The Procedure

In the early spring of 2005, when our daughter Evie was still just a brand-new, shiny beautiful baby, I had a vasectomy. I’ve mentioned this particular procedure before, but I promised then that I’d tell you that story sometime. Today’s your lucky day.

I don’t know if all urologists are like this, but because mine, Dr. Samuel Little (everybody make your own joke) was awesome, he put us through a grueling consultation beforehand. Basically, he did everything in his power to try to talk us out of it. I don’t know if dudes get vasectomies and then have second thoughts after it’s too late, but that was totally not going to happen in our case. He said, “Have you seen those billboards between here and Dallas that advertise reversals? That doesn’t work. With the procedure that I use, it’s a done deal. When you…”

I interrupted, “Enough small talk. Let’s light this up, Little. You need us to sign anything?”

He said, “I’m serious. It’s important that you realize this is completely final. You really need to take time to think through…”

I cut him off again. “Hey doc, let’s me save us all some time here. Here’s what we’re gonna do: You’re gonna cut into me, and you’re not gonna just snip things and tie them off. What you’re gonna do for me is you’re gonna completely remove whatever plumbing you find in there. Just totally rip it out. Whatever you do with what’s left over after that is your business.”

He looked at us gravely for a moment. Then he smiled. “That’s all I had to hear. Let’s do this thing!”

When we tried to explain to our boys that Daddy was “having some work done,” we even told them we were doing it because we didn’t plan to have any more children. Kenny, our oldest, asked, “Why not?” I told him, “Because Mommy and Daddy only wanted a girl. And we had to go through two boys to get one. Now that we finally have her, we just can’t risk any more boys. Do you understand?” He nodded quietly. He really seemed to get it.

A friend who had already had his procedure told me that I should ask for Valium to settle my nerves. I’m here to tell you: That’s always good advice. Dr. Little (smirk) wrote me a script for exactly 1, and he told me to take it on the morning of my procedure on my way to his office. Check and check.

By the time we got there on the day, I was already feeling pretty good. (I’ve told you before how much I enjoy a nice Valium.) During our consultation, Kendra had asked if she’d be allowed to watch the procedure, and Dr. Little (hee hee) told her it was fine with him, as long as I didn’t care. I didn’t, so as Kendra and I strolled into the little examining room together, baby Evie in tow, sleeping peacefully in her teeny car seat, we discovered a lovely set of icy stirrups all ready for me. Events are a little hazy, but I’m pretty sure I was buck-naked and looking around for a gown before the door was even closed behind me.

A very polite older woman (who I assumed was a nurse) explained that she’d need to dry shave me a little (gesturing slightly)  “down there in your area.” She asked if that was okay, and I was all like, “Who am I to argue? We’re all professionals here, right?” (Honestly, it’s a shame that aspect wasn’t covered in the orientation video; I would gladly have managed that little pre-prep task myself and saved them the trouble. Probably not dry, though—more likely moisturized and Aloe-scented.)

When Dr. Little came in, a big grin on his face, we were pretty much ready for launch. He surveyed the manscape, made sure he had all his favorite tools (syringes, scalpels, knitting hooks, scissors, hammer, chisel, Brandy, that sort of thing). We bantered a little to set the mood. He asked if I was ready, and I said, “I guess so. Although usually, by the time I find myself in stirrups like this, my date’s already treated me to a nice steak dinner and a bottle of wine.”

Before we got started, he said, almost as a random aside, “I have a doctor interning with us who hasn’t gotten to watch a vasectomy yet. Would you mind an observer?”

I said, “No problem. The more, the merrier. Bring him in. And if you’ve got anybody else out there who’d like to watch, I’m cool with that, too. I had the sense your receptionist was kind of checking me out. Maybe some folks from the lobby.” (I’m not making any of this up, by the way.)

Dr. Little said, “Great! Thanks.” Then he opened the door and invited in the hottest lady doctor I’ve ever seen in my life, probably all of 28 years old. (Apparently she’d taken a couple years off of supermodeling to knock out a medical degree.)

