“I need you to move all the way down to the end of the bed and put your feet in here,” Dr. McNeil instructed. “Marcus is going to help you, so you don’t have to move too much.”
The nurse smiled down at Josh as he gently scooped the young man into his arms, carefully positioning his hands to avoid jostling the sore injured ribs. He lifted Josh as easily as though the young man were weightless, and set him down at the end of the bed. McNeil guided his feet into the stirrups.
Marcus went to the head of the bed, opposite Keller, and stood next to Josh. The young man was trembling visibly. Marcus ran a gentle hand over his shoulder. “Everything’s going to be fine. Take some deep breaths and try to relax.”
The doctor sat down on a rolling stool, picked up a pair of blue nitrile exam gloves, and slipped them on. “I’m going to examine your penis and testicles for any trauma, injury, or lumps or hernias,” he said calmly.
Josh felt his face burning, and figured it was probably pretty close to the same shade of red as the sharps disposal container on the wall. He blinked hard, holding back tears of embarrassment.
He felt Dr. McNeil push the sheet up to his knees and flip the bottom of the gown up. “I’m going to touch you now,” the doctor informed him. Josh felt a gentle touch on the inside of his thigh, followed by gloved fingers wrapping around his scrotum and left testicle. He fixed his gaze on the ceiling, staring blankly at the dots on the tiles. The doctor’s fingers moved gently over his left testicle, then the right, then the shaft of his penis.
“Good,” McNeil murmured. His fingers pressed firmly into the crease of Josh’s thigh and underneath his scrotum. “Turn your head and cough for me – as hard as you can without hurting your ribs.” Josh obeyed, coughing feebly once, then a second time.
“Okay. Everything feels normal, no injuries or problems.”
“Could have told you that,” Josh said hoarsely.
McNeil chuckled. “Better safe than sorry.” He reached over to the tray on the counter and picked up a small package. Josh heard the tearing of paper, then saw a narrow, cotton-tipped swab stick emerge from the wrapping.
“Now I need to take a swab. Collecting some samples, and checking for STD’s. Just a precaution.”
Precaution was good… but that didn’t sound nice at all. Josh stared at the swab and tensed as the doctor reached towards his penis.
“This is going to sting,” he warned. “But it only takes a second. Just hold still for me. Deep breath.”
Josh gasped and yelped at the sharp burning sensation. “Aghh! Ow, ow!” His whole body tensed, hips bucking and legs instinctively trying to close.
His hands uncurled from where he had been gripping the sheet, and one flew into the air. Marcus quickly grabbed it and held it still, stopping him from reaching Dr. McNeil.
The doctor had anticipated that reaction, and he kept his grip on the swab and followed Josh’s movement. “I know, I know. Hold still. Almost done.”
Josh breathed a sigh of relief and relaxed as the swab was withdrawn. McNeil dropped the swab into a vial and screwed the lid on. “There we go, that one’s done.” Then he picked up a second packet. “Just one more, and we’ll be all done with this.”
“You have to do it again?” Josh squeaked.
“Yep, I need two samples. But this is the last one. Few more seconds and it’ll be over.” The doctor unwrapped the second swab and moved towards him. “Here we go. Just like before. Take some deep breaths and try to hold still for me.”
Knowing what was coming, Josh was already cringing and pulling away. But Marcus had hold of his hand, McNeil was anticipating his movement, and the swab slid inside. He cried out again, louder this time.
“Okay, okay, that’s it. No more. All finished with that part. I’m sorry,” the doctor soothed. He secured the swab in its vial and turned back to Josh. “Just a couple more things to do. Now I need to take a look at your bottom.”
Josh froze, feeling his heart skip a beat. “Wh-what?”
“First I’m going to do an external exam. Visual exam. Just looking, that’s it. Nothing invasive, nothing to be afraid of. Okay?”
No. He swallowed and nodded. “O-okay.”
Marcus leaned over him. “This isn’t going to hurt. Breathe and relax. Sometimes it helps to close your eyes.” Josh squeezed his eyes shut, trying to picture himself anywhere but here, but his eyes snapped open again as he felt Dr. McNeil’s hands on his buttocks. “Okay, you can keep your eyes open if that feels better,” Marcus soothed. “Just the doctor. He’s just looking.”
“Looks good. No external signs of damage or trauma,” McNeil said.
Josh heard the faint shuffle of things being moved around on the tray, and then that sound of tearing paper that he’d heard before. He tensed. Did that mean…? “I’m going to take a couple swabs back here, just like I did before,” the doctor informed him. “Just relax and hold still.”
