Pine Nuts: Another colonscopy exam |

Pine Nuts: Another colonscopy exam

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts

Dr. Samuel Johnson told us: “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”

I submit the same can be said today as it relates to a colonoscopy. I’ve only had one, 10 years ago, but it ranks up there in the shot tower of my memory of distresses somewhere between the war in Vietnam and a lamentable divorce.

First there is the euphemistically named, “Prep Kit,” that magical solution of sodium sulfate and magnesium that tastes like rat poison and cleans you out like a jug. Just when you start to think it’s not going to work, and you start dialing the phone to ask for your money back, well, Loma Prieta comes to mind.

My Super Prep Kit of 10 years ago came equipped with industrial strength restraining straps large enough to accommodate a water heater, and a plastic helmet in the event I did not have ample time to fasten the safety straps before hitting the ceiling.

Well, when I went to the pharmacy to pick up this year’s Super-Prep, hoping they had added some vinegar flavoring to it, I was advised it would cost me $125. I told the pharmacist I would rather walk over to the liquor department, purchase a bottle of tequila for $18, and get exact the same results.

The pharmacist shrugged his shoulders and sent the solution back to Siberia or wherever it came from. I, meanwhile, elected to shop around.

Then there is the procedure itself. I remember my doctor telling me, “Try to relax.”

“That’s an oxymoron,” I protested. Bad judgment.

“You’re not here to give me an English lesson,” he snapped with a wry smile as he pulled a 106 recoilless into place. “Do you have a power of attorney?”

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“Just curious.”

Fast-forwarding: “Well, Mr. Layne, you’re clean as a whistle. Come back in 10 years. ‘That’s welcome news, Doc, I’m happy my tonsils are still hanging in there, and my former wife will be surprised to hear you did not find a human head in there resembling something like mine.’”

I floated out of that doctor’s office on an optimistic cloud nine in the comfort and confidence that I would not live another 10 years and therefore would not have to be back.

“But you know,” I told myself, “you’re a yellow-bellied chicken-liver, and should be happy to be alive and kicking 10 years later. You should stop belly-aching, and take your medicine like a man, or better yet, like a 21st century woman.

Think of the people who face more portentous procedures and conditions, and do it without a whimper or a whine. Why can’t you be more like them? Do you have to fall down on the bathroom floor when you look into the mirror and see you have chapped lips? Then crawl to the phone to call your mother?”


“Mom, did I do something bad in my youth that I don’t know about?”

“No, Honey, why do you ask?”

“I ask because I am experiencing an attack of bad karma.”

“What is it, honey?”

“Chapped lips!”

“Oh, baby, I’ll be right over with some Chapstick.”

“One more thing, mom.”

“What is it?”

“I’m scheduled for a colonoscopy.”

“Mom? Mom? Are you there? She hung up!”

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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