My tubes that I have been living with since January are out! The doctor took them out yesterday, and the last one came out with a loud “pop!” Now I can taste food again, but I can taste medicine, too, and most of it tastes—well—icky.
I don’t remember them being put in, but Whitley does, and he says it took literally just a couple of minutes. A doctor came into my hospital room with a briefcase. He opened it, took out what looked sort of like a hole punch and punctured my stomach. Then he inserted what is known as a g-tube. It didn’t hurt. I assume that he’d used some minor anesthesia. From then until now, I lived on Glucerna. I have tried a few sips and it’s not for me, but I’m grateful that it kept me alive and healthy for six months. You don’t taste anything that goes in through a g-tube—unless, of course, you burp. Then you have the weirdness of tasting food without having eaten it.
What happened to me was that, during the 48 hours of my stroke, the damage kept getting worse. When I got to the hospital, I was weak but I could walk. A few hours later, I had lost the use of my left leg. Then I became unable to swallow. All this time, I was in the emergency room and the doctors were frantically trying to figure out why the stroke kept on getting worse.
Then I was moved into the hospital population and they thought it had stopped. The next thing we knew, I’d lost the use of my left arm. Now the doctors were desperate. They told us the one thing you never want to hear in a hospital: “your case is unique.”
They went for high pressure therapy, which is very dangerous because it can cause an additional stroke. But it can also stop capillaries from leaking, which is fortunately what happened to me. I did not know that Whitley was sitting at my side day and night, worrying that the therapy might do me in.
So, here I am, still on the mend. I can stand up but not walk, my left arm is a little stronger, and I can swallow again. I have some advice for you if something like this befalls you: never look back to the way you were, and keep working every day to get better. Never quit!