Vasectomies are a snip

October 7, 2013
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When the notion of blogging my vasectomy experience was first raised by my editor, I didn’t like the idea at all. Something within the deep, primitive layers of my psyche told me that this was something that I didn’t want to be talking about. My male pride couldn’t take the idea of people knowing that my masculinity had been compromised. Now that the procedure is complete, I realize the voice in my head just might have been getting a vasectomy confused with castration. To the great credit of the doctor who worked on me, he didn’t make the same mistake.

There will be plenty of people reading this who have had a vasectomy, and there will be others who will have one in the future. For those who fall into the latter category, particularly if this is something that you are planning for the near future, the most important thing to know is that this really isn’t a big deal. It’s relatively painless, far less invasive than the tube-tying procedure that our partners would have to go through, and almost risk-free. But it’s hardly a walk in the park either.

The first strange thing about going through the vasectomy procedure is that people will constantly tell you that there’s nothing to worry about, and then explain a bunch of facts that sound God-awful. “There’s nothing to worry about,” they’ll say. “The doctor will simply make a hole the size of a nail on either side of your scrotum, then pull out the pipe and make a knuckle, then remove a section, then cauterize.”

I have to be honest, when I hear words like “hole,” “nail” and “cauterize” in relation to my scrotum, I instinctively worry. Call me a moaner.

The day before the procedure, I did as instructed and shaved the appropriate area. I found that shaving the scrotum, as opposed to trimming, is kind of like chiseling Jell-O. Nothing stays where it needs to. Still, needs must.

The day of the procedure, I did all I could to not think about what was going to happen, but that proved futile. I arrived at Beaumont in Royal Oak and, again, the nurse said, “You have nothing to worry about,” before adding, “They don’t even use a scalpel anymore.” “Something sharp is about to pierce my testicular area though, right?” said I. “Ummm, you have nothing to worry about,” repeated the nurse.

The doctor then entered the room, and behind him a student doctor. “These guys [the nurse and the student doctor] will now prepare you,” said the doctor. “I’ll be back in a minute. You have nothing to worry about.”

Now, I was worried.

Next up, a clear plastic sheet was placed over my lap, and my scrotum pushed through a hole. My parts were then given a soap wipe, and then painted with iodine. I felt like a bad art school project.

“You’re all ready,” said the nurse. “Beautiful.”
“Yes,” said the student doctor guy, with a smirk on his face. “You have a beautiful scrotum.”
I appreciated his (actually very effective) attempt to make me laugh and take my mind off things, especially considering the fact that I’ve never felt less beautiful. My scrotum pushed through the sheet looked a bit like a shaved brain poking through the top of a sun hat, or maybe a little like the aliens from Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks, viewed from above.

The doctor then entered and administered the local anesthetic, which basically means that he jabbed a needle into my coin purse. Not agony, I’ll grant you, but not something I’ll be looking to have done again unless absolutely necessary.

The nurse had informed me that this doctor is good at changing the subject during the procedure and taking your mind off of what was actually happening, but that didn’t prove to be the case because of the aforementioned student doctor, who was in the room to learn. In fact, I got a play-by-play that I really didn’t want or need but, hey, the guy has to learn with someone, right?

For the next 20 minutes, I tried to keep my eyes closed but a few moments stood out.

“Whatever happens and whatever you do,” the doctor told his student, “Don’t say ‘Whoops’ in front of a patient. They don’t like that.”

True enough. “The last thing I want to fucking hear right now is ‘Whoops’,” said I, with tools inserted into my bag.

“You feel that?” the doctor again said to his student. “It feels tight, like a guitar string.”
“Are my testicles in tune?” said I, grimacing. “Is it an E or an A?”

The two other things I remember clearly are the smell resulting from the cauterizing process (not nice), and the doctor showing me the removed section of pipe. “I won’t keep it, thanks,” said I.

“How are you feeling?” asked the doctor. “Not great,” said I. “But if I was enjoying it, we’d both have bigger problems, right?”
“Every now and again, we get a guy who likes this a bit too much,” he said, leaving me honestly speechless. “I do what I have to do like a professional, and then get him the hell out.”

It takes all sorts, I guess.

Five days on from my vasectomy, as I sit here typing, there is some discomfort but not pain. There hasn’t been any pain at all. Every day, it feels like I was kicked down there yesterday, and a dull ache remains. I know it’ll be gone soon, and until then it’s fairly easy to ignore.

If you’re considering a vasectomy soon, I’m not going to tell you that there’s nothing to worry about. The good news is that it’s over in a flash. Like the dentist (kind of), it’s a necessary evil. You’ll briefly feel vulnerable and ridiculous, and the whole thing is counter-intuitive. But when it’s all done, your masculinity will be firmly intact and, a couple of months later, you really get to enjoy the fruit of your labor.

Let’s be honest, child birth and regular pap smears are a lot tougher.

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