Categories
panic vasectomy

Panic! At the vasectomy table: My super dramatic reaction to this routine medical procedure

There are two small bumps at the base of my penis. They correspond with the two puncture wounds made during my recent no-scalpel vasectomy, one roughly twice the size of the other. “Which one is bigger?” the doctor asks me over the phone. “The one on the right,” I say. “Would that be your right……

There are two small bumps at the base of my penis. They correspond with the two puncture wounds made during my recent no-scalpel vasectomy, one roughly twice the size of the other.

“Which one is bigger?” the doctor asks me over the phone.

“The one on the right,” I say.

“Would that be your right… or, my right?” he asks. Then he specifies: “I mean, like, if I were examining you.”

“Stage right,” I say, expecting a chuckle. After a moment of silence, I clarify: “My right.”

In case you don’t know, a vasectomy is when a doctor (hopefully a doctor) severs your vas deferens — or sperm ducts — and seals them shut, cutting off the sperm’s pathway to the penis, rendering you sterile.

It’s a swell way to keep yourself from having too many kids. And when I say that, I mean there is a fair amount of swelling after the procedure.

RELATED: Our vasectomy love story

My doctor suggests that the bumps could be sperm granulomas, which can form when your sperm start leaking out of the cut end of your vas deferens.

In other words… my sperm just couldn’t make it on the inside.

(When I said that to my doctor, he didn’t laugh. He just started listing anti-inflammatory drugs I could take.)

Vasectomies are, fittingly, a lot like fatherhood. Beyond very general commentary, the men who’ve been through them are pretty tight-lipped about what to expect.

It’s not so bad.

You’re in and out.

Afterward, you get to sit around with frozen peas on your crotch.

Vasectomies are, fittingly, a lot like fatherhood. Beyond very general commentary, the men who’ve been through them are pretty tight-lipped about what to expect.

If you get a vasectomy in March, it’s assumed that you’ll spend the next few days watching college basketball.

Now, I don’t know if you caught my “stage right” quip earlier, but if you did you can probably infer that I did not, in fact, spend my recovery watching college basketball. But that’s unimportant.

Let’s take a few steps back.

In 2006 I was working a part-time library job in Metro Detroit. The particular library where I worked was the central hub for a network of local libraries.

One of my daily duties was to unload a truck full of books — mostly Danielle Steel novels — that would then be routed to folks who had put them on hold. The books were packed in large canvas bags that sometimes weighed as much as 50 pounds. My coworker, Brian, and I would heave them around like kettlebells while listening to nu-metal.

One afternoon on the drive home after a typical shift, I felt something … odd … in my shorts. It was right below where my belt hit — an area where you really don’t want to feel anything that could be described as “odd.”

When I got home I took a peek. There was a nasty red bump about the size of a quarter just north of my genitals. It felt solid.


Want a daily wrap-up of all the news and commentary Salon has to offer? Subscribe to our morning newsletter, Crash Course.


A hernia, I thought, though I didn’t quite know what a hernia was apart from a big lump that shows up when you lift things incorrectly, as I was wont to do at the time. A google image search seemed to confirm my suspicions.

“I’ve got a hernia,” I announced to what, in retrospect, turned out to be a stupid number of people.

My parents? Concerned.

My girlfriend? Mortified.

My friends? Repulsed.

My boss, bless her heart, could be best described as “bothered.” She explained through a frown that if I couldn’t quickly get back to heaving around 50-pound canvas bags of books, some sweet 60-year-old librarian might have to step in. And that wouldn’t be good for anyone, would it?

Not to worry, I told her, I had already made an urgent appointment to have my inconvenient hernia inspected and to determine next steps.

Days later, with my pants around my ankles, a kind nurse explained — with just the slightest smirk – that the red bump on my groin was not a bulging hunk of herniated intestine, but rather an ingrown hair. Fairly common. It would probably go away on its own.

RELATED: My friend asked me to shave his b*lls

It did. And I spent the next week shopping around lies as to why I was suddenly fine and schlepping around books like it was no big deal and let’s all just forget what I said, OK?

Awful.

My father got a vasectomy in the mid-’80s, which I can only assume was done in a smoke-filled room with a cocaine-dusted razor blade.

I tell you this because up until the day of my vasectomy, it was the most traumatic experience I’d had surrounding that general area of my body. (We’re going to go ahead and strike my teens from the record here.)

Then V-Day came and kicked things up several notches.

If you’re contemplating a vasectomy, we should stop here and note that it’s a perfectly normal and reasonable thing to do. The American Urological Association estimates that as many as 500,000 men in the U.S. get vasectomies each year. And I would bet that not one of them complains about every minor inconvenience as much as I do.

Which is to say, don’t let me — a stranger who has fainted twice while donating blood — sway you from getting the ol’ snip.

My father got a vasectomy in the mid-’80s, which I can only assume was done in a smoke-filled room with a cocaine-dusted razor blade. When I asked him what to expect he made it seem as routine and boring as a dentist appointment. “It was just me and the doctor,” he said. “Took a half-hour.”

It was a whole different situation for me, I told him after my procedure.

For starters, while my vasectomy was indeed performed by a lone doctor, there were also nearly half-a-dozen supporting characters in the room — nurses and techs, I assume, though I never actually thought to ask. Which is funny, because within 30 seconds of entering the aforementioned room, I was on my back with my (formerly) private bits on display.

I said something weird to address my vulnerable position. The doc

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.