Lucy loaded the dirty breakfast dishes into the dishwasher, popped in a detergent tab and set it going. The pancake skillet and the mug Luke hadn’t yet finished with, she would do later by hand. Wiping down the worktop, she glanced at her watch. Geoff had already left for a breakfast meeting, leaving her with the boys.
One down, two to go.
She’d got them up early that morning as they were on a tight schedule. With Geoff unable to take Luke to the medical center, it fell to her again. Grace would be pick up Simon to take him and Toby to school in half an hour or so. Dressed and ready, Simon was watching TV in the lounge. Now, she and Luke really needed to get on the road; traffic would be bad around the perimeter this time of the morning.
She glanced across the table to where Luke had just finished his breakfast. “We need to be going soon, sweetheart. Can you get your things?”
Luke looked up to acknowledge her, though she got neither a smile nor a frown out of him—she was still getting the silent treatment as he stood without a word, placed his mug in the sink, and went upstairs.
After he’d gone, she sighed as she began to clean up. They’d both gone off the deep end the previous evening, and the standoff didn’t look like it was going to resolve itself anytime soon. She'd tried to smooth his ruffled feathers by offering to make pancakes for them both, but even that hadn't been enough to make amends. She knew she could have—should have —handled the situation better, but her eldest could be as stubborn as she could be sometimes! At least he’d let Geoff eventually check that he really hadn't done himself any serious damage as a result of breaking the device. She’d slept easier knowing he wasn’t hiding something.
She rinsed off his mug and left it on the drainer, then cleaned the skillet. Finished, she followed him upstairs to dash on some lipstick and find her purse and keys. A few minutes later, she was downstairs again, where she popped her head in the lounge. Simon was glued to the TV.
"When Grace comes to pick you up, you will remember to turn that off, won't you sweetheart?"
"Yes, Mum." Simon remained fixated by some silly cartoon.
"Bye, then." She frowned as, cocooned in his own little world, Simon laughed at the screen, apparently happy to ignore her.
"EARTH to SIMON!” She couldn’t help the testiness that crept in as she raised her voice quite a few notches. The worries of the day bubbled over, and she flinched as Simon looked up quickly, dismayed as if he’d done something wrong.
Immediately, she felt guilty and crossed the room to kiss him on the head. “Sorry, sweetheart…that was uncalled for. I’m just a bit worried for Luke today.”
He seemed to understand and rose up from where he was curled up on the sofa to give her a hug. “I’m sure it’ll be fine, Mum. What time do you think he’ll be back in school?”
She ruffled his hair. There would have been a time when Luke would have been quick to give her a hug like that, but those days seemed past, and this last year they’d ended up arguing far too much.
“It depends on traffic, but hopefully sometime after morning recess.” Giving Simon a final kiss on the forehead, she added, “See you this afternoon. Try not to get into any trouble.”
Five minutes later, she and Luke were driving out of their subdivision and feeding through traffic towards the main highway.
“Have you heard anything from Owen since the weekend?” she asked, trying to make conversation, but he remained sullen as he played with the radio, looking for something different to what she usually listened to.
“No.” He sounded irritated as he flipped through the stations. “Why?”
“I was just wondering how he was doing, that’s all.”
“How would I know?” His voice was stiff as he kept his sentences to a minimum.
She sighed to herself again. What was it that they joked about? That wedding vows were about ‘Love, Honor and Negotiate’?
Negotiate? Right—though they just never said it might have to include the challenges presented by your teenage sons as well! Though the truth was, it wasn’t doing either of them any good to keep on like this. She took a deep breath. Someone had to break the deadlock, and it probably needed to be her.
“Sweetheart…about yesterday…” She flicked her eyes across to the passenger seat where, with his arms crossed, Luke stared moodily out of the window. By the scowl that crossed his face, she could tell he knew what she was referring to.
“I just wanted to say sorry,” she said. “You were right. I guess I overreacted.”
He remained closemouthed, and she was disappointed. What else could she do? Nothing really.
For several miles of nose to tail traffic, the unsociable standoff remained, and she resigned herself to being in the doghouse for the rest of the journey. Probably the rest of the day.
“I know you were trying to help, but…” It came out of the blue when he finally broke his silence. He paused and she forced herself not to jump into the space with her own comments.