Before we go any further, let’s take a quick head count of all those present, shall we? We have myself, Kendra, Evie, the older lady nurse, Dr. Little, Dr. McHotterson (not her real name), and of course my two knobby knees, which at this point felt a little like they were floating up and scraping up against the ceiling. Add a few red plastic cups and some nice electronica, and we’d have a full-on frat party.

The actual procedure probably took just a few minutes. We continued visiting throughout, and at one point I remember Dr. Little telling me I was the most entertaining patient he’d probably ever had. (What can I say? If you slip me a narcotic, roll me over on my back, hike up my skirt, and break out the knives, my brain-to-mouth filter goes haywire. Honestly, it’s a lot like when I write for my blog, only I’m not wearing pants. No, wait a minute… It’s exactly like when I write for my blog.)

Because my view was blocked by draping, I just kind of had to take the audience’s word for it that everything was working according to plan. Kendra asked if they had a mirror they could bring in so I could watch, like she did when our babies were born. I assured them that wouldn’t be necessary. (As if I haven’t already spent enough of my life checking out my business in the mirror! Am I right? Who knows what I’m talking about?) Anyway, at one point, Kendra said what Dr. Little was pulling out looked kind of like spaghetti. I guess I can picture that—of course that wasn’t the first time I’ve been covered in pasta below the waist.

Dr. Little (woo hoo) held up a section and offered to let Kendra snip it. She considered, but only for a second. She’s much more frugal than I am, and I think she wanted to be sure we were getting our money’s worth out of this guy.

He finished up, cauterized something, tucked some things back in, and buttoned my accoutrement all back up. The entire show was apparently a great success. I can only presume the applause was for his work and not for my contribution; I’ve never received that much “golf clapping” at any other time that I can recall. In any case, nothing too dramatic must have happened because Evie managed to sleep through the whole thing.

The assisting staff gathered up all the medieval weaponry and the buffet leftovers, cleared out the room, lowered me off the rack, and finally gave me, Kendra and the baby a little privacy, so I could collect myself and re-gird my loins (what was left of them, anyway). I was a little sore that day, but I slept a lot, so I don’t remember much of the rest of it. What I do remember was the next morning, when I awoke feeling like Donkey Kong had throttled me with a hockey puck slapshot to the pills. But that’s where my original story picks up anyway, so I can stop here. Besides, just between you and me, I think I’ve probably told you quite enough already.

Have you ever had a procedure with an audience? How did it go? Did everything come out okay? If you have one, what’s your narcotic of choice for having work done? Why do you think it is that you never see a really hot doctor unless it’s on TV or when you’re at your most vulnerable?

4 Responses to “The Procedure”

  1. Tim December 17, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    I can definitely see you saying all that. This past year I had kidney stones and needed several procedures done to put in a stent, remove the stone, and then take the stent out. The dr goes in the same way the pee comes out. The last procedure I had I was at a hospital in OKC and I was laying on the surgery bed waiting for the anesthesia to knock me out. Much like you I enjoy random talking to smooth nerves. The nurses and dr’s were asking me about what I do for a job and I let them know I was a Youth Pastor at OKC. Every single one of the nurses and dr’s let me know that they attended the same Campus that I work at. That’s the last thing I remember. I’m not sure if they think of me the same when they see me at church.

  2. Jeremy Cox December 17, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    My favorite line..

    when I awoke feeling like Donkey Kong had throttled me with a hockey puck slapshot to the pills.

  3. Jon Acuff December 24, 2010 at 8:53 pm #

    Loved the idea about, “whatever you do with what ever is left over is your business.” Great story

  4. Randy Cherry March 9, 2014 at 1:47 am #

    First, I have to say your writing skills remind me of Stephen King. I could see the entire procedure as if I were part of the audience! I’m very glad I had no audience, especially my now ex-wife. I also had a Valium and remember asking my. Dr. to go bike riding with me at the end of the ordeal
    I knew him from my working in the hospital and had a crush on him so I shudder to think what else I mentioned! Oh,also his nurse grew up next door. This was years before the HIPPA rules! Ran Cherry

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