E is for Esophagus

My dad sitting near a fish tank in a hospital waiting room

I don’t think about my esophagus often. In fact, I don’t know much about it other than it’s in the neck and food travels through it. But the esophagus has been on my mind a lot lately because my Aunt has cancer of the esophagus. This morning (I’m writing this on Thursday) she had about two-thirds of  her esophagus removed. The doctor pretty much said the surgery was the easy part of the process and recovery is now the challenge. I believe we have a long road ahead. That said, I’m pretty sure my Aunt doesn’t want me sharing her personal life with everyone – so enough about her situation in specific – I’ll just share with you all a few things I’ve learned while waiting in the surgery waiting room with my Dad and Mom today.

•I looked up “esophagus” online at Merriman-Webster and this is what it says: “a muscular tube that in humans is about nine inches (23 centimeters) long and passes from the pharynx down the neck between the trachea and the spinal column and behind the left bronchus where it pierces the diaphragm slightly to the left of the middle line and joins the cardiac end of the stomach.”

•Surgery waiting rooms can be rather loud. Most people are friendly and are willing to strike up a conversation.  Some people enjoy telling stories and don’t seem to care who can hear them. Some of those people have their cell phone ringers turned up as loud as possible and say things like “Mary, Mary, quite contrary” when they answer the phone. People who tell stories and answer their phones with silly greetings make the time spent in a waiting room much more enjoyable 🙂

•St. Joseph’s Hospital is a beautiful facility. Everyone who works here that I’ve come in contact with is wonderfully kind, helpful and friendly. St. Joseph’s has excellent scrambled eggs, bacon and sausage in their cafeteria at breakfast time and a Ginko Coffeehouse where they make a wonderful latte.

•I’ve been working hard to cut my sugar intake but, I confess, today I bought a little package of chocolate covered salted caramels from Ginko’s and ate all but two of them (I shared those two with my Mom and Dad).

•According to St. Joseph Hospital’s website, St. Joseph’s was “founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet in 1853, St. Joseph’s Hospital in downtown St. Paul is proud to hold the distinction as Minnesota’s first hospital.”

•Across from St. Joseph’s is an apartment building that is still beautiful but, you can tell, would have been gorgeous years ago. The building, now called the Colonnade Apartments, was once the lovely Willard Hotel. The six story hotel was built in 1889 and suffered damage in a bad fire in 1955. After the fire, the top two floors were removed. I wish I could have seen the inside of the building back when it was a new hotel.

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Myrna CG Mibus


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