Josh cringed at the tickling sensation as the soft cotton tip touched his anus. Then he sucked in a sharp breath as it slid into his rectum. He flinched in surprise, and heard Marcus’s soothing murmur in response. The swab was slender, but dry and hard, and he definitely felt it. There was a twinge of pain along with the discomfort. It moved inside him, brushing against the walls of his rectum, and he jerked again as his muscles convulsed in protest. “Ugh.”
A few very long and uncomfortable seconds later, it was withdrawn. Josh heard the sound of the swab being placed in its vial, the lid screwed on, and dropped onto the tray.
Then he heard the rustle of packaging again, and tensed. He was hoping that he’d heard the doctor wrong… but no. “One more,” McNeil warned. He hissed through gritted teeth, and this time he squirmed as it was inserted. Marcus gripped his shoulders, keeping him still. “I’m sorry, I know it’s not very comfortable. Almost over.”
Josh gulped a few deep breaths. He tried to fight against the reflexive tightening of his protesting muscles. Clenching made it feel even worse, but he couldn’t help it. How could something so small be so uncomfortable?
Finally, he felt the swab being removed and heard it being placed in the container.
Are we done now?!
“Have you ever had a rectal exam before?” the doctor asked.
“No! Never.” Josh shook his head vehemently, hardly able to believe what he was hearing. His head and shoulders jerked up, but he was stopped short by Marcus’s hands pushing him back down.
“I’m going to insert my finger to feel for any abnormalities,” Dr. McNeil said calmly. “You’ll feel some pressure. It’ll be uncomfortable, but shouldn’t be painful. Let me know if it is.”
“I’ve never had that done before. I don’t want to.”
“It’s a routine part of a physical exam. All three of us in here have been through it. Nobody likes it, but it’s not that horrible, and it won’t take long. I promise.”
Josh heard the snap of a cap being opened, then a squirting sound from some kind of liquid. “This is going to feel cold. You’ll feel me touching you now.” He flinched as cold and slimy gel touched his hole.
“Hold still and relax as much as possible. I want you to take slow, deep breaths. In through your nose, out through your mouth,” the doctor instructed. He paused, waiting until he heard Josh draw in a quivering deep breath. Then he quickly inserted his finger.
At the intrusion, Josh immediately tensed, and his deep breath turned into a gasp and a cry. “No!” He lurched backwards, trying to move away, but Marcus caught him and held him still.
“Easy, buddy.” He leaned over, keeping one hand on Josh’s chest, gently pinning him down. “Relax and breathe. Slow, deep breaths. It helps, trust me.”
“You’re doing fine,” McNeil assured him. “It’ll be over soon.”
Josh gritted his teeth, hating the feeling of the finger moving inside him, probing. Not painful, per se, but incredibly uncomfortable pressure. The doctor seemed determined not to leave a single centimeter untouched, he thought grimly.
Finally, too many long seconds later, McNeil announced, “Okay, that’s it.” Josh breathed a sigh of relief as the probing finger withdrew from inside him, and McNeil stripped off his glove.
“Are you done? Is it over?” Please say yes…
“Almost,” the doctor answered. “I just have one more thing to do. I need to do a visual exam.”
“But you did that already.”
“That was external, looking at the outside. I need to take a look at the inside too, with a speculum. I’ll insert it, open it up, take a quick look, and take one more swab. It’ll only take a couple minutes, and then we’ll be all done.”
Josh couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He wanted to jump out of the bed and run away. “I don’t want to,” he said desperately. “Please don’t.”
“It won’t take long,” Dr. McNeil assured him.
Josh caught a glimpse of the silver tool as the doctor picked it up. “There’s no way that won’t hurt.”
“It’s probably the most uncomfortable part of all of this,” the doctor told him, “and it will hurt a little. You’ll feel a lot of pressure, probably some stinging and burning from it being opened. But you shouldn’t feel severe pain. If you do, I want you to tell me.”
Josh swallowed hard and squeezed his eyes shut.
“There you go. Just hold still and try to relax. Slow, deep breaths like you did before.” Marcus gently patted his hair. “Close your eyes or pay attention to me. You don’t have to pay attention to what’s going on down there.”
Again, Josh heard the snap of a cap opening, the squirt of liquid, and felt cold slimy gel touch his anus.
“Take a deep breath for me,” the doctor instructed.
