birth control

Vas Deferens Post-Mortem

A couple months ago, I blogged about my impending vasectomy, and the most hilarious, um no, horrifying, let’s just say “entertaining” phone call in preparation thereof. I finally got the deed done. Gentlemen readers, if you’ve already had the operation, none of this should strike you as shocking. The rest of you are welcome to stick around, or you can peruse my random sports columns. Like how the first college football playoff worked.

Okay, everyone that’s still around is comfortable hearing about sharp objects near genitals? Then let’s proceed.

My options for operation times were all in the afternoon, so I opted for 3:30. And this is great, because if I’m going to be icing my nuts for the remainder of the day/week, I wouldn’t want to get the first eight hours of that out of the way while the baby is at day care.  Also, why wouldn’t somebody want a full day to look forward to this particular procedure? To savor the anticipation, like the day before Disneyland, right?

Then again, the shaving’s going to take half the day.

But more on that in a little bit. First, I had to go to Target. Why? Because boxers ain’t going to cut it, after they, um, “cut it.” And I don’t own anything snugger. They recommend something with “scrotal support,” which sounds like a 12-step program but actually refers to things like Tighty Whities or a jock strap. The jock strap didn’t make sense to me, since I’m going to have to ice it. I guess I could do the jock strap minus the cup, but if you start there, the next thing you know, you’re a wearing-socks-with-sandals Euro.

I opted for the briefs. Fortunately they do make those in adult size. I wasn’t sure. Regardless, nothing quite prepares you for losing that which makes you a man like desperately looking for the Tighty Wighties at Target. My wife tells me they aren’t white, so I should call them Tighty Bluies or Grayies, but she misses the point. Color’s got nothing to do with it, they are all Tighty Wighties.

Then it was back home for the shaving. With Doctor Evil’s line about freshly shorn scrotums going through my mind, I was ready to tackle some gardening. I figured I needed to do a little weed whacking before I went in for the final lawn mowing. And that worked fine for a bit. But, um, how do I keep this metaphorical.  Let’s just say the Beard Trimmer worked great on the backboard, but not as well on the basketball hoop and net. And yes, I had the guard on, set way out at #4 length, but a bit of skin got through, so it was on to Plan B.

Have you seen that meme going around that says being an adult is just looking up how to do stuff on google? Well, I’m here to affirmatively state that googling “How to shave your scrotum” brings back a lot of info. One link was a YouTube video featuring a very polished looking guy, which I proceeded to scrutinize like it’s the Zapruder film.

“It’s not that difficult,” the guy says, and he has the most precisely-manicured goatee I’ve ever seen so he must know what he’s talking about.  “Because the scrotum is designed to expand and contract to regulate temperature. Due to its elasticity, it’s not going to nick or cut easily.”

Okay, wrong, dude. I haven’t even got to the razor part and I’m already nicked.

“You’re going to want to trim first,” he produces a beard trimmer, “and use the guard because those blades move fast and this is the step you’re going to hurt yourself on.”

Ah, now you tell me.  Just goes to show that meme is right, I should’ve gone to Google first.

Okay, so the earring-clad metrosexual turned out to be correct. Once standing in the shower with mostly trimmed hair, the deed was relatively simple. Way easier than shaving my chin.  And writing now, a week removed from the episode, I can firmly say that the shaving was much simpler than the regrowth. Holy Christ! New pubes growing is must be worse than a teething infant. Sequels are always more complicated, but I didn’t expect “Shaved Scrotum 2: OH GOD IT ITCHES!”

So off to the doctor’s office I went, my balls and thighs conducting NASA experiments about frictionless environments. My briefs and gym shorts are in a plastic bag, because I’m wearing boxers for as long as I can. Hey, I’m about to lose my balls and be relegated to Tighty Wighties in one fell swoop, so let me swagger like John Wayne for a few more moments.

