Four

Months, that is, since Paul’s surgery. And things are better than they were a month ago.

Feeding is better. For the past couple of weeks, Paul has been able to get enough calories. In the past few days, he has been so successful that he’s regained a pound or two of the 8 pounds or so that he’s lost since the surgery. Unfortunately, he has to spend a lot of time {whirr-click-click-click} hooked up, but there’s a lot less discomfort than {whirr-click-click-click} pre-pump.

Swallowing is better. Hearing that from the speech pathologist has improved Paul’s spirits considerably. He continues to nibble on Cheerios, Skittles-type candies, and the occasional English muffin with peanut butter. He has also been chewing gum recently, as a way to stimulate his saliva production, so that it is thinner and less sticky. The cold water “swallowing practice” is not yet well established; we’re going to work on that.

Swelling/scarring/range of motion is better. The physical therapy has been helping on a number of fronts. I’ll coax Paul outside for some more photos soon, although I think that the improvement is more palpable than visible, especially later in the day (when the swelling is more noticeable).

Attitude is better. Paul’s feeling sluggish, and wanting to do something to change that, is a big improvement over last month’s bouts of despair and hopelessness. Chores are good. Treadmill is good. Thinking about the future is good.

Medical billing is… now, that would be too much to hope for, wouldn’t it? However, the statement from MD Anderson arrived yesterday; looks like Christina sent it the day that I spoke with her. And, as near as I can figure out, there aren’t any unexpected charges, and Group Health has been paying just about everything since Paul (more than) met the stop loss. (They wouldn’t cover the dentist Paul saw at MD Anderson, but we had been warned that is often the case, and it’s pretty clear on our insurance policy that they don’t, so fine.) So maybe medical billing is better about like swallowing is better; not as much as we’d like, but moving in the right direction.