complaints, family, healthcare

Repost: No, vasectomies are NOT totally reversible!

I am reposting this article I wrote in September 2018 because I keep seeing memes promoting (in jest) forcing men to get vasectomies because they are “totally reversible”. Unfortunately, Bill and I know from personal experience that that’s not always true. Besides, I don’t agree with pressuring anyone– male or female– to have elective surgery. That should be a personal decision made by the person having the surgery and forced to live with the aftermath of it.

Yesterday, someone in the Duggar group posted this article, based on tweets by a Mormon mom of six who lays out why she thinks men are responsible for every “unwanted” pregnancy.  The mom, name of Gabrielle Blair, reminds everyone that women can only get pregnant for a couple of days every month, while men could theoretically get different women pregnant thousands of times per month.  Because men are so easily able to impregnate women, she believes they should be more responsible about birth control.  In fact, she thinks the onus should be on men to prevent “unwanted” pregnancies.  They should be more willing to make birth control accessible, affordable, and available to all women.  And they should also be much more willing to wear condoms.

Gabrielle Blair refers to “unwanted” pregnancies, but that’s not a term I’m comfortable with.  I once used it when I was getting my MSW and was corrected by my field instructor, who told me the right term is “unintended pregnancy”.  Although I do think a lot of unintended pregnancies are also unwanted, I decided that I liked the word “unintended” better.  Sometimes women find themselves unexpectedly pregnant and later decide they’re glad about it.  So, in this post, I will refer to unintended pregnancies instead of “unwanted” pregnancies.

I agree with many of the concepts Blair discusses in her tweets.  Although birth control has never been an issue I’ve personally had a lot of concerns about, I did used to work in maternal and child health, back before I was an overeducated housewife.  I have seen the aftereffects of what happens when a woman has a child she isn’t ready to nurture.  I do think we need to make birth control readily available so that there is less of a need for abortion.  I would much rather see a woman prevent an unintended pregnancy than have an abortion.

The one thing that I don’t agree with, however, is the idea that vasectomies are totally reversible.  Blair tweets this concept, after just having suggested castration as a penalty for men who cause unintended pregnancies.  Of course she realizes that castration as punishment for a man who accidentally impregnates a woman would never happen.  So then she “jokingly” suggests required vasectomies for boys at the onset of puberty.

It’s really not that simple.


Before I get too cranked up with my comments about this, let me say that I know that, just like the castration law Blair suggested, forced vasectomies for pubescent boys would also never happen.  Maybe if we only had female lawmakers who were also extreme feminists with a cruelty streak, something like that could possibly be considered, but even then, I really doubt it.  The United States would have to turn into a completely matriarchal society with a hefty dose of The Handmaid’s Tale thrown in for good measure.  Blair’s suggestions are very sci-fi and interesting to ponder, but completely implausible and highly unlikely to happen in my lifetime.

That being established, I will agree that microsurgeries have come a long way and a lot of men are able to successfully have their vasectomies reversed even years after the vasectomy was done.  However, I can also speak from personal experience that not every reversal will result in a man regaining his fertility.  I know this because my husband had a vasectomy reversal that was technically successful.  He had 90 million “swimmers” after he underwent a 4 hour operation to reconnect his junk.  And yet, here we sit, still childless. I know we aren’t the only ones who had this outcome after a reversal, either.

Now… it’s entirely possible that the reason we didn’t have children could be because of something other than Bill’s vasectomy reversal not working.  For all I know, I didn’t get pregnant because something is wrong with me.  However, even if that were the case, the fact remains that not every vasectomy reversal will result in pregnancy.  The Mayo Clinic reports that reversal surgery can be anywhere from 30% to 90% effective.  A lot depends on the conditions the surgeon has to work with.  The reversal surgery has the best chance of working if it’s done within a few years of the vasectomy, the patient is young and healthy, the vasectomy was done with a minimum of scarring, and the surgeon has mad skills.

In Bill’s case, it had been about eleven years since he’d gotten snipped.  At first, his surgeon told him that he might have to do a more complicated procedure, since it had been so long since his vasectomy (done in 1993).  In the end, they did a less complicated procedure.  A couple of weeks later, a different doctor– not the one who did Bill’s surgery, because that guy got deployed to Iraq– told Bill that he needed to be careful where he pointed his “thing”, since he was firing “live ammunition”.  They’d found 90 million sperm in his sample.  Sadly, not a single one was able to penetrate any of my eggs, despite multiple attempts at the right time of the month.

After a couple of years, we quit trying, deciding that we’d rather not go through other methods of trying to conceive. Our decision about that mostly had to do with finances, and my realization that I didn’t want to be a parent badly enough to go through all of what becoming a parent in a non-traditional way entails.

I don’t know why I never got pregnant.  We did try.  There were a few things beyond our control that got in the way of conception, not the least of which was Bill’s own adventure in Iraq.  However, even if I had gotten pregnant, I still would never agree that reversals are 100% successful.  That wouldn’t be true.  Although many men can regain their fertility after having a vasectomy reversal, at least for a time, the fact is, sometimes men aren’t able to get it back.  Their bodies start seeing sperm as something foreign that needs to be destroyed or there’s too much scar tissue.  

Aside from that, reversal surgery is expensive, delicate and involved, and requires time off work.  In our case, Bill was able to have it done for free, courtesy of an Army urologist who needed to maintain his skills.  He also got plenty of time to recover, thanks to his understanding Army bosses at the time.  But most men won’t have the opportunity Bill had to get that surgery for free.  Reversals are also a hell of a lot more involved than vasectomies are.  They take much longer, cost a lot more, and are riskier.  Those who do get reversal surgery will also need to be able to take the time to recuperate.  

I totally agree with Blair’s main points that birth control is important and should be easier to get.  She’s right that men should be more willing to do their part to prevent unintended pregnancies.  However, I think it’s wrong to promote sterilization surgery as an easy fix for anyone, especially with the irresponsible comment that vasectomies are “totally reversible”.  They’re not.  

Vasectomies are intended to be permanent sterilization.  Any man who gets one should do it with the knowledge that it will possibly permanently end his ability to father children the easy way.  If they’re alright with that, fine.  But no man should ever have a vasectomy believing that someday, he can simply have it reversed and father children without medical intervention.  It doesn’t always work out that way, and it’s irresponsible of Blair to promote the idea that it does, even if her comments were really intended jokingly as sort of a “modest proposal”.

I made a comment about how vasectomy reversals aren’t always successful in the Duggar Family News group and immediately got a ration of shit from a couple of the members who wanted to argue with me about it. One woman said that in her hospital, 95% of reversals are successful with “swimmers”.  I called bullshit on that.  I don’t know that woman from Adam, and have no idea what her background is, but it’s a well established fact that reversals don’t always work, even if the surgeon is a superstar.  I would be very skeptical if any medical professional claimed that success rate, because not every candidate is going to get those results, regardless of the quality of the facility and the skill of the staff performing the operation.  

Another woman commented with some tripe about how I should be more sensitive to the women who have to deal with preventing pregnancy.  I AM sensitive to the women.  I DO agree that birth control for both partners is a good thing and both people are responsible.  I simply don’t agree with the idea that forcing boys to have vasectomies is a good idea, even if the idea is presented in jest.  

I would be horrified if anyone suggested tying the tubes of pre-pubescent girls, rationalizing that they can later have the operation reversed.  I am just as horrified by the suggestion that we should be giving vasectomies to boys to prevent them from knocking up girls.  That’s an extreme and unethical solution, and even as a joke, it’s really not funny in my opinion.  But what really prompted me to write this morning is the idea that a decision to be permanently sterilized is easily undone.  It’s not, and reputable medical institutions confirm that it’s not. We should be more respectful about every person’s right to make personal decisions about their own bodies without pressure or interference from other people.

That being said… although I always wanted children, I now think it’s a blessing that I don’t have them, and am mostly at peace with not being someone’s mother. I do sometimes wonder what a child between Bill and me would have been like, though. Then, after I fantasize about it, I realize I wouldn’t wish today’s fucked up world on any child of mine. Also… I wonder how in the world Gabrielle Blair can be a Mormon and be as much of a feminist as she is. She’s either simply a cultural Mormon or she has some serious cognitive dissonance going on.

Standard
complaints, condescending twatbags, rants

Repost: Asking your husband to get snipped… then divorcing him.

Here’s a repost that appeared on my original blog on October 7, 2018. I still think it’s wrong for a person to coerce another into having an elective and permanent surgery (which is what a vasectomy is intended to be). I get that they are reversible, but sometimes reversals fail. They are also expensive and invasive. I know this because Bill had one.

This morning, as I looked at my Facebook memories, I found a lively discussion that I had last year.  It was about Kelly Clarkson and how she’s demanded that her husband have a vasectomy after she had their two children.  Anyone who regularly reads this blog knows how I feel about coercing people into permanently altering their bodies to suit the other person.  I think it’s wrong.  It’s very admirable if a person offers to get sterilized for their partner’s sake, but I don’t think it’s right for the partner to try to force it.

Imagine my surprise this morning when I found an article in The New York Times about that same subject.  Only this time, it was in the form of a letter to The Ethicist, written by a woman who knew someone who had decided she wanted to get a divorce.  But before she got the divorce, she wanted her husband to have a vasectomy.  Why?  Because she thinks he’s a terrible father and doesn’t want him distracted by kids he might have with someone else.  She also doubts any future women would be interested in having kids with him anyway, since he’s “middle aged”. 

I probably don’t need to rehash my thoughts on this subject.  The short version is that I think it’s wrong for a man or a woman to demand that their partner have a permanently altering surgery.  If you are done having children, you should have the surgery… unless there is a very good reason why you can’t have it.  Even then, you have no right to demand that your husband or wife get sterilized.  There are ways to prevent pregnancy that don’t involve permanent surgeries, which is what vasectomies and tubal ligations are intended to be (even if they can be reversed).  However… to insist that your partner have such a surgery and then dump them in a divorce is unbelievably despicable and unethical.  In reading The Ethicist’s column, I see that he is fully in agreement with me on this point.

What is prompting me to write again today are the horrifying comments people left on the New York Times’ Facebook link.  Thanks to all of the misogynistic crap that has been circulating in the news ever since Trump got elected, there is a hive of emboldened women out there who think the way this man was treated is perfectly okay.  It’s just fine that his ex wife, who did convince him to have surgery and subsequently divorce him, manipulated this man into doing her bidding.  And why?  Because there’s so much “misogyny” in the world.  Who cares if this guy might actually be a decent person and maybe might be a great partner to someone else and a terrific father? He has a penis, so therefore, it’s alright to mislead him.  Screw him and his plans for his own life, and those of any other woman he chooses to have a partnership with or marry.

I noticed a lot of men were commenting, only to be shut down by a group of women who appear to pretty much hate all men.  I will admit that sometimes men can be annoying when they mansplain, but the reverse is also true.  Femsplaining is also extremely irritating.

I’ve never made it a secret that I’m for *actual* equality.  When it comes to reproduction, women have a bit more power than men do, since they are mostly capable of having babies without anything more than a dose of sperm.  However, I would never agree that it’s okay for a man to demand that his partner have an abortion or get her tubes tied.  I likewise don’t think women have the right to demand that a man get himself snipped.  Don’t want to get pregnant?  Don’t have sex.  Get yourself surgery that prevents reproduction.  Use birth control.  But you don’t get to coerce, bully, or trick someone else into having surgery.

I think some feminists have lost their sense of fairness when it comes to this issue.  Some of them seem to have the idea that men should be punished for what women have endured for so many years.  But we will never have equality and fairness as long as one group thinks the other “owes” them. 

I see the comments on the article itself are a bit more even-handed.  A couple of people even suggest that the man would have grounds to sue his ex wife over the duplicity.  She would probably really deserve it if he did pursue that action, although since they have children, it’s probably not the best solution for the children’s sakes.  Besides, a judgment against the ex wife would not bring back his prior fertility.  He’d either have to undergo a reversal, which costs a lot of money and involves some pretty serious recovery time, or some other costly intervention.   

I will admit that my feelings about this issue arise from the fact that I was personally affected by a woman who demanded that my husband have a vasectomy.  She claimed pregnancy was “hard” for her.  Then she had two more kids with her third husband, while I’m left being the mom of beagles.  Bill wanted to have a child with me and I wanted to have a child with him.  We were denied that chance thanks to his manipulative bitch of an ex wife who took advantage of Bill’s kindness and good character.  And yes… I do think she’s a bitch, among other things.  I don’t like to namecall, but it is what it is.  She destroyed his relationship with his children, tried to turn his parents against him, and made it very difficult for me to have children of my own without resorting to measures that should have been completely unnecessary. 

Even if this hadn’t happened to me, I’d still be against this kind of manipulative bullshit.  What the hell right does that woman have to leave such a permanent mark on her victim?  I only hope the man in this story goes on to find a far more ethical, decent, and thoughtful woman than his ex wife is.  The woman described in that column is the very definition of a bitch, among other things.  I hope she gets what’s coming to her.