Everyone coming through the urology department this time of day is there for the same thing. None of us have problems peeing.  They might as well just change the sign at 2:00 to read “Spermicide Division.” But I don’t know if I can make eye contact with people. Does urinal etiquette apply here? Better to stay on the safe side and just bury my head in a book. (Just like at a urinal – ahh, War and Peace…)

The guy before me gets sent back out. Evidently he “forgot” the whole “don’t take blood thinners before an operation” rule that was mentioned in the phone call I had to make AND the video I had to watch AND the paperwork I had to sign. He just HAD to have that Advil Cocktail today, and he’s really bummed, he assures his wife. They’ll just have to reschedule, you know, sometime… really soon, even…

Then before you know it, I’m up. The nurse practitioner walked me to my own very special operating room.  It’s pretty expansive as far as doctor’s rooms go. Hell, it’s bigger that a number of hotel rooms I’ve stayed in over the years.  For the next thirty minutes, this is my own little Shangri-La. Or Room 217 of the Overlook Hotel.

Truthfully, the room might have even been bigger than the one my wife stayed in during her hospital stays, but it’s hard to judge because it didn’t have any of the normal hospital amenities.  All it had was an operating bed directly in the center of the room. Not centered along the wall. I mean the dead center of the room. Nothing around it.  It stuck out like that autopsy table the camera pans across at the end of the movie, right before the corpse’s eyes pop open so you know there’ll be a sequel.

The nurse tells me she’s going to leave me a little privacy to get ready, then pulls the curtain across the doorway and exits. I’m supposed to take off my pants, get up on the oh-so-lonely autopsy table, and cover up my lower half with one of those medical hybrid paper/plastic sheets. I make a last minute decision to bring my book with me, because who knows how long I’m going to be lying there half-naked. If it’s anything like waiting for vaccination shots at the end of a well-baby visit, I’ll be sporting some 1970s Porn Bush by the time they come back in.

But ensuring no more children takes precedence over inoculating said children, and the nurse is back in no time at all. My bare ass has barely settled on the chucks pad when there is a knock at the door. The nurse practitioner asks if I’m ready and then pounces through the curtain. The first thing she does after approaching the bed is to bunch the sheet up around my navel, leaving everything underneath open to the world. So glad she gave me that minute of privacy.

I assume some feel that the act of disrobing is the moment that requires the privacy, but once the pants are off, it’s all fair game. I understand the sentiment, but this nurse is about to do things that would cost me fifty bucks in Reno.  So, in the long run, I don’t really understand the need for the alone time.

“Okay, the first thing I’m going to do is cover you with this surgical drape,” she begins and puts another sheet over where the “privacy one” had been. “It’s got a rectangular opening we can operate through.”

Well, okay, then. My junk now appears to be the star of its very own TV show.

“I’m going to tape your penis up to your stomach to have better access to the testicles,” she begins.

Huh? Can you separate those two? I kinda always thought they were a package deal. (Huh, huh, “Package.”) But okay, do what you gotta do. And is it weird that I now want to say “Just put the lotion in the basket”?

“Okay, now I’m going to rub some iodine on it. It shouldn’t hurt unless you have a nick or a cut there.”

“Yeah, I nicked myself.”

“Oh, then… yeah, it’s going to sting a bit.”

Oh joy. But it wasn’t that bad. Just like putting aftershave on after a “normal” shave. Except that it’s on my nuts, of course.

“Okay, the next salve we’re going to put on will warm the region up before starting to numb it.”

Okay, that Reno bill just went up to triple digits at least.

“Okay, the doctor will be in shortly, and I’m supposed to ask if you’re okay with a medical student observing the procedure. The doctor is being shadowed today.”

Um, sure? I mean, we’re going to hit the law of diminishing returns on people staring at my junk, right?

The nurse leaves and I go back to my book, which I had laid down on my chest since there was nothing around the bed. I don’t know what Emily Post has to say about reading a book while people are slathering and/or slicing up your scrotum. I know it’s verboten during blow jobs, so I’m going to follow the same rules.

