Monday, September 28, 2009

Dem bones gonna rise?

Maybe I need to look at replacing my bed and mattress with a simple wooden chair.

Because as soon as I sat down on the bench in the waiting area of Kaiser's Head and Neck Surgery Department on Monday morning, I fell fast asleep. That never happens when I lay down on my bed at home.

I might still be snoozing on that bench if Soledad, one of Dr. B1's medical assistants, hadn't poked me when it was my turn to be seen.

Fortunately, I had completed my homework before coming to the Head and Neck Department. Just as Soledad led me to a seat in Dr. B1's exam room, Dr. B1 walked in and I held up my notepad with a lengthy list of symptoms and questions (and a congratulatory note on Dr. B1's nuptials in Iowa a few weekends ago).

Dr. B1 read my list and then examined my face and mouth. Right off the bat, he saw that my face was more swollen than it was six weeks ago, when he last saw me. He also said that the swelling in my tongue has diminished over that span of time.

I was thrilled that Dr. B1 didn't again tell me that we need to wait and see how my symptoms develop before any action is taken. Instead, Dr. B1 said that I may have infection in the bone of my jaw and that I need to be seen by a maxillofacial surgeon to determine the next steps, which could include removing bone from my jaw.

Guess I can abandon any dream I harbored of playing the lead role in a "Dick Tracy" remake. But if my jaw does go under the knife, I could emerge from surgery as a doppelganger for one of the villains in Tracy's Rogue Gallery.

I can live with that, if it means that the pain I've been experiencing diminishes or goes away entirely.

After my appointment in Head and Neck, I hopped across the street to Member Services to resolve a problem with my G-tube.

Ten months of tube feedings have eroded the rubber cap of the G-tube to a nub. Any day now I expect the piece to break off completely, and if that happens it will be a bona fide crisis.

Sure, I could probably use a wad of chewing gum to prevent the G-tube from leaking but I can't chew so I would need to borrow someone else's gum. I just don't want to risk alienating my friends or resort to looking under table tops in coffee shops in order to retain the integrity of my G-tube.

Weeks ago, my doctor called Kaiser's Durable Medical Equipment Department to get the piece replaced, but they delivered an entire G-tube, not just the piece that needs to be replaced.

This morning, my mission was to correct that error. I showed Laurent in Member Services my G-tube —weeks of using the locker room and showers at the gym have eliminated my bashfulness about brandishing my G-tube in public— and he assured me that the piece I need will be delivered in the next few days.

I have the highest confidence in Laurent —but it's the folks in Durable Medical Equipment that I worry about.

Pray for my rubber cap, readers.


  1. Paul I'm sorry to hear about the infection to your jaw ... and yes we'll pray for a rubber cap.

    On a side note ... your posts always put a smile on my face ... I look forward to reading them.

  2. Hi Daria

    I feel like I know you after reading your blog for the past several months. You've taught me a lot --thanks!

    Folks, click on Daria's icon in my Followers box (fourth from the left, top row) to find her excellent blog.

    Good luck with your chemo, Daria. I'll be hoping for the best for you!


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