Thursday, July 14, 2016


"The Big V"
by William Snyder
© 2015 William Snyder

 Protocol required my wife and I to attend an educational appointment. Gail was babysitting four kids the day of the appointment, so we showed up to the doctor’s office with eight kids. The exam room was absolutely packed when the doctor walked in.
“Are these all yours?” he asked.
“Yes,” I lied as he pulled down his charts and handed us colorful pamphlets entitled “Are You Sure You’re Sure?”
Sophia started crying and one of the kids tipped over an aluminum trash can. Handing the pamphlet back to the doctor, I said, “Listen doc, I think we can save each other a little time here. Can't we just pretend you delivered your lecture? Don't you have something we can just sign?”
The doctor nervously handed me the clipboard and Gail and I eagerly signed on the dotted line. 
The day of the vasectomy was absolutely frightening. The appointment wasn’t until 1:30 in the afternoon so I headed in to my teaching job at Canyon State Academy for Boys that morning. But I wasn’t in any shape to do any teaching. All I could think about was the cutting that was in store. From time to time I doubled over in anticipatory pain. Of course I told the whole story to the boys and they kept asking questions like, “So you’re gonna let the doctor slice you – down there?” and “Will they use a razor blade or a pair or really sharp scissors?”
I walked into the doctor’s office with Gail and the epic collection of our own and other people’s children. The receptionist rolled her eyes. The kids were a little loud and a lot rambunctious. Barit, my three year-old, asked a woman with blue hair to read her a magazine. The old woman didn’t answer. 
“This is a doctor’s office,” the receptionist said bitterly.
She was wearing too much makeup.
“Yes, it is. That’s why I’m here – for a vasectomy.” 
“There really isn’t room for all of these children in the waiting room,” she sneered.
“Are you saying you’d like them to leave? Is that it? I could have my wife take them away. Maybe you could give me a ride home.” 
 If she appreciated my use of sarcasm, she did a marvelous job of hiding it. By this time, the Tylenol with Codeine I had popped in the car was kicking in. Things were becoming a little blurry. The next thing I knew I was laying on the cold sterile paper, undressed from the waist down. The nurse was a big hairy character with tattoos of skeletons and naked women on his forearms. He told me to relax, that this procedure would be nothing to worry about. Ha! The door swung open and the doctor abruptly entered the tiny examination room. The first thing I noticed was she was a woman – and she looked a little pissed off. She was tall, thin, and her face bore no traces of makeup. So there I was, naked from the waist down, laid out before the scary looking biker and an the angry looking woman doctor.  
“Hello, doc,” I said. 
“We’re going to start by giving you injections of local anesthesia on both sides of your scrotum.” 
She didn’t look me in the eye.
“With a needle?”
She didn’t answer. The biker was holding a monstrous aluminum needle that looked something like a  bicycle pump. 
“Oh my God!” I said. “That looks painful.”
“Well, it’s not,” she corrected, shaking her head with condescension.
Closing my eyes, I tried to concentrate on my breathing. A gloved hand took hold and lifted my testicles and then – ZING; there it was – searing white hot pain on the left side. The needle remained in my scrotum for a few seconds. There was nothing painless about this. It hurt – a lot. Then the needle came out and I breathed a sigh of relief. But the white hot pain returned – to my right side. The breathing business was out the window. Now I was grinding my teeth and groaning in pain. In retrospect, the pain was comparable to the local anesthetic delivered to the mouth before dental procedures. Surely, the location of the penetrations had an added psychological effect. When the needle was removed from the right side I collapsed to the loud crinkling paper and groaned. 
“It’ll be just a few minutes before the anesthetic takes full effect,” said Doctor Angry Pain Lady before hastily leaving the room. 
I opened my eyes and Biker Nurse’s hairy face came into focus. He wore a paper surgical cap and his beard was covered too. This man had the bushiest eyebrows I had ever seen.  Bristly eyebrow hairs jutted out two or three inches in every possible direction.
“Are you okay, man?” he asked.
“Anyone who says the big V doesn’t hurt is a stinkin' liar,”  I whispered.
“Whoever said a vasectomy don’t hurt?”
The door flew open and she was back. This woman couldn’t have been older than thirty.
“Okay, Henry,” she said to her biker nurse, “let’s get started.”
“But wait,” I was whispering. “It hasn’t been a few minutes yet. Shouldn’t we wait for the anesthesia to set in?” 
Each whispered word facilitated an agonizing tug on my throbbing testicles.
“And where did you get your medical degree, Mr. Snyder?” she snapped, the corners of her lips curling downward, unadulterated man-hating fire in her eyes.
Closing my eyes, I let my head fall back and hit the pillow. I felt her make the incision on the left testicle. Anesthetic, my left molar! This hurt. This was light-years beyond anything I'd ever felt in a dentist's chair. I went back to the yoga breathing. I could feel her yanking on my blood vessels or tendons, first in my scrotum, then in my gut and finally in my shoulder. Breathing hard, I panted rhythmically like a woman in labor. 
“Exactly what is that are you doing?” she demanded.
“I’m trying to do yoga breathing – to control the pain.” 
“That’s not yoga breathing. And you’re not in that much pain.” 
Opening my vocal chords wrenched my testicles, causing so much extra pain that I opted not to respond.
Then I felt the slice on the other side – followed by a sharp jerk on a vessel or tendon somewhere in the vicinity of my pelvis, causing my arm to fly up in the air. Glancing up I watched the doctor's lips curl up into a smile.  She was enjoying this.  I could only hope that my kids were out there absolutely trashing that waiting room. 

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