I’ve definitely gone sporadic on the blog writing. My time at Nypro has taken me out of the rhythm. But we did have a full week. Blake and Brian Fidler were back for the weekend to see their son Reeve and catch up on other matters. We had them over on Sunday afternoon and hosted a little get together of Groton friends to catch up with these old friends (now residing in San Diego) and cheer the Pats on vs. the Jets. For the first time this year, the Pats prevailed in a close one in a game they should have lost. Best anecdote from that was the men were all in the front room watching as Gotkowski was lining up a 43 yard field goal at the end of the game to force an OT. The ladies were all in the back room watching the same event expectantly when they heard a huge roar from the front room. Apparently the feed is four seconds faster to the front room so the ladies lost all the suspense. I neglected to take pictures of the party but the Fidlers did arrive with plenty of bounty as they delivered a case of their home brewed beer ( a picture of one bottle enclosed). I also made some great burgers, grinding up a combination of beef chuck, flank steak and brisket, mixing with some herbs and grilling then serving with carmelized onions and guacamole. They were a hit. All in all, a good evening and lots of laughs with friends.

It’s always a pleasure having Peggy visit from Denver. She arrived late Saturday night and was staying for a week There were lots of activities during the week. We took an enjoyable Sunday hike up in the northern part of Dunstable, going through some heavily wooded areas, up a small hill with great views of the North Pack Monadadnock mountains, past a quarry and right to the edge of the NH border. During the week, she and Connie had a number of activities, including a tour and lunch at the Fruitlands Museum followed by a hike, a Tuesday outing to Newport for the day, some exploring of Groton, a day hiking around Boston and much more. Peggy is also a connoisseur of good food and Ted cocktails. We made an ambitious tagliatelle (home made by Connie) with truffles, sliced brussel sprouts, broccolini, truffle oil and romano cheese. Peggy did some of the heavy lifting as seen by the pictures below and the final product is also shown. It was excellent. Prior to eating we washed it down with a “Fall Classic”. This wasn’t the Giants-Tigers 4 game fiasco but a drink of Calvados (apple flavored brandy), bourbon, apple cider, lemon juice, bitters and thyme infused simple syrup. It was excellent (picture enclosed).

On Peggy’s last two nights here, we ate at the International one night as Con and I had to spend our monthly commitment so we splurged with big steaks and a porterhouse pork chop, finished off by the amazing International ice cream sundae dish and a great bread pudding. On Friday night, we went into town to celebrate Duncan’s 23rd birthday. Connie and Peg started with a walk essentially all over Boston before heading to the MFA. Duncan and I met them there and we went to a funky little restaurant in the South End called Franklin Street Café where we had some unusual cocktails and a tasty dinner. On our walk around the South End afterward, I found an ice cream place and got a gargantuan two scoop cone/cup. Peggy and Duncan were both happy to see I’m eating like the old Ted. Peggy was up early on Saturday morning and flew back to Denver but we had a great time during her visit.

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After going a bit harder at work on Tuesday and Wednesday, I went easy (on the work front on Thursday and Friday). My main goal on Thursday was to have enough energy to make our Annual Stockholders dinner on Thursday night- a festive affair where we honor all new stockholder inductees, along with celebrating the group of 250 (or so) folks that have made it into our special stock program over the years. While I had help with emceeing the evening, I had the pleasure of introducing the new stockholders, providing some background, anecdotes and awarding them with a plaque. It was a great night and I was particularly moved by the large outpouring of applause and genuine goodwill from everyone in attendance that night for me. People appreciated that I worked hard to make it to the event despite being in recovery period from the surgery. This is one of those special nights that captured our special culture and it was a lot of fun.

