Thursday, November 26, 2009

Surprising reasons for thanks giving

Dear Family and Friends,

My First surprise -- that while I was in the chicken coop Tues morning, Francis, who couldn't get up out of a chair for almost three days because of a med that worked (which we then dropped,) -- used his walker to get to the side porch and bent over to pick it up! Shortly afterwards he knelt on our own bed (on a frame 3" from the floor) to facilitate my positioning a suppository, but then raised himself up again with the walker's help, virtually from the floor! All with some alacrity!

Second surprise -- that someone for whom within two days 2 suppositories and an enema yielded mostly only mucous, -- and especially for someone who had lost his supper the TWO PREVIOUS evenings, I was surprised that this someone requested on our return trip from Freeport that we stop at the Thai Restaurant near our home! He craved fresh spring rolls. So we stopped and he ate two pieces and shared some of my meal of Ginger Tofu with Brown Rice. All with no problem! I mean, though he ate slowly, he didn't have to wait as long as usual between bites. And he didn't lose this supper.

This episode reminded me of our stopping to satisfy Francis' craving for a bagel some weeks past while returning from seeing Dr. Tsao, (Fern,) his acupuncturist. This time we were returning from his first treatment (since the bone cancer diagnosis,) of Cranial Osteopathy (as distinguished from Cranio sacral therapy which some massage therapists offer.) Francis has been seeing Dr. Kevin Zorsky his DO regularly for the last 20 years. Powerful treatments these -- Acupuncture and Cranial Osteopathy!

Third surprise -- that this Thanksgiving Day, when I was prepared to use two techniques Ron Lemire taught me earlier this week (He arrived right after the enema attempt) to stimulate evacuation NATURALLY, Francis announced preemptively this morning that "it" had happened at 5:00 am!

A Digression on inducing peristalsis:
One technique is acupressure applied in a pulsating way at a specific point at the base of the index finger. The second is giving gentle external massage to the colon itself, beginning with the ascending colon, moving across the transverse colon, and down along the descending colon that ends in the rectum and anus. Before trying it out on Francis I knew just the book to review: Body Stories A Guide to Experiential Anatomy by Andrea Olsen and Caryn McHose.

I can't resist sharing this gem I found before putting the book down: "This book is dedicated to Alison who reminded me that the function of a book about anatomy is not to demystify the body -- it is to help embody the mystery." I really really like that quote! It hints at what I've discovered is a profound spirituality.

My fourth and last surprising reason for thanks giving, and the deepest one, is rather personal. As those of you who know me well have surely observed, -- in areas that interest or compel me I'm a person who likes to go into detail. I like to do important things thoroughly and well. That trait has its advantages. But it also has disadvantages: I can get too meticulous for my own good. Lucky for me Francis has learned to live with me, all these 37 years, appreciating the advantages I bring to our relationship.

But on Tuesday, on top of mounting fatigue from lack of regular sleep, there were extra snafus to deal with, like Francis' PCA ringing a loud alarm every two minutes. So while he pressed the stop button each time, I was calling for a VNA nurse to come to our home. The message flashing on the screen read "High Pressure." It was easy to see why: there was blood in the tubing of his subcutaneous infusion pump. The whole episode took over two hours to clear up because the nurse got lost en route here, and then needed help herself to insert new tubing before she changed the needle. Apparently the nurse who had changed the needle earlier in the day had hit a small vein or capillary....It was all, well, -- very tiring.

In any case, later on -- or was it the next day? -- as I lay on our own bed, with Francis in his hospital bed only 13' away, I was talking nonstop, he told me later. I was sharing ideas I had gleaned how to help him. That's when I heard him say two words I never heard him use with me in all these 37 years: "Shut up! Give us both a break!"

Of course I was surprised, very surprised, even initially stunned. But I knew immediately there was no anger in it. And he was right! So I shut up, and increasingly realized this was exactly what I needed to hear: I very much needed to stop and just let go. So without another word I let go gratefully, and it did me a world of good! I remembered my mantra. I remembered to practice "savasana," the yoga posture "corpse pose," -- which is a total surrender. This little beneficial wake-up slap is a reminder I won't forget. We laughed about it today. Francis is good for me. And I know I'm good for him too. What reason to give thanks!


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