Saturday, November 28, 2015

What to Expect When You Will No Longer Be Expecting

by Bob Albright, D.O.

Ah yes, the “off season,” time for reflection, assessment, shedding fatigue, mending nagging injuries, pursuing different athletic activities and minor surgery…say what?

I bet I’m not alone in this male audience of men of a certain age whose spouses might wish a certain freedom from responsibility for anti-procreation. I speak definitively that this has been an issue in our household for some time.

This set of exchanges might have taken place; I cannot refute nor verify its actual contents:

Loving supportive spouse:
“Have you thought about having, you know, that thing done, you know, the one we talked about? It’s January already…”

Tri-Guy Husband-head:
“The winter? Definitely not! I must build my base, or else… um…. I’ll be baseless.”

“Spring? Oh no, definitely not hon, I can finally get off that accursed time-warping trainer and be outside, you don’t want me to miss that do you?”

“In season? Heck no, if I don’t get in that LSD run/century ride/4k swim, I’m sure to implode at my A race, then I’ll be all grumpy for the rest of the year. That would be bad, right snickerdoodle? (Note: nobody is ever actually called this at our domicile -- except the dog, when he’s being really great…)

Enough of the three act community theater. Time to man up… men.

So this was the year. Within the week after I finishing my A race on Sept 12, I had scheduled a consultation with a urologist for a vasectomy. It is notable that the appointment went out a month. This is not unusual as it seems most urologists are terribly busy (!). Further notable was that as I signed up for the appointment and boldly stated my intentions to become -- gulp -- sterile, that the nice person on the phone firmly informed me my wife needed to accompany me to the appointment.

What!? Yup, it’s true; it’s not your body men, unless she says so. This led to quite a bit of hilarity actually; as my wife and I plotted ways to thwart this arcane rule. Maybe I could bring in several of my female training friends with my wife and tell them they were all my wives…

So, the first appointment was meant to ensure I realized that indeed my vas deferens was to be “interrupted,” and this was to be in no way considered “temporary.” The procedure was explained and post op care was outlined. It was then that my surgeon used one of my doctor tricks against me: humor. He glibly stated: “We manage to squeeze a 20 minute operation into an hour or so…”

“Gulp” says me. Funny how being on the pointy end of the doctor-patient relationship is less funny. Really though, he assured me, he hadn’t lost anyone, “yet.”

Surgery day
It’s Friday -- always Friday for a vasectomy -- you need the weekend for the recoup phase!

You need to do some serious manscaping, very serious, bald serious. You might as well do it, as they will if you don’t.

The anesthesia was given locally after my being prepped with a gallon of 20 degree F betadine solution and draped like a major surgery was happening. The anesthetic burn was pretty minor. There were injections on both sides in the ”inner thigh” then two each side directly into the chords… okay, that smarted a fair bit. Thereafter, the surgical team and I kept up a lively banter about how my vas deferens were the best-developed, pinkest, most perfect they had seen (in the last 30 minutes anyway). I skipped the shrinkage jokes (mixed company you know). They showed me the “specimens” before sending them off to the lab --to ensure that they were indeed my junk and not, oh I don’t know, my colon or spleen I guess.

I was finished and out of there in about 75 minutes. I was feeling great!

Surgery night
Two words: frozen peas. And maybe two others: tighty whiteys. I needed Tylenol, but nothing stronger. The ”boys” were now plum-sized.

Surgery plus day 1-2
Okay to walk, nothing beyond this though -- I was best off in sweats, and watched three movies, and lots of football. It is notable that I was able to request things to eat and they actually appeared -- courtesy of my loving spouse -- who I’m sure realized I was milking this a bit.

Pain was easily managed with Tylenol and those blessed peas. The boys: between plum and hacky-sack-sized (sorry for that image).

Surgery plus day 3-10
No lifting over 5 pounds, no, ahem “activity” -- this is only allowed after the 10th day. It is also spelled out very clearly that until you are most assuredly, definitely, 100% confirmed a blank-shooting hombre, that other measures need to be taken if babies are not desired. How does one know he is never to be expecting? You must give them two “samples.” Yup, it’s that way! The “boys” are now down to peach pit-sized.

Surgery plus day 10-14
You may resume regular activities as tolerated. It was those last two words that got me. Truth be told I was back to normal activity in about three weeks.

Swimming was the first sport of the three to be resumed. I was a bit nervous about this, and it felt like the sutures tore at one point on a turn, but in the end -- they were dissolvable.

Running was my second activity (along with lifting), but they needed securing, so a speedo or tri shorts under the shorts worked well.

Boys: normal sized, but still a fair amount of skin bruising.

Surgery plus 18 days
Finally, I was able to sit on the saddle and get in a ride.

It’s now five weeks after the big day and all is well. Training is back to some semblance of normal and has been for one-and-a-half weeks. Fitness was lost, but so was much of the fatigue I had built up. I was able to focus on family and work. Plus, once I got back at it… man it felt great -- without any qualms.

Now, this was not even in the ballpark of passing a kidney stone, and sure as heck a piece of cake compared to having a baby, but I sure got the royal treatment from my family, especially my wife. It goes to show how much others appreciate it when you do something just for them.

My warmest wishes to all for the holidays and best of luck to you all in the new year.

I will now take questions…

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