I had a great idea and made coloring books for my grandkids, made up of pictures of them. That led to similar coloring books for my two grown up sons, just for fun. I wanted to make a book for my wife, but instead of a coloring book, I made the pictures look more like pen and colored pencil drawings.
I hope she enjoys paging through it as much as I enjoyed creating it. It features a few pictures she has never seen, surrounded by good memories; some not roused in a while.
It was challenging to keep what I was doing a surprise for Valentine’s Day; working often while she slept or was not yet home. I had it spiral bound and ready for Valentines Day with hours to spare.
I also had a Valentine’s Day date with an x-ray technician. She gave me peaches, graham crackers, applesauce, bread, and a milky drink, all generously mixed with Barium. These treats weren’t gifts for my nibbling pleasure like my wife gave me; these were so she could video x-ray me swallowing them. After carefully explaining that she is not a doctor and can’t make a diagnosis, she told how the x-ray video showed the consumed food hesitated a notable moment in my lower esophagus before continuing into my stomach. That’s not likely the cause of my constant throat clearing, but it could be a clue. The Ear Nose Throat doctor’s office called the next day to repeat what the technician said (except the part about not being a doctor), and to add that my x-ray video audition bought me a ticket to see a Gastroenterologist, coming soon to a hospital near me. I also went in for a “CT Scan of Face (CT Sinus WO Contrast).” The results: There is no evidence of laryngeal penetration or aspiration identified. Please see the detailed report rendered by speech pathology. I haven’t seen the report yet.
It would be wonderful to finally solve this constant throat clearing mystery, but if the blood test in March shows my PSA numbers going up, all these other tests may end up being as productive as rearranging deck chairs on the titanic.
The Allergists spreadsheet test on my arms revealed no allergies, so he sent me for a blood draw and another allergy test. With needle in hand and me in the draw chair, the young nurse was considering (PUN WARNING!!) her best shot . I told her to poke where she would, but – as I pointed to the back of my right hand, I told her they usually end up here. She politely dismissed my suggestion and began tapping the front of my left elbow, almost as if choosing a ripe watermelon. The thump felt right to her, so that’s where she put the needle. Sometimes I don’t even feel it. Sometimes it stings a little and I flinch just to keep in practice. It hurts the worst when they lift up on the syringe as they pull the needle out of my vein. Sometimes they back the needle out just a bit and make a right or left turn as they push it back in. That’s what she was doing. She was getting only a dribble of blood, and after what seemed like an extended wait (hoping to vindicate her poor target choice for the draw) there wasn’t enough in the tube to test. She sighed, removed the needle, apologized for not listening to me, and stuck a new needle in the top of my right hand. That test also pronounced me allergic to nothing.
So, I saw the Ear – Nose – and Throat doctor. Maybe he can discover the cause for my chronic throat clearing. I had seen him previously for a persistent cough and again for a plugged ear. I told him I was tired of this constant growling, vocal grinding, and throat clearing. I told him it’s been going on a long time, and that I couldn’t remember when it started. He said I was doing that when he saw me five years ago. I hadn’t finished the questionnaire before being escorted to the waiting room, so the doctor was reading the list of yes or no questions to me: Does it ever…..? “I answered, No.” Have you ever…….? “No.” Did you ever…..? “No.” Do you ever… experience sinus or facial pain? “No. Wait a minute! Did you just ask me if my face hurts?” He glanced sideways from the clip board barely turning his head, and in a timid voice, as if unsure his words should be audible, he answered with that old punch line, “It’s killing me.” We both laughed. I told him we said that all the time when I was a kid – and it was funny every time! He said me too! He explained that he probably read this questionnaire ten times a day, and each time he comes to this question, he’s tempted to say what we always said (but i suppose that could make him appear to be irresponsible). We enjoyed that good laugh, and he actually said, “Thank you.”
Mt Hood (PUN WARNING STILL IN EFFECT!) looking cool