At last, he said, “I’m sorry, too.” He looked her way, and she could see from his face that he meant it. “It’s just that you can be a bit much at times.”
Ouch. She pulled a face. “I know. I’m sorry.”
A wry smile broke out on his face, a grin that was like sunshine to her soul, and he said, “I still wouldn’t swap you though.”
Relieved that they were at least talking, she quipped, “You’re not going to trade me in yet then?”
He shifted in his seat to get more comfortable as the tension eased. “Well, now you mention it, we could try you on Ebay. ‘Mother for auction. Low mileage, one previous owner!’”
“Ouch! Thanks a bunch!”
Now that the ice between them had thawed, she settled into her own seat more comfortably, too. As the traffic began to speed up again, she asked, “So how is it down there today?” She nodded in the direction of his trousers.
She saw him smirk as he said. “You mean my willy?”
“Yes, thank you for that,” she returned. Her tone was dry, though it was more amusing now than it had been during last night’s mood. “Your father did mention the other descriptives on offer.”
“Oh…” Luke scratched his nose and coughed before continuing. “Actually it’s fine. A bit sore, but I’m sure it will be okay.”
“Sore?” She tried not to jump back into worry again.
“Let’s put it this way,” Luke said, smirking suddenly as she flicked her eyes across. “Yesterday evening, I was walking like a demented crab!”
She burst out laughing. “Oh…I see…that kind of sore! Dad did say you were finding it…ummm…a little uncomfortable.” She appraised him as he reached to play with the radio again. “You know you can always take the day off if you want to?”
It might not be such a bad idea, she mused. Her day was pretty free and it wouldn’t do any harm to have a bit of one-on-one time with her eldest. It had been far too long since they’d really talked.
“Thanks,” he said as he continued to search the airwaves, “but I think I’d better get into school as soon as we’re done. There’s a lot on today.”
She shrugged, a little disappointed. “Okay…well, only if you’re sure.” A son who was eager to be in school? Heavens - what next!
He worked through the radio bands and finally settled on something that surprised her. “You like jazz?”
He shrugged. “I guess so. Ryan really likes it. I only just started listening to it recently because of him. Why—do you like jazz, too?”
“You have to be kidding! Me and your dad had plenty of dates at jazz concerts when we were younger!”
“You went to concerts? That’s scary! Did you take drugs and stuff, too?”
She rolled her eyes as he teased her. “Jazz concerts, not Woodstock!”
She turned in surprise, ready to supplement his education, but from the smirk on his face, she could see he wasn't being serious. He laughed as she stuck out her tongue at him and pouted. “PLEASE...I'll have you know even Dad and I were young once!”
“Last century, you mean!”
Strictly it was true, but she grinned at the sarcasm. Getting her own back, she said. “At least Ryan’s managing to improve your taste in music!”
He didn’t come back with an immediate reply, and she glanced across to find him looking thoughtful—and a little gloomy.
“I really messed up with him yesterday,” he murmured, staring away, out of the window. He could have almost been speaking to himself.
“Oh?” She wondered if he would say more as she negotiated the on-ramp down onto the perimeter. Traffic was bumper to bumper again as she edged forward, working her way out into a fast lane.
He appeared ready to continue at last. “You know when you do or say something you regret?”
She knew he didn’t mean her, but cringed anyhow.
He continued, looking uncomfortable. “Or maybe when it’s something you didn’t do…”
She studied him carefully. “I don’t really understand, sweetheart.”
“Yesterday…well, I really let him down.” He sighed heavily. “I should have helped him, but didn’t.”
Luke nodded morosely. “He got hurt, but I could have done something to stop it if I’d tried.”
“Hurt?” Had they been on the football field? “In what way?”
“The bullying kind of way.”
She felt her jaw clench. Bullying? As part of a legacy from her own schooling days, that was something she could NOT abide under any circumstances, and she found herself wanting to act.
“Ryan is being bullied? Do his parents know?” If it were her two, she’d be in there like a shot! Then again, knowing the boy’s parents, it was unlikely they cared. What was a surprise was that there could even be bullying at a place like the Academy. It caused her to pause. What if Luke was being bullied…or Simon?
