Sunday, September 05, 2004

Sleep,Seep, Beep & Weep-A Shop Vac too

I slept in today...I woke up in time to shower and run to church. It was nice for a change. Amy stayed home, which wasn't nice. I find myself in church barely hanging onto my emotions wishing I was hanging onto her hand.

Amy hasn't adjusted well to being home from the hospital. Little frustrations loom large and I can't blame her. She's yet to really develop a strategy for overcoming them. My time tested approach of making light of all situations doesn't work.

I can prove that...if need be I can show scars.

The primary frustration for Amy is the feeding pump. I hoped when we fled the hospital we might escape the medical electronics too, but that's not the case. The feeding pump is now part of our household, although eventually she will be able to feed herself by hand (essentially by squirting this liquefied food into her g-tube using something that looks like a cross between a giant syringe and a turkey baster), right now Amy needs the pump.

It means her feedings take hours instead of minutes, it's messy, it leaks and several times a day that provokes tears of frustration to which I have little to offer. Having already discovered laughing it off is the wrong approach I've resorted to pep talks and prayer.

Sometimes I admit that seems like all I'm providing is more force fed pabulum.

The other night the pump was having its own problems. It doesn't shed beeps. It beeped....and beeped...and beeped. Amy managed to sleep through the alarms thanks to pharmaceuticals. I however found myself lacking the proper medications.

Since Amy had a pharmacological advantage...she snoozed...the pump beeped, and I muttered. I tried to fix beeped...Amy snoozed. I kept trying; it kept beeping....Amy snored a little.

Finally I gave up, and roused Amy (a feat unto itself). After several attempts she finally managed to silence the thing. She snoozed...I tossed and turned occasionally dreaming of old Roadrunner cartoons.

The worse problem with the pump is that when it is doing its job, it continues to do it no matter what...even if the feeding tube becomes detached from Amy, which happens far too often. If you were thinking this would be an ideal time for the pump to're too logical for a career in medicine.

Instead of beeping, the pump simply discharged its content onto our carpet...all its content. Were we at a Urologists convention and the liquid had not been adult feeding formula, I'm certain the flow rate would have resulted in a standing ovation.

Amy awoke to discover our carpet soaked. I awoke to an odor of stagnant formula, which in truth smelled a lot like baby puke.

Amy tried sopping it up with towels, I tried a deodorizing agent that's guaranteed to neutralize the odors produced by any end of your dog, but apparently is useless when it comes to spoiled liquefied nutrition.

We tried all sorts of things - all with no luck...when we entered the house we immediately were hit by the smell. I resisted telling people we were thinking of having another child and decided to get used to the smell of baby vomit first. I knew Amy wouldn't see the humor.

Gordon loaned us his much beloved and powerful shop vac.

The shop vac is indeed a device to be reckoned with; it will inhale your Hoover, and dispatch your Oreck, haughtily spitting them out in chunks.

We soaked the carpet in a variety of cleaners and the shop vac sucked it all up. I also used it to consume cobwebs which had lurked for years in hard to reach areas. I groped behind beds, under tables, and even used it on our big dog Klondike (he'll forgive me...dogs are good about that).

Although it worked wonderfully, and I know Gordon is proud of his shop was no easy task. This is Gordon's shop vac.

This is the state of Vermont:

They are roughly the same size, although Gordon's shop vac has more attachments.

Of course no one is really attached to Vermont, but I suspect it's easier to drag around the state of Vermont than it is to maneuver Gordon's shop vac....especially now that most folks have forgotten Howard Dean lives there.

By the time I finished sucking up everything in sight, I felt like I had accomplished a lot, but I was exhausted and the odor was still detectable. I could only compare it to being the second dog attached to an Iditarod sled. It was a lot of work, but the smell from my position never really improved.

Enter Rhonda. Rhonda had an actual carpet cleaner gizmo.

Amy mixed up some concoction of cleaner, deodorizer, bleach and lizard tails which I then used to soak the carpets and suck up the excess.

I even pulled out the shop vac again and went over everything one more time.

It sucked up more liquid and dog hair...heck I had to stop it from taking the entire carpet on several occasions.
The selling point to the shop vac is not only its power, but also "there's no bag to empty". That sounds wonderful, unless you have a bucket of what smells like baby puke mixed with dog hair and dirt with which to contend. Plus, as an added bonus, there are seven thousand nine hundred attachments to clean, so that they don't smell like baby puke.

The process did at least work...somewhat. We can still smell it a little, but at least the neighbors can't anymore.

Gordon has a nice clean shop vac...I have muscles I didn't know about before, and I think Amy, although still frustrated, may now at least see the value in the adage, "Don't cry over spilt milk."