“Read the Label” by Belinda Cohen

This story appears in the anthology “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Working for a Living.” 

Fresh out of nursing school, I worked as a substitute for various doctors in the region. One day, I’d be changing catheters in the geriatric ward of the hospital. The next day, I’d be in the gynecologist’s office warming tubes of K-Y Jelly. Never a dull moment.

After a year of making the rounds, I thought I’d seen it all. I was, after all, a professional. So when I got a call from a local urologist’s office, I was happy to oblige.

The third patient of the day was 38-year-old Tom. He was a good-looking man with a military buzz cut and broad shoulders. His wife had recently delivered their third child, and Tom explained, “If my wife gets pregnant again, I’m gonna shoot myself.”

Clearly, it was time for a vasectomy.

I began with the usual questions. “Are you taking any medications?” He went down a list of pills he’d pop for post-workout pain.

“You’ll need to stop taking ibuprofen and aspirin. If you feel sore after exercise, just take Tylenol.” After a few more questions, Tom was ready for the doctor.

“We need to complete a simple genital examination,” Dr. Amor said, washing his hands and slipping on the plastic gloves that make a man instinctively flinch.

We eased Tom’s feet into the stirrups. I stood next to the doctor who sat on a round stool, placing him at eye-level with the man’s groin.

“Belinda, can you spray the antiseptic on his skin? It’s in the yellow bottle over there.” I looked on the counter, retrieved the yellow bottle and soaked Tom’s jewels with the cleanser.

Dr. Amor continued explaining. “We’ll be looking for varicose veins, epididymal cysts and any unusual testicular sensitivity.”

Tom laid back with his eyes closed and his feet in the stirrups, his legs spread wide apart. He swallowed several times and took short, panting breaths. I stayed still, knowing that a young woman watching this exam is about as pleasant for the man being examined as taking a baseball to the groin.

Dr. Amor rolled Tom’s balls between his thumb and forefinger. He scrunched his face and stared, confused for a moment.

“Is there something you need, doctor?” I asked in my nurse voice.

He darted his eyes to Tom’s guy parts. He took three short tugs trying to free his hands. They didn’t budge.

It took me a moment to register that Dr. Amor’s hands were glued to Tom’s nuts. I covered my mouth in shock and my gaze shot toward the counter.

The yellow container was clearly labeled, “Adhesive.” The orange one said, “Antiseptic.”


The doctor carefully slid his hands out of the gloves and informed Tom we needed to step out of the room. “Just relax a moment,” he said to the man in the stirrups with deflated gloves gently swaying from his testicles.

Safely out of hearing range, we let our laughter roar. “How do you unglue plastic from a guy’s balls?” I asked.

Dr. Amor rubbed his chin. “We can’t send him home like that.” His response sent me into a second round of giggle fits.

“What about bandage scissors? We can put the knob against his skin and trim the glove. He can wash off any residual plastic in the shower at home.”

He nodded, and we returned to the exam room with straight faces.

Tom never did come back for that vasectomy. I just hope he didn’t decide that shooting himself was better than a second trip to the urologist’s office.

Work4Living450RGBBelinda Cohen is a freelance writer and associate reviewer for Every Free Chance LLC. She writes a monthly book club recap and a newsletter at http://www.EveryFreeChance.com, offering advice on getting published.

Again, this story appears in “Not Your Mother’s Book…On Working for a Living.” The book is filled with 59 very funny stories by working stiff. Purchase this book today from your favorite retailer, Amazon (http://amzn.to/1yNYujU) or Barnes & Noble (http://bit.ly/1xXyrVR).

To submit your stories for consideration in future NYMB titles, go to http://www.PublishingSyndicate.com and click on the “Not Your Mother’s Book” tab.