Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Just like at Abu Ghraib ...

There have been several requests from friends to post more info about my vasectomy. I'm dating this on the day I had the procedure done, just to keep it in chronological order, even though I'm writing this about a month after the procedure.

Before I start, I should point out an online vasectomy resource for anyone who wants to know about the procedure.

First off, I had to go in for a consultation with the doctor prior to being allowed to make an appointment to have the procedure done. I had read a little bit about these "consultations" on various online forums, and I expected the doctor to grill me pretty hard because I'm not married. Surprisingly, the doc didn't ask me to justify myself AT ALL. He was all about simply explaining the procedure, making sure that realistic expectations were communicated, etc. I had a lot of questions for him, since I was considering having a Vasclip procedure, rather than the traditional snip-snip. And having done my research, I knew that this guy is one of the most experienced Vasclip docs around. The Vasclip is supposed to cause considerably less trauma and have a substantially shorter recovery period. But it's only been on the market since (I think) August 2002, so while the available data is good, it's not exactly voluminous. Like I said, I had lots of questions.

I got a call from their office about 2 weeks later, asking if I wanted to schedule the procedure. I said "Sure, what openings do you have?" Turns out they had one the following week, Oct 4th. I said let's do it.

At my initial consult, the doc gave me a prescription for a some sort of relaxant - he said this helps both the patient and also makes the procedure a little easier for the doctor, especially if the patient would tend to get a little jumpy. In the end, I opted not to fill the prescription, opting instead for the full, undiluted scrotal invasion experience (credit for coining the term "scrotal invasion" goes to good friend Shake.)

While I was sitting in the waiting room for quite some time, the nurse came out to tell me they were running quite a bit behind. My immediate gut reaction was to think "shoot, am I going to have to monkey with my schedule and come back another day to get this done?" She told me they would still fit me in that day, I would just have to wait a little longer. Now, I had been having some second thoughts over the weekend (I think every guy probably does) but I realized that apparently these second thoughts weren't too serious, else my gut reaction would have been "great, I won't have to go through with this today!"

Anyway, eventually I was put in an operating room, disrobed from the waist down. Nurse did some shaving (apparently I had done an OK job, but she needed to clean it up a little better. She also affixed a pad to my hip, which would conduct electrical current through my body for the electric cauterizer to work. More on this later!

I asked the doc if I could watch the procedure (since they just use local, so you're awake the whole time.) But this would require me to be sitting up, making it difficult for the doc, so he said "No, sorry."

Doc injected local into a small area on the outside of my sac. I think more local was injected into each vas deferens later in the procedure, I can't remember exactly. Doc then made a small, roughly 1/4" incision on one side of the sac. The entire procedure would be performed through this small opening. Doc started cauterizing this incision to stop the bleeding, when it suddenly started hurting, and I yelled "Ow ... ow ow!" Turns out that in some rare instances people experience electric shock from the cautery device. That's exectly what it was! Now I can relate to what those poor saps in Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq felt, the ones with car batteries connected to their 'nads. Not fun at all! Anyway, doc administered more local, and the shock didn't happen again. But the cautery tool makes this "beep" sound whenever it's activated, and every time I heard it I jumped. Trained just like Pavlov's dog.

Once the incision was finished, the rest was pretty easy. When the doc would fish the vas deferens through the opening, there was sometimes a very slight "tugging" feeling in my abdomen, but otherwise pretty pain free. Doc and I were chatting through most of the procedure. They worked on the left side first. Two clips were affixed on the left side, as the left vas was a little thicker than expected. The second clip is an insurance policy. In retrospect, I should have asked them to put two clips on the right side also ... if it's good for the goose, it should be good for the gander, right? After the doc affixed the clip on the right side, he asked me to sit up and take a look. Yup, there was a small incision in my sac. Protruding from the incision was a short length of my vas (which, if you're wondering, is a bright opaque white color) with a small clip on it. The clip is about the size of a grain of rice.

I lay back down, and he pushed the vas and clip back inside. One small suture to keep the incision closed, a small bandade, and I was done.

I drove myself home, and spent the rest of the night lying around, watching movies (thanks for the movies, Brian) with a bag of frozen peas on my privates. The local wore off pretty quick, and there was some slight soreness (no big surprise there, I mean, I just had a guy rummaging around in there.)

Took Tuesday off from work, but I was up and about. No pain, just a little tenderness. Took a walk to the lake and around uptown, went to lands and CD Warehouse.

So I now have plastic clips blocking the flow through both my vase. And in case you're wondering, no, I haven't felt around to see if I can find them. I know they're there, and that's good enough for me right now.

I have to submit a sample in 12 weeks to verify that my tubes are clear of swimmers and I'm shooting blanks. If I'm not clear, I submit additional samples every few months until I am clear. Then, I'm home free!