Friday, February 27, 2009

Cutting emissions, the hard way

The things I do for you people.

I mean, this time, I think I've really gone the extra mile. (The extra 1.6 km for my metric friends.)

How many bloggers would go under the knife for what they believe in? How many would endure the cruelest cut?

Yes, dear readers, in support of my beliefs, I've been snipped.

In this case, my beliefs are that: A) Three kids is already too many. Once you're outnumbered, it's over; B) We're already out of bedrooms in our house; and C) The extra tax breaks for having kids aren't really worth it.

I should say that you won't hurt my feelings if you want to skip over this cringe-worthy post. I wouldn't blame you. But you know me. How can I not tell a good story? Especially one that involves my own misfortunes?

So first off, forget what you've heard about vasectomies. It's not quite as minor a procedure as you've been led to believe. At least for me it wasn't. Maybe it removed my manhood and turned me into a big wuss, but I kind of feel like the word "snip" is a little too understated.

I mean, here you are, lying flat on your back, clothed only in a very large paper napkin from the waist down. They've torn a hole in the napkin to expose your goods, and then aimed a giant spotlight on them. You know the big light they use to summon Batman? Exact same light.

Having not humiliated you enough, the nurse comes in and takes your pillow away. You see, your head apparently can't be higher than the part that's being anesthetized.

Then they swab you down with something cold, and out come the needles.

But I need to back up for a sec.

Out of curiosity, have you ever tried to shave a partially deflated balloon?

A few of you out there probably haven't. Well, if you had, you'd have some sense of what shaving a scrotum is like. It's a tricky business, especially allowing for the occasional nicks and cuts that come with shaving. There's just no good way to do it. And I can honestly say I hope I don't ever have to spend that much quality time with the old marble sack again.

So anyway, back in the "procedure room", here I am, under the lights. I've got this giant Kleenex for modesty's sake, only it doesn't actually cover anything that needs to be covered for modesty's sake. I mean, the frank & beans are the one area it specifically doesn't cover. I've got an audio book to act as a distraction -- hey, it worked at the dentist! -- but I'm not hearing a single word of it.

Lying on my back is making me cough. What I thought was the remnants of my previous cold turned out to be an oncoming bout of bronchitis.

The doctor gets out the first needle, and says something that specficially does not involve the words, "feel a little prick." And he puts the needle, apparently, directly into my actual testicle. It doesn't really feel very good, I have to say. But the anesthesia kicks in pretty quickly and I'm left to lay back and let my brain record material for my upcoming alien abduction nightmares.

I thought from that point I wouldn't feel much, and it'd be over in a few minutes. The weird thing was that I didn't feel pain, but I still had some feeling. I could feel hot and cold and movement and touch. Just not pain. Very strange.

Anyway, I keep thinking, "He's got to be almost done. He's got to be almost done." I start convincing myself that he is almost done. I mean, he's been rummaging around in my junk for like, oh a couple hours now, hasn't he? It was probably only ten of your Earth minutes, but time has a way of distorting when your family jewels are surrounded by a plastic collar and sharp instruments are about.

And I can't stop coughing. After every cough, I wait for him to say, "Oops."

Finally he says, "There it is! It was just wrapped in some fatty tissue." What a strange thing to know about one's self.

I breathe a tiny bit easier.

Then it hits me: The male reproductive system is equipped not with one vas deferens, but two. We're only halfway there.

Needle number two comes out, and this time it hurts. Not excruciatingly, but I'm feeling discomfort from my testicle straight up through my hip. Apparently there's a pretty fat bundle of nerves tied to those things or something. He give me a little more of whatever he's using and the pain goes away. But the cold sweat starts. Fight or flight kicks in. That fat bundle of nerves has a high-speed connection straight to the brain. That's part of why kicking somebody in the nuts is so effective. The nurse gives me a damp paper towel for my forehead. The same flimsy material as my modesty cloth, I think. The coolness feels good for the five and a half seconds it takes the paper towel to reach body temperature. So the nurse tries to distract me by talking about the semen samples I'll have to provide in a couple months.

They really know how to make a guy feel comfortable.

At long last, they're done. I call my wife to come pick me up, and she says, "Wow. That was quick!"

