The Personal Blog

When a vasectomy goes bad

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Just saw this report on CNN talking about how men are going to the doctor to get vasectomies so they can use the recovery time to sit at home and watch NCAA March Madness. The story quotes a Cleveland doctor who says the procedure takes about 10 minutes and there is minimal pain involved.

Oh boy… I’ve been reluctant to talk about something deeply personal that happened to me, but I feel compelled now to share after seeing this and reading so much about women’s contraception in the news.

Here’s the nut: I got a vasectomy last fall. The week after Labor Day, actually.

I asked for the procedure because I have a beautiful daughter who is my everything, so I don’t see myself yearning for additional children out of an insatiable desire to change more diapers.

My 15-year-long marriage ended last year, and I was suddenly dating a variety of women, some of whom I had the privilege of knowing in the Biblical sense. I quickly learned that a newly divorced man with resources can’t always trust what a newly divorced woman in need of a provider says. I don’t want to sound misogynistic, but I don’t think it is a radical stretch to say that unplanned pregnancies have roped more than one good man into an 18+ year commitment he regretted. I took responsibility for my own birth control rather than gambling.

So, to the doctor I went, assured after reading the comic bookish literature that it would be a simple remedy that wouldn’t take away from my routine too much.

My surgeon, Chester C. Hicks, Jr., M.D., F.A.C.S., of Clinical Urology Associates PC, asked me to take my pants off and put my feet down in the stirrups. He injected a needle into my scrotum, then proceeded to use a scapel to splice open my scrotum. That’s when I realized the anesthesia wasn’t strong enough.

Yes, you read that right. Feel free to cringe, boys.


I clinched my fists and instantly let out a loud yelp. Dr. Hicks gazed up from between my legs, a surprised look on his face. He injected more anesthesia, which caused my crotch to go numb. I could vaguely feel the sensation of something going on down there as he severed the vasa defentia and then cauterized the ends. The scent of burning flesh made me sick to my stomach.

He assured me that my scrotum would continue to produce testosterone and other male hormones that are secreted into the blood stream, so while my sexual desire would not be diminished, I would have nearly zero chance of making a woman pregnant once the active sperm were flushed out of my system. Sperm would continue to produce down there, but the squiggly ones would break down and absorb into my body. He warned me not to have sex too soon after the procedure, both to avoid injury and to prevent impregnating anyone with those last resilient sperm.

That wasn’t a problem. You see, there was a pretty major complication that took me out of action for six months.

The soreness didn’t stop after the week or thereabouts I was told to expect. Neither did the swelling. In fact, it got worse. Much worse.

The doctor took a look and diagnosed me with scrotal hematoma. Internal bleeding caused one of my tesicles to swell up to the size of a tennis ball. I couldn’t wear jeans for more than two months (it’s a good thing I was working from home at the time). I also suffered from congestive epididymitis, a mild/annoying pain that felt like tiny stabbings in my testicles.

Dr. Hicks told me I was in the 1% of vasectomies that experience such complications. Why couldn’t I be in the 1% that is filthy rich, instead?!

The woman I was dating at the time was so grossed out by my situation that she stopped seeing me, although she denies that was the reason she started making excuses why she couldn’t spend time with me anymore. And by the time I recovered enough to actually be in a position to have sex with someone else, the other women I had dated had moved on to other relationships. This all happened in a very small, Bible Belt town with slim pickings.

So, the autumn and early winter were not a good time for my mojo. If there’s one positive to this story, at least it didn’t happen in the summertime when I like to get out and do photo shoots and be active.

I’m back to normal down there, apart from the continued stabbing sensation sometimes and one of my testicles having a different consistency.

My point? Guys, don’t assume that getting a vasectomy will be all roses and rainbows. They warn you about the risks for a reason. My experience is rare, they tell me, but after all I went through, I can’t say I recommend it.

If you get a vasectomy so you can watch the NCAA basketball finals, you better hope you aren’t stuck watching half of baseball season as well.


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