This is a true story, though a few names and minor details have been changed.
I peeked down at the pregnancy test stick laying on the bathroom counter from a distance as if it were a proximity mine, one foot way behind me, neck stretched forward. I saw the + sign and just deflated, my shoulders and face falling.
“Well?” my wife Rocio said. She was standing there watching my face. She seemed a bit amused and pissed.
“What d’you mean?” she said. “That means I’m pregnant.”
I closed my eyes. Maybe I’m having one of my recurring nightmares, I thought. Usually I’m at a baby shower though, or sitting on the couch next to Rocio and her swollen belly. My heart starts racing and I wake up in a cold sweat, clutching my chest in the dark and panting.
But this was no dream. This was real life.
When I opened my eyes Rocio was still standing there watching me.
“So what’re you gonna do?” I asked gently.
“I don’t know,” she said looking away.
“We’ve talked about this a million times.”
“I know, but this is different.”
“How’s it different?”
“Now it’s real.”
“How’s that change what we said before?”
This launched us into a long and nasty argument, the gist of which was that I was being an asshole by sticking by what I’d been saying all along since I met her 12 years ago, what WE had decided dozens of times before. The fight lasted a couple of hours, all the way down to the dining room table. I wasn’t pressuring her to get an abortion, I just kept explaining how, shocking as it seemed, I still didn’t want kids and still had no qualms about ending an early pregnancy, that there was no way of knowing definitively one way or another when a human life began and when it was only potential human life, like stem cells or jizz, but that if she wanted to keep the thing going then, fuck it, we were having a baby.
All of this pissed her off. She thought I was being an asshole. Maybe I was being an asshole. Being an asshole is part of my philosophical stance. Like that guy Diogenes who went around Greece telling everybody they’re full of shit. For some of us there’s the truth, the rest is just fuckery.
Rocio was sitting across from me at the dining table. Her cheeks were soggy and I was feeling like a no-good piece of shit. What made me feel worse is that she looked so beautiful when she cried, more than at any other time, like an angel crying. I don’t know what that says about her, or me.
I still didn’t want kids though, and nothing she or anyone could do or say was going to change that. If anything, I was just as upset with her for trying to force a baby on me now that she was pregnant. What kind of shit was she trying to pull? She knew I didn’t want kids when I met her 12 years ago. And even though I helped her raise hers, the girl, who was five when I met them both at some Mexican’s horse ranch south of Chicago, whenever the possibility of us making a brat of our own came up she would say how she didn’t want any more kids and would go get a shmashmortion if we had an accident. And I believed her.
Now she was reneging on our agreement. So if anything I should’ve been the one sniffling at the table.
I had even tested her on occasion over the years. Whenever I was in one of my more sappy moods I would openly toy with the idea of being her next baby daddy.
“Let’s have a baby,” I’d say if we happened to walk by the baby section at Target or were cuddling and smoking weed on the couch.
“You’re joking, right?” she’d say, looking like I just told her we should sell all our shit and move to Alaska.
I was never serious and she knew it. I might’ve savored the thought of becoming a pappy for a fleeting moment, like a kid fantasizes about joining the circus or telling his dad to go fuck himself. But just like those things, the consequences of actually having a baby kept me firmly on the NO side.
I’ve never felt the biological imperative to have a kid. Never had any need or even the desire to see my name passed down. It isn’t my name only, first of all. Alamo is also my brother’s name, not to mention my sister and all the other Alamos on my dad’s side of the equation. And now that my brother has two kids, both girls, the Alamo name has successfully been handed off to at least one more generation. What happens to it after that is no concern of mine, because by then I’ll be wormshit. And if there is a heaven, and the doorman is absentminded enough to let me inside the place, I’ll be partying way too hard with John the Baptist and them to care who has my name or my eyes or my sneer down here on this doomed rock.
As it stood, when my wife and I went to sleep that night, with a no-man’s-land between us on the bed a mile wide, we were going to have a baby. I didn’t sleep any that night. It felt like there was something growing inside my chest. Something kicking… and growing.
In the morning, thank God, Rocio had changed her tune.
“I was just freaking out, you know?”
“Of course, I get it,” I said, feeling as giddy as a new father outside the delivery room.
