Don't F*%& With the Pancreas-The Maine Edition (The Conclusion)

Don't F*%& With the Pancreas-The Maine Edition (The Conclusion)

Happy Friday! This is the FINAL blogisode of Don’t F*$% With the Pancreas, and

Ricky Wagner

Ricky Wagner

hopefully the last we will hear of Rob Meffe and that pancreas of his. This Wagner Pancreas Ring Cycle has lasted an astonishing 26 blogisodes, which is about 22 more than Richard Wagner's (wimp) and 18 more than I thought I’d spend on it when we started. Thank you for sticking with me throughout this medical comedy.

This blogisode is brought to you by the delicious late summer nap I just enjoyed. After the long day yesterday, culminating in the post fire alarm late, late show of the Act IV Cabaret and a 3-year-old visitor to my bed at 5:15am, I needed it. Is there anything better than napping with open windows in the cool summer breeze? Yes. Napping with open windows in the cool summer breeze and not being woken up by your three year old just as you are hitting one of those important rem cycles. Which, naturally, I was. But she was cute. She had a question. She peeled up my sleep mask and removed my sound reduction head phones which were blasting white noise to ask me,

"Mommy? How is your nap?"

Not listed on this chart, REM cycle 1 1/2...awoken by a toddler.

Not listed on this chart, REM cycle 1 1/2...awoken by a toddler.

Well, that ended that. Since I’m awake and my parents appear to be on a moose safari for a while, let’s get going and bring this puppy on home. We've now moved out of the house and down to the Vermont Country Store to play with the toys. Charlotte wants $12 raw milk cheese (she has "champagne taste" in cheese). I told her I'd buy it for her if she'll watch her sister while I write. Deal.

We left off with Rob and that ever important tray of food. Make no mistake about it, Rob was dressed and packed as he tried to muscle down the food he’d ordered. Let’s pause for a moment and discuss the food on the tray. Do you remember what was there?

Look closely. Notice the big menu, full of food options.

Look closely. Notice the big menu, full of food options.

Allow me to remind you. It was:

1) ginger ale

2) cantaloupe

3) Raw vegetables

4) A banana

I ask you. If you hadn’t eaten in 48 hours and you were sent a menu that had all kinds of low fat options, including soft and savory entrees like chicken and rice or ravioli or chicken soup, and you’d just had a vacuum cleaner tube stuck down your throat….do you think you’d order healthy and hard to swallow things like cantaloupe and steamed vegetables? Don’t you think his food looks like he is on Weight Watchers? Doesn’t at least a yogurt seem like a good idea? Suffice it to say that some of the food made it in to his body, but there is a slight chance that some ended up in a garbage can. Allegedly. I am happy to report that did manage to choke enough down to get discharged. Success!

I ran across the street to get his prescription filled and came back to pick him up at the hospital. He’d talked his way out of a wheelchair escort and was waiting by the front door with his overnight bag. Rob Meffe was a guy who was ready to be miles away from anything with “medical” in the title.

We headed back to Quisisana, and drove by the the Tent Sale without stopping a second time despite Rob encouraging me to stop and shop. We pulled into Quisisana around 5:30 pm, and I told Rob to go to sleep, I’d take care of the kids.

“Sleep??” He said, as if I’d told him to set his hair on fire. “Why would I need to sleep? I had two naps today!”


“I took one when I got back to the room!”

“For about 30 minutes, and during that they took your vitals, served your lunch and cleaned the other side of the room.”

“I slept through it.”

I thought for a second. “When was the other nap?”

He looked at me like I was crazy. “I was asleep during my surgery.”

“ROB. Surgery doesn’t count as a NAP.” Really. Are you kidding me with this? He’d been up all night doing orchestrations.

“I want to see the kids. I feel great!”

“Fine. Do what you want.” I’m no party pooper. You want to be a post surgery super hero? Go for it. Pass out in the dining room and explain yourself to Jane.

He found the kids and I have to admit, the reunion was grand. He did manage a quick rest and a shower while I took the girls to kids' dinner, but then he declared was going to dinner, no questions asked. Jane, the worry wart, was one step ahead of him and had this waiting outside our cabin.

