Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire

By: Jason Colthorp
By: Jason Colthorp

The first day of vacation: fun, shopping and sterilization.

I've been trying to figure out how to write about this without making my boss spit coffee all over his keyboard while reading it.  Let me say it the way I told the kids when they asked why I went to the doctor Monday for surgery.  "Well, let's just say you're never going to get that little brother you always wanted." 

The day began with a successful trip to the eye doctor for some contacts, as my eyes have finally adjusted to the new glasses and are perfect.  Then, Julie and I went out Christmas and Hanukkah shopping all day long crossing off a bunch of family on the list.  Thanks to some coupons we spent nearly two hours in Limited Too alone for the girls. 

By 5:00 we picked up the girls and headed back home.  At 6:00 I left to knock out a little more Christmas shopping for the girls and myself.  First Dunham's, then Kroger's for some frozen peas.  Then it was onto the Doctor's office where I was surprised by my wife, who I'd told I didn't need there and was fine without.  She didn't buy it and came to support me in my hour of need.  If you're wondering why the 7 p.m. appointment, it's because they usually do the big V at the end of the day so the Doc has as much time as he needs and doesn't have to rush.  Someone in the newsroom had a much simpler explanation.  "Maybe because once you've sliced open a guy's berries, it's time to call it a day."

The whole thing is a little strange, just for the simple fact that your "stuff" is the center of attention for a doctor and female nurse-- neither of whom I'd ever met.  Stranger yet, is talking about my job during the whole thing and wondering, as my wife pointed out, what will they be thinking about the next time they see you on TV? 

"Hey, I know him.  Nice guy, looks like a good journalist, and what a trooper when he's getting his castanets cauterized."

I tried to listen to a movie on my iPod during the whole process, which effectively distracted me for the most part.  "The Big Lebowski" was my choice so I knew it would make me laugh at a time where no man is laughing.  Oddly, the nurse said she loved that movie.  Never heard of a woman liking a movie with 200+ F-bombs in it.  I could still hear the Doc over my headphones, who wanted to let me know whenever there was some pulling or tugging on the way.  And there was. 

Just to give you some thinly-veiled background, the Doc makes a small half-inch incision on the left side after a couple locals to numb up the area.  There is some clamping, cutting and then burning of the ends to make sure the potent swimmers don't ever hit the beach.  After he completed this process on Lefty, the Doc let me know he'd be pulling the rest over to knock that out.  Cool.  However, shortly after, I started feeling pain for the first time. 

Me: Uhh, there's a little pain there, Doc. (Pause) OW! There's some real pain there now!!!
Doc: OK, let me give you another local to numb that up. (Gives shot) How's that? Better?
Me: Still pain!  WOW!  It's going up my abdomen now!
Doc: Going away now?
Me:  (Exhaling) There... it's kind of... (Whew) going away now.

That was about the only bump in the road.  The whole thing ended with a couple stitches that will come out on their own.  Even after the pain, I had enough left for a laugh-getter about the stitches.  "Is that going to leave a scar?  I've got my movie career to worry about."

I finished the night the way every good father likes to finish it during the holidays: watching a Christmas movie with the wife and kids, some popcorn, your favorite easy chair and a bag of frozen peas on your peas.

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