Monday, July 3, 2017

A Vasectomy Story Part 2

Having survived the procedure, my next task was to survive the billing department. As I was urged by the service provider to pre-pay for my procedure, I was somewhat taken aback when I received a separate invoice for an “office visit” the day of my vasectomy. Dismissing this as an easily resolved discrepancy, I placed a call to my account representative and we had the following conversation:

Me – Yes, I had a vasectomy a few weeks ago and I pre-paid for the procedure but I just received a bill from you related to the procedure. 
Them – You pre-paid for the cost of the procedure, but not the office visit occurring during the procedure. 
Me – But it was an in-office procedure, by its very nature it wasn’t going to occur anywhere else but the office. So why wasn’t my presence in the office included in the cost of the procedure? 
Them – Again, because you were in the office for the procedure you were charged for an office visit. You only prepaid for the procedure itself. 
Me – Was there an option to have the procedure in the parking garage or at an Arby’s? 
Them – Of course not sir....
Me – So there was never a scenario whereby the aforementioned office visit wouldn’t be part of the cost of the procedure? 
Them – All I can tell you is that the office visit was not included in the pre-payment estimate.
I begrudgingly paid for the office visit and prepared to make my “deposit.” On the day of the procedure, I had been given a small green bag and two sample cups. I was told to just drop off my sample at the front desk and make sure it was recent and “still warm.” They assured me that they would be in touch once the results were in.

So, on the day of the deposit, I searched all over for the green bag but I could not find it. We had some plastic Wal-Mart shopping bags, but somehow that seemed creepier than just openly brandishing the sample cup. Instead, I decided to place the cup in the front pocket of my khakis. This decision was based on the idea that a “pocket carry” would provide the privacy I wanted while still keeping everything warm per my instructions.

Finally arriving at the front desk, I deftly removed the cup from my pocket and leaned toward the receptionist as I whispered, “I just need to drop off a sample.” I doubt if her reaction would have been any different had I actually placed my genitals on the counter and informed her that they needed to see a doctor. She recoiled dramatically and declared that she “wasn’t touching that” which immediately drew the attention of the waiting room.

Sheepishly, I informed her that I had been told to just drop the sample off at the front desk. While still maintaining her defensive posture, she invited me to “take it back to the lab myself” if I so desired. At this point, the clerk to her left (who had been valiantly pretending to be engrossed in a billing statement) broke and began snickering.

Dejected, I took my cup and walked back to the lab. Much to my chagrin, there wasn’t anyone there. I stepped back into the hall to make eye-contact with the wary receptionist and indicated that the lab was empty. She shrugged her shoulders and suggested that I “leave it on the counter” as if I was returned the keys to a rental car. I picked a spot next to a warm vial of urine and left the cup. Walking back out, I half-jokingly requested a receipt.

In hindsight, I realize that it is disconcerting to be handed the secretions of a complete stranger. However, when one works in a urology clinic these scenarios cannot be completely ruled out as part of one’s daily responsibilities. Had the same transaction taken place at the customer service desk at Hobby Lobby, her reaction would have been justified. Weeks later I would receive a separate bill for testing the sample. I was beginning to suspect that a “stirrup-rental fee” was pending with my insurance.

Then, the letter that I had been waiting for finally arrived. The doctor informed me that my sample had a negative analysis. This was immediately followed by the caveat that “no procedure is 100% effective” and the failure rate is “1 in 2500.” I was hoping for a “Certificate of Sterility” and a power-ring, but apparently their office does not do that sort of thing.

That number seemed rather low (I was hoping for something in the same ballpark as being struck by lightning at an indoor poetry slam in rural Mississippi) but until I had something to compare it to I would reserve judgement. It turns out that the “failure rate of a successful vasectomy” (I take issue with the phrasing) is nestled between a PGA golfer getting a hole-in-one and being born with a third nipple.

As a side note, the odds of a member of the general population choking to death is around 1 in 4,000. I am fairly certain that my odds of meeting my demise in this manner would increase dramatically if my wife were to ever to utter the words “I am pregnant” during a future meal. 

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