A year ago today I had a vasectomy. I’d been talking about it off and on over the years, even going as far as attempting to make an appointment on several occasions and having been flatly denied the procedure due to my (young) age and having never procreated. Then plan was to have the surgery before turning 40, but, as with most things I was a little late on it.
Once I returned to the land of the Insured it was on the top of the list of things to do with my federally mandated health coverage, and with that in mind I contacted a local Urology clinic and asked to make an appointment for consultation with Dr. Amster.
I’m not sure they knew what to make of me; most of the patients in the waiting room were either older gentlemen with UT problems or frumpy husbands who, after several children, were reluctantly going for vasectomy. No one was making eye contact with each other; there was no small talk or conversation and everyone had a pronounced look of dread on their face- save for me. I was giddily texting my wife and playing Disney video games in the lobby when my name was called.
The consult was pretty quick; Dr. Amster started with making sure I was 100% committed to never breeding (I think I convinced her rather quickly, referring to children as ‘little bastards’ and calling myself an anti-natalist) and then performing the physical examination. She picked up right away that I had previous trauma to my scrotum/testicles, though I sheepishly told her the damage was from a bike accident instead of total transparency; this caused some concern that there may have been scar tissue that would make the vasectomy go from a simple walk-in procedure to a more labor intensive surgery. And with that- my appointment was scheduled for 07.20.2016.
When the big day came, Julia insisted on taking the day off and supporting me. It was nice having her there and our banter seemed to charm the Doctor, who while being a total professional also matched our enthusiasm for taking control of my fertility and the surreality of what we were doing. We asked before going in if she’d mind photos being taken during the procedure- not only did she not mind, but she’d stop and suggest perfect photo opportunities to make sure that the pictures we did get would be dynamic and memorable.
The procedure itself took no time at all; I was fully awake and had a great time interacting with the operation. The pain was minimal and I found myself walking 10 or so blocks after we left the clinic with no discomfort. Healing was quick and scarring almost nonexistent (we used the ‘bladeless’ method) and I couldn’t have asked for a better experience.
There was never a point in my life where I’d considered having children and the same is true for my wife, so being able to permanently remove the possibility (for a grand total of $120, plus the price of a bag of frozen silicone ‘peas’) was an amazing weight off my shoulders. Plus I got to play with my vas deferens… all in all totally worth it.
A few years ago I was asked to join in the annual Philadelphia AIDS Walk. I did what I always did- gave some money so I wouldn’t have to wake up at 6am on a Sunday morning and had a few friends donate as well. My conscience was clear. No need to trouble myself, right? I still did my part…
This year, I realize that fundraising is great, but so is getting out there in person, waking up at 6am (after working until 3am) and running a 5k and being thankful that I’ve got my health when so many people in the Philadelphia area (and beyond) can’t say the same. With that in mind, I’ve put together TEAM OCCULT VIBRATIONS and am asking my friends to either donate to my team or JOIN IT! We’ll have some fun, make some memories, and raise much needed funds for people in our area affected by HIV/AIDS. I’m going to be guilting the hell out of you, friends and family, so get used to harassment! My runner page is here: http://www.aidswalkphilly.org/profile/detail/204162
Please consider giving what you can; every little bit helps and there are going to be premiums for donations like exclusive Occult Vibrations shirts, me coming to your house and cooking you dinner and more!
The last few days have been perfect. Nice little date day with Julia; we went and saw Joshua Oppenheimer’s unparalleled documentary THE ACT OF KILLING which instantly shot to the #1 spot in my 2013 Films list. So surreal and visceral and… I’d never seen anything like it. It’s going to get a lot of comparison to Barbet Schroeder’s GENERAL IDI AMIN DADA but I think it stands on it’s own as something wholly unique. Haunting really; beautiful but ultimately disturbing. If it’s playing in your area it’s worth a theatrical viewing.
We decided to wash away the utter headtrip of the movie with some spicy dinner from Han Dynasty (you have to respect a restaurant named HANDY NASTY) and a nice relaxing trip to the park where we talked, laughed, got oogled by tourists and made out like teenagers. Every day better than the last.
Summer Vacation 2013.
