Monday, March 2, 2009

Everything You Wanted to Know About Getting A Vasectomy - But Were Afraid To Ask

[Note: most of my blog entries are designed to be appropriate for just about any audience. This one, however, is decidedly rated R for “mature themes" and what Microsoft's parental controls would call “mild strong language.” Please use your discretion.]

What Is a Vasectomy?

Come on, everybody pretty much knows what this is. Right? I remember the first time I came across this term. I was a teenager, maybe thirteen, flipping through “Playboy,” and a full-page color cartoon showed a teenaged couple in the guy’s love van undressing, and the dude says, “Don’t worry, I’ve had a vasectomy, so you’ll still be a virgin.” I made a mental note that this vasectomy thing seemed to be a pretty useful operation, whatever it was. I’ve learned a bit more about it since then. It seems this little tube called the vas deferens carries sperm from the testicles to, uh, whatever makes the semen. I have to admit, I haven’t studied the anatomy carefully, but the idea is that once you’ve had this operation, you’ll be shooting blanks. You can have all the sex you want without having to invite a complete stranger into your home for eighteen years.

The Decision
Are we really done having kids?

Obviously, the decision to get a vasectomy is a hugely personal one, but there are some general factors to consider that can simplify the quandary. For example, how many kids do you have? Is that the number you had in mind? And, if you had another, what would the age spread be? And how old is your wife? How risky would it be for her to have a baby at this age?

Living in the SF Bay Area, my wife and my decision was pretty simple: my wife was pushing forty; our youngest child had just turned five; and above all, we have a two-bedroom house, and there’s no way we’re going to try to sell it and buy up in the middle of a nationwide fiscal crisis. Seems like a pretty crass way to decide if another soul should be allowed to walk the Earth, but there it is. So last October, I decided to go through with my very first vasectomy. (Okay, that was a joke—I fully expect this to be my last.)

Is a vasectomy the right procedure?

First of all, a vasectomy is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Sometimes they fail, but if you’re following the protocol, you’ll discover this ahead of time (more on this later), and can repeat the procedure. Of course, tubal ligations are also effective, so the question is, which is better? For me, the question comes down to which procedure is the most likely to go smoothly. I’ve always considered that the male reproductive system is way simpler than the female. Maybe I’m just really lucky, but I’ve never had any trouble with anything. Women, on the other hand … I’m surprised they can even get health insurance. Something as innocuous as panty hose can cause a bladder infection, and if a woman takes an antibiotic she’s almost guaranteed a yeast infection.

In junior high health class I was only minimally interested in the male reproductive system but was able to get the gist of how it all worked; that’s why I was able to throw out the term vas deferens above. But when we got to the woman’s system, with all those dozens of parts, and the menstrual cycle, the fallopian tubes, uterine wall—forget it. It was just too much to memorize, and I completely tuned out, taking a C in the class. So when I revisited all that complexity in looking at family planning, it seemed like doing something to me made more sense than to my wife. Besides, she already put up with the pain and bodily vandalism of two pregnancies—it seemed to be my turn to take the hit.

Where can I get more input?

Not having this blog to read, I went online for input from the UC Berkeley Parents’ Network website. I was hugely reassured that a vasectomy was the right call. A lot of the postings were political: whether a man should be allowed to decline, after all his wife has been through; then the counterpoint, “it’s his body and his decision” (a Bizarro take on the standard pro-choice argument). Some of the postings were downright snippy (no pun intended), with women excoriating selfish men for wanting to keep their fertility intact “in case something happened to their wife” (i.e., so they can have children later should they decide to throw their wives over for somebody younger).

While on the Internet, I was also able to check out the two doctors I had referrals for. It’s funny: a guy will spend countless hours researching the right stereo system, but when choosing a doctor he’s typically pretty blasé. I chose my general practitioner simply because he was accepting new patients, and I’ve stuck with him over the years because he looks like the novelist Don DeLillo, which I kind of get a kick out of. But with the vasectomy, I was suddenly feeling a bit more particular. Was I going to get some burned-out guy who’s so sick of scrotums he might botch the job? Or someone who was picked on in gym class as a kid, who might resent it if my balls are much, much bigger than his? I was reassured by one posting from a man who’d used the practice I’d been referred to. He complained bitterly about being stuck in the waiting room for an hour but concluded, “I did trust the doctor with my junk.” Another wrote of this office, “It didn’t hurt that I got to have my balls shaved by a totally hot nurse. Just sayin’.”

