Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Time To Get Sliced!

In 2009, after much deliberation, I decided… OK, let me start over. My wife and I decided last year that it was right time for me to get a vasectomy. After all, we’re done having kids, she’s the one who took the birth control pills all those years prior to that, she’s the one who carried the kids, she’s the one who had to launch them- all I did was coach her breathing, encourage her and try and comfort her.

When we got married we had what I thought was a pretty ingenious rationale for the number of kids to have. You see, I come from a small family with just me and my brother. My dad came from a family with just him and his brother. But my mom comes from a family of 8 siblings. My wife comes from a family of 8 kids and her mom came from a family of 8 kids. So I wanted a bigger family than what I came from but not crazy big. So we settled on two for sure with a mutual option for three (with a limited buyout clause). Here’s the math. If we had one boy and one girl, we’d definitely have a third. But if our first two were girls or both boys then we’d have to go to winter meetings with that option thing- after all, the idea of having a four to one ratio in a household was just too suffocating for me (and my wife. But if we started with one and one, then who cares what the third kid was. Make sense?

Well our daughter enjoyed the spoils of well educated parents- and when I mean well educated, I’m talking about baby-educated. We read all the books and we took the birthing class. When she was born, we kept her on the perfect schedule and she was sleeping through the night by week 6. She enjoyed lots of classical music and enrichment activities. We read the books on what to expect with your kid and we kept on top of it. And I hope I’m not jinxing myself by putting it down on paper, but up until this very moment in time, she’s a pretty good kid.

When we finally decided to have a second child we got a little cocky. Let’s just say that we didn’t review our coursework like we should have. Couple that with already having a first child in the house to share attention with, and our second (this time a boy) got a very different set of early development guidelines. We knew we were in trouble when he wasn’t sleeping through the night- after his first birthday. We knew we were in trouble when he’d pee in his humidifier. We knew we were in trouble when he’d run away from us into traffic- we're talking about stuff our daughter would NEVER do.

Because of our son, (who is a wonderful and sweet boy whom we love dearly), we lost interest in having any more kids- so there went my super perfect trifecta plan for a “bigger” family. In fact, it was quite humbling as it was yet another example of how we aren’t able to make these grand plans and we’re stupid to think that we can control our lives so perfectly.

Our son is now almost six, I’m 40 and my wife is officially in the first year of her perpetual “39s”. So even if we wanted to have another birth child, it’s not in our best interest to do so from a medical persepective. Now here’s where we get a little personal. Ready? Wait for it… we’ve been using condoms only for the last 8 years. (I know, it’s gross just thinking about it. And if you know me personally, then you’ll never look at me the same way again) And when you consider that they say that condoms are like 98% effective, then that means that we should technically have about 7 more kids than we currently do… (again, sorry for the visual)

So getting back to me getting a vasectomy, we decided that it was the best thing to do. I love my wife. Although we may want to go Jolie-Pitt style one day and adopt a child, we’re getting too old for doing it on our own, and it’s just the responsible thing to do isn’t it? But wait, now we’re getting into a morals/ethics issue aren’t we?

I think child molestors and rapists should be castrated. I think people on “permanent” welfare who have multiple kids should be sterilized. I think there should be some sort of government tax break/incentive for getting sterilized regardless of your social situation. I think the solution in Africa should not be only raising money for food and clean water, but birth control. There, I said it. And if you disagree with me, the too bad. I remember about 25 year ago when Bob Geldof and all the British bands I grew up with (but had no idea that many were gay), sang a song about Christmas and Africa and feeding the world. I remember taping the entire Live Aid concert back then too. And just last year, on American Idol, they raised something like a billion dollars for African aid. And my very own church has adopted a village in Chikudzulire, Malawi, Africa where we have drilled wells and built buildings and sent clothing and medical care. But is my church the very first one to ever do something like this?... So my point is that some people in this world have too many other challenges that are only made more complicated by having more kids that can’t be taken care of properly- BY THEIR OWN PARENTS.

So, even though my wife and I have the resources and love that a child should have, we don’t want to have any more babies. Did you know that some religions consider any sort of medical procedure like the one I’m doing to be sinful? Now I’m a Christian, but if God didn’t want us to get vasectomies, then he wouldn’t have wanted us to get stints in our hearts or take antibiotics when we’re sick, or have cavities filled, or put on band aids, or shave (like I have to do to my privates tomorrow morning) or wipe our butts. Yeah I know I may be getting a tad extreme with the whole slippery slope attitude, but I consider a vasectomy a moral responsibility.

