Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Losing my virginity...oh no, that's something different

Bob Barker, the former, long-time host of the game show, The Price is Right, used to end the show with a message reminding people to spay and neuter their pets. I think my wife thought he said make sure you get your husbands neutered, because I found myself on a bus this morning going to the doctor’s office for a vasectomy referral. It was ironic that on the way I was reading the Maclean’s magazine cover story, The Case Against Having Kids. Too late for me, but something others may consider, I suppose.

Dr. Rich, who apparently has gotten quite rich neutering males, will be doing the procedure. In fact, on his website he says he’s done 15,000 of them. Now that’s a lot of dicks!

On the rich doctor’s website is the bible of no scalpel vasectomies, otherwise known as The Book. Apparently, this is required reading. Who knew there would be homework?

Page one sounds promising…
A vasectomy has no direct being on sexual function. No better. No worse.

But what about just some? I mean, being married with two kids seems protection enough. Why the need for a vasectomy?

Page two gets a little more technical...
The No-needle injector delivers a fine jet of Xylocaine right through the scrotal skin onto the vas and surrounding tissue. It requires only 1/10th the volume of anesthetic compared with the needle method so there is less tissue distension (this is good, I was worried about tissue distension) and less risk of bleeding. Also it is a proven medical fact that men prefer to have needles kept as far from their scrotums as possible. (no kidding, and how many years of schooling did it take the doctor to learn this?)

The Book says that surgery and recovery are usually fast and the pain is usually minimal. Though the following is a little unsettling. The penis is encircled with an elastic band the other end of which is clipped to the bottom of your shirt. Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! One’s penis (if you have one) should never, I repeat never, be clipped to your shirt.

A few things that could go wrong, according to Dr. Rich.

Hematoma: This results from bleeding into the scrotum. It can get large and painful, and turn the scrotum black and blue. Incidence with conventional vasectomy is around 3%. The NSV literature puts it at 0.3%, but I’ve only seen 3 “big ones” in 15,000 (0.03%).

Infection: Minor infections occur in about 1 to 2% of patients. Serious infections, requiring intravenous antibiotics or drainage of an abscess occur in about 0.2% of cases. Even these rare and serious infections usually resolve completely in a few weeks.

Vasitis or Epididymitis: Inflammation and swelling of the tissue surrounding the vas or extending down around the epididymis (the part just below the vas that joins it to the testicle) occurs about 10% of the time. It’s usually mild and transient, no bigger than a grape, but rarely this can get to the size of “a third testicle”. Needless to say, this can be painful, but this too will settle with religious use of industrial strength non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), but it can sometimes take a few weeks to settle down. Given that swelling is what the male genitalia like to do best, all this is not surprising. In fact, inflammation and erection both produce swelling through almost identical biochemical pathways. That is why I encourage the liberal use of ibuprofen or other NSAIDs for a full week post-op, even if you're not having pain. Tylenol is usually not as effective for this.

If pain and inflammation lasts for a month, the good doctor advises to come back and see him. Like what can he do? He’s the no scalpel doc, after all. It’s not like he has the tools in his office to cut IT off should the swelling become intolerable. I think a trip to the nearest hospital would be in order.

My doctor told me they should be able to schedule the procedure in a month or two. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Why do we closet away wedding dresses?

The other day my colleagues and I were talking about wedding dresses. I’m not sure how we got on to that subject, but we did. One minute we were talking the finer points of liver transplant surgery and the next we’re talking wedding dresses.

I was asking my colleagues why many women keep their weddings dresses closeted away years after the big day? It’s a question I’ve asked from time to time, but the answers I receive usually leave me with more questions.

After our wedding, my wife had her dress dry-cleaned and boxed, where it has sat in my in-laws storage room for the last 11 years. I don’t think she’ll wear the dress again, so why does it sit in a closet?

Call me practical (I, like most men, returned my wedding day get-up the day after our wedding. I didn’t even have to pay to have it cleaned), but if the dress has some value why don’t we sell it.
The responses I have received when I pose that question are typical. Some express sentimental reasons for keeping the dress. But surely sentiments are found in our love and the memories, rather than the physical thing stuffed away in a box that we’ll never use or rarely see again?

Others contend that a daughter may one day want to wear the dress at her wedding. A nice thought, but unlikely given that it may not fit, and the daughter may want her own dress, not something her mother wore a few decades before. When I told my colleagues that I have two sons, and I doubted they would need their mother’s hand-me-down wedding dress, they suggested that my son’s future wife might want to wear the dress. Right! With the utmost respect to mothers-in-law the world over, I really doubt that my son’s future bride (let’s not think too far ahead, they aren’t even in Kindergarten yet) will want to wear her mother-in-law’s wedding dress.

My ever persistent colleague, who interestingly got rid of the dress she wore at her wedding some time ago suggested that someone in the future may want to wear the dress. The future is now. Someone right now may want to wear that dress.

Wouldn’t it be nice to pass on a dress to someone who may not be able to afford a new one, and at the same time put a few bucks in your pocket? Maybe take a trip with your husband, and create some new memories.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

We can send people into space, but we can't...

There's a lot about this world that I just don't understand. Like how I can send an email to someone on the other side of the world, and it is received in seconds, or how an office tower being built, just magically rises from a hole in the ground, or how the salmon finds the river of its birth after hanging out in the ocean for a couple of year. But why can't they (whoever they is) make the glue on envelopes taste better.

40 years ago today--before I was born by a hair--the first manned mission to the moon lifted off from the Kennedy Space Centre, in Florida. And just yesterday Endeavour lifted off from the same spot. Its three main engines and two booster rockets will propel the orbiter to a speed of more than 17,500 miles per hour, before docking two days later at the International Space Station. Now you're probably wondering how fast 17,500 miles an hour is. Let me put it this way. In 26 minutes you could fly from Vancouver to Sydney, Australia, where you could be sitting on a patio in Darling Harbour, enjoying a coldie and some lunch, and be home for dinner. Yet, we still can't make envelope glue that tastes good.

I don't often seal envelopes by hand, or rather by tongue anymore. At work we have a big machine that does that, and besides it's seems like a workplace hazard. Have you ever had a paper cut on your tongue?

Anyway, yesterday I sealed an envelope with my tongue and it tasted awful. It reminded me of the time when I was in high school and I had a work experience placement (which really means you stuff envelopes all day) at the Ministry of Education, and I had to mail out 350 packages. Not knowing any different, I started licking all the envelopes shut. When I got to package 349, someone told me that they have a sponge for that. why didn't someone tell me that before I lost the feeling in my mouth. My tongue seemed as dry as the side of a camel for what seemed like days. (while I've ridden a camel, I didn't actually lick it to find out if it really is dry).

I'm still puzzled how we can send people into space, but we can't make better tasting envelope glue.