Thursday, December 5, 2013

You've Got To Be Kidding

  I've not slept well for a couple of days since the big cough, vomit, cough, vomit, thing on Tuesday. Where I've gotten most of my sleep has been during the day at an hour or two at a hitch, just doing that all day long. I slept a lot yesterday during the day, but had fallen asleep about 2215 give or take. Then, around 0100 or so I woke up. My shirt was damp and making me chilly. Couldn't for the life of me figure out why. I checked my Feeding tube and the two places to feed were capped. But the one that you use to inflate the balloon that keeps the Feeding Tube in looked weird. There's a reason it looked weird, part of it was missing. How strange. I checked and sure enough there were the two pieces that make up that particular end lying on my lap. I got those back where they belong, but that didn't explain the shirt. Then WHAMO! It dawns on me that if that part was completely out, then the balloon had to have deflated. Uh oh. Yes, I looked. Yes, the Feeding Tube had come far enough out that I could see part of the balloon sticking out of my stomach stoma. Uh oh. No sweat, I've got a place that's marked on how far in it should go. There's a round piece over the line that keeps it from going too far in, that's my marker. So I gently shove the line back in (okay not so gently, more like "Shove that fucker in before it pops out and you have to take your ass to the ER to get it put back"). Sweet. Uh oh, how do I re-inflate the tube? I remember I've got that tiny syringe for measuring the amount of Evil Steroid liquid. I grab that, hold it as tight as I can against the "Balloon" marked tube and push. It's working! Took a couple more times before I got resistance on the syringe, which I figure means the balloon is as full as it needs to be, and I'd better stop before I pop it. Talk about a royal pooch screw that would be if I blew the balloon up.  For now, this tops my "What The Fuck Could Possibly Be Next?" list.  I mean, really. Now that it's back together, I can't even pull the damn end marked "Balloon" pieces apart, let alone figure out how they came out to begin with. Perhaps I've got a Poltergeist messing with me.

   I've had some questions from some folks that haven't been around since the beginning, so I'm going to take the time to kind of fill in some blanks for them, if you old timers will allow me the time to do so. For starters, I can taste some things not because I can swallow anything, but because my esophageal sphincter (the muscle that closes your esophagus between mouth and stomach) only works at about 85% efficient. It never completely closes. If I push really fast while I'm getting a drink, or if I'm putting soup, coffee, or even my feed, too fast, it will back up my esophagus and get onto the back of my tongue enough I can taste. Sometimes that's nice, other times it's a royal pain in the ass because my food tastes worse than it smells. It smells like a decaying raccoon. That's why I can taste somethings, and why it makes me vomit sometimes when I cough. The mucus I produce gets hung up between esophagus and mouth, and be coughing it triggers my gag reflex and I vomit. Yes, it's more fun that having an eye dug out with a rusty spoon, but only by a little.
  Some of the other things that are trouble some is not having a soft palate any more. That's the small muscle and skin that covers your nasal passages from your mouth. It helps make the pressure differential that allows you to swallow more easily. It also keeps anything from getting into your sinus if you vomit. By not having that, every time I vomit I have my sinuses filled as well. And yes, that too is almost as much fun as having an eye dug out with a rusty spoon. And once again, just barely as much fun. Along with that is not having a base of tongue any longer. That's the muscle that moves your tongue forward and backward and really aids in swallowing. It gives whatever you're eating or drinking a big shove down your esophagus to get a strong swallow started. If not for all the surgery this time, combined with the radiation from treatment five years ago, I may have been able to swallow. In fact, I had started swallowing a little just ahead of July 7 of this year when I went in for reconstructive surgery. The first of what I hoped would be several that would also get me fixed so that I could swallow. It was also the time they found my cancer again. Damn stuff just couldn't stand leaving me alone. This time there's nothing more the docs could do and I became terminal.
  Along with soft tissue removed, I had part of my left jaw taken out, and to reconstruct the bone and muscle taken, they used part of my right quad. That died and in turn gave me a lovely bacterial infection. They took that out (second surgery) and put my left pec in it's place. Then later they had to go in and surgically clean and washout my infected areas (third surgery. That put me around 28 hours in surgery, including dying for a short time on the table for the third surgery. I believe I have been under the knife for approximately 30 hours total. That's a long time to be knocked out, for sure. Although, there are people who have to undergo many more surgeries than I had, and are under the knife for a lot more hours as well. My hat's off to those folks. They are real troopers. By the time I got out of the last one, and found out they couldn't and wouldn't do any more reconstructive surgery, I was damn tired of being poked, pushed and prodded. Counting the week prior to surgery, I'd spent nearly 30 days in Houston, and 22 days of that in a hospital bed. Went in January 22 for my first surgery, left February 12th to come home for a week before having to go right back for further check ups. I got to Houston and MD Anderson on January 13, a Sunday, to get all my blood work and a weeks worth of meetings and tests run before surgery. My Houston friends, nothing personal, but I'm telling ya I never want to see Houston again, ever.  I've not had the best of times when I was there.

