Several years back Darla and I had a heart to heart discussion about our kids. We had four boys by then, but I kept wantin’ a little girl. That was on account of my friends. They all had daughters and I was jealous. Their little girls would snuggle up with their daddy or make him do somethin’ silly like pretend to have tea with them. All my boys preferred to wrestle, and I don’t mean no Grecko Roman style neither. My little fellas would take a running start, fly through the air, and land knees first into my ribs, back, head, or whatever was vulnerable when I wasn’t lookin’. It’s a wonder I had four boys. I wanted to add one girl so I’d have a child who could love me without sendin’ me to the hospital.
Now Darla didn’t find my excuses convincin’ for another baby. I can’t blame her since I was four and zero when it came to boys vs. girls. I decided at that point we should probably avoid accidently having any more, and that started a whole knew debate as to who would go to the vet to get fixed. She told me women have all sort of problems when they get neutered. So I decided to do the honorable thing and volunteer.
The next step was to make an appointment with the wiener doctor. I guess I should call them urologists since that is their correct title. Whatever their title is, that’s one job I don’t reckon I can do, even if I have castrated in few bulls in my day.
Back then you had to get approval from your primary doctor for those things. Now normally I prefer female doctors. It ain’t because I’m sexist, but I’m less likely to punch a female doctor if she hurts me. I once twisted my rheumatologist’s arm away from my sore knee when he wouldn’t stop pokin’ it. On the other hand, I have a female pain doctor that puts needles into my body and digs around to see how bad I hurt, and I smile while she does it. The male ego is a funny, and stupid, thing.
Since I couldn’t decide what wiener doctor I wanted to see, I told my primary doctor that I’d get back to her later with a decision. It was shortly after that phone call I started to notice a disturbing trend. Darla and all her friends would begin to laugh maniacally whenever she told them I was going to get fixed. I had never considered that body part to a matter of disdain among the fairer sex. It does a few things for us guys. It lets us release our old beer, cold coffee, and occasionally express approval when it sees someone it likes.
Other than that, we don’t think much of it. In fact, we go out of our way not to look at it, and talk about it with our buddies. I was a bit worried that every woman thought cutting my tenderest parts was funny. I had no idea they were so bitter about it.
After the Lord showed me that epiphany, I thought it best to go with a male urologist. When the day came to go to the doctor Darla offered to go with me. I thought about all the laughter and decided this was probably best done alone. After all, it was just a consultation. Now I got to say, that consultation was an educational event. First, these urologists have a sense a humor. I reckon you’d have to lookin’ at wieners all day. The second thing I learned was there are higher levels of awkwardness I ain’t never been exposed to before.
I foolishly assumed we would just sit in the treatment room and chat. After all, we both knew why I was there, and things did start normal. Then old Doc Brown (that’s what I’ll call him) says, “Mr. McCray, please stand up and drop your pants and underwear.”
Now that was a surprise. I had not heard those words since I tried to join the Navy. Of course, I complied, and he rolls on over sittin’ on his stool. At this point I was not sure what to do. Part of me wanted to grab my pants and go screamin’ out of that patient room. Another part of me wanted to ask for a cup of water so I could put it on his head. He’s squeezin’, pullin’, and liftin’. I felt like a prize bull at the county fair.
After a few more seconds of his probin’ I decided to close my eyes and go to my happy place. I go to this real pretty lake on the edge of some woods I like to hike through near Boone, NC. I was just startin’ to relax where I hear Doc Brown say, “Give me your finger.” I sort of snap back to reality and he repeated, “Lucius, give me your finger.” Then, before I can move he’s got hold of two of my fingers. Now I’m holdin’ my breath prayin’ no jazz music starts up. He takes my fingers and pushes against one of my personal parts, and asks, “Do you feel that?”
Of course, I says yes because I was praying it was not goin’ any farther, but old Doc Brown could tell I was a faker.
He adjusts his grip on my finger and says, “No, not that, this.” There under my finger was one of the thickest veins I’d ever felt. That changed everything. When you work on a farm you learn to do a lot of your own vet work to save money. In that moment I went from awkward to wonderin’ what I was feelin’. “What is that?” I asked.
