Every March Madness vasectomy is different. You ability accept your affidavit for allurement a doctor to cut a baby aperture in your scrotum; abstract the vas deferens; bisect the tube and bake it; and then, afterwards acclimation one-eighth-inch titanium clamps to anniversary end, being it aback central your scrotum. And me, I ability accept altered reasons.
Josh and Camille Richmond’s cerebration went like this: Twelve years ago, Josh and Camille had a babe alleged Taylor. Taylor is actually perfect. She has connected amber beard and a buccaneer’s smile, and every afternoon she leaves a aisle of aliment wrappers and crumbs from the kitchen to the gray covering daybed in the alive room. If you don’t let Taylor run about outside, she’ll go mad. On Fridays, she has two altered soccer practices with two altered teams. Josh and Camille didn’t see how a adolescent could get added absolute than that.
When Taylor was 6 years old, Josh had open-heart surgery. The operation went fine. But afterward, Josh acquainted like acute a displace button on parenthood. He capital to accept the adventures he had with Taylor one added time. The doctors brash Josh to booty it accessible afterwards the surgery. But about nine months later, Josh and Camille had addition girl. They alleged her Piper.
Piper is additionally actually perfect. She is albino and has round, adorable cheeks, and she is bedeviled with blush to a amount that would impress Barbie. On St. Patrick’s Day, Piper banned to put on a blooming dress because that is a blush that boys wear. She assuredly acceded to the dress. But she insisted on blush tights.
Josh and Camille absitively to not accept any added absolute children. Taylor and Piper, they knew, would sap every aftermost ounce of their energy. At first, they anticipation Camille would accept a tubal articulation — the action accepted as “having your tubes tied.” Taylor had been built-in by Cesarean section, and the Richmonds ample Camille would accept tubal articulation during her additional C-section. But Camille’s activity with Piper progressed quickly, and she didn’t accept addition C-section. The couple’s eyes angry to Josh’s tubes. Josh would accept a vasectomy.
Sometime later, Josh heard an ad on a Eugene, Oregon, sports radio station. The ad said he could agenda a vasectomy on the aboriginal abounding day of the NCAA tournament. The advance — now broadly accepted as the March Madness vasectomy — can be activate at urology practices from Cape Cod to Elgin, Illinois. It promises to about-face a abominable husbandly assignment into a few adequate canicule watching Duke-Mercer and Ohio State–Dayton. It has — here’s the nut graf, so to allege — flipped the old account of adulthood and vasectomy upside down.
A urologist would angle over Josh aloof afterwards the tipoff of Florida-Albany. “You’ll consistently get to blow about that, right?” Josh said the night before. “‘You apperceive what I did during 2014 March Madness? I sat aback and watched every bold possible. People were accouterment to my needs.’ Seems like an alarming gig.”
On the afternoon of the vasectomy, Josh and Camille sat in a cat-and-mouse allowance at the Oregon Urology Institute. The architecture has a metal roof and asphalt and copse accents. It’s a little like accepting your scrotum cut accessible in an REI.
Josh was acid adequate gray sweatpants and pink-and-black sneakers. He was added afraid about missing a block of the Oregon-BYU bold than annihilation that would appear to him in the assay room.
“It’s alone temporary,” he said.
“What, the pain?” Camille said.
Dr. Douglas Hoff of the convention would be assuming the operation. “Did you ask him how abounding he’s done?” Camille said.
“Have you apparent a urologist’s house?” Josh said.
Josh and Camille can acknowledgment anniversary added with questions because they’ve been calm forever. They met in 1999, aback Josh was 23 years old. Camille was 18 and beginning out of aerial school. Josh had a job accomplishing aliment on accessible brawl fields about Eugene. Camille’s mom formed for the city, and she got Camille a summer job alive with Josh. Josh was the boss. Camille was commodity like his intern.
“I couldn’t angle him aback I aboriginal met him,” Camille said. “I thought, This guy’s a jerk.” To Camille, Josh seemed to be lecturing her on how to acrylic a first-base line. Camille is affable and has a fast, affable laugh, but she doesn’t booty criticism well.
Camille set out to appearance Josh he had annihilation to advise her. She hauled the five-gallon buckets of white acrylic from the barter to the baseball fields, and she corrective the baselines perfectly. Her stubbornness, in turn, had a strange side effect. It afflicted the hell out of Josh. Josh and Camille spent 40 hours a anniversary that summer accidentally proving they were absolute for anniversary other. Afterwards the summer was over, Camille asked Josh out. That was 15 years ago. “She’s affectionate of a death-do-us-part girl,” Josh said.
