I Am the Walrus

“I am he as you are he as you are me And we are all together”

Resting my feet on the frame of Rich’s bed, I can feel the shaking going on and on…. And on.

His hiccups, with a change of medication, have gotten worse. So very very very worse. Our barking seal morphed, due to clusters of hiccups, into a laughing seal. There was not enough air for a bark to form so the sounds, when they could come, were like a rough hahahahahahaha. At times, there is no sound at all. Air is not passing through his throat but his belly spasms and he’s helpless. He can’t catch his breath.

His voice, now raspy, has changed once more. After one long exhausting session of hiccupping, he turned to me and, with a gravely voice said “I Am the Walrus…. goo goo goo joob.” And he was right, Beatles reference notwithstanding, he sounds now like a walrus.

Our amusement with these hiccups has waned. We request to go back onto Thorazine; Baclofen is certainly not the answer. His oblique muscles require hot packs to try and relieve the pain. He’s back on Thorazine but more of a cocktail is needed to keep these at bay and we work throughout the night to find the answers. The nurse patiently runs through a variety of options. Rich once more has the cannulas in his nose for added oxygen, this time with some moisture added to soothe his throat. Added to our white noise of the air filtration in the room is now a burble of water. A Zen waterfall in a bottle on the wall. A bundle of narcotics are administered and he can rest for a short while. His blood pressure needs to be continually monitored with this group of meds. He nearly falls when getting up. It’s a fine line we walk to find comfort.

He runs a slight temperature. This is expected at this point in the journey as his blood counts drop. The routine of bloods, chest x-ray and vitals to find the cause is gone through. A practical nurse stops by to give a quick exam. It takes twenty-four hours to get the blood cultures back, but all indicators lead us to believe there is no infection brewing. With the prophylactic antibiotics he’s receiving on a rotating basis, it’s hard to believe anything could possibly take hold. As quickly as the temperature comes, it goes. He’s remarkably healthy. His humor continues. His strength of will is remarkable as well.

We had been nervous about the period of time when the counts drop. It’s been described as being like the worst case of the flu. While we’re not out of the woods yet with the possibility of those effects, but, with Rich’s health otherwise in good shape, we’re more concerned about these hiccups. Unless asleep, they just go on and on and along with them, the pain, the struggle to breathe, the exhaustion.

As Rich quotes John Lennon, I remember the source of his inspiration… Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass…

“The time has come,” the Walrus said, “To talk of many things: Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax– Of cabbages–and kings– And why the sea is boiling hot– And whether pigs have wings.”

Yep, it’s time to talk of many things. We await rounds when we can hopefully find a solution to this dilemma before all the oysters are gone.

I am the Eggman. Goo goo goo joob.

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