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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Five Minutes of Bliss then...

Bob's First Starbucks, Post-Stroke!
So this past week, I took Bob over to the charity hospital to file his financial assistance forms for Outpatient Rehab. Now I suppose I could have gone over there alone with the paperwork, but I'm not one to forego a sympathy ploy if I think it might speed up the approval process a bit. I mean, take a look him, he needs this!

The hospital has a little cafe in the lobby which serves sandwiches and Starbucks coffee. And I was thinking, before we left, that it might real nice to stop there on our way out and have a cup of coffee. Bob has not been out to a restaurant or cafe since prior to this stroke mainly because of his swallowing problems, i.e. can't eat so why go out? but also because it is so hard to take him anywhere with his mobility and bladder issues. But I figured, since we were going to be there anyway and it wouldn't take long to drop off and sign the paperwork, I'd give it go. See how he handled it. And I thought, since the hospital is only 3 blocks from our house, if all went well with this trial, perhaps we could go back again someday.

So I packed the Thick-It in our travel case. Thick-It is a powdered liquid thickener for people with swallowing difficulties. The one thing about Thick-It is it's tricky to work with. You have to super careful as it tends to get stickier and stickier the more you mix it and will turn almost gel-like if you let the liquid stand too long. In fact, it just keeps sort of hardening over time and can actually clog the sink if you dump the thickened liquid down the drain. Anyway...

Bob's been approved to drink "nectar-thick" liquids, and I planned to thicken his coffee so he could drink a cup. I don't use the Thick-It much at home, because usually, drinking anything causes him to start coughing and then, later, he makes strange gurgly noises which pretty much scare the crap out me... But we hadn't tried it in a awhile, so I asked Bob if he'd like to give it a try and he said yes.


So we dropped off the paperwork and stopped at the cafe and I ordered two small cappuccinos. Unfortunately, all the tables in the cafe were taken so I asked the cashier if there was another place we could sit and she said she'd be happy to take our cappuccinos over to the lobby area. And she did.

Now the lobby was nice, cushy seats and one of those new fangled player pianos playing classical music. Even though we were technically in a hospital lobby, it did not feel like it. I tell you, even these charity hospitals are making a ton of money these days...  I thickened Bob's cappuccino and he was actually getting it down without any problem, though I had to admonish him to "sip slow" and "swallow hard" as he seemed to be gulping it down. Bob was really enjoying himself. Several times, he said "yum!" and you know, it was so nice... just sitting there, listening to classical music, sharing a cup of cappuccino and relaxing. And I can't remember the last time I felt like that. Completely relaxed. It didn't even bother me when he spilled a little on his shirt...

I must've looked away for a split second because the next thing I know, Bob had lost his grip on the cup and dumped the whole thing--

down the front of his shirt.

The upended cup landed smack dab in the middle of his lap,

soaking his shorts,

soaking the wheelchair cushions

with sticky thickened cappucinno.

I am running back to the cafe for more napkins. Of course, these are the cheap paper napkins which just keep shredding, so instead of getting much of it up, I just make a bigger mess: i.e. sticky thick cappucinno but now with napkin flakes stuck in it.

Of course, everyone is staring at us.

We leave, in a hurry, back to the house. Where I get Bob onto the bed so I can strip off his clothes. I get his shorts off which are squishy with thickened cappucinno, which squirts all over the bedsheets. The wheelchair has a Jay cushion which is the kind of cushion with air pockets in the fabric, so the air pockets are filled thickened cappucinno and paper napkin flakes. I have to strip the sheets and clean the floor and take the wheelchair apart and the cushions apart and---aargh!

But I keep telling myself, wow, we had like five full minutes of complete bliss.

Maybe, we'll try it again sometime.


barbpolan said...

We can't ask for anything more than moments of bliss, can we?

Congrats! Spill or no spill, I'll bet it was worth it!

Rebecca Dutton said...

I always make mistakes during my 1st rehearsal. If you click on my label called "rehearsal turns back the clock" you'll see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

The saying "It's not the destination, but the journey" comes to my mind Diane :)
Although Billie is able to swallow her left, unaffected hand, has been deformed from birth and has only 3 stubby fingers. She cannot hold a handless cup. So I need to carry a cup with a handle from home in order to pour her starbucks into.
Always a challenge for us eh?
Take Care

Grace Carpenter said...

I remember my first sip of Dunkin Donuts ice coffee in the lobby of Spaulding Rehab. Tricky,but worth it.

metalgirl162002 said...

Well, at least you gave it a shot and know what challenges to expect next time!

Anonymous said...

I bet Bob would want to do it again in a heart beat, and that 5 min. of bliss probably well worth the mess. Please don't stop because of one "oops", but rather, do it again. Maybe transfer the thickened coffee to a near spill prove coffee cup used in morning commutes in our cars. One with a screw on lid that won't pop off if dropped. Take Bob out for another cappucinno and enjoy the bliss.
Hugs, Dan

Linda said...

Go again soon. Those moments of joy are worth it. hey he just spilled, not choking and he enjoyed his coffee. Is that the closest starbucks?? It sounds like a walk there might be a nice part of the outing too now that you know what to expect. (I think a travel mug with a handle might be useful.)

yummmmy stuff for you too. you earned it.

Jenn said...

Yes. Go again soon! And dang it! Quit worrying about what those around you think!!!!!

Megan Sutton said...

Lovely post! Are you aware of a new thickening product called Resource Thicken-Up Clear? It's not cornstarch-based like the old product, so it doesn't thicken over time like what you describe. May be worth looking into! We use it at the hospital where I work and it's a million times better than the previous product - not bad even in plain water. Nestle makes it (I'm not selling it!), and there are instruction for nectar consistency. It's more expensive, but you use less. Good luck! Love your blog!!