Friday, June 19, 2009

A toast to my tube

Whew! After six months of whining, kvetching and turning a blind eye to reality, I finally have gone through all five Kübler-Ross stages after losing my ability to eat through my mouth.

If you're thinking, "Dude, what do you want, a medal?" my response is, "Hell, yeah!"

In fact, gimme five medals: one each for Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

My Kübler-Ross phase of Denial was just before I went under prior to having a hole punched in my stomach to make way for my G-tube. The surgeons weren't going to install a tube in my tummy, I convinced myself; instead, they were going to surprise me with a nose job and when I wake up I'm gonna be so cute that the parents of the Jonas Brothers will want to adopt me.

I passed through the Anger stage during the weeks when I was threatening to flog anyone who approached me with my floppy tube.

Bargaining was when I had fooled myself into believing that recovery would handily arrive if I would only be a good boy and get through just one more case of Isosource formula. (That was 68 cases, 1,620 cans and 607,500 calories of Isosource ago.)

I ran into a nasty patch of Depression on the day that I played G-tube Roulette. I peeled the labels off containers of motor oil, WD-40 and a few cans of Isosource, arranged the cans in a row on my kitchen table, wrapped a blindfold around my eyes and selected one of the cans before dumping its contents down my tube.

Finally, having arrived at Acceptance, I am now at peace with the 12 inches of rubber that's tethered to my tummy.

To quote Harry Nilsson: People, let me tell you about my best friend (inanimated division): my trusty G-tube.

I twirl my G-tube around when I'm in a good mood. I mime karaoke tunes with my G-tube in the shower. On Election Day, I let my G-tube wear my "I Voted" sticker. I pop my G-tube's cap and bring it to my ear so I can eavesdrop on what's going on in my G.I. tract. I swing my G-tube like a lasso and use it to rope the remote control for my television. I put "Rubberband Man" on my stereo and dance with my G-tube in my living room.

Yes, my G-tube and I have a blast getting through this thing called life. And frankly, I get a little sad when I button up my shirt and go to work each morning because I know I won't be seeing my G-tube again until it's time for lunch.

In this "Who Wants to Be a Cancer Survivor?" game show I'm playing, my G-tube is my life line. Without it, I'd be a bag of bones by now.

Still, my relationship with my G-tube stops short of being a till-death-do-us-part pact. When the day when I regain the ability to eat through my mouth finally arrives, I'll be thrilled to have my doctors remove my tube and dump it in the nearest receptacle of medical waste.

But till then, my G-tube is my lucky rubbery charm.

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