Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Snip - a Public Service Announcement

Warning: Severe Ick Factor Ahead!

If you are bothered by discussions of medical procedure, bodily fluids, or patients' eye views of urology, then I suggest you skip down to an earlier blog (you might have missed one or two). It's probably very rude of me to recount these events, but I consider this tale to be a public service announcement, and so I'm going to post it, anyway.

I told Bernie the boss, "I'm going to be out Wednesday, and I won't be back until Monday."

My friend Paul asked why I was going to be out (me, the guy known for working 72+ hours a week)... and I told him; time for the vasectomy. "Are you NUTS?" he shouted, then his cheeks colored and he shuffled off.

I understood how he felt; he was a single guy with all of his silly macho ideals still intact. But my lovely bride and I had four little kids in rapid succession. Due mainly to allergies, other options for population control weren't viable. It was hard to make the leap, but we decided we'd both make sure that IT couldn't happen again. And I was going first.

I went to the evaluation appointment, not sure what to expect. I did not expect a very cute, pixie-faced Doctor to explain my choices for the procedure in graphic detail while fanning illustrations of the options before her face. She showed me the three basic methods:
*Two scalpel incisions directly over each tube
*Two incisions made with sharpened shears (jab through skin, open shears to make 1/4 in. opening)
*One scalpel incision in the middle, and fish out the tubes with a probe...

She saw I had turned green, so she showed me the list of six doctors in the practice. "They will each perform whichever method you prefer - except Dr. Herzinger; he only does the sharpened shears. He says it heals better with a ragged incision." That's right, it was pronounced "Dr. HURT-zinger".

In the end, guess who was the only doc available for the forseeable future?

So I showed up the day of, having shaved as instructed. This was an awkward thing for me, and I followed the instructions precisely, marveling to myself that people would do this regularly. Feeling more exposed than I had since puberty, I lay on the table, only to have the Dr. shake his ancient head and say with sad disapproval, "Didn't do a very thorough job there, did you?" Then he seized a straight razor and deftly cleared half an acre I had never seen before. (Strictly speaking, I still haven't seen it.)

Once I was completely shorn, and utterly humiliated, the anesthetizing began. Have you had a dental procedure done? Or heard Bill Cosby's bit about Dentists? The way they jab in the needle, and then slowly wiggle it around while they inject their cold poison, was compounded by the feeling of my testicle being inflated to the size of a basketball. I white-knuckled the sides of the gurney, and just as I was certain he had decided to dispense with "incisions" and just POP the bastard... he stopped. I released my breath and my grip, grateful it had ended without any hitting or screaming.  The Doc nodded at me kindly and said, "Alright... now for the left one."

I survived, though, reminding myself that delivering four children was far worse for my wife than what I was going through was for me. Even watching him "tie it off" (like watching a rodeo bull-roping over the horizon of my own belly) didn't phase me after that.

And of course, I was expected to come back in two or three weeks for the Test. I needed to wait for everything to heal, of course, and then contribute a sample to make sure there were no stray swimmers finding their way out into the world.

Now, I had read "The Water Method Man", and had seen "Road Trip"; I had some preconceived notions (and not a little fear) of what this experience might involve. I was to be severely disappointed.

No "cute nurse" like in the movie; I got your basic Dundalk-bred troglodyte, complete with greasy ponytail and weak, acne-scarred chin, handing me a cup and saying, "Fill this to here, hon, and get it back within 45 minutes."

I was shattered. There was no "special room" for this, with porn or a fake boob or something? I didn't want to ask... there were scads of people in there! And Dundalkella had gone back to nibbling at a crab cake hidden behind her computer monitor. So I turned and left the office.

I went down to the car, and stared at the cup. It wouldn't take much, but where was I supposed to go? I only had (checking the clock) 40 minutes left, and home was twenty minutes away. Even if traffic was perfect, I only had a couple of minutes to try to produce a sample in a house full of screeching children! So I got out of the car and headed back into the building.

The men's rooms on the first three floors were either full of grunting patrons, or cleaning crews. On the fifth floor, I finally found some isolation. It was a dingy, brown-tiled orifice of a room, with peeling paint on the stall doors and no provocative graffiti. And there, despite fearful internal warnings about George Michael's arrest intruding on what I was trying to visualize -- I managed to produce my sample.

Handing the cup to the Gamorrean receptionist, she looked surprised to see me. "That was quick, hon!" I thought she had said I had 45 minutes, though. "Oh, for the love! You have 45 minutes from when you fill the cup!" At that moment, it dawned on her, and a few of the bystanders, just what I had done, and where I had likely done it. So I left.

"Man," I thought to myself. "I'm never doing THAT again!"

No comments: