I share something with my two male cats other than a fondness for weekend naps; we have all been neutered.
I went under the knife a decade and a half ago at the request of my wife, mother of two sons who weighed in at an average of 9.75 pounds. Enough is enough, she said.
At the time, surgery was performed exclusively by human beings, as it had been since the dawn of modern medicine. In attendance at my operation was a pleasant young female nurse, who assisted my urologist in the procedure.
As you can imagine if you’re a guy, a vasectomy involves a more sensitive region of the body than say, removal of one’s wisdom teeth or knee surgery. Intense concentration is needed to block out any residual feeling that local anesthetic may have failed to deaden.
So I closed my eyes and tried various attention-shifting tricks, such as counting backwards from 100, recalling the batting averages of the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals, and naming the presidents of the United States in inverse order of height (hint: don’t start with Jimmy Carter). My meditation was interrupted, however, by a sound that I find annoying even when someone isn’t fooling around between my legs; the voice of a chatty nurse.
While my doctor went about his business with dispatch, the young woman to my right started in with a barrage of questions that would have brought a reprimand from a trial judge: what did I do, where did I work, was it interesting, what did I do for fun, etc.; small talk that I might have tolerated, though just barely, had I not been under the knife, but which was the last thing I wanted to hear as I sought to reach a state of zen-like unconsciousness.
After grunting responses to these short-answer questions, she asked me whether I had any special plans for the weekend. I considered a snappy comeback such as “I think I’ll put a bag of ice on my groin and moan until Monday,” but instead went with a grim and testy “No” in the hope of cutting off–I use the term advisedly–further conversation.
For those of you whose procreating days have not yet come to an end, there is hope that the scourge of the chatty vasectomy nurse will be conquered in our lifetime. New developments in robotics hold out the promise that, in the future, minimally-invasive surgical procedures will be performed entirely by machines, in some cases from remote locations. Think of that!
Instead of a highly-trained surgeon hovering over you with a knife, there will be a hunk of cold steel stuffed with wiring and circuit boards, ready to un-man you without intrusive questioning from a human nurse in hospital scrubs!
Unless, of course, your state Board of Registration in Medicine requires the presence of a robotic surgical nurse in order to ensure safety and quality of care, in which case your concentration may perhaps be broken by a question such as . . .
“Do you like Star Wars? I think C3PO is so cute!”