Experience: I had an erection for three weeks

This summer I got a new boyfriend, moved into a new flat in Berlin and started a new job – it was one of the happiest times of my life. One Friday, my partner was having an early night, so a friend came over with a few bottles of wine. Soon I was in the queue for Lab, Berlin’s most notorious men-only Friday night party.

I popped a Viagra before leaving the house, because I find it difficult to get an erection if I’ve been drinking (my boyfriend and I are in an open relationship). When I hooked up with a handsome, bearded nurse, I suggested we go back to my place, where he proposed he give me an erection-enhancing injection. I was hesitant. I had tried something similar a few years before; it had hurt a bit and I had stayed hard for longer than I wanted to. But the nurse seemed really keen, so I consented. That was the biggest mistake of my life.

I’m squeamish and I hate needles, so I looked away. I can still feel that sudden increase in pressure as the medication entered through the side of my penis. It was uncomfortable, but not painful, and it worked.

When I woke, I thought it was strange that I was still so hard. I had had a long-lasting erection before – called a priapism – and an ice pack had helped. I was already late for the Christopher Street Day parade, Germany’s version of Pride, so I grabbed a wine-cooling sleeve from the freezer and wrapped it around my penis, got dressed and ran for an Uber. I assumed my erection would go down eventually, so I enjoyed the party.

At 5am the next morning, I woke with a constant ache in my still very erect penis. I tried painkillers, ice packs and hot baths, but nothing worked. Doctors later told me that the longer your penis stays hard, the wider the scope for lasting damage. Getting help fast is key – ideally within two to four hours. I had waited more than 30. By 3pm, I was in the street, screaming in agony, waiting for an ambulance.

When I got to hospital, I was in more pain than I thought possible. Doctors inserted needles of different shapes and sizes into my penis, sometimes drawing blood out, sometimes flushing out the toxins, once with a curly device that I felt ripping through the tissue, drawing blood in an attempt to bleed out the medication still inside. I was told I had been given a drug usually prescribed for erectile disfunction. I’d had a local anaesthetic, but it didn’t work.

It was the darkest time of my life. I had no idea if I would have sex again. I had met the love of my life and was terrified I would lose him. I was too weak to eat or drink and the blood clots were at risk of spreading to my major organs, which could have killed me. Emergency surgery was scheduled for the next morning.

Dr Pottek, a reconstructive urological surgeon, performed a procedure under general anaesthetic called the Grayhack shunt: he joined a vein from my leg to the base of my penis to withdraw the trapped blood. It worked, but I had so many blood clots in my penis that it was still hard and very painful. I was given blood-thinning medication intravenously, antibiotics and pain relief in the other.

When I woke, I was no longer in agonising pain. I felt hope. My partner and I had become even closer and my friends started fundraising for my recovery. My story went viral and I received messages of support from around the world. Ten days after the operation, my penis still hard, I had a scan: I saw a close up of the tissue inside in shades of grey; with each beat of my heart, I saw blobs of red, yellow and blue pop up, indicating blood flow. I whooped with joy: I may be able to have natural erections again.

Three weeks after the nurse gave me that injection, I left hospital. It is still too early to tell what the impact will be on my sex life. Although my erection is smaller than it was three weeks ago, I’m still waiting for it to go down completely, and I lost my job. But I am determined to make this a positive experience. I was so inspired by the care I received in hospital that I want to channel that into training as a Reiki healer and teacher. It is strange knowing that people all over the world are talking about my penis, but I am using this as an opportunity to raise awareness and save others from the pain I went through. Never inject your penis with an unknown substance; if you have an erection for longer than four hours, go to A&E.

Do you have an experience to share? Email [email protected]

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