I would like to warn readers that the following report might not be appropriate for younger children, as there are several references to such body parts as “bum-bums” and activities such as “potty time”.  I will try to hold these to a minimum.

It started on Sunday when I confided to my middle-aged waitress that I could only have clear broth and three 8-ounce glasses of water.  “OH”, she announced to the neighboring eight states, “SOUNDS LIKE YOU’RE HAVING THE PROCEDURE!” As insightful as she was, a quiet, “you look to young to have to have the procedure!” might have secured her a gratuity as well as my gratitude. But true to her assessment I found myself at (unnamed) hospital in the care of Dr. (unnamed).  (I would be happy to name both parties, but as we forgot to agree to non-litigation, I’m not sure how they are going to react to this report.)

Aside from an empty feeling, I was actually feeling rather good about the whole affair the morning of, until the attending nurse referred to me as Mr. Abernathy (not his real name, and certainly not mine.)  I thought it a mere slip of the tongue until I saw on her chart that I was listed as 74 and blind.  Since I was supposed to be the first appointment, but was late (I assumed they couldn’t start without me), they took Mr. Abernathy ahead of me.

Identities straightened out, I was asked to disrobe. This brightened my morning somewhat as it’s not often that a strange woman asks me to disrobe.  Things were looking up.  Until she handed me a sealed bag of socks.  The kind they give you on trans-Atlantic flights.  Only the left sock was decidedly larger than the right sock.  Pointing this out to the attendant begat a small conference.  We all agreed that while both were marked “adult XX large”, they were indeed different sizes.  You may think this a minor issue, but knowing I was going to be a little loopy later that morning I didn’t want to hear anybody saying, “hey, as long as we’ve got him under, let’s give him matching feet!”

OK.  We’ve now established that we’re going to perform the procedure on a Mr. Britten who has two matching feet, so it’s time for him to fill out the final form.  Name.  OK. Next of kin.  Somewhat unsettling, but OK.  Birth date.  OK.  Age.  Age??  Didn’t I just give them my birth date?  They’re going to fiddle with my bum-bum, but can’t figure out my age from my birth date?  But I guess I don’t want them in the middle of the procedure, still going, “let’s see, subtract two and carry the one…..” .

Now that’s it’s over I offer this advice.  Don’t hesitate to get the procedure when your time has come, but be on time and bring your own socks.