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As Long as We Remember...

January 18, 2012

Through the Darkness Again

Tom McLaughlin

I am not exactly the poster child for vasectomy. Two years ago, I went to see a doctor who must have sterilized most of the men, who wanted the procedure, in Frederick County.


He came highly recommended by all of my friends and their relatives. I guess the praise must have come from the fact that they didn’t have any more children after he got done with them. For me, the procedure was a failure, and I now have a wonderful one year old son. And I am 60.


I had planned to have the procedure redone in Borneo where I live now and I went to see the top urologist, British educated, and told him my problem. He informed he had only done four operations.


“This year,” I asked.


“No, in my entire 40 year career,” he replied.


He advised me to return to the states because I had already had one vasectomy and he was unsure on how to proceed.


Here in Malaysia, men do not want anyone waving a scalpel down there. I believe this is a universal emotion that includes those beings on recently discovered planets circling stars in far off galaxies.


Most of the family planning decisions are made firmly by the women. In English, the statement “She went to have her factory shut down” meant no more children. Condom use among one group is frowned upon because men prefer “skin to skin” contact, a rough translation.


I informed my neurologist about my problem and he recommended two young doctors who had taken over the practice from my former doctor. I was hesitant at first, but he was reassuring saying he had scrubbed with both of them and they were very good. Both had just recently graduated from medical school.


I am a big fan of newly minted doctors. They are brimming full of updated medical techniques and knowledge. Besides, one was treating me for a very rare disease and saved me from a crippling life and pain. And probably worse.


The custom here in Borneo is for everyone to see the doctor. The patient, his wife and whoever else from the village wants to tag along, troop in together. My wife Suriani and my son were with me for my first appointment.


The doctor examined me and asked me a series of questions – like why I didn’t want any more children. He then wanted to know if I had sperm. I looked at him quizzically and pointed to my son Dzul who was busy blowing saliva bubbles.


He informed me that I would have to go into the hospital and “get knocked out” for the second procedure. Reluctantly, I agreed wondering why he couldn’t do it again in his office. He replied there was something about the scar tissue from the previous operation.


While lying on the operating table before the surgery, I decided to perform an old joke that was probably chiseled into the pyramids long ago.


“Doctor, I have a question.”


“”Yes,” he replied.


“After this will I be able to play the piano?”


He bit.


“Yes, of course,” he replied.


“Well, I couldn’t play it before,” I said.


The last thing I remember was the nurse pressing the plunger sending me into a deep slumber.


“That’s enough out of him,” she probably thought.


…Life is good…


For a copy of my book send a check for $15 to my daughter Mary McLaughlin Box 512 Malta, Montana 59538. Proceeds benefit orangutan research here in Kuching.



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