Friday, October 15, 2004

Sometimes the best thing to do ..

.. is to just start typing. Go with the stream of conciousness because if you starting thinking about what it is you want to say, nothing comes out right. Maybe it is the Extra Strength Tylenol, or maybe it is that I've had ice packs on my nether regions now for the better part of two days, but either way, I'm finding it difficult to find a coherent thread to string for you.

V-day came and went. The procedure was both more and less traumatic than I thought it would be. On the whole I feel I am much the same person as I was before and not in any significant way diminished. Which is, I think, appropriate.

Perhaps a little exposition would help:

On the Plus side: The doctor who performed the procedure was also the same doctor who circumcised Michael. He specializes in these two procedures - circumcisions and vasectomies - they are his entire practice. So I knew he was competent and I had been to his office before.

On the Minus side: I forgot that the nurses on his staff are all Filipinas. Oy vey! How would you feel if you had to drop your pants in front of your cousin?

My Real Cousins

On the Plus side: Dr. P's nurses were courteous, professional, and efficient. They had all the paperwork sorted out and offered me a pre-assembled "vasectomy kit" with everything I would need after the procedure: Extra Strength Tylenol tabs, Ibuprofen tabs, athletic supporter, gauze, antibiotic ointment, specimen jars (for the follow-up screening tests), and detailed instructions for how and when to use everything. It was a pretty good deal at $30 and saved one all the trouble of chasing around town for each item.

I supposed I ought not to have been so impressed, as they should have a pretty good idea of how men tick by now. Still, if you're going to get a man to read instructions about anything, this is very likely one of the few times in a man's life when he is most open to the concept.

On the Minus side: I forgot to shave the principal area where the procedure was to take place. Where was this instruction on the website?! The nurse at the front desk who asked me the question took this in with a straight face, but her demeanor cracked when she introduced me to the nurse who would be assisting the doctor. "This is G-, who will be assisting Dr. P. She LIKES shaving men!"

I must have looked shocked, because she quickly added, "I'm just kidding. It's just a joke. You looked like you needed to relax a bit." The other nurse just smiled a little and stepped around the corner - to prepare the examination room I guessed.

I laughed a litle self-consciously and decided to relax as she had suggested. I should hasten to mention that other than that moment they were exceptionally professional and matter of fact.

On the Plus side: They directed me to put on the athletic supporter before the procedure and pointed me to a nearby bathroom door where I could do this. I didn't quite understand this at first, but they later explained that I would not have to remove my pants or underwear either for the procedure because it would make things simpler afterwards if I could just pull up my underwear, supporter, and pants. Since bending post-op was not recommended, my shoes were to stay on as well.

On the Minus side: Even though the website mentioned that I would be able to drive myself home - since they were using local anaesthesia and not general - my dad had offered to drive me anyway, and I accepted, figuring that it was one less thing for me to worry about. He dropped me off in front of the building and went to park his Jeep. When I came out of the bathroom, my dad was sitting in the waiting room holding my "vasectomy kit". I looked at the nurses and I knew the jig was up.

On the Plus side: My nurse, G-, directed me into the operating room, and helped me get ready for the procedure. She explained about the pants and shoes and then got me up onto the operating table. She kept up a steady reassuring patter while she shaved me and for my part I pretended that I was sitting at the kitchen table talking to my cousin about my children and why I wasn't teaching them Tagalog. She thought it was marvelous that my dad had come along and was being supportive.

My guess is (Gail or some of my real cousins who may read this are welcome to confirm this) that this attitude comes of the Philippines still being mainly Catholic, so having one's dad be supportive of a vasectomy is a pretty big deal. I had tried to get my dad to comment on this on the way over, but he was, as always, inscrutable.

On the Minus side: Dr. P came into the room not long after she was done getting me prepared and my gonads frozen. He greeted me and checked that everything was ready to go. Near my head was an air-purifying hepa-filter and the minute she turned it on, just before they started, I wasn't able to properly hear them speaking to each other or me. From then on, it was, "Oh yes, I'm fine .. Pardon me? .. Oh I can't hear you very well, but I'm okay up here."

There is a part of me that thinks they run the hepa-filter just so the patients in the waiting room don't hear the groaning. Not that I did any myself.

On the Plus side: Near the ceiling at the other end of the room was a mirror, which was positioned so that I could, if I had wanted to, view the proceedings. It had a cloth over it. During the parts of the procedure when I was confident the anaesthesia was sufficient, I regretted that I had not asked them to remove the cloth. During the other parts, I was glad someone had hung from the near corner of the ceiling a mobile with dancing multi-coloured tropical fish. I shall never forget those fish.

All in all, when all was said and done, I was glad it was Dr. P who did the procedure. Apparently the standard methods for vasectomies run between 10 and 15 minutes and make two big incisions. Dr. P only makes one small incision and he does his work in about 1/2 that time.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey, sounds like you did very well indeed dealing with all this.

And I'm finding all the details quite interesting reading, too. Nice to see upon re-reading that the cousins pic has been added.