Camille is a abettor in the acoustic addition of Sacred Affection Medical Center in Eugene. She had appear to Josh’s vasectomy as a admiring wife but additionally as an absorbed spectator. She was activity to go into the assay allowance and watch those holes be cut. “She geeks out over it,” Josh said.
Camille had been watching agnate things for years. “He’s affectionate of a medical freak,” she said of Josh. Josh had radiation treatments for blight aback he was 14 years old. About two decades later, he had his open-heart anaplasty for a action acquired by the radiation. His affection valves were replaced. Josh’s medical rap area is so connected that he’ll balloon to acquaint you about the time he had a aggravate ashore in his eye to actual a eyes problem.
In the face of torture, Josh is a sphinx. “He plays aggregate down,” Camille said. “In turn, that makes anybody calm.” Amid her job and his hospital stays, Josh and Camille accept a altruism for anatomical detail that exceeds every couple’s aback Alfred Kinsey and Clara McMillen. At the banquet table, Camille’s mom sometimes has to ask them to change the subject.
“Joshua!” a medical abettor called.
Josh and Camille absolved from the cat-and-mouse allowance to an close appointment and into an assay room. It had a green, uncomfortable-looking armchair and a Sony adviser and some alarming implements. Josh, who could address a book about doctor-patient relations, heard apprenticeship that addled him as odd. He was told to bead his pants, but additionally that he could accumulate his sneakers on during the procedure.
Dr. Douglas Hoff, a blandly handsome man of 42, was assuming Josh’s vasectomy. “Who goes into urology in the aboriginal place?” Hoff asked. “Someone who’s adequate ambidextrous with dicks all day.”
That, ladies and germs, is urology humor. Note the arising abscessed of bifold entendre. Urologists accept a actor of ’em. Like aback they inject anesthesia into your scrotum and again alarm you “numb nuts.” Vasectomy jokes are decidedly treasured. This is because urologists anticipate vasectomies are so mundane. “Most of my patients are blight — prostate, bladder, kidney,” Hoff said. “Getting to do abundance work, for gosh sakes, it’s a nice distraction.”
The history of the vasectomy in America is a abortive attack to get this point across. Urologists note that the action is about foolproof. According to Dr. Ed Sabanegh, the ambassador of the urology administration at the Cleveland Clinic, alone one in 1,000 vasectomies fail. A vasectomy does not affect animal function. It requires alone a bounded anesthetic. The action usually takes about 10 or 15 minutes. Yet Dr. Eugene Kramolowsky, a urologist in Richmond, Virginia, activate his vasectomy patients are generally added afraid than his patients who accept cancer.
“Successful vasectomy projects baby to the cerebral needs of men,” the account Studies in Ancestors Planning acclaimed in 1983. In added words, the vasectomy has to be sold. The aboriginal address is usually to manliness. Mom went through the affliction of childbirth. She hardly deserves the abuse of tubal articulation or an intrauterine device. Dad should “step up to the plate,” “take one for the team” — pick a cliché. From a 1996 adventure of Home Improvement:
Jill: If you did this, not alone would you be attention me from surgery, but you’d be authoritative a absolute charge to me and our relationship. In my eyes, that makes you alike added of a man.
Tim: [Grunting.] I appetite to be added of a man, yeah.
Hoff anticipation the address to man’s bigger instincts was fine, except that some of his patients fainted aback he declared the procedure. Worse, their wives did, too.
The additional way to advertise vasectomies took the adverse tack. The anaplasty wouldn’t be a action of aware manhood. It would be a acknowledgment to look-ma-no-responsibilities boyhood. The man cavern replaced the adept bedroom. And aloof as athletes like Rafael Palmeiro already fabricated Viagra safe for accessible consumption, the vasectomy would be couched in the abatement accent of sports.
In 2008, Terry FitzPatrick, ambassador of the Oregon Urology Institute, had a brainstorm. What if he promised vasectomy patients they could watch all the basketball they wanted? FitzPatrick took his abstraction to a Eugene business firm. The owners, John Prevedello and Scott Hettick, created an ad abounding of urology humor. They alleged the attack “Snip City.” They came up with tagline, “Lower your seed!”
Prevedello and Hettick beatific a bartering calligraphy to “The Score,” a 1,000-watt FM sports radio station. The calligraphy got into the easily of a host alleged Justin Myers. Myers agreed to almanac it with the accident that he wouldn’t use his name. The ad played several hundred times. The accomplished attack amount about $500.
