The Snip I

I had a vasectomy five days ago. I’m writing this reflection in two parts: the first part is what happened and all the questions you really want answered that aren’t in the brochures; the second part is exploring the systemic issues as to why we don’t talk about vasectomies.

My wife and I have four children. We’ve predominantly used condoms and she has taken the Pill for birth control. We had a complication in the birth of our third child which reoccurred in the birth of our fourth. So we decided that I would get a vasectomy. One of the reasons was that my wife had really taken responsibility for birth control for the years, so it was time for me to have a go.

I took the bull by the horns (that’s probably an inappropriate metaphor) and booked myself into Snip Vasectomy Clinic. There was a booking for two or three weeks after I rung, but I pushed it out to the month after that for a number of weak reasons.

I was pretty anxious. I don’t like medical procedures. I probably could be considered to have a phobia. So I did well minimising it in my head up until an hour or so before the procedure, and then I flipped a lid. I was essentially catatonic with anxiety by the time I got into surgery. My wife came along, and spoke for me. The Italian doctor (I note that because it strikes me as even funnier that as an Italian he’s turning stallions into geldings) got me to lie on the bed and gave me a sedative. Apparently I was quite chatty after that. Certainly all I can remember is the odd uncomfortable sharp sensation for the rest of the time.

So does the procedure hurt? No.

Do you get whiskey or valium? Not at the place I went to.

How big is the cut and where is it cut? Not much more than one centimetre, and on the scrotum. He put in a suture when it was over.

What he’s actually doing down there? As I said, I was a bit out of it, but I understand he has a little hook, pulls out Vas deferens on one side, burns through it with a sort of soldering iron, then does the other side. I think it was about 15 minutes.

Was it weird having people stare at your balls? No, because I was away with the fairies, so I didn’t even think about (and I assure you, it had been one of my worries prior).

I walked out like a cowboy. It’s great I had someone with me because otherwise I would have left stuff behind, as I was pretty dopey. I was not very sore at that stage due to the anaesthetic, so we filled the prescription for pain relief on the way home. By the time I got home it had started to wear off so I was bit more sore and happily sat on a cold pack. I drank Bowmore whiskey and watched Bond films for the afternoon and evening. My lovely wife thought I was great for going through with it.

Did it hurt yet? Yes. There were two types of pain: the just-had-an-operation pain, swelling and sharp, the ‘ow’ pain; the kicked-in-gonads pain, an ache in your lower gut, the ‘oh’ pain. The latter is the one that lasts. A wheat pack is great for that.

Were you able to walk around? Like an old man in a movie. A bit hunched, slow and preferably not. It was hard to get out of chairs and off the bed initially because our core is so essential in all of those movements.

Could you go to the toilet? Yes, not a problem.

How long did the pain last? A couple of days. I had work in which I had to stand, carry things and move around on the Saturday. I was really sore after 7 hours of work (I set my recovery back a little bit), so I could’ve done with a third day of rest. It pretty quickly got to the point that I didn’t really notice unless I did something sudden. But I was more tired than usual, so it was having an impact.

Could you have sex? On the form it says to do it when you want to. After a couple of days, whilst sensitive to not do anything gymnastic, I could make love again.

Any problems with performing? None at all.

Did it feel the same? No difference as far as I can tell.

Did anything come out? Yes. The emission seems the same, perhaps slightly clearer (which is the aim of course).

So no condoms now? We have to keep on with the birth control until I have ad two clear tests. The first one is in three months time. If that is clear (i.e. no sperm), I do another one a few weeks later. You have to masturbate into a cup, though there’s nothing in the book against having a friend help with that.

So it’s all good now? Not yet. I still a small hole that is healing over in the scrotum, I’m a bit sensitive moving around. I can’t run yet. It’ll probably be two weeks before everything is back to normal.

This is obviously just my experience. But there’s not a huge amount of discussion about vasectomies other than having a good laugh about it, and I think we need to change that. Read The Snip II for something a bit more cerebral.