The reason I started this blog site was quite simply for me to write about things of interest, occurrences in my life and around the world that entice me sufficiently to put pen to paper, or digit to device. I currently feel sufficiently enticed, as I sit in the garden three hours after undergoing a vasectomy. I have a sanitary towel twixt testicles (for they are weeping blood, slightly) and pants, basking, relaxing in 27 degree heat, listening to nature’s way whilst sipping a bottle of Peroni. Any pain, for it will almost certainly come – to a minor extent hopefully – is clearly yet to kick in. I thought it might be jolly to journal my vasectomy experience, for future personal chuckles and to pre-arm fellow gentlemen who may be considering the operation with some honest, first hand information.
Any vasectomy journey starts with discussion. I need not go into ours, but suffice to say we are completely and absolutely sure we do not want more children. Cal is perfectly sufficient, thank you very much. Similar discussions then take place with your GP, and following a referral, with (in my case) a nurse at the rather pleasant Day Centre Clinic in Haddington. The second of those conversations was extremely informed, at times feeling just a little like an interrogation, but clearly they have to be thorough, and to be sure that I was sure. We were, and I was. A couple of weeks later a date came through the post, and a couple of months after that I sit here with my bollocks gently weeping.
The preceding few days have been fine, I won’t go as far to say that I’ve been looking forward to it, but fear and worry have happily been non-existent. Last night a group of us went to see some top-notch comedy, booked by myself a few days ago. Was this a subliminal attempt to distract myself on the eve of the operation? I don’t think so. I still wasn’t really nervous this morning, en route to Haddington. Okay, a teeny bit apprehensive, but a local anaesthetic injected into your bollocks is surely cause for at least minimal concern. Also of similar concern was the pre-op operation performed last night by Michelle – the scrotum and penis shave.
I like to keep myself respectably tidy in the lower region, but completely shaved I am not. During a previous ‘tidy up’ I have had the misfortune to ‘nick’ myself. Not a pretty sight and in no way pleasurable. Certainly not something I’d like to repeat, and any potential wrong-doing I’d prefer to be in my own hands, as it were. Fear not, for the task was performed with the precision, skill and care expected from a loving wife who was clearly used to her own tool. No, not that, her own shaver.
Ah, quick update. Four hours post-op and I have just experienced my first bout of discomfort. For the last hour I have had my feet up, and I have been resting. I felt the urge to stand, just (as is the norm) to give my balls some breathing space. Within seconds I felt a throbbing and a dose of light-headedness. Not pleasant at all. I would suggest for every gentleman the thought of one’s testicles being placed in a vice, which was then slowly tightened as a form of torture, would rank high up on the list of possible torture tactics. That just felt like the tiniest amount of vice-squeeze. Within seconds I sat back down, and several seconds later the pain ceased. I have been wearing supportive pants, upon which a bag of frozen peas has now been placed, the beer has been replaced by water, to wash down the paracetamol. I feel fine again. Clearly right now my testicles are not a fan of gravity and my legs need to be horizontal, not vertical.
This morning’s operation was, so the surgeon told me, a success. Before going under the knife (did he use a knife?) I was spoken to by a nurse who asked me to sign another consent form and the surgeon who explained the procedure. I put on the silly back-to-front gown and as I walked into the theatre was sent back to the ward to put on my ill-fitting dressing gown due to exposing my arse-cheeks to fellow patients. The room was like a dentist’s only bigger and with brighter lights aimed at my bits. Three assistants, two of whom appeared to be uninterested (I think they had other work to do), joined the Chief Operating Officer, the other one was clearly there to ‘put me at ease’. I was de-robed, exposed, and then re-covered with just my freshly-shaved bits left quivering under the bright lights.
The whole operation lasted about 20 minutes. Some cold yellow liquid is sprinkled and smothered across the exposed parts, and within a minute what is expected to be the ‘worst part’ commences – the local anaesthetic. It hurt, about as much as I’d expected. I like to measure many things on a scale of 1-10, this was a 7.5 (yes, I’m numerically challenged), and it lasted for about twenty seconds. During the procedure you can look upwards into the light giving you the opportunity to see a reflection from the shiny light fittings. I wasn’t expecting this and saw enough to make me not to want to look again. For about five minutes I could feel some ‘testicular pressure’, a bit of tugging here and there and some discomfort. Pain level – 5, tops. Then you can sense he’s stitching you back up, again it’s brief lasting just a minute or so. I thought it was over.
“I’ll now do the other testicle”, he said. “Ah, bollocks”, I thought, and the same procedure was repeated. For some reason my left was a tad more sensitive than my right, but only by a score of one. The caring nurse made predictable conversation throughout (holidays, work, weather etc), whilst I pretended to be cool and calm with a wet towel on my forehead – it was very hot, honestly. With both balls done I was kind of cleaned up and asked if I was okay to sit up. I felt fine, so I did. I re-robed and walked back from the theatre with the surgeon who said occasionally some leaking of blood occurs, but it’s no cause for concern. Looking down at my gown I could indeed see blood that was not previously there, and said, “Ah, you mean like this?” “Yes.” he said nonchalantly, “We’ll just get that checked out by the nurse”.
I sat back down on the ward bed, a few metres away the surgeon spoke to the nurse mentioning my bleeding, suggesting it needed checking. I checked for myself. It didn’t look pretty. To me it looked a bloody mess. It wasn’t flowing from the wound but I was concerned to the scale of 6. Five minutes later a different nurse came over and asked me how I felt. I expressed concern about the blood and to my surprise she asked me to put my clothes on. I’m not sure if my post-op state led to a communication breakdown, but I needed reassurance that she was actually going to look at my blood-soaked balls before I re-clothed. She told me it was fine, “It’s really not as bad as it looks” she said, “although I’m sure it looks bad to you”. Too bloody right. For the next 15 minutes, armed with dressing, I sat with my balls in my hands supplying enough pressure to ensure any further bleeding would cease.
The two weeping wounds were re-checked and I was given the all clear to dress. I cleaned myself, and put my clothes on. I was given my after-care instructions, notes on what to do for the rest of the day (drink beer, sit in the sun etc) and the coming weeks. I exchanged smiles and thanks with the ward nurses and left, with pants full of dressing. Today, and for the next few days I’ve been advised to rest. This means supportive pants, not applying gravity to my testicles and to keep my feet up. To take paracetamol when required and to expect swelling and bruising, the latter of which is beginning to appear.
Michelle has been a star. She fed me meatballs (ha!) last night as a pre-op meal and adjusted her work schedule to spend today and the next few days being my carer. She nattered to me continually on the way to Haddington in an attempt to stop me thinking about what lay ahead, and she’s currently cooking us a tart as a mid-afternoon snack, as she does. I don’t know how much discomfort I’ll be in over the next few days – at the moment it’s 2.5 out of 10 – but I actually think I’m in safer hands here with Michelle than I was at the hospital – as competent as they were. I’ll continue to take it easy, resting my weary balls, and shall report back after a few days with the lowdown on my vasectomy experience.
Tart update before posting: Mushroom, fig, Roquefort, tomato and fucking delicious.