Is a vasectomy reversible?
My urologist tells me than I should consider this irreversible. Yes, you can do a surgery to reverse it, but it’s very expensive, not covered by insurance, and is only successful in 50-75% of cases. Meanwhile, “successful” means your semen will have sperm in it, but not necessarily very much, and as much trouble as people seem to be having conceiving these days, you’ve got no guarantees. I read one horror story on the Internet of a couple who did the reversal surgery, tried in vain to get pregnant, did the in vitro route, still to no avail, and ended up adopting.

What should I tell my friends?
What’s the point of being a guy if you can’t mention your idea frankly and even perhaps crassly to your friends? I had this experience several times: I would mention to a friend, “Hey, I think I’m gonna get snipped,” and he’d seem aghast, at a loss for words. Like this is a scandal, or it’s something really tasteless to bring up. The first couple times I wrote this off, but after the third time I had to ask myself, is this one of those things you just don’t talk about? Most of my friends are around forty and already have kids, so you’d think they’d be interested. But none of them offered the feedback I was interested in; the typical response was some equivalent of “Damn, dude.” So in making up my mind I had to make do with the anonymous Parents’ Network and what I’d heard from the couple of friends I have who’ve had vasectomies.

When I told my brother I’d made the appointment, I finally got an appropriate response: “Wow, you’re getting neutered?” This emboldened me enough to ditch even the “snipped” euphemism when I announced my plan to my best friend, who happens to be an MD. I said, “Guess what? I’ve made an appointment to have my balls cut off and fed to me!” Without missing a beat, he replied, “Ah, taking your boys out of the game, huh?” At last.

The Pre-Consultation

Is there a lot of red tape?

California state law requires a “cooling-off period,” meaning you have to have a pre-consultation visit with the urologist, and then wait some number of days before getting the surgery itself. As my doctor explained to me, this is to keep a guy from having a big fight with his wife and running right out and getting snipped. Seems like a crazy scenario, but I guess it happens. What would he say to his wife? Would he run home, show her the gauze, and say, “How you like me now, beyotch? No babies for you! Hahahahaha!”

I gather that the other reason for the pre-consultation is so they can find out what ailments you may have that you weren’t previously aware of. I had to fill out this monster questionnaire that I realized by the end was all about my prostate. It was like a laundry list of what I have to look forward to in old age: “How many times do you urinate during the night? Do you have trouble starting the flow? Do you have trouble stopping the flow? Is your flow intermittent? Does it take you a very long time to urinate? Do you feel burning sensations?” And on and on.

Will I have to cough, etc.?

Then, I was led to an examination room. “You here for a vas con?” the nurse asked. Vas con. Sounds like a trade show for nerds. I was tempted to tell the nurse, “You know, this may be routine for you, but this is my scrotum were talking about here, okay?” The doctor came in and said, “I’m going to palpate the area now to make sure there are no surprises on the day of the procedure.” This is shorthand for “I’m going to play with your balls now.” The strict, car-mechanic-like detachment doctors have must be taught to them in med school, and really, this was no big deal.

A bit of advice: though you may be dazed by the vas con experience, don’t forget to ask the doctor how long it will be until you can have sex again after the procedure. I did forget to ask, and my wife wasn’t pleased. How could you not ask? her eyes seemed to say. Though sheepish, I was also flattered, I have to say.

The Preparation

What do I wear to a vasectomy?
After the vas con I was given a list of instructions. I scanned it quickly to see what I had to do short-term. Were there forms I had to file with the State of California? There were not. But it did say this: “Wear a pair of jockey-type shorts to the procedure. Afterwards, bandages will be held in place with your shorts rather than with tape.” Gulp. Bandages? Down there? I must have understood this would be required, but now it was sinking in.

And then there’s the matter of the jockey-type shorts themselves. I’m sure this wouldn’t bother a lot of men, and in fact I’m aware (though I try not to think about this) that there are men who wear these all the time. I myself gave up on them in college. Near the end of my sophomore year, I still hadn’t ever had sex. I didn’t understand it: I was at the University of California at Santa Barbara, so there was no shortage of attractive women, and I wasn’t a bad-looking guy, yet I seemed to be one of the few people there who wasn’t getting any. My roommate was another, and we had a bet going—$10 to the first guy who got laid before the end of the year—and time was running out. So I finally decided the problem was my juvenile choice of underwear.

