Sunday, July 15, 2007


In Which I Have Bagged My Limit (and vice versa)...

Friday morning, I tottered into the family room, then ever-so-gently eased myself onto the sofa with much wincing and a face that looked like I was auditioning to be poster boy for the Lemon Council.

The Brownie and Thomas watched my slow transit across the room with commendable silence. Then Thomas said, "Um, Dad? What the heck happened to you?"

As Thomas said this, I should note that he wasn't looking at my face. He was looking at my shorts and the beyond-conspicuous bulge that rested there. It wasn't a flattering thing; the bulge made it look as though I had taken a side job smuggling winter clothing, or had perhaps suffered a hernia involving my entire digestive tract.

"That," I said, finally settling myself, "is an ice pack."

"Did you get kicked in your baseballs?" the Brownie asked, perhaps remembering just such an instance a while ago.

"They're not baseballs! It's just balls!" Thomas sagely informed her. Then he turned to me. "Didja, Dad?" he asked earnestly, and with no small amount of fellow-feeling. Thomas knows all too well the difference between baseballs and the other kind, ever since the former contacted the latter as he was going for a bouncing grounder in little league earlier this summer

No," I said, although it sure as hell felt like it. "Daddy had a...procedure today."

I don't like to lie to my kids, so instead of telling them I'd thrown out my back again (the lie I had no problem telling my coworkers when I said I would be out on Friday), I attempted to explain to them that Mom and Dad were so happy with the three kids they had, they decided to stop right there and that Dad had--that very morning, in fact--undergone a little operation to make sure he and Mommy were all done having kids.

Thomas nodded in apparent understanding, or as much understanding as he allowed his 8-year-old brain to have (kids are wonderfully self-selecting about certain kinds of information). He knows the birds and the bees, more or less, and he was satisfied. The Brownie, not so much. She continued staring at me, her little mind trying to articulate another question that would make sense of this.

"Is it like the operation Blazey had so he wouldn't run around all crazy and have puppies with girl dogs?" she finally asked. Blaze, as always, was lying nearby, and he thumped his tail at the sound of his name.

"Yes," I said, and braced myself for a harder question. But the Brownie promptly turned around and began watching TV again, and I let her do it. Hey, no need to tell them how to make a watch when they just want to know what time it is.

This has indeed been a long time coming. Not long after the miscarriage of a year ago, I actually came within about a week of getting this done before we reconsidered--something I'm sure will one day cause the Éclair to come over faint and thank her lucky stars--and over the years there certainly have been plenty of times that I made Her Lovely Self angry enough that she was ready to do the job herself, if she could just find the kitchen shears.

But now, three months after the Éclair's arrival, and with the knowledge that my health insurance wouldn't cover the same procedure as fully next year, and with a certain cynical wondering whether or not it actually was possible to feel any worse than I feel after the events of the past few months, I called up a urology practice and got one of their doctors to agree to, er, handle my needs. For some strange reason, he had a lot of appointments open on Friday the 13th, so I took his first one, at 8:30 in the morning.

Exactly ten years ago, in my book (the one known in China as I Am the Sex Man), I was pretty cavalier about the whole topic, as only a young man--a young man who's never had a vasectomy--can be.

Despite what you think, a vasectomy is not the unkindest cut of all. Yes, sure, there's the cutting of sensitive parts--of your scrotum and the vas deferentia, the tubes that carry sperm from your testicles to the rest of your reproductive equipment. But hey, it's not like the procedure really cuts into your manhood. After the fact, your testicles will still continue to produce testosterone, the hormone that makes you a man. Remember, you're getting sterilized, not castrated.

But try telling that to some men. If you're like most guys, reading the above probably caused an immediate and involuntary contraction of various lower abdominal muscles and triggered a crossing of legs in a reflexive attempt to protect your boys from harm. As surgical procedures go, though, vasectomies are fast, simple, and largely complication-free. Honestly, there are far more harmful procedures that one could undergo.