“But if you’ve known all along that you for sure don’t want to have kids, then you nutting in me all this time is really fucked up on your part,” she said, giving me her death stare. My wife’s eyes can kill COVID, I shit you not.
She was right though, and I said so.
“So if I’m getting this abortion, you’re getting a vasectomy. That’s it. I’m sick of being on the fucken patch.”
Damnit—right again. I guess it was time for me to step up, commit to the snip, and relieve my dear, precious wife of her burden.
My boys would never be the same, after everything we’d been through together—after everything I’d put them through. But getting snipped was better than having a kid, in my mind, which should demonstrate to anyone reading this just how unfatherly I am, to opt for such a vicious procedure just to avoid bringing another life into this world. I must’ve gotten fucked up real good somewhere along the way to put me off family life and all the other quaint traditions that most people jump into with both feet, laughing.
I’d say the damage was done sometime before high school, but I’m not going to give you some sob story about how shitty my childhood was—a lot of us had shitty childhoods, didn’t we? All you need to know for the purposes of this account is that mine left me on raw terms with my mother and fatherless, and it wrecked my brother and sister pretty good too. I think people who come from good families, decent ones anyway, look at having kids as something congenial, more compatible with their lives. “It takes a village to raise a child,” they say, and mine has been in a state of civil war, sprinkled here and there with tense ceasefires, for as long as I can remember. So while an abortion may feel like murder to many, bringing a kid into such a caustic environment is just cruel.
Before I got snipped though, we had to go take care of the thing inside my wife.
Rocio found a place called Safe & Quiet off Flamingo and made an appointment for 9:15 a.m. on a Wednesday. I’d just gotten a job working from home and told my boss I was running a little errand so I could go with her. It was the least I could do.
The small waiting room was filled with other couples, some older, some younger. One guy looked like a Vegas pimp past his prime, if he ever had one to begin with. He wore clothes that would’ve been cool on a white middle-school boy in 1995. His real name had to have been Jason or Shawn. He had a receding hairline and his hair slick back in a ponytail, a silver hoop in one ear. The girl he was with was about 15 years younger, at least, but she already looked chewed-up and shitted-out. Her skin was like dried toothpaste in the bathroom sink.
Another, older gentleman, a connected guy maybe, came in with his lady, about the same age as him and looking mentally in shambles, right on the edge of crazy. Her thin lips were painted red. He found her an empty chair, told her to call when she was ready to be picked up. Then he left.
The balls on that guy, I thought.
They didn’t allow me to go back there with Rocio—I guess they didn’t want the women intimidated or influenced in any way by the embryo’s daddy. It’s lady’s choice, in the end. I sat in the waiting room avoiding eye contact with everyone, which was hard to do because the waiting room was so small, maybe 10 feet by 20, and a big part of me wanted to get a good look at my fellow fuck-ups. I tried my hardest to just scroll through my phone or stare at the framed watercolors on the wall like I was admiring the artistry. One was of a pond just before sunset with trees around it—or was it a sunrise?—the composition was so muddled. The other was a woman in a red dress dancing, only she was blurry too, as though you were looking at her through a rainy window.
Smooth jazz played softly. Every now and then you heard a machine droning in one of the backrooms behind the door.
This wasn’t my first abortion. I had one with Mary, the girl I started dating in high school. Mary was a senior and I was halfway through my first year at DePaul when I came home one stupidly cold Friday in January and my brother told me she was pregnant. The two of them were in the same grade and she told him at school in the hallway, crying.
When I called her she told me to come over, that her parents wanted to talk to us. I figured they were itching to chew my ass out. Her dad was this whitewashed Japanese financier, a legit millionaire with a big corner office at the top of one of the buildings downtown. Her mom was a Jew from Jamaica Queens who worked as a speech pathologist, a super nice lady. They had adopted Mary from Korea, and later a boy, since they couldn’t have kids of their own and the Christian adoption agencies didn’t give kids to Jews or Asians who didn’t like church.
To my immense surprise and relief, Mary’s parents weren’t that upset about me knocking her up, mostly “disappointed” that we could be so “irresponsible.” And they were adamant that we get an abortion.