“No, he’s not being bullied like that. Maybe that was the wrong word.” Luke hurried on. “Ry can handle himself well enough most of the time. Just something happened yesterday which none of us expected—and he got hurt by it. It’s why I want to get back in to school as soon as I can. Just to make sure he’s okay.”
She opened her mouth, but he seemed to sense what she was about to say and quickly added, “And before you ask, I know you mean well, but there’s nothing you need to do.”
She pursed her lips, but decided not to pursue it and risk Luke clamming up on her again. But maybe there were other options, so she said, “He’s been a good friend to you, and you know he’s always welcome at our house. Why don’t you invite him round for dinner one of these days?”
Luke nodded, and they left it at that.
For the rest of the journey, they talked about the summer break and, most importantly, where and when they would take a vacation. The traffic on the perimeter moved at a better pace once they got past the first junction, but they were still late when they finally made it to the clinic’s parking lot.
“Come on," she muttered. She hated being late for anything! "We’d better get in there.” She locked the doors of the van, but paused. “You do have the remains of the Klamp don’t you—just in case he wants to see it?”
Luke patted his pocket as they set off in the direction of the entrance. ‘I do, but I’ve no idea why he would need it now.”
She shrugged. Luke was probably right, but it didn’t do any harm to have it…just in case.
Inside, no sooner had they checked in at the desk and then sat down to wait, than they were called to go through to Tiberius’ office. Passing along the corridor, they saw the door was open this time. As they stepped though, it looked like Tiberius had only just arrived himself, and he looked up from some letters he was sorting.
“Come in, come,” he beamed. ‘I’m terribly sorry, I was caught in traffic this morning. I’m only just getting myself straightened out!”
“You, too?” Lucy smiled, relieved they weren’t the only ones behind schedule. “The perimeter was heavy today. Luke and I have only just arrived ourselves.”
Tiberius seemed mollified and put down the letters to give them his full attention. “So, how are you both today?” He welcomed them inside and closed the door.
‘We’re fine thank you, Jonathan.” She saw Luke nod politely, though could tell from his face he was a little edgy.
Tiberius didn’t seem to notice as he perused the diary laid out on his desk. “Looks like a busy morning.” He looked up. “And I see we have scheduled one SmartKlamp removal.”
“Yes—” Lucy began, not sure how to explain to the surgeon something of the current circumstances.
“It doesn’t take long, Luke,” Tiberius said with brisk efficiency. “I’ll take you through to the surgical room in a few minutes and we can do it there. I’ll just check they have it ready.” He picked up the phone on his desk and punched the numbers. As it rang, he asked. “How has it been this week? Did you manage to forget the device was there?” Someone spoke in his ear and he was temporarily distracted.
Tiberius looked up. “Yes, Luke.”
Lucy could see Luke looked uncomfortable, and also maybe unsure what to say, so she decided to speak for him. “I’m afraid he damaged it, Jonathan.”
To say Tiberius looked a little surprised was an understatement. Stunned would be better.
“You broke it?” He quickly put down the phone, and his tone brimmed with concern. Hearing it, she fretted that maybe she’d made the wrong decision about not getting it seen to properly the previous evening. Even Luke looked ill at ease.
“Sorry.” Luke took the pieces from his pocket and handed them to Tiberius. “It only happened yesterday. I fell on it.”
Tiberius took the pieces of plastic and examined them. “Oh, dear.” He shook his head and frowned. “Yesterday, you say?”
She quickly came to Luke’s rescue, and tried to keep her voice even. “He’s done fine with it all week, Jonathan. Yesterday he had a little accident and tripped on a step.” She glanced at her son. “Didn’t you, Luke?”
Luke nodded, and seemed happy to have her speak on his behalf.
“As you can see,” she continued, “the device broke, but he seems to have managed to take it off himself. We did wonder about calling you, but Geoff, my husband, checked it with him last night. As far as we can see, there didn't seem to be any other damage.”
“And you say you took it off, Luke?” Tiberius probed him.
Luke nodded. “Yes sir. Ryan and I managed to cut the arms, and the tube eventually came away, too.” He sounded more decisive now. “I couldn’t leave it…it was cutting into me.”
She blinked in surprise. It was the first time he had said anything about Ryan helping in the crisis. On the other hand, it had happened at his house, and she guessed he was the type of good friend to have around when it counted!
“I guess we’d better have a look then,” Tiberius murmured. He sounded slightly less apprehensive. “Why don’t you just hop up onto the couch here, and we’ll see what we can see.” Tiberius guided them to the curtained area. She followed as Luke slipped off his shoes and slid onto the leather couch.
“Just pop your pants and underwear down, if you would.” Tiberius pulled the curtain and she slipped inside with them. She knew Luke was a little fussy, but he would have to live with it. For goodness sake, she’d seen it all before, and despite his previous protestations, she just needed to make sure for herself. As it was, he didn’t seem to notice she was even there as he undid his school pants.
“He was quite worried when it happened, Jonathan.” For Luke’s sake, she tried to sound upbeat as he shuffled down his pants. “Though as far as we could tell, there was no damage done.”
Even then, she wondered whether she should step outside, but Tiberius was already lifting back the waistband of Luke’s underwear. In the circumstances, she lost no time, and quickly studied his penis, relieved to see there was nothing that looked gashed or bleeding...or worse.
Most of his skin did appear a little red and inflamed, but that wasn’t surprising, and she could also see the circumferential scar where she presumed some cut had been made. Other than that, there appeared, even to her untrained eye, to be nothing untoward.
It took only a moment of his examination before Tiberius relaxed at last. “Well…that’s remarkable!” He looked up.
‘What is?” Luke asked. She could see that even he seemed to be breathing easier now that Tiberius wasn't rushing to dial 911.
She eased off too, but couldn’t help think that having seen Luke’s skittish behavior it would have been much easier just to pop over to the ER yesterday and not have a night of worry! Talk about asking for directions—what was it about men that the last thing they ever did was to admit they needed help!
“These things can be quite tricky to get off,” Tiberius continued, “yet I can see that you’ve managed it without much problem!” He beamed and the frown seemed to have gone from his brow.
Luke looked sheepish. “We used a pair of pliers and a spoon.”
Her eyes widened in surprise. A spoon? Whatever next? He’d told her about the pliers, but this was the first she’d heard about using a spoon, for goodness sake. She tried not to snigger, but it was getting as ridiculous as that Robin Hood Prince of Thieves movie—not that Kevin Costner couldn’t sweep her off her feet if he had a few spare hours!
Tiberius seemed to agree—at least on the cutlery issue—and burst out laughing.
“A spoon?” He shook his head in surprise. “Oh my goodness! Well, there you go. I have a whole room full of expensive surgical equipment, yet you managed it with a spoon! Trust me, Luke, for my next graduate lecture on the use of the SmartKlamp, I’m going to have to find room for that!"
Grinning, both her and her eldest got caught up in the levity, and she could see the relief on his face. She assumed that would be it, but Tiberius continued.
“Just slip your underwear down to your knees if you would, Luke. I don’t think we need to take you through to the theatre this time around, as you’ve not left me much to do.” Tiberius had a twinkle in his eye as he reached for a pair of surgical gloves from a dispenser. “But, just to be on the safe side, I’d like to just examine your handiwork properly.”
Lucy noticed Luke’s eyes flick towards her as he pushed down his boxers.
Boys! Why did they have to be so particular about it? It was only a willy! Didn’t he realize there was nothing there she hadn’t spent years putting nappies around. Keeping her incredulity at bay, she stayed by the bed while Tiberius slipped on the gloves and started a more thorough examination.
While she watched and waited, she considered the neat result of the circumcision operation on her eldest son.
So that’s what they looked like, then?
It was actually the first one she’d ever seen—at least apart from those in the booklet Tiberius had shown them.
Her own mum had worked most of her life as a ward nurse, rising to a senior staff position before she retired. As they were growing up, she would now and again come out with some gruesome story from the hospital, but willys never featured. Then again, with years of experience of bath time when the boys were both little, seeing Luke without any foreskin now looked a little…unnatural. No doubt it was normal enough for some, though, despite what Luke had inferred, she found it difficult to believe that all his friends walked around like that, or that parents would just go ahead and chop off a kid’s foreskin at birth just for the hell of it!
Despite that, the result looked as clean and as tidy as the pictures in the booklet that Tiberius had walked them through, so no complaints there. The still-healing scar line looked tender. If her mum were here she would no doubt confirm that, like any cut, it would settle and heal quickly enough.