Standard
healthcare, law, LDS

Utah’s new “pregnancy and pre-natal child support” law…

Last night, as I watched Liam Neeson kicking ass in his Taken series, I was scanning the news for interesting headlines. Sure enough, The New York Times delivered with a story about a new law set to go into effect in Utah next month. The headline read, “Utah Will Require Fathers to Help With Pregnancy Bills”. It was inspired by a law signed by Utah Governor Spencer J. Cox on March 16th, which amends Utah’s Child Support Act by “requiring any father whose paternity has been established to pay half of the mother’s insurance premiums while she is pregnant, and any related medical costs, including the birth.” The new law is set to take effect on May 5th of this year.

Utah’s new law comes from HB113, which was sponsored State Representative Brady Brammer and State Senator Daniel McCay, both of whom are Republicans. The men said they came up with this law as a way of addressing the very contentious abortion debates that have come up in recent years, as “pro-life” people try to convince the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Mr. Brammer confirmed that he hoped this bill would be sort of a “pro-life” measure, although he didn’t intend it to be about abortion, per se. It’s more that he recognizes that pregnant people are in a “really tough spot, making a really tough decision.” In other words, he acknowledges that many women decide to terminate their pregnancies because of the high cost of being pregnant and giving birth. Personally, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Mr. Brammer acknowledges that simple fact. It’s true– fathers’ names aren’t the ones on the medical bills when it comes to pregnancy, and since they are responsible for making women pregnant, theoretically, they should be paying.

On the surface, this new law, which may be the nation’s first stand-alone law to mandate prenatal child support, sounds like a good thing. In fact, given the culture of Utah, I can see why prenatal child support has now been made a state law. Utah is a state full of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and Mormons are famously pro-marriage and family– as long as the marriage and family involves a man and a woman… or women, as they case may be. Utah is historically not so tough on polygamist families. However, once I started thinking about the law, I realized that it could cause some problems. And then I looked at the comment section, and sure enough, I saw how this new law could end up complicating matters for a lot of women. The first point made in the story, in fact, illustrates that the new law doesn’t directly assist pregnant women and could tie them to abusive partners.

In Utah, a person who is considering having an abortion must wait 72 hours and receive “counseling”. The counseling includes information that is designed to discourage abortion, rather than allowing pregnant people to simply hear the facts about the procedure and determine the right course of action for themselves. Supposedly, if the woman also has some help paying the bills, that might also convince her to have the baby instead of terminating the pregnancy. That is probably true in some cases, although it doesn’t address the fact that some women just plain don’t want to be pregnant or go through childbirth, particularly if the baby is the product of a tryst with someone she doesn’t know or care about. While adoption is still an option for people who don’t wish to parent their offspring, a lot of pregnant people decide not to choose adoption. They have some good reasons for not choosing that path, too. Frankly, if I were pregnant and didn’t want a baby, I would probably not choose adoption over abortion. But I have always wanted to have kids and didn’t get the chance.

Looking at the comment section, I saw many men opining that thanks to this law, men might FINALLY have a say in forcing women to birth babies when they don’t wish to be pregnant. After all, if he’s paying his fair share, shouldn’t he be able to dictate that the woman stay pregnant? Personally, I don’t think so. It’s still her body that is being used as a vessel. It’s still her health on the line. It’s her kidneys and bladder being danced upon in the middle of the night, and her nether regions that will be ripped apart as the baby passes through the birth canal… and it’s her blood pressure that might rise to unhealthy levels that could lead to a stroke and permanent disability or even death. Financial support from fathers is a very good and necessary thing for pregnant people, but it’s still not an equalizer of the situation at hand when it comes to making babies.

The bill would also require the paternity to be confirmed. There are situations in which the paternity can’t be confirmed, or perhaps the pregnant person does not wish to identify the father. In those situations, the mother would presumably still be paying her own bills. Although I know that there are initiatives that exist that encourage mothers to identify the fathers of their babies– mainly so that the government can go after deadbeat fathers. I was once interviewed for a job that would have had me encouraging new mothers to name the fathers of their babies if they hadn’t already. It wasn’t about involving dads, though. It was mainly about money, and preventing mothers from using welfare or other social safety nets.

