No one told me that the pain would be inevitable after facing the knife. However, this is a necessary sacrifice that every man must endure in his lifetime.
In many African communities, the tradition followed is that a man must get the rites of passage to manhood through circumcision. Not only does this fill one with pride and prestige but the initiation is a way of creating an unbreakable bond within the community.
The newfound respect acquired is pure, legitimate and sincere. It almost feels divine to be blessed with a newfound purpose – which in a way guides young African men with a sense of direction to take charge of their sexual health and lifestyle choices.
I woke up on morning and as usual stuck to my routine, attending lectures and catching up on assignments. At about midday on Thursday 22nd February, I decided to check in for Health awareness week and participated in the activities.
Meanwhile it didn’t occur to me that I needed to get circumcised. I had already been past these negotiations and heated debates for personal reasons.
After so much hesitation and persuasion by my friend, Peter Baguma, I set a medical appointment with the Makerere Water Reed Project (MWRP) Team that was providing free circumcision services.
After lunch at about 4:00 pm, I had retreated back to my hostel apartment to change into convenient clothing for my medical surgery.
At this moment, everything was very tense and the stakes kept getting higher by the minute as I wondered, worriedly about the consequences of getting cut and whether it would greatly affect me.
“Should I really get through with this?” I thought to myself amidst shivers of the cold evening. Meanwhile time was ticking, I jumped onto a boda boda.
And Just adjacent to the first gate entrance of UCU, the circumcision van awaited as if the heavens had already sealed my fate to face the knife.
At the operation theatre
I walked into the gloomy theatre and was told to sign a form of consent for the medical surgery. For first timers, this is critical because the surgeons have to ascertain if one is medically fit to go through the procedure. Your blood has to be checked for HIV among other requirements.
The first process was vaccination from tetanus and other bacterial infections that may arise. “Lift up your left shirt sleeve so I can inject you on your arm”, ordered the attendant nurse at the circumcision van entrance.
I obliged and successfully I got my tetanus shot after quite a decade since I last received one. “Is it going to have any after effects?” I asked the nurse amid concerns that my left arm would get pain and swelling contractions since my last experience.
Thereafter, the nurse ushered me into the operation theatre and I was told to undress my atire. I got dressed into a light green medical gown like a fashion star and proceeded to lay down on the surgery table.
The MWRP surgeons commenced the circumcision by numbing my pelvic region with tranquilizers. I was given five injections all over my scrotal department and upwards. “Do you feel any pain?” the Doctor asked and I replied sarcastically that I still felt some of it cringe through my skin.
The extra injections were added since the first doses weren’t enough to suppress the alcohol that had previously been in my bloodstream.
I thought I would be sedated. Contrary to popular belief, I stayed awake but completely remained numb to feel any pain.
Actually, I remained unaware to my surroundings on purpose. I didn’t want to see the doctors mutilate me with so much diabolical enjoy.
I saved myself the gory details and chose to play music instead. So I plugged my earphones instead and hummed away to melody with such a reckless abandon. Midway, through the procedure, the surgeons kept cracking jokes and teased me about the whole process.
Actually we talked pretty much about everything for about an hour as they savagely cut and stitched me back to life.
“Nicholas you’re going to be fine soon after this,” they said reassuringly as I nodded my head in disbelief since I had betrayed my expectations and gone against my wishes.
A part of my conscience disagreed that I had still done a wrong thing and that I would regret. After a while I shrugged the thought from my mind and counted the blessings of being initiated into manhood. I felt immortal like a Japanese ninja who has just come back from battle.
The truth is, the pain won’t go away after a while. Therefore, one must be armed with heavy painkillers and anti-biotics to counteract the discomfort of the healing process.
Sometimes you will have sleepless nights, severe headaches and painful erections and even difficulty in helping yourself at the washrooms.
However do not despair, the sacrifice is worth the wait. Always endeavor to clean your wound regularly and keep it away from contact with water as this may delay the healing.
For those with fridges, you can use ice packs to numb the pain but this shouldn’t be resorted to often because it may affect the sensitivity of the erectile nerves.
Additionally, keep wearing light clothes so as to expedite the wound to dry and heal faster. Also, avoid making unnecessary movements as this may stress and strain the wound to re-open bleeding – which in my opinion delays the healing process.
Most importantly, the medical reviews which can be done at Allan Galpin Health Centre are a must so the doctors can monitor any complications that may arise after the post-circumcision phase.
Last but not least, the benefits of getting circumcised are quite tremendous and actually outweigh the disadvantages. You may reduce HIV transmission greatly by removing the foreskin which is very prone to cuts during sexual intercourse.
Not only does this avert HIV through protected sex but also mitigates the HPV virus which infects women with cervical cancer. On top of that, it’s easier to maintain personal body hygiene through removal of the foreskin among other benefits.
Nonetheless, I encourage every uncircumcised male to take up the mantle and do the right thing. You won’t regret. You will thank yourself.