Monday afternoon, at 1:15 pm I had my vasectomy. Today is Wednesday morning and I am now sitting on my couch with my laptop (in my lap) adding my story to those shared here. I would like to preface with this comment: Thank God for the information and stories shared on this website. The stories shared here brought immeasurable ease to the nervousness I felt as I approached the day of my surgery.
Last week I scoured the internet looking for stories, photos, and videos of vasectomy procedures. I wanted to know everything I could as a means of preparing for having my own vasectomy. I spent an average of 2-3 hours a night reading and researching and what I found was that most websites were either generic medical information posted by various urological companies, hospitals, and medical groups or sites hosted by “doom and gloom” groups warning that vasectomies are the devil’s work and will cause you eternal pain and misery. I think one even warned that having a vasectomy will cause your basement door to become a gate to hell from which evil demon monkeys will ascend and poke you in the ears with sharp objects.
Let’s be honest, this is a surgery and there is the potential of pain, failure, and other medical and psychological issues occurring. However, much like the reviews for products sold on any retail site, those who post reviews tend to be a skewed polling group. What I mean to say is most people who are pleased with their purchase never post a positive review, they are too busy enjoying their purchase and their lives. I believe it is the same with vasectomy forums – let the readers beware, those sites are simply not an accurate cross-section of men who have had successful surgeries and ‘normal’ recoveries. This is why I am grateful for this site. But, I digress…
As I said my surgery was on Monday afternoon. I had an open-ended Non-Scalpel Vasectomy (NSV) with cauterization and titanium clips, performed with only local anesthesia. I was nervous in the days leading up to the surgery but wrapped myself in humor and spent time enjoying time with my wife. We have three children, our three little vowels, Aaron, Emily, and Ivy and we felt since 3 is enough and no child should go through life with the name “Oops” we needed to consider a more permanent form of birth control. We quickly agreed that abstinence was not a viable option at this stage in our relationship, so I suggested looking into a vasectomy… as you can imagine she was happy to agree… perhaps too happy.
Sunday night I was up late reading this site and keeping myself mentally busy, this is important lest you work yourself into a nervous frenzy. Every fear you have, all those mental imaginings of a vasectomy gone horribly wrong will creep up and haunt you if you do not quiet them by focusing on the routine of normal life. Get the laundry done, clean the kitchen, do that “heavy lifting” chore you know you’ve put off. Trust me staying busy helps keep you in a good state of mind, don’t just sit and watch the TV, your mind will not be on the show.
Day of the procedure
Monday morning I felt very nervous, every man does, it was expected. I dealt with this by spending time setting up the living room with books, my laptop, every remote control in the house, a box of crackers, power cords for the laptop and cell phone, pillows, and blanket (I decided to sleep on the couch for a few nights since the 2-year-old likes to crawl into our bed at night), etc. I wanted to come home and be ready to sit down. I also went to the grocery store and bought frozen meals, juice, Tylenol, and bags of frozen peas and corn… more on that later. While I was out I stopped by a Red Box rental machine and picked up a couple of movies I have been looking for an excuse to watch. I also made sure the bathroom was set up: cleaned, plenty of toilet paper, baby wipes, and Band-Aids. I hope this list helps those who want ideas of what to do in preparation for recovery. I also spent some time praying for my doctor, that his hands would be steady and guided by experience.
My father-in-law drove me to the Urologist’s office as I was scheduled for general anesthesia (my doctor always schedules a general with the option of a local when you arrive). We arrived an hour early and after paying the receptionist I sat down to wait. I chose to pay for my vasectomy out of pocket because I wanted to choose the doctor without the insurance company requiring a referral and an “in-network” doctor. For those who are curious, the consultation cost $102.60 and the surgery was $605.70 which includes medications (anesthesia) and post-vasectomy lab testing. Once again I digress… I did not wait more than 5 minutes and the nurse called my name.
Yes, the nurse was female. Yes, she was young. Yes, she was not unattractive. But trust me… when you are about to have your ‘boys’ snipped that, and the urgings of your bladder, are likely to dominate your thoughts. After I used the restroom she took me into a consultation room to review the paperwork which covered the legal statements, consent form, and post-op instructions. No surprises having done my at-home research. The nurse also asked whether or not I still intended to have general anesthesia. I let her know I didn’t want to miss anything, and since someone reliable needed to keep an eye on the doctor, I would be having a local. I then needed to use the restroom a second time… after a whole 10 minutes… darn nerves. I blame the coffee.