The plan this year was to skip APP, which has almost become a given (and as such, not really a vacation) and instead attend the 2013 San Diego Comic Con. Ultimately I chose to do both and with APP behind me- fun though it was- I’m now just over 24 hours away from boarding a plane to California for what’s turned into the longest sequential-days vacation I’ve had since 2000.
It’s going to be tough; I’m a horrible planner so there is a lot of holes in my itinerary that I’ve yet to fill like transportation routes/schedules, it’s going to be difficult to be away from Julia and Bailey for that long and my roommate is unexpectedly moving out this week with only a few days notice so I know that I’ll have to start the ‘new roommate chaos’ when I return, but despite it all I’m geeked as hell about the trip and counting the minutes till it’s time to start it. I’ve technically been on vacation since Tuesday, taking it easy, eating water ice after a long, hot bike ride and generally being a bum. Once I get to the airport tomorrow the real fun will start.
Since I’ve been so lax on planning everything trip related, I decided to jump the gun and get my bags packed early. So despite not really knowing what’s going on for most of my trip I’m at least 100% certain to be doing it with clean socks, enough Emergen-C to stave off air travel related sickness and my traditional good luck bag of beef jerky.
I’m trying to decide if I’m going to take it easy today, bum around, have a hot diggity date with Erin and Julia and keep up with the lazy thing, or if I should go get a set in at the gym. I’ll be out of routine for almost a week so I should probably commit to a 5k at the very least. Meh. Decisions are the cancer of vacation.
Photo: Cool Down. Swedish Fish Water Ice
I had intended to write a big wordy blog update on my time at the APP conference this year, both for SD and for ModBlog but you know what they say about good intentions.
APP this year was a trial; probably one of the best conferences I’ve attended but at the price of a lot of negativity that had nothing to do with the event itself. The trip started with having my luggage left in the rain by the airline’s baggage handlers (flooding the contents, ruining items and making me have to do my washing/drying in my hotel bathroom) and coming down with a wicked summer cold making me sleep more than I’m used to, missing a lot of my already limited socializing time.
So there I was in Vegas, surrounded by friends and loved ones and I’m sick as a dog with a suitcase full of soaking wet clothes. Kind of hard to get into the vacation groove. But ultimately I still managed to get up at 6:45am the next day to do a 2mile jog with Stephen and the rest of our assembled running club. As the days went on that became more difficult with the last day of jogging almost unbearable due to the run down condition of my immune system. I really need to remember that it’s ok to take a day off sometimes.
I still managed to dress up and deliver a eulogy to my friend Shannon. I still managed dinner with Denim Dan, a trip to the desert for a really amazing suspension with Neeko and Orb, and a little bit of socializing at the bar with so many rad people that it would be irresponsible to name them for fear of leaving someone out. I even managed to get a ‘bro-tat’ with my old friend Ron; we got back almost 19 years and this was a long time coming. Our choice of design… a skull with a party hat.. seemed to be silly at first but the more I read my facebook feed and see RIP messages as our friends are leaving us.. it’s a great memento mori. Ron’s wife Nakota did the honors for us and that’s a story of it’s own. Maybe I’ll share it one day.
Throughout it all I was consciously aware of missing Julia. Strange. I think I mentioned this before, but APP used to be a vacation away from my partners; a chance to pretend I was single for a week, debauch, do bad things that I’d forget to tell them about and then come home refreshed… this year it was a chance to tell my dearest friends about this amazing woman who’s come into my life. Show some pictures. Tell the funny story about accidentally confessing we were in love. I decided that the next trip I booked would include her; so when I found that I had enough frequent flier points for a Halloween adventure (Austin, Tx) I decided to invite her along. Big step for me. Trips with girlfriends were always something I begrudgingly did; to invite J along… kinda rad.
All things told I had more fun this year at APP than in previous years despite having so much to deal with. Paul King’s class “The Grieving Body: Does Body Modification Injure or Heal the Psyche?” was one of his best, which is saying a lot. APP attendees this year were a lot more sedate; our jogging club, people promising to stay sober and generally a more grown up vibe, which was great considering the amount of first timers. Leaving the city and spending the morning in the desert (on no sleep) to watch a friend suspend, Chipotle with Greg… It’s hard to condense a week of really amazing times into a short blog, so I won’t try.
Thanks to everyone who made my trip the much needed vacation that it was.
Photos: Desert and bro-tats (inset)