“And how are you today?”And he would respond:
“As long as I can sit up and take nourishment, I guess I can’t complain too much.”
We are very grateful that N can still sit up and take nourishment, even though it isn’t very much and even though it gets sucked out of his stomach fairly quickly. He has a great deal that he could complain about.
Occasionally, the suction for the NG tube can be turned off for about a half hour or so while he is eating to give his stomach a chance to absorb a bit more of the nutrients, but inevitably the suction must be turned back on and then it all comes back out. Or not.
They are trying all sorts of things to see if he can chew it fine enough, and sometimes he can, and sometimes he can’t, and then the tube becomes clogged.
We have become quite adept at unclogging the tube if it clogs at the connector, but if it gets clogged in his stomach, or starts to pull out, then we have to get help, which is the main reason why we are not able to bring him home. It would take the hospice nurse about 45 minutes to get here.
On Saturday, we had a rather nicer Christmas dinner with friends – which was a blessing because we had totally forgotten about trying to make a Christmas dinner for ourselves – than he did, but it did us good to see him enjoy the taste of the food he was given...
and wearing a new hat his Uncle Andy got him. Unfortunately he is not able to wear a new shirt he he was given given because (1) the heat is cranked up very high in the nursing home and he overheats easily, and (2) even though his flesh is beginning to melt away, his belly has swollen so much because of the effects of the tumor that the t-shirt it is too tight and uncomfortable against his skin.
Nate developed a very special relationship with the crew that mans the local train that delivers empty cars and picks up full ones on Sundays at one of the local manufacturers, and I was going to make an effort yesterday to today to disconnect him from the suction pump, bundle him up, and take him for a ride to where they do the switching, but unfortunately, it was very cold and N said he was too weak to walk to where the train would be. If it warms up enough toward the end of the week, I will try again to wheel him out to the car and at least bring him home for a little while.
In the meantime, while he is still alert and oriented and not requiring so much morphine that he is out of it, we are trying to make the best of what time we have left.