Just ask any woman who's ever had her tubes tied.

I mean, that's abdominal surgery, man, under general anesthesia, about 40 times riskier than a man's 20 minutes under the knife.

When you look at it that way, deciding to get a vasectomy is pretty beneficent. You're taking one for the team. That makes you her hero.

And I guess I still feel that way, but I'm not quite as jocular about the whole experience now.

Shaky would be a better word to describe my post-vas state.

Because you're conscious for the whole thing, you know. And being conscious, you watch the doctor--a total stranger, mind you, someone you just met 10 minutes ago--giving you a little shave and then jabbing you with needles in a place you don't ever ever no never want to be jabbed with needles. And that's just for openers. He hasn't yet picked up the sharp instrument with which he will punch not one but TWO holes in your--YOUR--scrotum. He hasn't yet fished out your own personal vas deferentia--two pale cables that are in a very real sense (and certainly as far as my three children are concerned) so important as to be called lifelines--and snipped a quarter-inch length out of each of them.

While. You. Watch.

He hasn't yet done these things, oh no. But after he does, it's understood that you might be shaky. Oh my yes.

And it doesn't help that he's telling you stories the whole time he's doing this.

"Well, sir, you're doing an excellent job holding still, just excellent. I'd say about every other guy does a pretty big jump--some even go off the table--when I hit the nerve with the local. That's if they're still lively. You'd be surprised how many fainters I get. I had one guy pitch right off the exam table just from looking at the informational brochure. And you know, occasionally you'll get a hurler. When I was just setting up practice, I had one poor guy, you know, vomit on...himself. From the waist down. I ended up having to irrigate the incisions and...well, it wasn't pretty. Hey, are you okay? You're really perspiring over there."

And of course you ARE perspiring, because let's not forget that you have an unnaturally high resistance to local anesthetics. Let's not forget that by the time he's finished with your left side, you're starting to get some sensation back. Just in time for him to start on the right side.

So you try to distract yourself with your own stories, but all you can think about are things like Alvin, your aunt's cat, who was the feature player in the only neutering you've ever witnessed. Until now, that is.

Okay, melodrama aside, it really was over very quickly. It takes me longer to walk to Starbucks for coffee than it took the doctor to render me biologically redundant to the species. Within 15 minutes, I was back on the street, waddling to the car as fast as I could manage, desperately wanting to get home to my ice pack. I had opted for the no-scalpel vasectomy--the NSV is far less invasive and is said to minimize pain and recovery time, although I think that notion is extremely relative. The doctor had given me a prescription for some light- to medium-duty painkillers, but I hadn't bothered filling it. Everything I read about the NSV said most men could manage with over-the-counter analgesics. And anyway, I wanted to get home and bask in the afterglow, such as it was.

Here's what The Sex Man has to say about that part of the experience:

Typically, a weekend of sitting on the couch with some ice and lots of personal attention should be enough for you to recover. Which is why you should schedule your vasectomy for a Friday morning or afternoon because, buddy, if ever you deserved a three-day weekend, it's now. Prop yourself up on the sofa, keeping the remote within easy reach. Ask to be brought food and drink at regular intervals. Wince from time to time, even if you don't feel like it (although that's unlikely). Bask in the resulting sympathy.

"So you're still going to walk the dog, right?" Her Lovely Self asked later that day, just after she'd retrieved the Éclair from her afternoon nap.

"What?" I moaned. I had just got up from a nap myself. A sweaty, fevered nap during which I could find no comfortable position for love or money. Whatever minuscule numbing effect the local had had on me was long, long gone. I woke up with a dull ache in my lower abdomen and the sensation that some weighty Quasimodo and been using my generative organs as a bell rope. Every slight movement of my legs set off claxons and red lights in my brain, and elsewhere. Standing upright, let alone walking, was agony. It was like there was a toothache in my pants.

