The other day I wrote a post that included a reference to Jesus telling Peter what he could expect: “When you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go.” (John 21:18)
I thought about that as the physical therapist tightened a gait belt around my chest so he could hang on to me and keep me from falling down while I played catch with a beach ball thrown at me by a second therapist. The gait belt was to help me keep my balance, for my safety, for my welfare. But it was not something I wanted, nor was I where I wanted to be. I considered how I was actually happy Jesus didn’t tell me and I didn’t know this was how I would begin my retirement.
Something else the stroke took away from me was my swallowing reflex. As a consequence for seven+ months I have taken my nutrition through a hose cut directly into my stomach. (A friend watching Melanie pour the glop into me asked me how it tasted. It all tastes the same, this way, if you must know.)
Another exasperating consequence related to this is I haven’t been able to swallow the one-liter-per-day of spit and saliva the human mouth normally produces. So I get to carry around a spittoon. And choke when I try to relearn how to swallow liquids or apple sauce or ice chips.
That choking concerned Melanie enough that she has picked up (and concerned friends have suggested) several different remedies to try to control it. And today she had me visit an ear, nose and throat specialist to see what we could learn.
Once again, I ended up being glad I didn’t know what was coming: a mini roto-rooter that the doc inserted into my nose, up my sinuses and down my throat. “You’re all right, you’re all right,” he said, trying to reassure me as he proceeded. The marks I left from gripping Melanie’s hand should be gone by morning.
And I was happy to learn what he found: nothing. Apparently it’s just normal spit that my mouth automatically contributes whenever I try to eat anything. The bottom line: I must learn to stop spitting it out and start swallowing it again, like every other normal person does.
I won’t tell you how much that information and visit cost. It might cause you to choke on whatever you’re drinking and spray it all over your computer screen. I’m glad I didn’t know that detail before hand, either. (If for some reason you know what it can be, you have my sympathy.)
What else do you yet have for me to discover, Lord?
Wait. Scratch that. Let me reconsider whether I want to know before I have to.