I have always hated hospitals. Loathed them, in fact; the clinical aromas, the sterile feel, the gloomy atmosphere, the poker-faced staff. I would have given anything to be miles away from the damned place.

As of this moment, however, I had little choice in the matter. I was ensconced in one of the consulting rooms in the labyrinthine hospital complex, lying on an examination table with my genitals ******* like a horizontal flasher. The pale blue hospital gown that I wore - those hideous goddamned things that ****** your ass to all and sundry - was bunched around my waist like a hula skirt.

I looked down at the semi-bald pate of the specialist bending over to examine me and I stifled a soft curse. What was his name again? Rogers. That was it. Dr. Rogers. No - Mister Rogers, I reminded myself. Specialists didn't like being referred to as Doctor.

I felt my pulse quicken. Fucking quacks; I'd had enough of them in the last six days. I was not in a good mood.

Mr. Rogers gently lowered my penis and nodded sagely at my crotch, as if my cock had just uttered some nugget of medical wisdom that only he was privy to.

"Whoever did the operation in Vietnam did excellent work," he said. "The stitching is very good indeed. Really top-class."

An irrational flush of annoyance furrowed my brow as I realised that he was addressing his remarks to my cock, and not to my face; I suddenly knew how women felt when they complained about how some men talked to their breasts.

"I think the surgeon's name was Dr. Sew Mai Kok - something like that." I replied dryly.

He either missed or ignored the sarcasm in my voice. "Well, it really is excellent work," he assured me again, as if I should likewise be impressed. He straightened and removed his latex gloves, and grandly gestured to a vinyl chair in front of his desk in a manner that suggested he had conjured the chair into existence. I assumed that he wanted me to sit in it. I lowered myself gingerly from the examination table, rearranged the irritating hospital gown, and grumpily seated myself in the proffered chair.

Mr. Rogers was a strange looking critter; he was exceedingly tall and angular and thin as a reed, but his head was discordantly round and flat as a pie plate. Looking at his thin body and large, rotund head, I suddenly thought how apt it was that he greatly resembled the dicks that he treated. The thought made me grin waspishly, and I wondered if any of his other patients had made the same observation. He strode purposefully around to his side of the desk and sank into his leather chair like a felled giraffe. His leather chair whooshed as air rushed out of it.

He peered at me over his desk as if he were surprised to see me there. He pressed his fingertips together and rested his index fingers under his chin, as only medicos seemed to do. "How on earth did it happen?" he asked.

I sighed and briefly closed my eyes; everyone wanted to know how it happened. It occurred to me that if it had been a two-inch cut in my arm, or my leg, or even my face, then people wouldn't really care how it happened. But get a deep two-inch slash in your dick, and suddenly every bastard wants to know the grisly details. Fucking ghouls, all of them - like people slowing down to stare greedily at a car accident, wanting to absorb every morbid detail.

I raised my eyelids and slowly focused on Mr. Roger's round face hovering over his desk like a moon looming over the horizon. Maybe he wanted to chronicle this one and submit it to the Lancet, I thought rancorously.

I decided to give him the long version. I gritted my teeth and began: "Just over five months ago I was contracted to work as the chief supervisor on a construction job in Ho Chi Minh City, formerly known as Saigon, building a new multi-storey shopping center. It was a six-month contract, working six days a week. I didn't really want the job, since it would mean I'd be away from my wife and home for half a year - but the money they offered was too good to refuse. There's a boom in building there right now, and they're offering top dollar for guys with my experience in the industry.

"Anyway - last Friday four of the company big shots fronted up, wanting to check out progress on the job. There wasn't anything new for them to see, but what the hell - they paid my salary, so I started showing them around. We went up to the first floor. You have to understand that since it was a commercial building and not a residential one, the first floor was a lot higher than normal - maybe twenty-five feet off the ground.

"There was a section up there that was still accessible only by scaffold, and we started to cross it. Whether the scaffold rigging was faulty, or the bolts snapped, or whether the weight of five men was too much for one weak section to bear, I don't know. But as we crossed it, something broke - the scaffold gave way at one end, right under our feet.

"It all happened so fast - one minute I was just walking, and the next minute I was falling. My first reaction was to grab one of the steel uprights, the round supports that held the scaffolding up - but I could only get my right hand around the tubing, since I was holding a clipboard in my other hand and I didn't think to drop it in time. Grabbing hold of the support with my right hand swung my body outwards slightly, but with the downward momentum that I already had I couldn't slow myself up with one hand - not around the smooth steel. All it did was slow my fall a little, but I still slid down the pole - fast.

"It just so happened that there was a sign bolted to the scaffold bracing under me, and it overlapped the support that I was sliding down by a few inches. The sign was made from cheap tin sheeting, and as you can obviously guess, the corner of the tin hadn't been rounded off, and it was extremely thin and sharp. Under normal circumstances, this didn't matter; the sign was eight feet above the ground, and nobody was going to hit their head on it that high up - even if they were wearing a safety helmet. What they didn't think of was someone coming down the pole, like I was doing.