Josh obeyed, and immediately felt something cold, hard, and solid pressing between his cheeks. Then the tip pressed inside him, and he jerked and cried out at the burning pressure. “Agh!”
“You’re okay,” Marcus soothed. “Just try to relax.”
He moaned as the hard metal object steadily advanced further, deeper, inside him. He tried to squirm away from the pressure, but Marcus’s hands were firmly pinning him down, holding him still.
“That’s it, it’s all the way in,” Dr. McNeil spoke up. “Now I’m just going to open it a little and take a quick look.”
Josh inhaled sharply as the speculum clicked and he suddenly felt it stretching him open. It stung and burned, and he cried out again. “Oww! No!”
“I know, I know. This is the worst part. Take some slow, deep breaths.”
The fingers of one hand uncurled and stretched out, reaching blindly. Keller wordlessly offered his hand, and Josh latched on to it. His eyes were squeezed tightly closed, his face screwed up in a grimace.
His breath came in shallow gasps, and a keening whine of pain escaped his throat.
“Everything looks good,” McNeil said quietly. “No indication of internal injury or trauma.”
The hard metal speculum was incredibly uncomfortable, and the stretching sensation burned like a ton of needles. Josh could feel his muscles clenching around the offending object, trying to expel it. He couldn’t stifle the pained whimpers coming from his lips.
He squirmed again, but couldn’t escape Marcus’s firm grip.
“You've got to hold still,” the nurse said. “The more you fight it, the longer it will take and the worse it will feel.”
“I don’t want to do this anymore,” he cried desperately. “Please, please stop!”
“I’m almost done,” McNeil said. “The worst is almost over.”
Josh heard the tearing of paper, rustle of packaging, and suddenly felt a swab brushing deep inside him. He sucked in a sharp breath and jerked in surprise. That didn’t feel good. His grip tightened on Keller’s hand, and his muscles tensed in discomfort.
“I know, I know… almost done… there! All done!”
Marcus released his grip and straightened up.
Josh exhaled hard, a shuddering sigh of relief, as the stinging stretching pain faded away, and the intruding object withdrew from inside him.
He blinked hard, pushing back tears and bringing himself back under control.
“No more, please,” he pleaded.
“That’s it.” Dr. McNeil smiled kindly. “I know that wasn’t fun. You did really well. The hard part’s all over now, I promise.”
He lifted Josh’s feet out of the stirrups and folded them back under the bed again. Marcus gently scooped him up again and lifted him back towards the head of the bed, then pulled the bed sheets back over him.
“Now what?” Josh asked warily.
The doctor stepped over to the computer. His fingers flew over the keyboard as he typed, answering Josh at the same time. “Radiology has cleared up, so I’ve put in orders for you to get x-rays and a CT scan – just to check out those cracked ribs, and be absolutely sure that everything else is all clear, since I unfortunately don’t have super x-ray vision,” he quipped with a smile. “Your family will be here later, from what I understand?” he added, looking at Keller. The officer nodded, and McNeil turned back to Josh and continued. “We’re going to keep you here overnight, to keep an extra eye on you and make sure you’re all okay, give you appropriate pain meds, and get some more IV fluids in you.”
“It’ll be fine. The hard part’s all over now. Someone will be here in about ten minutes to take you down to Radiology, they’ll get the images they need there – it won’t take long at all – and then you’ll get taken to a room and get settled in.”
The young man looked back and forth between the police officer still sitting next to him, the nurse standing by the door, and the doctor standing by the foot of the bed. He cleared his throat. “Thank you.”
All three of them smiled. Keller gave his hand a gentle squeeze. “Just doing our jobs. You’re very welcome,” McNeil said. “You take care of yourself.” He and Marcus stepped out of the room, and the door closed behind them.
Josh leaned his head back against the thin pillow, drained and suddenly exhausted. “Go ahead and close your eyes. I’ll wake you up whenever they get here to take you to Radiology. Try to take a nap if you want,” Keller said. “You’re safe here. I’ll be right over here in the corner.”
Then he grinned. “Remember earlier, when I said that grown-ups don’t get stickers and lollipops for putting up with all the stuff they put us through? Well, I happen to know that the cafeteria here has some really good ice cream. If you don’t tell anybody, after they take you down for your x-rays, I’ll go get some for you to have when you get back.”
Josh laughed. “That sounds like a good deal. My lips are sealed.”
His eyes closed, and he drifted off to sleep.
~ THE END ~