The importance of Exercise

My doctors are doing all they can to keep me alive. My part of the bargain is stay as healthy as possible. Here are several reasons for my walking 2.5 miles each day:

Endorphins — love ’em! I used to be a runner and got used to the runner’s high. Still get a pretty good lift from putting in my miles.

Sleep — wear your ass out every day and you’ll sleep better every night. I’m pretty sure that’s a Chinese proverb.

Weight control — well, duh…

Buddy —  he’s my dog. If Buddy misses his walk he gets grumpy. And who likes a grumpy dog?

Karen — she’s my wife. Another good reason to exercise… It keeps me vigorous and handsome (her valued opinion!).  Plus, I think she’d miss me if I weren’t around. You know, maybe I should have listed my wife before my dog.

Keep out! — of hospitals and doctor’s offices! I hate those places, don’t you?

Attitude — how bad can life be if I can still get out “among ’em”?

Neighbors — “Hey, that old dude from down the street is out there in the snow with his dog. He’s a crazy old fart, but he is tenacious.” Can’t let the neighbors down.

Have A good PEG day!

 
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Not always pleasant

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Okay so sometimes, I don’t know why or what triggers it — I get this really gross buildup of gunk in my throat.

I feel like it’s blocking my airway or that I need to vomit. It’s like I’ve got a bunch of mayonnaise-textured peanut butter in the back of my mouth.

Since I have no feeling back there, it builds up to maybe a full tablespoon or more before I’m aware of it.

So what to do? Well, first of all, I check pretty often. I cough to see if there’s any discomfort. I may also sneeze or feel the need to blow my nose.

Okay, so now I know there’s something back there. Wherever I am, I STOP whatever I’m doing and deal with it!

 
If I’m at home, I go to the kitchen table where I keep a tiny LED-bulb flashlight and one of my wife’s old make up mirrors. At my feeding station I also have some DEN-TIPS (sucker sticks with a sponge on the end). Oh, and some torn strips of paper towel work better than Kleenex. Clean hands are important, too, because my fingers are gonna be deep into my mouth! Then I cough, gag, and digwith the den-tip and paper towel strips, until I get that gunk out of my throat and mouth!

If I’m out for a walk and can feel the buildup is there … I do the best I can. I  STOP. And whether my hands are clean or not I use my fingers if that’s all I have!

Okay, so it is traumatic — scares the hell out of me every time it happens!  But it’s not fatal — just messy.

After it’s over, I sit down and get myself under control. And then…

I go on with my life.

Some interesting book news

You remember that book I’ve written which makes a detailed mentioning of my experiences living with a PEG tube?

                                                  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00A021160

Candidly, no one was reading it.

I put it on Amazon, Amazon Kindle, Nook, CreateSpace, GoodReads, and Lulu.com. But still no takers!

So, finally I decided to take it off Nook (so there would be only Kindle selling the ebook), then took advantage of Kindle’s KDP feature which allows me to set my ebook price to zero for 5 days. Their claim is that letting some people read my book for free will encourage reviews and up my Amazon ratings.

So, I did that. Now to find out if what Kindle claims is true:

Well, so far (2 out of the 5 days), 910 people have taken advantage of downloading the free copy. And my Amazon ratings have gone up. Still no reviews, but then it should take a couple of days for someone to read it.

If writing turns out to be just a hobby (e.g. nobody ever actually buys any of my books) at least I can say over 900 people have downloaded a copy of one of my books! Hey, that’s not so bad…
 
Well, that’s not a very cheery outlook though, is it?
 
We shall see… what we shall see…

 

 

 

So… how does it feel?

Other than the psychological hurdles that may be associated with a peg tube,
how does it – you know – feel?

Does it hurt?

It’s kinda like having a stiff plastic tube sticking out of a hole in my belly. If I sit and worry over it, I can become aware of a bothersome irritation. So, I try to ignore it and mostly that’s just fine… But if I accidently bump up against the tube where it meets the site, I notice it!

 Does it bleed?

There is some effusion – sort of a slimy substance – that’s probably a little blood (if I stretch unnaturally or the tube gets jostled), a little bile, and a little scabbing over that breaks loose. Overnight sometimes that leaked effusion gets crusty and is somewhat disconcerting. But basically all that is very minimal. After a week or so, what little there is becomes second nature to clean up.

How do you keep the site clean?

For the first week or so there are bandages and stuff to change and keep clean. From then on, it’s simple soap and water in the shower. I just suck in my belly and run my soapy finger up under the flange to clean away any crusted-up effusion. After my shower I use a tiny square of gauze to dry under there – cleanliness is everything!