  I was waxing a little nostalgic the other day, and remembering back how much things have changed since I was a young un. We got two and a half channels on the TV when I was a kid. The first one I remember was a huge Zenith on a metal stand. Black and white, of course. I can still tell you what furniture and where it was sitting in the living room on the day Kennedy was shot and killed in Dallas. I'd not been three very long, but I can still see that clear as day in my memory. I told my mom, she didn't believe me, and seeing her come into the living room and seeing her sit on the couch and cry. She liked Kennedy, even though she and dad were big in the Republican party in Russell County Kansas at the time. I remember watching "How The Grinch Stole Christmas", "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer", "Charlie Brown Christmas", and a lot of other shows along those lines in Black and White on the two and a half channels. Big time stuff when I was a kid were any musical that was on the boob tube, Ed Sullivan, The Smothers Brothers, Laugh In, as well as all the celebrity variety shows. Carol Burnett was a must see thing when I was a kid.
  Some time around the time I was six or seven, the old man got us a 25" console color TV. Man, that was shittin in tall cotton, I'll tell ya. And yet, only about 50% of the shows were in color then. I remember seeing Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Wild Wild West, and several other shows going from black and white to "Living Color" as I got older. The console was also top of the line in that it had a remote control that turned the knob, instead of a kid or parent having to get up and walk across the room to change channels. It clunked when you changed channels. It had to, there were not digital numbers, so you either went up or down the available numbers, 2 thru 13, then a few UHF  channels. Crazy shit.
In around 1972 or 73, when we lived in Great Bend Kansas, we got cable TV for the first time. Every channel had something on it. Twelve different channels, twelve different stations. Some repeated NBC, ABC and CBS, but there were channels out of Kansas City. KBMA was the big one. That was uptown baby. Jonny Sato and Giant Robot, Speed Racer, reruns of Gilligan's Island, and on Sunday, Tarzan Theater. It's also where I got into watching The Midnight Special hosted by Wolfman Jack. Great rock bands playing live on the show. Sometimes two to four different bands, all playing two or three songs each. If I'm not mistaken, David Bowie had what would be the first music video on there as well. Done to "Fame". Pretty cool shit.
  I got my first shot of Monty Python's Flying Circus as well. Good lord what funny shit that was then, and still is. Shows were on in the 1970's that I don't think would ever see light of day anymore. They'd be far too honest for the Politically Correct crowd, and the producers and actors would be cast out as demons for even thinking of showing them. Shows like "All In The Family". Archie Bunker, America's favorite bigot. That show even dealt with his wife Edith being raped. You'd never see that now. It was an honest look at it as well.  Edith was too embarrassed and ashamed to even call the police or tell Archie, and in the end, she did both. Pretty damn insightful for it's day and age. "Maude" was ahead of it's time as well. Although my parents didn't like that one. "Sanford and Son" with Redd Foxx. Funny shit. It's a shame we've gotten so politically correct that we can't even put shows like those that ran in the mid 1970's on the air forty years later, for fear someone will be offended. Quite frankly, I think those programs did more for opening  up the public's eyes to what really went on in the American Society and closed some gaping holes in our beliefs. It seems to me, even with Watergate, the Iranians taking American hostages, that we were a lot less divided and more honest with each other than we are at this point in time. At least we admitted that there were bigots in all races, and pointed out how damn stupid they cam off. It's a shame we can't seem to be that honest with ourselves as a nation, all because it's not Politically Correct to point out that all races and creeds have their fair share of bigotry and racism. Perhaps one day we can get back to the point we were in the 70's, when race mattered a little less, and character mattered a whole lot more.
 I'm sure my opinion will stir up some of my more liberal friends, and maybe some of my more conservative friends as well. That's too bad, because in doing so they'll have proved my point for me. I appreciate that.

   Book of Rock: Get Comfortable in Your Own Skin First, before you start to tell me how I should behave, dress, or present myself. You can't enjoy other people as just people if you can't first enjoy your own company, and can laugh at your own silly shit. Do that, and the world becomes your playground, not something you have to put up with so you can grumble about how fucking unfair people are to you.  Get used to it, it's not fair anywhere at any time. It's just life. Learn to enjoy it

 Hugs, kisses, and cheap feels for the ladies. Hearty handshakes and BroHugs for the guys. Now, got out and Carpe Jugulum!

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