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Is a Nut Job
bled over, seeing stars, or
talking in a high-pitched voice
like what is portrayed on tv.
I examined him for appendi-
citis the way our pediatrician
demonstrated, and I found no
red fags. Nothing alerted me
to the danger looming over
my son or my prospects for
future grand-babies.
Assuming he must have pulled
something while running
down the stairs, I prescribed
taking it easy and sent him
back up to clear his lego ta-
ble. My plan was to watch him
and if he complained again Id
give him acetaminophen and
make him rest on the couch.
At this point, I certainly wasnt
considering a trip to the ER
nor surgery as a necessary
plan of action.
His dad was lunching with
a friend who is a physician;
I texted him and left it to his
discretion whether to mention
it or not. Twenty minutes later,
the guest bedroom was clean
and the guys were on their
way over to rule out the pos-
sibility of a testicular torsion,
a twisted testicle. Okay, what-
assumed I could
cruise through
motherhood be-
lieving nuts and
bolts were my
husbands depart-
ment while train-
ing bra shopping was mine.
Other than knowing little boy
things required protection
during sports I was blissfully
ignorant about testiclesuntil
last summer.
Knee-deep in half-painted
canvases, disassembled pic-
ture frames, and card stock,
I was scrambling to prepare
the guest bedroom (also my
craft room) for my sisters ar-
rival from Ohio. Her life is the
kind one would fnd on Pinter-
est: homemade pies and ma-
son jar lemonades. She was
bringing her three children:
each gifted and talented, of
course. She texted me her
ETA: four hours away.
A four hour window is a curi-
ous thing, for it was simulta-
neously just enough time to
pull together my image of be-
ing a Pinterest-perfect house
wife and just barely enough
time to save my sons testicle
from completely dying.
I was all nerves racing to beat
the clock and running on just
four hours of sleep because I
just had to paint a bookcase
the night before. Then my
son waded through my trail of
trash bags and other things-
to-be-donated complaining of
his rib cage feeling like it was
in a tug-of-war battle with his
peanut (testicle) and his rib
cage was winning.
No pediatrician ever warned
me about testicle scenarios;
neither had I heard or read
much about them. He winced
when I touched his abdomen
and his right testical hung
slightly higher than the left
which seemed abnormal, but I
knew breasts werent perfect-
ly symmetrical. I questioned
whether testicals were similar
in how they hang. I had nev-
er noticed or questioned until
My little guy had only been
cleaning his room; he hadnt
been tackled, punched, or
kicked. Neither was he dou-
by Nicolle Boswell
Boys aged 12-16 years old are most commonly af-
fected although torsions may even occur in utero or in adulthood.
Symptoms include: pain (not necessarily severe), swelling
of the scrotum, nausea, vomiting, and/or one testicle positioned
higher than the other.
Torsions are believed to be caused by bell-clapper de-
formity, a genetic malformity and they may occur as a
result of: physical activity, injury to the scrotum, sleep, rapid
testicular development, cold temperatures, and even sitting in
a chair. At the onset of symptoms, immediate medical
attention is required within a six hour window in or-
der to preserve the testicle. When treatment is sought within six
hours of pain onset the success rate is 100%. However, as many
as 60% of all cases result in the death and removal of
the testical due to delayed medical treat-
ment. Diagnosis is made via ultrasound. In most cases,
surgery is required to untwist the spermatic cord and
restore blood fow to the testicle.
Fast Facts About Testicular Torsions
ever. I thought their concern
seemed like a case of male
camaraderie. Was a sore
peanut really that big of a
deal or was it just men taking
something seriously because
male parts were involved?
Was a house call warranted?
When they arrived and my
son bounced down the stairs
as usual I felt like the over-
reactive mother who called
the doctor for nothing. But a
few minutes later, we were on
our way to Conway Region-
al Hospital for an ultrasound
to confrm testicular torsion,
a condition occurring when
the spermatic cord becomes
twisted and vital blood supply
to the testicle is lost. The less-
than-perfectly-clean house
became a non-issue and I
began praying prayers like,
Please God, save his testi-
Common symptoms of tes-
ticular torsion are pain and
swelling on the affected side.