If you’ve followed my story, you know that I’m very much in favor of father’s rights, once the babies are born. Even if the mother thinks the father is a total shithead, I think the father should have rights. After all, in most situations, the women chose the fathers of their children when they consented to having sex with them. And before anyone jumps my shit, let me reiterate that I also know that there are exceptions. In fact, the exceptions are one reason why I strongly believe in a person’s right to have an abortion. However, if the baby is born, and there is a father, and he wants to be in the baby’s life, I think it should be allowed and encouraged. If fathers had stronger rights when Bill’s kids were young and Bill could have feasibly gotten custody of his daughters, maybe they wouldn’t have gone through all they did. And I write that knowing that Bill also chose a poor mother for his daughters.

However, I don’t think the time leading up to parenthood is the same for males and females. Men do their part at the time of conception. So many of them do choose to walk away from their responsibilities, and it seems that a lot of them either never think twice about it or don’t ever know the difference because they’re never told about the pregnancy. Either way, once they’ve fertilized the egg, their path to parenthood involves waiting and, if they’re a decent sort or the relationship is amicable, supporting the woman through the pregnancy. Women, on the other hand, have to deal with the physical, emotional, mental, and hormonal effects of being pregnant. Some of it, I’ve heard, is pretty amazing and interesting. A lot of it is unpleasant or even dangerous. All of it is potentially very expensive.

Anyway… it wouldn’t be one of my blog posts without a few reactions from the peanut gallery. Here are some of the unedited comments that made me laugh, scratch my head, or feel genuine concern for the people of Utah who will be testing this new law. As you can see, reactions ran the gamut. Some people, whose comments I didn’t include, were aghast because they live in countries where this isn’t an issue because healthcare is a fundamental right, rather than an overpriced privilege.

Agreed, however this is more about Mormons and polygamy than it is about a cultural problem with men taking paternal responsibility for creating children. It’s Utah. (probably)

When I was pregnant in the 80’s I was told that the most dangerous time in a women’s life was when she was pregnant. This just makes it more dangerous to be a woman. (this could be true, too… there will be some men that won’t pay and will think murder is a better solution)

That’s a start. The impregnator should also pay all the funeral expenses, if the pregnant woman dies from complications caused by the pregnancy. The impregnator should also be assessed a portion of the funds necessary to care for any underage children the pregnant woman might have as a result of other impregnators, since she’s no longer alive to contribute her share of support for those children.

Story cut out on me but that’s what I’m talking about. And don’t stop with pregnancy bills. Get some hard and fast bills on the floor to make sure these fathers are paying child support. Real child support; not 5.25/wk you (I, anyway) see these moms receiving. Of course, women are more susceptible to being murdered by an alleged love one during pregnancy than any other time. Maybe we need to rethink that whole mandatory vasectomy thing. Do it at age 15 – when they’re mature enough, and wish to start a family, reverse it. After all, a male can impregnate multiple women a day if he were so inclined whereas a woman if going to produce 1 child in 40 weeks. (side note– not all vasectomies are reversible. I know this from Bill’s experience. I would NEVER support mandatory vasectomies, for the same reason I support a woman’s right to have an abortion. No one should have a say over another person’s bodily autonomy.)

Utah is creative in its efforts to allow men to control women’s reproduction.

I have a strong feeling were going to be seeing a lot of fathers move out of Utah and make it a strictly women only state.

They should make this retroactive. It would bankrupt the LDS Church.

Great, as long as the putative father has the right to demand an abortion. (make up your minds, guys…)

But they don’t get any say about abortion.

So are they having a voice on abortion or not ? (Why is this so important?)

Good….now it paves the way for father’s to have a say in abortion too.

Nice. Can fathers block abortions now? Accountability is a two way street. (not in cases of rape or incest, you cave dwelling twit.)

Great, but also should have concent before his baby is murdered as well.

They should be able to veto abortion decisions then. Their money their choice. (This comment got a shitload of replies. Why do so many people seem to think that an investment of money trumps everything? This guy seems to think that paying money for pregnancy and pre-natal support is akin to paying a prostitute.)

So the father has to pay half the medical bills (I agree because he helped make that baby) but the father has no say if the mother wants to commit murder and have an abortion? (ABORTION ISN’T MURDER!)

If guys have no say in preventing an abortion, then they shouldn’t be forced to pay pre baby costs. (They DO have a say. Don’t have sex with a woman with whom you don’t wish to make babies.)

And just like that – the words “it doesn’t feel as good with a condom” were never said in Utah ever again… (bwahahaahaa!)

