Friday, January 14, 2011

Notes on a Vasectomy

Vasectomy is a minor surgical procedure wherein the vasa deferentia of a man are severed, and then tied/sealed in a manner which prevents sperm from entering the seminal stream (ejaculate).
– from a Google search

Years ago, I knew a guy who had a vasectomy. He was older than me, one of those distastefully macho guys, the type who likes his beer cold and his women to keep bringin' him more. The type you'd think wouldn't get a vasectomy.

You could almost hear him: Why mess with perfection?

And yet he got one. Afterward he bragged about it. "I'm tellin' you," he said, "for the next three days it felt like I'd been kicked in the balls."

I don't think I've ever actually been kicked in the balls – but I caught a baseball there once when I was twelve. Another time I fell off my bicycle, and the handlebars twisted right into my crotch. Each was a direct hit, and they both hurt a lot.

About the same as a kick, I reckon – way more than the vasectomy I had after our second kid came along.

Anesthesia being what it is, the physical discomfort associated with vasectomies is really not that bad. It's the idea that is worrisome: a very sharp object in close proximity to body parts usually off-limits to very sharp objects. Who wouldn't worry about something like that?

Of course, in minimizing the pain I am referencing my experience only. It's possible I got lucky when I breezed through it. Before starting this post I Googled "vasectomy," and among other things, came across some pictures of guys who were not, I guess, as fortunate. Bruising and scarring far worse than anything I experienced.

The weirdest part about it, for me, was having to shave myself – you know, down there. This I did O so carefully, though I didn't so much shave as clip clip clip with a tiny pair of scissors.
At the doctor's office I slipped into one of those hospital gowns and sat down for the procedure. The nurse said "Let's see how you did," and pulled back whatever fabric was covering me. She suppressed a smile – amused by my appendage, possibly, but more likely by my poor shaving.

"We'll just tidy you up a bit," she said.

The sedatives had been administered, and by then were taking effect. I sat there, impassive and increasingly stupefied, as the nurse smeared on the shaving cream, seized a gleaming straight razor, and with a few nimble swipes, shaved what needed to be shaved.

I don't remember much of anything after that.

Afterward I hobbled out to the car. My wife drove me home. I spent the rest of the day on the couch watchin' bad TV, a bag of frozen peas held gingerly between my legs.

Q. Do you think you guys will have any more children?

Me. I know that we won't.

Q. Why not?

Me. Snip, snip.

Q. What?

Me. I had that operation.

Q. You mean they cut your thing off?

Me. No, no, no! I mean I'm shooting blanks! I had that operation! The one where they cut or tie off the two tubes that carry sperm out of the testicles!

Everything works as it did before. There is no discernible scar. Condoms are a thing of the past.

They say they can reverse it. "Because a man may change his mind," the ads say.

I ain't gonna reverse it.

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