"My crotch collided with the sharp edge of the overhanging tin. All I felt at the time was a painful sting and then a jolt that basically halted my descent and pushed me backwards, and I lost my grip on the support. I fell the last six or seven feet or so to the ground and landed on my back, knocking the wind out of me. I looked up the see two of the company guys hanging from the edge of the scaffold, yelling and scrambling to get back up. The other two guys had fallen like I had, and they had landed beside me and one of them - the one who ended up with a broken pelvis - was screaming. I raised my head to look at him - and that's when I saw the blood on my thigh. My blood."

I paused my account, remembering the hot burning that had started then. I had reached down to my crotch and felt the ripped material of my trousers, and when I looked at my fingers they were slick with blood. Then the pain suddenly tore through me, and I realised that I was screaming too.

The next two hours or so was now a blur of agony and shock and dread. Luckily the hospital was close by, and I remembered how the ambulance siren had wailed. I was eventually sent to the operating theatre for emergency surgery.

After I awoke from the anaesthetic, the bespectacled surgeon had appeared at my bedside. In reasonable English he'd explained what had happened; as I slid down the steel pole, the sharp corner of the tin sign had effortlessly slashed through my trousers and underwear. It had grazed my scrotum, luckily pushing it backwards out of the way. My luck, however, was short-lived, and the sharp metal corner then pierced the underside of my penis, near the root and slightly to one side, half-slicing and half-ripping nearly three-quarters of the way through as I continued sliding down the steel support. The jolt that curtailed my rapid descent and threw me backwards was my steel belt buckle catching the upper edge of the tin sign. The surgeon said that I was fortunate - if I hadn't been wearing the belt, then not only would my fall have been heavier, but the sharp metal might have continued upward, cleaving my glans in two, and carrying on to tear me open from crotch to throat. What a happy thought. Just marvelous.

A total of eighteen stitches had closed the two-inch slice in my cock, as well as some internal stitching. Painkillers took the edge off the agony.

I had spent the next three days in hospital for observation. A somber delegation of company officials duly paid me a visit, informing me that a flight back to Australia had been arranged at my convenience. As far as I was concerned, it was convenient for me to leave immediately, and I told them to arrange a flight ASAP. I wanted to go home. I gingerly boarded a flight from Tan Son Nhut airport the next day, my crotch swathed in bandaging under my loose trousers. My frantic wife Angela had met me at Tullamarine airport in Melbourne.

Mr. Rogers shook his head and tutted. "Very nasty," he intoned tonelessly. "I assume that you will seek legal recourse for this injury?"

"You bet I will," I replied. I had made a preliminary phone call to a law firm yesterday, and they were already rubbing their greedy little hands together in anticipation of the settlement they could demand if I wasn't satisfied with the offer of compensation that the company was sure to offer me.

Mr. Rogers nodded curtly. He became suddenly businesslike. "Now for your prognosis. Well, the urethra hasn't been severed, as you are probably aware. Missed it by a fraction, but it's perfectly intact - so that's excellent news. There also appears to be no nerve damage, and the underside of your glans was only just nicked. You will also be pleased to hear that we expect you will make a full recovery in time. It's a very nasty injury, but it will heal just fine."

I let out a soft breath. Thank Christ!

"Now for some new that isn't so good," he began. "Wounds of this severity are obviously serious no matter where they are on the body. But a deep incision in the penis has added complications. You are probably aware that the penis is unique in the manner in which it can change size and shape, from flaccid to erect, and vice-versa."

I nodded firmly.

Mr. Rogers continued: "The stitches that are holding the tissues together need time to allow healing to begin. In the worst case scenario, an erection can cause enough swelling to rip the stitches out completely, and even at best an erection can put undue strain on the stitches and interfere with the healing process by causing movement that breaks the first tenuous bonding of the tissues. Naturally you won't be able to engage in sexual activity for a considerable time anyway, but involuntary erections can occur at other times, as we all know - especially at night while you're sleeping."

I nodded again, a little less enthusiastically this time. In fact, I did remember laying in the hospital bed and at one point wondering what would happen to the stitches if I happened to get a hard on. A gruesome vision of my cock slowly peeling apart and bursting like an overcooked cocktail frankfurt had made my testicles shrivel.

Mr. Rogers spoke on. "So until your penis is well on the way to a full recovery, it's important that we prevent any erections that you might have - nocturnal and otherwise."

"How is that possible?" I asked. Mr. Rogers reached into a drawer and retrieved a plastic-coated diagram showing a cross-section of the male reproductive organs. He placed it on the desktop and spun it around so I could clearly see it. The picture had enough detail to frighten small children.

Mr. Rogers used his silver pen as a pointer. "These muscles here control a kind of valve which holds blood in the spongy tissues of the penis. This is what causes an erection. You have probably heard of Viagra, which helps to contract these muscles in men with erectile problems."

"I know about Viagra," I told him. "I think everyone knows what it's for."