I did take Friday off to relax after that but didn’t really relax on the walking front. On Thursday, Con and I took a 5 mile walk through town, including a short but steep climb up Gibbett Hill to enjoy the colorful autumn views westward at 7AM. Con kept the paces going for me on Friday as we took another 4+ mile walk off of Old Dunstable Road. Con and I thought we had completed every trail in town but this was a new one for us, winding through hilly wooded areas and then coming out on Burnt Meadow Road that wound by some rolling landscapes and a scenic reedy marsh area.  These were my two longest walks since surgery and I didn’t feel too worse for the wear. In the afternoon, I received yet another gift- though this was one of the odder ones I’ve seen. Previously I’ve been blessed with beautiful quilts and prayer shawls or interesting books or lots of great food. But this was an animal headwear with two long tails. Who could have sent me this and for what purpose? Who else but my sister Trish in one of those impulsive moments she is known to have. While she has said many prayers for me and had lots of people reciting rosaries, lighting candles and the like, the purpose of this animal (later I established was a panda) was to provide good luck to the San Francisco Giants. The Giants are a team that her boys have adopted and they’re all on the bandwagon. While I didn’t wear this throughout the Giants series, a picture of me wearing this lovely good luck charm is shown below. What will that impulsive sister of mine think up next?

We also enjoyed a visit today from Blake Fidler who was back from San Diego for various matters, including addressing some issues with their Vermont cottage and visiting their son at college in New Hampshire. Brian was arriving later that night and we would see him later in the weekend. But we did have a pleasant time having lunch with Blake at our favorite local spot-the Blackbird Café. And then taking her on a walk at the Shaker conservation site in Harvard that I spoke of in an earlier blog. We got rained on pretty good but it was still an enjoyable time and a great hike.

Saturday, Con and I took another 4 mile + walk through the Baddacock Conservation Area and worked our way through other wooded areas to come out on Kailey Way, while also making a side trip to Baddacock Pond. It was a somewhat misty morning but peaceful and pleasant like so many of our walks. But the unique event of the day (and weekend) was attending an old fashioned New England barn raising. There is a younger couple in town that bought an old historic house in the center of town. Peter is a master craftsman woodmaker and for a hobby, he decided he wanted to recreate an historically accurate 1780a Post and Beam barn. In the weeks and months leading up to the event, he constructed all the main elements, with help; including making over 1,500 wooden nails just as were used in the 19th Century. On, Saturday, Peter and his wife, Gina, invited the community to come help in the barn raising and then conclude it all with a Sunday pig roast celebration. While I couldn’t participate in the work, it was a real pleasure to watch and admire this remarkable feat. Pictures from the barn raising are included. It was yet another reminder to me of what a special and unique community Groton is.

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We were finally blessed with a visit from the Queen Mum herself this past week. While she has monitored things closely from her royal quarters on the Philly Main Line, she hadn’t been up to visit since this all started last May. Usually Dana is her driver on extended trips but she and John were off for a convention in Chicago, followed by a Notre Dame weekend and then a private jet whisking them off to Hilton Head. So she was in no mood to chauffeur Baba to Groton. Fortunately Geoff had the time, and the patience, as departure dates kept shifting. He also is the first in our family to master the backseat driving antics of Baba. He put her in the backseat directly behind the driver where she can’t see anything of note and she barely registered a whimper either on the way up or the way home. A picture of their arrival and the Queen Mum’s disembarkation from the Volvo is shown below. I was now four days removed from surgery and feeling like I was getting back in the groove on food matters. So I made a Belgium Carbonnade Flamande (Beef cooked in beer) replete with Belgium ale, onions, crispy bacon, thyme, garlic and baguettes smothered with mustard on the top. Picture below-it was excellent and I even managed two helpings. Only drawback to the Sunday was disappointing Pats loss in the final minutes.

