Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Greetings, Loved Ones,

Well, Dennis’ night was without incident. And in this household, that’s something to celebrate! A home-health-care nurse spent the evening with us hooking him up to every kind of drip imaginable. He looks like a marionette with all the tubes and wires, but this has become the norm. It is interesting how cancer changes everything. We’re not even sure just what “the norm” is any more. I recall going to a movie once, but that was another life altogether. And at one time we actually ate a meal, complete with chewing and swallowing. But that was before I discovered the joy of take-out (and the convenience of feeding tubes) I know it won’t always be like this…except for the take-out. But right now I point out a spot of Jevity on his ear as his worst social faux pas. I can’t wait until I can make discreet gestures indicating there is a piece of spinach lodged in his teeth. (By the way, Dennis calls his feeding cans “Levity.” That’s funny) The grandkids think it would be fun to try to drink a can of Jevity through a straw stuffed up their nostrils. The more I thought about it, the more it seemed like the answer to Sunday dinner. (Hey, we have to play to our strengths. Nasal buffets would be a gastronomical step up from anything I could concoct!)

It’s interesting how, under certain conditions, you get to know someone inside and out, literally and figuratively. For instance, I can tell by merely looking at Dennis just where his lab numbers are. I can tell by his color and demeanor whether his bili is up or his white blood cell count is down. And this influences our daily routine. For instance, he can’t wear his green sweater unless his bili is under 3.1. Those shades of yellow and green clash, and it’s soooo tacky. After all, it’s all about image, isn’t it? This morning, his “ducts” must all be in a row, because his pallor says he can wear his green sweater and be “runway ready.”

Dennis is very determined to get some exercise and maintain his six-pack abs, so he frequently pushes his IV pole in laps around the house. His phenomenal dexterity is still in tact, because so far he has neither hung himself on the tubing nor tripped over the hangee thingee. His workout sounds rather like a kid riding big wheels on a wood floor. But it is actually nice to hear the whir of the wheels and see the flash of his Superman jammies as he goes about his daily rounds. While he was in the hospital, I missed the little things that indicate his presence. And last night I slept soundly listening to the beep of the feeding tube as it infused his system with “Levity” at regular intervals. A quiet, empty house is not conducive to rest.

We are so grateful for the love and prayers of our family and friends. It is good to get your comments, telephone calls and visits. You don’t know what this means to us.We have even run into friends at the Huntsman. It is always good to see friends…just the venue is bad.

We have eight more sleeps and a wake-up before the “MASSacre.” I think I figured it wrong yesterday. It would be just like me to miscalculate the time and miss the Whipple altogether, but I was never any good with numbers.(Just ask me my age if you want proof). Anyway, the surgery is still scheduled for Thursday, January 7th. We will get Dennis to the hospital on time if I have to personally carry in his body parts individually. We can hardly wait to resect the little %*&#@. Recently we were talking about what we wanted to do with it when it is finally cut out. We liked Paul Jensen’s suggestion/curse: “May that damnable thing that took you to the ER rot on the festering forelock of Beelzebub!” (Don’t you love it?) And dear Wayne Kotter called it a name that made me ask if he’d graduated from West High, but he nailed it! (Couldn’t have said it better myself!) Sam, our son-in-law, suggested we put it in a jar, place it on the table, and humiliate it to death. (Sam has always been kinder, gentler.) I personally want to channel my inner Ripley and jettison the bugger into outer darkness and obliterate it until there is nothing visible left. Please feel free to share your innermost destructive desires, and we will pass the suggestions on to Dr. Mulvihill.

Have I mentioned lately how much your comments mean to us? We are able to understand Dennis better by seeing him through different lenses. We know the place he has in our lives. But it is so enlightening to see how he has touched the lives of others. (These are his most vital vital signs, after all). I guess that is really what life is about in the long run. We are all connected, and we are all an integral part of each other. I think that is a good thing.

So tonight, if all goes well, we will check his color for any sign of increased bili, do a few laps together in his Superman jammies and my Minnie Mouse night shirt (and you thought we didn’t have a life!) and raise a cup of Jevity to his health. And tomorrow morning, we will only have seven more sleeps and a wake-up until “Mass Obliteration!”

Our love to all,
The Clot

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