I’d been wearing the same style of Hanes briefs since I was a child, and they suddenly seemed wrong. I’d heard the virtues of boxers extolled, most famously by a guy at the bike shop who used to bellow out, “Raulo likes his freedom!” Not that any girl had seen my briefs and thrown me out or anything; it just seemed they were interfering with my mojo. So I went out and bought a three-pack of boxer shorts, and it was like magic! Within three days, I’d had sex, with a really pretty blonde girl whom I’d known for months and who went from mere acquaintance to sticking her tongue in my ear in 2.9 seconds once I had the right underwear. I still remember the checkered boxers I’d worn that night, which of course became my lucky boxers, my absolute favorites, until I had to sadly retire them years later. And from the day I donned that first pair of boxers, I’d never stepped into a pair of briefs again. What if the curse returned?

Do I really have to shave down there?

The next item on my Pre-Op instruction sheet, which I tried to push out of my mind until the night before, was this: “Shave the scrotum the evening before the procedure. The easiest and painless way to do the shave is a dry shave with a common Tract II type razor.” My close relationship with words tempts me to equivocate on “shave the scrotum.” I guess they couldn't bring themselves to actually say "shave your scrotum" so they abstracted it—shave the scrotum, like it's some generalized idea, like the national scrotum, not that very specific tender dangling sack between my legs. Moving on to “painless,” we stumble into the contemporary literary theory concept of signs, that says you cannot say one thing without also implying its opposite. Nobody ever says that, say, lunch is painless. Of course it’s painless, the concept of pain never crosses the mind. To say painless here is really to suggest that it could be painless. Yeah, right. Since when is dry-shaving painless? How could it be? Tobias Wolff, in a work of fiction, conveys the sheer cruelty of an army sergeant by recounting how he punished an insubordinate soldier by making him dry-shave. His face.

The doctor, meanwhile, had recommended using an electric razor, and it happens I have one. I bought it last summer when I had a dislocated shoulder and couldn’t shave right-handed. The problem is, it didn’t work. My seven-year-old had watched me for some time trying to shave with it one morning and finally asked, “Daddy, what is that thing?” I said it was a razor. She watched a bit longer and said, “It isn’t doing anything.” It was in fact so ineffective I gave up and grew a beard, which I kept until I could use a real razor again.

But what could I do now? I wasn’t about to dry-shave my balls with a 25-cent Bic. So the night before the surgery, I procrastinated until the bitter end. First I cleaned up the cat feces from the carpet. It was my fault, after all, because I forgot to empty the cat box on the last garbage day. Misha is a good cat—she never normally does this—but she’d evidently decided her cat box was too gross to set foot in, and this was her little retaliation. So I scraped that up, to the sound of opera, which my wife was playing really loudly, as though instinctively punishing the cat and me both. I put on headphones and took out the cat box.

Actually, this last chore had taken on symbolic significance, because one of my goals for the vasectomy would be getting out of having to do this every week. See, my wife had hit upon the perfect excuse to never clean out the cat box: because we use a notoriously ineffective form of birth control (pull-and-pray, and I’m not even a religious man), chances are theoretically good that at any given time she’s pregnant, and thus can’t be exposed to toxoplasmosis, which is supposedly rampant in cat boxes. (I’ve thought about having her do the cat box during the brief period each month when she’s obviously not pregnant, but after almost fifteen years of marriage I’ve learned to pick my battles.) What a drag. As if the opera weren’t bad enough, my iPod Shuffle’s choice of music was Coldplay. This isn’t good theme music for contemplating a vasectomy, much less for cleaning the cat box beforehand. As I fished turds out of the litter with a spatula and scraped thick clumps off the side of the box, the rather effete Chris Martin crooned, “God gave me style, God gave me grace.”

Finally there was no more stalling. I put fresh batteries in my worthless razor and grimly took up the challenge. For a long time absolutely nothing happened except it would occasionally catch a hair and rip it out painfully. Finally I switched to the sideburn trimmer, which over an agonizingly long duration did manage to make some headway, like a drunken gardener driving a rider mower at night. A tiny pile of trimmings eventually accumulated on the toilet seat lid. Finally I switched to the main foil blade, and after sawing back and forth for about twenty minutes had things somewhat smooth. A bit of advice: don’t ever spend this much time staring at your scrotum. I was totally disgusted. It looked like a plucked chicken, or more specifically like a plucked chicken’s Adam’s apple if a chicken had an Adam’s apple, or actually if a chicken had two Adam’s apples. Thoroughly demoralized, and with the worst case of razor burn I’ve ever had, comparable in discomfort only to the one time I ever tried jerking off with shampoo, I put on my new briefs.