“Well, obviously you’re not keeping it,” her dad said, his mean, cold eyes darting around behind those narrow eyelids. He always had this fed-up look on his face, and in the five years that I dated his daughter he rarely rested his eyes on me for more than a second or two, as though if he did he would succumb to the urge to tear me limb from limb.
I don’t think I or Mary gave any reaction to what her father said about not keeping the baby, because her mom, a bit of a free spirit who always liked me, said, “Is that alright with you, Hector?”
They were standing in the middle of the TV room looking at me while Mary sat next to me on the sofa just staring at the rug, her face completely blank and her tiny mouth hung open a bit.
I couldn’t be sure but I got the sense that her parents were worried that I, being a Latino, would be opposed to abortion, or that my family would have something to say about it. And maybe they would. I didn’t know any Latino who got an abortion, much less in my family. For all I knew, I would be the first in my family to get one, just as I was the first to go to college. Progress, of a kind.
“Oh, no, of course,” I said. “We’re way too young to have a baby.”
Her parents exhaled together.
The next day, a Saturday, the four of us went to this abortion place just off the expressway. I sat in the waiting room with Mary’s parents while she was in one of the backrooms getting the embryo sucked out. When she came back out she looked terrible, wore out. I had to help her walk back to the family minivan and climb in. She was pale, her lips crusty, like she’d been wandering the desert.
Her parents picked up bagels and Mary puked in the brown paper bag the bagels came in while the rest of us ate and listened to Stevie Wonder. Her mom was playing Stevie’s Definitive Collection. I didn’t know much about Stevie Wonder at the time except for “Superstition,” “Ebony & Ivory,” and Eddie Murphy’s old impression from the eighties. I was amazed to learn that he sang a lot of songs I already knew and loved but hadn’t realized were his.
We listened to the whole CD on the drive home, Mary periodically puking into the paper bag and me rubbing her back. I’ve been a hardcore Stevie Wonder fan ever since.
“They couldn’t find anything on the ultrasound,” my wife Rocio said when she was back in the waiting room. They had scanned all around the uterus and couldn’t find a heartbeat or anything. The lady told her it could be that the embryo was developing in one of her fallopian tubes, called an “ectopic pregnancy,” which was not only abnormal but could kill her. They took her blood to have it tested and told her to be on the lookout for any pain in her abdomen, that if she felt any we should go to the emergency room immediately.
So things had gone from bad to worse. Now we were on death watch, not knowing what was going on and what would happen or when. It wasn’t till a day or two later that they called to confirm that, yeah, Rocio was definitely pregnant. So we scheduled a second stab at an abortion.
In the meantime we had to fly out to New York for my new employer’s annual Christmas party in Harlem. Rocio bought us tickets to see the Lion King musical and I made reservations at this fancy Mexican restaurant called Toloache in Times Square. We were looking over the drink menu when she goes, “So we for sure not keeping it?”
I think I paused for a bit. While neither of us wanted kids, or another one anyway, we realized that this pregnancy would probably be our first and last chance at becoming parents together, our last chance to make something that was half her and half me. It’s a romantic thought, sure, especially when you love the person you would be making the baby with.
A part of me also feared that, if we never had a baby together, we would never become as close as we could be—a fallacy, of course. I’ve known plenty of couples who were all googly-eyed for each other, made a baby together, and then quickly or gradually wanted nothing to do with each other. How much they loved each other before the baby arrived was exactly how much they hated each other afterward. Either that or one or the both of them were secretly miserable, “leading lives of quiet desperation,” to quote the famous loner.
I love my wife and want us to share in all of the experiences that a man and woman who love each other experience together. But I also try my damnedest to avoid being more quietly miserable than I’m already forced to be. Plus I don’t want to have my wife, the love of my life, hating my guts, and I don’t want to raise some kid who grows up to hate me, which, given my prickly personality, is definitely in the cards.
“I’m sure,” I told my wife Rocio while she perused the drink menu at the Mexican joint in Times Square. “Are you?”
She didn’t say anything but made a face like Yeah, I guess, whatever and ordered a tamarindo y maracuya margarita while I got the mezcalita de piña, swallowed it, and had the waitress bring me another with my food.
At the concession stand at the Minskoff Theater I got something with mango and rum and tried to ignore the universe speaking to me through all the father-and-son, “Circle of Life” talk on stage. Sometimes a musical is just a musical, and that one’s pretty good.
