Posted by: fireweaver | May 2, 2008

being horribly offensive

one of the techs organized a little get-together at a local restaurant after work today. the place conveniently had a nice patio and a nicer breeze going for it, though the service left some to be desired in the realm of speed. inevitably, we were discussing mainly work topics; we bashed on some crazies and celebrated some quirks, came up with monikers for some of the monkeys endowed with distinctive personalities. “you know, it’s been at least 24 hours since i offered anyone a vasectomy,” i mused, to a chorus of groans and ‘oh, not again!’s from the guys.

see, we have a project starting up soon that requires the monks to be pair-housed. we don’t want unexpected baby monkeys, but all the normal monkeylike activities that produce them are perfectly acceptable. this meant that i had to apply my copious theoretical knowledge of the surgical approach into an actual surgical technique early this week. it’s always tricky when you’re doing something for the first time…surrounded by the crew who assumes you’re the expert around the place. finding and fixing the first vas on the first guy was tricky, but after that it was all a walk in the park. quick, easy, 2 tiny papercuts’ worth of incisions each. and all week now, no complications, everybody is doing just fine.

so now i know my surgical technique is pretty smooth, thank you very much, and in my exuberance at having figured out something novel, i want to share this with everyone. i terrified the hell out of Chris when i told him to “hold still so i can check and see if it’s all piped the same way as the monkeys i vasectomized today.” i jokingly offered all the male techs to do their surgeries for free, and while you can never tell if this guy’s kidding, i think i may have actually offended one of them. i duly apologized sincerely and profusely, and told him i’d provide him with a written mea culpa for HR if he liked. then everything was ok, and it was all funny again.

but what’s really funny? every male’s reaction to the mere idea of a vasectomy. almost uniformly, science/medical professionals and “other” alike, everyone has had an immediate and powerful fear/aversion thing going on at the first mention thereof. women, on the other hand, are perfectly capable of discussing theoretical tubal ligations or even hysterectomies in a very clear-headed clinical sort of fashion (theoretical as opposed to surprise medical crisis-driven discussions of the same topics, which are NOT calm, of course). pretty amazing given that female alterations are infinitely more serious major surgery, certainly not a pair of papercuts. my male friend who’s had one in recent years reported a couple of weeks’ worth of soreness…my monkeys were (to be crass) proving that everything worked the same within 2 days of surgery.

i’m reminded a lot of a situation with my mom’s BFF’s dog a couple of years ago. she called me to say this dog had CANCER! and she wanted to discuss the treatment plans with me, and how much the dog was already SUFFERING!. i asked my distraught mom what the dog was doing right at that time. mom said she’d just been fed, and was strolling in from the living room to eat. clearly, the dog was clueless as to her impending crisis. dogs don’t know that they’ve just been handed a death-sentence-diagnosis. they don’t have to worry about estate planning, or what they’ll look like without hair, or patching things up with estranged family members, or just living in anticipation of the pain to come. so much of the horror of going through devastating diseases like cancer is the awful things we do to ourselves, in our minds. and the dog simply doesn’t think any of those thoughts. likewise, my monkeys have a much more prosaic attitudes to their actual surgeries than my acquaintances do to their theoretical ones. makes me wonder how much of it is all just in their minds, and more importantly, what medical professionals in general could do to give humans a more stress-free pre-op attitude.



  1. The preferred Vasectomy method for our local Doc, knick-named “The Assassin” is to cut a sizable portion of the tube away, then cauterize the tube end and finally fold the tube back on itself and secure it with a titanium clip. Just for your monkey business.

  2. Okay, as the recipient of one of your free offers for surgery, and as one who was not at all offended but was, as a man, given to leg-crossing, I can’t explain to you the constant fear that men live with having all their dangly bits, well, dangling. I really wasn’t all that worried about having my gall bladder out, even though it was laproscopic (sp?) and not that major (although I was alot more sore afterward than people told me I would be). But just the idea of sharp objects around my happy parts makes me decidedly no happy. Can’t say why. Guess it’s a caveman thing.

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