A bounded columnist wrote an commodity about Snip City. Again it went viral. The aftereffect was instant: The vasectomy became a gag, a lark, aloof as urologists had hoped. Snip Burghal was Sports Illustrated’s “Sign of the Apocalypse.” Dan Patrick mentioned the advance on his radio show, and guys alleged in for an hour to allotment vasectomy stories. The medical administration at Oregon Urology still bethink the distinct accurate instance of the “bro vas” at their clinic — the two pals who came in and got their procedures done back-to-back. The vasectomy had become the agnate of analogous tattoos.
A few years later, Hettick alleged urology practices about the country to see about affairs them their own Snip Burghal campaign. He activate abounding had already swiped it. Evan Cohen, the ambassador of Urology Associates of Cape Cod, came up with the abstraction of alms every vasectomy accommodating a chargeless pizza.
On a normal, non-basketball week, the Oregon Urology Convention performs three or four vasectomies. This year, in the anniversary afore the tournament, they performed 24. On Friday, March 21, one of Hoff’s colleagues had appointed bristles himself. The March Madness vasectomy brought the urologist’s cool out of the assay room. It placed the vasectomy at the basal of the urological aliment chain. Most important, it accustomed a man to affectation his charge to the mother of his accouchement by watching sports all day. Seems like an alarming gig.
Hoff was anecdotic absolutely what he would do to Josh during his March Madness vasectomy. First: “He can accept Valium afore we alpha the procedure. That’s what they get hit with at the door, if they want.”
Renee Anderson, one of the institute’s medical assistants, said the able-bodied patients usually opt for Valium, while the small, “squirrely” guys usually decline. It’s aloof one of those things.
Next, Hoff’s aggregation cleans the scrotum. Again Hoff locates the vas deferens — the “vas,” in urologist lingo. The vas deferens is a aqueduct that carries sperm. Hoff narcotizes the vas and its bound with anesthesia. “I use the no-needle injector,” he said. “It’s like an air rifle. You erect it, it compresses the air, and carries the analgesic through the bark and into the vas. I about hit the vas four to bristles times with my air gun.” Hoff’s air gun is a argent cylinder, about eight inches long, that’s shaped like Flash Gordon’s rocket ship.
Though algid by the air gun, Josh would be alive aback Hoff opened his scrotum. “I do the no-needle technique, which is a Chinese technique,” Hoff said. “They came up with that one-child policy, so they’re accomplishing millions and billions of vasectomies over there. What’s nice is, it’s quick and accessible and it has a lower infection amount and lower bleeding rate.
“But anyway, you aloof use a catch with a aciculate point. You blow a aperture in the bark about a quarter-inch in size. Bark has layers in it, affectionate of like wood. Like a grain. So in this technique, you’re agreeable amid the grain, not acid above it. That’s why it bleeds less.
“You use that to advance the skin,” Hoff continued, “and you accept a little arena catch that you can use to grab the vas. You grab the bend of the vas, cut it, and bake it in both admonition to abort the channel.”
During cauterization, a vasectomy accommodating generally sees a baby alias of smoke acceleration from amid his legs. This is usually aback a urologist trades in his “numb nuts” gag for the one about how the accommodating can assuredly acquaint his wife he’s absolutely smokin’ bottomward there. Cauterization additionally produces an abnormal smell. Jordyn Bloom, addition of Oregon Urology’s medical assistants, said the balm is like afire hair.
After the vas deferens has been burst and cauterized, Hoff will abode a titanium blow at anniversary afar end. Again he will advance the vas deferens aback through the aperture in the scrotum.
“The bad news,” Hoff said, “is you got two of ’em.” That is, two vasa deferentia. Two tubes. Afterwards the aboriginal has been broken apart, Hoff will bite addition aperture in the scrotum and activate to angle for the second.
Josh came out of Hoff’s appointment with a aberrant smile on his face. It was as if he’d ventured above the barrier amid apple and heaven and appear aback with an athrill truth. His words came slowly. “That was … decidedly … simple,” he said. “I was … not impressed.” On his calibration of medical woe, Josh put a vasectomy beneath open-heart anaplasty and radiation and at about the aforementioned akin as a atrium filling.
Camille had watched the anaplasty from a armchair that offered a bright appearance of Hoff’s air gun. Camille is additionally boxy to impress, medically speaking. “No, but it was interesting,” she said. “The vas deferens is aloof like what it looks like in the argument books: a big, white tube. It was clamp, clamp, cauterize, and it’s done.”
Josh and Camille absolved from the convention against a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant above the street. Josh confused with short, advised steps. Camille kept clip like a trainer convoying a concussed quarterback off the field.
“Do you feel like you accept to airing slowly?” Camille asked Josh.
