I’ve been treating Michael for almost three years now. His case is one of the more unusual in the literature, in fact he’s something of a special case. I believe he’s one of only six people in the UK to suffer from Orchitis Voxosis, or OV for short.
OV was only discovered as recently as 1987 by a Swiss Urologist who received a referral of a twelve year old boy complaining of ‘singing balls’. What he found was staggering, and hitherto unheard of. Only now, almost 30 years on, are we truly beginning to reveal the secrets of this strange and socially ostracising condition.
The problems start in utero, in the very early stages of embryonic development. In a nutshell, if you’ll excuse the metaphor, the testicles develop a kind of proto larynx. Shortly after conception, in the first trimester when the zygote is undergoing mitotic division, problems arise with cell differentiation.
As far as we know – and it appears to be linked to errors in the base coding of Tritiptonase Phorylose during mitochondrial axial regression – the glitch occurs as a result of cytoplasmic contiguity. This simply means that the cells that will become the gonads and those that will develop into the throat are so close together they’re practically the same.
In rare cases, we think around 1 in 900,000, normal mitosis is disrupted, and what we call regional cellular displacement, or RCD occurs. Basically, organs can develop in atypical regions of the body, including duplicates.
Most famously this is how Donald Trump ended up with two rectums. One in the usual place and one on his lower mandible, around where his lips should be. I happen to know his specialist very well, and he tells me that Mr Trump has to have his Gastroenterologist present whenever he visits his Dentist. It’s not pleasant. Put it this way, when Mr Trump has a birthday party and blows out his candles, nobody eats the cake.
The fact that a small voice box can develop in a testicle is amazing in itself, but the mechanism which causes the testicle to appear to talk, and even sing, is truly remarkable.
When someone with OV walks, the muscles in the leg squeeze the femoral artery which sends blood rushing up the the pelvis and through the proto larynx in the testicle. This causes a sort of guttural sound, sometimes more plosive or sibilant, like a whistle. In complex cases tiny integuments, or flaps, develop which mimic the bioarchitecure, and consequently the action of the lips and tongue. In these vanishingly rare cases – we’re talking 1 in 7 million here – rudimentary vocalisations may be audible, and sometimes, just through the normal operation of chance, they resemble discernable linguistic units. The water density of the testicle acts as a kind of amplifer, which means that they can be heard up to three metres away.
I treated a patient with this incredibly rare ‘talking’ form of the condition. His testicular vocalisations were almost always of two syllables. Common examples included ‘peach god’, ‘fish tease’ ‘don’t care’ and ‘bog boy’. He actually lost his job as a primary school teacher.
The saddest case of all was of a 21 year old schizophrenic man. One of his vocalisations was ‘end you’, which he did after years of – as he put it in a moving final letter – ‘being hounded to madness and despair by my balls’.