Monday was a rest day for me (other than our morning walk) so I could show mom I was truly getting some R&R. Meanwhile Geoff did a superb job clearing out the top of our garage, carrying down tons of junk accumulated over many years. We took a breather when Frank and Maura Ittner stopped in. Readers of the blog may recall they are from Atlanta and we last saw them around Labor Day when they took five days to drop their daughter off at BU. Well six weeks have passed so they figured another four day visit was in order. They were kind enough to stop over and visit me around time with Becky. So the five of (sans Connie who was playing tennis and staying home for the chimney folks) went to the Fruitlands Museum in Harvard where Gibbett Hill Grille folks have taken over the small restaurant there. The views here looking westward are spectacular and we enjoyed them while also having a great lunch. (Pictures of our group below). We had the double pleasure of catching up with our good friend, Marylynn Gentry, who works 20 hours/week for the Harvard Conservation Trust out of an office on this property. The Ittners took a picture of her biking during her work hours (see below) but that is none of our business. After a late lunch, Monday night dinner was a light affair with grilled salmon.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I had to head into Nypro for about 5 hours each day to attend our Healthcare and Packaging businesses’ board meetings respectively. Mom gave me a hard time as did some people at work. But I have felt good and figured a few hours of work couldn’t hurt. Meanwhile Geoff and Connie continued to work on the garage and it was spotless (and minimalist) by late Tuesday. The only controversy was I instructed Geoff to keep our tacky red sled and two wooden reindeer and then Connie told him “they are going too”. We had a big argument  Tuesday night, and though I can no longer play the cancer card, I prevailed and they stayed. We celebrated our visitors final night here by going to Gibbett Hill Grille for dinner where we all splurged, particularly on the three desserts: flourless chocolate cake, crème brulee and carrot cake. Geoff, rightfully so, felt he had earned it. And I’m still a few pounds light after surgery so I can rationalize it. Sadly we bid adieu to Mom and Geoff on Wednesday morning as they made their way back to Philly. Con and I then reverted to leftovers Wednesday night after three superb nights of eating. Day by day, I feel closer to being my old self.

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I used this theme following my hospital stay back in May. Although redundant, it was the main feeling I had following my return Thursday afternoon. Though very plain, it was a great feeling eating in our own kitchen Thursday evening. And sleeping in my own bed that night. The next morning we took a simple walk along the rail trail to the Groton School Pond, a site we go by often. But it felt unique and special all over again in the crisp autumn morning air (see picture below). Con and I sat on the granite bench and soaked in the silence while reflecting on what a different set of emotions were running through us now versus the emotions on those early walks in May when the initial news just broke. The emotions were different but experiencing the wonder of an outdoor walk on a beautiful morning in Groton were the same.

Step by step, the normalcy returned- enjoying the French Press coffee on Friday morning (though in lower doses to start), having my first bowl of cereal and fruit for breakfast, relaxing on the lounge chair and catching up on reading, eating a regular lunch and enjoying a Friday night at home doing nothing. On Saturday morning, we reverted to another favorite, walking by The General Field, next to the Groton School. And I knew things were really back to normal when I made our usual Saturday morning poached eggs with some excellent olive bread. My appetite and adventure was rapidly coming back. I settled in for a day of R&R watching college football and baseball. But first I needed to do something productive and took on every cabinet in the kitchen, throwing out junk, reorganizing and finally bringing order to our cabinets. The simplicity and ease of access on what remained gratified me greatly (it doesn’t take much these days) while Connie just rolled her eyes, went to a Nashua River Watershed Event with our local congresswomen, Nikki Tsongas and then came back to work on her garden. I slugged out for the evening watching a series of college games, most thrilling being the ND-Stanford game where alas Con’s alma mater lost in a heart break.

