reference letter from the doc, grab a cab, pick up BetterArf en route, and head off to Rashid Hospital. Rashid H is in the centre of Dubai, sometimes a 25 minute drive from Jebel Ali, but on this occasion an agonising 40 minutes.

We wander into Accident and Emergency, which was fairly crowded but quiet. Not much like ER or Boston Whatnot - no drunks or junkies, no fighting or abuse. Just calm. And there were 3 or 4 cops around the place (there is actually a mini police station at Rashid Hospital).

I get to see the specialist fairly quickly (within 40 minutes), he has a grope of my lump, declares it to be an abscess and says he will drain it straightaway. I had to wait a wee while until a bed was available in the treatment room, and then it was all systems go. First of all they sprayed vast amounts of a freezing spray onto the scrotum, and then I think they injected a little local anaeasthetic. Then he made a little cut and squeezed all the goo out.

'Khalas' he says 'all done!', pats me on the chest and disappears, leaving another guy to clean up the mess. It was all over in about five minutes. But then I had to hold a gauze pad onto the wound until it stopped bleeding. The other guy kept coming back every five minutes to check if the bleeding had stopped. It hadn't. After about twenty minutes of this, the specialist came back and did something that seemed to stem the flow, and then they tried a few dozen alternative methods of trying to bandage the thing. It's a bit of a tricky location to get anything to grip firmly, as I'm sure you can imagine.

Eventually I'm fixed up, given a prescription for about a hundred painkillers a day (codeine I think), and shuffle off to find BetterArf, who is mightily relieved that I'm not dead.

So I've got rid a lump that didn't hurt, and now I've got a groin that hurts like @#!&.

An aside - I was supposed to be meeting a friend of mine. He's an exiled South African who has lived in Hollywood, is now based in Australia, and spends eleven months of the year travelling the world painting Impressionist paintings. In short, a natural Chelski fan. I called him when I was on the way to the doctor's to say something had cropped up and I had to go somewhere but I would try to get back in time for the match. He was a bit concerned, but it's kinda hard to explain in a brief phone call. As soon as I got out of A & E (the hospital one, not the booze shop), I called him again, explained I'd just had a little operation, and was returning to Jebel Ali ASAP. He said 'oh man, they're not showing it live down there - I'm at Scarlett's in the Emirates Towers - kick off's in ten minutes'.

I could have made it, but both BetterArf and Heroic Self were a bit tired, so we decided to be sensible and head off home. And then stay up till gone midnight writing this silly article.

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