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Own up to it (cont.)

Posted: Monday March 27, 2006 10:33AM; Updated: Monday March 27, 2006 11:40PM
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Pretty tricky. I've had two prior colonoscopies -- you should have these things fairly regularly after turning 40, and I'm 48 -- and know that once you begin your prep work, it's about a six-hour process. So I figure, OK, I'll start on the plane home, then finish at home. When I advised a friend, Rich Fitter, of my plan, he shook his head and invoked an old Cosmo Kramer line. "Wet ... and wild,'' he said.

I took the first of the preparatory medication (and believe me, that's putting it very nicely) just before the three-plus-hour flight took off from Austin. I was in fine shape until maybe 40 minutes from landing when the captain came over the intercom and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we've been told by the tower in Newark that we're going to have to slow things up a bit because of traffic into the New York area. They're putting us into a holding pattern, and we're going to head over to Pennsylvania to circle ...''


I heard nothing else. All I could think was: My worst nightmare is coming true. It would get worse 10 minutes later, as we were banking bumpily somewhere over southeastern Pennsylvania. The flight attendant came on and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, because of the bumpy ride, we're going to be turning on the fasten-seatbelt sign for the remainder of the flight...'' AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHH!

Take deep breaths. Long, deep breaths. Bumping around for 45 minutes. An eternity. Hold on. Just hold on. You raised two kids not to be ax murderers, you can survive this. I'm going to have to get up and brawl with this flight attendant in a minute because of the seat-belt sign...

Out of the holding pattern. And seven or eight minutes later, like the God of Aviation knew what was happening inside me at that moment, the captain came on and said, "Ladies and gentlemen, we're on our final approach into the Newark area.''

Day of my wedding. Births of my children. Red Sox win the World Series. Landing in Newark.

Once off the plane, I was as dignified as was humanly possible. I brisk-walked to the men's room, and the rest is history.

One benign-polyp postscript: The anesthesiologist and the internist were both big Sopranos guys. And my last memory before drifting off into never-neverland was those two guys talking about how unrealistic some of the medical scenes in the second episode were. Seems the family would never be allowed to witness the gruesome sight of dressing a gunshot wound, and there was insufficient attention paid to cleanliness in what should have been a perfectly antiseptic room. And my doctor, John Farkas, pointed out that the size of Tony's wound was consistent with an exit wound, not an entry wound. "He got shot in the front, right?'' Farkas said (I think). "Unless the bullet somehow hit something and came back out where it came in, that wound was far, far too big.'' See what you learn reading this column?

Aggravating/Enjoyable Travel Note of the Week II

Continental flight to Orlando, Saturday morning, 8:18 a.m. Beverage cart rolls through coach. Woman across the aisle says: "Bloody Mary. Two Skyes.'' She gives the flight attendant $10, pours both mini-bottles of vodka into her plastic cup, and barely splashes the nearly fully cup with Bloody Mary mix. In five minutes, the cup is empty, except for the ice. Who can do that? That woman's got Betty Ford written all over her.

Stat of the Week

Adam Vinatieri signed with Indianapolis last week, and there are few signings in this free-agency period that will affect the balance of power in the NFL as much as this one. Now the Patriots will have to sign a much lesser kicker. And the Colts have the clutch kicker they always lacked with Mike Vanderjagt; the next big kick he makes will be his first. So many angles to this story. I will pick out the three statistical ones I like.

1. The Patriots won their three Super Bowls by field goals -- 20-17 over St. Louis, 32-29 over Carolina and 24-21 over Philadelphia. I keep thinking, even though he'll never say it, that coach Bill Belichick will wake up one morning after a missed 33-yard field goal costs the Pats a huge road win in Miami thinking, We should have given Vinatieri the money.