Sunday morning, after another excellent night of sleep, we awoke to a drizzly day. But we decided to take a walk in Town Forest. I had increased my number of steps day by day, and was gunning for a 7,000 step day today. I know this amazed people who I mentioned it to, but I really do feel good and strong enough to be walking several miles. Fortunately I’ve not been subject to any noticeable pain from the surgery. I have no after effects from the infection. And I am comfortably settling in with my new friend and appendage: the urostomy bag. It is different than the urine bags I had for the nephrostomy tubes- that required larger bags, strapped to my upper legs. This one sits on my stomach covering over the stoma (the small intestine pulled up from inside my body to reside as a small ball above my skin at my stomach). It resides just below my pants waist line so unlike the prior bags, I don’t need capris in the summer time. This bag won’t show even with short shorts. To show my new confidence though, I vowed to retain one of the two capris while jettisoning the one that was too far out. Our walk was excellent, going along the River in Town Forest with a slight drizzle coming down on us. When we returned late morning, we then got ready for the arrival of our special visitors- more on that in the next blog.

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After starting his hunger strike back on Tuesday, October 2, this blog site can unequivocally announce that Ted Lapres called off his hunger strike today. Rumors of this move were hinted at in the competing Caring Bridge site authored by you know who. Lapres took his last solid food on Monday, October 1 (barbecued pork chop and left-overs) and then announced “I won’t eat solid food until I have a deal to be released from the hospital”. He started strong, taking only swabs of water in his mouth (to go with IVs), then moved up to ice chips for a number of days, moved on to some liquid diet items such as lemon ice, clear broths, apple juice etc before reverting back to the ice chips. Day 1 morphed into day 5 and day 6 and day 7 onward. Lapres persevered through the taunting of his family on nights like Sunday night when Connie brought Legal Seafood fried calamari, clam chowder, fish and chips, salmon, Cheescake etc. into the hospital room. Or the Indian food they brought in for lunch on Monday with those exotic herbed smells wafting through the room. Lapres fought through these temptations bravely and just sucked on more of his ice chips and dreamed of those long ago summer meals. An impasse was developing with hospital officials being firm that you can’t leave until you can demonstrate ability to eat solid food and Lapres stubbornly sticking to his demand to first have the deal closed on leaving the hospital then I’ll eat. A long time friend of Ted’s, Bill Holmes was called in to mediate as he had connections with Lahey top management. Bill observed “I’ve seen this stubbornness before. I remember working in Thailand in 1985 and Ted came to visit. I walked in lobby where he is negotiating with driver service, stubbornly insisting on another 25 baht decrease ( 76 cents). Afterward the driver said “Dr. Bill- your friend very cheep”.

In any event a breakthrough came late Wednesday as the Urology group said he can leave if all else is okay. Infections said they were fine- his antibiotics were moved to pill prescription so he can take them at home. In a gesture of good faith, Lapres ate half a piece of toast on Wednesday evening. And on Thursday, everything fell into place. Jessica, the senior resident Urologist, and a person Ted and connie came to admire and like came in for her morning review and was supportive of a release. The hospital release paperwork was all largely  completed during the morning.  Lapres ate some plain boring cream of wheat gruel as a sign of his sincerity, followed it later with a half sandwich (white bread, slice of turkey, cheese, mayo) that reminded him of his high school cafeteria. And the release from the hospital took place Thursday afternoon.

A beautiful fall day greeted the former hunger striker as he wearily looked out at the colorful autumnal scenes driving back to Groton on the first sunny day in several.. A pleasant but short walk across the street into the fields to watch the spectacular sunset, with his wife brightened the day. Getting back in his lounge chair and watching baseball brightened the day. Then Connie prepared the first home cooked meal (Plain chicken cooked plainly) and white rice (see picture) while Ted poured Connie her first Home beer in 9 days. It tasted wonderful as did plain chicken, white rice, a home bed and being in Groton. 

