my MGH testicular ultrasound appointment was at 9:30 so i woke up at 8:00. i left a bit before 9:00, riding my bicycle. i was passed by 7 bikers, although i did eventually catch up to one of them and pass her in return.
the place for the ultrasound was the same place (yawkey center) i went to a few years ago to get my foot x-rays. almost everyone in the waiting room was a senior citizen except for a young hispanic man who sat with his arms crossed looking angry. i passed the time reading a storm of swords on my kindle. suddenly i heard what sounded like the musical chime of a cellphone going off. who could be rude enough to leave their cellphone on at a hospital? i looked across the room and saw two ladies laughing over a video on an ipad. i glared at them but they didn't seem to notice. moments later, an actual cellphone started ring. instead of excusing herself to take the call, this woman started chatting. all this was secondary to what i was reading in my book: 60% through the book and i finally reached the shocker. days ago i'd already spoiled the surprise but i was hoping it might've been a mistake. when the moment actually came, i was no less traumatized. GRRM you are an evil man!
a man called my name and i followed him down a long stretch of corridor to an empty examination room. i think his name was hafik, of middle eastern descent; i actually asked him name a second time but had a hard time remembering it because i couldn't even pronounce it correctly. inside the room was an automated hospital bed and an ultrasound machine. hafik left me alone briefly to undress, basically taking everything off below the waist and wrap myself in a towel. when he came back i climbed onto the bed. he raised it up a little bit and started the ultrasound.
first he checked my kidneys, which i thought was weird because there was no mention of kidney checks on the examination order. for the kidneys all i had to do was lift up my shirt to expose my stomach. he squirted me with some lubricant. i was waiting for the cold jelly to hit me so i was surprised that it was actually heated. very nice, MGH! hafik started probing by abdomen with the ultrasound wand. he saw me peering at his monitor so he turned it around so i could get a better view. he was basically imaging from a bunch of angles and taking both pictures and videos. it was hard to tell what i was seeing. i joked that maybe it was a baby, because that's usually what i associate ultrasounds with. he was digging rather hard with the wand and i was afraid he'd do the same thing later. i don't think my boys can handle that sort of rough treatment.
after he was done with the kidneys, it was onto the main course. DON'T READ THE FOLLOWING PARAGRAPH IF YOU ARE SENSITIVE TO PENIS TALK! he asked me to hold down my penis to my stomach using a folded towel. while i was doing that, he pushed a rolled up towel between my legs, so only my testicles were exposed. then he squirted me with the lube, which made a funny farting noise which made me laugh. let the testicular ultrasound begin! surprisingly, he was quite gentle on my boys. at least i had a better idea what i was looking at on the monitor. he'd turned down the lights (mood lighting?) earlier. lying on the bed in the dimly lit room, i almost fell asleep. i could feel his warm hairless arm resting on my naked thigh. he worked on the right boy, followed by the left one (the one that's causing me pain). when it seemed like he was almost finished, he excused himself and brought in a lady1 who seemed to be his superior. i was worried. did he notice something wrong? should i be concerned? i think he brought her in just to make sure he captured all the angles. she checked his captures and made a few more of her own. she was not gentle. she wasn't cruel, but i think hafik was more sensitive to certain male sensitivities because he had comparable equipment as well. she also turned the monitor around so i couldn't watch anymore but we were almost finished by that point so it wasn't a big deal.
after the ultrasound was over, i wiped off all the lubrication from my groin area and got dressed. hafik said he'd send the photos and videos to the radiologist, who would look at them today and pass along the results to my urologist.
fridays are the best time to see the doctor because it means afterwards i can go down to city hall and get some cheap produce at haymarket. today i had another reason to go, to check out the new boston bikeshare program that just kicked off yesterday. apparently there's something like 60 stations across the city, with a fleet of 600 bicycles.
the program is officially called the hubway, which i guess is a play on word for "subway." there's a station next to the government center T stop. there was only a single bike left, locked/parked in one of the special docks.
the bikes are cool looking and for the most part use non-standardized parts as a deterrent from thieves trying to sell stolen components. the program is sponsored by new balance, which is weird, because i usually associate them with running shoes, not bicycles (i guess they're stressing the sport aspects of biking).
the price structure isn't too bad, especially for tourists. not sure how much it'd appeal to people who actually live in the area and have their own bikes (which they can use for free anytime). i am very curious to just try out the bike, at least for a day, just to see how it rides.
the bike itself has some cool features: 3-speed shimano hub gear with a grip twist shifter; a shimano dynamo hub on the front wheel to generate electricity to power LED lights built inside the frame itself; and a heavy-duty front rack (reminiscent of dutch bikes) with a built-in bungie cord for holding things (in the city, front is better, less likely for a grab-and-run).
i think this bikeshare idea is an interesting program, but i have a few reservations. first of all, have you ever tried navigating the streets of boston? not for the faint of heart! i wonder what will happen to the program when it has its first customer to be involved in a serious accident? also bikes have to be parked in docking stations. basically you have to make sure you're traveling from dock to dock. and even when you're at a station, maybe all the docks are already filled up with bikes, which means you have find another station with an empty dock. it's basically the problem that car drivers have trying to find parking in boston, but transposed to a bikeshare model. maybe if the rider had his/her own bike lock, then they wouldn't have to worry so much, but that means the bikes are still on the clock when they're off the dock and the customer gets charged in 30 minute increments ($2 for each half hour block after the initial 30 minutes which is free).
at faneuil hall (closer to the union oyster house) there was another station. unlike the one at government center, this one had a complete array of bikes waiting to be riden.
i picked up a few things from haymarket: 2 lbs. of cherry ($4), a stick of garlic ($1), a bag of pita bread ($1.50), and a box of mangos ($5 for 6 large). i biked home across the longfellow. the sky looked like it'd rain all day but the weather forecast said it wouldn't rain until this evening. they lied! somewhere in cambridge it started to rain heavy enough that i stopped to take shelter underneath a tree. fortunately it was only a spot shower, but the damage was done and i was partially soaked.
i thought i had to go to belmont to dogsit hailey since my sister wasn't home but my mother told me it wasn't necessary since she'd be going home soon. i went out to dry my motorcycle before putting the cover on then biked to the supermarket to get some tzatziki for the pita bread. coming back, i came across some small suitcases which i thought might come in handy one day so i put it on my bike rack without strapping them down. i made it home without them falling off. i made myself an egg-prosciutto-english muffin sandwich, washed down with a mango lassi. finally i took shower to wash off a day's worth of stink.
for dinner, toaster oven pizzas.
1 since my testicular pain first started, i've had no less than 8 pairs of eyes stare down my normally private nether regions: one nurse practitioner, my primary care doctor, 2 hernia surgeons, 2 urologists, and now 2 ultrasound technicians. at this rate, maybe i should begin charging an admission fee.