09 April 2011

Simple medical procedure

I'm lying in bed, 'recovering' and feel like writing this up while it's fresh in my mind, so steer away, those uncomfortable with frank talk of the body.

I got up this morning with the idea that I would run, make some sort of memorial run, but it didn't really pan out. I wasn't feeling it, and I was eager just to get the whole thing over as soon as possible. I screwed around most of the morning: did some more washing and 'cleaning up' to make sure everything was ready to go. At about 9:40, I took the Valium, three of the four tablets given to me, as I wanted to take the edge off but still be pretty coherent. This was a bit of a mistake, actually: I probably needed only one or none at all. I was pretty relaxed anyway and Valium just makes you feel a bit drunk and unstable.

So Yoko and I and the kids loaded up to go to the clinic about a half hour away in Dunstable and got there around 10:15, well before my 10:40 appointment. It was simply at a surgery (clinic) that is used for normal GP practice most of the time, but on Saturdays they do vasectomies. I sat in the waiting room with about two other guys, and the doctor came out with someone who had just been done up and the patient joked about it being awful and horrible--told us the nurse was fit (what an awful thing to say, I thought) and left laughing. The guy before me went in and I sat with Yoko and the girls, feeding them a snack and trying to keep myself above the Valium, which was possible, but not easy. The next guy came out and was taken away by his father, and I went in with the doctor who was wearing an untucked polo shirt. He brought me into a regular clinic room that just had a regular exam table covered in paper and a rather attractive (as I had been told), blonde nurse told me to take off my trousers and pants, and I sort of awkwardly asked if I could keep my socks on, which I could.

I stood there, naked from the waist down and started having this rather normal conversation with the nurse that conintued after I laid down and after I got the shot and through the whole of the operation. I talked to her about my wife and kids and living in Japan and my plans for the future. Just a regular conversation. The initial injection stung a bit, but nothing worse than getting blood drawn. The doctor didn't announce much of what he was doing until about halfway through (you'll feel a tug), but I could tell when he made the incision, when he clamped the tubes, and (probably most disconcerting of a feeling mixed with the smell) when he cauterised that ends of the tubes. But again, when it hurt it was only very brief and only at six times: claming of the tubes (2x) and cauterised (4x), and after I got used to it the first round, it was expected.

Then it was over. The nurse said, you did really good, like I was being praised for passing a quiz, and we left before 11. I got in the car feeling nothing and thought, Well, that's that, I guess.

I'm feeling a little bit of discomfort now, but very, very little and the cut looks just like a bit of black marker: there were no stitches. So we went to get lunch at Harvester, the best salad bar in the UK and I had five bowls of salad and a thing of roast chicken.

When the lunch was done, I kid you not, the waiteress asks Yoko, 'When is the baby due?' And I said, In June. 'Coming up soon then. Hoping for a boy?' No, I said, we already know it's a girl. The waitress smiled and said, 'Well, I guess you'll have to try for another.' No, I wanted to say, but didn't, 45 minutes ago I had a vasectomy.... Instead, I said, No, I don't think so, and she smiled and we left.

It's a beautiful day today. I'm glad to have made the right decision, having thought about it as much as I could. I'm glad that I wasn't afraid and that the logical side of me won out. I have simplified my life a lot: no more monthly wondering if we might possibly be pregnant. PhD and AHRC post doc grant. That's the focus of my life now, from here on out.

After, of course, a nap to get this Valium out of my system.
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