I reviewed the pre-op instructions one more time and realized that the prohibition against aspirin or ibuprofen the day before the operation was actually for a week before the operation. I’d had Advil the previous day. I wondered how serious this was. “This may interfere with blood clotting,” it said. What to do? I finally decided to take my chances, because no way was I waiting a week and then re-shaving my scrotum. I’d rather bleed to death.

The Procedure
Will I get stage fright?
I made sure I arrived at the doctor’s office early: I wasn’t about to do anything to get on his bad side. Now, I’m not a wuss when it comes to medical stuff—I have my cavities filled without Novocain—but I’ll admit I was pretty nervous. There’s just something about a man having your testicles in his hand that gives you an elemental feeling of vulnerability. (There’s a reason, after all, that the cliché is “he’s got you by the balls.”) After my short purgatory in the waiting room, a nurse led me down to the procedure room and instructed me to undress from the waist down and have a seat. This took me about ten seconds, after which I waited around for some ten minutes with nothing to read.

My orthopedic surgeon’s office has a soothing Ansel Adams print on the wall, but all there was here was a big poster of urological pathologies. Health class was bad enough with its pictures of how everything works; this was even worse, and yet my mind yearned for something to apply itself to, to distract itself from the dread of the looming procedure. I pondered the pictures of various urinary tract stones: mulberries, gravel, and the aptly named jackstones (they look like children’s toy jacks), with the ominous subtext “shown actual size.” At that point I couldn’t take it anymore and turned my attention to the one electric instrument in the office.

It wasn’t the kind of sleek, modern instrument that gives you faith in modern medicine. It was pea-soup yellow, looking almost Russian, more institutional than anything elegant like a modern cell phone. It was a ConMed Hyfrecator. My first thought was to worry that ConMed was a swords-to-plowshares program to get prison inmates building medical instruments. Then I wondered what on earth a Hyfrecator could possibly do. It had a sticker on it warning that it could explode, and not to use it with oxygen-based anesthesia systems. Great.

Will my candy striper fantasies be realized?

Presently the nurse returned, reclined me onto my back, and breezily asked, “Did you shave for us this morning?” I couldn’t believe it. I thought to myself, “You mean I could have skipped my whole ordeal, and you’d just take up the slack?” Great. I said that I’d done the best I could. She took a look and said, “Needs a bit more.” So she proceeded to, yes, dry-shave me with a 25-cent Bic. And if you’re instinctively turning this into an erotic fantasy, just stop. She was a grandmother, and the sensation was about like having the underside of your tongue sanded with 25-grit sandpaper, except on your balls. My poor scrotum was burning like crazy afterward; I thought I could even see it glow.

Then the nurse started running water in the sink. “I hate to waste water, but it’s got to get good and hot so I can make everything open up,” she said. By “everything” she meant of course my scrotum, and by “open up” she meant sag down out of its humble, shriveled, defensive crouch. Never before had this part of my anatomy, already the most hapless and unattractive appendage on my entire body, been so abused.

The nurse arranged towels around my groin until it the entire area was reduced to the pink-red scrotum shrouded in white, like a sunburned toad poking out of a field of freshly fallen snow. Then she arranged all the tools on a stainless steel tray, suspended by an articulated arm above. After she left to fetch the doctor, I sat up a bit and surveyed the tray. It could have been assembled in the thirteenth century: six or seven pairs of scissors; a length of coarse thread; piles of gauze. It took a minute to recognize the scalpel, which was sheathed in plastic but appeared to be pretty much an X-Acto knife. I guess I should have expected this, but dammit, this is America! I want lasers and other high-tech stuff! I want ultrasound, I want digital readouts! I realized that this surgeon—for this procedure, anyway—was nothing but a very clever butcher, who was going to cut into my scrotum, snip away at my stuff with scissors, and then sew it back up with a needle and thread like he’s repairing a ripped pair of pants! I lay back down and stared at the ceiling.

As I lay there waiting—the lights went out. A dozen humming machines throughout the office, that I'd not consciously noticed before, went silent. A subtle buzz of human activity ceased while the office seemed to hold its collective breath, waiting for the power to come back on. So, what causes a power outage? In New York City in the summer you get brown-out during a heat wave, but in the cool Bay Area in October? Only one possibility loomed large: earthquake. And here I was, flat on my back, swaddled in towels, my clothes across the room. Immediately I contemplated having to reschedule my appointment and thus re-dry-shave my balls, and for the first time I was really scared. After another minute, to my great relief, everything came back on again.