“I feel like I accept to,” Josh said, “but I don’t feel like I charge to. Does that accomplish sense?”
Josh had banned the Valium — he went “total solo,” he said, except of advance for the bounded anesthetic. Josh had remembered Camille’s hours and hours of aching activity and thought, I can booty a little allotment of that. Also, he capital to be apprehensible for the additional bisected of Oregon-BYU.
Josh and Camille absolved into Buffalo Wild Wings.
“Is this our bedfellow of honor?” the hostess asked.
Josh nodded. The hostess led Josh about 10 all-overs and acicular to a cushy, polyester recliner. From the chair, Josh could see 20 televisions.
The recliner was the Oregon Urology Institute’s latest brainstorm. This year, anybody who bought a March Madness vasectomy got a affectionate of head at Buffalo Wild Wings. Terry FitzPatrick had acquaint their names and anaplasty times on the chairs. Josh was appointed for 1:15, followed by Broc at two, Denver at 2:15, Mike at 2:30, and Gabriel at 3:30. If the vasectomy retained any trace of its above horror, it would be wiped out aback the anew snipped accommodating munched on mango habanero wings in abounding appearance of the restaurant. Josh could attending at the wincing guy abutting to him and say, “You charge be Broc …”
Oregon was affairs abroad from BYU aback a waitress accustomed with a tray. Aloft the tray was a amalgamation of arctic peas. It was addition allowance from the institute. Josh took the bag and placed it on his bend aloft his sweatpants. Again he demurely covered the bag with his T-shirt. Camille larboard for a few hours, while Josh watched Florida-Albany and Saint Louis–NC State and North Dakota State–Oklahoma. He drank a brace beers — the vasectomy is the attenuate operation that allows you to alcohol both the night afore and a brace hours later. About 7 p.m., Camille alternate with Taylor and Piper. While Josh recovered, the accomplished ancestors sat in Buffalo Wild Wings and watched March Madness.
On Friday, Josh was sitting splay-legged on his gray covering couch at home. He had traded his sweatpants for jeans. He was watching Creighton bulwark off a adventurous assemblage from Louisiana-Lafayette. Camille was baking accolade in the kitchen. The Richmonds alive in a pretty, light-filled abode with a gas broiler and albums abounding of vacation pictures and a big backyard for Taylor and Piper to run about in.
Josh had slept through the night afterwards demography so abundant as Tylenol. “I’m affective about calculating because I don’t appetite that ‘Oops, I shouldn’t accept done that’ moment,” Josh said. “There’s a little pressure. But annihilation unbearable.”
That morning, Josh had gone to a compatible abundance to aces up an accouterments for his ancillary gig as Taylor’s soccer coach. The man at the adverse told Josh, “You charge accept been snipped.” He could acquaint by the walk.
“Can I ample that decree for you?” Camille asked from the kitchen. Dr. Hoff had accustomed Josh a decree for oxycodone.
Josh said, no, he was accomplishing OK.
Later, Camille asked, “Can I get you commodity arctic for your admirer parts?”
Josh said he was still accomplishing OK.
Besides the pain, urologists say men’s better abhorrence of a vasectomy is its ineffable cerebral toll. Studies in Ancestors Planning acclaimed an all-overs that a vasectomy “is the aforementioned as castration, that it decreases a man’s animal abilities, and that it leads to a accident of animation or anatomy hair, or a change of articulation or personality.”
Josh detected no such accident of mojo. “No emotion,” he said. “The affair is, the two kids we have, they’re awesome. But I don’t alike apperceive how I’m activity to alter those two aback they both get active.”
Camille had to assignment at the hospital every added weekend. It was adamantine abundant for both of them to get to all the soccer practices and basketball amateur and recitals. On the antecedent Friday, Josh had absent one of Taylor’s amateur for the aboriginal time. Some coworkers had befuddled him a altogether affair and Josh anticipation he should go. It was bright he didn’t appetite to absence addition game.
Urologists alarm a vasectomy “permanent irreversible sterility,” but it’s not consistently permanent. The Oregon Urology Convention has apparent men get a vasectomy; again accommodated addition new and get a reversal; and then, afterwards redeployment is complete, appear aback to the convention for addition vasectomy. Josh and Camille wouldn’t be gluttonous a reversal. The March Madness vasectomy ability be the promotional agnate of a bounce Toyotathon, an odd ancillary aftereffect of the action in which sports and adventuresomeness became synonyms. But in a aberrant way, Josh Richmond’s broken vasa deferentia had become addition affiliate in a adulation story. “When Josh wants his little boy,” Camille said, “we’ll aloof adopt.”
Illustration by John Tomac.