“That’s what I’m cutting in half.” He says.
You really must have to have a special kind of dark humor to be a urologist, and I envied the man, but he was not done with me yet. He starts readin’ me off options. “If I simply cut it, there is a chance it will grow back together. It happens more often than you think. On the plus side you can reverse the operation later if you choose to. The second option is to cut out a larger section. It’s less likely to reattach but is still reversible.”
I sat there sort of dumbfounded. I did not want to get my jewels chiseled on just to have things go back the way they were. There was also no chance I would want to reattach the tubes. I asked Doc, “Is there an option that doesn’t grow back?”
He crossed his arms and rolled his stool back. I took that as my que to pull up my pants while I could. He waited for me to finish putting myself together and then said, “I can cut out a section on each side and then clamp a steal ball on the end of each tube. They may eventually fall off one day, but there is no chance you’ll ever be able to reattach.”
That was the option for me. I said, “Let’s do that.”
He had me setup an appointment for a couple weeks later. Doc Brown also said I would need someone to drive me home after the procedure. I remember how much Darla was enjoyin’ all of this, so I knew her givin’ me a ride was not a problem. I walked out of his office, a man with a plan.
Now the opinions of the folks I was workin’ with was split down the sexes. All the men thought I was either crazy or brave. All the women just laughed. Evidently, vasectomies hit a universal funny bone when it comes to women. Thankfully, I had a male boss at the time. I told him I would be out Friday for the procedure and he promptly doubled over, grabbed himself, and told me to take off as much time as I needed.
The day arrived, and I found myself layin’ on a table with my drawers off. Old Doc Brown still had his sense of humor. I love to press a button or two, but this fella had it down to an art. He also had a sadistic streak to go along with it. He stood over me with a razor in his hand, a smile on his face, and asked me if I had shaved things. I told him I trusted a surgeon more since all I owned at the time was a straight razor. I’ll just say I was glad he was a good surgeon because he threw that razor around my private parts faster than any man I’ve seen shave his face. With all the prep work finished, the doctor asked, “What kind of music do you like to listen to.”
Now I may be a country boy, but I have some city in my as well. In those days I enjoyed all sorts of Rock, including Punk, New Wave, Classic and even some Metal. Needless to say, I didn’t think any of those would be appropriate for a man with a scalpel to listen to. He offered easy listening. Now I am no fan of easy listening music, except maybe on a date, but I figured the man with the scalpel could listen to whatever he wanted to, so we did.
Now I won’t get into too many particulars about my testiculars. Things went along right smooth and Doc Brown seemed to be the master of small talk. The local anesthetic made me forget all about him clipping and sewing down there. Unfortunately, my mind started to wander, and so I asked him what his job was like. The good doctor proceeded to tell me about different injuries he had been called on to repair. His ability to verbally paint a picture of a man’s disfigured tenders was something to appreciate.
Lookin’ back on it, I reckon my lack of revulsion may have been seen as an affront to his story telling. He started on the other side of me not long after he finished his tales of mutilation and horror. First the fella’s clamp slipped while he was sticking the needle inside to administer the local anesthetic. I’ll be right honest, that hurt a might. Doctor Brown managed to get his clamp back on and I prayed he did not miss again. Well, everything was moving along better after that. At least until I felt the scalpel.
Now don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t anything more than a bee sting, inside a part of the body a man does not want stung. Old Doc Brown stopped, grabbed a straight needle and started pokin’ at me. He told me to tell him when it hurt, and he confirmed quite a few places weren’t numb. He stood there for a few seconds and suddenly exclaimed, “Oh, I’m so dumb. This is a local, I can use the whole thing.” He then proceeded to pour the whole container of numbing liquid down the open wound where he was workin’. Thankfully, I couldn’t feel a thing after that.
Well, I should day I didn’t feel a thing until he started tugging and said with a twinge of excitement, “Wow! This is got to be the thickest Vas deferens I’ve ever had to cut.” I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be proud or horrified. I was thinkin’ of askin’ him if he wanted to go get a sharper pair of scissors when he final managed to cut through.