I looked over at the dog, who should have been part of the whole basking scenario, bringing me my slippers, the paper, a beer. Instead, he sat by the door expectantly, staring at me unsympathetically. He had a look that seemed to say, Now you know what it's like, buddy. Or maybe it said Hey man, at least you still have something left to lick.

We tottered out the door, two big ol' neutered males about to survey the territory. It was a gorgeous afternoon and children were playing everywhere on the street. Thomas and some friends were riding bikes down the block. The Brownie was over in a corner of the front yard, playing with a group of kids.

Well, not playing so much as talking.

And not talking, so much as holding a press conference.

"My Dad had an operation today. The doctor cut his balls off!" she said in a loud and carrying voice.

(I'm SO glad Thomas corrected her terminology.)

All eyes turned to me, now standing frozen on the doorstep.

"What'd he do that for?" one inquisitive little girl asked, oblivious to the fact that I was within earshot.

The Brownie shrugged. "I think Mom made him do it, so he wouldn't run around the neighborhood and make all the ladies pregnant."

Ah, children. Won't be having any more of those.

Since then, you'll be pleased to know I've done nothing but feel better. As the weekend unfolded, HLS did do plenty of pampering, later bringing me cold drinks and a little bottle of Darvocet, having filled my doctor's script for me, and from that point on, the toothache lessened considerably.

Not that I've bothered to tell anyone that. No indeed, I'm going to keep wincing at least through tomorrow. After all, it's not everyday you get a vasectomy, you know. I intend to milk this for all it's worth.

Er, in a manner of speaking.

From Somewhere on the Masthead


Good to hear from you again! We've missed you. I'm extending much sympathy for your pain and discomfort.

Pretty soon this will all be a distant memory; just another funny story posted on the blog for all to read.

I'm so sorry for all the pain and discomfort but glad to hear you're feeling better. :)

I love that little Brownie of yours.
*snort* Brownie is a riot, even if it was inadvertently.

My husband went thru that, too. He had a weekend of wincing and stuffing ice packs down his shorts and, sad to say, a lot of muffled giggles from me.
Oh my, that Brownie is a character. That line about running around the neighborhood was priceless. Hope you feel better soon!
I once heard a mother explain to her small child that the cat was being neutered so "he wouldn't get in fights and make kissy face with the girl cats."

"kissy face" is not a phrase i would use to describe feline sex.

I know at least 3 vasectomy survivors. You will feel better.
Gosh it's good to read your words again! Nothing like a good cup of joe and a ball-busting story to start off my day- thanks- a pant load! Be well :)
Oh my God! The Brownie is a caution. Good thing you won't be going around the neighborhood now getting all the ladies pregant :)

Hope you recover quickly.
What great start to my week - a good, strong laugh out loud moment at my desk in relation to the Brownie's comments to her friends.

Hope you are in tip-top shape again soon.
OMG, the brownie cracks me up!! Well, glad you won't be running around the neighborhood getting all the ladies pregnant anymore. Hope the healing goes fast!

(sometime soon, will we get to see what a three month old eclair looks like?)
let's see, what was the phrase you were searching for a while back?

poor baby. poor, poor baby.

i'm sorry you're hurting.

lol - leave it to the brownie. that child is certainly going to keep you on your toes.
My idol,
Will be following in your footsteps in another twenty years or so.

:) ... for the team.
Jesus, I get all wiggy when my blood is drawn. Don't think I'd like to be watching while the good doctor goes to town down low.
This post will do nothing to convince my husband to "take one for the team". He seemed to think that me having an IUD would be even easier for "the team". I'm still not so sure....

And, wow, you had me wondering about the topic of the post when I read, "He was looking at my shorts and the beyond-conspicuous bulge that rested there." I'd forgotten that you mentioned having scheduled this procedure on Friday the 13th, and I hadn't quite thought about the title, so I was wondering why on earth Thomas was staring...

I hope you heal quickly and enjoy being taken care of for as long as you need to (or more).
She unknowingly has her Daddy's wit!

