Archive for: November, 2014

Apparently it's World Vasectomy Day!

Nov 07 2014 Published by under [Life Trajectories]

Apparently it's World Vasectomy Day, so I thought I would dust this off from a few years ago. Besides being my entre onto twitter (I had no idea what I was doing), this was an excellent decision for many reasons. Dudes, consider this as a great form of birth control and an incredibly easy and straight forward operation.

As should be clear by now, I was a bit busy yesterday afternoon having my vas deferens cut and cauterized. In an attempt to use my experience as a way to educate folks about the experience, I live tweeted the whole process, but since twitter is a fleeting medium, I thought I should summarize here as well.

Twitter reads from the bottom up in the images below, except in the "conversations" that read top down. Hey, I'm just the messenger.

My first appointment was about two weeks ago. The doctor briefly described the procedure and how he does it. I had specifically opted for the "no scalpel vasectomy" because the incision is small and recovery is supposed to be less. He told me that he had been doing the procedure for 16 years, which seemed like a decent amount of time to me. Then he told me to shave before my next appointment. After reading Abel's description of a dry shave, I was already ahead of the curve on this one. Having experienced the aftermath of the disposable razor quick shave after my tattoos, I knew that was not going to be a good thing.

But this is not an area I commonly shave and I was a bit worried about irritation. I didn't need razor burn to compound my post-op issues, so I thought about alternatives. CoR suggested waxing, but hell no. I decided to try Nair.

Having solved that problem, I was ready.

One thing I hate is being late. Seriously, I can't do it. The flip side to that, however, is that I often arrive too early for things. This happened yesterday when I got to the office 30 minutes before my appointment. Maybe not the best move when you're a little anxious about something.

I got called in about 5 minutes late and brought to the room, where I was unceremoniously given a paper sheet and told to undress. I assumed that the sheet was for covering me, but checked with the nurse to make sure. I didn't want her to come back in and be horrified that I was on a table covered by a glorified napkin when her intention was something entirely different. My assumption was correct.

With the doctor's blessing (although he said it was a first), I kept my phone with me for the procedure. The sheet was pulled aside and the nurse went to work on my member with a liberal dose of betadine. They slapped a grounding pad on my side for the cauterizing and off we went.

And then shit got real. Much like any procedure that is routine for the doctor, but not for the patient, it seemed like they got to work in a hurry. With the no scalpel procedure, they use an anesthetic "gun" instead of a needle for the local, which resembles an oversized stainless steel pen. The nurse fired it once so I knew what it would sound like and the noise was like a small cap gun. Braced for that, I was ready. The doctor said it would feel like being snapped with a rubber band, and that was basically the feeling.

After about 6 snaps on either side the doctor went to work, starting on the left. It was a very odd feeling, with some pulling that extended a bit up into my lower abdomen, but it wasn't painful. He finished up the left in a couple of minutes and then broke out the cauterizer.

Not even 4 minutes in and half done. No pain to this point either. In fact, there was very little pain throughout, even post-op. "Discomfort" is about the worst of it. Except...

At some point during the pulling and cutting on the right side they hit a patch that was not so numb. I think when my whole body jerked the doctor figured that out. However, I will say that it was more surprise and the reaction to "that sharp poke" I was nervously anticipating than actual pain. All additional local (and there was certainly some needed) was done by needle, but I never felt that at all. Then, back to work.

And as quickly as it started, it was over.

Laying on the tray were two 1cm section of vas, which the nurse placed in a jar for whatever reason. That might have been the strangest moment. I was given a bag with instructions and two "sample cups" and told to get dressed again. I did so gingerly, but only because I was concerned about pain, not because I was in any.

I was given a script for Oxy and an antibiotic, but haven't taken either. I settled on the couch with some ice and had a couple of beers, but that was it. I was getting around fine last night and even did the early morning feeding of the baby at 5:00am. After a shower and a bit more ice this morning I didn't see any reason not to go to work. Drop the Wee One off at daycare this morning and have been at my desk without incident.

The whole thing took about ten minutes. Yeah, it's a little nerve wracking and there is some discomfort, but there was almost no pain and I don't see any sign of complications at this point, nearly 24h post-op. I have no regrets and I would recommend the procedure to any guy thinking about it. I do not consider myself a tough guy by any stretch and the vasectomy was very straight-forward and easy.

I'm glad it's done, but I am more happy that we no longer (in a month or two) have to worry about an accidental pregnancy. I'm happy to have my wife get off The Pill, which she has taken for about half her life. I'm excited that I could do this for us and I encourage anyone who knows they are not going to have another child to sack up and get this done.

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Trainees as easy open access cannon fodder

Nov 04 2014 Published by under [Education&Careers]

Ladies and gentlemen, I have nothing against Open Access publishing. In fact, I take steps to ensure all my lab's publications are available to anyone, either in published or preprint form. I am happy to get our science out to as many people as possible and agree that open science is the way forward.

So why am I writing a post with a title like the one above? Because there's a difference between supporting open access and supporting OA journals that have little standing in the field.

Specifically, I'm talking about journals like PeerJ. I got into an argument on twitter this evening when someone with a tenure track job suggested that another person who is on the market publish there. The argument was rapid turn around, but the reality is that speed is not the issue if the trade-off is a publication that will not be counted.

Like it or not (and I don't), trainees are not in a position to dictate the terms in which they will be assessed. Hiring committees are unknown commodities and they almost certainly have a mix of people with different expectations on them. What I can promise you is that a publication in any unknown journal is barely going to register with the majority of hiring committees, as we currently stand.

Now, we can argue all night whether this is just or fair or right, or whateverthefuck, but it. is. reality. Feel free to test that reality all you want, but have a back-up plan. Unless you happen to be applying to a place that happens to be severely pro-OA and has a majority of people on the committee who feel that way, you'll need it.

And here's where the rubber hits the road: Feel free to be the campion of OA in your career. That's on you. But do not require that of others who have yet to attain the position you inhabit. There are labs in this world that can get away with publishing exclusively in OA journals that are not considered "high impact" and still place their trainees in TT positions. They do so on the reputation of the PI. But those labs are currently few and far between. Would it be great if that were not the case? Sure, but we live in today.

Again, we can harp on the ideals and what should be practice, but to ask trainees to suffer the consequences of your revolution is a mind-numbingly arrogant thing to do. They should not be held accountable for your religion.

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Curious about what your NSF PO is doing right now?

Nov 04 2014 Published by under [Education&Careers]

Many of you are waiting to hear back from NSF right now. Full proposal panels in DEB and IOS have met and your fate is sealed... though you don't know what it is yet.

IOS Program Officer, Michelle Elekonich, guest blogged here two years ago and in Part 3, gave a run down of the funding process. If you want to know why your PO is making you sweat it out, that may provide some background.

And while you're clicking, Part 1 and Part 2 of Michelle's contributions are good reading as well.

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