The Big Snip: The fateful journey to Dr. Vladar’s office

There comes a time in a man’s life when he looks himself in the mirror, and says “self. Can I go without sleep any longer? How much is university projected to be in 2035? Do I have stock in Kraft Dinner yet?”, and ends up making some pretty important decisions about their future.

Some people are breeders, and just meant to have kids. 19 kids and counting and sounding like a real-life recital of the alphabet Olympics. Others are realists and realize that like Jack Nicholson and Diane Keaton, Something’s Gotta Give.

Condoms were super important back when we found gym-tan-laundry to be an amusing concept and believed in the tightness of our t-shirts having a positive correlation to our appeal to the opposite sex, but nowadays there’s a certain level of “that’s a depressing sight” when you’re with the wife and look down with your Trojan in hand and see a few grey pubes.

Lo and behold, you can now ask for a referral to “get that taken care of.” There’s a guy in Strathroy who does it, and there is also the world (or at least locally famous) Dr. Joseph Vladars.

Here are the stories of two brave men who journeyed to a nondescript outpatient Dr.’s office and lived to tell the tale…

Dad #1: Justin P.

I’ve heard the horror stories: massive amounts of swelling, bleeding, and excruciating pain for weeks. Vasectomies seem to be this daunting process that some men seem to not want to talk about. Almost a “taboo” subject to discuss with a healthy side of embarrassment with some men.

But, is it really that bad?

Before:
I was pretty open about getting done. Three kids in, two boys and one girl, I felt I had hit the jackpot with the family. I was ready for “The Snip” (of course, I did say that when we only had two boys, but then the next day, we found out we were pregnant. Oops – But that’s a whole other story). Day of the procedure, I left work, and headed over. I was to present Dr. Vladars with a Dad Club London t-shirt as our first ever lifetime achievement in fatherhood award winner! I mean, who can deny his contributions to the positive net benefit on local fatherhood relative spending power due to reduced extraneous daycare costs.

During:
I didn’t look. I wasn’t scared, but there was no way I was going to watch. I actually brought a book to read, a topic that covered the origins of the universe – light reading for when you are getting the snip. We turned out talking about Dad Club London, fatherhood, and his vacation after he was finished with the last procedure of the day, me. Nothing scary, except for the first injection. “You’re going to feel a bit of a snap.” Dr. Vladars told me. “A snap?” I asked, kind of shocked. It turned out not being too terrible. I think the word “Snap” when someone is about to handle your family gems is the scariest part.

After:
Whoops. I didn’t present the t-shirt yet. I kind of panic and evaluate my situation.
Presenting before procedure would have been best.
Presenting after procedure while hunched over like John Wayne in an old western movie is awkward.
But during the procedure would have been just flat out wrong. Probably.
I went with “awkward after procedure”. I couldn’t let Dad Club London down! He seemed pretty grateful for the gift.
I was surprised how well I felt after. Popping nothing more than extra strength ibuprofen, I iced the first day, then after as needed, mostly because I felt I probably should. The next day, I rolled our massive box rear projection television to the curb so it could be taken away. This made me feel manly – until our neighbor (who is a family physician), got me in trouble, saying it was a foolish move. Pshh! What does he know anyway?

Me: Later sits on couch with a bag of peas Okay. Dr. Neighbour was right.

I’d have to say, it was a pretty straightforward procedure. I was sore, but nothing that a little ibuprofen and a pack of cold peas couldn’t fix. Dr. Vladars was great, and wouldn’t recommend anyone else.

Dad #2 – Jeremy M.

Before:
One of the things that makes my wife and I work so well together is how opposite we are, yet how mutually respectful of each other we are. Knowing that we had different life experiences and thus have different ideas of family was important for us prior to beginning our own journey. My wife has four brothers, and loved the idea of a huge family with tons of kids. After child number three in four years pledging his allegiance to #TeamNoSleep and the Symphony of Scream, we decided we were officially good to go. Due to the effects of birth control on the body as women get older, and the fact that I am the ultimate team player, I was totally fine with being snipped. Lots of DCL friends had been through it and the fact that no one copped to any long-term damage and begged me not to do it when I broached the topic, was good enough for me.

