Friday, January 28, 2011


Hi all. Thanks to so many for sending notes of love and encouragement. Thanks to Dan for blogging in my absence.

I want to include some information here about the last few days. Not a eulogy, or a love letter, or a list of traits I want to emulate...but just some stuff that happened. The chronology will be messy.

I think I wrote about Sunday, when Kelly watched football with Tank all day long. I'm sure they had conversations that I wasn't privy to. It seemed like a relaxing day, with football and food and occasional chat. I was in and out. It was clear that Kelly and Tank were enjoying each other. That night, the nurse reported that they had extra "trays" for dinner, and offered them to me and to Kelly. He declined, but I liked the idea of having a meal with Tank (even though it was mac-and-cheese and chicken nuggets). The nurse pulled up a wheeled tray for me, put the tray of food on it, and did things like open my milk, sprinkle my food with packets of salt and pepper, and remove the lid from my cranberry juice. I felt so well taken care of. It was fun, sitting there with Tank and Kelly, eating my toddler meal.

I told Tank that I'd love to make macaroni and cheese for him, using his recipe, if he'd tell me how. That kind of request often served to bring Tank to total alertness. He was completely lucid and enthusiastic as he gave me the detailed instructions, beginning with "use a paper towel to wipe the inside of the casserole dish with one quarter of a stick of butter." :) I listened carefully, with every intention of making it the next day for lunch.

I can tell I'm skirting around the issue of his death.

So, today, Sally, Terry, and I went for a ride. She wanted to take us to "his favorite spot," where we'd both been before. It's up Highway 1, right after the elephant seals but before Ragged Point. It was gorgeous, of course. I sat in the back seat, and Sally sat next to Terry. It was painful being there without Tank, and--even though the view is breathtaking--I yearned to be with Tank. I fantasized about crappy places--like a crowded Taco Bell in Fresno--and how much fun they'd be with Tank.

We had lunch someplace cool, of course: a favorite of Tank's called Sebastian's. It's an old post office in San Simeon, converted to a restaurant. We ate sandwiches on the patio. We could hear the ocean, and smell the eucalyptus.

So, last Monday, Tank had the seizures. Doctors seemed optimistic that he hadn't lost ground permanently. On Tuesday, I got to the hospital about 8 a.m., and David the speech therapist showed up to test Tank's ability to swallow. He started with ice chips, then water, then thickened cranberry juice, then vanilla pudding. Tank did okay, although he seemed VERY tired and not very interested. He showed a little interest in the pudding, and was able to mumble "yeah" when David asked a question, but I was actually hoping for more "Tank" by then, since the doctors anticipated an improvement within 6 or 8 hours after the seizure medication began. In the end, David decided that it would be too dangerous for Tank to take liquids or solids, because of a persistent cough and generalized weakness. David put some signs up above Tank's bed, and left. Tank slept.

Doctors came in that day. Dr. Lewis said that Tank was taking longer than expected to rally, but he didn't seem too concerned. Two physical therapists worked with him, but it was more back rub than therapy. He could only sit up with a lot of help. An occupational therapist came in, but she realized quickly that Tank wasn't up to the task, and she left. It started to seem that something was amiss.

I spent most of the day in a chair by Tank's bedside. I held his hand occasionally. Kelly fetched food for us. I think Stephanie dropped by.

Tank was very warm. Terry and I noticed it, and when the nurse took his temperature, it was 102. He was sleepier than ever, and difficult to rouse. I think I was alone with him when he had what the nurse called a focal seizure (I'm just guessing at the spelling). I noticed some unusual eye movement (generally, his eyes were closed). The movement was fast and repetitive, as if he were looking straight ahead and then to the side and then back again. Then, his feet began to tremble. It only lasted ten seconds or so, and I called the nurse. As I recall, it happened again a short time later. They increased his dose of seizure medication. I assume they gave him something for the fever.

A girl came by and took blood to check for an infection and a fungal infection. She said it would take a couple of days to get the results. It was mentioned that he might have an infection in sutured wound on his head, in his throat (the thrush), or maybe in his lungs (he might have aspirated something during a seizure). I'm not certain about some of this. It doesn't seem like enough time would have passed since the seizure to get an infection in his lungs, but...I don't know.

I'm going to publish this, and then write some more.

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