This is what happens when you let men set the “birthing” agenda. Next thing you know, we’ll be requiring DNA testing of every fetus to determine the father. How long is that gonna take, who’s gonna pay for it and what if a woman refuses to name the father, or the man she names refuses to provide a sample? Too ridiculous. (I think she’s right.)

First, how do you establish paternity before birth? Second, does this give the presumed father the right to monitor the woman’s pregnancy and behavior? Will he have a say in the birth plan? Is he allowed to attend medical appointments? Will he be there for the birth? Or does he just get to foot the bill with the mother? What if the mother doesn’t desire or need his assistance? This could go south really quickly. (Yep… this was my thought, too.)

As long as the mother and fetus can be on my family insurance during the pregnancy then I don’t have a problem with it. The problem is that if I’m not married to the woman, how can she be on my insurance? (this guy is clearly NOT a mental giant… dude, maybe you shouldn’t be having sex with people to whom you aren’t married, if her not being on your “family insurance” is a concern? In fairness to him, he did come back and clarify, showing that he’s not really as dumb as that comment seems… Besides, the law indicates that the man must pay half of the woman’s health insurance premium, not put her on his insurance. And with a pregnancy rider, that’s probably gonna be pricey.)

And one guy, whose comment I can no longer find, said he was fine with the new law as long as a woman didn’t “trap” him into being a father. Now– I know for a fact that men CAN be raped, but the odds of a male rape leading to pregnancy are pretty small. I think the bigger issue is convincing men to use condoms and/or not have sex so freely with women they don’t wish to make babies with. I doubt being trapped in fatherhood is a real thing for the vast majority of men, if the man is being responsible.

There were many more comments, but I don’t have all day to share them. Bill was up very late last night, working in the office. We got a late start this morning and I want to practice guitar and do some reading. Anyway, after March’s visit from Aunt Flow, which was a bit irregular, I realize that this is an issue that really won’t affect me at all for much longer… and probably doesn’t affect me now, if I’m honest. It’ll be interesting to see what Utah does with this new legislation and how it changes things in the Beehive State. I’ll be watching for the headlines.

Standard
Bill

Bottoms up…

Thanksgiving approaches this week. Since we’re in Germany, it’s not a huge deal in these parts. Bill is planning to cook Cornish game hens, and I’ll probably make his favorite cake from scratch. We’ll have our usual sides, cranberry sauce, maybe some rolls, and plenty of wine. No raw vegetables will be consumed, though, because on Monday of next week, Bill has to have a medical procedure done. I’m… uh… not really looking forward to it. Let’s just say that Sunday promises to be quite shitty. Being ever the pragmatic, prepared sort, Bill came home last night armed with what’s in today’s picture. He has butt wipes and butt paste, since he’s probably going to be a bit… raw. I hope he won’t require diapers, too.

Since Bill is 55 years old, his healthcare provider suggested that he have his colon scoped. This procedure, known as a colonoscopy, requires that he be sedated. Since he’s going to be under the influence of drugs, I must accompany him and drive him home from Landstuhl. This probably means I’m finally going to try driving our new Volvo, since that car is more comfortable than my 2009 Mini Cooper convertible is.

We bought the car a few months ago. It’s a 2020 model, and we got it straight from the factory in Sweden. Bill says it practically drives itself. It has all kinds of fancy gadgets and tools designed to make driving safer and more pleasant, including a very annoying GPS system that turns down my music to repeatedly tell us where to go. I actually hate driving with the GPS, even though I know it’s a handy device. I find it hard to have conversations or enjoy music with that carping female computer voice booming over everything. But since it’s Bill’s car and I’ve never driven it before, I guess I’ll defer to the nagging old bitch. At least the voice in the Volvo’s GPS doesn’t sound like it belongs to a two pack a day smoker, like one of our old GPSes did. By the way, Bill would happily let me drive the Volvo if I wanted to. I don’t really enjoy driving that much, though, so I let him do it when he’s not bombed out of his mind on mind altering drugs.

We’re taking Arran to the Hunde Pension Saturday, then on Sunday, we’ll go to Landstuhl. Bill will fill out forms at the hospital, then we’ll check into a hotel, where at 6:00pm, he’ll drink half of a bottle of GoLYTELY. This is a brand name for a polyethylene glycol electrolyte solution, which is a laxative. Bill will then shit his brains out until 3:00am, at which he has to drink the other half of the bottle. I expect we won’t be getting much sleep. Bill also isn’t allowed to eat solid foods the day before the procedure, and has to adhere to a special diet this week. No raw veggies, no nuts, no seeds, no foods with red dyes, and I forget what else he has to avoid. He can only have clear broths on Sunday, and booze is out of the question.

