Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Greetings, Clotters,

I apologize for the delay in the up-dates, but things have been a little like the current political landscape – every time you think you know the players, someone throws you a “Ralph Nader.” I tried to pass off to Erin and Brodi to post the blog, claiming the “fifth” and “aggressive dementia.” They conceded both, but refused to accept the mission. So I am forced to self-destruct by trying to pass on information that I neither know nor understand…(standard operating procedure). The girls suggested beginning the narration with a blanket apology for whatever is forthcoming, but advised me not to lift whole passages from any of the candidates’ apologies, lest I be accused of plagiarism.

Dennis has spent the last eight days at the Huntsman Cancer Hospital, as you know, because he sprang a leak, and was moistening his tutu. (No, it was not a bladder-control problem) Because it was the weekend, and a holiday weekend at that, it was decided to stop any caloric in-take for five days, put him on a saline drip, allow him a constant menu of ice chips, and wait to see what should be done. Having earned my degree in logical consequences, I predicted further weight loss. This indeed happened. The rationale for NPO was to have Dennis ready in case a drain was to be installed. However, after a little tincture of time, it was determined that he was no longer leaking kryptonite, and his body resumed absorbing nitroglycerin. He was no longer at risk for detonation. This is just what we had hoped for.

All seemed well. But just when we thought it was safe to go back in the water, we were thrown a “Ralph Nader.” It arrived in the form of unrelenting diarrhea. Now this may be more information than you really want, and if so, you may opt to skip this paragraph. Anyway, this particular “Ralph” can have serious consequences such as weakness and further weight loss. And, of course, that could impact plans to resume chemo. But for every “Ralph,” there is a “Mulvihill.” Dr. Mulvihill said that Dennis’ condition was to be expected, and there were options for treatment before resorting to making an incision in his chest and removing all his organs. OK. I was cool with that approach. In the meantime, the Clot decided we could assist in the resolution of Dennis’ dilemma by using our brains to send positive waves to his bowels. We got a book by Louise Hay called “Heal Your Body.” According to the author, this particular affliction has a probable cause of “Fear. Rejection. Running off.” (duh) And the new thought pattern to assume is “My intake, assimilation and elimination are in perfect order. I am at peace with life.” So we began chanting this new thought pattern repeatedly until Dennis gave us a full-body eye roll, we got the giggles and the “fiddle farties” set in. But I’m here to tell ya, it worked. Within 12 hours, we stemmed the tide, and a degree of normalcy was restored. This has come to be known to the Clot as a “Mind Over Poo Poo” moment. (Just as an aside, did I mention that Dr. Mulvihill ordered a powerful anti-diarrhea drug, “lomotil,” to be administered immediately?) However, I think the results were purely coincidental. Dennis has requested our next philanthropic exercise should be “Mind Over Coo Coo,” but we have been unable to come up with just the right jingle to achieve success. However, if anyone has an ailment that needs particular attention, the Clot will be happy to come to your house bringing the recommended chants, new thought patterns, and…lomotil.

The other night Dennis and I watched “Bull Riders Only” at the hospital. My father was a cowboy, and I grew up with cattle, horses, rodeos and a lot of bull. The object of bull riding is to stay on the back of two tons of rank anger for 8 seconds…and then to get off very carefully before the beast can stomp you into a moist spot in the dust. Sunday evening a rider named Renato Nunes stayed of top of one on the rankest bulls on tour named “Chicken On A Chain” for the full 8 seconds. Chicken is impossible to ride, but Nunes got a score of 95. I have never seen that happen before. It was amazing. But as courageous as this bovine warrior was, he paled by comparison to a hospital gladiator who stayed 8 days on NPO, syringes, rubber gloves, pain medication, and a quirky family chanting “om’s” and reciting thought patterns directed at his bowels. Dennis’ victory laps consisted of six circles in measured succession around the fifth floor. I would award his performance a definite 98! (He got two demerits for the eye-roll)

Dennis came home on Monday, and we are so happy. Joy is all relative, and having him in the house “absorbing” his meals is a special occasion. We try not to look back to try to figure out what has happened, nor to look forward to figure out what is going to happen, lest we lose our perspective and our balance. But we do know that your love and tender concern have not allowed us to falter. It seems that since we sent out an SOS, we have been buoyed up, and kept afloat with our heads above water. You continually bless our lives.

Our love to all,
The Clot


Paul said...


We've convinced some lovely, older temple workers that you are one of the 3 Nephites..... except one did ask if the name "Dennis" were really Jewish. We informed her that the name is actually "reformed Croatian." She accepted that quite handily.

You see, the name 'Dennis' has been spoken often and with great admiration in these parts....and even more so with the "Man Upstairs."

We ever pray for thee, our dear compadre.

We follow the blogs on the Clot with great interest and appreciate the Asthon women keeping us current.

Aftayoulowuh, yougohihuh (ancient Maori saying----)

Paul & Danelle

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad that the Mind over Poo Poo worked. I'm wondering about the reception of the triage nurse trying it with a patient or two to see how it goes....you know what they say MIND OVER MATTER!! I'm glad you are home and can relax a little you all amaze me with the courage and fortitude you continue to muster in addition to keeping all of us included! Thanks from those of us that wish we could make things better and hope that our thoughts and prayers will help get you through the rough waters. Chris C

Deanna said...

I'm glad to hear that Dennis is home. For that matter, that you all are home. This has been an unbelievable fight, but one you all (especially) Dennis do with style and courage. I appreciate that you take time to write and I (personally) like all the details. I can relate to the "ice chip diet"-- that has definitely been a good jump start to my diet. You all are constantly on my mind and in my prayers. I love you all.

PS This will put some "gladness" in your heart--Krissie is pregnant!

New York Sims said...

I'm so glad you're back home! I love to read your updates, and I don't ever think there is "too much info." =]

Love you guys, still praying for you all!!


Anonymous said...

Dr. Ashton,
We are glad to know what is going on, since all the Cullimore kids have pretty much flown our coop, some more permanently than others, we don't have the regular contact with you at Willowcreek Pediatrics, but now that we've read the blog and know how to get updated, we'll follow your progress and hope you are back this summer!
We add our prayers to those of your family, friends, neighbors, ward members, patients and collegues! YOU CAN DO IT! Thanks for all you have done for us over the last 28 years! We are grateful for your good care of our kids and your belief in our parenting! THANK YOU!
Kelvyn, Laurie, Courtney, Chris, Clayton, Carson & Cardin Cullimore