Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hope - 2, Docs - 0

Much like Dice K last night and Jon Lester in his last start for the Red Sox, Hope pitched a shutout today. We trudged back down I-4 through rain uphill both ways to Moffitt (it doesn't rhyme with profit by chance, you would not believe how much I've spent on just green tea and Diet Cokes, never mind Aetna's money on Hope --- I think we're one of the few actually making money on our insurance plan) today for a follow-up and then were lucky enough to get a second appointment scheduled while we were there to analyze her swallowing. That trip to Tampa is starting to feel like the greatest chase scene of all time in the Blues Brothers when Jake and Ellwood (Kurt's nickname growing up) are at one point driving through the mall commenting on its spaciousness (2nd best chase scene has to be on the highway in the Matrix) but I enjoy the cat and mouse game (Itchy and Scratchy, best cat and mouse game ever) between the Staties and me as I've learned their favorite spots along the route. A friend of mine the other day asked me if Hope gets nervous when I drive as I was driving him around (I didn't take the hint to ease up) so I asked her today. She barely opened her eyes to say no, so I sped up.

We met with our main surgeon first, the very young looking Doogie Howser and said Hope is doing great on all fronts. He even gave us the go-ahead to do a swallow test to see if Hope can start to eat and drink orally for the first time in a month. Think about not eating for an entire month, unless you've had your mouth wired shut it's pretty tough to do (my friend Nick to this day won't eat soup from his ordeal). I think Hope feels like Edward Norton in Fight Club when he did not sleep for a month, delirious from lack of food but fighting on while her body goes through rounds that Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt in the same movie --- the only better name in a movie is Keyser Soze from the Usual Suspects (must see movie if you haven't seen it, except maybe Hope's grandmama) and the best TV name is Buck Naked, George Costanza's nickname if he was going to be a porn star) would have trouble surviving. By the way, if you see Reese or Nathan ask them the first rule of Fight Club. I beam like the Bat Signal when I hear my three year old say, "Don't talk about Fight Club."

We could not get our insurance company to okay the test so quickly to have it the same day while we were already in the Tampa Rays land (Kansas City beat them last night so I think they're starting to swoon) so we asked Doogie to talk to them directly. Within minutes he convinced them and we had a 2 PM appointment, but it was only 10:30 AM at that point. We were very grateful but had a few hours to kill so we went to a local mall. We went to the movies just the two of us for the first time in many years and saw Hancock (I love that the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire is now an action hero, who's next, Punky Brewster? --- actually she had to get a boob reduction if memory serves so she's lost out on being Buck Naked the porn star). Little known true fact about Hope, she was in the Ricky Schroeder fan club during Silver Spoons' hayday. At the same time I was in the Erin Gray fan club, and if they brought back Battlestar Galactica why couldn't they have brought back Buck Rogers (another Erin Gray classic) with Twinkie??? To this day though, I still want a train running through my house like Silver Spoons. My other next house addition is a set of circular stairs with a fire pole down the middle --- ever since Ghostbusters I've wanted the fire pole. Speaking of Bill Murray, my brother and I were talking about his best movies and a little known one I love is Quick Change with Randy Quaid and Geena Davis (Mikki tell Kurt to watch this with Bono). It's worth 90 minutes of your day. It was a great break for us to see the movie, and it was a decent flick but definitely a plot twist we didn't see coming. Punky Brewster could not have pulled off this movie.

Since Hope can't eat I ate the whole tub of popcorn because my Mom taught me not to be wasteful (thanks Mom) and I felt like Norm Peterson walking out of there. By the way, my two favorite all-time Normisms (I won't get these exactly right) are when Woody asks Mr. Peterson what he's up to and he responds, "My ideal weight if I was 8'-2" tall." Second best is when Coach asks him how the job hunt is going, and he says "It's a dog-eat-dog world out there and I'm eating Milk Bone underwear (To this day I still want to buy Milk Bone underwear so if you see it out there I'll pay you back)." We got back to the hospital just in time for Hope to do her swallow testing.

She did great on thin liquids with minimal trouble (and it's so cool to watch the MRI of her swallowing on video playback again and again). That reminded me of the time in junior high school when Vince Diller on my same team broke my nose in a game with an inadvertent elbow and Sam Talluto's dad just happened to be videoing it. The next practice we watched the video of me breaking my nose over and over and over and over again. That's the only time in memory I cried harder then the end of the Cutting Edge (actually I finished the half, but then at half time it swelled up so I couldn't see anymore --- I stayed cool and cried like a baby in the car). Hope had trouble with pudding and could not even push a small cracker to her teeth to chew but that was to be expected at this point. So Hope is now able to eat and drink again. We'll see a speech pathologist in about 2 weeks to help her practice her swallowing and opening up her jaw.

We went out and celebrated with a milk shake and mashed potatoes from TGIF's. It was like deja vu because we did the same after her radiation completed 6 years ago at Chili's in Melbourne and during that meal was when we came up with the easy eating cookbook idea for cancer patients. She could not eat the potatoes but the milk shake not only tasted great, but the cold did not bother her and she drank about half of it. I was more excited it tasted good to her then anything else.

It was pouring down rain when we left, so I sent Hope to get the car and pick me up by the front canopy (What, she's already damaged goods so I should stay healthy for the family, right?). Okay I got the car and had to towel off by the time I got there from the pouring rain which made the bumper to bumper rush hour traffic on I-4 a blast on the way home. Every time I pick up a white bath towel I think of Fletch (by the way probably one of the top 5 comedies of all time) when the beautiful Gail Stanwyck (I had to look that up) answers the door wrapped in only a towel and Fletch says, "Can I borrow your towel my car just hit a water buffalo?" How Dana Wheeler-Nicholson didn't go onto a much bigger career I'll never understand, and hopefully we all learned a hard lesson after Chevy Chase (and Pat Sajak too for that matter) later tried to do talk shows. I remember being uncomfortable watching them.

We got home at bedtime after three hours on the road so of course I kept the boys up for about 90 minutes playing wrestle time and chase as they have named our games that send Hope running for a room with a closed door. Now I need to go towel off and rent Fletch from running around with the boys. Anyway, it was a great day with Hope pitching a shut out against the docs, 2-0.


Myra said...

Way to go Hope. Hope it was a chocolate shake.


AnnMarie said...

so glad to hear it!

I laughed out loud at the "breaking your nose video"...I wish I had known as I would have asked Sam to bring it to all your Christmas parties back in the day :)

Esther said...

You go girl! Keep up the speedy recovery.

Myra, great minds think alike! When John told me Hope had a milkshake today I asked if it was chocolate.

Anonymous said...

Spiros and I just rented Fletch last week and laughed as if we were seeing it for the first time. Definitely one of the best movies of all time and it's great medicine too! Hope, you sound so much better! We are so happy you are eating and drinking again. I have some great tea for you to try! Jennifer

Anonymous said...

Your news is wonderful!! Keep up the good work, both of you!

Jake, I love your posts! Your writing style is very similar to Chris' (Jen's hubby) style!

Hope, hang in there, you are making such good progress. Hope you all have a good day!
Donna C. (Jen's M-I-L)

rach said...

yes, Punky Brewster was another I hate to admit I wathced every day...
you'll have to bring that nose video up north to view during family dinner!
great to hear the positive news,
rach brad liv and ethan