Back in September I wrote about how I was going to have a *whispers* vasectomy. There, I managed to write the word at the first attempt. It just goes to show how far I’ve come…
This is part two of my voyage to infertility. If you’re interested in part one, you can read all about my initial thoughts here.
The V-Word – Part 2
After making the most important step and booking an initial appointment with the doctor, I prepared for myself for their predictable killer questions: ‘Why do you want a vasectomy?’ and ‘Are you sure?’
I was confident I had a cast-iron response to both: I HAVE THREE KIDS!
Despite this I still prepared for a bit of a grilling and knew that I needed to come across as confident and convincing that this is exactly what I wanted.
Doctor: Hi, how can I help you today?
Me: Hi, I have three kids and I don’t want any more. I’ve like to discuss having a vashheecchhmmmmy.
Doctor: A vasectomy?
Me: Yes. One of those.
It turns out after practising saying vasectomy out loud numerous times, I still couldn’t say it clearly when it came to the big moment.
Fortunately, the rest of the appointment was very straightforward. After a few general questions about my circumstances and family, they referred me to our local clinic.
I had no idea how long the waiting time for a vasectomy would be. Rather than months it turned out to be six weeks. Once booked in, I received an appointment pack which explained the procedure, what to expect, and what the potential side effects would be.
Side effects. These ranged from bruising (common), to chronic testicular pain (1 in 20), inflammation or infection (1 in 100) and failure of procedure (1 in 1,000). I didn’t particularly like those odds. I read these several times. Particularly the fact that there was a 5% chance of CHRONIC TESTICULAR PAIN.
The pack also explained that I would be having a ‘No-Scalpel Procedure’ and outlined the process. A 1cm split would be made in the skin, the tubes (or vas deferens if you prefer the technical term) are hooked out and about 2cm is destroyed. Yes, when describing a procedure on my most sensitive and prized area, it used the word destroyed.
It did explain that this demolition job is done through a ‘hyfrecator’ – an instrument which emits a high frequency electrical pulse to destroy tissue. It is the preferred method as it has a lower risk of infection and bruising. So there’s that.
Let’s get it out the way now: the worst part of the entire procedure was getting my bottom half naked, while in a room with just a (young) male doctor for company. Obviously I knew it had to happen eventually, but it felt so awkward and I would have preferred to get drunk first like the good old days. I actually asked if I should leave my socks on (I did, by the way).
The rest was plain sailing. Almost. I got comfortable on the examination table and was determined to enjoy the brief opportunity to lie down without a child diving on me.
‘I’m very good at it, and I’m very fast,’ the doctor said. I don’t know about you, but I love hearing that when someone is about to man-handle my balls. He then gave them a good
feel inspection and the show began.
To be honest, as soon as I was injected with the local anaesthetic (I waited for him to say ‘you’re going to feel a little prick’ but he didn’t), I wasn’t sure when the cutting and destroying actually started.
There was lots of buzzing and I could feel lots of movement, but the only pain was from the doctor’s small talk. Somehow the largely one-sided conversation turned to football. He asked me what team I supported. It occurred to me, as he had hold of my balls, that things could go horribly wrong if I answered incorrectly. I found myself almost apologise that I supported Arsenal. I used the usual trick of blaming it on my dad for brainwashing me at an early age. I passed the test.
I tried changing the subject, saying that I hadn’t realised so many of the people I knew had had a vasectomy.
‘Why would you?’ he replied. ‘It’s not the sort of thing blokes talk about.’
‘I guess so,’ I said, not mentioning the fact that I had written a blog post and published it on the world wide web. But he’s right. No one apart from my wife and all her friends knows that I’ve done this.
After about ten minutes, the procedure finished, much quicker than I expected and pain free. He told me to take it easy for 24 hours and put something cold like a bag of peas on my balls to reduce any swelling. He also added that I should avoid any sort of sexual activity for two weeks as it increased the risk of the tubes re-joining.
‘I have three kids,’ I thought. ‘No problem there.’
Once the two weeks were up I could, and this is verbatim: ‘ejaculate to my heart’s content.’ I was under doctor’s orders – I couldn’t wait to tell the Mrs.
When I left the clinic, I felt strangely euphoric. I had done it. I had let another man destroy part of my balls and lived to tell the tale.
The euphoria didn’t last long and I began to feel sore within the hour. I was expecting bruising and swelling, but not this type of incessant dull ache like I had been kicked very hard in the balls.
I tried not to make a big deal of it however – I still have three kids to look after and my wife had been through three c-sections. This was nothing.
A cold compress helped, but simple tasks such as sitting up or turning over in bed were painful. I struggled to walk very far without a rest and even moving around the house for too long meant I needed to sit down for a bit to recover.
As someone who considers themselves fairly active, I found this particularly frustrating. It took over a week for this pain to finally go, whereas I expected it to be a matter of days.
Longer term, I’ve not experienced any pain other than the occasional twinge, like one of my testicles has been twisted. For someone who was worried about complications and pain, such as losing my private parts to a rare vasectomy-related infection, I can confirm the whole process is very straightforward.
Now I wait… again.
Burning all our condoms in a infertility ritual has been put on hold as I now have to wait four months. I then need to submit a you-know-what sample to the doctors so they can confirm the procedure has worked.
I shall return with part three…