We had flown to New York on a redeye early Wednesday morning and landed back in Vegas on Friday around 7:30 at night. Our second abortion attempt was scheduled for the following day, a Saturday, just like my first abortion only this Saturday was sunny with a big blue sky. It’s always sunny in Vegas with a big blue sky. We loved it when we moved here five years ago, but now I feel like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, creeped out by the mundane perfection of my environs, desperate for something random, something real, rain, lightning, thunder, a tornado warning or two, a blizzard, some chaos, please.
In the interim since our first attempt the abortion clinic had moved to better facilities with a much more spacious waiting room with couches and sculptures and a little zen waterfall, real fancy feel to everything. It was only us and a Black girl and her mom in the waiting room. I took them for African Americans but the mom began speaking what to my ear sounded like Antillian Spanish. By the way they spoke, so crisp and deliberate, I thought they might be Cuban, but I’m not that good with dialects. The mom, to me, spoke like a Puerto Rican professor but looked like she couldn’t afford new panties, which is why I say they were Cubans, because in Cuba even the poor and pantyless speak like academics, so they say. The mom and her daughter could’ve been Colombian or Panamanian for all I know.
A big burly nurse with faded pink hair came and took Rocio into the back pretty soon after we arrived. Then the music in the waiting room cut out and no one bothered to fix it, so I could hear some of what the nurse was telling her.
“OK, when I leave I want you to take off your pants. You can leave them folded here. I want you to take off your pants and lay down, OK? I’ll be right back.”
Then a minute or two later…
“How are we doing in here? All set? Gooood. Now I’m gonna give you this and it should put you out during the procedure, OK?”
Maybe 30 minutes passed, during which I heard a bunch of mechanical noises but couldn’t make out what was happening back there.
Then it was quiet.
“How you feeling? Still sleepy? That should wear off soon. Just sit tight for a bit and drink some water, OK? I’ll be back in to check on ya.”
About five minutes after that, Nurse Trunchbull came through the door with Rocio, who looked as though she’d spent a long night down at the police station. They had really sucked her out good, she was completely drained. She could barely open her eyes or keep them open. She was swaying on her feet too.
The big nurse gave us some instructions and then asked Rocio if she had any questions.
Rocio slurred her words like a drunk. “Wehcaniofsex?”
The nurse hissed, looking a little amused and half-pissed. “You can have intercourse whenever you feel comfortable, but you’re gonna be extra fertile the next few weeks, so you gotta be extra careful.” The nurse locked eyes with me for the first and only time before turning back to Rocio. “You have any other questions for me?”
Rocio had her eyes closed. “So I can have sex?” she mumbled.
“Yes, whenever you feel ready. But you hafta be careful, OK?”
Rocio nodded her head, her eyes still shut. I was holding her in my arms next to me.
“You’re gonna be careful?”
“Thanks,” I said as I escorted my wife out into the hallway. I had to keep her steady as we climbed down the stairs to the parking lot. We passed some kid in a flannel t-shirt and a blonde on their way up. The blonde saw my wife and went pale.
Rocio winced as soon as her face made contact with the sunlight out in the parking lot.
“You OK?” I said, like the big nurse had.
Rocio didn’t say anything but did something with her mouth like she was chewing.
“You want Mickey D’s?”
She nodded. “Quar’er pounder wih cheese ana Sprite.”
I did a hundred on the freeway back toward our part of town, my wife slumped in the passenger seat repeating the nurse’s instructions over and over again, slurring everything, about how the procedure wasn’t 100-percent effective, that ain’t that some shit, that the drug they gave her was powerful as hell…
“They said isnot ahundrid percent,” she mumbled.
“You said that already,” I said as I curved the car around some stupid motherfucker going the speed limit in the far-left lane.
“I did?” she said with her eyes close.
She had been quiet a good three minutes by the time we were in the drive-thru at Mickey’s. I ordered everything she had told me she wanted back at the abortion place. The kid on the speaker told me to pull up to the first window, at which point my lovely wife, without opening her eyes or making any movement at all, said as clear as day, “You forgot the apple pie.”
“You didn’t say you wanted apple pie,” I said.
“Nope,” I laughed. She was so cute all drugged up.
