In college, a lab partner leaned over to scribble some notes. As she flipped her long hair to see her paper, she tossed it into the flame of a Bunsen burner causing the backside of her hair to go up.
I don’t want to imagine it was like that, but as the doctor cauterized the ends of my vas deferens during a needle less vasectomy last month, I watched an acrid smoke rise from my groin and the smell was faintly familiar.
I can only describe the tug I felt inside my hip as the doctor pulled my vas through the incision as similar to feeling floss run through your teeth. Yes, I said incision. The needle less vasectomy that has become so popular may not require a long pointy device to anesthetize the surgical area, but a scalpel, scissors and hot iron are still part of the procedure.
And then there’s the reciting of baseball stats, and replaying gory images in your head. After all, someone is handling your twig and berries and you’d hate for something to stand up.
How Many Is Enough?
For the Duggars the answer is 19. For Jon and Kate, it was eight. For my wife and I, it was two. Actually, I was good with one, but she wanted siblings, so we “went for it” and lucked out with two boys.
Once you reach your limit, the vasectomy is a noble cause to take up for the sake of the family. After all, it’s 10 minutes on the table and three days on the couch versus the nine months of weight and water gain and hours of painful labor she went through to bring you the kids.
I volunteered for mine after seeing two friends greeted with 3rd surprises four years after their second. The boys and I even made a weekend of it, Chip and Snip. A round of 18 with a special 19th hole visit.
Are You Sure?
A good doctor will want to make sure you’re solid with the decision to stop having kids. If you’re newly married, or don’t already have children, your doctor may require your spouse to sign off on the surgery.
Vasectomies are permanent, but they’re also reversible. The complication is in putting Humpty Dumpty back together again. It doesn’t always work and is much more expensive than the original ribbon cutting. My doctor offered a chance to “put some boys on ice” at a sperm bank if I had any nagging feelings about starting up again. While my current wife and I are done, divorce and death do happen and 2nd and 3rd marriages may have different priorities.
It’s really not that bad. You’re more nervous about doing damage than you are in actual pain. I was up and doing groceries a few hours after the snip. While I shuffled like a geisha to avoid the boys from bouncing, it wasn’t bad.
My doctor warned me of a head butting groin hug from a three year old that caused a tangerine sized inflammation in one patient, so you do become very nervous around your children, but if they’re old enough to understand the meaning of private parts, they’ll keep clear.
For the next three months your doc will ask you to continue to play safe. The human body has a wonderful way of spontaneously regenerating at times, and while it’s unlikely your severed ends could grow back together, it has happened. You won’t notice any difference in the way the equipment works, a gun firing blanks on a movie set handles just like the real thing you fire on the range.
And if you’re nervous about the snip, just think; things could be worse. Just check out these old-timey surgical instruments that thankfully are no longer in use. I turned 40 this year, and in honor of Movember, I’m due to get the backside checked this week.
This post was originally published on Man of the House in November 2010.