I have never been accused of being introspective. In fact, an old girlfriend once spat that I was so shallow my deepest thoughts would boost a rain puddle’s self-esteem. But, as I grew older while resisting growing up, I seem to mature against my will. I began to contemplate that triple crown of navel-gazing: life, death and destiny. Looking at the path my life had taken, and the ill-defined two-track I could see ahead of me, I made what may very well have been my first independent adult decision:
I decided to have a vasectomy.
Once I got over the voluntary-emascualtion hurdle, the rationalizing was pretty straightforward. I'm married, pushing forty, have all the kids I want (or need), so I told my wife that for her birthday, I'd give her something different- the gift that does NOT keep on giving. It was a win/win equation. She was overjoyed at the prospect of no more birth control pills, and I earned some selfless-sensitive-guy points.
(Yep, I got me some happy-sex that night.)
So, we go see the family doctor, who refers us to the surgeon, (note the plurals here- once I made this decision, my wife decided to become an active participant in this mission. More on that later). The cutter examines me, and after mumbling something about needing to special order some heavy duty tools to handle my oversized balls, sets the date, and issues some instructions: I have to defoliate the battlefield and not drink or eat anything before the surgery.
The stage is set, all lights are green, we are past the point of no return. As my wife explained to me, if I get cold feet about this undertaking from this moment forward, she ...
I mentioned that she was overjoyed about my heroic offer to undergo this procedure, right?
I will take overjoyed over homicidally unhappy every time.
Our mission commitment is now total.
Okay, so fast-forward two weeks- it's the night before the operation, and I am standing in the john trying to figure out how the hell I am going to mow the lawn down under. I've got a razor, shaving cream and a mirror and I realize that with my level of skill and coordination, there is a good chance that I would need an operation of a different sort the next day. After weighing all the options, I made the call.
"Honey? Uh, a little help here?"
I quickly do a mental review of my actions in recent memory, checking whether I had committed any transgressions that might put me in jeopardy with my wife wielding a razor in the general vicinity of the twig and berries:
"Okay, been pretty good about putting the toilet seat down, not leaving an empty toilet paper tube on the hanger, haven't made any PMS cracks lately. I should be safe."
Still, I thought there was a strange gleam in her eye and she was smiling a little too much as she went to work, but I came through the process intact, so I might have been mistaken.
Dignity has now officially taken a backseat to accomplishing the mission.
The next morning I pull on some clean underwear and sweatpants, and we head to the hospital. I check in, get the ID wristband clamped on, and a nurse hands me a cup and asks me for "a sample."
I step into the washroom and notice the lack of magazines or other er, mood-inducing material. No problem, I shrug to myself, I can handle this a capella.
I come out of the john and hand the nurse the full cup. She looks at the cup, looks at me, looks at the cup again and says "I meant a URINE sample."
We get the whole sample issue straightened out, and then the pre-game show is over. It's time to step up. I'm expecting to be sent to an operating room- heart monitors, life-support equipment, big lights, lots of beeping and bling. Instead, I end up in an examining room... with my wife alongside!
Waitamminnit. Hold the phone.
"You're, uh, going to stick around?"
"You don't have to, you know. You could, you know, sit in the waiting room, maybe read a magazine or something."
"Nope. You're lucky I didn't bring the camera."
Ah, what the hell- not like she hasn't seen it before.
While I am still wrapping my head around the concept of the mission now having an observer along for the ride, the doctor comes in. As he's rummaging around in what I swear was a Snap-On roller cabinet, he throws a command over his shoulder in a thick Hungarian accent: "Take off your cloze, und lay down."
I comply and realize that not only has dignity been sacrificed to the mission, but dignity has apparently bought a one way ticket to anywhere but here. The doc proceeds to drape me in sterile shop rags, and lays out all the utensils of the trade on my thighs. He tells me, "I am goink to uze you as a verkbench."
Great, doc. Just don't get carried away and bolt on a vice and a drill press, okay?
He then hands me a vial of local anaesthetic and tells me to hold it upside down as he fills a syringe that, from my perspective, looked as big as a Saturn rocket, with a tip large enough to handle small mining operations.
The rational part of my brain was telling me, "you know it's just a small needle. No big deal."
Then the doc grabbed my sack and stuck that needle in me.
At which point, the other 99% of my brain screamed, "FUCK YOU, RATIONAL PART!"
Three seconds later I was numb from my nipples to my knees. Damn, that shit WORKS.
So far, so good. I haven't passed out or had a heart attack, the pain hasn't been too bad...
And then the doc turns to my wife and says, "I may haf to ask you to azzizt me.'
Oh, hellll, no!
My wife tells the doc "no problem. this stuff fascinates me. I think this is really..."
The doc picks up a scalpel and makes the first cut.
She turns white as a ghost, and decides that sitting down and turning away is in her best interest. No more talk of assisting after that.
From there, all goes smoothly- some snips, some tugs, some stitches, all done. No real pain. Time to get dressed and go home.
But not quite.
The doc has one last little item, just in case any dignity remained. He hands me a big wad of sterile gauze that looks like an airline pillow, and says, "put thees in your undervear for de ride home, in caze uf bleedink."
My wife chortles, "Ha! you have to wear a pad!!!"
So far, thanks to regular and copious doses of Tylenol 3 (which I highly recommend), the pain hasn't been too bad. Just sorta feels like a lingering punch to the lower stomach.
And now, my wife owes me. Oh boy, does she owe me.