My wife and I recently welcomed our second child – a healthy and hefty baby boy – happy, innocent, and loving, and immediately thought, “Holy crap, we can NEVER let this happen again!” That’s when we began talking about permanent prevention, and ended – with unsettling haste – on vasectomy. I’m all for being done with children, and I understand that this is a well-established and safe procedure that is much less invasive than the female equivalent. That being said, I still feel like making a Dan-shaped hole in the wall whenever I think about it. My wife has recognized this, and been very supportive during the information-gathering period; “HA-HA!” she has said, more than once. No, I’m kidding, I’m sure she’s offered some words of comfort, but I haven’t heard them because I’ve been so distraught by the thought of the ‘hitch’ being removed from my ‘giddy-up’ that nothing else is getting through…none-the-less, I made an appointment for a consultation and headed to the doctor. I walked into the office sporting the same look as a dog who knows he’s going to the vet, and stared at my phone anxiously while I waited – in an office staffed exclusively by women, BTW – doing my best to tune out the mindless drawl of Dr. Phil on the TV. Finally they called my name and led me back, and it turns out I am WAY too immature to be in a urology exam room by myself. There were hilarious pictures on every wall, and a penis model on the counter – I think his name was Gary – advertising Viagra. It didn’t seem like a terribly effective ad, given the direction of the compass if you know what I mean, though I suppose there may have been an “after” model in the drawer – I didn’t have time to check before the doctor came in. Of course it wasn’t actually the doctor – it was a nurse-practitioner – God FORBID you be allowed to talk to the DOCTOR for something as mundane as having holes cut in your very personal region and things pulled out, cut in half, and CAUTERIZED!! Thankfully the nurse was very knowledgeable, although SHE was probably in her early 30’s, attractive, and rather…ample. So pretty much the most uncomfortable person imaginable to talk to about breaking up Kool and the Gang. There had been a good deal of giggling before she walked in, but the laughter stopped when the awkward conversation started. She laid everything out in painful detail as I struggled to come up with questions. It’s hard to remember what I actually asked, because the questions that kept ringing loudest in my mind were things like: “Are you serious?!”, “How do I talk myself into these things?!”, and “Will Santa be the same without his Jingle bells?!” None of which seemed particularly appropriate to ask this nice lady – though I’d have probably asked every one of them to a man.
We talked briefly about complications, and she assured me that the procedure was very safe. Worst case you’d develop one or more of the following:
- Excruciating pain
- Comical Swelling
- Infection of the peanuts
- Itchy Stubble, and/or
- Permanent Falsetto
In spite of my reluctance to chat after hearing that list, we did cover most of the important details, which I understand to go something like this:
The day of the procedure, you’re going to want to shave – not your face – I mean, maybe your face, but that seems kind of irrelevant. No, they’re not so concerned with Adam’s Apple as they are with his grapes…I can only assume you’ll want LOTS of shaving cream. The alternative is that the doctor could do it for you once you arrive, though the nurse assured me that your razor at home is much more comfortable that his. “Hard to believe!” I mused, veiling my fear with humor.
She also confirmed that the anesthesia is just a local, and said that you’d be awake and able to talk to the doctor while he does the procedure – because THAT’S the guy I want to distract when he has a knife in his hand!
“So, you a big golfer, Doc?”
“Well I enjoy it, sure, but do I lose a lot of balls.” ^uneasy silence^
So while having my pants around my ankles does put me in a super chatty mood, making small talk with a man who has a shiv on my Giggleberries didn’t seem like a big selling point. Also I’m more than a little worried about accidentally coughing – or worse – sneezing in the middle of the procedure and going home shorter than I arrived! I’m not necessarily a frequent sneezer, but it’s like telling someone not to scratch if they feel an itch – your body INSTANTLY produces itches in places you’ve NEVER touched. So there’s still some trepidation. The nurse did say that one of the doctors at the practice is nice enough to give you an IV of valium during the procedure to “loosen you up”. Patients report that it “feels like you’ve had a couple mixed drinks” – I indicated that I may already be feeling like that when I arrive – and yet, somehow the thought of being roofied while a stranger removes the whistle from my Dixie didn’t seem overly appealing to me either, and we hadn’t even gotten to the really bad part yet! After the anesthetic comes the actual operation which – I am told – may be executed in one of three different ways, depending on the surgeon:
- A single, central incision is made on the underside of the bleachers using a scalpel. The appropriate tubes are located via an intricate game of medical “Marco Polo”, and fished out through there, before being snipped, burned, and then jammed back in (“You may feel some tugging in the lower abdomen”)
- Two incisions are made – one on each side, and the waterworks are yanked out and cut through those instead. Again, these incisions are done with a scalpel.
- I’m not sure how many incisions this method involved, because all I remember is that – instead of a scalpel – the doctor uses a tool that’s really not so much of a knife, as it is a pair of little hooks that get JABBED IN and then RIPPED APART IN OPPOSITE DIRECTIONS! My legs unconsciously crossed as I fought back the nervous laughter and expressed my immediate thoughts on this method, “That does not sound better!”, and we shared a very short, very awkward laugh before moving on to possibly the worst part of the entire conversation: the Pop Quiz!
At the end of the consultation there was an unexpected exam that they hadn’t mentioned on the phone, requiring me to drop my pants so the nurse could fondle Ben and Jerry in the name of “making sure everything was in the right place.” I’m not sure where she thought things would be; around back, maybe (“Oooooooh, you’ve got the butt-nuts…well this changes everything…”)– but it makes the case for always wearing good underwear!
Regardless, I’m pretty sure I passed, though it was easily the least enjoyable handling the knickknacks and paddywhack have ever received, and while the nurse averted her gaze with alarming haste, she did at least refrain from chuckling, and for that, I was thankful.