Apparently, there is some sort of “are you really really really really sure” assessment that should be discussed with your doc prior to referral, but his secretary said on the phone “you sound tired”, and asked for the referral to be faxed in right away.

I was in for a consult within about 6 weeks, which was shockingly fast compared to the seven knee surgeries I had previously been through.

Going in for my consult, I was kind of surprised at how nondescript his office was. His receptionist is delightful, and it turns out she is the sister of a Dad Club member, and a huge fan of what we do.

Once you get in, you fill out the standard paperwork, and then await Dr. V to come in and chat you up. I could tell that he had some questions regarding my intentions and possibility of changing my mind, but then looked at me and saw the bags under my eyes and an unholy amount of grey for 33, and said “I think you’re ready”.

At that point, he leaves and makes you watch a 10-minute video on the computer in the consult room that covers everything you need to know from start to finish, and includes star wipe transitions and some sweet early 00’s power rock ballads.

Once he comes back and sees that you haven’t fainted at the term “make an incision in your vas deferens”, you move on to the actual procedure portion of the journey.

Home I go, and my day comes 3 weeks later.

During:
On the day of the procedure, I felt like I was partaking in the dad version of the Bataan Death March. Of course, my kids never sleep past 7. Of course, I am one of the last appointments of the day.

We roll into the office, as solemn as can be. Yes, I did have some self-fun the night before just in case things went horribly wrong and I had to bid adieu to the days of having more rope than Boler Mountain in the summertime.

Of course Dr. Vladars is ahead of schedule, and I am called back 13 minutes before my procedure is to start. I debate briefly holding onto my chair with my arms and legs and making him and my wife drag me back.

Once I was back there, the situation was a breeze. I am the kind of guy who has been in all sorts of hairy crisis situations before, and never been bothered by the blood, bodily fluids, or injuries of other persons. BUT, I cannot watch my own blood or medical issues or I get queasy.

So, at this point I am determined to talk his ear off with whatever nonsensical randomness comes to mind. As a distraction, I ramble on for about 14 minutes, feel one equivalent to an elastic snapping at my bean bag and one internal tug like someone is tying a shoelace inside my potato sack, and bing-bang-boom it’s over.

I walk out of the back and into the waiting room, over exaggerating my discomfort for my own amusement, at the expense of the two white faced gentlemen waiting to wrap Dr. V’s day up. They definitely take notice.

As a thank you for being a team player gift, the wife drives home and even takes me to DQ. Man, that was one tasty blizzard.

I then go home and post up for the rest of the day on the couch watching March Madness (veteran move!).

After:
I had two things go wrong with my procedure, both of my own doing. I literally paid ZERO attention to any of the post-operative instructions, because I am dumb like that.

Take it easy after? Yeah, no problem. I only have an almost four-year-old, a just turned 2-year-old, and a three-month-old at home. Taking it easy means get up and take the middle one to parent tot gymnastics in the morning.

What day is it? Oh yes, it’s let-them-dive-into-the-big-foam-pit-so-you-can-lift-them-out day. Over and over and over again. I survive, but spent the next 72 hours dealing with discomfort and swelling.

I remembered something about waiting 48 hours to visit the firing range. I waited 96 instead because I am risk aversive like that.

It took an elongated warm up, but we did reach the promised land. Alone. IT WORKED! The heavens opened and the angels sang. I am still in business!

Because of the overabundance of activity, I was swollen for 10 days afterwards. I called Dr. V’s office on day 9 and was told to wait ‘til Day 14 to come back. I was good by bedtime the next day. But it was fun to feel like the guy who used to wear a hoodie for pants because his sack was so big.

I didn’t pay full attention to the post-op testing instructions. I need an assistant. I saw it said wait 20 successful Cape Canaveral lift offs before you go back to ensure the procedure worked. I lost count. Total lack of sleep. I guessed.

I went back and got tested, and was told that I still had dead sperm in my sample, and needed to wait for 10 more blast offs prior to being checked again.

I reaffirmed the value of self-care, and ensured to play fully by the rules this time, and passed the test with flying colours. I didn’t get to go mini golfing with my parents and stop for a freezie on the way home after as a reward, but with a consolation prize of a faster return to a normal life, I will take it.

Thanks Dr. V!