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Those following Connie’s Caring Bridge site got much more timely information of what unfolded during this time frame. Given the lateness of my blog posting, I’ll just try to share my impression of it all, what I can remember. My first bad infection in May had a two part delayed reaction to it. I remember getting the chills and a fever on the Sunday before Duncan’s graduation and we went to Nashoba Medical where five hours of Tylenol and whatever normalized my fever and they let me out. I got through Duncan’s Monday graduation fine and then got really deathly ill on Tuesday following my first round of chemo (103 fever, etc). It was the second “roundhouse” that did me in for a number of days. Here my Saturday fever and chills was that first warning signal and Sunday turned into an uneventful day with no serious fever or anything. We watched the football games, obviously the big one being the Pats. All five of us were in the room with our electronic devices, situated in various chairs, floor spots etc. Nell took majority time in the bed and a new nurse thought she was the patient for a bit. Our poor daughter had that terrible malady called a “hangover” and she was suffering big time. It felt like one of our cheap hotel rooms on our vacation where we would try to save money. Comparing it to one of our early vacations (in Yellowstone/Grand Tetons) all we were missing was Connie’s mom, Jeannette as our 6th roommate. We even got a nice visit around 9PM from Dr. Sorcini, back up from a family weekend at Block Island, to see how I was doing. Picture enclosed.

So the interim day seemed fine before the big roundhouse second hit on Monday and I never saw it coming, leaving me dazed and out it for the better part of three days. It’s all a blur, blood work, cultures being taken, being removed from liquid diet and put back on ice chips, regular 6-8 cycles of chills, fever, vomiting, temperature reduction, sweats, settling down and start it all over again. I was also reinstated to the IV trolley after a short period of freedom. The infectios disease group then became our new best friends, coming in probing, taking cultures questioning etc. Obviously the infection was confirmed and they did ultimately confirm it was the same “ESBL” e-coli infection I had in May. An old friend who probably never fully left my body but got “sequestered” in there somewhere and latched on to the new plastics devices put in me with this operation. It was an awful three days and obviously left me weaker and further removed from real diets. But the antibiotics started to kick in so the cycle and fevers and vomiting subsided, the liquid diet was reintroduced and I was back to doing my 7-8 laps around the 7th floor loop, stopping to admire our eastward views at our favorite windows and our westward looking windows at the opposite end. And the best thing, as Connie put in the Caring Bridge, was the news from Dr. Sorcini late Wednesday that all the biopsies came back clean so I was officially “cancer free”. That is a good roller coaster.

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Most of the day on Friday I felt reasonably good, alert, able to host some visitors (Pete Leone came by in the morning, Nell around noon, and Ed Mc Nierney in later afternoon) and other than that annoying tube in my nose, causing throat pain and stomach issues, my complaints were few. I also got four full walking loops around the East and West Wing of the 7th floor plus a half loop. It felt great at the time but I was a tad sore by the end of the day. There is a white board in our room with various questions and information, such as your care team on duty at the time, your pain level on a 1-10 scale (with those smiley and frowney faces), questions we have etc. One piece of information is “Your Plan for Leaving Hospital”. To that one, I wrote with the big black marker “ASAP BUT SUNDAY AT THE LATEST”. Within the next 24 hours I learned the folly of my thinking. (Something that people like my sisters, like Patty Lynch, Penny Wickey or my mom would have quickly pointed out.) My first clue came late Friday when my room phone rang. It was Dr. Jack Smith the urologist who was on the Board of a Nypro company and had given good counseling since he had worked many years at Lahey. When I told him how good I felt, he immediately cautioned that adrenaline carries you for the first two days after surgery, then you hit the wall in days 3-5- “It happens to most everyone” he cautioned. I guess he was the prophet. Friday night was pretty uneventful as Con and I watched the one game playoffs and called it an early night. I have the one bed in the room; she pulls out a chair that spreads into what you could loosely call “a full bed.”

