Monday, April 17, 2006

[Why a pork chop? Read on to learn more...]

So… I got my cell phone bill today for the month starting March 10th.

$597.88 … and no, I’m not kidding.

Thank you, brain tumor.

Mike looked physically good today. He was up in a chair for almost 2 hours at lunch-time as his mom and I arrived and Scott Greer visited. He definitely was getting tired and started making less sense the longer he was awake, but was alert, had good color, and good numbers and vital signs.

In the late afternoon I spent about an hour with him asking him a lot of questions and trying to figure out just when things in his short term memory disappeared – poof - . It was wild to watch it. I brought him a piece of pizza (since his sodium is down) and he seemed to enjoy it. After a couple of minutes, he moved to his hospital-food dinner and then I saw him poking at the pizza with a fork. “What is this,” he asked, “bread?”

He literally has zero short-term memory. Anything longer than 2 minutes disappears. And you can watch it vanish as you’re talking to him.

Funny example:

This afternoon I told Mike I had something he had to remember because it was a great way to get Mary Javian’s goat (and yes, I’m borrowing colloquialisms from my parents). I told him that just before his craniotomy he was starving because he hadn’t eaten in about 16 hours. Mary told him to think of what he would really love to eat after surgery – anything at all – and that she would bring it to him. He immediately replied, “Mashed potatoes, pork chops, and spinach.” “Shit,” is what was going through Mary’s head because, like me, Meh does not cook at all. But, she agreed to bring it anyway. Today Mary asked if Mike had been asking about the pork chops, mashed potatoes and spinach.

“Not yet,” I replied.

Mary’s response: “Whew. Thank gosh for short-term memory loss.”

So, I relayed this story to Mike today and he laughed really hard. I then told him he had to remember pork chops, mashed potatoes and spinach so that the next time Mary came to visit he could say, “Yo… where’s my pork chops, mashed potatoes and spinach, bizatch?” We then went over the items together three times in a row. Then I immediately said, “And why do you need to remember these things?”

Mike: “Ummm… because Mary said that after surgery she would bring them to me.”
Danna: “And what are those items.”
Mike: “Pork chops…. [pause] …. Applesauce… and apple pie.”
Danna: “Seriously?”
Mike: “Yeah.”
Danna: “No. Pork chops, mashed potatoes and spinach.”
Mike: “Ok.”
Danna: “And why is that a funny thing to say to Mary?”
Mike: “Because she’s… cooking them for me?”
Danna: “Mmmm… but that’s not actually funny.”
Mike: “No, it’s not.”
Danna: “So, why do you need to remember these three things?
Mike: “Because Cheryl’s going to bring me pork chops, applesauce, and green beans?”

I literally burst out laughing. It was so unbelievable.

I also think it’s really important that friends know just where Mike’s at these days if you are planning to visit. If he’s really tired and drifts off to sleep and then starts talking it’s totally nonsense and can be a little disconcerting. Particularly because his eyes are open.

Also, he asked me at least 6 times if I would please bring him is jeans to put on, which he’s not allowed to do in the ICU. He has to wear the hospital gown. When he asks things over and over, I try to bring him to the logical conclusion by asking other questions. As I was describing it to Kevin, as you’re dealing with him, it’s a combination of Mike, an Alzheimer’s patient and a toddler. But as long as you do the best you can to not patronize him and keep in mind that he is pretty content moment to moment, it makes it easier.

That’s it for now. Thanks for all those who have volunteered to help out with things. Signing up for dinner-dates with Mike (even outside of the May1-5 window) is a great idea. He likes the company and it’s a huge help to me.

Love to all,


Anonymous said...

Hey Danna,
I've been getting updates from "the gang" and just wanted you to know that you, Mike, and Baxter are in my thoughts. Please keep me on your list for babysitters if you need a break.

Susan said...

Pork chops & apple sauce? Obviously he grew up watching the Brady Bunch. Did he say it like Humphrey Bogart? This will make no sense if you don't remember Peter Brady doing the bit.

Thanks for the update Danna.
Love, Susan