Thursday, February 21, 2008


Dear Ones,

As you probably already know from the Ghost of Blogs Past, Dennis is back at the Huntsman Hospital. Brodi’s account was fairly graphic and accurate. But just to give a quick review: Dennis and I were spending our Saturday evening as we always do. I had just gotten implants and a new red dress, and Dennis had one of his attacks that can only be satisfied with the prolific layering of polyester. Following a glut of disco music and feverish dancing, Dennis began feeling poorly. He reassured me it wasn’t anything to do with the choreography, but he had some significant pain above and beyond the Travolta marathon. A sleepless night and twelve hours in a tiny room at the U of U ER later, and we were back at the Huntsman again.

Our care-takers helped control the pain with massive doses of narcotics and promises that they would try to distract me from aiding and abetting the nurses while keeping me from starting the second season of Veronica Mars. (I have now switched to “Gilmore Girls” and “30 Rock,” thus proving that I am ambidextrous…I can watch two series at the same time with equal ease.) Now here’s where it gets a little murky, so review the alphabet, get a program, and follow along.

The doctors kept Dennis NPO, which means “nothing by mouth, don’t even ask for it, ‘cuz it ain’t happenin,’ Budddy!” They wanted him to be ready in case they decided to surgically implant a drain for all his bodily fluids. They did keep him on IV fluids so he would stay hydrated and PP. A brand new PICC line was debated in case TPN would be considered. (The initials stand for “Total Something Something.”) It’s a way of providing nutrition without bothering any of the digestion system or related organs. Keeping him in a prolonged state of total lack of caloric intake caused a loss of LBS. He got very THIN. We have achieved NED. (No Evidence of Dennis!)

It was decided that aspirating the fluid that was leaking and scrutinizing it with all kinds of tests and cultures was a good idea. We were not allowed to witness the procedure, and we definitely did not request a front-row seat, but we did over-hear someone in the procedure room say, “We’re gonna need a bigger syringe, Doc!” It was at this point that The Clot decided to stroll around the grounds until we felt at home.

As the medical staff was deciding to TPN or not to TPN, that was the question, Dr. Mulvihill arrived, and the debate was over. He preferred tube feeds over TPN because it is better to FTG. (Feed The Gut) I’ve been saying that for years. I just hated to cook to do it. The drainage tube is still an option, however, if Dennis gets distended and can’t hold his Jevity, but for now we’re in a holding pattern. Have I lost anybody?

By the way, I have to tip my hat to Dr. Mulvihill. He is such an accomplished surgeon. But he also has a read on The Clot. (This is a task in itself, as you well know.) He explains what’s happening, what he’s going to do about it, and then leaves time for questions, which he answers with clarity and patience. But he also seems to intuit concerns and even questions that are not asked, those nagging worries at the back of the mind that no one gives voice to…the unspoken shadowy things that create distortion in one’s perception. When he leaves, he has dispelled any concerns, answered questions, and reassured us we are not derailed, off course, or on a detour. I think all the prayers are inspiring him as well.

And we are able to go forth with confidence. Dr. Mulvihill is not even worried about Dennis’s weight. (Although I have yet to see him give Dennis a hug, which is when all the boney protrusions are particularly apparent) So as of now, our game plan is to stuff Dennis full of Jevity till his tissues are squishy, plug any leaks, chubby up every square inch, and proceed forth with enthusiasm and eventually obesity to chemo.

We are so grateful for your unending love and concern. You have assumed so much of the responsibility and weight of our trial. You have truly lightened our burden and provided spiritual floaties that have kept our heads above water. We can see ways and means to do this awesome task because of you. Please know you are all in our prayers always.

Our love to all,

The Clot


Kate O said...

Dennis, last night I dreamed that you were back with us at Willowcreek which beats my recurrent "Dennis retires" nightmare. I think this bodes well for the future. Love Kate O

nutsrus said...

Dennis, you and Joan are always in our thoughts and prayers. You are the dearest friends anyone could ever wish for. Love,
Barbara H.

cristie said...

"February arrives cold, wet and gray, her gifts disguised for only the most discerning spirits to see. Gentle is our path. Gratitude is the thread we weave into the fabric of our daily lives this month, giving thanks for our simply abundant lives and asking for the gift of one thing more: grateful hearts."
--Sarah Ban Breathnach

always I can feel of your grateful hearts and I too am lifted. we send our love. xox

jane said...

The rainy dreariness of this Saturday brings the promise of spring, new life, regeneration of spirit, body and mind -- and flowers!! Those fragile buds that open into wonderful, colorful blooms, renewing our hope and faith in the eternal plan our Heavenly Father has in store for us. This trial, too, will pass and Dennis will be back home and blossoming once again before you know it! Our love and prayers are continually with you all.
xoxo Jane & Tom

janet said...

Everyone has such poetic and beautiful words...I am at a loss...
just know that you are much loved and always in our prayers...all of you. Love, Janet and Joe

Anonymous said...

Hang in there....hopefully the Jevity will bring more than just a weight gain! Doc the Dwarf will be visiting you all soon! Take care Chris