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Mid- and Post-Vasectomy Thoughts
Happy Not A Father’s Day! 🥳
I delayed writing for a bit because I’ve had such low energy lately. My iPad’s keyboard attachment hasn’t been connecting reliably, and I also suddenly lost my job at the end of February.
Not much to say. We agreed to part ways; I wasn’t laid off, but I think it would be considered constructive dismissal. Day of, I was advised to go home and rest, take care of myself, all that good stuff, and then I applied for like 40 positions by bedtime. Found a new position after three weeks. Quite the rollercoaster of emotions. On the very bright side, this job is easily the best fit I've ever had. I was torn between finding something quickly and one that I could work in long-term, and I’m happy I took the time to find the right one as it’s paid off immensely in short order.
The whole transition was a shock to the system. First time in 13 years of working where a recruiter found me. My three- to five-year plan of moving into hardware engineering got sped up. I still plan on taking the scenic route, working closer to the factory floor and gradually moving closer to a design position. I’m working every day in the office, but it works out since I get to work a lot more with my hands instead of sitting and typing all day. That ends the chapter of my career where I work with customers directly. The world is trending towards more remote work, but that’s not practical for my career path of hardware. I’ve done enough years of remote work and staying at home, both recently during the pandemic and in years past pre-COVID, so I’m happy to have a more regular routine in the office. I don’t think the kitties will miss me playing loud music during their six-hour afternoon nap, but they do seem to miss the belly rubs.
I already shared my Pre-Vasectomy Thoughts. I’m back to finally follow up. As you can imagine, I’ll get into some of the sensitive details, but I’ll (try to) be mature about it. It actually feels so long ago, and I didn’t even really consider it as part of my daily existence after about three weeks. However, it’s been on my mind just as a matter of closing the loop, so I’d like to get it off my chest and out of my head. My three-month anniversary came around recently, and as part of the whole procedure, I sent in a sperm sample to see if it really worked. Now that I’m mostly recovered from the job swap, as evidenced by the resumption of the involuntary physical processing of old emotional wounds, it’s time I got back to writing, which has usually been the best way to treat this aching pain in my chest.
IntraMed Medical Clinic sits in a very unassuming building, which was clearly an old residential home converted into a medical office. There was a little seating area with one other person already waiting, and there was a sign that said we weren’t allowed to use our phones. lolk. I waited for a few minutes, and then I was brought into an office where I was given some forms to sign and some documentation with more detailed background information than what was on the website.
There was an odd portion where they mentioned that your testes would remain intact and that you wouldn’t turn into a girl. Feels tone deaf for the times, but I figure it could also be a common comment from patients. Also not allowed to have sex or to ejaculate for a week following. Freezing sperm costs something like $450, which seems like a decent form of insurance if you weren’t 100% sure you didn’t want to conceive, but I was sure. The info packet also covered topics like chances of something going wrong with the procedure, such as infection or other reactions, but they all seemed really low. 1 chance in several thousand. Sometimes the vasectomy even reverses itself, which seems miraculous but also within the realm of possibility of what the human body is capable of. Reversing the vasectomy apparently costs $7000(!!), and it’s not always successful. Seems like a high price if you really want to conceive.
I signed the paperwork, and after a few minutes, Dr. Cross came in. He had to run downstairs for another procedure before mine, so he wanted to do my final questionnaire before that. He asked if I don’t want kids, and I said yes. Also asked if I never wanted kids, and I said yes since I didn’t feel like explaining the situation yet again. He asked if I had any recent surgeries, any reactions to medications or anesthesia, if I was in good health. He checked my (anti-)family jewels and I went to the operating room, which was probably a converted bedroom.
Waited some more, and then a male nurse came in to get me prepped. When my appointment was booked, they said that I needed to shave a particular section of the area two days before the operation. I opted for the male Brazilian, which is criminally somehow not called the Bro-zilian or Bruh-zilian. Apparently I’m a glutton for punishment.
Laid down again. Nurse looked at the area and said “Very nice.” Not too sure what that was referring to. Iodine to disinfect the area. Wrapped an elastic band around my trunk and tied it to my t-shirt to keep it out of the way. Waited a little while until the doctor came in, and then the small talk. Asked if I was ready. Yup.
“Did you drive here by yourself?”
“Are you going to drive yourself home afterwards?”
“Also yes. I thought about bringing someone for emotional support, but I think I’ll just livestream it on TikTok for the likes instead.”
*no laughter from the doctor or nurse*
Paid for the Premium Package for my Premium Package, which included a local anesthetic. The paperwork said it would feel like an elastic band snapping against the skin, which was about right. One on each side. Waited a short while for the numbing to spread.
The doctor narrated while he worked. Making an incision the size of a ballpoint pen’s tip. Pulling out the vas deferens. Snip. Cauterizing, smoke filling the air. (The last time I smelled something so unique was when I got my laser eye surgery.) Sewing the freshly cut bottom half of the vas deferens into the scrotal wall. Then repeating on the other side.