“Oh,” she said.
“You want me to get you a pie?”
Back home the food slowly brought her back to her senses. Then she went to the bathroom to unload. “They stuck a tampon in me,” she said when she came back.
I lollygagged on making my vasectomy appointment, partying straight through Christmas and ringing in the new year with the gang still intact. Come January, though, Rocio wasn’t having it. So I started making moves.
Our doctor, Dr. Wong, gave me a referral to a urologist, the best in town, according to her. A doctor by the name of Stenkhol. I wondered if the name had anything to do with his line of work.
The patients at the urology center were mostly old men who had trouble peeing, either too much or too little or it burning like hell when they did. By the summary one old man gave the front desk, his wrinkly ancient dick was in the process of rotting off completely, as it had been the last time he was in, and the time before that. They were just helping him cope with the inevitable.
Dr. Stenkhol had a mean face, mean eyes, and spoke in a no-nonsense way. He was about as big as the nurse was at the abortion joint, only taller with a belly and broad, hairy forearms. If I were a lesser man I would’ve suspected him of being a racist, a thought that a young Black Latino man such as myself doesn’t like to have toward the medical professional assigned to his junk. But watching him with the other patients I quickly realized he was no racist, he just didn’t give a shit about being nice, which earned him my respect.
“OK, so this procedure is permanent,” he said. “I mean, there are ways of reversing it, but for all intents and purposes you should consider this a permanent thing.”
“Yup,” I said. I was inappropriately chipper, trying to mask my nervousness.
“How many kids do you have?”
“I have a daughter, a stepdaughter. But I’ve never wanted kids of my own.”
Dr. Stenkhol stared at the floor for a sec.
“OK, well, the whole procedure won’t take more than 15 minutes or so. What we’re gonna do is make a tiny hole on both sides, pull out the vas deferens”—he used his pointer finger like a hook—“cut them, and cap the ends with titanium. Don’t worry, you won’t be setting off any metal detectors or anything. I’ve had it done myself and it’s never happened.”
“You had it done?”
“Yeah, long time ago. I’ve done it to a lot of my friends too. No problems.”
“Are you gonna knock me out for this or…?”
“No, we’ll keep you awake,” Dr. Stenkhol said. “But we’ll numb you up so you won’t feel any of it.”
“And what’s the recovery time?”
“Oh, you’ll be a little sore for a day or two. But I’ve had friends who played golf the next day.”
I was just looking around nodding like I do at the mechanic’s, like an idiot. There was a large poster on the wall detailing the ins and outs of the male genitalia, the cock and balls and the stuff directly adjacent to them.
“Any other questions?” Dr. Stenkhol said.
“No, I guess not.”
“OK, well, on the day of the procedure, make sure you trim down there, ‘cause you don’t want us doing it.”
“Oh, well, I, uh, manscape,” I said sheepishly.
“Let me see what we’re working with then.”
“Yup,” he said, snapping on a pair of latex gloves.
I guess I hadn’t figured I would be presenting my dick and balls to a stranger that day, even if I was getting a consultation for a vasectomy. I thought we’d just be, you know, spitballing.
Dr. Stenkhol was sitting on a stool with wheels and I stood in front of him and pulled the front of my Adidas track pants down. My pubes were a little longer than a buzzcut, about a No. 2 on a hair clipper.
“You’ll be fine,” the doctor said as he fiddled with me. He’d probably seen thousands of dicks in his career, and I wondered how mine fared against the rest. Sure, it’s still got the hoodie, but I’ve had ladies tell me he’s a beaut. “You have a beautiful dick” is a direct quote.
Dr. Stenkhol left the room and sent in a short brown Asian lady with a tablet to schedule the procedure.
“Let me seeee,” she said, swiping and tapping the screen with her fingers. “Dr. Stenkhol’s booked through the rest of the month. He’s leaving for vacation. But what about February 10th?”
“Sure… No, wait. My wife and I are flying to Puerto Rico that day for our 10th anniversary.”
“Oh, wow! Congratulations,” she said. “And yeah, no, you don’t wanna be sore or anything for that.”
“OK, so, let me seeeee… How about February the 22nd?”
“What day’s that?”
“It’s a Tuesday.”
