Cousin Bruce talked me into it. He's a decade younger, and if he was doing it, then coming from the same gene pool, so should I, I reasoned in February and made an appointment.
That was February, so I was comforted that it was three months off, but as the day drew nearer, I began to wonder how much it would cost, what could go wrong, what were the odds this screen was worth it?
Then Bruce's appointment was canceled, so he says, and mine was just a week away when he and Uncle Chet appeared one Friday evening.
"We've come to steal your rototiller," Uncle Chet said.
"I'll help you load it," I put on my sneakers.
"Bruce is going to till my garden in the morning."
"I was just thinking about you, and my upcoming colonoscopy," I said to Bruce.
He grinned sheepishly. "I haven't re-scheduled," he said. "Still got that jug with the chemicals, but after watching Billy Connolly on YouTube, talking about shoving a camera up your rear, I haven't called back."
"Weren't you the one saying what a great idea it was?" I said.
"True, but you're the older one; you really ought to go first," he said.
"It's not that bad," Uncle Chet stepped into the kitchen. "It's the prep that's a killer. Don't you have some instructions?"
"Somewhere," I said.
"Well, if it's next week, you'd better read 'em," he said. "There are things to do and not do, like don't take aspirin, in the last week."
"I don't take aspirin."
"Just read the instructions and follow 'em," he said curtly as we went out to the shed and rolled out the rototiller.
Days passed. I read the instructions, picked up the gallon jug and the Drano. At 6 the night before, I mixed up the brew and took my first glass.
"What is that stuff, Dad?" Buddy, our 10-year-old, asked from the recliner, where he was sipping iced tea.
"Frack water," I sputtered. "Want a little?"
"No," he shook his head, watching me down the first glass.
"Your father's going to show you how to deal with medical issues maturely, aren't you, Dad?"
"I aren't," I said and poured another glass.
I kept drinking until there was a rumble inside, then came the first of several eruptions that would purge me of liver, spleen and whatever else was down there.
Early the next morning, Hon drove what was left of me to the hospital. We went to the clinic, and I tried to relax. I told myself that in a few hours, this would all be behind me. A stack of magazines lay within reach and I took the top one, Readers' Digest.
And what was the top story in the top magazine? "Doctors Confess Their Fatal Mistakes."
"You gotta be kidding!" I showed the cover to Hon. "Now, there's a sign."
She rolled her eyes, removed the offensive material and gave me a periodical on golfing.
I couldn't read it, but soon was called into a waiting room, where I signed a disclaimer and was hooked up to an IV.
"Have you signed a `do not resuscitate order'?" the nurse asked.
"No!" I sat up in bed. "I thought this was a routine screening."
"It is," she said. "But we have to ask."
"By all means, resuscitate," I said.
After several minutes, I was wheeled into the operating room, told to lie on my side and was given some drugs to relax me.
Then, just before we started, the hospital's computer system crashed.
Another sign. HAL didn't want to see my insides. Twenty years earlier, I might have gotten up and left, but the drugs were relaxing and reassured by the nice doctor and nurses that they didn't need a computer system, I said OK.
Next thing I knew, I was back in the waiting room, Hon fading in and out from the foot of the bed.
"How was it?" she asked through the ether.
"Piece of cake," I mumbled, newly self-righteous, for I'd made it through basic training. "And next year, it's your turn."
Cooperstown bureau Reporter Tom Grace is traveling with his Uncle Chet, who he says is imaginary. Grace's column appears every other week. For more of his columns, visit www.thedailystar.com/tomgrace.
- Tom Grace
The future of news: video on the Internet
COLUMBUS _ "Well, I'm going to do it, retire tomorrow," I told Uncle Chet last Thursday, then pulled on the thick braided wire that ran up and down the chimney.
Uncle Chet advises little miscreant
COLUMBUS _ The little miscreant is off to college this month, and we had a dinner in her honor at Uncle Chet and Aunt Alice's log cabin Sunday.
Here's to everyone paying their fair share
COLUMBUS _ Buddy and I were working on the woodpile at Uncle Chet's house, stacking about 10 face cord of pungent ash, maple and cherry. The sun was beating down, and the pine needles crackled underfoot. Everything around us was tinder dry, that is, except the wood we were moving.
Easy fixes for education, drilling debate
COLUMBUS _ "I know how to resolve this fracking controversy," Uncle Chet said, then sipped his second glass of red wine.
Handicapping the 2012 race in a dust cloud
COLUMBUS _ The little miscreant was graduating from high school, going to college. We were having a party here in just four days, but we were power-sanding in the kitchen, making a dust cloud that filled the room, coating everything as it sank to the floor.
- Tuesday, June 14, 2011
Spackle can only do so much to fix problems
COLUMBUS _ "This ceiling reminds me of my face," Uncle Chet said, standing on the eight-foot stepladder, cutting in with a sash brush.
- Tuesday, May 31, 2011
The rich are getting richer, more powerful
COLUMBUS _ "You know, there's only one thing wrong with the world," Uncle Chet paused, then dropped a log onto the stack.
- Tuesday, May 17, 2011
- Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Wounds left by Osama still healing
COLUMBUS _ We were lying down, reading, ready for lights out when the phone rang late Sunday night. I looked at the caller I.D. before answering, "You're too old to be up at this hour."
- Tuesday, April 19, 2011
The rich are thriving in country's class warfare
We sat in the basement cafeteria Friday night, eating off sectioned plastic trays, as students have done for generations.
- Tuesday, April 5, 2011
There's still one job we haven't shipped overseas
"Where are the French?" Uncle Chet asked from across the table where we were having coffee.
- Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Obama strikes oil with assault on Libya
We were on our way to the dump Saturday, three across the bench seat, when we heard the news.
- Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Caught between tanking dollar, rising oil prices
COLUMBUS _ "Got to get some wood in; it's gonna snow," I said as I rose from the couch Saturday afternoon.
- Tuesday, February 22, 2011
Conversation on the trail to rock stardom
SCRANTON, PA. _ It was a cool, sunny morning in late February, and we were tooling down Interstate 81 in the silver pickup.
- Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Cheney's chum about to get his walking papers
The snow piles were becoming tall white walls and the paths between them were narrowing as we cleared the driveway again Sunday morning.
- Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Taxing wealthy would give us rich future
COLUMBUS _ "The state of the union is deplorable, and I hope he says so, because we ought to do something about it," Uncle Chet said, then lowered an armful of logs into the wood box.
- Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Poll will show what people are thinking
COLUMBUS _ "I have to go, but I want to do it myself," Buddy announced from the recliner.
- Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Target within sight; summit within reach
It was snowing and windy, and the road was icy, running between desolate, snow-covered fields in the town of Plainfield. We were climbing a long hill, up in God's country, looking for a microwave tower.
- Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Tax deal will help rich get richer
"Dear Mr. President: "Your tax deal with the Republicans is an abomination.
- Tuesday, November 30, 2010
GOP's denial is all about bottom line
COLUMBUS _ The little chair was a blessing to the back, but the pipe at the front of the canvas seat pressed under my knees, and my legs were numbing.
- The future of news: video on the Internet