Today's stories [7.5.18]
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"In retrospect, lighting the match was my big mistake. But I was only
trying to retrieve the gerbil," Eric Tomaszewski told bemused doctors
in the Severe Burns Unit of Salt Lake City Hospital. Tomaszewski , and
his homosexual partner Andrew "Kiki" Farnum, had been admittedfor
emergency treatment after a fetching session had gone seriously wrong.
"I pushed a cardboard tube up his rectum and slipped Raggot, our gerbil,
in," he explained. "As usual Kiki shouted out 'Armagedon," my cue that
he'd had enough. I tried to retrieve Raggot but he wouldn't come out
again, so I peered into the tube and struck a match, thinking the light
might attract him."
At a hushed press conference, a hospital spokesman described what happened
next, "The match ignited a pocket of intestinal gas and a flame shot out
the tube, igniting Mr. Tomaszewski's hair severely burning his face,. It
also set fire to the gerbil's fur and whiskers which in turn ignited a
larger pocket of gas further up the intestine, propelling the rodent out
like a cannonball." Tomaszewski suffered second degree burns and a broken
nose from the impact of the gerbil, while Farnum suffered first and second
degree burns to his anus and lower intestinal tract.
Medical Aspects of Human Sexuality
by William A. Morton, Jr.
One morning I was called to the emergency room by the head ER nurse. She
directed me to a patient who had refused to describe his problem other
than to say that he "needed a doctor who took care of men's troubles."
The patient, about 40, was pale, febrile, and obviously uncomfortable, and
had little to say as he gingerly opened histrousers to expose a bit of
angry red and black-and-blue scrotal skin. After I asked the nurse to
leave us, the patient permitted me to remove his trousers, shorts, and two
or three yards of foul-smelling stained gauze wrapped about his scrotum,
which was swollen to twice the size of a grapefruit and extremely tender.
A jagged zig-zag laceration, oozing pus and blood, extended down the left
scrotum. Amid the matted hair, edematous skin, and various exudates, I saw
somehalf-buried dark linear objects and asked the patient what they
were. Several days earlier, he said, he had injured himself in
the machine shop where he worked, and had closed the laceration himself
with a heavy-duty stapling gun. The dark objects were one-inch staples of
the type used in putting up wallboard.
We x-rayed the patient's scrotum to locate the staples; admitted him to the
hospital; and gave him tetanus antitoxin, broad-spectrum antibacterial
therapy, and hexachlorophene sitz baths prior to surgery the next morning.
The procedure consisted of exploration and debridement of the left side of
the scrotal pouch. Eight rusty staples were retrieved, and the skin edges
were trimmed and freshened. The left testis had been avulsed and was missing.
The stump of thespermatic cord was recovered at the inguinal canal, debrided,
and the vessels ligated properly, though not much of a hematoma was present.
Through-and-through Penrose drains were sutured loosely in site, and the
skin was loosely closed. Convalescence was uneventful, and before his
release from the hospital less than a week later, the patient confided
the rest of his story to me.
An unmarried loner, he usually didn't leave the machine shop at lunch time
with his coworkers. Finding himself alone, he had begun the regular practice
of masturbating by holding his penis against the canvas drive-belt of a large
floor-based piece of machinery. One day, as he approached orgasm, he lost
his concentration and leaned too close to the belt. When his scrotum became
caught between the pulley-wheel and the drive-belt, he was thrown into the
air and landed a few feet away. Unaware that he had lost his left testis,
and perhaps too stunned to feel much pain, he stapled the wound closed and
resumed work. I can only assume he abandoned this method of self-
[William A. Morton is a retired urologist residing in West Chester,
On the wall of a church was a sign:
"If you are tired of sin, come to see us!"
And right below it in nice rounded letters;
"But if you're not, my phone number is 341 3451"
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