“Sure, that’ll work,” I said. “But can I come in after three?”
“After three…,” she repeated. “No, the only thing open in the afternoon is a two-o’clock.”
“That’ll do, I guess.”
She wrote the date and time on a card and handed it to me. Tues. 2/22 2pm. I’m not into numbers, not anymore, but the timing seemed too ominous for comfort. Still I accepted my fate with quiet resolve—there is no better way.
Three weeks later Rocio and I were at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan sucking down piña coladas. We explored El Morro and Old San Juan, scored some bud on Condado Beach from a friendly white lady from Jersey—Rocio made me give her a twenty—had some fancy meals, including a steak dinner on a rooftop overlooking the laguna, ate an avocado as big as my foot, swayed along with the crowd at La Factoría on Calle de San Sebastián, fucked in one of the daybeds along the beach back at the hotel, got drunk that Sunday—which happened to be Super Bowl Sunday—and got into a really mean argument over Kim and Kanye, then made plans to come back in November for my birthday and bring the kid with us.
All in all, a good weekend.
Then I blinked and it was The Big Day. I asked Rocio to drive me to Dr. Stenkhol’s, just in case.
Dr. Stenkhol was sitting slumped over a counter behind the front desk. I waved to him and said, “How’s it going Doc?” but he acted like I was the last person on earth he wanted to see. He was like a comic brooding backstage before a set. The only thing missing was the cigarette smoke and two inches of dark liquor in a glass.
This time there was a lanky Indian man with salt-and-pepper hair named Raj. Maybe he had been there the first time but I hadn’t noticed him. He had grizzled chest hair peeking out the top of his soft-blue medical shirt.
“How are you feeling?” he asked as he led me to a room back passed where Dr. Stenkhol was brooding.
“A little nervous, to be honest,” I said.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be fine. I had this procedure done myself.”
“Oh yeah?” That honestly surprised me, as I’d always believed Indians procreated like Catholics, not stopping till something broke.
“Yes, of course!” he said. “My son too! But not before he gave me two grandchildren. That was the deal.” Raj was all smiles. “You’re gonna be a little sore for a day or two, but after that you’ll be fine.”
“But do us guys a favor,” he said. He lowered his voice and leaned in close, still smiling. “When you walk out, limp a little. For your wife.”
“Oh, I’m milking this thing for all its worth,” I told him.
Raj moved with quick bursts like he was in a hurry or on addies. The room was a lot bigger than the consultation room, with windows along one side and a counter with a sink and a mess of medical supplies and equipment all over. Any more stuff in there and I would’ve felt like they were operating on me in a storage room.
He told me to take off my pants and lie down on the table and then left the room. I left my pants folded on a chair, my gym shoes underneath the chair. Raj came back in, saw my naked junk and said, “We’ll have to clean that up before we start.”
I had trimmed a week before and was shorter down there than I had been during my consultation with Dr. Stenkhol, but apparently I was too sloppy to operate on. Raj pulled out a disposable razor and gave me a quick shave. Thankfully he was quite gentle with me.
Then he laid a blue medical sheet over my lower half that had a hole in the middle like the Hassids use when they smash, through which he pulled out my meat and two veg.
“Ok, you’re all set!” he said. “Dr. Stenkhol will be in in a bit.”
I lied there with my dick and balls exposed and nothing else for a good five minutes while late-eighties hits poured softly from the overhead speakers. My junk was beginning to shrivel up from the chill when Dr. Stenkhol came in with the Asian nurse.
“How are we doing today?” he said matter-of-factly.
“Good, Doc. Considering.”
Dr. Stenkhol stood on my right side while the nurse positioned herself on my left near the door, their mouths masked.
“Oh,” the Doctor said as he examined my junk. “Did you do this?”
“No, the guy did,” I said.
I saw Dr. Stenkhol nodding his head. “Raj has been a bad boy,” he muttered to the nurse. “I’m gonna have to have a talk with him.”
He told the nurse to prepare however many cc’s of whatever while I just stared at the ceiling, preparing for the worst. I couldn’t believe I had so casually gotten myself into a situation where I was now lying on my back with my stuff exposed in front of two strangers who were preparing to cut into me while I was still awake.
“OK, you’re gonna feel a pinch,” Dr. Stenkhol said.