Pretty quickly I could see the problems coming. The tubing up my nose and down my throat had reached a painful level. It was creating more liquid and mucus and each time I coughed, my stomach pain throbbed and to avoid coughing, I could swallow but that felt like a screwdriver being dug into my throat. There was no easy answer and it turned into a long night. Fortunately in the morning, the urologists on call concluded that the tube could come out and the lead doctor pulled out the roughly 16”inche tube from the nose. Never have I felt “instant relief” like I felt at that moment. My nose was free, my throat’s pain level dropped quickly and for awhile, life was good. But there were other warning signals reinforcing Jack Smith’s message- my normal walk around the 7th floor was much more painful and swollen in the area where surgery took place. I stepped up the pain medication as a precaution. And took my earliest nap of the day, in mid morning. Duncan and Kate both arrived home last night later to join Nell and they rolled in by mid-morning. Dunc and Con went out clothes’ shoppin while Nell and Kate kept me company. Then they flipped flopped and the girls took shopping duty while Duncan manned the “Dad duty”- the first 90 minutes of which was watching me take a second nap. When everyone was back around 5, I went to take my usual walk around the floor when another troubling sign arose- I had the shakes and real chills, necessitating aborting the walk and calling the nurse. My first temperature started low then went to 98.8, then to 100.2. And my blood pressure was the lowest reading since I arrived here. Reluctantly we had to cancel a planned visit of Chris and Mary lynn (by the way, since I wasn’t a keen observer on the day of surgery, I neglected to mention what a great trooper ML was, staying with Connie for almost four hours during surgery).

The rest of Saturday night was pretty uneventful. Nell headed out for a night with friends. Duncan and Connie went to a local tavern for a beer and to catch up and Kate stayed with me- we opted to watch an old classic “A Fish Called Wanda” or at least the first half. Then Dunc and Kate headed home; Con and I watched the plethora of sporting events on the television. Or more precisely, I instructed Connie numerous times to jump, change the channel, enlarge the screen and then sit back down. And do this over and over again as various commercial breaks allowed channel surfing among the A’s-Tigers baseball, South Carolina-Georgia, Notre Dame-Miami, Texas-W. Va and Nebraska-Ohio State football. Con does a great job talking instructions from a demanding patient. All the tube watching ultimately made us sleepy and we called it a night by 9:30, knowing I wasn’t checking out tomorrow and hoping that things start picking back up again on Sunday or day 5 of the Lahey stay.

I didn’t need to report to Lahey until 7:15 but Con and I got up at 5. It enabled me to follow the letter of the law and “not have liquids 2 hours before admission” while still sipping a small cup of coffee. Given no food for the past 24 hours and the outlook not promising I had to get at least one treat in. We also were up early in order to get some walking in. To avoid the worst of the traffic, we drove to the Lahey about 5:45 and took a walk in the neighborhood there. Things seemed to move slow and fast at the same time. After admission it seemed forever ( but probably 15 minutes) for a nurse to summon me and take both of us to the pre-op area. Then I was the most popular guy in the area for the next hour as I had nurses getting vital sign, the barber to shave my chest hair, the col- rectal assistants to Dr. Roberts, the urology assistants to DR. Sorcini, then Dr. Roberts followed by Dr. Sorcini followed by anestheologist and assistants. It was quickly becoming a blur but I did have enough time to get on the IPAD and check emails (see picture).  Then gradually all the paperwork etc was completed, people started checking their watches and I knew the main event was imminent. I must have told them to put me out sooner rather than later because I remember being wheeled of my little area and then……………………….and then it was 6:30 PM and I was in a post-op recovery room. Sorry I can’t give a first person account of those 10 hours but Connie did feel you in via the Caring Bridge. The first thing I noticed was a urostomy bag on the right and nothing on the left so I reached the conclusion that the rectum stayed before officially being told by Dr. Roberts. I vaguely remembering seeing here, her husband, fellow Margate native an Chief Medical officer, Mike Rosenblatt, as well as Dr. Sorcini and Connie. But it was a big blur and Con informed me that she gave me 10 minutes of here time before heading down to Marylynn’s for the debate.

