Pine Nuts: How to take out your own stitches, or not |

Pine Nuts: How to take out your own stitches, or not

McAvoy Layne

To begin, I sometimes speak-up when a little voice deep down inside is shouting, “Don’t do it!” That happened at the VA last month when they were telling me when to return to have my stitches out. I told them I had a semester of pre-med and could take out my own stitches. I heard a janitor in the back of the room laugh, but a capable nurse handed me a bundle of tools, placed her caring hand on my shoulder, and sent me home.

Well, I went right to work making preparations. I bought a new pair of eyeglasses, arranged for the very best lighting, found a magnifying glass that might be helpful, and laid out the tools of my new trade.

Now, they did not teach me, in my one semester of pre-med, how to remove sutures, but that omission did not deter me from volunteering to tackle the procedure myself. I mean, how hard could it be? It must be exactly like untying your shoes. In fact, I practiced untying my shoes with my surgical tools. But I shall pause just here, as I will embark upon my maiden voyage tomorrow, and shall have actual experience to draw upon…

Day One: Dang, these knots are sooo dang small! And you have to get under them to cut them loose. Once upon a time I had good enough hand-eye coordination to milk a cow, even if she did look around at me, as if to ask, “What are you doing back there?” But removing my own stitches might be too many for me.

What I might 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 face that janitor who laughed out loud when I said I could take out my own stitches. So what happens if I leave the stitches in? Will they eventually dissolve, or do I get to look like I have a zipper on my forehead the rest of my natural life?

Maybe my college counselor was right when she advised me to change my major from pre-med to auctioneer or carny-barker. Well, I’m not giving up quite yet. I have successfully removed five stitches and have fifteen to go. Let’s see what tomorrow holds, because right now I need a straight shot of Old Sam Spiced Gin – Hand Crafted in Goldfield, Nevada for just such an occasion…

Day Two: I wish my mother were still alive. I did successfully remove ten stitches. The remaining ten look like a parade of ants out for a nature hike on a picnic table, but my mother would still love me. Well, so much for my venture in medicine. I shall close here with renewed respect and appreciation for the capable doctors and nurses at our amazing VA…thank you!


Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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