My balls were the size of a grapefruit.
How did this happen?
I can still here Bubba’s words.
“If you have to wipe after going number 2 in the woods, just don’t use poison ivy.”
I had to go bad. I couldn’t wait until we got back to camp. As I meandered away from the group and into the forest, I found a spot to relieve myself.
Next to me was a leafy green plant. Surely, this was the farthest thing from poison ivy. At least, from what I had thought was poison ivy my entire childhood.
Contrary to popular belief, poison ivy is not red. Only, I did not know this.
So, as I grabbed the plant that least looked like poison ivy, and wiped myself with its tender leaves, I went back to my group, happy and proud of myself.
I took a dump in the woods.
Bubba smirked. “Now you are one of us.” He said.
This was, in fact, my first camping trip. And, my first climbing trip.
We were in New River Gorge, West Virginia.
This was only day one of a three day trip. I was loving everything about it so far.
Until, I woke up the next day.
Something was wrong. My testicles had grown to enormous proportions. And I had red rash all over my privates.
Surely, I didn’t wipe my behind with poison ivy. It looked nothing like it.
I decided to look up poison ivy on my phone. Yup. That’s when I saw it, the leafy green leaves. The leaves that looked the least like poison ivy, were in fact, poison ivy.
I couldn’t tell anyone.
I was far too embarrassed.
As we set out to climb again, some of my friends noticed I was not acting like myself. I wasn’t enthusiastic or excited to climb.
“What’s wrong?” They asked.
But, I would not say.
“I’m fine.” I said.
In fact, I climbed that day, with giant testicles. I scaled the rock wall knowing that each movement of my legs was pure misery.
I was concerned.
“What if my testicles stayed this way?”
I called my father who was a nurse practitioner.
“Dad! I wiped myself with poison ivy.” I said.
My Dad laughed. “I’ll have medicine waiting for you when you return.”
“But my testicles...” I started to say.
“You’ll be ok.” My father assured me.
Still, I would let no one know what I had done.
It was incredibly hard to climb, for two days, with a grapefruit between my legs, but I persisted. It wasn't enjoyable, which was a shame because it really was a beautiful location, and it was my first time climbing outdoors. I just knew, that if I told the group what had happened, I would never hear the end of it. So, I kept it to myself.
It was all I could do to not stick my hands in my pants and scratch. I resisted the urge. Plus, it would only spread the poison ivy further. There was a girl I like, call her Destiny. She couldn't understand why I had backed away, why I was no longer pursuing her. She invited herself into my tent, with my roommate Justin, but I was not interested. What if she reached into my pants? How could I resist her without her finding out?
I decided to ignore her was best. And so, I pretended I was tired. That I just needed rest. There was no doubt she was confused, but it was better than explaining to her that I did not in fact have elephantiasis.
The van ride home was the most uncomfortable ride of my life. Minutes turned to hours in what seemed like eternity.
It was an 8 hour return trip, that seemed like forever.
When I got home from the trip, successfully, without telling a soul, I took the medicine prescribed by my dad and almost immediately, the swelling went down.
All I could do was laugh about it with my dad.
“They were literally the size of a grapefruit.” I said.
“Thank goodness for modern medicine.”