Thursday, January 10, 2008


Good Morning, Dear Ones,

Last night was either really long, or really short, depending on your perspective. Yesterday had been such a good day, that Dennis made a sudden and very rash decision to eat some of my cooking. Yeah, yeah, I know what you’re saying…”What was he thinkin’?!!!” But in my defense, I had assembled a chicken/rice soup, with scrupulous attention to making sure it had no spices, no flavor, and no taste. (As luck would have it, that’s my forte with everything I cook.) Now, what’s wrong with that?

Well, Dennis, the eternal optimist, thought it looked harmless enough that he might be able to “consume and retain.” That’s always our goal. Boy, was he wrong! We’re not sure if the pea, the tiny fragment of carrot, or that one grain of salt was the culprit, but the specter of “soup past” returned with a vengeance, and instantly became “soup passed.” He had an episode of unrelenting pain, spiked a fever of 102, and began shaking so hard it took on seismic proportions. And I, the model of composure and decorum, began yelling to Dennis for instructions, in the mistaken notion that the greater the decibel level, the greater the therapeutic value. With my usual “limited knowledge/rampant imagination” syndrome, I have discovered what does NOT work in reducing fevers:

  1. hysteria
  2. harsh language (strange, because that’s usually a panacea for all ailments.)
  3. invoking the name of Hippocrates

What DOES work in reducing fevers:

  1. calling our son-in-law, Dave. ( I know when he arrived, my fever immediately went down.)

I told him about the shivering mass of gray flesh, and he began looking at me in an attempt to locate the source of the problem. I had to re-direct his attention to Dennis. (Shivering state of gray flesh is not so much an ailment of mine as it is an inconvenient truth of being really old.) Dave’s calm demeanor was reassuring. He eventually persuaded me that sprinting around the bed in ever tightening concentric circles was an excellent display of athletic prowess, but probably did not qualify as a legitimate remedy for fever reduction. He suggested Tylenol instead. That’s soooo Dave! (Always coming up with solutions that are so logical, but utterly devoid of imagination.)

He stayed with me until Dennis seemed to settle, and then we decided to give him 45 minutes more to improve on his own. Dave went home and then called me in an hour. By that time, Dennis’ temperature had come down (due, in part, to the avalanche of ice cubes I had tucked securely under each armpit.) His tremors also subsided, again, no doubt, an act of desperation to get me to stop trying to help. The final two hours of the night went by without incident. Dennis, by the way, endured the ordeal with patience that would make Job look like a whiner. We are so grateful for sons-in-law who are so supportive and reassure us that those early-morning desperate calls by a distraught mother-in-law are actually welcome. (We are especially grateful they chose to marry our daughters and produce gifted grandchildren.)

So we are in a holding pattern for the moment. Friday, we have an appointment with Dr. Kim Jones, our chemo/oncologist. And Dennis is scheduled for an ultrasound on Monday morning. But I want you to know that if anyone has any questions about how to reduce fevers, either call me (I will provide completely inaccurate information and sparkling conversation) or call Dave, who is logical, reassuring, and brilliant. It’s your choice!


The Clot

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