I'm looking forward to the follow up story of the first time you test out the new and improved me rephrase that.
I've heard stories from friends about testing the equipment too soon and having pain worse than being lifted to the Rainforest canopy by your balls and a pissed off howler monkey......wait until you are completely healed.
I can't believe you actually walked the dog! You really *are* a hero :)
Just make sure you go to your follow-up visit.. it's not a done deal until you get confirmation...

...and in my opinion, IUDs *are* easier....
I became the Sunkist Man--all juice, no seed--some time ago. I can relate to this post, though I didn't have the Brownie to put me over into gales of painful laughter.
One thing that did happen to me: the anaesthetic didn't take at first. Just ask me how I found that out. Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhh.
The chop doc made me think I was in for a week of pain. If you're like me, by tomorrow you'll only feel it if you bend over (so don't).
..oh, and it's *vas deferens* -- plural vasa, deferens is from defero: to carry or convey.

sorry, I know that's annoying.
Above all go for follow up! Dad had to have your fun Friday THREE times before it actually worked. Nothing like determined tadpoles....................
Man oh man.


Just... Wow...

I'm going to go have a couple drinks now.

I suggest you do the same.
Wow. I've been told a scotch on the rocks makes a great ice pack for such occasions.
OMG! I don't know which was the funnier part. Your line "it was like a toothache in my pants" or your daughter telling the neighbors you'd had your balls cut off so you wouldn't run around the neighborhood getting all the neighbor ladies pregnant.

Priceless. Simply priceless!

Hope you're feeling well soon.
I wonder what other juicy morsels the Brownie has held press conferences for! The neighborhood kids may know more about you than you do.

I'm all for milking the sympathy card. I had a nasty bout of strep throat last week that left me stranded on the couch for a couple of days—barely a sentence came out of my mouth that didn't end in "Pretty please? I can't even eat solid foods" or "Would you mind? I have a fever of 102." It didn't get me very far, but I did escape from dish duty for a couple of days.

PS: I had a very minor oral surgery not too long ago and they even put me under general anesthesia for that. I am so, so sorry you had to be awake for your... um... snippage.
LOVED the Brownie's description of your procedure....wait til that gets around the neighborhood!

Happy recovery.
Delurking to thank you for a gut wrenching laugh via Brownie.

While laughing I made the mistake of sharing with my hubby whom I am trying to convince that he needs to take one for our team (we also just had #3, 8.5 years after #2 and our 3rd girl) but your description may have set me back awhile - oh well the laugh was certainly worth it.
Good for you! I see the Brownie has inherited your comic talents.
The Brownie made me laugh harder than I have in at least two months. Magnificent.
That was so funny, and well written. You had me crossed legged, and laughing. All the best.
I had an old-fashioned tubal, I'll be the hero in our house thankyouverymuch!

Hope your baseballs feel better soon!
I have had 3 C-Sections, and my sissy of a husband refuses to get a V-sect because it will hurt. I applaud your braveness!
This is the one of the best things I've read in ages. Many thanks to DC Rush Hour for the pointer.

Be well.
Man your son, the Art Lad, is bound to be something big. You should talk to him about updating his blog. I really like his paintings.
Hope you haven't snipped your source of creativity. :) Miss having you post but enjoy whatever it is that you are doing.
Just stopping in to say hi, and hope you and your family are well.
Hey Mister Man~ you okay? Just stopping by... miss you and hope things are getting easier. ((hugs galore in the "Mansion"))
Where are you, MM?! We miss you :( Hope... everything... is healing well...
Thinking of you.
Hope all is well - missing you MM and the stories... take care
lol @ kimberlydi---

MM-- thinking of you...
Been stopping here every day, and missing the words and the stories.

Hope all is well with you and the M mansion and that the baby girl is starting to sleep through the night.
I keep checking and hoping for a new post, one that says that everything is okay at the Magazine Mansion. We miss you!
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