Just where has Clif been? — Jan. 30, 2011

by Clif Garboden

I know I’ve been out of touch. I’ve been in Brigham & Women’s Hospital since Friday. I’m okay, but it’s a bit of a saga — see below.

I’m writing this quickly and sloppily on my Netbook and with an IV in my arm and a hunger for anything nourishing (but not goat or goldfish), so excuse the typos, etc.

I’m not sure how regularly I’ll post to this blog, but every time I do, I’ll alert my FB friends and send an email out to the people I usually send funny videos of pandas singing Tosca.

And by the way: THANK YOU for all the emails and well wishes. Don’t ever think that those encouraging words aren’t taken to heart and appreciated. There are so many, that answering each one would be like editing the Fall Preview listings, but I am grateful for your reach-outs. I like you too, and be assured, if you ever get sick, I’m against it.

Now, here’s the saga.

barium swallow

A barium swallow image (not mine)

On Jan. 25, I had a video swallow exam (you drink barium and they video your throat through some scope that works like an x-ray. My swallowing was pronounced horrible. I was aspirating — i.e. letting stuff slip into my lungs. (Barium, by the way, tastes like radioactive wallpaper paste with a twist, but it takes a hansom photo.) The swallow specialist said I should get a feeding tube installed asap.

No problem, I was scheduled to have that done on Jan. 27. But a snowstorm postponed the surgery until Jan.31. And during that lag, I acquired a touch of aspiration pneumonia and became helplessly dehydrated. That landed me (six degrees short of mummification) here at Brigham & Women’s Hospital, where a constant saline IV has brought me back to life. Or perhaps it was the juice of 9 tana leaves they slipped into the IV late Friday. Whatever, I worked, and today I was able to wash up, shave, comb my hair, and pretend I still had some cred among the living.

So, if nothing changes, tomorrow I’ll have my biopsy (they delicately clip a bit of suspect tissue from my throat) and install the feeding tube in my stomach, so I can a least get some nourishment when I can’t swallow. The swallowing is expected to get even worse once treatment starts because I already have so much internal scarring from my last bout with the Evil Mr. C.

Next entry:

  1. Clif, sending you a big hug from Los Angeles. xx

  2. Oh, Clif. What a drag, to put it completely inadequately. Swallowing (and eating) is one of those things we take for granted until… I’m curious about feeding tubes and hope you write about them. Are you still hungry? What about flavor/food cravings? Food for thought… and for blogging. Hey, get your content where you can find it.
    I’m thinking about you and sending you strong healthy thoughts. Love, M

  3. As long as you keep up the great reporting, I’m not (too) worried. How in hell did you get that x-ray posted? Sending soothing vibes. Xxx

  4. Dear Clif: Crapola! Your descriptions are priceless. Actually I think the right word may be “mordant” — which might well be the first time I ever actually used that word. So … uh, thanks?

    Thinking of you lots.

  5. Blech…but at least you have your computer with you. Keep us posted.

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