Oh, you don’t have that version of Emily Post?

The doctor comes in, followed by the medical student. They are both female, and the medical student is a rather attractive blonde in her late 20s. Three women, one of whom is attractive, all looking at my genitals simultaneously? Sounds like a dream.  For most of my life, I would’ve loved to have just one look at them more often.  Hell, I’d have given my left nu… wait a second…

The doctor is very good at explaining what’s going to happen (to me) and what is happening (to the medical student). She starts with explanations to both of us. We are going to do a “non-invasive” vasectomy. Evidently there are two ways to do it. Unfortunately they don’t have a telekinetic on staff or anything, so non-invasive still means they’re going to make a cut in the middle and reach in.  Not really my definition of non-invasive, but at least I won’t need stitches.

They shoot me with multiple painkillers.  The first one, she explains, is going to feel like someone kicked me in the crotch for a moment while it takes effect. “Or so I’ve been told,” she says, “obviously I’ve never been kicked in the crotch.” Then she’s going to add additional numbing agents to each vas deferens.

For the medical student, she does a play-by-play of how to grab the vas deferens. How to feel for it, how to hold it between your fingers. How to bronze them and put them on a plaque.

“Does it bother you that I’m explaining all of this?” She asks me.

Honestly, I found it interesting. Plus, if she hadn’t been explaining what she was doing to someone else in the room, it might have been more awkward. Would she have been silent? Would she have been humming? Would I have looked lovingly into her eyes and sang “Eyes Without a Face”?

She regularly comments on what great anatomy I have. Unfortunately, it’s not in the “Ron Jeremy” sense, but in how my scrotum hangs. I guess they sometimes shrivel up or, in her words, become too “elephant-like.” Those make it hard to separate the testicles from the vas deferens. But my sack was hanging just so.

Um, thanks? You’re welcome? I don’t know.

“Most men aren’t this easy,” the doctor informs the medical student.

Yeah, yeah, I’ve never heard that one before.

And then the cutting begins. The doctor informs both of us that the painkiller deadens the nerves, so I can’t feel pain, but it can’t remove the sensation of tugging. And boy is she right. Never once did I feel an ounce of pain. But discomfort? Oh yeah, fifteen minutes worth. It ranges from feeling like I’m sitting on my balls to having them hang down while naked for an extended period of time. And both of those sensations make me want to adjust them. Only I can’t. It’s that itch on your nose during the national anthem. Assuming the national anthem went on for fifteen minutes.

Dammit, it’s probably too late to open my book to occupy myself with something other than the pulling sensation. I mean, I’ve already made eye contact with the cute medical student a few times. She keeps responding with an “Isn’t this fascinating?” smile. At one point she sees the discomfort in my eye and asks if I’m in pain. I respond no, but that the doctor was accurate about the tugging.

And they can’t knock me out entirely for this procedure because….?

Finally, after a few more minutes of vice-grip gonads, the procedure is over. All three of them are about to leave me alone like Alex P. Keaton at prom. Probably going to high-five each other as soon as they’re outside. I’m allowed to get up on my own and put my clothes back on.

“Go slow if you feel light-headed,” the doctor warns.

Um, light-headed? Was she operating on the wrong end?

“You can take Tylenol for pain tonight, but I don’t suggest Advil for a couple of days because it’s a blood thinner.”

“Can I have a couple of beers instead?” I ask.

“Absolutely,” the doctor and medical student both smile.

“Sold,” I say and give them a thumbs-up as they leave the room.

Then I get off the gurney and walk over to my clothes, balls in hand. This is a form I will assume many times over the coming week. On go the Blue Tighty Wighties. On go the gym shorts. Out I go to the waiting room.

As I approach my wife, I look down at my gait. Legs far apart, walking slow. Hey, looks like I’ll continue walking like John Wayne for quite some time now.

Now if only I can stop hunching over.