Will the procedure hurt?
The doctor arrived. He didn’t look distracted or angry or anything, which was a big relief. I warned him that my body seems to metabolize Novocain very quickly, and that the last two times I’d gotten stitches it wore off too soon and I could feel everything. He cheerfully told me to let him know if it started to hurt and he’d give me some more numbing medicine. Then he got right to work. “You’ll feel a sharp pain, which is the needle, and then a burn, as the medicine goes in,” he said. Boy, did I ever. The sharp pain was really acute, unlike any needle I’ve been stuck with before, probably due to the location. The medicine going in didn’t really burn, per se; actually, it felt a lot like I was being punched really hard in the stomach. It seemed he administered this three times on the right side, and then I felt something really jarring that caused my whole body to flinch, and I may have even yelped. “You okay?” the doctor asked. “You’ll feel a tug now. I’ve got your vas.”

Never have a man’s words had such impact. The dude had my vas! Right there, in his hands! At that moment I was thoroughly vanquished, utterly vulnerable, defenseless. He owned me. Oh, you can get a man’s goat, you can beat him in a race, you can outshine, outgun, outperform him, school him, shame him. But until a man’s got your vas, you don’t know the meaning of humility. If I could have talked, I’d have said, “I only hope you’ll do the right thing with it.”

I stared at the ceiling. It was a good ceiling for staring at. It was more modern than those awful cottage-cheese ceilings of the seventies, but it wasn’t exactly the gold-leaf hardwood-inlaid ceiling of the Carnelian Room. It looked like they took plain, smooth sheet rock and bead-blasted it, or like a woodpecker had worked it over, or maybe it had an beetle infestation like trees get. Absolutely no pattern to latch onto, just a totally random cosmos of holes to trace, my reeling mind working to identify constellations as I tried to forget that a man had my vas and would soon be going at my scrotum with needle and thread. The doctor worked quietly, and from the next room I heard somebody say, “It’s been an intense burning pain for about a month.” I began to daydream: sort of a reverse Walter Mitty scenario that ultimately ended with the doctor suddenly saying, “Nurse, he’s hemorrhaging! Check the pulse! We’re losing him!

I was yanked out of my reverie by this awful burning smell, like when you get your hand too close to a flame and singe the hairs. What could that be? I bit my lip and stared harder at the ceiling. Surely the doctor would notice if the Hyfrecator were acting up? Eventually the smell went away, and the doctor said calmly, “That’s one side, now I’ll go to the other.” Again with the sharp needle stabs, again with the stomach-punching thumps of the medicine going in. More tugging. More ceiling-staring. He did work quickly; within minutes I was smelling the burning stench again, this time even worse. I almost gagged. The doctor looked up. “You okay?” I asked what the smell was. “Oh, that’s the vas being cauterized. After cutting it, I put stainless steel clips on the ends to keep them from reattaching, and as a further measure I cauterize the ends.” And thus was the mystery of the ConMed Hyfrecator solved.

And just like that, he was done. The whole thing couldn’t have taken him more than fifteen minutes. The nurse cleaned up a bit, put some gauze on there, invited me to get dressed, and left. I looked down, saw a lot of gauze and some blood, and that was enough—I stood and stepped into my briefs without another look. I just don’t want to see what’s down there. I finished dressing and the doctor returned and said, “Here’s your goody-bag.” He said something about the follow-up, where I submit semen samples to a lab, and said something about them needing twenty-five ejaculates. Now, normally I’d be tempted to have some fun with him by saying, “Uh, how do I get those … ejaculates?” He’d say, “Uh, you know … masturbation.” To which I’d reply, “Um … I don't know how.” I mean, here was the perfect chance for a harmless prank, to fully put to rest the ridiculous notion that there is a single man alive who doesn’t spank the monkey, despite entire generations of men pretending to know nothing of it, and yet I didn’t seize the opportunity. I was in such a daze I didn’t fully parse the “twenty-five ejaculates” phrase and puzzled for days afterward about whether I’d heard him right.

The Follow-Up

How long until things get good?
When I got around to reviewing the written instructions I found they were not really clear, other than to say I needed to collect the semen sample in the sterilized cup provided, keep the sample warm, and have it to the lab within thirty minutes of ejaculating. And I was to do this without lotion, because lotion can kill any remaining sperm and destroy the sample. So let me get this straight: after having dry-shaved my scrotum, now I was supposed to somehow jerk off without any lubrication, up to twenty-five times? Were they trying to kill me? How on earth was I supposed to do that?