He stuck me with the needle on the top right side of my nutsack, just below where the sack meets the shaft. It felt exactly like someone pinching that area hard, but that isn’t the sensitive part, so it wasn’t too bad.
“You’re gonna feel another pinch,” he said, and stuck me again in more or less the same spot. Then he and the nurse waited for a minute, not saying anything.
I stared at the ceiling, watching them out of my lower peripherals.
“OK, you feel that?” he said.
I didn’t feel a thing and told him.
“OK, here we go,” he said.
I could feel them working on me but there was no pain. I felt like that little alien in the autopsy video.
“This is so surreal,” I said.
“I bet,” the Asian nurse laughed.
Then I felt a sharp pain in my right nut.
“Ooo!” I said as my whole body tensed up for a second.
“OK, hold on,” the Doctor said. “You haven’t been shaved properly so it’s pulling on the hairs.”
He stuck me with the needle in the same spot and waited about 30 seconds or so before starting again.
The feeling… it wasn’t exactly pain but it was extremely uncomfortable. Any man will tell you how unpleasant it is having someone tugging on your balls to begin with. Now imagine someone poking a hole into the side of your nutsack and then pulling one of the tubes out, cutting it, heat-sealing the ends and capping them with titanium, and then stuffing it back inside. I don’t care how numbed up you are, it’s not fun. I tried my hardest to stay relaxed and not squirm, though I kept my toes curled and braced myself.
“Alright, we’re halfway through,” Dr. Stenkhol said, coming over to my left side.
He stuck me twice with the needle like he had on my right side, waited for a minute, then cut in. The yanking was more uncomfortable on this side for some reason. I held my breath, practically floating off the table, waiting for…
It was like someone with big thick fingers had flicked my left testicle hard. Lightning shot up from my left nut into my guts faster than I could blink.
“Je-sus,” Dr. Stenkhol said.
I thought: Is this fucker really complaining about me?
“I felt that in my lower stomach,” I said.
“Well, yeah, there’s a nerve that connects from here to there,” he said.
I wasn’t sure why he was explaining the mechanics of testicle pain to me. He stuck me with the needle again and waited 30 seconds.
I lied there with my toes curled, wishing I could speed up time like Adam Sandler in Click.
“OK, all done,” Dr. Stenkhol said after another five minutes had passed. “Everything went well.”
“Thank God that’s over,” I said.
“All right, I’ll see you in a few months for your check-up.” Doctor Stenkhol took off his gloves and left the room.
“When you’re ready you can get up and put your pants back on,” the nurse said.
I sat up and felt woozy.
“Woah,” I said and lied back down.
“Don’t worry, take your time,” she said. “I’m gonna bring you some water and an ice pack, OK?”
She came back with a sorry excuse for an ice pack and a sheet of paper that said to take Tylenol for the pain, but not Advil or any Ibuprofen. It also said to ice my balls for 15 minutes, wait 15 minutes, then ice them again for another 15 minutes, and to do that for the rest of the night.
“You should take it easy for the next few days,” the nurse explained. “No heavy lifting. You might want to call off work.”
“I work from home,” I said.
“Oh, great! Then just relax.”
“When can I… you know… use it?”
“You can ejaculate, have sex as soon as you feel comfortable. But you’re still fertile until you bring us a sample in three months. In the meantime I suggest you, uhh, flush it out as much as possible.”
“You mean, like, jag off?”
“Exactly,” she said. “Any more questions?”
I just wanted to get home, lie in bed, and ice my balls before the pain I suspected was coming set in. I walked bowlegged through the area where Dr. Stenkhol was back at his counter, sitting as if nothing had happened.
“Remember to limp,” Raj whispered to me, grinning and gesturing with his head toward the waiting room in front.
I slowed my walk down to a waddle.
“Thattaboy,” he said.
“Take it easy Doc,” I said, giving Dr. Stenkhol a tiny salute. He just glanced at me with no expression on his face whatsoever. I swear that man missed his calling as a Beefeater.
As soon as I came through the waiting room door Rocio gave me a sneer. “You OK? How’d it go?”
“It went alright,” I said. “Let’s just get home so I can ice my balls.”