Monday morning, they’ll sedate him. I’ll sit in the waiting room while they root around in his colon, looking for any signs of trouble. Then, while he’s mildly coherent, they’ll tell him what they saw in there. After that, I’ll drive us back to Wiesbaden and hope we don’t have an accident. Really, I’m an excellent driver, but I don’t like driving very much, especially in Germany. The Volvo has so many gadgets in it that it’ll be strange for me. It has an automatic transmission, and I don’t even have to use a key… I just have to have it on me or in the car. That will be weird.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to be Bill’s chauffeur. Back in 2004, Bill very kindly had his vasectomy reversed so we might be able to have a baby. We got up in the wee hours of the morning at our house in Fort Belvoir, Virginia, and drove to Fort Meade to what used to be a full scale Army hospital. It’s now a health clinic with a same day surgery center. We happened to luck into the schedule with the vasectomy reversal, since the surgeon had just come in from downrange in Iraq. Military surgeons have to keep up their skills, so they do certain elective procedures for servicemembers, free of charge.

Bill had the surgery and it went very well. It was technically successful, and according to the test he took the following month, he was firing live ammunition– 90 million sperm, to be exact. Alas, I didn’t get pregnant, but maybe that was for the best. We didn’t have the money or time to pursue other methods of getting me pregnant, so that was that. Anyway, Bill had decided to have the surgery as a means of taking back a bad decision he’d made under pressure from his ex wife. She had convinced him to get “snipped”, complaining that pregnancy was “hard” on her. She had a son and their two daughters and convinced Bill that she was “done”. So he went under the knife for her.

A few years later, they got divorced. Two years after that, she had remarried and was pregnant again. She had another baby a few years after that, bringing her grand total to five. Meanwhile, I’m a mom to rescue dogs. One reason why I get so pissed off about people who promote vasectomies as if they’re simply reversed is because I have seen firsthand that they aren’t. Vasectomy reversals are not a joke, and they are a hell of a lot more expensive and involved than vasectomies are. And they don’t always work, either. People who have vasectomies should consider them permanent. It’s true that a lot of men can regain their fertility after getting a reversal, but it’s definitely not a given. I’m for people using less permanent birth control methods unless they are absolutely certain they are done having kids.

It used to upset me that I wasn’t destined to be a mother, but now I think it was probably a blessing that I missed out on having children… even as I wonder what kind of a child Bill and I would have had together. He or she probably would have had blue eyes, a short stature, and a propensity for swearing. Or maybe not… maybe he or she would have been genteel, polite, studious, and endlessly caring, like Bill is. He or she probably would have been a good writer and perhaps might have been a good singer or musician… or, more likely, a fine artist, since we both have artists in our families. Eh, well, we’ll never know. At least Bill’s daughter is sharing her kids with Bill, so he can be a grandpa.

One thing I do remember about that surgery was that Bill was asking the surgeon all kinds of questions. The surgeon kind of laughed and told me that he wouldn’t remember asking the questions– no one ever does. Sure enough, he didn’t… and I remember bundling him into my 1997 Toyota Corolla and driving us home, where he was laid up for two weeks to recover. We were lucky his bosses were so understanding, especially when he had to beg off of a PT test because he had a “profile” (meaning he had a health issue that prevented him from taking PT tests). The sergeant who administered the test winced when Bill said, “Ain’t gonna be there, Sergeant Timms, I gotta go get my junk hooked up.”

When he came back to work, his buddies had decorated his office with tons of cut out paper sperm, which he was still finding months later. They’d put them all over the place… in his desk, between pages of books, under his computer… it was hilarious!

If someone at his current job decorates his office with shit, I will probably shit a brick myself. But I don’t think any of his current pals are that irreverent. Besides, he works for a hoity toity contractor now, so it probably wouldn’t be kosher. Maybe I’ll decorate the house, instead… hang a log on the tree or something. I’m sure Arran will provide the best, or maybe I should stock up on brown construction paper and glitter.

Nah… it’s more fun to write shitty blog posts. Stay tuned for more that stink. I’m here all week.

Standard