I did not have to wait long in the consulting room and the nurse returned to bring me to the room where I would be giving up my ability to procreate for the love of my wife and the protection of my sanity (4 kids would push me over the edge, I am certain of this). She instructed me to strip from the waist down, leaving only my socks, and then sit on the reclining medical chair and cover myself with the white sheet. I of course immediately needed to use the restroom again. I went down the hall to use the bathroom and when I returned the nurse inquired again as to whether I wanted a general anesthetic. Haha.
The last thing I did before leaving the house was shaving my scrotum and take a shower. Let me give you a few tips on shaving. First use clippers to shorten the hair, do not press the clippers to your skin only use them to shorten the hairs to about a quarter of an inch long. Next, and this is important, do not use a brand new razor or a dull one, just like shaving your face you are more likely to cut yourself with a new blade or a well-used one. Use a razor that has been used a few times, mine is a Gillette with 3 blades and I am used to using it on my face so I know how it handles. This is extremely important… Shave with the hair not against it. If you shave opposite the direction your hair grows you will risk nicking the hair follicles. Take your time, trust me, do this yourself don’t let the nurse do it, he or she is not likely to be as delicate.
Back to the story…
After disrobing and sitting and covering, the nurse asked if I had shaved. Yes of course I replied. She then informed me she needed to check my shaving skills, even though I promised it was unnecessary. As expected I got a gold star. She then prepped me for surgery.
Prepping for my vasectomy involved the following: The nurse apologized for the discomfort as she taped my penis to my stomach. I wished I had shaved myself up to my belly button and all the way to both sides as I knew removal of the tape was going to hurt. (I recommend you take this advice to heart.) She then cleaned and disinfected my scrotum with iodine solution and placed green towels around the now sterilized area… in preparation for sterilization… the irony. We then waited for my doctor to arrive… small talk time.
My doctor arrived and showed me his new shirt. Salmon color, bought at a buy one get two free sale… nice shirt. I then told him that my ‘boys’ and I had been arguing all week about this procedure and the fight had gotten so bad I felt we needed to be separated. We laughed and the tension eased. Keep your humor about you and life can’t hit you too hard. There is humor in everything if you want to find it.
The surgery itself was simple. My doctor asked if I still wanted a general and complimented me on choosing a local. He then uncovered the area and told me he was going to give me a shot. I must point out that I, even though I was careful, had nicked myself while shaving, and that hurt worse than the shot. After anesthesia was administered I could barely feel anything, absolutely no pain. He had already made the opening and exposed the right side before I realized he had started.
Yes, I did feel some pressure, Yes, twice I felt a dull ache, which I mentioned, and one of those two times he gave me a bit more anesthesia. Other than that I spent the surgery talking to him about golf, the bible, books we have read, his family, my family, and other random things. When he finished the left side he showed me the section of the tube he removed, maybe a half-inch of tissue. I commented that it was to be commended for its participation in creating 3 wonderful children. My doctor then stated, “one down two to go… (searching around for the other side)… nope only one more.” I love a doctor with a sense of humor.
Here is the point in the story where I tell you why I chose this particular doctor. He was recommended by my wife’s OB/GYN after our last daughter was born. We asked her if she could recommend a good doctor for a vasectomy. Her recommendation began with “Let me tell you about a guy I know who did his own…” I was sold on him immediately. She told us she asked him if it hurt and his response to her was “…no but it did leave a nasty crick in my neck for a while.” I asked him about this during the consultation and he said 50% of patients think this shows confidence and the rest think he’s crazy.
Again let me state that I felt no pain during the surgery beyond the aforementioned dull aches. Yes, there was some discomfort as the tubes were tugged on, and the smell of the cauterizing was odd. It smelled, to me, identical to the smell of soldering. My doctor thought that was funny since it smelled to him exactly like it does when he “solders.”
