A goat in my throat

No thunder, but I awoke Saturday to the sound of raindrops on the a/c unit out back.  This truly glorious sound has been missing from my life for months now... at least two long hot very dry months.

It was another good day working at the library, reading lots of book reviews.  I'm hoping to read or listen to Philip Connor's Fire Season after several tempting reviews. While my walking buddy has always dreamed of living in a lighthouse, I'm more drawn to the fire tower.

Spelling Man called to ask about goats and chariot, but I didn't field the call.  He wanted to know how to spell sixteenth, as in Louis the ____. Roman numerals were a new concept.

Cherubs are riding in and on this Louis XVI style clock chariot pulled by goats, circa 1885.  We know Spelling Man is interested in antique clocks.  We didn't know the Norse thunder-god, Thor, had a chariot pulled by goats.  Those goats were named "tooth grinder" and "tooth snarler":

The Norse believed that during a thunderstorm, Thor rode through the heavens on his chariot pulled by the goats Tanngrisni ("gap-tooth") and Tanngnost ("tooth grinder"). Lightning flashed whenever he threw his hammer Mjollnir. -- "Thor." Encyclopedia Mythica from Encyclopedia Mythica Online.

I believe that my hammer is named Craftsman, and that I may someday need goats to pull the Buick.  I can't believe I helped the nurse while she suctioned my dad's airways.  But I did.  Dad is on oxygen round the clock now, except when he pulls the tube out of his nose or the staff forgets. Without the oxygen he gets extremely congested, choking on his own secretions.  Now I'm wondering which is greater torture, the choking or the suctioning.

When I summoned the nurse Dad's fingers were the grayish color of uncooked English bangers.  He hadn't been on oxygen all the while he was not eating his lunch.  The few bites and sips he took had never been swallowed.  Dad kept trying to clear his throat through most of Serena Williams match in the finals of the Rogers Cup.  I kept giving Dad sips of water.

My mother's final six months were a long string of invasive medical tests and procedures dog-piled on top of her nausea and diarrhea. I swore I would not allow Dad's last months to be that tortuous, and yet I held down his arms so he would not hit the nurse trying to suction his airways.  The nurse said Dad tries to bite the suction wand, and they are afraid he will break his teeth.  Tomorrow I will call the hospice social worker or pastor, but for now just writing helps clear my airways.

Fifteen years ago my therapist asked me to choose a tiny rubber animal from a mini-menagerie to begin a discussion.  I chose this little goat, and it has been at the bottom of my pencil holder ever since.  I've been grateful to that therapist, too.  Today the goat has a different meaning.

There was an old lady who swallowed a goat.
Just opened her throat and swallowed a goat!
She swallowed the goat to catch the dog ...
She swallowed the dog to catch the cat.
She swallowed the cat to catch the bird ...
She swallowed the bird to catch the spider
That wiggled and wiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly.
But I dunno why she swallowed that fly
Perhaps she'll die.

© 2011 Nancy L. Ruder


Christine Thresh said...

Yes, call someone. What does your sister think?
Bless you.

Kathleen said...

I'm thinking of you and goats.


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