Depending on your gender and possible life experiences, vasectomies can bring about feelings of pain and loss but in my case they produce great stories. Fortunately, I have always been on the performing end of one of these. When I was an associate faculty, I even taught them. For some reason, during these procedures many hilarious things tend to happen.
Take Bill, a 32 year old who had 3 children and did not want any more. The procedure started with the usual banter and inappropriate jokes including , “just a little off the top” and “We’ll be done in a snip.” The prep was then completed including “sterilizing” the surgical field with some antiseptic.
For those who have never been through or seen a vasectomy, the procedure is quite simple. The patient is numbed up with some marcaine. (In this case telling the patient they will feel a “little prick” is completely appropriate) An assistant and I then isolate the vas deference (the tube the sperm swim through on their journey to meet an egg) and make a small opening to bring out the vas. No scalpel is used and once out, the vas is cut in half, cauterized and then a thin layer of tissue is sewn over it. The procedure is done on the other side completing the procedure usually taking about 30-45 minutes.
Before the procedure the patient is given a dose of valium which acts like a few beers and relaxes him, allowing for an easier procedure. This brings us back to Bill. He decided the best way to make it through the procedure would be to sing… THE WHOLE TIME! My first impression was that this was impressive. He must have had a classic rock collection he had listened to enough that he had memorized it. No joke it was like we had started a playlist and there was only about a 3 to 5 second delay before the next song ensued.
Now I am usually a fan of classic rock but this detracted from my typical enjoyment of Bon Jovi, Kansas and Journey. It started out fun and I even sang along, but it got old. The surprising thing was how he didn’t miss a beat, even when he felt the poke of the needle or a tug of the vas. On these occasions he didn’t miss a beat but did go up an octave when he felt pain which made for an entertaining rendition of Carry on my Wayward Son.
I didn’t know until later that he was loud enough to attract a crowd of giggling nurses and medical assistants around the door of the procedure room. It made for an entertaining day and a fun story. Bill was none the wiser and the procedure was successful allowing him to shoot blanks without fear of having another child.
I even got laughs when I was not performing the procedure. I alternated with a few other doctors who also performed the procedure. One day I was performing my typical clinic duties while one of my partners was doing vasectomies and running late. My workstation was directly across from the room where the next victim (ur… patient) waited. It had been over an hour and we could hear laughing and other precarious sounds coming from the room. Keep in mind that this guy had already taken his valium.
He must have been a light weight. Eventually the door opened and his wife walked out. She wore a look of frustration like a wrinkled blouse. “Do you know how long it is going to be?” She asked. My medical assistant said she would look into it and I walked her back to the room. I opened the door and was not prepared for what I saw. Her husband (happily intoxicated on valium) was gleefully dancing around the exam room…. wearing nothing but boxers… on his head. I couldn’t take it and laughed out loud. Through a continued grin I calmed him down and reassured her it wouldn’t be long.
Sometimes life brings us smiles and laughter. Sometimes we augment it by adding valium. I smile as I write this thinking about the joy that telling this story has brought me and I hope it brings you joy and laughter too. Look for the fun and funny things in life and don’t be afraid to laugh. They say it’s the best medicine.