36 Hours and counting

It’s less than 36 hours now before my appointment to have the stomach tube pulled!

I’m excited, but I’m also a bit anxious. I don’t have very good memories of my first visit to the Interventional Radiology department, and so, while I’m confident that the extraction procedure is simple and easy, I can’t manage to convince my back-brain. That’s the part that remembers being in pain, and drugged, but not drugged enough to either stop caring about the pain, or miss the seeming disorganization and unpleasantness of the staff. It really doesn’t want to go back to that room, and it’s allied itself with the instinctive resistance one feels to having something long and snaky pulled out of one’s gut. So I am aware of some emotional “static” at the thought of going there Thursday morning.

I’m not, however, worried about being able to nourish myself after the tube is gone. In fact, tonight I had a small baked potato! I couldn’t manage the skin, but the yummy yellow inside got swallowed fine. Perhaps the butter coating helped. Afterwards, I had another bowl of the congee, or rice porridge I made the other night. It was so much like eating that, when I went later to make my IBP it felt like I was just making something to drink, and not a “meal”. Just another sign that I’m moving away from being constantly worried about feeding myself.

I’ve also made some progress with swallowing small pills, but it’s a haphazard process. I haven’t yet figured out a reliable technique. Still, the pills are getting down, if not always on the first, or first few tries.

My swallowing toward the end of last week was being bothered by a sore throat, which I connect to the development of a new abcess, approximately where I emitted a staple a while back. Over the weekend the inflammation went down, and my sore throat went away, but the lump remains, and no staple yet. I’m keeping it under observation, but it does feel just like the staple eruption, and not like any Other Thing. I’m planning on getting it checked out when I’m at the hospital.

Since Saturday I’ve been wearing yet another bit of acupuncture style in my ears. I’ve graduated from magnetic BBs to itsy-bitsy things Dr. Lu called staples. I have one in each ear, inside in a place where I can’t see them, and they are covered with an adhesive covering, so Kimberly can’t see much either. They feel like very tiny lumps smaller than the BBs, and if they are poking into my ear cartilage, it isn’t very much. I can’t feel them, and can only hope they are aligning my chi properly when I press on them while swallowing. I expect they’ll be gone after tomorrow, when I have my next acupuncture session.

I’m taking it as a sign of my further recovery that I’m actually finding a bit of interest in holiday preparations. I put up our outdoor lights, and the electric candles in the upstairs windows. Today I actually packed some packages and endured the line at the Post Office. I even was at the mall this weekend, and, while I didn’t buy any gifts, I also didn’t freak out at the crowds, the stores selling hideous junk to people intending to give it to a loved one, or the cell phone booths that seemed placed every 50 feet. I’ve even had some real ideas for what to get for people this year. And it isn’t even the 15th! (for a few more hours, anyway.)

As usual, Kimberly and I will be flying to Houston for Christmas. It will be interesting comparing this visit with our visit at Halloween. I won’t be carrying around a pump this time! I’ll be able to have something to drink on the airplane. And the tube won’t leak, because it’ll be gone!. And I won’t have to go off to hook up my bag, or figure out how to schedule tube feedings around family activities. It’ll be a lot different, and much, much nicer. Oh, and I’ll be able to use that luggage space for presents instead of pump supplies!

That’s it for now. I’ll post an update on the tube extraction on Thursday.