vasectomy experiences 2
The second part of John's vasectomy experience. A very honest and frank description.
In an effort to provide a platform for men to share experiences and to gain valuable information, we ran an article from dad, John, last month about his experiences around choosing to have a vasectomy (read here). In this second article John tells us about the procedure itself. It contains pretty graphic description of his feelings and we hope that they help others about to or having gone through the same procedure. Please leave your commnents at the end of the article - other men appreciate your views.
I've written before about how I decided to have a vasectomy. It wasn't an easy decision and I took a long time to make it. But I did finally book the appointment and from then on I was unable to face uttering the "V" word. It became "Daddy's Spa Day" and we used that term until after the op itself.
This post is for any guys wondering what's involved. I'm going to tell you the full unvarnished truth - not a sanitised PR version like you might expect your wife to tell you. What you'll find here is what really happened to me. It's not a horror story. Nothing particularly unusual or dramatic happens but it didn't all go exactly to plan either. You should know that - sometimes there are complications. Not always and not always bad ones but they *can* and *do* happen.
So let's skip to the part where I've not read the leaflet and I'm sat at the doctor's surgery (where my op is to be performed) waiting to have my vasectomy. I'm looking around trying to spot other men leaving the operating room. I expect them to be walking like John Wayne, clutching packets of frozen peas to their groin and twisting their faces into expressions of agony. I'm disappointed not to spot any. My heart is racing, though, and every time the "next patient" beeper sounds I jump and feel my blood pressure spike like someone just impaled me on a spear. I look around wondering if I'll be able to figure out which room to go to when it's my turn.
A lady walks into the waiting room and calls my name. No beep! And it looks like she's going to show me where to go. That's something at least. But then she introduces herself as the doctor and tells me she'll be performing the operation. A woman? Wow ok. I'm a grown-up. I can do this. She leads me to the room and making nervous conversation I tell her that I've been too much of a coward to read the leaflet. She sounds disapproving and when we arrive she take me through the potential side effects. Possible lumps you say? I didn't know about that. And possible on-going pain? Hmm. Oh and it's NOT reversible? Wow I thought they could splice it back together. Oh. Well. I guess I still want to go through with it. I still want to be a good dad and a mature adult, doing the right thing. Besides, they just tell you about possible side effects to cover themselves right? Those things hardly ever happen I bet. I sign the form.
Pull down my trousers and pants? Now? Oh, err ok. Right to my ankles.. lovely. Now I'm going to look like some kinda pervert. Get up on the bed/table thing? With my trousers around my ankles? Easier said than done but I manage somehow.. What's that? Un-tense my buttocks? Relax? You're kidding right? Give me valium lady or I'm planking. No chance of a boner at least. Thank god for that. WAY too scared and uncomfortable. Ok time for a little chat with the doc while she disinfects my privates with some kinda fluid. it's cold. I wonder if I should have shaved my pubes. Nobody told me to so I haven't. Doc isn't complaining so I guess I didn't need to.
"So, ah, doctor, I'm fine with needles - I can watch and everything. And I'm OK with blood too. But scalpels and knives give me the willies. No pun intended, sorry. Yeah so I'm going to be awake while you do this but it'd be great if I didn't see any actual blades ok?". So what's next? You're going to stick an anaesthetic needle into my scrotum? And that's going to hurt a bit you say? No shit. Let me just grab hold of the table. Really hard. Yes I'll relax my buttocks again in a minute. Just f*****g do… OW. Ok that did hurt. It's going off now. The doctor is telling me, "you're doing very well". What am I? 4 years old? Won't say anything, though. This lady is about to go near my nuts with a scalpel. Little pause while we wait for the anaesthetic to take effect.
Did I feel that? Did I feel what? That "sharp"? Oh I see. You mean you just cut my scrotum with a scalpel without telling me. Don't know how to feel about that but no I didn't feel it. Yes yes, thank you, I'm "doing very well". Biting my tongue again. Hey, I felt that! It wasn't pain as such. I felt tugging. Ow, now I do feel a little aching. Like a mini version of how it feels when you get kicked in the bollocks. Oh, that's because you're tugging on my testicle. Well I guess that's, uhh, OK then. Yes yes, I'm still "doing very well". Still biting my tongue.