While it was all presentable enough, what felt a little unusual—at least to her—was the unsheathed appearance as though it were aroused. Still, it wasn’t ugly, and if it was what Luke had wanted, then she was happy for him. Unexpectedly, for the first time in her life when it came to either of her son’s private parts, she also felt awkward. Maybe it was because of the surgery, but the feeling took her by surprise.
After nearly sixteen years, and now she felt bothered by it?
Despite her mum’s hospital background, both her parents were definitely ‘old school’, and she’d not seen many young men in the ‘altogether’ before she’d met Geoff. Even then, he’d been her first when it came to enjoying what the bedroom offered. So, seeing a young man permanently retracted—and her son nonetheless—was disconcerting. She felt her neck prickle and her ears redden.
Tiberius seemed unaware of her discomfort and said, “The suture came out as well, I can see.”
Luke nodded. “Aha. Is that okay? Did I do the right thing?”
Tiberius lifted his shaft and gently palpated underneath and Luke winced. “I would have removed it today anyway, as you know, but yes, it all looks clean and neat enough to me.”
Lucy put away her unsettled feelings and watched all of it with interest, recalling how Luke had taken great glee in explaining how he'd been cooked like chicken with the removal of his frenulum. From what she could see, the area around where it would have been seemed the most inflamed. She guessed it, too, would heal in time.
Tiberius seemed to agree with her private diagnosis. “I’m quite happy with the shape and the suture has done its job well. Of all of the procedure, the frenulum will take the longest to heal. Give it a couple of weeks and keep it clean. Other than that, everything is fine.”
“Should he put any cream on it?” At her question, Lucy noticed Luke shoot her a guarded look.
Tiberius nodded. “For a few days, that wouldn’t do any harm. I can prescribe something for Luke that will help with the inflammation, or you can just get an over-the-counter 1% cortisone cream.”
She was pleased. There was nothing worse than doctors who didn’t realize that most mothers had a fair idea how to treat simple ailments in their children. She already knew that she wanted Tiberius to handle Simon’s circumcision. Despite his hang-ups, she’d checked his foreskin herself soon after the Phimosis problem had become apparent in Luke. To her, it seemed likely that her youngest needed the same help, though Simon had been rather resistant to the prospect of dealing properly with his condition. She suspected he might not be as easy to deal with as Luke, but if it had to be done, then Tiberius would be the one to do it.
“I’ll put some cortisone on now,” said Tiberius. He took a small tube from a trolley located nearby and began to apply the cream. "You just need to apply a small amount around where the suture came out and also on the cut line, Luke. Two or three times a day until the end of the week will be sufficient.” He studied the small tube that was half-empty and shrugged. "In fact, why don't you just take this one?" He applied the cream he needed and then passed the tube to Lucy.
The something rather extraordinarily embarrassing happened. As Tiberius held her son’s penis in one hand and continued to stroke the cream onto it with the other, the poor kid started to get an erection!
Oh my golly gosh!
He looked like a less-developed version of Geoff when he was aroused and, slightly uncomfortable as she had been up until that moment, now she didn’t know where to look! And by the look on the kid’s face, he was mortified!
However, apparently unaware of the growing predicament, Tiberius continued to hold Luke’s penis in his hand as he quizzed him about any difficulty he might be having in urinating, and giving him instruction in how to keep his penis clean while it healed. She could almost hear her son grinding his teeth!
“Errr…I’m really sorry…” Finally, Luke coughed. He was becoming quite obviously erect now, and his ears had turned bright red. As agitated by it as him, Lucy squirmed uncomfortably and stared at her purse.
Tiberius suddenly seemed to get what was happening and, to give him his due, covered quickly. He let go of Luke and quickly lifted the lad's underwear back to cover him up. Other than that, he remained unperturbed, though a red-faced Luke held his hands over his boxers to try to cover the extremely obvious lump.
"Ah..." Tiberius smiled genially as if there was nothing out of the ordinary in front of him...other than his patient had just popped a serious boner! "There’s absolutely no need to be embarrassed, young man. A circumcision can bring quite a change in sensations in that area. I think you already know how awkward it can be to cope with at first! You'd be surprised to know how many experience difficulties like this soon after the SmartKlamp is removed! Please don’t be concerned, you’re quite a normal, healthy young man in that respect.”
