For those of you who follow my blogs, you know that two kids is “our number” as far as what we desired. We are blessed to have a healthy boy and girl. So after our daughter was born, I started planning for a vasectomy. My wife asked me to just wait until my daughter was closer to a year old to make sure she is healthy. So in July I googled, “when does the men’s NCAA basketball tournament start in 2017.” (I think I only actually had to type “when does the men’s NC…” and Google, per usual read my mind for the rest of it.) I got the date, Thursday March 16, 2017.
I did what any “normal” person does when scheduling a surgery, and I texted a close friend of mine who is a urologist. The following is the actual transcription of the conversation from July 27, 2016 at 8:45am:
Me: I know it’s a popular day so I want to be penciled in for my vasectomy on Thursday March 16, 2017. Thanks #marchmadness
Urologist: Yesssssss!!!!!!!! I have been wanting to do your vasectomy since I first laid eyes on you. Is 4pm ok?
Me: Earlier. Games start at 11am.
Urologist: Wanna do like 9 am?
Me: Sure. Can I go back to work Monday?
Urologist: For sure
Me: Great. I’ll put it on my calendar. We will touch base closer.
I really did not think about it again until January when he called and said he was leaving town that week and could no longer do my procedure and asked if I wanted it moved. As you can imagine, the chaos of office scheduling and 24hr shifts makes it hard to find time off in short notice. Not to mention this is the MARCH MADNESS weekend I wanted. So I chose date over doctor and asked him to find one of his partners to do it instead.
He found a replacement and I had a preoperative appointment with him in February. I honestly was not nervous at all about the surgery until that appointment because they have to tell you the details and the things that could go wrong etc. I do these kind of appointments all the time, but as you all know, being the patient is markedly different.
He explained that he would prescribe me a Valium to take before and that he would use lidocaine to numb the scrotum and do the procedure, etc. He did an exam to verify my anatomy was not aberrant. I thought to myself… well of course, you would want to make sure sure there are 2 vas deferens (those the tubes that are cut during the surgery). It would stink if the doctor was “digging around” in there for one that didn’t exist! Fortunately my anatomy was normal. And despite the jokes by Dr. Bass and Dr Smith (both made the same joke separately), he did not need to use any magnifying assistance for my exam…. What’s wrong with us men, we all make the same stupid jokes our entire lives and giggle like little boys!
As the surgery day approached, I had to deal with the inconveniences of moving my surgery time and location many times (literally got a call every other day for a week moving my time and location). I then obsessively started calling my friends who had previously had a vasectomy and talking to them about it. I was most curious about what type of underwear to purchase for recovery. My doctor recommended a “jockstrap or some other form of tight underwear”. I even searched amazon to see if someone had invented and is selling a tight fitting post vasectomy underwear that maybe had a built in pouch for ice… doesn’t exist (maybe this can be the next big Shark Tank product). I decided the boxer briefs I own are probably good enough. We purchased some frozen peas for icing the area postoperatively (see more on that below).
I read my pre-operative instructions the night before and in there it told me to expect a nurse to shave the operative site beforehand. It makes sense as that would allow for easier finding/cutting of the vas deferens. However, I was NOT going to allow just anyone to put a razor blade to my scrotum, and felt more comfortable “manscaping” myself. I recommend the DIY plan for the guys planning on getting the surgery who are comfortable with that.
My wife drove me and on the way I took the prescribed Valium. By the time I arrived there I was very “happy” to say the least. It felt as if I went to a restaurant and they said it would be just a little wait and head to the bar for a drink. Then maybe they were delayed more than they thought and before you know it you are 3-4 cocktails deep. That’s how I felt…. 3-4 cocktails on an empty stomach happy.
I was taken to the procedure room in the urology office where a nurse asked me to take my bottoms off and sit on the bed. The doctor came in the procedure started. They soaped everything down first then I felt the slightest “bee sting” from the lidocaine injections (my doc made two small incision so I felt the lidocaine twice). It was maybe a little more painful than when the dentist numbs you before a filling. I was so “happy” from my meds I was probably jabbering on about my March Madness brackets and who knows what else. The procedure lasted 10-15 minutes and I was on the way home in no time.
On the drive home I had a great idea. I was going to wear two pair of boxer briefs and put the peas in between the two so they are held in place. I found my place on the sofa, got some peas on there with my ingenious double underwear strategy and started watching Netflix (I had 3 hours till tip-off of the tournament). I spent a majority of the next 48 hour on the couch, icing, and taking scheduled motrin. I think I took a total of three tablets of Tylenol with codeine.
The key to recovery is icing and taking it easy. (That’s why March Madness and the Masters Golf tournaments are the most popular times to get a vasectomy… see this article). After some trial and error, I found the Trader Joes Petite Peas worked best. The bag is super thin allowing for the cold to transmit to the affected area, and the density/distribution of peas within the bag allows for an excellent contouring in that region.
I am two weeks out at the time of writing this blog post and without giving TMI, everything works in that department without any noticeable difference whatsoever. I find that I am still a little sore if I think about it, but not enough to require medications. The toughest part for me has been not doing any vigorous exercise. I like to do Crossfit 4 times a week and all I have done is some light work on a rowing machine since the surgery. I am going to start adding in more intense working out next week.
In summary, the procedure and recovery have overall been way easier than I expected. If a couple is interested in permanent contraception, then this is almost always the easiest, safest, and most cost effective way to get it done. And if the guys time it out right, they can get 3-4 days of uninterrupted TV time of their favorite sporting event. Many thanks to my wife for catering to me and doing a majority of the kid duties during my recovery.