After completing both sides, he closed the entry wound with one suture and the nurse placed a Band-Aid over the incision. The only real pain in the whole procedure was when the doctor removed the tape holding my penis hostage against my belly. He did this slowly and with far too much pleasure… Closet sadist. I kid of course. Removing this tape was the only truly painful moment and you can avoid it by going back six paragraphs and re-reading the second sentence.
After the surgery
Afterward, I put on tight undies, my shorts and collected my post-op goodie bag, which includes two jars for future samples. I was given a prescription for Ultracet, which I have not, nor will I, get filled. I left the surgery room feeling no different than when I entered, with the exception of tight underwear which I do not like to begin with. My father-in-law met me in the waiting area and we walked to his truck to return home.
Here is another bit of advice… I brought a cooler filled with ice and a bag of peas with me to the Urologist’s office. I left it in the truck and immediately applied the frozen peas when I got set for the ride home. I feel this kept the area from swelling before being chilled. I also took 600mg of Ibuprofen as soon as I got home, not due to pain but to control swelling. If your doctor says no to Ibuprofen do whatever he or she tells you. Don’t drink alcohol, in addition to not playing nice with medications it also slows healing and thins the blood.
Monday evening I watched movies, read a book, took Ibuprofen every 4 hours, and being tired from staying up late the night before, went to sleep early.
Yesterday (Tuesday) I felt like I had been kicked in the groin. Peas and corn are your friends. Another bit of advice here: Don’t just sit on the frozen vegetables, the goal is to truly thaw them out. That said… get a large enough bag to wrap around your whole scrotum, remember the tubes that were operated on are above your testicles and that’s where most of the swelling will be. That is why an ice pack doesn’t work terribly well, they don’t bend around the area. Another piece of advice, let your wife, children, neighbors, and the postman help you if you need it. Don’t tough it out at this point, what you do now will determine how long your recovery is going to take. Also, if your children are old enough to understand, explain to them in advance what you are having done and why. I used this operation as an opportunity to teach my 12-year-old son about sex, telling him about what dad was about to do allowed an easy way to explain how babies are made and teach him about genetics, birth control, sexuality, and abstinence.
All of that said I felt good enough yesterday to go to Home Depot with my wife and pick out tile for the kitchen floor, a project I will be doing post-recovery. She insisted I ride in a wheelchair, I didn’t argue too much, I was just happy to be out of the house. When the aching started we went home. If you are wondering the peas went to Home Depot with us.
It is nearly 48 hours since having my vasectomy and here I sit on the couch. I haven’t taken anything for pain in 18 hours and only feel a dull ache. I quit “icing” the area last night around 8 pm and don’t feel the need for it today. Very little swelling, no bruising (which I attribute to the skill of my doctor), and no redness around the suture (no infection). I will keep changing the Band-Aid 2-3 times a day until the self-dissolving suture falls out on its own. I plan to take a shower after I finish relaying my story to you and I hope you have as uneventful a procedure and recovery as I have had. Remember, however, of those who have complications and/or pain, the vast majority still would do it again as the benefits outweigh the troubles they face or are facing.
Just a few more days and I can begin to flush the system as it were, then some tests, and If all goes well my wife and I can plan a very anticipated and special date night… the first of many… Well, that is my vasectomy story.
One other side note to mention. I had a consultation six months ago with another doctor at another urologist’s office. At the time I was on state insurance and the referral I received was limited to doctors who accepted state insurance. When I went in for that consult I was appalled by the dispassionate, passionless, detached, unresponsive, apathetic (yeah I used a thesaurus) attitude I received from the nurse and the doctor. I knew that I would be a procedure, not a patient. There was little room for questions and the nurse was very rude. That scared me more than the procedure itself. I do not do business with those who treat me in such a manner and I was certainly not willing to put my ‘boys’ in the hands of someone of that breed either. I went home and began doing research, it was then that I remembered the doctor my wife’s OB had suggested.
I suspect that doctors like the above mentioned are the reason for many of the horror stories we have all read floating about on various vasectomy forums. Remember, if you are not a patient they don’t have to be careful. I also think that when the state pays for a procedure you are no longer the customer in the doctor’s mind, you become a means to a paycheck.
Submitted by Chris
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