Nurse cleaned me up again, and Dr. Cross bid me farewell. Probably off to operate on the guy I was waiting with in the seating area. I removed the elastic band, and pulled my pants up and shirt down. Carefully sat up and waddled over to the desk to go over care instructions once I got home. Wasn’t painful yet, but didn’t want to introduce unnecessary complications. The nurse offered to get me any snacks I wanted to help my body to recover. Ginger Ale, Coca-Cola, Pringles. They hilariously gave me “Dad’s Oatmeal Cookies,” and I later pinned the empty wrapper to the fridge door. Extra Strength Tylenol/acetaminophen every hour for the first day, and add in ibuprofen every four to six hours starting the next day, all conveniently separated into small Ziploc bags. They reminded me that I had Dr. Cross’s phone number to call or text if I had an emergency or any questions about the healing process. Showed me the bag which had a bottle for the sperm sample I needed to send to the lab after three months to verify if the vasectomy worked. I would need to ejaculate 25-30 times within the three months, and I would need to abstain for three days before collecting the sample. It needed to be delivered within an hour of collection and kept at body temperature, by putting the container into one’s front pants pocket, for example, while driving to the lab.
Finally, I was given a Post-It note that said “20 minutes” to give to the receptionists as a secret code to indicate how much time I needed to wait around before leaving. I played on my phone despite the sign that forbade it. Mostly doom scrolling Reddit. Timer buzzed me, and then I drove home.
The first day was the worst. I was technically allowed to move around, but it was strongly discouraged for the first week, which was also the worst. For some reason I didn’t take time off work, and I probably should have even thought I was working from home. Couldn’t really come up with a good reason why beyond stubbornness and pride. Oh well, I got my vacation paid out after they let me go. I still read and wrote emails for customers and kept everything the same minus the mandatory days in the office. Rotated multiple ice packs to manage swelling. Waddled around the condo. Wasn’t allowed to have sex or masturbate for the first week, and from the second to third week, I still moved slow but mostly back to normal. Recovered fully after the third week and didn’t really give it much thought until I had to send in my sperm sample.
Just got my results back Friday, and downloaded it from Alberta’s MyHealth medical records service. Looks like it worked!
People had interesting reactions hearing about the vasectomy. Some men even winced at the mere mention of it. Told me to stop talking after sharing that I got a Bruhzilian. Seems like most guys are happy to leave the non-condom birth control labour to their female partners. Also sounds like IUDs are common and painful, yet anaesthesia is limited to strong non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Shame. I think every guy that doesn’t want children should get a vasectomy, but good luck getting past that male fragility.
Some of the reading I did on sexuality discussed new research on how the brain, the biggest sex organ, plays its part in libido; Come as You Are by Emily Nagoski has interesting new information. Everyone has a set of accelerators and brakes, like on a car. In the immediate aftermath of the US repealing Roe v. Wade, which protected American women’s access to abortion, some guys apparently found success on dating apps by setting their profiles to simply say “I had a vasectomy.” Getting the desired test results has been an accelerator for me. The thought of accidentally conceiving was one of my brakes, so the vasectomy was a double whammy in boosting my sex drive. Didn’t expect that. I’m all about simultaneously maximizing effectiveness and efficiency, so the vasectomy made perfect sense for me. Highly recommended. Would do again.
My only regret was paying the $200 to bypass the queue in the public system. I could have waited until the fall, but I used my class privilege to access the two-tier healthcare. I have a list of reasons that only reaches the level of excuses for doing a not-nice thing as a social activist. If I had it my way, the universal healthcare system would have far more funding than it does now to preclude such wait times. Let’s see how the next provincial election turns out and whether the voting public decides to act against its own interests. My decision to get the vasectomy and to write about it was in solidarity with women amidst the current environment of birth control options, so while I’ve helped women, I’ve worked against the average Citizen in Alberta and Canada. Not sure where the chips lie in the end, but it is what it is.
There was a lot more suspense around the vasectomy than I thought was necessary, at least in my case. Much like the very personal and odd way that I chose to get laser eye surgery, it was a minor pain in the short run but major relief in the end. Nobody needs to get a Bruhzilian, but I also find that that high level of pain is worth the comfort compared to shaving my downstairs. Laser hair removal is probably the better option, but it currently seems rather expensive, requiring quite a few sessions to get the best results.
Alas, I have finally discharged my duty to follow up on the vasectomy. Like I said earlier, I haven’t exactly thought much about it since it happened, and writing this post was probably a heavier weight on me than the actual surgery. I’ll say again, every man who doesn’t want to conceive a child should get a vasectomy, whenever they have a few weeks to write off for the recovery. (Not medical advice, so talk to your doctor.) The pros and cons for most dudes is probably one-sided in favour of it, except with the main con being that toxic masculinity has most guys feeling squeamish or sensitive about their “manhood.” Feminism is for everybody, including men, where the patriarchy seeks to control everyone’s minds and bodies using shame and fear to prevent equity for all. Conservatism teaches that men who enjoy body autonomy get to decide that women should not, with one flip-side of restricting access to abortion being to force men to get the snip — removing a person’s right to choose. One side enjoys the privilege of controlling their bodies while denying the other the same liberty.
If sexually active men with no intention of conceiving want to take real action towards equality for all, get a vasectomy. I got one, and I’m pretty happy with the results.