Losing My Marbles

I just had a phone call that was either the most hilarious or cringe-inspiring in my life. In less than a five-minute conversation, I think I got whiplash from the number of times I oscillated between the extremes. Tennis match spectators had nothing on me. It should have come with one of those Hollywood preview voice-overs: “You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll curl up into a fetal position.”

As much as my wife and I love our little peanut, we’ve decided she will be an only child. The complications my wife had with the delivery, combined with a desire to attend my child’s high school graduation sans a walker, made it more or less a foregone conclusion.  So, yay us, doing our part against global overpopulation. Or speeding up the arrival of Idiocracy.

Of course, the route to this particular outcome was still in debate until a few months ago when my wife was told she could never go back on the pill.  Something about blood clotting or blood thinners or whatever. So our choices were reduced to using condoms for the next ten years (gosh, how fun) or else I go in to lose my manhood. The snip-snip. The unkindest cut.

Hold on, let me go back and think about that condom option. I’ve also heard pulling out is fun.

Alright, fine. Vasectomy it is. But wait, there’s more. I can’t just walk into the hospital, find the closest scalpel, then drop trou. No, for this procedure, I need to officially don my serious hat. And sign papers with this serious hat. And do interviews to make sure I’ve thought this thing through. Because there seems to be a large contingent of guys who get vasectomies on a whim. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve woken up in the morning and thought, “Nothing on the agenda today? Maybe I should go get my nads chopped off.”

So a month ago I had to schedule a phone interview, and last week was the first time they were available to call me. Now that I’ve done that phone interview, I have to watch a video and sign a waiver. Then they will allow me to schedule an appointment at least two weeks out. To buy a gun only requires a 72-hour waiting period, but to shoot blanks, you’ve got to REALLY want it.

“Hi, I’m calling about your upcoming vasectomy,” came the way-to-chipper voice when I answered the phone.  “Do you have time to talk about the voluntary sterilization process?”

Look lady, I don’t mean to critique your bedside manner, but I hope you’ve never used that as a pick-up line.

“Okay, first question: Have you ever had surgery or any other medical procedure on or around your scrotum?”

I guess we’re done with the small talk.

Wait, is this a trick question? Are you trying to get me to admit that, yeah, I’ve already had multiple vasectomies because I get a rush off of sharp objects near my nether regions?  Yes, I know that testicular cancer is a thing, but is it so common a thing that the first question is about history of scrotal surgery?

I don’t know how many questions or comments went by while I think of all the different types of scrotal surgery. By the time I had recovered from that first doozy, we were already discussing how the day of the procedure would go.

“Okay, you’re going to need to shave your pubic hair that morning. The entire scrotum and base of the penis need to be completely bare.”

Don’t black out. Don’t go catatonic. There might be something in this conversation that will be important or useful. Or, failing that, might at least provide for a funny blog post.

                But I’ve met myself. I’ve seen myself handle sharp objects. I don’t care if it’s a safety razor, if I try for the upside-down shave of that particular body part, I might as well save my money and your time. Because the surgery will already be completed, in a less than sanitary manner, by the time I show up. And I know that hair might make it difficult to get through, but do you think a freshly scabbed-over coinpurse with gauze attached is going to be easier?

Maybe I can just find and olde-tyme barber with a straight-edge razor and give him an extra couple dollar tip. Okay, nurse practitioner, you were saying?

“Make sure you don’t take any blood thinners, including aspirin, for two weeks before the procedure, because we don’t want you to bleed excessively from your scrotum or testicles.”

Cringe. At this point, I’m guessing any male readers have given up on this article. Except for the ones who have had a vasectomy and are now nodding to themselves like the fraternity sophomore that finally gets to see someone else getting hazed.

“Eat normally the day of the surgery. Some people come in with an empty stomach, but that’s unnecessary.”

“Well, I didn’t assume you’d go in through my stomach,” I joked. The rest of my comments up to this point had been internal, accompanied by an “uh-huh” or “okay” out loud. But this one I said back to her.