She squirmed. Watching her son throwing up a woody was not what she was expecting, and despite what Tiberius explained, it didn’t look like Luke was put at ease. His eyes flashed at her as his humiliation deepened.
She spoke frankly. “Well, at least we know it works!” For the life of her, she had no idea why she said that, though afterwards she could never think of anything else that would have been better.
“MUM!” Luke glared at her as he rapidly pulled up his school pants. He still sounded horrified, but as he was zipping up and doing up his belt, a sour grin began to spread across his face. “Okay, so it works. It doesn’t mean I wanted you to see it!”
“Me neither,” she admitted pulling a face, “so let’s just pretend it never happened, shall we?” She'd store it away to tease him with on the day he got married!
“Indeed!" Keeping his professional poise, the doctor continued, though his eyes twinkled, too. "So, as I was saying Luke, I’m sure you’re aware that the glans in particular is quite sensitive just now."
“You don’t say!” Luke rolled his eyes and seemed to be over his discomfort. “You don’t need to tell me that!”
Tiberius continued. “The good news is that your glans will gradually desensitize as the epithelium keratinizes."
Lucy glanced at Luke, but could see that even he had no idea what that meant. Maybe Tiberius could tell that he’d dropped into ‘doc-speak’ as he went on to explain. "Right now the tissue of the glans is like the cheek inside your mouth, but with it being exposed, it will soon dry off. For a while, it will look like the skin over the glans is peeling—similar to when it peels after a little bit of sunburn. It's perfectly usual, so don't worry about it. Gradually it will settle down nicely and become more normal in how it looks and feels."
“How long will that take?” Luke asked.
“A few weeks…maybe more.”
“Weeks?” Luke looked pained. His face was a picture and she offered him a salutatory grimace as she guessed he was in for an uncomfortable time.
"Indeed, I’m afraid so. And, as we discussed before," Tiberius went on, "the circular mark where the skin was fused will, like any other cut or scar, gradually fade, too. Just be patient, and I'm confidant you'll be delighted with the final outcome."
Tiberius left it at that. The checkup seemed to be over and he pulled back the curtain for them all.
“Well, young man, I think everything is fine. Despite your little accident, I have to say I couldn't have done a better job myself!" He crossed the room to his desk and grinned. "I'd better let the surgical team know they're not needed."
Her hand touched her mouth. "Oh dear…a surgical team?” she murmured frowning as they listened to Tiberius passing a message via the phone.
Luke grinned. "I think he probably only means Ella, mum."
Who on earth was Ella?
Luke seemed enthusiastic now. "Is she here today?" He swung his legs off the couch, but remained perched there.
"Ella? Somewhere, yes,” Tiberius replied from his desk. “I'm afraid I'm not sure where just now. It isn't actually her that's rostered to assist me this morning."
Luke seemed a little crestfallen. "Oh—well maybe just tell her I said hi." He glanced her way and seemed to realize at last that she had no idea what the two of them were talking about.
"Ella is the doctor's daughter, Mum," he explained. He appeared to think that that was enough, whereas she suddenly had plenty of questions!
But they would have to wait.
Tiberius appeared ready to wrap it up. At his desk, he signed some sheets in the patient notes which he then slid back into a thick manila envelope.
"Well, I think we’re all done,” he said at last. He stood and came around the desk once more as Luke slipped back onto the floor and put his shoes on. She gathered her things too, and Tiberius steered them to the door.
“After a circumcision like this, Luke, you’re going to find that things may well be a little different for you now, but you’ll get used to. Because of your phimosis condition, it’s going to be the best in the long run, as I’m sure your mom will agree.”
Luke nodded. She could tell he seemed relieved it was over. She didn’t blame him.
“Jonathan, thank you so much for your help,” she said. After last night’s fiasco, the relief she felt herself wasn’t minor, either! Then she passed her son the van keys. “Luke, I just want to speak to Jonathan about getting an appointment for Simon. If you want to go out to the van, I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
Luke nodded, but then turned to Tiberius. “Thanks for everything.”