He gave a curt nod and continued. "About ten years ago it was noted that a certain type of anti-depressant drug had an unexpected side-effect - it relaxed these muscles instead. It therefore had the opposite effect of Viagra, hindering and in many cases halting erections altogether. The anti-depressant was not popular with many men for this reason."

"I can see why," I grunted. "They probably had enough to be depressed about as it was."

Mr. Rogers uttered a fruity chuckle. "Indeed. Anyway, one bright American researcher decided to isolate the chemical composition that was specifically relaxing these muscles. He eventually succeeded, and the ADA approved the drug early this year. When taken regularly, it causes temporary impotency. As you may well understand, the need for its application is rare - but it cases such as yours, it can greatly improve the chances of rapid healing and a speedy recovery."

"So if I start taking this medication, I can't become hard?"

"Exactly. The penis will remain flaccid no matter how much stimulation is applied. And, in fact, right after your surgery last week your attending physician there introduced it in tablet form as a precautionary measure, according to the records that I was sent by the hospital there - so you're already taking it."

I creased my eyebrows. When I was in hospital in Ho Chi Minh City I simply took the pills proffered by the nurses without asking what the hell they were - not that many of them could speak English in any event. I had assumed they were all antibiotics, and I was issued with a seven-day supply of three different tablets when I left the hospital, along with instructions on when to take what. Mr. Rogers had already asked me about that. It explained why I hadn't gotten an erection since the accident, I guess.

"I see," I replied. "So I just keep taking the pills until everything is healed. How long will that take?"

His smile faded. "Usually in a case such as yours, it will take upwards of ten to twelve weeks."

"Twelve weeks?" I gasped.

"Possibly even more," he replied dolefully. "Your penis has suffered extensive trauma, and it simply takes time to heal. Much will depend on everything going smoothly, and this doesn't always happen. It's not uncommon for injuries of this nature to take as long as sixteen weeks to heal properly."

That sat me on my ass. Sixteen fucking weeks! Or, more accurately, sixteen weeks without fucking! I slumped in the chair. While I was working in Vietnam, many of my colleagues had regularly used the cheap and easily available whores that infested the area around our tacky hotel - but I never did. I had been faithful to Angela. I performed a quick calculation; I had already spent five and a half months celibate - and now possibly another four months on top of that. Over nine months without sex! I stifled another groan.

Mr. Rogers gazed sympathetically at me, and he read my thoughts. "But after you are healed, you should be as good as new, sexually and otherwise." he informed me cheerfully. "Of course, we'll have to assume that scar tissue won't become a factor."

"A factor in what?" I asked sharply. A sudden chill went through my stomach.

Mr. Rogers cleared his throat. "Well, in some cases scar tissue can cause the erect penis to develop a slight curve on the side that the scar is located on. This is because some elasticity can be lost when scarring occurs. In your case, since the incision was on the underside, you may develop a slight downward curve. And you may lose a little length when you are fully erect, as well."

My mouth drooped open; more great fucking news. "How much length?" I asked.

"Oh, possibly no more than half an inch or so. Negligible, really."

Negligible. That was easy for him to say - it wasn't his cock we were discussing. I glared stonily at him over his desk. I guess I was average size in the dick department, but I wasn't exactly John Holmes, either - like any man, I wanted all the length I could get.

"But that's all in the future," he added. "And for the nonce, we'll be optimistic and hope that these factors won't affect you at all."

I heaved a heavy sigh. "Very well."

The remainder of the consultation involved him telling me the various medications I needed to take, and strong advice to keep my penis clean and dry and to change the dressing regularly, to refrain from intercourse (as if I needed to be told that - the berk!), to take care showering, to avoid strenuous exercise, etc. He was typing on a keyboard as he spoke, and soon an inkjet printer on the desk whined and ejected several sheets of paper like flat white tongues.

"I'll get you to come back and see me next Thursday at ten o'clock," he concluded. "I'll also contact your local GP - a Dr. Douglas, I believe - and inform him of your situation. If you notice anything untoward, then go and see him immediately."

He handed me the sheets of paper he had just printed. They were prescriptions. "Get these filled, and when you've finished the course of medication they issued you in Ho Chi Minh City, just switch over to the new batch and follow the instructions for dosage. Use the painkiller as needed, but don't exceed the maximum dose of eight pills per day. I'll get a nurse to redress the bandages for you, and then you can be on your way. See you next week at ten." He must have already pressed a button on his intercom, because a nurse entered the room as if summoned by magic. Mr. Rogers made his requirements known to her, and she led me back to the room where I had first changed into the hospital gown.

Ten minutes later, with my bruised and sewn member re-swathed, I slowly made my way back out to the reception area. Angela arose and walked over to me.

"How did it go?" she anxiously asked.

"I'll tell you all about it in the car, hun" I said somberly. "Let's get out of here."

As we strode under a large sign that read 'EXIT', I was suddenly reminded of the tin sign that had done me so much damage six days ago. I had seen the sign bolted to the scaffold support dozens of times in the last few months. It had been emblazoned with a caricature of a man from the neck upwards, pointing to his safety helmet, and the ironic words underneath had read:

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