At home I fixed myself in bed and had Rocio bring me a fresh ice pack every 30 minutes. I timed the 15-minute intervals of icing and not icing on my phone, but I soon lost track and just started guestimating. Icing my balls for the rest of the night was nearly as uncomfortable as having them snipped. I kept the pack pressed up against my sack, right above the testicle, without pressing too hard, alternating between my right and left nut. My balls got so cold and numb, painfully so, but I was no longer worried about damaging their function. I can’t tell you what I watched or ate that night, as my entire existence centered on icing my balls and trying to ignore the severe discomfort.
I prayed for sleep that would not come.
My balls were super sensitive for the next few days. Just having them brush against the inside of my undies felt wrong. I remembered Dr. Stenkhol saying one of his friends had played a round of golf the next day, so when I was still hobbled two days later, I called the Doc’s office. The lady at the front desk asked if there was any redness, swelling, or anything wrong with the incisions, which there wasn’t. In fact, I couldn’t even find where the Doctor had made the cuts! Believe me, I looked, if very carefully. But I didn’t see any stitches or anything—it was a miracle!
The lady told me to wait a few days and call back if things didn’t improve.
Each day I hobbled less and less and walked faster and faster. One day, either the fifth or sixth, I swear I woke up feeling worse, which scared the shit out of me. I was so afraid that I would be stuck with chronic discomfort for the rest of my life—or worse, pain. I couldn’t stand the thought of it. That would be my luck too, me trying to do the right thing and having to take it in the balls forever. If that were the case, I’d just go get them chopped off completely and replaced with prosthetics or something. They were useless now anyway, so what’s the difference?
On the ninth day post-op, feeling a lot better but still sore and about to burst, I decided to take my mutilated boys for a spin. It was a quiet Thursday morning. The birds were chirping in the tree outside the window and I was sitting at my desk having just published and promo’d a piece for the website I edit. I went to my go-to porn site and found something that tickled my fancy: Pure Taboo. I pulled my dick out and started slowly.
I had gotten hard plenty in the days since the operation but hadn’t done anything with it. Maybe rubbed it a little, but that’s it. As soon as I started gently pulling on it my dick got rock hard quick. It had been expecting me. Like a dog desperate for a walk, my dick sprang into action. I discovered that I couldn’t pound it like I used to—my balls were still sensitive, so I had to stop short. I was basically rubbing and yanking on the upper three-fourths of the pole but the magic was still there. I felt that old familiar feeling. It felt like the first time I jagged off and came back in eighth grade, as scared now as I had been then, not knowing what was going to happen, afraid that as soon as I came there would be excruciating pain in my nuts as a fountain of jizz and blood shot out my dickhole.
I felt the surge begin from deep in my balls… And then… AAAaaahhhuuuhhh………. Money! Be-YOO-tiful! Molto bene!
“That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”
I came a lot and my jizz was still horchata white. I thought it would be clearer, but whatever. I was glad to have the gang back, so glad that I jagged off every day for a full week, twice on some days. It was glorious.
I’m still fertile till I give Dr. Stenkhol a sample of my homebrew on May 22nd and he tells me I’m clean, so Rocio is still on the patch. I can’t tell if my balls are still sensitive or if I’m just still sensitive with them. I haven’t felt anything weird with them in over a month, but I just read on the internet that some guys who get vasectomies report pain six months afterward. Some even get dementia later and all kinds of other bullshit, so in the back of my mind I’m sweating bullets.
But there’s no use in worrying about what might happen. My dick and balls feel fine, my wife has no complaints, so I’m a happy man.
There have been a few times since the procedure, when we’re watching a movie or show and the topic of parenthood comes up, that I feel a twinge of fear that I might regret not having kids and not being able to—I know the procedure’s reversible, but Dr. Stenkhol said that I should consider it permanent, and given the ordeal I went through, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.
Mostly, though, I’m relieved that my recurring nightmare is now dead. I don’t have to be afraid of getting my wife pregnant, or someone else.
I’ll never have to go through another abortion either. Abortions are ugly things that careless people are sometimes forced to do. And for an incurably careless man who doesn’t want kids, such as myself, a vasectomy is actually the responsible thing to do.
Look at me, adulting and shit.
Featured image by trec_lit/CC BY 2.0