I’m sitting here with an ice pack on my nether regions, slightly drowsy and dizzy from Vicodin, and no longer able to make babies. Not that I’d want to try right this second, with two incisions in my cleanly shaved scrotum. I thought documenting the experience might help other men know whether this whole vasectomy thing is right for them.
After a lot of research, my wife and I made the decision for me to get vasectomized. It’s key that I was part of the decision, as my research indicated that future lack of performance is often a result of a man feeling like he was forced into it. Make sure HE wants it, since those cases of ED also often resulted in divorce. You can have him read this article as an honest account of why he should do it and how it will go for him. Or you can try to sneakily persuade him that it’s really what he wants. My wife had been on the pill and the IUD for years, and it was time for me to step up my responsibility in the matter. Those hormone solutions are not a permanent, or at least they shouldn’t be, and there are side-effects. Getting tubes tied is a bigger deal with more potential risk than a vasectomy, even though it would have been free. It’s a double-standard, yes, but guys should realize they don’t want to push their wives into the wrong surgery just because you don’t want someone to mess with your junk.
I’ve done two of these now. One was back in Milwaukee, and the doctor seemed as if he’d just popped in from a day on the golf course. $700 later, I had several prescriptions and a phone number to call when I wanted to schedule the appointment. We decided on the IUD at that point, mainly because I felt like I wanted to make sure my youngest was going to be healthy. While that might seem cold in some way, it was a concern for me, and it’s also why we didn’t opt for tubal ligation at his birth. Not to be morbid, but it was more than just about our kids. What if one of us died before age 35 and wanted to meet someone else and have another child? I guess I was just being pragmatic about something that is often more emotional. Anyhow, I had the old consultation that didn’t go anywhere.
The second consultation got rescheduled twice. The doctor was a little less country-club, and I liked that, as long as he was legit with a blade. I also was more sure nearly a decade later that it was time, especially since there may be a chance the hormone fixes have been negatively affecting my wife (read the small print and forum posts on those solutions). I kind of think some of us could do without the appointments and copays involved here, since it's all stuff that can be covered over the phone or at the actual day of. I understand that the doctor should talk you out of it if he realizes it was all your wife's idea, but I'm not sure either doctor asked me that question.
We rescheduled the surgery so Lisa could drive me, and then the doctor rescheduled our reschedule so that I had to drive myself. Apparently, you can drive as long as you don’t take the valium. This meant I wasn’t taking the valium. But that’s probably a good thing, since I nearly started laughing several times during the actual surgery, so more drugs probably would have had me in stitches, figuratively as well as literally.
I probably had a ton of nervous energy that led to the eventual near giggling under the knife, but I’ll explain a bit so that you understand why it felt so surreal to me. For me, it starts with the copay. We’ve always had non-copay insurance, even if we got stuck with big bills, so it’s just weird to me. I guess it feels like it should be on the way out when you’re having a surgery, just in case. I mean, you might pay up front for fast food, but you don't at a nice restaurant. Anyhow, I paid the copay so that it can be denied by insurance and then we’ll have to pay with HRA or whatever money. When you think about it, someone should be paying ME to have this done, since making less babies costs insurance less money. Or at least free so that male and female procedures are more equitable. Remember this, however, that being slightly angry and cynical is not a great way to start a surgery, so let it go.
I got called back to the surgery room, but I was a bit apprehensive because of the relative emptiness of the facility. Four empty rooms before I got to mine, and I start to wonder if the place just isn’t very popular for some reason or if everyone got rescheduled for some other day. A quite large man led me to the room and asked me to undress from the waist down. I know I’m of average stature, and my little guy wasn’t excited to be there, so I kind of felt like I had to say something as in, “Hey, it get’s the job done,” but that probably would not have helped much. Situations like this would probably be easier if it was more like a high school locker room, with the nurse dude and doctor also mostly naked. Like the guys on my football team who would bring the clippers in and get haircuts after practice, except we wouldn’t be clipping hair.