Tiberius held out his hand. “Luke, it’s been a delight. And good luck!” He passed the envelope to Luke. "Could I get you to drop this at the reception desk on your way out?"
They watched Luke go taking the package with him. After he’d left, Tiberius shook his head slowly. "A spoon? Unusual!"
"And a pair of pliers!" She pulled a face. "I have to confess, I was pretty alarmed when he first told me."
"Goodness! I'm not surprised!" Tiberius sighed. "Still…all's well that ends well, as they say. There was no harm done and the result was exactly the same as if I'd removed it myself." He studied the door through which Luke had just parted. "You have a remarkable young man there, Lucy!”
She smiled at the compliment. And he was right, she was proud of Luke. "Yes, we are proud of him...Geoff and I think he's handled all of it really well." She was proud of both of her sons, though they were like chalk and cheese at times. "Let's hope Simon will be as good a patient.”
“Simon?” Tiberius raised his eyes. “Your youngest, I believe. Luke mentioned him.”
“Luke’s younger brother by just over a year. I wanted to speak to you about him. As far as we can tell, he’s also suffering from the same phimosis problem. I wonder if I can make an appointment for you to take a look to decide if we need to have the same operation for him, too?”
"Ah." Tiberius nodded knowingly. "It’s actually quite common in siblings—and of course I’d be delighted to be of service. Let's have a look at the appointment book shall we?" He perused his calendar for a few moments. She could see pages full of existing appointments.
"If you would like a Friday again....?" he murmured, though seemed doubtful.
“Well, I don’t think there’s any rush.” Simon was more than a year younger than Luke, and in her eyes there was no immediate need for haste. “Perhaps we could arrange it for the beginning of the school holidays. Then the day wouldn’t matter."
Tiberius nodded and flipped forward a wedge of pages, and they looked at some date options and penciled one in.
“Let me just double check with my husband and I’ll phone to confirm in the next few days. Will that be okay?”
“Of course." Tiberius looked thoughtful as he examined the appointment book. "I tell you what…why don’t we do this. Considering you’ve already discovered that Simon has some trouble retracting his foreskin, why don’t we set a full-length appointment? Then, when you bring him and I confirm the need for treatment, we can go straight ahead to fix the SmartKlamp at the same time." He tapped on the date they had set aside. "If we make it the last appointment in the day, that would help."
She frowned. "And if he doesn't need anything? I'd hate to waste your time."
His eyes danced with humor. "If nothing needs doing, then I get to go play golf!"
It was impossible to tell whether he was joking or not. Still, maybe it was actually a really good idea, she mused. If Simon was going to be difficult about it, it might be best to try to get it over and done with all in one appointment rather than have to try to come back with him again on a subsequent occasion. She was probably being a bit sneaky, she knew, but it would be for Simon’s good in the end. She came to a decision.
"Well, as long as you're sure, it would be perfect! Thank you."
As she got ready to leave, Tiberius stepped to the door, ready to open it for her, but paused. "Before you go, there’s one more thing I wanted to mention to you, Lucy."
She raised her eyebrows, questioningly.
He considered her a moment before continuing. “I don’t mean to embarrass you, but for a young man of your son’s age, masturbation is quite a normal activity, yet with his recent circumcision, this might become something of a concern for him.”
Masturbation? She tried not to smirk. “Jonathan, I may be English, but I’m not a prude!” Saying that, while there was nothing wrong with the fact that her son—probably both, now she thought about it—did what all teens do, she preferred not to think about it too much! Tiberius nodded, clearly relieved that she wasn’t freaked.
“The only reason I mention it,” he added, diplomatically and delicately as he reached for the door handle, "is that for boys like Luke, as I said, after a circumcision at his age, the changes of sensitivity around the penis can be quite marked. With the loss of the foreskin, often a bottle of personal lubricant is well appreciated as they get used to it!"
It took a moment before it dawned on her what he meant.
"Ah..." She nodded, tactfully. "I believe I understand what you mean. I'm sure we can solve that fairly easily. Is there anything else I should know?"
Tiberius was businesslike. "No, I think that everything will be fine now. I expect that the residual swelling and soreness will settle quite quickly and he’ll be able to get on with life completely normally once more.
“I’ll be seeing you again in a few weeks time, but please, if either you or he have any concerns before then, don't hesitate to call!"