Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A "Kink" in our Weekend Plans

Well, this has been a most interesting week. After Dennis’ episode last Thursday night, we noticed his weight dropped once more. I will not record the exact number, but if the trend continues, we will be in the single digits. Suffice it to say, he is thin…and wiry. Very wiry.

But he was able to attend the wedding luncheon of his nephew, Jeff, and his beautiful bride, Ruth, on Friday afternoon. This meant so much to Dennis to be able to celebrate such wonderful events. But last weekend, the feeding tube that has become the umbilical to nourishment became either blocked or kinked on the inside, and in spite of the expletives, we could not blow out (no pun intended) the obstruction. So there was no nocturnal infusion of that lovely gray liquid going into his system.

Dennis went down a few more pounds. So in an act of desperation, we bought a new scale. Now we have two scales. That way, if we don’t like what the one says, we can get a second opinion. (Again, there is a certain perverted logic at work here.) We are not exactly sure just what was blocking the tube, but Carter was looking for his Thomas the Tank Engine all night. So we hauled our cookies into the Huntsman yet again, and they promptly removed the defective tubing from his left nostril and replaced it with new tubing in his right nostril. I was glad because left nostril tubing is sooo 2007, and there is more beard on his right side to hide the protrusion. It’s almost as if it isn’t even there…almost. It’s hardly noticeable. As you can tell, we have the art of denial down to a science. We can even deny we are in denial. Hey, whatever works.

The technician was a master at jackhammering the garden hose (Dennis’ description) through his nose, down his throat, esophagus, stomach, duodenum, and regions with weird names of Latin origin, and finally out his right sock. Talk about going deep! They stopped just short of giving him a pedicure, but Dennis does walk a little funny. We all pretend not to notice.

Once again the technicians disregarded our suggestion (well, actually it was my suggestion) to place a “Y” tube up both nostrils,(or a “U” tube if you’re a Ute fan) sort of like a back-up system... a spare tire…an extra generator... in case one nostril fails, the other can kick in. The side benefits would be that Dennis could have two flavors of formula going in simultaneously…like chocolate and vanilla, or cilantro and jalapeno! However, I guess our reputation has preceded us because the staff just looks at us with that expression that suggests they know we are unclear on the concept. But I say hooray for naiveté! It is often comforting to know that I am protected by the enormity of my stupidity. It is not always conducive to peace of mind to know too much, to fully grasp the situation, and so far, I have been wildly successful.

While I waited for them to switch Dennis’ nostrils, (also known as “nasal juggling”) I began thinking about our house. There seems to be an interesting metamorphosis taking place these past months that is hard to define, and hard to deny. So much living is mandatory to transform a domicile into an extension of its inhabitants. I don’t know when this happens exactly, but it does. Daily routine is part schedules, part obligations and responsibilities, and part non-descript menial tasks and duties. One hardly notices all the component parts as we pass the days on cruise control. And then, it seems, variables are imposed without warning that completely re-arrange the elements into a whole new configuration. The ground shifts beneath the feet, and balance is lost. The daily routine that seemed so predictable and reliable is discarded as obsolete to the current reality, and replaced by an alternate life-paradigm. Lives are in chaos while all the objects in motion tumble through the air as if catapulted by volcanic eruption. One wonders at possible landing sites and how things will ultimately come to rest. Lives are profoundly impacted, but so is one’s home. Can it remain a sanctuary, where one can try to swallow in spite of crushing pressure that constricts the midsection?

But then people come and re-arrange all the equations and variables and impose a new order. And they bring gifts – music, food, humor, memories, and pleasant things. There are those who pray or send positive thoughts, or eat chocolate on our behalf. And order is restored. And life resumes…sweeter, stronger, transcendent. And things are the same – only better. This is a good thing.

Love to all,

The Clot


cristie said...

although our posting is rather scarce, our reading of your blog and prayers are not. we do appreciate your positive humor and great devotion to a very good man. (((((hugs)))))) to you all! xox

New York Sims said...

Another lol'er!!(laugh out loud'er...pre-teen daughter taught me that...I'm hip....) Seriously, I was laughing so hard at the Y tube thing that I woke Pete up. He said, "Wha...?" and all I had to say was "Joanie." He knew. =]

I look forward to your stories like I look forward to time with a really good book. I think you should write one...maybe chronicle this journey?

Sorry, long comment here...but I do have to say how much I understand the last few paragraphs of your post. Just about when you feel like your head may dip underwater, and you don't have the strength to surface again, love comes in so many different forms. I felt that so dramatically while I stayed with my grandma right after her diagnosis.

When else in this life do we stop, truly stop, except when we have something life-changing like this? Don't you just have to re prioritize everything? And in the end, isn't it beautiful? I am reminded every day of how much I love you guys, and I cherish that. For now that will be the positive I see in this. That, and every night hearing one of my kids say, "And Heavenly Father, please bless Dr. Ashton so he can have comfort and get better."

Love you guys! Mel

stanandpatolsen said...

Joan and Denny-After many days I finally sat down to read the blogs-Great and funny and uplifting every time you write-We are encouraged by your courage-keep on keepin' on. We are proud of you and think of you often and remember you in our prayers -Thanks again for the chance to say a word or two at your Mom's grave side-Could there be two better people than Reed and Lou? yes it's Dennis and Joan. To say we understand your pain,discomfort and suffering would be silly but I did have a recent bout with the botox neddle- for my dystonia.Pat says ¨if you could see those needles you wouldn´t do this¨ As the needle hit it´s mark, that is my big fat neck, I screamed ¨Holy Buckets,Dr. Smith¨. The good Dr. said ¨it´s okay you can let it out¨I almost said ¨Holy S--- Dr. Smith¨, but decided that the serious pain lies elsewhere. Because of that we feel helpless and sad-wishing there was something meaningful we could do. But we can remember pleasant days of the past-those moments which seem like only moments ago- of great summer and winter days on the ¨hill¨änd of friendships bound together over the years and now made eternal by the addition of our wives. We
find comfort too in being able to pray for you who-or is it whom- we love so much. We send our love and prayers and thoughts and know that the Lord will bless and comfort you. Love Stan and Pat Olsen

Marty said...

Get those Zen Balls juggling to bring on good news from the CAT scan!
You guys continue to amaze us with your positive attitude and humor throughout this ordeal.
Our thoughts and prayers are with you every day.
Live Strong!

duff said...

Joanie you paint such a great picture everytime. Can I just tell you how annoyed I am that it keeps snowing "a little bit" not enough to use the snow blower, but enough to be "shoveled" and why did we add a third parking place??
Seriously your family is constantly on my mind and I admire your faith and positive attitude. Didn't Dennis see the Doc yesterday? Want to share? Love you Love you Deanna