For starters, I sometimes speak up when a little voice inside me cries, “Don’t do that! It happened at the VA last month when they told me when to come back to get my stitches done. I told them I had a pre-med semester and could take out my own stitches. I heard a janitor laughing in the back of the room, but a competent nurse handed me a bundle of tools, put her kind hand on my shoulder, and sent me home.
Well, I went straight to work to make preparations. I bought a new pair of glasses, arranged the best lighting, found a magnifying glass that might be useful, and laid out the tools of my new trade.
Now, they didn’t teach me in my pre-med semester how to remove the sutures, but that omission didn’t deter me from volunteering to undertake the procedure myself. I mean, how hard could that be? It should be just like untying your shoes. In fact, I practiced untying my shoes with my surgical tools. But I’ll stop right there, because I’ll be on my maiden voyage tomorrow, and I’ll have some real experience to draw on.
Day 1: Dang, those knots are so small! And you have to get under them to untie them. Once upon a time, there was enough hand-eye coordination to milk a cow, even if she was looking at me, as if to ask, “What are you doing over there?” But removing my own stitches might be too much for me.
What I would need is a plan B. I have a daughter-in-law who is a gifted nurse, but she is in Italy. I can’t go back to the VA, because I can’t deal with that janitor who burst out laughing when I said I could remove my own stitches. So what if I leave the stitches? Will they eventually dissolve, or will I look like I have a zipper on my forehead the rest of my natural life?
Maybe my college adviser was right when she advised me to change my major from pre-med to auctioneer or barker. Well, I’m not giving up quite yet. I managed to remove five stitches and there are fifteen left. Let’s see what tomorrow has in store for us, because right now I need a straight shot of Old Sam Spiced Gin – Hand Crafted in Goldfield, Nevada for such an occasion.
Day 2: I wish my mother were still alive. I managed to remove ten stitches. The other ten look like a parade of ants hiking in the wild on a picnic table, but my mom would still love me. So much for my adventure in medicine. I will end here with renewed respect and appreciation for the skilled doctors and nurses of our amazing VA. Thanks!
Dr. McAvoy Layne, retired
– For over 30 years, in over 4,000 performances, columnist and Chautauquan McAvoy Layne has dedicated himself to preserving the spirit and wisdom of “The Wild Humorist of the Pacific Slope”, Mark Twain. As Layne says, “It’s like being a Monday-Friday preacher, whose sermon, though not reverently pious, is ardently American.” Go here to listen to this and other columns from McAvoy Layne.