[...pause for effect...]


Now the recovery procedure is supposed to be to just take it easy for a couple days. Just sit back, relax, and enjoy some time off, right? Yeah, except that after the medication wears off, it kind of feels like you got kicked in the balls. For three days.

They told me to wear a jock strap for a week. The problem with this is that, well, it puts pressure right where you don't want pressure. I mean, somebody's been cutting and prodding and snipping. There's swelling. Squeezing said area seems like a Bad Plan. Especially since an athletic supporter is designed to support normal, rather than swollen, body parts. But as it turns out, it works someting like an ace bandage wrapped on a sprain. If you take it off, you get more swelling, which leads to more discomfort. So it's a no win.

So recovery is not quite just a matter of sitting back and taking it easy. It's a matter of not really wanting to do anything for a few days. Especially since -- haven't they done enough already? -- they told me I couldn't take aspirin, ibuprofen, or any other anti-inflamatory. 'Cause reducing the swelling would detract from the whole experience. I could take Tylenol for the discomfort though, which to me is about like saying I could take jelly beans.

I'd also like to add that coughing and tender testicles don't get along that well. You wouldn't think there's a connection, but it seems those little nuggets are connected to everything. I can now say from experience that having a vasectomy plus coughing fits that wrack your whole body at the same time is... not as fun as it sounds.

But thankfully, the deep purple is fading. The discomfort is waning. The swelling is subsiding. The incision is healing. I'm looking forward to the day when the stubble grows out, and it no longer feels like there's a golden ball cactus in my pants.

And the next time I see a neutered dog, I will go well out of my way to pet him.




At 2/28/2009 5:38 AM, Blogger knutty knitter said...

My hubby said the needle felt a bit like a run in with a stapler. That was for a slightly different op though the effects were somewhat similar. We had a pact that if I had a second emergency c-section I'd get snipped at the same time. If not he'd get the snip. I lost - it was a second emergency c-section!

viv in nz

At 2/28/2009 8:46 AM, Blogger d.a. said...

Hee! Must show this to the Spouse, so he may feel appropriately grateful for the fact that I was the one to get "spayed".

At 2/28/2009 9:22 AM, Blogger Madcap said...

I'm trying not to laugh, e4, but you're not making it easy!

At 2/28/2009 12:53 PM, Blogger anna banana said...

Wow. You're a man who can make an excruciating time on the table getting "snipped" into a hilarious blog post. Kudos, e4, not every man could do that!

At 2/28/2009 4:13 PM, Blogger Katie said...

This was eye opening! lol

I just relayed your post to my husband who said, "It's better than having an unplanned kid though, right?"

And here I was trying to be supportive.

At 3/01/2009 6:09 PM, Blogger Wendy said...

The next time I hear someone tell me they wouldn't give up a refrigerator in the name of cutting emissions, I'm going to send them here.

Hats off to you, E4. You're very brave.

At 3/02/2009 9:09 AM, Blogger jewishfarmer said...

That was funny - and clearly experiences vary. Eric said it wasn't too bad. His comment coming out of the chair was "I've had worse dentistry." He was pretty tender afterwards, though.

I tried very hard to be sympathetic, I really did. Because I love him. But having given birth four times (total hours of labor well into the 100s), my "awww" might have been a little false sounding.

So I'll try and do it better here. Awwww. I hope you feel better.

Sharon, goddess of sincerity

At 3/02/2009 9:41 AM, Blogger e4 said...

Well, it probably wasn't as bad as all that. It was a little more unpleasant than I expected, and nothing here is fabricated, but playing it up a little makes for a better story. :) I wasn't going for sympathy so much as giggles.

At 3/02/2009 1:21 PM, Blogger Matt said...

I had a Valium first which helped. I fell asleep on the table. It's been 4 months and I'm still tender.

Word of advice: extra support necessary for exercise for a long time.

At 3/04/2009 6:14 PM, Blogger gtr said...

Yeah... I think you'll get less sympathy from the women, who get that "batman light" at least once a year, more when babies are involved!

At 8/14/2010 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yowza. You were WAY more descriptive than my hub was in December. He just grunted a lot. I kept the kids FAR away.



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