Tuesday, October 19, 2004


My wife and I have had three kids in four years. I believe this is chiefly my wife’s fault. She’s way too fertile. I have come to the conclusion that she has super powers, much like Jayna from the Wonder Twins, only instead of taking “Form of an Eagle” or “Form of a Snake”, she can only take one form, “Form of an Irritable, Hungry and Tired Pregnant Woman.”

Naturally, I’m contemplating a vasectomy. Since a vasectomy is an irreversible and important decision, my wife and I decided to make our decision the old-fashioned way - we took all three kids to the International House of Pancakes.

My four year-old, Gabriel, asked me what the International House of Pancakes was. I explained it on the way to the restaurant.

“It’s like the United Nations, except they hand out breakfast food sanctions. Also, the United States actually listens to the International House of Pancakes.”

In my estimation, all birth control decisions should be at the IHOP. There’s nothing that concentrates your mind on birth control like flying whipped cream, dropped pancakes and spilled cups of juice. Heck, set three kids loose in an IHOP and if you look around you’ll see that just about everyone in the place is thinking about birth control.

It took maybe five minutes to decide to have me “fixed.” Even the young couple at the next table decided on having a vasectomy – and they hadn’t even had children yet. Go figure.

My decision remained firm right up until my first consultation with the doctor.

Biology is King

For those that don’t know, this is what happens when you visit the doctor to talk about a vasectomy. Just after shaking your hand, the doctor asks you to drop your pants and then he palpates your testicles.

Now, you might think this part might be embarrassing, but it’s nowhere near as embarrassing as when the doctor calls in the entire medical office staff to admire your equipment.

Okay, so I made that last part up.

In reality, once the doctor starts “palpating”, a million years of biology kicks in and your testicles literally try to run away from you and the doctor. And you’re cheering them on. At one point, under your breath, you will actually say, “Run like hell, boys, he’s got a knife.
Though admirable, the attempt is ultimately fruitless – “ultimately fruitless” being as good an adjective as you can have for anything connected to a vasectomy.

Then, the doctor sits you down (a competent doctor will have let go of your testicles at this point) and tells you the hard facts about vasectomies. It goes like this:

Doctor: You should consider a vasectomy irreversible. Are you sure that you’ve had all of the kids you want to have?

You: Yes. I'm positive.

But once you hear the word “irreversible”, no matter how happily married you are, you start thinking about your next wife.

“What if this marriage doesn’t work out?” you think. “What if I end up marrying a younger woman who wants kids? Am I being fair to her?”

The lizard part of your brain will race to think of other somewhat less plausible excuses. “What if scientists find out that my sperm is capable of creating a race of super geniuses…super geniuses that could cure the world’s diseases and invent stuff like cold fusion or a better tasting fruitcake. Am I being fair to the world?”

The scariest part of the vasectomy consultation will be the doctor’s list of possible complications, which includes infection, spontaneous regeneration of the deferens and, wait for it, chronic testicular pain. Which may require pain management. For years.

In any case, I left the doctor’s office with both an appointment for the surgery in November and a firm resolve to never step in that doctor’s office again.


Ron Feinbaum said...

Think Fast. Live Slow

wes said...

Not sure if you're still mulling over the vasectomy decision, but be afraid. Be very afraid. I went through the procedure and had a complication known as a hydrocele, which caused one of my fellas (starboard) to swell and range in size from a roma tomato to a large plum over the course of about two years. Yes there was a lingering dull pain, and it made bike riding a chore. But on the plus side, I had quite a package, and friends-in-the-know christened me with a host of whimsical sobriquets ("Biggie Smalls", "Monster's Ball", etc.)