And yet I knew I’d bother to go through this process, because there are two failure modes for the vasectomy. One, the doctor could somehow fail to totally dismantle the vas deferens and I could still somehow be hooked up. Two, the existing sperm can somehow hang around the sidelines, evidently for a very long time, and leap into action as needed, with their plucky, single-minded, utterly relentless quest for the egg. So for four months and/or twenty-five semen samples, I was still on the hook for contraception.

For about a week after the procedure, I used the Religious Right method of birth control: abstinence. For once, this actually made sense, because my balls were sore and my scrotal stitches itched like crazy and I was wearing these briefs that totally hosed my mojo. I started to complain about all this to my wife, and then I just stopped: after all, this was the woman who bore me two children. And throughout both pregnancies, whenever she complained about sore feet or sore hips or a sore back or an inability to breathe, I’d respond, “If it’s any consolation, I feel great!” It would have been a very, very bad idea for me to go looking for any sympathy after all of that. The good news is, the big bloody scrotal gashes really do heal quickly. Once I was back in boxers again, my mojo came back with a quickness.

Is the follow-up straightforward?
In the end, I couldn’t bring myself to count my ejaculations, because that option wasn’t documented on my otherwise intricately detailed instruction sheet and I’m easily blond enough to screw this up. So after four final months of birth control (okay, just shy of that, as my patience wore out in the end), I found a nearby lab (“next to the bowling alley,” the receptionist said) and one morning before work I, uh, prepared my sample. I tucked the sterile specimen cup in a shirt pocket, put a heavy jacket over it, and headed out to the car.

Half an hour is really plenty of time, but I was just so nervous about my sample going too long and having to repeat the process. I made it to the bowling alley and turned up a side street. I’d been nervous about finding parking, but there were gobs of spaces—an eerily large selection, in fact. Curses: street cleaning! I drove around the back of the bowling alley lot only to find it didn’t go through to the lab, which, come to think of it, I hadn’t actually found yet. I drove up and down the streets cursing, finally finding the place and managing to park only a few blocks away. I raced to the lobby, only to find a line ahead of me. I fidgeted for an eternity, like a guy who has to pee real bad, before I finally got to the counter. “I have a, uh, time-sensitive sample,” I said. The lady at the counter looked at me like I was crazy.

I explained that I was dropping off a semen sample for post-vasectomy analysis and I’d been told I only had half an hour to get my sample tested. The lady spied the instruction sheet, which I clutched in my hand like a passport. “Let me see that,” she snapped. She looked it over like an exasperated teacher scanning her worst student’s term paper. “I don’t know what this is about,” she said. “We don’t even send these samples out until the evening.”

I dropped the semen off anyway, wondering how many failed vasectomies resulted in new souls walking the earth due to a faulty lab protocol, and then a couple days later called my doctor and left a voice-mail asking how the lab sample came out. He called back a day later and breezily said, “Okay, you’re good to go. The results were negative. There was no sperm in your sample. You can have all the unprotected sex you want now.” Something about this last bit suggested a libertine life of promiscuous sexual abandon, but I got his point. I’m sure he tires of rephrasing his declaration to men who need to hear it a dozen ways to make totally sure they’ve not heard him wrong. I told him about the delay in the lab’s processing of my sample, and he assured me it was fine. “We have one sheet for both post-vasectomy and sperm-count tests,” he explained. “In the one case they’re looking for sperm, and the other they’re trying to see how well they swim. I guess maybe we should have two different handouts.” You think?

Unexpectedly, I got another follow-up call the next day, this time from a member of the office staff. Evidently she wasn’t aware I’d already gotten the test results. And unlike the doctor, she seemed pretty uncomfortable saying what she had to say, and flubbed her lines gloriously: “The test was negative, so, uh, it’s okay for you to, uh … go without the protective sex.” Having spoken with the doctor, I saw no need to quibble. “Okay, thanks, bye!” I said. Between you and me, I’m going to go ahead with the protective sex. I think I’ve earned it.
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  1. 'Chronic scrotal pain severe enough to interfere with quality of life occurs in 1-2% of
    men after vasectomy. Medical or surgical therapy is usually, but not always, effective
    in improving this chronic pain. Few men require surgical treatment for chronic scrotal
    pain that may occur after vasectomy.
    The AUA also notes that little scientific research has been done about post
    vasectomy pain.

  2. Just had mine done two days swelling and no pain but it feels like...I know something is diff down there. I didnt use ice but I sat still on my pills. Everything was just like he stated, it doesn't hurt but its a feeling that your body never felt,,, highy recommended if you dont want more bills...all of that other stuff lol