Now, have you ever felt like kickin’ somebody, but knew if you did you would be worse off for it? I decided after his cuttin’ episode I would probably be better off keepin’ my eyes closed an talkin’ to Jesus. If I didn’t and he had more issues down there I might be tempted to work on his tenders with my foot. Thankfully, it wasn’t too much longer after that he told me I was done. To my amazement I didn’t feel any pain, but I was feelin’ weak. The doctor helped me up and had my private parts lying on some ice and towels.
Of course, Doc Brown was not going to let the day end without one more joke. He explained to me that I now officially had balls of steel due to the clamps left inside. I asked if there was any chance a magnet or metal detector at the airport should set them off. “They shouldn’t be a problem,” was all he responded with. Then Doc Brown went to get Darla.
Now I’m expectin’ her to come in and see what a sacrifice I have made so she didn’t have to. I was hopin’ for at least a hug after spendin’ the last hour with the stand-up comedian/Urologist. Well, Darla comes into the room with the doctor followin’. She looks down between my legs and bursts out laughing. Our cat Pumpkin got more respect when he got fixed. The whole time Darla is helpin’ me ease into my clothes she’s gigglin’. I tell you what, that is the sort of reaction that gives a fella a complex.
I was so thankful to get home. I was told to sit in a chair all weekend, watch television, and keep a bag of frozen peas on my broken nuts. They also told me not to walk around too much. I watched television for an hour or so, but then I got bored. I decided I would pass the time by reading over all the documentation they sent me home with. Most of what I read I had already experienced, but then I got into the side effects. Most of the effects revolved around injuring yourself right after surgery, but then I came to the line that said, “Some men may experience a slight shrinkage due to a reduction in fluid.” Doctor happy failed to mention that during our consult. In fact, nobody had ever mentioned that. Now to be fair, it almost never happens, but I think that should be the first thing the doctor mentions. I’m guessin’ if they made the fact more prevalent their income would drop off precipitously, so they just put it in the fine print instead.
After reading that I felt a might agitated, so I grabbed my bag of peas and walked outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. That helped me relax. I got bored again after a while, and I decided to take me and my peas into my office so I could play some video games. Generally speaking, I spent a fair amount of time walking around those first couple of days. Of course Darla would follow me around sayin’,” Lucius, your doctor said you need to sit. You don’t want to hurt yourself.” I never went far mind you, just around the homestead. Everything seemed to be progressin’ accordin’ to plan. I made it up to day two when you are instructed to finally take a shower.
Now, up to this point I had not felt any pain. I thought everything was fine. I will admit I had not looked real close to what the doc had done because I was afraid I might pass out if I took a good look at it. So, on day two I climbed into the shower. Everything seemed fine until I suddenly felt like a mule had kicked me between my legs. That’s when I decided it was time to take a look,and see what was wrong.
To my horror I had managed to rip open the stitches, and I thought, Dang it! Darla was right. I was seeing inside parts of me I never wanted to see, ever. It took all my strength to fall against the side of the shower and not pass-out, or throwup. I start hollerin’ for Darla. She comes rushin’ in. I’m now in tears looking up at the ceiling. Darla asks, “What’s wrong honey!” I point down with my finger and say through my tears, “I tore open my stitches.” Darla immediately starts laughing.
At this point any humor I might have ever possessed has long since left me. I holler at her to call the doctor. I’m standin’ there naked in shower cryin’ when she brings the phone to me. The doctor asks me to describe what I see. I attempt to man up and tell him what is going on. His only response is, “Good, don’t do anything to it. Take the pain pills I prescribed and pack ice around it.”
“You aren’t going to sew me back up?” I asked in horror.
“No, just let things drain. If the hole bothers you, you can put a Band-Aid on it.” And then he said goodbye and hung up.
Now I’ve been involved in a few castrations of bulls in my life. I can tell you that we don’t just leave things hanging open. Granted, this is not quite the same thing, but we are talkin’ similar body parts. To my amazement, even attempting to step out of the tub felt like a claw hammer slammed into my family jewels. Darla had to help lift my leg over the tub because the pain was too much. Then she let me lean on her and got me to the bed. She left and returned with a fresh bag of frozen peas.
