I’ve recently been getting lots of contraceptive advice from men my age. It seems the only logical route is vasectomy. One of my best advisors had his done quite a while back with no adverse effects. There is only one guy in Cork who does it, Dr Pillay on Patrick St and he highly recommended him. He also (quietly) mentioned that performance would not be affected and I wouldn’t be shooting blanks for the first thirty. Important tip!
My old workmate C told me all about his on a trip to Dell in Limerick the day after it had been done and he seemed fine. Mr B in Paris last week concurred that it was not such a big deal. I also saw the documentary last year where that brave man from Galway bared his knackers for all to see as his tubes were cut. The valium made him collapse in fits of giggles and I wondered if this was standard practice.
Add to this the gentle encouragement of Catherine’s sister Claire “I’ll come after you with garden shears if you even think about another baby” and we decided that enough was enough. I visited Dr Pillay at the start of December to talk it through and once he heard the number “5”, he didn’t probe for motivation any further. It all sounded pretty straightforward: snip snap, bish bash bosh, few days of discomfort and off ye go and climb Everest.
Catherine checked multiple times that I was ok with the idea and that I wasn’t rushing in. I guess I must be deeply shallow because in my mind it was at the same level as a root canal or deviated septum op. No concerns about emasculation or man breasts (I have those already), no “what if my entire family is killed in a fire and I want to have more kids when I’m 70?” type questions. Just simple basic “my wife cannot take the pill until menopause” and “Five is enough. Enough. Seriously tho, enough.” Maybe I’ll wake up one day and scream “oh dear jesus my testicles are no longer connected to my vas deferns” but I doubt it.
The only prep that had to be done was hair and the major question to be answered - blade or cream? Blade - are you mental or something? Veet it was. Hmm, that’s an interesting look for me, sort of a comb-over effect. Why does no-one ever mention that Veet burns? Ahh, small print, avoid genital area. Ow ow ow.
I headed in on Friday 14th and unfortunately forgot about the goddammed Christmas shoppers and arrived 15 minutes late, totally stressed and sweatin. To quote my buddy Eoin, the following bits may be TMI for you. So stop reading now if you are of a delicate nature.
I’d had the heating on full blast all the way in to avoid the Atlantic Swim Effect but the stress of being late negated all of that. Dr Pillay was lovely and asked me if I wanted to relax for a few minutes. I didn’t. For some idiotic reason I thought I might be able to read during the op and brought “The Wisdom of Crowds” with me. He found this amusing.
So up onto the couch in the corner of his office, keks off, iodine on and we were in business. He warned the local would hurt but it was fine. The incision began and all was well. Throughout the entire thing he had Cork’s 96FM on with that horrendous gobshite who does the chat in the mornings. He had on some blokes who have been doing panto since the 50’s and it kept me nicely distracted the whole time as the only thought going through my head was “This is where Radio Jay on Gift Grub gets his material from”.
Some warnings of pressure from the doc, then, jesus fucking christ man are you trying to kill me, arggggh. “Oh did that hurt?”. Did it hurt? Did it hurt? Would you like me to stick a rusty nail in your nuts so you can get some sense of it? He added more local. Still no joy, so he added some more. At this point I was going to ask for an epidural but the last jab seemed to sort it out. I guess this is where the word numbnuts comes from.
Finally, the big stitches went in, I relaxed and he said “now we’ll do the right one”. Noooooooooooo, it can’t have taken that long to cut a tube and fold the two halves back. It turns out that “things kept tensing up” making his life very difficult. G’way, a man has his scrotum cut open and shockingly, it doesn’t relax into a giant fluffy balloon. Now I know why the guy on the tv was given the valium.
Liathróid a dó was complete, he sowed me up and I felt pretty ok. Lots of advice about not being too energetic. Like that’ll happen - I pulled a muscle putting a child to bed the other night. He gave me some Betadine ointment, put everything in a hammock and gave me an ice-pack for the journey home.
Drive home was ok but the ache started around Innishannon. Do you have to drive at 30mph today you stupid stupid person, movvvvvveee, I’ve just been operated on. Home. Frozen peas into ziplock and I relaxed on the couch. Pain got worse. Panadol my hole, I popped one of Catherine’s Ponstan Forte and soon the pain faded to a dull throb.
Over the next few days I was in a very bad state. As the Ponstan wore off each time, it started hurting like hell and the hammock seemed to add to it. I went hammock free for a day but it was far far worse and I put it back. Getting out of bed each morning was not fun. Wound seemed to take it’s time healing and in fact here we are three weeks later and there is still a scab. Finally one week after the op, the pain subsided and apart from the long journey over Christmas, there was no serious discomfort. I can confidently hold my own in a childbirth pain conversation now, he said, running for the door.
So now that I have put men off it for life, do I regret it? Not for a second. A week’s discomfort for a lifetime of one less major thing to worry about - I’d do it in a second again. And it looks like my best advisor was right ;-)
Just make sure you can get your hands on Ponstan!
UPDATE 1: 1st May 2007 - Just got the all-clear. Woo hoo! This is probably a good thing as we both recently started our usual “ah Síofra is such a wee darling, one more wouldn’t really be that much extra hassle”.
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