July 2008
Past Updates

Michael is doing well these days.  His blood tests came back normal and he seems to be healthy.  We are having a
little problem getting him set up with a physiatrist.   To visit one, he needs a referral and copies of his records.  At
that point, he will decide if he wants to take Michael on as a patient. We are working it, but what a pain. Nothing is
ever easy. Hopefully, we will get things going within the next couple of weeks.

Michael decided to pull his G-tube out this week in the early morning hours.  We had a spare on hand, but I could
not get it in even though I tried for over an hour.   I finally gave up and we ended up in the emergency room.  The
doctor on call was unable to get the tube back in and had to go with one that was several sizes smaller in diameter.
 This will allow him to receive his nourishment until we get the proper one installed next Tuesday at Sacred Heart.  
They have to dilate the opening in his stomach to make it happen.

Finally took Michael in for his modified barium swallow test today. We wanted to see if we can start feeding him by
mouth instead of that damn tube.  In a barium swallow test  the patient swallows a variety of liquids and foods
mixed with barium, a substance that allows the radiologist and speech pathologist to see the swallowing process.
While the patient is swallowing, the radiologist takes video X-rays of the mouth and throat that show how food
passes from the mouth through the throat and into the esophagus. If barium enters the windpipe (aspiration), it
shows that the patient is at risk for developing lung infections.

After putting Michael in the most uncomfortable position they could, pressing him up against a large machine,
strapping his feet down and positioning another machine very close to his head, they began the test.  The speech
therapist put some sort of pudding in his mouth with a spoon and Michael dribbled it out immediately.  She then
asked me if he could use a straw.  I told her that if he could use a straw, we wouldn't be having a modified barium
swallow test done.  She tried once more with another spoon of slop and then she gave up.  Evidently, these people
are not used to dealing with people in Michael's condition. What a waste of time.


                                                          What I was hoping to see today.

While at the hospital, one of the technicians asked what happened to Michael to put him in this condition.  I told her
it was a near drowning, I really didn't want to go into detail, I have told the story a million times over the past 3
years.  She then asked " He nearly drowned?"  I then had to explain everything to her. I told her how 5 people
planned a beach party and that Michael was allowed to attend.  I told her that everyone there except Michael was
an employee of the
Four Points Sheraton on Okaloosa Island, including a bartender that worked the bar in the
hotel.  I told her how the bartender supplied alcohol to minors, how one of the people brought vodka and left it
unattended on the beach, how Michael consumed the alcohol, staggered into the Gulf of Mexico and died. I told her
how some of the party goers lied to the police and the others did not come forward until I started having people
arrested. I told her that near drowning was not the proper term for what happened to Michael, that manslaughter
was a much better description.  I then stepped off of my soapbox and we went home.

I use a Hoyer lift most of the time to transfer Michael from the floor to his bed or chair.  It takes 72 pumps on the
Hoyer's handle to lift him high enough.  I do this several times a day.  You would think I would have arms like
Popeye, but my stomach is the only part that is growing.  Sux getting old.

Take care,


July 6, 2008
Michael had a  cold a couple of weeks ago. Nothing serious, but I always worry when he's sick. Claritan and a nasal
decongestant helped and allowed him to sleep some. His sleep schedule varies.  Sometimes he's asleep at 10:00
p.m., most times, though, it is after 11:00. He normally does not sleep in, rising at 5:00 - 5:30 A.M. However, it
seems that he does sleep in on weekends.  Maybe he is trying to give his old man a break.

Michael had some blood drawn last week for a routine check-up.  We will find out the results this week or early
next week. He will be going to his regular doctor, but soon  we are going to be taking him to a physiatrist, which is
a doctor that specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R).  Physiatrists deal with functional
restoration of a person affected by physical disability.  

Thanks for checking in.