I was lying there wearin’ nothin’ but the jolly green giant’s frozen peas, and whimperin’ from the pain. Darla seemed to have a little more sympathy and brought me a cup of water and a pain pill. She offered to go to the local CVS and find me somethin’ to close up those holes. She didn’t appreciate being able to see inside them either. Her sympathy soothed my aching body, up until she started to snicker as she closed the door and the latch clicked shut.
Monday came way too soon. I had promised my boss I would be in to work. Now in those days I worked on computers because I had six mouths to feed. I knew if I could make it to my desk and sit down I could sit there the entire day and type on my keyboard. By I time I drove to the office and showed up at the front door the pain medicine felt like it had plumb worn out. I leaned against the door until it opened, and I slowly moved down the hallway towards my desk. The hallway walls helped to keep me standing. Partway down the hall I ran into a group of co-workers. They were all a might concerned for my state of bein’. I was in the mood for some sympathy by this point, and I told them what had happened. The two guys in the group both grabbed at themselves and grimaced. The three women started to laugh. I had never even dated these women, so I’m not sure why they thought my personal affliction was so funny at this point. It isn’t even like they could argue they went through worse havin’ kids since none of them were even married yet. Of course, with the laughter and groans a group starts to form to see what’s goin’ on. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the energy to extricate myself from the situation.
Eventually my boss shows up. He sees me leanin’ against the wall in pain, and all of the women laughin’. The guys are all grabbin’ themselves and lookin’ at the women in horror and disgust. My boss looks around and says to the women, “It’s not funny, everybody back to work.” The women walked back into the cube farm where we could hear echoes of laughter for several seconds. A few men gently patted me on the shoulder and told me they were sorry and went about their business.
My boss told me take the week off until I could recover and not to worry about the sick time. I was so relieved, until I remembered I had to walk back to my car. That was the longest hundred and fifty yards I have ever walked. Of course, it was the first seventy-five feet to the elevator and the snickerin’ from every woman who passed by that was the toughest.
I was back to work after a couple of weeks. My doc had me come in once and confirmed everything had healed up correctly, despite my best effort to mess it all up. Before I left my follow-up visit Doc Brown handed me another pamphlet and told me to follow the directions exactly and then bring in a sample to ensure I was as sterile as a steer. I sat in the car and read through what he had given me.
Now I want to try to tell this for polite company. I was told I need to “flush the system” at least thirty times to make sure nothin’ was alive was swimmin’ about. I smiled all the way home. I walked in the door, walked up to Darla, stuck out the pamphlet and said, “Read this.”
“What are you grinning about?” she asked.
“Just read.” I said through my smile.
She finished reading it, looked up at me, and said, “You can take care of that yourself.”
Now there was a time, in my younger wild days, when I used to think hearin’ those words in that context would be excitin’. However, hearing them in real life it sounded more like, “Go mow the grass, and while you’re at it, take care of that medical issue.”
I’ll just say things were takin’ care of, but there was one final insult left. The doctor had given me a small plastic bottle to put a sample in and bring into the office. Now they didn’t have you bring it into the lab, you just dropped it off inside a brown paper sack with reception. Of course, Darla refused to drop it off. I thought about not havin’ the final test done, but by that point I had gone through too much. I had to know if it worked.
So, into the office I went with my bottle in a bag, and I handed it to the pregnant receptionist. My plan was to drop it off and hightail it out the door. I had just turned around on my heel when I hear the receptionist behind me say, “Wait, this only takes a minute in the lab.” Thankfully, the waiting room only had a couple of nervous men in it. Most likely Doc Brown’s next victims. A nurse called me to the window and gave me a detailed report of what she saw. She must have been able to tell from my blank expression that I had no idea what she was saying, or I was trying not to picture it. The nurse stopped, made sure we had eye contact, and said, “The test came back negative. That means you’re sterile.” I smiled, said thank you, and got out of there as fast as I possibly could.
I have to say, after goin’ through all of this I’ve never looked at our bull, our steer, or our pet dog without sympathy.