With the coming of the fall season have also come some changes in Melanie’s routine and support. She spent a few days in the hospital on September 12-14 due to her being undernourished and dehydrated. As noted in previous posts, she continues to have difficulties swallowing which effects her ability to take in and keep down solid food and liquids. It was determined that a feeding tube would be the best option to make sure she was receiving proper calorie and nutrition intake.
The nose tube was pretty miserable. Nothing like have a tube irritating the back of your throat when you have a sensitive gag reflex to begin with. She actually had to have 3 different tubes inserted over a 4 day period. The first one slipped out when she leaned forward in the hospital. The second one become clogged with medication and had to be removed because her husband did not flush the line with enough water (I am learning how to be a better home medical assistant). The third time was part of the surgical procedure to have a more permanent stomach tube/port “installed.” The nose line allowed them to puff up the stomach with air and have a way to feed her until the stomach tube was “operational.” The stomach tube has turned out to be a workable option and Melanie is now taking in about 1500 calories a day via a “Fibersource” formula.
Another fall adjustment has been the use of a disability placard when we take Melanie to the hospital, doctor’s office, or her occasional visit to Costco. While it has been a pleasant and helpful option when taking Melanie out and about, it is also a “reality check” on her current physical condition and how the disease and treatment have taken a toll. It is a regular reminder of how different life is, but we are grateful for the assistance it provides.
Melanie continues to be in good spirits and deals with her current situation with grace and patience. She continues to enjoy visits from friends and family. Elisha Daines, a dear friend from her teenage years extended her visit to Provo from Wisconsin to spend more time with Melanie. We also enjoyed visits from her sisters Chalice (AZ), Collette & endurance athlete Carter (ND), and Michelle with Gray and Tanner (AZ).
The ongoing support from neighbors and ward members is outstanding and has been a great blessing to our family. You never know what a difference a clean house and clean laundry can make until you realize how you have just been getting by. Also, having people sitting with Melanie and being there for her is a great comfort and relief. It is amazing what happens when the caring and compassion from so many is put into motion. Not to mention that it has been sustained for over the past 15 months.
While we may not know what the future may hold, we are grateful for all of the help we are receiving along the journey. We anticipate many changes this fall season, and continue to hope for the best.