the state of things
by Douglas Lindsay - 15:53 on 25 February 2010
Last week The Parent Currently Known As Mum (TPCKAM), One of Two (aged 11) and Two of Two (aged 9) were in the Master Bedroom. Two of Two inadvertently came across a condom stash and the following conversation ensued:
Two of Two: What are these for?
TPCKAM: They’re for birth control, so we don’t have any more children.
Two of Two: Why do you need that?
One of Two: (through conspiratorially gritted teeth) Because they have sex...
Two of Two: (aghast with horror) Oh My God! A thirty-nine year-old and a forty-five year-old having sex?!
It was probably a mistake to tell this anecdote to my Vasectomy Doctor while he was in and about my testicles, making both him and me laugh. If there are any ensuing disastrous consequences of the operation, it might well be put down to that moment when I amused the man who was rummaging through my testicles with a scalpel, a pair of scissors and a chainsaw.
Today was vasectomy day. There was an air of jollity and humour throughout proceedings, in a British attempt to get over the general awkwardness of the whole thing. Man A lying back, completely naked; Man B brandishing a series of sharp instruments as he goes about dismantling the infrastructure of Man A’s reproductive system; and Woman A, the nurse, keeping a general eye on proceedings, for all round support and to pass Man B the various needles and medicines and sharp instruments of torture as and when required.
To kick off proceedings, Man B gave Man A an anaesthetic. Before plunging the needle into the soft, vulnerable flesh, he said casually that it would be like getting a sharp rap to the testicles. I didn’t see this as a selling point, and didn’t remember any sharp-wrap-to-the-testicles warning from the Vasectomy Brochure. Fortunately, it turned out to be more of a small prick in the testicles... Nevertheless, in an effort to relax me, Woman A said that I was lucky to be in the hands of the expert. It made me wonder if there was a non-expert doctor doing vasectomies in the next room. A student armed with page 39 of 211 Things A Bright Boy Can Do, and rummaging around hopefully with a spanner and a kitchen knife, saying things like, Well, to be honest I've never done this before. I'll just have a quick stab at it and see how we get on..... Huzzah! I think I’ve identified the testicles. Going in! Bite down hard on the rolled up towel!
There was some pain to start with, what with all the prodding and squeezing. Every time I winced, Woman A would give me a comforting pat on the shoulder, which just made me feel like a wizened old man with his wizened old penis out on display. Eventually, the anaesthetic kicked in, the pain stopped, and we all relaxed and started enjoying ourselves.
Searching around for the tubes, both hands inside the testicles up to his wrists, the doc said it was like looking for a strand of thin spaghetti, and quipped that they didn’t eat spaghetti and meatballs on vasectomy day. Gallows humour. So I told my kids-and-condoms story; the doctor relayed his embarrassment when his aging father had tried to discuss erectile dysfunction; the nurse told the story of a guy they’d had at the clinic who used a pipe cleaner to keep his erection intact. Just to get a full picture of this act of idiocy, I established that the fellow in question had used the pipe cleaner internally, and not as part of a scaffolding structure on the outside. I can’t even imagine how that would actually work, and not be so bloody painful as to make the exercise worthless, but there is, as Mark Addy said in The Full Monty, nowt as queer as folk...
Now I’ve to sit with my feet up for 48 hours; not lift anything for two weeks; not take strenuous exercise for a while; and, basically, not lift a finger. I’ll probably get fed up, but then again, if the pain doesn’t get too bad, maybe I’ll enjoy it. If that’s the case, then perhaps I’ll go for another vasectomy next month...
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