"Do not touch the tools."
That was the last thing the nurse said as she walked out of the operating room. And she said it rather forcefully, as if from previous experience she had seen grown men, naked from the waist down, high on valium, wander around an operating room touching the surgical equipment. And yes, here I was, naked from the waist down, on valium, lying on an operating table, alone.
Warning, not the usual tech stuff.
Let’s backup and cover how I got here in the first place. I have been married for close to 13 years now and Lynne and I have three lovely biological children ages 3, 7 and 9. Having all three of them was quite an adventure. In the course of events having had: one mis-carriage, Lynne ended up on bed-rest for 2 months during one pregnancy, one child was born six weeks early and spent 3 weeks in the NICU, one spent most of month 3 to month 6 of his life in the hospital having brain surgeries, and one has had six sets of tubes in his ears. Now I’m not telling you this in a “have-pity-on-me” way, but more in “veteran-showing-his-scars” kind of way. If your a parent that has gone through any of these things then you automatically join a club, and if you‘re in the club, you know what I mean.
Anyway, we wanted to have a fourth child and given our track record with biological children we have decided to adopt a baby girl from China. Having moved through all the paperwork and now being in THE WAIT for our referral from China, we decided to make permanent the decision to have no more biological children. Now as for permanent solutions, the choice is either an invasive surgical operation for Lynne that would probably take a week for her to recover from, or an in-office procedure for me that would take at most the weekend to recover from. Not much of a choice, eh?
So the night before, I have to shave. Not my face. And not with an electric razor. The doctor was very clear about that. The nurse re-inforced that later during our pre-operative visit. Yes, there is a pre-operative visit, where you watch a video and both of us have to sign a waiver that says, “Yes, we know this is a permanent procedure.” Given the number of times we had that statement made, the number of times it was printed on the pamphlets they gave us, and the number of times it was repeated in the video, leads me to believe the reversability of a vasectomy is a powerful urban legend.
So, during the the pre-op visit the nurse reinforced that the shaving must be thorough, and must not be done with an electric razor. “And believe me, you don’t want us to have to do it for you, all we have are those cheap disposable razors.” So I am shaving. It is difficult. Shaving with a razor pretty much mandates the skin be taut and firmly supported. This skin is neither. It takes a long time. And I went into this with the idea of “Okay, I am going to be shaved“. In the end, the effect is more like, “Okay, I look nine years old“.
It is the only operation that I have ever had that the doctor prescribed a valium for me to take an hour before the surgery. Now I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs, never have, so that valium hit my system pretty hard. By the time I got there I was feeling pretty loopy and a little dizzy. Once in the operating room the nurse told me to strip from the waist down and get on the operating table, covering myself with, well, a paper towel. Now it’s a big paper towel, about a yard on a side, but still, basically, a paper towel. After I strip and get on the table under the paper towel, the nurse returns. “Ok, let’s get you ready for surgery.” Getting ready for surgery consisted of taking said paper towel off of me, folding it into a one foot wide strip and wrapping it around my waist, ensuring full exposure of the area to be operated on. She then sprays me with a surgical disinfectant.
That doesn’t quite cover the effect. Let me try again.
This was a large bottle, the kind you keep window cleaner in, that was sitting out on the counter in the air-conditioned office. I am shaved. No insulating hair to be found anywhere. She stands back and blasts me four of five times in the crotch like she’s cleaning the window of her car.
“I didn’t get quite enough valium to cover that.“, I said.
As she leaves the room she says, “The doctor would be in to operate in a while. Do not touch the tools.”
She’s gone, and here I am, naked from the waist down, dripping ice cold disinfectant, high on valium, shaved, on an operating table a good three feet off the ground, waiting for surgery. So what do I do? Fall asleep.
Half-an-hour later the doctor arrives to do the surgery, his arrival being what wakes me up. The procedure consists of removing a small portion of the tube that carries sperm away from the testicles. First an anaesthetic shot is given, and really that’s the worst part: valium or no, that needle hurts. After that things go very quickly. Both ends of the severed tube are cauterized and then everything is stitched back up. He even showed me the pieces of removed tube. The surgery was over in less than twenty minutes. Two days of bedrest and a week of no heavy lifting and I should be back to full speed. And no, I didn’t touch the tools.