Her response immediately made me decide to keep the rest of my comments internal.

“If we were going to put you under, you’d need an empty stomach, so I guess that’s what most patients are thinking. But you’ll be awake for the entire procedure.”

Oh, joy. At least when I had my wisdom teeth taken out, they had the decency to knock me out. I’m sure this procedure isn’t nearly as complicated, but isn’t there some sort of professional curtesy? Failing that, can I have some popcorn and a mirror, maybe? I mean, to quote Dr. Evil, there is nothing more breathtaking than a freshly-shorn scrotum.

Then it was time to discuss the post-procedure.

“Bring a jockstrap or biker shorts or some other garment to keep your scrotum close to your body and continue wearing it for a number of days.”

Nope, sorry. I’m a Gottfried Leibniz guy, therefore I hate Isaac Newton and refuse to believe in gravity. Much like the people who deny the moon landing and dinosaurs and vaccines. My boys’ll be fine in my boxers. Or maybe I’ll just walk around nude, because I also don’t believe in your silly decency laws.

Or maybe I need to go invest in a jockstrap.

“They will be enlarged. You will want to cool them with a pack of frozen vegetables.”

Rumor confirmed. Not sure how that works through the supporter cup, but I’ll figure it out. As an added bonus, I’ll have some thawed veggies. Hey Honey, guess what we’re having for dinner tonight?

“You’ll want to limit your movement for a few days.”

With the stitches and the enlarged testicles, to say nothing of the chafing from the re-growing hair, that shouldn’t be a problem.

“In two or three days you should be able to return to work and resume non-strenuous activity.”

Okay, reports back from those who have gone before me say that, while this is technically correct, the stitches will still snag on my underwear at inopportune times.  My daughter also likes to kick in that region, right after she’s done giving a tittie twister to momma, so that should be fun.

“It is important that you not engage in sexual activity or ejaculate until the stitches have dissolved, which is about seven to ten days.”

Is this really a problem? I know my libido is not what it was when I was eighteen, but I think even then, the whole “stitches and icepack” thing would have dampened the hormones. I can wait a week, I would have thought, that Cindy Crawford poster isn’t going anywhere.

“Sometimes the procedure doesn’t work, so you’re going to have to continue using some other form of birth control until we can test you.”

Can I get one of the procedures that works, please? Fine, fine. When will I have to jerk off into a cup?

“You’re going to have to wait until two months have passed and you’ve ejaculated at least twenty times.”

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Two months AND twenty ejaculations? Not or? I did mention that I was married, right? That I have a nine-month old at home? Seriously, who the hell has the time to ejaculate ten times a month? And that’s not even the correct ratio, because the first 7-10 days are a no-no. Let’s be conservative and give myself two full weeks before my wife wants to jump on what will look like Franken-wienie. That’s twenty ejaculations in six weeks, or once every two days.  Even when we were trying to conceive, that sort of schedule could only be maintained for a week or so at a time.

And did I mention all of this sex would be with a condom? Even the twenty-year old me would have found this to be a chore.

Now, sure, these ejaculations can be, um, “self-inflicted.” But even that takes five minutes of alone time. Hell, I can’t even post a blog entry in the same week that grades are due. How am I going to find the time to make a withdrawal from the spank bank?

“Oh, I forgot to mention,” she says as I’m processing the last bit of information. “When you’re icing it down, make sure you use those vegetables, not an ice pack. With an ice pack, your penis might catch frostbite.”

Um, yeah. That sounds important. You might want to write that little note into the permanent script. Because when you mentioned it, my brain had equated frozen vegetables with anything cold. And Frostbitten Penis, while a great name for a punk-rock band, would definitely put another wrinkle on that whole twenty times thing.

And just think, if the test comes back positive after the two months emulating Ron Jeremy, I get to do the whole thing again.

Is it too late to look into a decade of coitus interruptus?