Is there any danger of it falling out?

Candidly, for the first week I had my PEG tube, I worried constantly that I’d catch the thing in my belt or turn the wrong way and – POP! – it would fall right out… That’s silly. The balloon behind my stomach wall does a fine job of securing the PEG tube. And I keep the flange snug up against my belly so all the movement is external, at the feeding end.

Do you feel full after you ‘eat’?

 Yeah, I think so. I’ll admit, it’s not like regular eating: eating when you’re hungry and not eating if you feel full… Let’s put it this way: I don’t ever actually get hungry!

Until I learned what my best schedule was, per the doctor’s prescribed feeding (120 ml of water – 1 and ½ cans of Jevity – 120 ml of water), I would sometimes feel bloated. Now I’ve worked out a pattern of 3:15 between feedings. Works just fine for me now…

Does your mouth taste bad, does your breath smell bad?

Oh yeah! Sometimes my mouth tastes like a sewer. Nothing going down the old tubes means there’s nothing to keep your mouth tasting minty fresh (I do still burp, in case you were wondering).

Gargling mouthwash first thing in the morning – and on and off during the day – does wonders. Sometimes, as a treat, I gargle with Bailey’s Irish Cream. Yum!  

 
 

Imagination

Sometimes it’s good to have an imagination!

 
 
12/12/12 was our anniversary. Karen and I have always celebrated by going out to eat. Wait a minute… everyone who can go out to eat, take one step forward. Not so fast there, Jack.

So, what to do? Well we decided to at least do the ‘go’ part of ‘go out to eat’. We went back to our old hometown, Columbia MO, where we raised our family and where I went to school. We took the camera and made pictures of the homes we’d lived in and some of our old haunts.

We moved away in 1977 so there have been many changes, especially in a vibrant college town. But we sure had a good time walking down memory lane on our 48th anniversary.  
 
 
 
Karen ordered take-out ribs and she ate those while I took my evening PEG feeding. It was nice!

 
 
As I say, sometimes it can be depressing to not be able to enjoy things you once celebrated with food… But a little imagination turned a bummer into a fun time.

Happy anniversary, Babe!

 

Replacing the PEG

So, I wore out the end of my first PEG tube. The flange that held the plug in place was tearing off. I went to St. John’s radiology department and they had me in and out in less than half and hour. What was funny: at the point where the actual extraction / insertion occurred, the Dr. said “you ready?” then tug, pop, it was over in less than 5 seconds. I don’t think they even had to use any local anesthetic. It is truly easy. And my new one has a replaceable end that’s made of a more sturdy plastic – this one should last more than the 6 months life span of the first one.

But hey! look at this, it’s called a ‘button’:

Next time (and I’m in no hurry, I hate going anywhere near a hospital!) I might think about getting a ‘button’. A person who interacted on this blog suggested I look into it. There appears to be quite a difference in convenience. Right now I have a ‘sling’ my wife made to keep the PEG up and out of the way of my belt, etc.

The pouch is handy and I’m grateful. But compare this to a button. There’s nothing hanging:

There’s an apparatus that comes with the button that ‘plugs in’ to the button and functions just exactly like the outer portion of a regular PEG tube.

Huh… learn something new every day!

Have a good PEG day!

 

Interaction desired

Tell you what: it’s time we got some interaction going!

I’m fortunate – I’m up and about. My PEG has made my life much better! In the months before I was hospitalized for pneumonia, I was coughing at every meal and as it turns out, getting sicker each time I tried to eat or drink.

As most of you know, the procedure for PEG insertion is no big deal. And once the good doctors at St. John’s in Springfield Illinois got me set up and I went through a couple months of ‘breathing treatments’ to get rid of the junk in my lungs, I was up and running – well, walking really…

I’ve always exercised – running until I got older, then walking at least 2 miles each day – outdoors in the weather unless it was so bad I had to resort to the treadmill. I believe that regimen allowed me to recover quickly.

I still have some problems with keeping my lungs cleared. Requires vigilance and lots of spitting, sometimes in not the most comfortable circumstances.

So that’s me. It’s good that I’m feeling healthy and keeping my weight regulated. But it’s not so good that I’m never gonna eat or drink again…

What about you? Are you up and ambulatory? Are you on the PEG for the foreseeable future like me or just until your medical conditions improve? Either way, I’d sure like to hear from you!

To make it worth your while to respond, I’ll offer a free uplifting song. Here’s the link:

http://jackteeter.weebly.com/its-me-again-lord-music.html

Pick any song you want – to download to your player. I recommend: 03_bevs_song.m4a
Lord, we sure could use a Miracle today!

Have a good PEG day!