Thursday, January 3, 2008

To Snip, Not to Snip...

... That was the question. (Sorry couldn't resist.) As promised, this is the details on what occurred during my hubby's vasectomy. Please be advised that the following entry may not be suitable for the young, the squeamish, or those nearing their own snip.

The day was finally there and surprisingly, John wasn't showing many nerves. That's not to say he wasn't nervous, he just wasn't showing it. Leading up to the event, he had to avoid aspirin for a week, avoid alcohol (not that this was a problem), and shave the front of his scrotum the night before. I think the last task was the more difficult because we were both worried about cutting him with the razor and by his appointment the next day, he was already itching from the hair growing back.

Anyway, we were called back into the "out-patient surgery" room and watched a video on what they were going to do. Maybe this should have been our first clue that they were doing traditional vasectomy and not the no-scalpel but we both felt it was probably just a generic video. Regardless, the doctor then came in, told us some of the possible complications, and gave us papers to sign. (Possible complications include that the vas will reconnect thus making him fertile again and causing pregnancy, a 5 in 4000 chance that there will be a sneak that will make me pregnant even though he is reporting 0 counts, an infection that causes tremendous pain that may or may not be able to be treated and cured with antibiotics with the worse possible scenario being the removal of the testicle. Nothing like saving the worst possibilities for last.) After this was done, he left him a gown and told him to strip from the waist down leaving on his socks.

When they returned they had him lay on a table, flat on his back. Unlike some that I had heard, they did not use stirrups. Anyway, they put drapes around so that the only thing showing was the scrotum then sprayed them with the benetadine (not sure how to spell that). He cringed because it must have been cold. (For those curious, I was standing near his feet the entire time.) Then they took a needle and syringe, not all that much differently then a dentist might use although maybe the syringe was bigger. He felt around a bit to find what he was looking for then stuck it several times in the left side. John definitely cringed this time. From what I've heard from most, this is the worst part but poor John doesn't react very well with local and therefore this wasn't the last time he felt pain. (Not to scare others.)

The doctor waited for a few minutes for it to take affect and then he took a scalpel and made a cm or so incision. This was the first time that I realized this was NOT the no-scalpel method but by this time it was too late to bother complaining. You can't exactly change what is already done. He then took out and clamped a tiny section about the length of to the first knuckle of your index finger and again shot it with local. He then cut it with the scalpel and (I know the word but I can't spell it so I'm going with burned) it on both sides of the vas where the cut had been made. He then stitched it a single time on both sides. At this point, I noticed John's toes curl and realized he was feeling more than a little pulling. Just as I was about to ask him if he was feeling it, he cringed. The doctor quickly gave him more local. He had to do this four more times before it was over. (Told you he had a high tolerance for it.) In the end, I put my hand on his feet and he said that helped a lot.

Anyway, I'm not really sure what all was going on at this point. He finished stitching off the vas that he had and he went back in for something else, then increased the size of the cut. I thought that maybe he was doing the other side from that same entrance but I would later find out that was not the case. I should have probably asked him yesterday at the follow-up but I didn't want to embarrass John. The world may never know. Anyway, they basically did the same procedure again on that side then he got three stitches to close up the wound.

They repeated the procedure for the other side including three extra shots of local when he started feeling it. He only got two stitches in the right side. The doctor then put a gauze pad over the incisions on both sides, removed the drapes and the nurse and I helped him into a jock strap. That was quite interesting since he wasn't exactly in a chipper mood and hates jock straps but we managed. I then helped him off the table and into a pair of sweatpants and his tennis shoes. The doctor and nurse left instructions to change the gauze if there is any oozing, keep neosporin on it until it fully heals, and avoid intercourse and heavy lifting for 10 days. They also gave us a prescription for Tylenol with Codeine and gave us some last minute thoughts such as expect bruising, may be tender even after it starts healing, if it looks swollen and red come back in, frozen peas make good ice packs and should be used for the first 24-48 hours, and that the stitches will dissolve on their own about the time of the follow-up in 10 days.

We then went to the car, stopped at Walgreens to fill his script, and went home. He took the max of the pills in the car on the way home and stayed put on the couch until bedtime. He was very good about keeping them iced because it felt good.

By Sunday (<3 days) he was down to the minimum pain dose and was moving around pretty good. He even helped me with some light duty things in prep for Christmas. Other than being really moody (we'll forgive him) he was feeling decent. By Christmas eve he was only putting the gauze back on to protect his jock from the neosporin and he was a nice shade of purple over the top quarter of his scrotum and the lower half of the penis. This bruising would continue until around day 10 when it steadily minimized to little to none now (14 days). He went off of the prescribed pain meds the day after Christmas and used a few ibuprophen as needed but that wasn't often. By day 7 he was getting "feisty" and despite doctor's orders, he had as much fun as he could bear. He felt a bit funny afterwards but he said it still worked. :)

His stitches fell out at about day 8 or 9 and he was pretty much doing what he wanted by day 10 although he still didn't do much in the way of heavy lifting. It is still a bit tender now but it's a manageable tender and more along the lines of skin healing than anything. He still has scabs on both sides so we are keeping the neosporin on it. He also quit wearing his jock on day 10. He says that now the biggest thing that bothers him is crawling around combines at work (lots of stretching that is still irritating) and the hair growing back causing him to itch.

At the follow-up yesterday, they basically asked him a bunch of questions and gave him the "brown bag kit" to get his samples done to verify that the procedure was successful. He has to produce two 0 counts one week apart in order for him to be declared "sterile" (these are slated for week 8 and 9). In the meantime, he was prescribed lots of intercourse with an alternative method. Yes, he actually asked if he could get a prescription for that. *Rolls eyes*

So there you go, that's the story of the vasectomy. I think it may not have been a walk in the part but it wasn't the worst thing possible either.


  1. You have such a good man to take it in stride. Guys are so fascinated with how their penis works. LOL! Robert has volunteered for the snip whenever we are done having as many kids as we want. I'm a bit worried now because he's a big baby when sick or in pain.

  2. We looked into the no-cut version for Bob, but he hasn't committed to it yet. He seemed more concerned with the couple of hundred (I think that was the figure) times that he'd have to ejaculate "before all of the little swimmers have left the pool." He does concede, though, that it would be far safer and more effective for him to get the snip than it would be for me to go through surgery (especially given the fact that I'm allergic to surgical stainless steel hospital tape and what I had to go through with all 3 C-sections). Maybe one of these days...