Enough with the uncomfortable and polarizing talk, let’s talk about what's actually happening with me getting my balls decommissioned!

When 2010 hit, I promised my wife I’d get it done. Of course the idea of it makes me a tad squeamish, but I told you why it’s a small price to pay considering the discomfort she has endured. Well guess what happened in January- that’s right, I got a kidney stone. Never had one before, but I was sort of forced to meet a urologist who helped me get through the concept of sitting down to pee in a strainer to hopefully catch a rock that would come shooting out of my… self. He even gave me a telescoping portable cup like I had when I was a cub scout- except this cup had a strainer at the end. “Is that a can of Skoal in your pocket?” “No, it’s a cup I use when I sit down to pee at Costco”. So this went on for like 5 weeks and no stone came out, so I had to go in for a CT scan to see if it was still there and sure enough it was gone… so now I could look back in retrospect to all the wonderful memories of sitting down to pee for 5 weeks when the stone most likely passed between the Sunday night that I went to the ER and they saw it on the scan til the next day when I first visited the urologist who analyzed the 12 hour old scan which showed a stone. Awesome.

Couple this wonderful experience with a few unrelated but significant life changes with our family and the vasectomy talk took a back burner. But then in November, my wife had her annual visit to the doctor and while she was there she got a prescription for the old tried and true birth control pills. When these gave her bad headaches and I googled the medication that said “you shouldn’t take these when you hit your perpetual age 39 milestone” and I immediately told her to stop and called my urologist.

Back when I was going through the kidney stone, I mentioned the vasectomy to my doctor and he gave me the rundown. I jokingly said that I’d let him film the procedure so he could put it on Youtube if he gave me a discount, but he then enlightened me that there was already one online of his technique (notice that I'm giving you the option of clicking that link if you really want to see how it's done instead of forcing you to watch it). When he said “What I really need is a video on proper scrotal shaving”, I felt like C3PO excitedly talking to Uncle Owen. His response at the time was to get through the kidney stone. But, there's already a video for that one- and don't worry, it's PG.

So I had my real initial consultation a few weeks ago and of course his office is staffed with attractive women, and they all know why I’m there. He comes in and bluntly asks how many kids I have, why I want it done, etc. He then goes into warning about how it’s not reversible and that if I get a divorce I won’t be able to have kids naturally again. Now this is perhaps the biggest challenge with men who choose to get a vasectomy. Regardless of your relationship with your wife, the idea that you are cutting off your ability to procreate- by choice, is a harsh reality. Going back to our plan of three kids and the fact that we are a little older now, there’s no reason why we couldn’t logistically have another child now. We know plenty of couples who had an unexpected late child- heck my wife is ten years younger than her next youngest sibling and she’s the most wonderful person in the world. So officially saying “I’m done”- not “We’re done” can really affect a man’s ego. But I’m ready.

My doctor was humorously candid about it all. He pre-empted the typical questions with the answers- “Will it affect my ability to enjoy things?” “Won't I feel all pent up all the time?” etc. He then jumped without inquiry with “By the way, the amount that guys do in porno movies is not normal”. And then, for the first time in my life, I let a man play with my penis and balls... and I paid for him to do it... and it was perfectly legal... and he complimented me on my wonderful vas deferens...

And here’s the kicker- my out of pocket for this whole thing- $52. Remember when I went off on how the government should encourage these sorts of procedures? I’d say a small tax incentive is a small price to pay compared to an individual’s drain on our public school systems and depending on how they end up- our welfare systems, prison systems, etc.

Oh, so I’m getting this done on December 23rd- that’s right, sort of a Christmas present to my wife… And guess what gets delivered to our house the day of my procedure- that’s right- a very large and heavy trampoline for the kids that needs to be set up either by Santa in the middle of the night or on Christmas day.
So if you don't hear from me for a few days, now you'll know the reason. I probably won't bore you with the aftermath recovery stuff as my will to live will be gone :( I'm sure I'll find something else to go off on. Don't look back!

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