cocktails and cocktails

A very strong TMI warning!!! I’m not dead, Reader-land, thanks to your prayers. I am on the downward turn, though. But I am lucid enough to share with you!

I’ve had a very happy and loving relationship with alcohol my whole life, Reader-land, and I highly encourage my way of getting to know and respect alcohol instead of the puritanical and obscene methods in America that lead to rebellion, intoxication, and terrible taste. So, it should not surprise you that I went to be professionally trained as a bartender. Yes, in college I went to the Professional Bartending School in Arlington in the hopes that I would earn more!

Of course, every bar wants someone with actual experience, so I was hired as a server and occasional barback. Missed it by that much!

I learned about the finer points of mixology and the ethical aspects of cutting someone off. I tried new drinks, and yes, tended bar. To be a bartender is more than serving drinks.  There is a possessive aspect, almost like a castle ; this we’ll defend! And if it is only temporary, everything must stay the same. You don’t go change how things are done just because you think your way is better. Respect tradition and the regulars will tip higher for it. They are not there for you, they are there for the stability of the establishment and a bartender who won’t make the day worse.

Anyway, I was ok as a bartender. I didn’t make more money, but I learned to make and enjoy cocktails. I’m proud to say that while I have been spinning after some experiences, I never lost control or self awareness with any alcoholic encounter. Loud, maybe, but never out of control. Which means I was never as fun as everyone else. I had great times, in moderation.

So now I am off alcohol and I have medical cocktails. This to keep drool down, that to keep the emotions from bubbling uncontrollably, those for pain, these for reflux, them for muscle relaxing. It is quite fun to guess the color and to know how I will feel with each. In many ways is like bartending, which pills will get the right results. I was on a good medicinal cocktail, and then I had the event.drug-cocktail

Now I’m officially on hospice care, and the cocktail changed.  Now more muscle relaxers, anti-anxiety, and things designed to ease breathing.  And it was alright for a bit, but there was a key component missing – me bowels.

When you throw anti-anxiety and relaxer meds, and add morphine, that shuts down regular intestinal rhythms, and that must be compensated for, but it was wholly insufficient in my case.  And I didn’t realize it until it was too late.

We can all look back and laugh now, but they gave me a painful laxative when we alerted them to it. I probably spent six hours on the toilet with no results.  By the end of that day my breathing muscles were toast.  I slept in the office, Joey then Mel taking shifts to monitor me.  I couldn’t exhale, I was constipated, and the worst was yet to come.

You see, Mel is a nurse, RN, BSN.  I actually went to some of her classes with her because it was icy or something, met her nursing friends, learned about disorders and medical care thereof, and I can say Melanie is a kickass nurse.  She has dealt with patients with my condition and knows the protocol.

It was the on-call nurse I wasn’t ready for.

I realize this is a pretty standard issue.  I don’t want to make unreasonable demands.  But if I have to roll on my side and “feel a little pressure”, I don’t want to hear you asking for q-tips and Vaseline!!!  I EXPECT to see that stuff they douse all over for a sonogram!  They use that stuff like it’s about to expire.  That did not happen.

Another thing, if they tell you that it is just a little pressure, they are lying.  Every single letter needs to be pronounced, they are lying!! I have young people who read this blog, and I am thankful that I didn’t know what she did so I can’t describe it but it hurt like hell and I was so exhausted that I couldn’t tell her to stop!  When she finally did, she called the doctor and told him it didn’t work!  Well, I could have told you that a lot sooner, but he’s the doctor.

At this point, Reader-land, I entered a weird twilight zone of labor with a sh*t-baby.  I was promised no epidural, and no comfort because they upped the laxative.  I even joked, and was joked about my labor experience.  Eventually, I got through, and I am recovering.  I would share more but Mel is mortified about my oversharing, and I have to draw the line somewhere.

Reader-land, one thing definitely leads from one to the next. I had the medical event which has led to not being left alone and new medicine, and then the medicine led to the back up, and on it goes. The weaker breathing was the start and what has suffered the most.  I’m getting less oxygen and carbon dioxide out, and my calorie intake is down half because it is hard to breathe with a full stomach. I am on hospice care now, and I don’t know how much longer I will be. If I can recover out of diapers that is a good sign, right?

10 thoughts on “cocktails and cocktails”

  1. So glad you can have a sense of humor about such a terrible ordeal. I sort of feel bad for saying it but I laughed out loud at the sh*t-baby part. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Joe—you can still make me laugh!! I know it was bad, I hear that. But gosh it turned into a good tale. Thanks, I needed that.

    I’m still praying every single rosary for you, Joe. Our lives have intersected for some reason, and you inspire me. Stay funny! And God bless you.


  3. Joe, you are doing just fine. You are humbled with this ravishing passion just as Christ’s was through His Passion. Know that a place is prepared for those who say they love Him AND accept His will. Eyes on the Prize.
    Reader–land can only pray we will do the same as you, whatever our calls may be. Pray. When you can’t pray, I want to help reader-land pick it up.
    You are the best and baddest husband, dad, son, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, friend on the block..


  4. You are amazing and your story made me 😂! God Bless you Joe, you have more strength than anyone I have ever met…not to mention the inspiration you give to all of us! Thank you so much for continuing to share your story…I know it is not easy! Neil and I are praying for you, Mel and the kids everyday! Much love to you all!


  5. Such a funny story about a terrible incident! Praying for you Joe and for your family! Loved that bit about the sh*t baby! May the Peace of Christ be with you!


  6. Very informative ! As I am of a medical bent, it was quite interesting. For those not medical detail-oriented, “Very strong TMI” alert might have been reasonably upgraded to “DEFCON 1 TMI alert,” or possibly “Global pandemic (of course, aren’t pandemics inherently global?) TMI alert?” This would be for the really squeamish or those who are sissies. The rest of us found it revealing, in a sorta good way 👍


  7. O, how I understand your predicament! I was in a head on collision in Dec 2017…was in Steubenville…in front passenger seat of a Ford Fusion…truck driver fell asleep at wheel and came over and hit us head on. many broken ribs etc, etc. After ten days of saying, I need something, etc they gave me everything in the book med-wise and even prune juice at every meal… In the end the many things they gave me all worked at one time on the day they finally discharged me to a nursing home for rehab.
    “We only let people shower every other day from Mon thru Sat…nobody showers on Sunday…and your day is tomorrow.”


  8. Joe I know what it’s like being married to an RN. Hot prune juice was her go to when she came back to work after her days off. Why the other RNs let their patients bind up I don’t know. Thankfully she never had to use that on me. Well I can’t say we thought you were full of s### at work. Some other people yes but, not you. Hope everyone that come into contact with you is healthy. You don’t need whats going around. Phil


  9. Dear Joe,
    Well I’m just supposing maybe you can read this from heaven. You probably don’t need to know what’s going on here on earth, but maybe when you get a chance, look out for us.

    One thing that really struck me about you is what a great gentlemanly man you were, and how much I hope my daughters meet someone like you. So I’m asking you now to intervene in their lives and find them good husbands.

    And now, I’ve just read your obit. I’m so sad and I’ll miss your funny posts here so much. But I know now you are free from pain and all the difficulties of als, and I just want to look forward to hanging out one day with you at the Inn at the End of the World, with Gilbert and Frances Chesterton, all our friends and family. Till then, pray for us all.

    Thanks for writing. Thanks for your joy. Thanks for keeping it real.

    Love, from your Readerland.


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