Steve passed his bedside swallow study! He was able to eat pudding and crackers and drink water without trouble.
With that good news, he was allowed to start eating and drinking again this afternoon. He's allowed to eat only when he is sitting up and very alert.
Steve has told more than one person today -- perhaps every person he's seen today -- that he likes his food and is happy to eat again.
He was taken off the Heparin IV drip this afternoon and will start receiving the injections later today. The Fragmin injections will be given once a day -- by nurses while we're still at St. Paul and by me (yes, fearful-of-needles me) at home.
The phlebotomist who we love for her kind demeanor and excellent sticking skills had trouble with Steve's veins this morning. She tried twice, and both times the veins collapsed before she could get an adequate sample.
One of her colleagues arrived later and was able to find a vein the first time. We had good luck later in the day, too.
Still, his left hand is horribly swollen and bruised from the multiple sticks he's endured since Tuesday morning.
Conversation with Dr. G
Dr. G and his residents visited for a while this morning. He talked about how it's difficult at this point to understand which problems are creating which symptoms.
Steve's body is fighting blood clots in his lungs, a lung infection and a brain tumor. It's recovering from an aspiration episode. He's dealing with left-side weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, coughing fits and more.
Dr. G told us -- in the most gentle way possible -- that there's a chance that Steve won't recover from all of this. That he won't get better. That we may be out of treatment options for the tumor.
If you're like me, that takes your breath away. Just typing those words is a struggle and brings hot tears to my eyes.
He was not saying that Steve won't recover or that anyone is giving up on him. But he does want us to be prepared and to understand that Steve's body is fighting multiple battles that aren't easy to overcome.
The goal is still for Steve to return to his health and strength from a week or more ago.
We are not giving up. We know that with the prayers and love and support and good wishes holding us up, Steve will continue to do the very best that he can.
And as much as we humans like to believe that we're in control of all the details, of course we're not.
For it was you who formed my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; that I know very well. ... In your book were written all the days that were formed for me, when none of them as yet existed.
(from Psalm 139, NRSV)