Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Tooth Number 4


I spoke with Sally last night.  She's a dental hygienist and said that since she got the news about Gabrielle, she has been praying for her all day long.  How so?  Even I haven't been that diligent.  Well, she's got this wonderfully creative system.  As she works her way through a patient's mouth with all those fun little sharp instruments of torture, each tooth gets assigned a particular person.  The whole time she is working on that tooth, Sally prays for that person.  What a great idea!  I love it and am honored to know that all day long, when Sally gets to Tooth Number 4, Gabrielle is getting an extra prayer sent heavenward on her behalf.  Is it selfish of me to want Tooth Number 4 to be extra dirty so that she will spend more time on it?  Mea culpa.  Maybe tomorrow I can adopt her strategy and assign a different rubber glove to a different person throughout the day.  Probably wouldn't work.  I'd be tempted to keep Gabrielle's glove on all day long and I don't think my subsequent patients would like that.

On the "what's new with Gabrielle?" front, she's had a rough day.  You'll pardon my levity with the rubber glove comment because I am hoping she will read it and take a little cheer, at the expense of some morbid doctor humor (though I can get more morbid...don't tempt me).  The worst part about today is that her wonderful portacath, so carefully placed by the vascular surgeon who had to be flown in from Milwaukee got plugged and therefore needs to be adjusted tomorrow morning.  It is not as involved a procedure as when it was placed, but still requires another procedure, nothing by mouth after midnight and is discouraging as it represents a small setback.

Nothing on the quest for Mr. Potato Head front.  Still trying.  Spirits lagging.  Evenings tend to be the worst.  I just got a phone call from her and she wasn't doing well, even though she has Daniel, The Champion of the World staying with her tonight.  I drove down and hung out with the two of them for an hour.  She kindly let me rub her back and pretended that she needed lotion on her legs so that I could get close to her and rub them for a little bit as well.  She has been having me keep my distance because of my perceived cold (it's nothing, really...I had it checked out by a doctor:  looked in the mirror and pronounced myself fine).  Still, I am being cautious.  I wear a mask when I see her.  The worst part is that I haven't kissed her in three days.  I miss that.  And hugs.  Don't get me started on hugs. 

Her legs have been shaking uncontrollably for the last four hours.  As I was leaving, the nurse gave her some Ativan which seemed to help.  Nausea remains a huge problem, despite two different anti-nausea medications.  Has no appetite.  Had two saltines and three bites of applesauce around 10:30.  She needs a little more calories than that. 

So, that's this evening.  Here's hoping tomorrow is better and that a lot of people with really dirty number Tooth Number 4 will be seeing Sally all day long.


  1. I am so deeply sorry to hear of continuing nausea and other symptoms (tremors). No fair! Recovery is no picnic to begin with, and extra symptoms are tough. Here's hoping to a turnaround day, some lightening of the symptoms, some extra energy, and dreams of skeet shooting. - Christine

  2. Every tooth #4 in my office is going to get an extra scrubbing until Gabrielle is as good as new ! Heck, I'll even throw in #5s too!