Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Did you hear that? It was the other shoe falling. Otherwise known as "Penis Perils, Part Two"

Well, I've been meaning to blog about this for a while, but I'm not sure I have the words. Time is of the essence, though.

If you're reading this, you probably read Tertia's blog, because, well, she's got hundreds of readers and I don't. Anyway, a while back, she wrote an entry on the circumcision debate, and, if I chimed in, I can't find it in the hundreds of comments there so you probably won't either. That being said, I'll reiterate what I would have (might have?) said here:

We circumcised Riley because Vincent is circumcised, and he wanted him circumcised too. Vincent's father was circumcised as an adult, when he joined the navy, and he then chose to have his own three sons circumcised when they were born. It seemed like the best advertisement for circumcision out there to us, being that he'd had it both ways.

I recall the debate about how circumcision is unnecessary really, and that foreskin was making a comeback in popularity (foreskin is the new black!). I also recall hearing about children who lost more of their penises than was intended, but that didn't worry me much, giving birth in a hospital with more childbirths than any other in our city. That, and he had plenty to spare, of course.

What I don't recall is the risk of complications.

Vincent says to me back in December, "Hey, that's funny how Riley doesn't have to hold his penis when he pees. It sticks down but the pee shoots straight out into the toilet anyway." Me, never having had a penis (to PEE with) had no idea that men really had to aim.

Odd, we agreed. Let's look into it.

So at his four-year-old checkup I mentioned the pee thing, and they suggested that we take him to a urologist to see if there was a problem. Of course, I had just quit my job and we were changing insurance to an HMO, but it hadn't happened yet. Since we needed a referral from our not-yet-insurance carrier, I waited, and promptly forgot. Later, when we searched for the lost testicle, the doctor asked if I'd been to the urologist yet. Uh, no. Oops.

So I arranged for a sitter and off we went, Riley with his stomach virus and all, writhing and vomiting and feverish in the doctor's office. The doctor diagnosed my little boy, my first born, my darling son, with something called meatal stenosis, a complication of circumcision seen in as many as 10% of circumcised boys. Basically, scar tissue forms around the urethra when a really shitty mother doesn't change her son's diaper enough after he's been circumcised, due to the irritation on the penis caused by the shitty mother and her lazy diaper changing, and the boy's urethra gets clogged with scar tissue. And the only way to fix it is to cut open the tip of the penis with a really sharp knife and stitch the opening so that it is large enough to pee out of normally.

Under general anesthesia. My son. Tomorrow morning. Will be cut with a knife on his penis. Because I am lazy with the diaper changes and chose to have him circumcised so that he could parade around the house with his father and their similar penises - for no other reason but to look alike in their naked penis dancing, which they have never actually done.

I was terrified enough for my baby boy because he can't eat in the morning, and he wakes up hungry like his mother, and vomits just as easily too. And the whole coming out of anesthesia with screaming terrors thing. And the excruciating pain that must be when you are four years old and the tip of your penis is stitched open after being cut with a knife. But tonight Vincent told me how frightened he is of death and brain damage and now I'm in a complete panic.

Riley knows that the nice doctor is going to fix his penis tomorrow morning, and that he can't eat breakfast, and that he'll be asleep when they fix him because he'll be drinking magic medicine first so it won't even hurt when they do it. He also knows that Mommy and Daddy will buy him whatever he wants to eat afterwards and he can eat it in our bed while watching TV all day long. And if he eats messy food and he gets the sheets messy and his clothes messy we'll just change them and we won't even be mad.

So he knows something must be up.

Actualy, his innocence about all of this is what breaks my heart the most. I can tell that he's scared, and his little body doesn't know how to process the anxiety. Tonight before bed we gave him a banana and some milk so that his tummy would be full, and he was a bundle of energy. He told me that he wants to bring Mr. Green Jeans, and Blue Rabbit (who is really a bear), and Green Frog, and Rodney the Robot from Burger King Who Lights Up, and his Duel Masters Cards because he can play with things when he's sleeping, even if his eyes are closed.

"Look Mommy! See?" as he squints his eyes closed and holds up his toys high in the air. "I'm playing with them and I can't even see them!"

Vincent and I squeezed on either side of him in his twin bed tonight, snuggling with him before he went to sleep. I told him about when he was a tiny baby, and slept right between us in our bed. In the middle of the night, he would wiggle as close to me as possible, until I felt like I was falling over the edge. I would slide him back over to Vincent, but ten minutes later he'd be glued to my side again.

He laughed and laughed and told us how much he loved us, and his sisters too.

"Your hands are enormous! Someday, will my hands be bigger than yours?" he asks me, glued to my side.

Our beautiful, talkative, funny, intelligent little boy.

Yes darling, your hands will be enormous someday. You'll be fine. You'll wake up when the magic medicine wears off, and you might be in pain, but you'll be back with us just as you are tonight.

I hope. I pray. I promise.


Blogger Territorial said...

You have a lot to think about tonight. ((HUG)) I'll be keeping Riley in my thoughts tomorrow. Check in if/when you can.


11:47 PM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

This post made me want to cry for you! I hope everything works out well for Riley, and that you don't beat yourself up with guilt. You obviously love your son very much, and he's lucky to have you as a mom. Let us know how everything turns out.

P.S. Now I'm scared about my four-month-old circumcised son. I'm going to start watching how his pee comes out!

1:41 AM  
Anonymous graceful said...

I'll be thinking of your little man all day. I'm sure it'll all work out...

9:49 AM  
Anonymous Jenn said...

Hey there,

Hope everything goes great today and that Riley handles it all well. It sounds like he has been well prepared. I think that'll make all the difference.


12:17 PM  
Anonymous Leggy said...

Oh Lisa- I'm sorry you have to go through this. My son just turned 4 and had to have 4 shots and that was agonizing enough for me. Please try not to think about all the freaky things that could happen and just focus on getting through the day with your sanity intact.

Also, think back to what the doctor said re: the cause of it. I'm sure it must have been something like: "caused by bacteria growth, which can be caused by dirty diapers." That doesn't mean you didn't change him enough or that its your fault. Stuff like this just happens and might have happened anyway.

My son is also circumsized for the same reasons yours is and we weren't the best diaper changers either. Its just rotten luck that it happened to your son and not to mine (at least as far as I know- I'll have to watch his pee.)

I think another reason for not analyzing the circumsizing thing to death is because he's a first-born. I didn't know jack about parenting or little boys' penises, so if my husband said he wanted his son to "look like him" down there, that was enough for me.

Let us know what happens.

4:01 PM  
Anonymous LisaV said...

We comment on a lot of the same blogs. I just followed one of your comments here.

I read this post and I just want to say, none of this is your fault. You know that in your heart I hope.

Your son will be fine. I would be scared too, though. I will look forward to your post saying all is well.

7:14 PM  

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