So I’m naked and up on a table. Then I get some iodine rubbed all over the region. I’m not sure what iodine does anymore, but I’ve seen it in lots of old movies in hospitals, so I figured its use was appropriate. I was told to lie back, and the man took three sheets of absorbent material and kind of made a triangle with my junk in the middle. Then his work was done.
It’s not fun to wait ten minutes like that, and my back started to act up on me a little. I wasn’t sure where to put my hands because I didn’t want them to make the napkins slip off, so my hands rested weirdly on my chest, over my breasts. The doctor came in along with his female nurse and shook my hand. I thought about apologizing for not getting up to greet her, but I knew that would be a double entendre I wasn’t really going for at this moment. The doctor put on some jazz and apologized for making me listen to bad jazz, to which I would have said, “Isn’t all jazz bad?” but refrained because he was the one with the ipod filled with jazz and soon to have my manhood in his hands.
I remembered that my wife was also at her own doctor’s appointment across town, and at this point I kind of hoped she’d call and give me a pardon because her doctor recommended some other contraceptive measure we’d overlooked. But the phone stayed silent, and I felt as close as I ever will to a criminal on death row. I kind of wanted to use my “It gets the job done” line on the doctor and nurse, but I figured they weren’t bothered one way or the other. Honestly, the job of making two beautiful children had been done, so now’s a chance for an exciting era of retirement with all the benefits of playing the game without worrying about who’s at goalie.
The next step was to get me numbed up. Breathe in on 1 and 2, and then breathe out on 3. OH MY FREAKIN GOD, that hurt when the needle went in with anesthetic. One second, but ouch! Before the left side started to numb up, there was all kinds of prodding and pushing, hurting about the same as when I would take a charge in basketball with an opponent’s knee, over and over, in a twisting motion. After a few gasps, eventually the nurse asked if it was hurting and what it felt like. I said, “It feels like someone’s kicking me in my nuts.” The doctor told me I should let him know if it hurts, but I was pretty sure intense scrotal pain is an obvious side effect if the doctor is wrestling with the boys. There was also some pinching and snipping sounds, but I was unaware of the point when the scalpel did its business or when the tube was cut off. Finally, I was told the left side was done.
THAT SIDE? I was hoping it was all done. I never really asked if there would be two incisions, but I was kind of hoping one was enough at the point the pain was its most intense, so the revelation that I’d get to do it all over again was kind of a let down.
The right side was easier. Actually, the initial shot was just as bad, but once both sides were all numbed up, the monkeying around to get everything in the right place barely hurt at all. It made me wonder a bit as to why we didn’t just have both shots from the start, but it was too late for that now. Just more pinching, prodding, slicing, dicing, and done. I do not know how long it all took, but I don’t think either side was much more than 10 minutes after the initial shot. Not a bad time when you’re all numbed up. Because of my position on the table, my back kept hurting, too, and my ankle was digging into the end of the table, so I'd recommend getting your positioning as comfortable as possible, since it's painful enough in one region. I'd also read somewhere that some doctors do it from a different angle. I was sort of lying back with the table raised to the right height. No stirrups or anything. You might want to ask, just in case you're weirded out by your doc's preferred method.
The doctor finished, leaving me with the jazz and nurse. She handed me some wet gauze to clean myself off. I guess it wasn’t a full-service surgery, so I got to work wiping off iodine and blood. The right side was still gushing out pretty good, so I asked about it. She said it would be fine. I was hoping it would, since I’d had some issues with my shoulder surgery incision not closing for two days. She seemed almost embarrassed when she said she’d help dress me as I held some gauze to the freshly cut region. I wondered how it normally worked if she was weirded out by it. Maybe most spouses show up and the staff makes them do the dressing and cleaning up. Probably, since she put my compression underwear on me backwards, so that it wasn’t compressing the right area.