Symptoms may or may not
seem alarming initially, but
without treatment the testicle
dies within hours of pain on-
set and must be surgically re-
moved. When medical atten-
tion is sought within six hours
of pain onset the testicle is
preserved in nearly 100% of
cases; unfortunately, most
patients miss this short win-
dow of time. When treatment
is delayed for twelve hours or
more the success rate drops
to only 20%.
Fortunately for my son, we
knew a physician who rec-
ommended the ER. But un-
fortunately, most people dont
have a friend who is a physi-
hugged his stuffed shark,
and returned to a codeine-in-
duced power nap while his
cousins ate pizza and swam
at our house.
I still havent met one mom
who knew about testicular
torsion before my mentioning
it and Im not okay with that.
Pediatricians are not warning
moms about torsions even
though we are most often the
one making the call on wheth-
er to go to the ER or not.
Moms, ask your pediatricians
about torsions because nuts
and bolts are your responsi-
bility too, and who knows
your grandkids may thank
you someday.
cian, said Dr. Jeff Marotte,
a Conway urologist whose
practice addresses both adult
and pediatric issues. Dr. Ma-
rotte dropped his afternoon
agenda to perform the emer-
gency surgery for my son, his
second torsion case in two
The psychological effects of
losing a testicle can be dev-
astating. When my son woke
up in post-op, the frst real
thing he said was, Mom, is
my peanut still there? I con-
frmed, but he wanted proof
anyway. I discreetly raised
the blanket and his hospital
gown and I snapped a pic. He
smiled a big peaceful smile,
Testicles Roasting On An Open Fire
A Holiday-Themed Analysis of Article 1
by Nicolle Boswell
f all the pieces Ive written this se-
mester, article one is my baby. Ad-
mittedly, placing it on the table for
peer review felt like offering my
child to Molech. Trial by fre.
As a writer, my passion is in edu-
cating people about health related topics and
testicular torsion is not something moms know
much about. Patients have only a short win-
dow of time before facing detrimental conse-
quences yet the treatment is not a big deal. Ed-
ucation makes all the difference.
As a mother, I am fred up about testicular tor-
sion. I am the mom who decorates her fridge
with choking algorhythms and CPR info. In
bed, I rehearse evacuation routes through the
house in case of a fre, but I was not prepared
for my sons twisted testicle. Statistics showing
that 60% of all cases end in the loss of a testi-
cle only prove that most parents arent.
The fundamental purpose behind article one is
to tell a personal story using my mom voice. A
subsidiary purpose is to alert the readership of
Savvy Kids Magazine to testicular torsion. I do
not view these two purposes as competing as
a few of my peers in workshop did. The article
reads like a natural conversation I would en-
gage any mother in: a mix of both drama-mama
and doctor mom.
Testicular torsion is no laughing matter, yet
The frst
qualifcation for
being published is a
fresh idea.
the article reads in a humorous way at times.
Again, the intent behind the tone is to mimic a
conversation between moms at the park. I am
confdent that neither humor nor explanation
compromises the strength of the other.
Ive included more details about what was hap-
pening the day of my sons surgery. I added
the pressure and cleaning scene to heighten
the tension in the piece. The racing to beat the
clock and get the house perfectly clean before
my sisters arrival adds irony and tension be-
cause I shouldve been concerned with getting
my son to the ER, but I didnt know it at the
time. The fnal version contains considerably
more tension than the workshop draft.
Near the end, my son makes a fnal appear-
ance. I brought him back into the story as he
woke up from anesthesia. To underline the sig-
nifcance of losing a testical, I brought the read-
er into the post-op room and included his ques-
tion, Is my peanut still there? The dialogue
at the end helps keep the reader engaged and
evokes emotions.
Workshop feedback was extremely helpful and
led me toward constructing a fast facts side-
bar which complements the article nicely. With-
in the sidebar info I have established a hier-
archy of information by using bold faced fonts
and red fonts to alert readers to the most im-
portant pieces of information.
What emerged following workshop is an article
which is even tighter and more rhetorical. I plan
to continue tweaking the last paragraph over
the break and hopefully-actually-literally hand
it over: not to Molech, but to Savvy Kids Mag-