In my youth, I got a vasectomy. I didn't have any children, just a jaded worldview.
The doctor lectured me about the permanence of my decision, or at least the expense
of changing my mind. When he finished, I still believed that families were guilt
factories and that people could do without them. I also considered the Middle
East a lethal tumor.
Then, one day, something happened. I was meditating in the closet when a
what-if seeped into my brain: What if my wife Yahaira dies? What will remain
of our love? The pain penetrated as if it were already true. I panicked.
When I emerged from the closet, I knew what I had to do: bear a child.
I arrived at the hospital with my life savings, for that is how much it
costs to reverse a vasectomy. The nurse asked me to sign away my life, then
laid me in bed. The anesthesia man injected me with pixie dust and started
to melt. The nurse said something extremely slowly, then she melted too.
Four hours later, I was a new man. I was crippled.
There are sensitive areas on your body -- eyelids, nose hairs, underneath
your fingernails -- then there are the testes, hub of all sensation. No matter
how tough a man may act, he is always one swift kick away from nausea, paralysis,
uncontrolled cursing, and fervent religious devotion.
With similar symptoms, I recovered in the hospital. All I could feel was
a prickling below the belt and a draft on my backside. I tried to roll over
to cover my bum when a fireball shot through my stomach, up my chest and
out of my mouth: "Ahhhhhhhhhh!"
A nurse's head appeared above. "Are you all right, hon?"
"I can't move."
"That's okay, hon. Your wife is here."
Yahaira's head appeared above.
"You look like hell," it said.
So it goes.
The anesthesia circled back to my brain, and I got the giggles. I'm not
sure what was so funny -- pretty much the fact that I was laughing. I had
slipped into that half-conscious delirium where some people are lucky enough
to live. I started doing standup.
"Hey, babe, ever bagged a eunuch?"
"I wouldn't get near that thing -- it's loaded."
Yahaira drove home at 5 mph to protect the goods. Joggers passed us with
questioning glances. It felt strange to be in the sun. Society didn't seem
right. I belonged on the mother ship, where they experiment on my organs.
At home, I walked into a jungle of get-well balloons, a stack of new-release
videos, and a little bell on my nightstand. Wouldn't you cut open your privates
for a girl like that?
For the next three days, I sat in bed watching movies and using my bell.
Yahaira took it in stride, but I could see her wince at the ringing. It was
like Pavlov's bell, only it triggered a different kind of saliva.
Dingaling. "Can you get me some water?"
Dingaling. "Can you bring me my book?"
Dingaling. "Can you read me my book?"
I regretted the water. In case you don't have syphilis, that is what it
feels like to pee after a vasovasostomy. Once someone carries you to the
bathroom, you carefully peel away your undies and, with the precision of
a man diffusing a bomb, remove your member from its bloody gauze. Then you
hang on for dear life.
Besides that, it was more or less like being kicked in the balls every hour
on the hour. The Vicadin doesn't block the pain; it just confuses it with
the feeling that you're about to fall to the ground and vomit.
The doctor suggested that I buy underwear that is two sizes too small. Me,
I became a boxers guy the day they mocked my "tighty whities" in
high school. Today I have new respect for cotton briefs and all the men who
It has been a week since the operation, and my parts are getting better.
I tie my shoes all by myself and can sit in a chair without crying. This
morning Yahaira brought me a card that read, "I miss you this much." When
I opened it up, a condom fell out.
It won't be long till I can use it, but I'll hold out as long as possible
-- I'm having too much fun with this bell.