Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pipe Cut

Well, we decided to make it official. Three is enough. So I went to the urologist and said "I have three lovely, active children, and a fourth would probably drive my wife off the deep end." So last Saturday I went in and had some very minor surgery on a very very delicate piece of equipment. In Japan, they call it a "Pipe Cut." And if you haven't guessed by now, in English we say vasectomy.

(Feel free to look at a different post if you are squeamish. 
I write this for other men who are thinking of the procedure.)

It all started the week before that. I took the train up to the hospital, saw the doctor, and told him what I wanted. He gave me a few forms to fill out, and some papers with procedures to follow- shave the area, no dietary restrictions, shower that morning, have your wife sign the forms, etc... So then I went back home with a bit of a queasy feeling. Wow, I am really going to do this..... I thought.

So all week long, I was a bit distracted. I looked over the forms time and time again, thought about what kind of underwear to bring (Definitely bring briefs- boxers were a big mistake).

And finally, it was Saturday morning. We got in the car and drove up to the hospital in the rain. The wife and kids played in the car while I went into the hospital at 1:00. By 1:30, I was upstairs, being guided by a nurse to the surgical wing. I took off my shoes and put on slippers. They gave me a bag to put my clothes in, and a light cotton yukata (a kind of kimono) to wear. Felt weird. Then the nurse guided me to the O.R., and I got up on the table. They draped a towel over my legs, and propped another one up as a screen over my waist. Then they opened up the kimono and liberally doused me with betadine or something like that.

Then the surgeon came in, and explained the procedure again. Two cuts under local anesthetic, he fishes the pipe out, cuts out 1cm or so, ties off the ends. I may feel a dull ache during the procedure. Then the needle went in- I thought, "Hey, that didn't even hurt..." The doc was pretty stingy with the anesthetic though. Maybe Japanese people don't need so much. But I did. Cut and give another shot. Then again, and again.. Apparently my scrotum and vas defrens have a lot of fat on them. I could hear him telling the nurses that (I wonder if that is why Rocky Mountain Oysters are supposed to taste so good, because of the fat?). It felt very strange. Kind of like I got kicked, but also a feeling like the pipe down there was a guitar string that was being tightened. Very strange. Anyway, the right side took about 25 minutes to do. Finally I could sort of feel the stitches closing up, and that side was done. Then the left side. He knew how much local to give that side, and in less than ten minutes, it was done. Then the nurses washed the disinfectant off and helped me up, and told me about post-op care. I was amazed that I could walk almost normally, and felt no pain other than the dull ache that he warned me about.

I had to go back downstairs to pay the bill- 80,000 yen. (about $XXX). Then we went to the drugstore and got some kind of pain pills and an antibiotic. On the way home the ache remained, and I could feel a bit of a sting, both inside and outside. But the pills kept it manageable. I went to bed and stayed there for 13 hours. When I went to the bathroom, I looked at my scrotum and it looked like an heirloom eggplant. Purple with streaks (no green stem though). The next day, we had the Spring PTA meeting, followed by an open classroom at the kids elementary school. That night, I again slept about 13 hours. Then it was Monday, back to work.

As I said, it doesn't hurt as much as it aches, and even the ache is not so severe. Just annoying. Wear briefs or a jockstrap for a week at least. Aspirin doesn't touch the ache, but ibuprofen will. Don't overdo it! Rest is best. It is now a full week after the surgery, and the ache is still there sometimes, the stiches still pull a bit, but I can walk normally and carry my kids on my shoulders. The heirloom eggplant bruise is now more of a rainbow of blue, green, and yellow, with some red thrown in, but getting better every day. And it still works.

Yesterday I went to the hospital for the one week post-op check. It was all good. The doctor told me to use contraception for a month, until the lab can say that it is free of sperm. He gave me a vial and instructions. Try to ejaculate as many times as possible for the next three weeks, then save up for a week and bring in a sample. The instruction sheet says it should be less than 30 min old.... The hospital is a 45 min drive away.... That could be dangerous...


  1. Congratulations! Sounds a bit like Mark's procedure, except that they used *lots* of anesthetics on him and he just fell asleep. (Probably a US thing to overdo the drugs. I remember getting a filling in Scotland they asked me if I wanted them to numb the tooth and I thought they were crazy that it was an option *not* to.)

    I suspect you'll be just as glad you did it as we were!

    1. Thanks! Your overpopulation post was one of the things that led us down this path.
      How long did the aches last for Mark?

  2. Mark's aches lasted longer then the internet lore made it sound like they should --- maybe a week of real aches and then dwindling off after that? I suspect they last longer the older you are when you have the operation done. Mark was around 40.

    I hope you feel better soon!

  3. So how about a quick "year after" update? We're considering the procedure in our quarter, and I'd love to hear your thoughts now that you have more perspective.

  4. Well, if you have an active sex life and don't want to worry about contraception, go for it. After healing, I've had no pain or problems.