Monday, August 26, 2013

Houston, We Have Motility

At least a measure of it, anyway.

The regimen that Doctor Stoole gave me last Wednesday is doing its job. I've achieved a modicum of regularity. Not like your regular regularity, but a lot better than I had for the three weeks prior.

That's allowing me to get more food in, which is giving me more energy.

Oh, and the antibiotic is also doing its job and the sinus infection seems to be on the wane. The radiation-induced mucous is subsiding: much better some days (like yesterday), then returns the next (today) but not as bad.

Last night I got up a couple of times in the middle of the night to clear mucous and there just wasn't very much. I was nonplussed. That's all there is?

Remember there's a chain going on here: the sinus infection and radiation-induced mucous are causing mucositis on my tongue, which is surprisingly painful. For that I take oxycodone (albeit a pretty low dose), which in turn causes constipation, which in turn has made it difficult to eat. I had only lost about 8 pounds through most of treatment. Then the constipation hit and I've now lost 20 pounds.

I put food in my mouth today for the first time since the beginning of July. A small piece of watermelon. I'm pleased to report that it didn't taste horrible! But I'm used to having only liquid in my mouth for all that time (buffered saline rinse) so food feels strange. Even the little bit of granularity in watermelon is unpleasant. I'm going to have to start with smooth foods like pudding or maybe ice cream if the dairy doesn't cause too much mucous production.

I'm craving food more every day. Everything smells and looks good.

What I really want is a cheeseburger. That's probably just about that last thing I'll be able to eat as I relearn how.

But before I get there, I've still got to get this sinus infection completely cured. At the moment I can't swallow liquid or food without also swallowing some snot, and that is, you guessed it, unpleasant: it makes me gag.

Remember that "bottom rung" thing where mucous very deep in my throat would send me into panicky coughing and gagging fits? I've discovered a counterintuitive solution that works sometimes: swallow some mucous. It's weird, but it changes the sensation on that bottom rung and takes away the worst part of the coughing impulse. For some reason in that particular situation swallowing mucous doesn't make me gag.

So, things are noticeably better than they were a week ago.

I've mentioned before that the watchword during this recovery period is "patience". I can already feel how slow it's going to feel. Or, I guess more accurately, it feels very slow (already).

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