I missed the chance to write a Father’s Day post on Father’s Day, mostly because I was busy fathering my own three kids and also hanging out with my own father. Fatherhood is indeed terrific, but unless you’re Catholic or Evander Holyfield, there does come a limit to the number of kids you want running around, so let’s talk about vasectomies. Specifically, mine.
I bit the bullet just over a year ago and decided that three Barsch kids was enough. Sure, Lorenzo would like a little sister, but I’ve long bid adieu to the days of diaper changes and midnight feedings, so he’s just going to have to get super-chummy with our neighbor’s 2-year-old daughter and call it good.
First things first: I have no recollection whatsoever of how I chose the doctor who would permanently sterilize me. I’m guessing I Googled “urologist” and picked the first one that came up who took my insurance. I kinda figured that a vasectomy for a urologist was analogous to a dentist pulling a tooth — not exactly a cutting-edge surgery here, they’ve been done forever.
So the guy I chose was an elderly man who had apparently been a urologist and doing vasectomies since long before I was born. I don’t remember his name, but he was very southern, with a thick accent. And it wasn’t the friendly-southern, Nashville, “How y’all doin'” kind of southern. It was the far less endearing George Wallace, “Theez adj-it-taytaz are just hurr to sturr uppa trouble” kind of accent.
My friend Steve, a vasectomy veteran himself, had advised me earlier that the doctor would really rake me over the coals about whether I really wanted this, just to make sure I was absolutely on board with this permanent procedure. His doctor, he said, peppered him with a dozen theoretical, sometimes morbid, questions about the possibility of wanting to procreate in the future. (“You have one son…what if he dies? Would you want another child then?”)
So I was prepared to nip this in the bud. I knew that even in the case of a nuclear holocuast that left only Scarlett Johanssen and I alive to repopulate the earth…no thanks, doc. Get ta snippin’.
So the old man ambled into the consultation room and shook my hand. He said, “Yah ree-lahze this prah-seedya will leave you stair-ISLE, you will not be able to make a woman PREK-nant again?”
Yes indeed, sir.
“OK then. Make an appointment with the girl out front and we’ll get you in next week.” Boom, done.
I arrived on my surgery day, and back then I was still vaping. I had one of those massive metal e-cigarettes, the ones that look like a Transformer’s right leg.
He looked at me like I had a pterodactyl on my shoulder. “What’s that?”
I told him it was an e-cigarette, and he told me I should stop using it right away, because nicotine caused bladder cancer.
This was odd to hear from a doctor, since, first and foremost, nicotine itself is not known to cause cancer. Tobacco obviously is, and there is evidence that smoking cigarettes increases risk of bladder cancer. It may seem like a small distinction, but it’s not; “Those things cause cancer!” is something your crazy aunt posts on Facebook after reading Natural News, not an actual doctor.
But hey, whatever, I get it. Nothing particularly awesome about nicotine, that’s for sure.
So we get on with the show and the doctor makes a little small talk. Gonna be a couple needles first to numb me up, then about 15 minutes per side, then we’re outta here.
But the moment of truth came a few minutes after he’d given me my first injection. I could see him monkeying about down there with my business, looking quizzically at the ceiling. And then he said it:
“Say… do you just have one testicle?”
Now, for one quick moment, let’s just put a pin in the fact that I do, in fact, have two standard-issue testicles. And of roughly equal size, mind you; there’s no alpha and beta testicle, no runt-of-the-litter testicle in there, frustrated at having to live in the shadow of Big-Brother super-jock testicle. They’re pretty much even-Steven.
No, let’s instead focus on the fact that the man currently cradling my genitals was a man who’d been a urologist for decades and performed thousands of these surgeries. I mean, out of everyone in town, this guy is really, really supposed to know his way around a scrotum. I was not prepared to have him attempt to consult me on anything at all, let alone how many testicles I have.
It’s two, doc. One, two. I mean, have you looked around everywhere? I don’t think they can travel terribly far, like wander down around my ankle or anything. I’m not a doctor, but finding two testicles inside one scrotum really does seem like a shooting-fish-in-a-barrel type of task.
Those thoughts tumbled around for a few seconds until he declared that yes, false alarm, he’d found my other ball. And so went the next needle and snip and snap and sew-shut and whatnot, in what was honestly a snoozer of a procedure. The most discomfort I felt the entire time was the simple act of putting my feet in stirrups, which didn’t hurt at all, but instantly gave me a brief cosmic sisterly connection to every woman I’ve ever heard lament the vulnerability and general weirdness of saddling up for a pap smear.
Before the procedure, everyone — every single man who’d had one, and every single reputable and even non-reputable website — gave me the same warning: You’re gonna be laid up in bed a few days. You’re gonna be sore. Plan to do nothing, plan to take it easy. Minimize unnecessary walking, etc.
But none of this happened for me. Not a bit. I ended up with the tiniest bit of bruising, but that was it. I was told to expect to feel like a donkey had kicked me in the nuts for a few days, but in reality, it was more like a Chihuahua jumped off my loins a little too hard while scampering out the doggie door.
Which would usually be a great thing, right? I mean, that all sounded like bullshit to me anyhow; I was only laid up in bed for 24 hours after I got my ACL replaced 14 years ago, and I was pretty sure that my knees were more critical to walking than my balls ever were.
But I started putting together all the weirdness — the odd bladder cancer remark, the inability to locate both of my very, very proximous testicles, and now I had almost none of the supposedly universal side effects of the surgery.
Was the guy of sound mind? Hell, did he even do anything down there, or did he just shoot me up with anesthetic and then play tic-tac-toe on my ballsack with a Sharpie for 30 minutes?
Only one thing could provide the answer: the little sample cup they sent me home with to bring back in 90 days to make sure the surgery was a success. Appropriately, the cup was wrapped in alarming red plastic and stamped with the universal biohazard logo. Everything that can create an army of bleating monsters who never stop growing and eating and basically sucking the life out of you should be labeled as such.
It was a long wait, but the tests confirmed that the old fella actually knew what he was doing. There would be no more Barsch kids; the reins of the bloodline belong to Mia, Ezra and Lorenzo alone.
And that’s fine, because they’re wonderful. This is a Father’s Day article, remember, so I can’t get away with not telling you how wonderful they are. All three of them.
Three. Exactly three. And not one more. 🙂