Archive for the '[Life Trajectories]' category

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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Institutional pride

Sep 30 2014 Published by under [Et Al], [Life Trajectories]

Last night I asked a question on twitter about whether PIs felt some specific allegiance to their institution and I got some interesting responses. My thought was simply that many of us may feel ties to our department or even one's specific college, but I was trying to get at what it takes to extend that feeling to the institution as a whole?

Does it matter if you're at a university, national lab, medical center, museum or other?

Does it have to do with whether you did your undergraduate or grad degree there?

Do those working at elite universities take more pride in their affiliation, and thus feel an allegiance to their place of employment?

In my particular case, I see the university as the overall body that allows me to do what I like to do, but I don't feel any particular need to fly it's colors or celebrate the institution. I like our geographic area. I DO have strong feelings about my department, our majors and faculty. I do feel a strong tie to our college administration, who have been exceptionally supportive. As a result I do the general PR stuff that we are asked to do for student recruitment, etc. Outside of that?

But I certainly see examples out there of faculty who embrace the university in a broader way, such as @LSU_FISH. So I'm curious in what circumstances do people buy into the institution, as an entity?

29 responses so far

Here's your trophy for attending kindergarten graduation!

Jun 06 2014 Published by under [Et Al], [Life Trajectories]

Last night I had the following conversation:

"Maybe we can take the girls out for dinner after the last day of Kindergarten for the Wee One."

"We'll have to eat early. Graduation is at 5:30."

"Why would we go to graduation? We don't know any of the kids in the oldest grade at the school."

"No, kindergarten graduation is at 5:30 on the last day."

"Kindergarten what?"

"Every grade has a graduation ceremony."


Seriously folks, is there anything more ridiculous than a graduation ceremony for Every. Damn. Grade? What could possibly be the point? Is anyone out there going "Well, Joey was really struggling with shapes this year, but we're so happy he was able to pull it up so he could walk across that stage with the rest of the kindergarten!"

You want to graduate high school? Great! Let's throw a damn party. College? Sure! I might even get you present! But Kindergarten graduation? Second grade? WHY? Isn't that called "cleaning out your locker for the summer? Isn't that all the reward a kid at that age needs?

And it's the culmination of two things here: The constant drum beat of one event or the other that has families stretched in every direction AND the apparent societal need to recognize every minor youth step with a piece of paper, plaque or trophy. My kids are 2 and 6 and already have a collection of awards and trophies the Lebron James would be impressed by.

I am all for raising confident kids. I want nothing more than for my kids to grow up sure of themselves with the feeling they can accomplish anything. But will they be able to separate real accomplishments from just showing up? I don't know, but here's a trophy for reading this far.

9 responses so far

"Look Dad, I drew you a dolphin!"

Jan 31 2014 Published by under [Life Trajectories]

Inherently, even kids know that dolphins are dicks.


5 responses so far

Graphic Fridays: What you know about parenting

Jan 24 2014 Published by under [Life Trajectories]


8 responses so far

The transition cloud

Sep 18 2013 Published by under [Et Al], [Life Trajectories]

Kindergarten. Who knew what giant hot mess it would make everything?

Change is often tough on kids and affects some more than others. Even the anticipation of change can set off some pretty difficult behaviors. This is what we have been facing for about 3 months now, since we made the decision to transition our older daughter out of the preschool/kindergarten program she was in, to a K-5 school not far from campus. It was a good decision - the right one - but we've been paying for it ever since like a gambling addict pays their loan shark. Suffice to say, it's been a painful transition.

I don't know if it's the age, the school switch or some magical pu-pu platter of child angst, but it's a challenge just to keep the daily tantrum total in the single digits. And bed time? Holy fuck, bed time. I would worry that our neighbors think we run some sort of insane asylum/slaughter house combo if they didn't have kids in roughly the same age bracket.

It's exhausting. To keep your composure while your child yells at you, hitting and screaming. To not give in to the urge to just lock the kid in their room and go drive for an hour. To not question whether you're a terrible parent raising a future rage-junkie. And the worst part of it all is that it is causing me to dread spending time with her - and that kills me to admit. I never imagined having to force myself to spend time with my own 5yo.

And yes, we've tried what you're going to suggest. One-on-one time, sports, time outs, hugs, etc., etc. My guess is that time is the only thing that is going to work. I'm sure there will be a time when we look back with perspective and think this was no big deal, but right now it's the black cloud that hangs over ever breakfast, every dinner prep, every bath time and every bed time. While tolerable for a while, eventually it's like living in 1980s Elizabeth, NJ.

17 responses so far

You both have to do 75% #pubscience #Scimom

If you watch only 10 minutes of the video on science parenting from last night's #pubscience, check out the ~30-40min mark. Two important points are made during that span:

1) Babyattachmode makes the under appreciated point about academic career pairs and priority. She talks about how she and her husband got their PhDs around the same time, but because she took time off to have a child, his CV is now stronger. The result of that is that she has essentially become the "trailing spouse" in their job search.

2) Michael Tomasson made one of the more insightful comments about effort. He relayed his experience in which he found that the idea that both parents can shoulder 50% of the load and meet in the middle, is false. Rather, it takes both parents feeling like they are doing 75% for things to come together in anything resembling equal effort. Why 75%? Because there's significant non-overlap between each person's priorities and doing 50% of what you see as 100% leaves significant gaps.

I think both these are worth considering when we talk about dual career pairs, fairness and how kids fit into the mix.

18 responses so far

Graphic Fridays: Parental stress

Jul 19 2013 Published by under [Life Trajectories]

Inspired by true events.

6 responses so far

Donors Choose end of the year challenge

For a couple of years the science blogging community has been working with Donors Choose to fund raise for schools around the country. These projects include a wide range of basic to specialized equipment that teachers need to improve the classroom experience for their students. Donors Choose has arranged to double the contributions (up to $100 per donation) of donors to the Scientopia giving page between now and June 7th, up to $25000. All you need to do is enter the promo Match Code "SCIENTOPIA" at check out and you will double your impact!

Let's take advantage of this opportunity! You can either follow the link above or use the Donors Choose banner to the right. Either way, the goal is to get some of these projects funded!

2 responses so far

Words of wisdom

Apr 25 2013 Published by under [Life Trajectories]

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