• wannabe_dad

[wannabe dad] Brian tells all: surgery day + recovery + emotions


Singing Reba's "Fancy" at our wedding

I'm Brian. I'm the husband, the wannabe dad. Teri asked me if I wanted to write about the surgery and the recovery from the man's perspective. I'm not much of a writer, but I gave it a shot:


Twas the night before surgery, and all through the hotel, not a nerve was settled...


Just kidding. I'm not a poet.


Here are a few things to help you know me better before I get started:

  • My friends call me Bam Bam (or Uncle Bam Bam if you are one of my friends' kids). I recently learned the kids don't even know my real name. 😂

  • I've been in 20 weddings (21 including my own!)

  • I have the voice of an angel (well, maybe not on key, but I do love to sing–especially "Fancy" by the one and only Reba)

  • I am pretty laid back and easy going; I love to joke around and I don't take myself too seriously

August 13–Surgery Day


I wish I could say that I wasn't nervous, that I wasn't scared, that I wasn't worried that something would go wrong with the surgery, that I didn't want to burst out in tears...but if I said that, I'd be starting my relationship with you with a lie.


This was the most frightening thing I've ever been through (and I don't get scared easily). For the record, I am and always have been a macho, masculine, manly man.


It's August 13––surgery day. I've woken up at the a$$ crack of dawn to go tailgating in Iowa City numerous times (go Hawks!), but waking up that early to go across the street from Kinnick Stadium felt different this time––extremely different.


Walking into the hospital, knowing my manhood was about to be sliced open, made me wish I was in better shape cause I just wanted to run away from what was about to happen. But, at the same time, I knew if I didn't go through with this surgery––to see if I could pass down my handsome good looks to my kids––I would regret it for the rest of my life. Insert the little voice in my head telling me to man up and just do it.

I remember going to the pre-op room, rockin' the robe, holding my wife's hand and thinking, "This is about to happen. I'm about to have my first surgery. And it's going to be one of the most painful surgeries I could ever imagine."


It seemed like 10 different people came in to talk to me about this or that––it was all very overwhelming. I even had to sign a paper that would give my wife possession of my sperm if I died on the operating table. Talk about not feeling very reassured.


I gave my beautiful wife a hug and kiss (hoping it wouldn't be our last) and the doc walked me back to the operating room. I remember there were several people in the room, including several college kids (it's a teaching hospital after all).


It seemed like a party was happening and I was the live band. I was the keg in the middle of the room. I was the bonfire everyone gathered around.


Good thing that only lasted about 90 seconds. They put the sleepy juice mask over my face and next thing I know, I'm waking up next to my wife in a recovery room. From there, the story turns sad and the wife has already explained all of that in a previous post, so I'll move on and tell you about the recovery.



I was sent home in a jock strap packed FULL of gauze and was told I had to wear it for the next three to four days. This was to keep things from moving around. Since both my dudes had been cut in half and stitched back up, it was super important they didn't move around too much.


Recovery Day 1

The pain was manageable due to the surgery meds I still had in me. The most pain I felt was riding back home from Iowa City. It was two hours of pure terror riding shotgun with my wife behind the wheel (just kidding). I think it's important to say that I ALWAYS drive everywhere we go. This was the longest I've ever ridden with her in our entire four years of our relationship. She did great though, minus a few bumps. 😂


Recover Days 2-4

Here comes the pain and swelling...I had some good pain pills, but any little movement was horrible. I literally had to lay in bed on my back and not move. Going to the bathroom was probably the worst––just getting out of bed and walking there was more pain than I could tolerate. I kept large ice packs underneath me for some slight relief.


Recovery Day 5

They're free! No more jock strap––but still not much movement out of me. I had to be extra cautious doing routine things like showering, going to the bathroom, walking, sitting. Basically any movement I made, I felt the pain.


The rest of the recovery is as expected––slow and painful. I worked from home for the next couple of weeks, basically due to the incision. Anything other than mesh shorts and my stitches would get caught, so that's all I wore for the entire recovery period.


Like any other surgery scars, my guys are much more sensitive than they were before. My dog, Chubs, is the only one that isn't super cautious around them. He likely just sees this as revenge from when I took him to the vet to get neutered.



The emotional scars are what's most painful these days–185 days after surgery.


Anxiety and depression have never been an issue for me. I was always the funny fat kid, always smiling or making someone laugh. The class clown. The jokester.


I've never been depressed to the point I physically couldn't get off the couch.

I never had issues staying focused.

I never cried in the shower.

I never struggled through TV shows or movies.

I never cried in my truck.

I never felt triggered by things like pregnancy announcements or kids' birthday parties.

I never got emotional seeing or hearing about my friends' kids.

I never wondered if my wife would leave me because I can't give her what she's always wanted.

I never questioned who I was and what made me a man.


These are all things that I used to be able to say.


I never felt the weight of the world like I have these last 12 months. As if 2020 wasn't bad enough, try adding all THIS on top of it all.

  • An important part of my body simply DOESN'T WORK

  • I would give my wife the world, but I can't even give her the one thing she's always dreamed of

  • I'll never be able to say that my son looks just like me

  • I'll never be able to say my daughter has my eyes

  • I'll never look at their luscious locks and know that came from MY genes

  • I'll never be able to tell my kids their ears are big because of their great great grandpa

And that's the most heartbreaking thing I have ever experienced.


I'm hopeful that this note finds one of my 1%-er friends out there that is about to experience what I (we) have, and helps him find the strength to get through the TESE surgery, the recovery and the emotions that follow you everyday after.


Thanks for reading.

–Brian



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