Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I don't remember much more about that day. I made Julia go home. There was no need for her to sit there and watch me sleep.

We had made sure that the nurses knew that I could not talk. When I pushed the button to call for the nurse, they did not ask me what was wrong. They just came down.

Unfortunately when the nurses changed at 7 the next day, that instruction must have gotten lost. About 9, I pushed the button because I was in pain. The speaker came on and the nurse asked what I needed. I tried to say "pain" but it came out a very weak "ai" so nothing happened.

Julia came back at ten and I got my medicine then. For those that know Julia, of course, she thought she should have spent the night and never left me and it was all her fault.

The only speaking I could do was just vowels sounds. That did not work at all so Julia and I wrote notes. That is right, I wrote Julia a note and she would write me on back. Then we would laugh about it but she would do the same the next time.

The doctor came, gave me some instructions, and we left to go to Julia's. Late afternoon Anne showed up. I had told her not to come, it wasn't necessary. It wasn't necessary but I can tell you it was like the calvary showed up. It was so wonderful to see her. Janice called me on my cell phone and said she was bringing me some potato soup. A long while later she said she had knocked on the doors and no one let her in. It turned out she had gone to my house in Henderson. She brought the soup and I ate a little.

Sometime Julia decided we should stay at my house instead of hers. Since I would stay downstairs and they would stay upstairs we needed a bell to ring if I needed one of them. Anne brought out George Rodney's cow bell, the one he rang at Mississippi State football games. I never needed to ring it.

I spent most of my time sleeping. I didn't need that much pain medicine but when I did take some, I took one tablet instead of two and that put me to sleep.

Anne went to the grocery store to buy food for me but I only drank stuff. It hurt so very much to move my mouth. Also I had very little control over food in my mouth. Things would get lost if they went to the right side. I had little feeling or control over there.

Anne went home the next afternoon. Julia left on Friday and just came down during the day. I needed very little help but I loved having someone here to talk to.

Julia was wonderful to me as usual. I don't know what I would have done without her.

The next two weeks are a blur. I mainly slept and suffered. My mouth felt awful. Many times not painful, just swollen, etc.

I went back to the doctor at one week. He said things were looking good, that I was about a quarter healed. he had said it would take a month to heal but somehow that did not really register to me. But I found that to be true. It was a rough month.

He asked if I wanted any more pain pills. He had prescribed 40 tablets for me and I was allowed 12 a day. I had taken a total of 9. He encouraged me to take more.

I appreciated this. I have read so many articles about doctors afraid to prescribe enough for their patients' pain relief. I have nothing against pain medicine; I just don't like to be so out of it and I take them when I really have to. But any time I am in real pain, I do want to have pain relief.

I drove myself to the next appointment, two weeks out. He said I was 50% healed. He said I could drive if I was not taking pain tablets and again asked if I needed more.

I took the pain tablets infrequently for a month but never used up the original prescription.

I do not need chemo or radiation. I am okay for now. I will just have to go to the doctor every three months because we must carefully watch my mouth from now on.

My speech is not normal now and I don't think it ever will be. I am understandable, except occasionally on the phone. My problem is that part of my tongue is somewhat numb. Also on some letters where my tongue goes against my teeth, my new narrow tongue doesn't quite close up the air and I hiss the letters.

All in all though, I am alive and, very likely, I will not die from this. I have my life back and the loss of part of my tongue can be handled. I am lucky to live in this time period when something can be done about cancer and lucky that I did not suffer more than I did.

I am still weaker than I was but I think time will take care of this. I am back doing the Leslie Sansone walking exercises. At one time, I was doing 4 miles a day. Now I only do 1 mile, but I will build up my time and length as the weeks go by.

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