I did sleep pretty soundly during the night other than when the nurses came in to poke and prod. In the morning, being slightly more functional I entertained a wide number of medical folks in my little cubby hole and then learned the good news that my single room on the seventh floor opened up. At just about that time, Patty Lynch arrived. She had agreed at our dinner on Saturday that she would stay with me for the 3-4 hours when Connie was playing her tennis match. Having been a nurse for 25 years herself at Lahey, I couldn’t have been in better hands. I would put Patty in this role as somewhat of a cross of Penny Wickey with my bulldog sisters. She rang for nursing assistants more in 4 hours than I probably had in four weeks at St. E’s. But she was great- making me get up for walks and pushing me a few extra steps, providing massage of my shoulders and back and handling a lot of interface with the nurses. Thanks so much Patty. Con made it back around 4 with all her overnight gear with her; she was going the distance with me on Thursday night. I got a mid afternoon nap, couple more walks and even a visit from Mike Rosenblatt. Geoff, you would appreciate this- he brought a picture from his office to hang in my room of two Margate lifeguards rowing with the beach in the foreground. Very nice of him to do that and take so much interest in my case. The food front, meanwhile has been wonderful as you can see from the picture below. I had two ice chips other than that, all I can do is wet my mouth with a moist swab. That was my dinner for Wednesday, Thursday and almost certainly Friday night. We’ll see if it carries on further. I try not to think of those wonderful dishes from the past few months as I work my way through my ice chip diet. But as Connie said in her post, Dr. Sorcini and Dr. Roberts were very happy with the outcome- the rectum was saved and good margins were established. Everyone was also surprised at how cogent I was within 12 hours and while there is some pain, it hasn’t been too bad. I just wish I could get rid of this tube in my nose, going down my throat and into my stomach to clear everything out. Oh well-something I have to deal with for several days but mostly a minor irritant surrounded by major progress.

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http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/tedlapres/journal

 

These past two days are my final days before heading into surgery tomorrow. I’ve been incredibly grateful for the large number of emails, texts and phone calls received. It bolsters me tremendously. I took the approach of keeping my mind off surgery by working so lots of Nypro time in the past couple days. But I didn’t waver from the early morning walk each morning. Besides being a routine I have come to relish with Connie, it is important that I get as much walking in as possible prior to the surgery. Since Monday was a work day, and I knew Tuesday was a fast day (along with work day), I had to look to Monday night for my “Last Supper”- not in the biblical sense mind you, but the last real meal for awhile. I figured it was time to beef up to tide me over and I put it in Con’s hands. So what was I served as the culmination of the “foodie experience” of the past five months. Well you can see the picture below. We had one remaining pork chop not used in the chili making so we started with that. As we got closer to eating, Con realized some of her more ambitious recipes fell by the wayside. So she pulled out my barbecue sauce from our July 4 weekend (unfroze it) and slabbed some on and threw the chop in the toaster oven. Damn if my barbecue sauce still didn’t remain “kick ass”. We added the leftover salad from the Lynch dinner on Saturday night and the left over kale and sausage soup from Thursday night-delicious after the flavors melded in the fridge. OK – so it wasn’t the meal like that featured in Babette’s Feast (a wonderful and funny 1987 Danish movie that any good gourmand should watch) but it sufficed for now.

The best I can say about Tuesday is I savored my morning coffee to the fullest. I did sneak 5 bites of Life cereal at 6AM as I interpreted the instructions not to eat food the day before to mean “not within 24 hours”. After that the only highlight was the popsicle sandwiched around lots of Gatorade and Miralax, and plenty of water. I’m not sure if this is better or worse than all the enemas I suffered prior to the two sigmoidoscopies but it had to be done. On a serious note, people have asked if I’m feeling anxious or stressed. Actually when Con and I woke up this morning and took our walk along the Nashua, I felt a real calm and serenity. I’m sure some butterflies will be around tomorrow morning but I’m ready and looking forward to getting this step behind and moving on. We sent one final email to our two surgeons so they knew as clearly as possible how we are thinking and tomorrow, I will go to sleep at 9AM and whatever I wake up to, I’m ready. Thanks so much to everyone for all the support to date, none more so than that wonderful cook and even more wonderful wife, Connie.

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