There are few words in the English language that strike more fear in a man's heart than the term "vasectomy." The thought of a scalpel going anywhere near the old twig and berries is enough to make even the burliest man break out into a clammy sweat — which probably explains why my husband, after deciding to have one, waited for more than a year to actually make the appointment.
"I feel like I'm going to be castrated," he said sourly as the big day drew near.
"Nobody's forcing you to do it, you know," I replied.
"Oh, I'm going to do it, all right," he said. "Four little Ferriers are enough. But I'm certainly not looking forward to it."
Finally, after weeks of trepidation, it was V-Day. I accompanied Hubs to the doctor's office and 30 minutes later, he was a new man ... a new man who walked like a sailor.
"Are you okay?" I asked him as we slowly made our way to the car.
"I think so," he said. "There was a lot of blood though. A lot of blood. It was just like giving birth." I held my tongue only because the man had just had his cojones sliced open — but clearly the local anesthetic had traveled to his brain.
"Gee, Hubs, you were very brave," I said after a moment. "That took balls."
Hubs didn't laugh.
Once we returned home, I got him settled in our Barcalounger with a bag of frozen peas and then headed off to a birthday party with my 6-year-old daughter.
"Hubs hated to miss this," I told a couple of parent friends when we arrived. I dropped my voice to a stage whisper. "But he just had a vasectomy." The wife's eyes lit up and she elbowed her husband. He laughed uneasily.
"Sarah's been trying to convince me to get one," he said, after giving her a look. "Is he in a lot of pain right now?"
"He's okay," I said. "He popped a couple of pain pills, and now he's watching TV."
As Sarah turned to say hello to another friend, her husband moved closer. "So, how does a vasectomy even work?" he asked quietly. "I mean ... do they cut you right here?" He gestured to a spot right below his navel.
I stared at him, waiting for a punchline. What did his intestines have to do with anything? He stared back. "Oh, uhhhh, no," I said finally. "It's ... they ... well ..." Try as I might, there was no way I could say the word "testicles" at a children's birthday party. "It happens in the groin," I finished lamely.
"Huh," the husband said. I could tell by his face that all tentative vasectomy plans were off. Sarah was going to kill me.
Over the next few days, Hubs coped with his post-op pain by talking about it. Incessantly. To anyone who'd listen.
"So I interviewed a district attorney this morning and he told me his good friend had a vasectomy and got a rare infection," Hubs told me after arriving home from work one evening this week.
"You told a district attorney that you had a vasectomy?" I asked.
"I tell everybody," he said. "Anyway, he went to visit him at Vanderbilt and he said one of the guy's testicles had swollen to the size of a cantaloupe, and they had put it in a special tent!"
"Wow," I said. "Was the tent red-and-white striped?"
"Yeah," he said, laughing. "They were charging admission."
"And this is what you talk about when the camera isn't rolling."
Hubs shrugged. "It was interesting," he said. "Oh, and yesterday, this detective I talked to said that any man who gets a vasectomy is guaranteed to get kicked in the balls that same week. And it's true! Bruiser's hit me in the balls at least three times already!"
I frowned, imagining my husband exchanging vasectomy anecdotes with the bank teller ... the postman ... Rudy Kalis. Really, the news desk should've put him on Vasectomy Patrol this week. He could report on all the latest vasectomy gossip, like which state legislator couldn't walk for a week afterward, and what country music legend performed at a concert just six hours after his surgery. And then the I-Team could investigate what happens to all that unused sperm, and look into whether taxpayers are footing the bill.
"I hope I didn't make a mistake," Hubs whispered last night as I was falling asleep. "It's been six days and I still don't feel quite like myself."
"Mmmph fug shmorgen fug," I said into my pillow.
That's what he heard, anyway. What I really said was, "Shut up about your freaking vasectomy already."
But I would never say that to his face.
That would be nuts.
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