BLOG: 6's & 7'S
When someone I know is in labor, it brings back memories. Last week, my second cousin had her first child. A gorgeous little man with all of the right parts. Thank God the little guy made it out of the hospital with everything still attached. My youngest son was almost not so lucky.
He was born six weeks early and I got to see him for about five seconds before he was stuck in an incubator. That was just long enough for me to notice the huge gash on his nose and the fact that he had a penis. He was taken away and I was thrown in a bed. It was a small hospital and there was a snowstorm raging outside, so the hospital was having to float staff from other units to cover shortages of nurses that couldn't make it in. No big deal, there were only a few babies in the Nursery, how bad could it be? I woke up and next to me was a little plastic bassinet, complete with baby. I immediately rang the nurse.
Me: Why isn't he in the incubator?
Nurse (giggling): Incubator? Oh, honey, he's fine.
Me: No, when he was born, they took him to an incubator.
Nurse (giggling): No, he's just fine. Healthy little guy.
She reached in the bassinet and handed me my little bundle of joy.
Me: This is not my baby.
Nurse (still giggling): Of course it is.
Me: No, my baby had a gash on his nose from the forceps. This baby has a perfect nose.
Nurse: He sure does.
By this time I was getting pretty annoyed by her condescending giggles and assumptions that I didn't know my baby from another. Sure, I'd only seen him for a split second, but a mother knows her baby. I ripped open the diaper and that's when the meconium hit the fan.
Me: And where's his penis?
Me: His PENIS! You know, the little wiggly thing that is supposed to be in the diaper?
Me: If this is my son, you have a lot of explaining to do.
The poor female child was ripped from my arms and her little foot bracelet checked against mine.
Nurse Giggly: Oh. My. I don't normally work in the Nursery.
Me: Yeah, well, I don't normally give birth, either, but, I do know to check the bracelets.
I got out of bed and walked the short distance to the Nursery with Nurse Giggles carrying random female infant in tow. There under the incubator was a baby with a big gash on his nose. I motioned to the nurse standing next to him and showed her my bracelet through the window. She read it and then looked at the tag on incu-baby and nodded. I somehow conveyed through the glass that I wanted her to open his diaper (I wish I could remember what kind of sign language that involved).
Me to Nurse Giggles: THAT is my baby. And see that little wiggly thing? We aren't leaving here without it.
Congratulations, Andrea! The fun has just begun....
I am a nurse and have been for a very long time. I talk about things at dinner that would make most people hurl. Seeing the human body, usually at its worst, is commonplace for me. Not a big deal.
What does bother me is how the male human species cannot refer to certain body parts by the correct term. Women have no problem saying 'breast' or 'vagina', but men? Different story.
So let's talk about penises. Yes, P-E-N-I-S. It is the proper word to use when referring to the male reproductive organ (by the way, it has other uses, too). It is a body part, similar to a foot or in most cases, a pinkie finger. However, men discovered theirs at the age of one, and I swear, by the age of 80, they still haven't lost their fascination with it.
But as your nurse, I am not impressed, I am not in awe of its presence, I don't care if you can tie cherry stems into a knot with it or if it speaks five different languages.
And let's call it what it is, shall we? It is not a Willy or a Johnson. It is not a tool, a soldier, a love gun, any kind of a monster or a trouser snake. It's definitely not the Incredible Hulk, in fact, if it's green, I'm not coming within fifty feet of it.
For God's sake, it's not a wiener, what are you, five?
And please don't call it Mr. Happy. If I'm seeing it, I'm probably getting ready to catheterize it, and he doesn't look too happy to me.
Repeat after me: PE-NIS. It's not a dirty word.
Dean Harkness is an amazing artist from the country of Norfolk in South East England. He is also an awesome nice guy. Except if you use his work, including the one above, without his express, written permission. Then you are likely to get your ass sued.
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Self Portrait with 100 Foot Willy~Dean Harkness, Artist (Do not distribute or reproduce without the express permission of the Artist)
Catheter Trivia: Benjamin Franklin invented the flexible catheter in 1752 when his brother suffered from bladder stones. Franklin's catheter was made of METAL with segments hinged together and a wire enclosed to provide rigidity during insertion.
Think about that for just a moment.
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