I'm lying on the table talking to one of the nurses. There are 2 of them and the lady doctor. 3 women all staring at my dick. None of them seem amused at least. One is cheerful and chatting with me - no doubt trying to distract me. I engage in a little banter before asking the doctor to tell me what's going on down there. She tells me that she's made a single small incision under my penis and that now she's reaching for the tubes that come out of my testicles and tugging them towards the slit so that she can cut a small piece from each tube and then tie off the end. I ask if can see the bit of tube she's cut out. She shows me a small white piece of tube. There's a little blood on it - not much and it's about half a centimetre long and nearly as big around. No, no, I don't want to keep it thanks. Yes, yes, I'm still "doing very well". Can't stop myself this time, "Thanks, can I have a sticker?". Smile to let her know I'm just kidding around.
So this carries on for about 15 minutes. There's no *pain* but there is an occasional ache and I can feel the doctor moving things around inside my scrotum. At one point the doctor mentions to a nurse that there's a bleed and they stitch it. She tells me this isn't unusual. Then, of course, they stitch the original incision using dissolving thread. No stitches to remove later. Finally I'm invited to climb down and carefully pull up my trousers and pants. I thank the doctor and a nurse takes me next door to talk to me about pain relief.
The nurse tells me that I can alternate between paracetamol and ibuprofen every couple of hours and that I should consider taking the full dose for a couple of days at least. I venture that I'd heard 2 or 3 days recovery is normal and that perhaps I should reduce the dose after 2 days. She makes a face and suggests maybe just a little longer. She also suggests that I avoid baths for a couple of days but careful showers should be OK. Finally I am released and surprisingly pain free at this stage. I walk very carefully but there's little of the John Wayne about me so far.
A couple of hours later at home, on the other hand, and I'm sitting VERY carefully, keeping my legs wide apart to avoid squeezing or jostling anything. The anaesthetic has worn off and boy am I glad I've already started on the painkillers. This isn't intense pain of the sort you get when cut or mangled. It's mainly the ache of a boot to the nuts but there are also occasional winces of pain as the stitches catch or pull on fabric. And of course the wound is somewhat bloody and liable to stick to clothing. Nice.
This pain lasted for a solid three days, gradually improving but not enough to stop the painkillers. I try doing so once or twice and regret it. I find that tight underwear helps quite a bit. After nearly a week I have reduced the dose but I'm becoming concerned because, if anything, I have more pain now on the left side than I did after the operation. This is where my story diverges from the "norm". I've had an infection in the past in the tube that comes out of the testicle on my left side. And it seems that the vasectomy has brought it back. It's quite painful and I've also noticed that there seems to be a large swelling above my left testicle inside the scrotum. I later find a second smaller one behind my right testicle. So it's off to the emergency doctors with me and I'm prescribed strong antibiotics.
The antibiotics work a little and a few days later I was prescribed more antibiotics of a different sort. These cleared up the pain but not the lumps. They stopped feeling swollen but turned into hard lumps, still quite large but reducing in size until they're slightly smaller than the testicle itself.
And that's where I am right now - over 3 weeks after the vasectomy. I still have the lumps and very soon I'll go for an ultrasound to find out what they are. These could just be the lumps that I was warned might happen. They're a bit big for that but it's possible I'm stuck with them. And they have moved things around down there so that sometimes it's painful to sit down or stand up. I'm still not completely pain free.
I'm skimming past this last part because most likely this bit won't happen to you. But it serves to show that there CAN be complications after a vasectomy. It's not a trivial thing. Don't let anyone bully you into doing this by telling you how insignificant it is. It's not insignificant and it is permanent. Be sure you want to have it done and go in with your eyes open.
And good luck.
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