Nurse went over some rules that were luckily written down because I was not paying attention. But I do remember about the test to make sure I’m shooting blanks because she told me to make a deposit in the container provided and then put it in my pocket and take it into the facility within one hour of performing. Funny on two counts:
I normally like to take a nap after performing, so it will be annoying to race to the office. Since everyplace takes over a half-hour to get to in my city, it made me wonder if I was better off going for it in the facility’s parking lot, but that’s probably frowned upon.
She felt it was necessary to tell me to put the container in my pocket. This meant that past clients were walking around with these clear containers in full view. It also means that someone must have complained about it.
I have to wait 6-8 weeks for some reason. I’m sure I read about it somewhere, but that’s a long time for the little critters to still be hanging out. (Where do they hide?) I started to wonder if I could accelerate the evacuation with more action, but that’s the sort of thing you look up online instead of asking at the doctor’s office.
My wife was sent out to get the pain meds when I got home. I iced my loins a few times and popped some pills, but it really hasn’t hurt much. It’s about 12 hours in right now, and the worst I’ve had is some itchy stitches. I wasn’t even going to take the Vicodin, but I figured I’d at least check out this opioid thing everyone’s talking about.
All in all, if it wasn’t for about five minutes of terribly excruciating pain, it’s been a decent surgery so far. Of course, we won’t know it worked for some time, and it might hurt more the next day, but compared to my shoulder or knee, it’s been a breeze. If you’re able to take some intense pain for a few minutes of your life in order to avoid the costs (monetary, emotional, and physical) that go along with other forms of birth control, then this is probably a good idea for you.
The main issue we’ve had at home is explaining it to the kids. Normally, Lisa is much more open about sex-type stuff with the kids than I, but she decided she was going to tell them I had some tests done instead of the whole truth, so I’m sure the kids are kind of wondering what kinds of tests result in an ice pack down my pants and a slight limp, but they’re used to me limping around after I play baseball, so no real issue there. I’ll also have to figure out how to tell the guys on my new baseball team--I texted and they said it was too much info. Friends and family will read about it here or in my semi-famous Christmas letter (if I go there), but it isn’t exactly something you post to Facebook, right? At least not with photos--definitely no photos.
An informed person like you should find out if your doctor numbs both sides at the same time, or if there’s some other way to make the rummaging around before the first cut to go a little smoother. And if there’s a way to make the shots a little more like normal shots to the arm (maybe the valium?), then I’d recommend it. I’d also try to make sure no one in the office is a friend from high school or a member of your church. And the rescheduling business was a real waste of my time, not that you can know whether that’s going to happen beforehand.
I read some forum posts of guys who had major pain later on. As I finish this article about 24 hours from the first incision, I can say that it’s not bad at all at this point. I plan on sitting around, watching football, and maybe making my wife get me a pillow or glass of water at some point. I’m avoiding stairs and most real physical activity because I’ve had stitches open up before, and this is not a place to have that happen again. Assuming this all works out, the gain will be worth the pain.
Ok, I'm checking back in on day five. The pain is still there, maybe worse now, and the stitches itch. I went off the pain meds on Monday and drove for a field trip, possibly walking a bit too much. And the tight underwear is really getting on my nerves. Probably literally. I'll give it the full week before I call to ask if I'm healing slowly, but I assume this is just me healing from the inside. No one said it was going to be fun.
One month in, and all is working fine. I never took all my pain meds and I was able to avoid the opioid addiction, which is cool. There's still some lingering pain, not anything to call in about, but still a little surprising. I guess everything has to heal completely. I played my first baseball game since the snipping a few days back, and I was able to truck along like normal. I still wish the office had photos of all employees who might suddenly be in the office with you. My wife said that was silly to ask for, since she gave birth in front of several med students in addition to her doctor and various nurses. Whatever. Birth is a beautiful thing, but people treat sterilization as something I'm not supposed to talk about. Since that's the case, then it ought to be discreet. Then again, I also think all the guys who volunteer to do this should get some sort of cosmetic enhancement for free because we were man enough to step up and get it done.