I’m sitting in Dr Snip’s office – just across from the great man himself – as Tyson and Maki ignore the bunch of assorted toys on the floor and instead open and close cupboards filled with all kinds of dangerous medical equipment.
Snipped! (Watch The Video)
Dr Snip is cracking genital jokes at the same time that he’s passing on important medical information about my vasectomy. He’s funny and easy going and likable, and in different circumstances we would be going blow-for-blow in a friendly dick-humour fight, but right now I am just too mentally scattered to even crack a smile. I can feel my bald scrotum constricting and relaxing rapidly like a frightened, hyperventilating dog in a veterinarian’s waiting room.
The bravado of yesterday has left me. I am nervous and on edge and in no way capable of being myself. I’m about to ask if I can make a phone call, or request a last meal, when Dr Snip gives me a smile and a nod, telling me that a nurse will be in shortly to prep me for surgery.
As soon as the door shuts behind him, the receptionist, Jayne, opens it again to tell me she can look after Tyson and Maki while the tubes they once swam through are being forever severed. It’s a pause-able moment – both sweet and bizarre – and one that will stay with me forever.
Susan the nurse is attractive, which only serves to amp up my jitter-meter because during my formative years I had several secret ‘nurse fantasies’ that involved me lying on a bed and having my privates inspected. That is about to happen, but shortly after that my vas deferens will be torn from the safety of the scrotum and snipped in half, and the two ends will be seared shut and shoved back inside. It kind of ruins it for me.
‘Take off all the clothes from your lower half and jump on the bed,’ she says with a smile. ‘There’s a sheet to cover yourself with.’
While she has me in her sights I’m nodding nonchalantly and shrugging my shoulders as if I am completely comfortable being nude around strange women, but once she draws the curtains I fumble my way out of my pants and jocks while swallowing a whimper and dive under the sheet like a five-year-old fleeing from the darkness in the cupboard.
As I hear Maki crying down the hall, my stress levels creep even higher.
‘It’s your special day!’ Susan says after bursting through the curtains.
‘Yes,’ I say.
‘So what do you want to watch?’ she asks, gesturing to the TV in the corner of the room. ‘The cricket?’
‘Oh, I’m easy,’ I say, thinking of making a joke about bats and balls. ‘Maki’s pretty worked up. It doesn’t sound like he’s going to settle down. I hope Jayne’s okay.’
Susan ducks off and returns a minute later to place a huffing and sniffing Maki on my chest. It occurs to me that
I am now as close to the ultimate female experience – labour and birth – as I’ll ever get: lying on a hospital bed, my lower body exposed, about to be surgically violated, with a baby lying on my chest. There are emotions forming that will never find the right expression. I am vulnerable and at the mercy of others. I love my baby so much and don’t want him to cry. There are so many unknowns: Will I get haemorrhoids? Will my genitals look the same after the operation? Will Tania still be attracted to me? I can’t do this! I think I want an epidural . . .
Susan and I entertain Maki until Dr Snip walks in, and then Maki is handed back to Jayne – who really deserves as much praise for her efforts as anyone in this strange happening – and he starts crying for me immediately.
I do my best to ignore my need to soothe and protect him by focussing on Dr Snip, and I ask, ‘So, have you had a vasectomy?’
‘God no,’ he says.
I let out a casual chuckle while thinking, What the fuck does he mean by ‘God no’?
When he throws the sheet off and exposes me, his expression reminds me of someone who is looking for their wallet or car keys. I almost expect him to grab my balls and say, ‘Oh, here they are,’ and walk out the door with them.
Susan wanders over to stand on the other side of me (and disappointingly shows no sign of awe) as Dr Snip paints some medical concoction all over my penis and testicles, and then I remember that just last night, before sleep,
I thought of an embarrassing possibility and blurted out to Tania, ‘What if I get an erection while they’re preparing the area down there?’ but I know now that there is no chance of that happening. My privates are moving under the weight of the brush like lethargic, tusk-less miniature walruses lolling in the sun after an exhausting swim.
To distract myself I decide to ask Dr Snip and Susan some questions.
‘Hey,’ I say. ‘After you inject my scrotum with anaesthetic, will I be able to tell when I need a piss?’
‘No,’ Dr Snip says. ‘You’ll probably wet yourself on the way home.’
Susan laughs. ‘You should only ever believe half of what he says.’
‘Half,’ I repeat with a chuckle, and then it occurs to me that I should video this so people can see that even though Dr Snip is a professional with more than thirty years of medical experience, he is also a nutbar – a lovable and jovial one, the very best kind.
I watch as he prepares a syringe to administer the anaesthetic and I ask a few more questions, and then I realise that I can’t hear Maki crying anymore and, as bizarre as it may seem, I start to feel a buzz of excitement because I like things that are a bit crazy – and look around, there’s some crazy shit happening right here!
Dr Snip points the needle that is about to be injected into my scrotum straight up and pushes out a few air bubbles. To distract myself from the fact that it is about to be aimed directly at me, I ask if I can video them while they work. Dr Snip has no problem with that at all, so I hold up my iPhone and press record. I ask my first question just as I’m being skewered. My high-pitched ‘Is sperm nutritional?’ leads to some dangerous jolts of laughter, and suddenly we’re into it.
Although Dr Snip, Susan and I have never met before, we soon find that we’re huddled around my balls, conversing and joking and ribbing each other like old friends around a campfire.