Friday, January 14, 2011


Hi there!

Summary: Tank might be gaining strength as the thrush is treated. He was somewhat better the last couple times we saw him. Sally and I are home now.

On Wednesday evening, Sally and I returned to Bayside with some hot chicken-noodle casserole, some cold milk, and a smallish ice cream bar on a stick (pomegranate ice cream dipped in dark chocolate). I know he's diabetic, but I thought he might appreciate the intense flavors.

He greeted us warmly, and we stayed quite a while, considering the late hour (about 7 pm). He ate half the casserole (maybe a cup...woo-hoo!), drank some milk, and ate the entire ice cream bar. Maybe a total of 600 calories! We talked and talked. It was so fun.

Sometimes, when Tank talks to us, it's as if he's offering an account of his daydreams. I mean, it doesn't feel like he's out of touch with's more like he's misplaced the filter that would stop him from saying something that he's been thinking...maybe something that sounded fun, or interesting, that he'd like to do. It'd be like me saying, "I was thinking the other day that it'd be fun to write an article about Leonard Cohen for Rolling Stone. Maybe the cover story. Interview him for weeks, and write a 10-page story. He'd be on the front cover, wearing a hat." :) Sometimes, Tank says stuff like that, but it seems okay, because they're just thoughts that he's sharing with us. Hopes and dreams, almost.

Thursday morning, we went to Terry's first, to say goodbye and to pick up a few things. We bought muffins at two locations, turned in some scratchers ($23!) and bought others, and went to Bayside. Again, he was in a good mood. The treatment for the thrush had begun, and he was already feeling better, and was optimistic and cheerful. He was even fully dressed. He was in his wheelchair, and was wearing sweats and tennis shoes and a plaid shirt.

He was waiting for a nurse to help him back into bed, and was anxious for her/him to arrive. It was taking a while. It occurred to me later, though, that maybe the nurses do that intentionally: maybe they weren't rushing to get him into bed, because it's good for him to sit up for a while, to be in a different position, to use different muscles, and maybe avoid bed sores. He wasn't agitated...he was just noticing that they weren't there yet. He's always polite to nurses.

He'd requested a new sign: "Good job." :) I say it a lot, and the nurses say it. I think moms learn to say it. Dan and I said it to Clay a lot when he was growing up, and when he was about 3 he started saying it to us. :) Sally noticed that I say it, too. Some adults are insulted by it, 'cause it sounds too enthusiastic, or something. Like unneeded praise. Maybe I offer praise because I love receiving praise. So, Tank and Sally and I talked about "good job." :) And Tank asked for a sign saying it. I don't know if it's a joke or what. But he wanted the sign, and Sally made the sign.

That morning, he ate an entire muffin, and had some milk. He praised me again for making the chicken-noodle casserole. :) ("Good job!") His doctor was expected to drop by later. While we were there, Terry showed up, so all of us hung out together for a while. Tank was considerably more energetic than he'd been 24 and 48 hours earlier, and that was encouraging. I'd fixed a couple of things on the cell phone, and we talked about that, and he politely asked if I thought a Jitterbug might be a better phone. :) I said no, but I'm going to look into it (I've looked into it somewhat, but I'll look more thoroughly). I think he might become more familiar with the current phone now that he's feeling better. I think I had him call Kelly, and they talked briefly.

Sally and I left, and drove home in two days. It was fun. I talked to Terry on Thursday evening, and she said that he'd had a good day, and that Sally and I are good for him. She said he was eating fairly well. She said that his thrush treatment is something he swishes around in his mouth and swallows, four times a day. It's not too gross, he said.

I'll call Terry again soon. This is a difficult and busy time for her. Peggy's excited about her trip in a couple of days. Peggy was going through some memorabilia and found all kinds of cool stuff that Tank is going to LOVE. Things like a letter the Navy sent Grandpa Chief, informing him of Tank's graduation from boot camp. :) Stuff like that. Some Nola stuff, too. I think Tank will love looking through all of it with Peggy and Mike.

It's hard to leave Tank, but good to be home.

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