Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

My Hernia Operation A Bit of a Close Shave

To Our Readers

Has something you've read here startled you? Are you angry, excited, puzzled or pleased? Do you have ideas to improve our coverage?
Then please write to us.
All we ask is that you include your full name, the name of the city from which you are writing and a contact telephone number in case we need to get in touch.
We look forward to hearing from you.

Email the Opinion Page Editor

Many of us over-thirties have found ourselves on the operating table at some time or other. I am somewhat over 30 and have experience of this myself.

Experiencing an unpleasant sensation in my groin, I decided to see a surgeon friend of mine, Nina.

"Get undressed," barked Nina.

"No way!" I thought to myself. "I am not going to expose myself in front of a female friend." And I took myself off to a male surgeon acquaintance. "Oh yes, that's a groin hernia you've got," he concluded. "Better operate before it gets any worse."

Well, in the end I decided to have Nina operate on me. She is a wonderful surgeon and very experienced.

Gryzha, the Russian word for hernia, does not sound very nice, but the Latin word "hernia" is not much better. In fact, if one breaks it down into syllables it sounds like a Russian obscenity.

Nina said she would do the operation, but asked me to make sure I shaved before I came into the hospital. The next morning I shaved and set off.

Nina came into the ward, which I was sharing with five other people, and asked: "Did you shave?"

"Can't you see?" I replied.

"No. I mean did you shave yourself THERE?"

Only now did I understand what she meant. I asked the nurse for a safety razor. As she handed me the razor, she asked, "Will you shave yourself or do you need a hand?"

"I'll do it myself!" I snapped. I went into the toilet and shaved a narrow, but as it seemed to me, sufficient strip for the surgeon to do her work.

"Show me!" ordered Nina.

There was no escape. I lowered my briefs and showed her the carefully shaven strip of skin.

"Is this a joke? Go and do it properly!" Nina barked.

Finally, I clambered onto the operating table. My briefs were taken off and my legs strapped down.

The head of the department came in: "What's that? Why have you not shaven?" he said with exasperation.

"I shaved! In fact, not once but twice!" I countered.

A young lady with dimpled cheeks undertook to shave me. And she shaved not only there, but my leg as well. And, in fact, she shaved me so tenderly that it felt like she was caressing me. "Let her shave me right down to my heels," I thought.

The shaving unfortunately came to an end. They put some kind of bag with a hole on my hernia and started pumping anesthetics into me.

I lost consciousness and remember only that they put me on a trolley and took me to the post-operating ward. An hour later, Nina popped her head in: "Everything's fine," she concluded.

"Thank you," I murmured and once again fell into a deep slumber.

Vladislav Schnitzer is a pensioner and journalist living in Moscow.