The note.

The note.

Rob informed me that he was “fine” and “didn’t need it” and I informed him, “If Jane left this for you, you're going to take it.” It’s like how she cleared his dinner plate that first night. It’s what she could do to help.



He saw my point and drove himself up to the dining room for Steak and Lobster night, neither of which are low fat, so he had baked fish. This is practically sacrilegious at Quisisana, because Steak and Lobster night is so revered.

He got a big reception at dinner, as you might imagine. In fact, our waitress and friend Danielle was so relieved to see him that this was her reaction.

Relieved Danielle.

Relieved Danielle.


Technically, this was Rob’s last day under contract at Quisisana, because the musical revue opened that night at 9:00pm. Never one to shirk a duty, Rob was there with his iPad at 9:00pm, taking notes, adjusting synthesizer volume levels and giving last minute tips. It was pretty impressive (bordering on crazy), and I don’t think Jane took her eyes off him incase she had to catch him mid-fall.. The minute the show ended, he headed up to talk to the band, but I grabbed him and said, “That’s it. You’re going to bed.” Enough for one day, right? Right. He was asleep 30 seconds later.

The next day Rob was impressively well. He napped and rested, but overall, if you lined up relaxed and nap-prone Quisisana guests in a lineup with Rob, you’d never know he was the one who’d had surgery the day before. He made it to every meal and even laid out by the lake for a spell. For dinner we sat with our Sister Wife and other friends and Rob stuck with fish, this time having salmon. Not long after dinner, he told me he was feeling pretty sick.




I asked him the standard question, “Like, pack a bag we’re heading to the hospital sick?” and he said no, just tired and nauseated. He stayed about the same, sick and napping, barely eating throughout the next day. He refused to call a doctor, but I left him at Quisisana and drove to cell service. I was going to phone in (yet another) favor. I dialed our Double Doctor friend, Andy Nowalk.

He answered and I could hear a bit of chaos on the other end.

"Andy? Is this an okay time? I have a quick medical question. I'm so sorry to bug you on a Saturday."

"This is a fine time. I'm actually on vacation and about to take the kids down to the ocean, but you caught me just in time." I could just picture him standing there with all three of his boys, balancing his cell phone as he applied sunscreen, telling me this was a great time to talk. He's a nice one, that Andy Nowalk.

"Rob is having a bad reaction, and I'm not what's causing it. I want to make sure I shouldn't be rushing him somewhere."

Andy talked about the stress Rob's body has been through and how long it takes for a pancreas to heal after the surgery. His main focus was the ever popular low fat diet that was so crucial. I ran through everything Rob had eaten and told him about dinner the night before.

Andy's voice raised a bit. "Salmon? He ate salmon? That could do it."

Take note. Bad for pancreas.

Take note. Bad for pancreas.

"What's wrong with salmon?"

"It's very fatty. Even though the oils are essentially good for you overall, it's very hard on the pancreas. He needs to stick with white fish. That's what's wrong with him."

I felt dumb. Of course salmon is fatty. Duh. It's oily. Dr. Andy, our personal low fat expert assured me that once the salmon was through his system, he'd feel much better. No need to rush him anywhere.

I did rush back to Quisisana (after buying some goodies and taking this cute picture of the Beazer at Zeb's General Store in North Conway, New Hampshire), and told Rob that

The bear babysat while I taked to Dr. Andy

The bear babysat while I taked to Dr. Andy

salmon is the devil. I don't like salmon, so it took him a minute to believe me. We struck salmon and keg parties off the list of Rob friendly food, and he healed up just fine, I'm happy to report.

Jane and I had a heart-to-heart and mutually decided that we should stay at Quisisana until mid week at the latest. as she said, "I can't do much, but I can give you a comfortable place to stay." Jane Orans is wonderful. She knows the power of Qusisiana, a place where one heals ones self. She was right. Quisisana healed Rob beautifully. By the time we left on Thursday, making it almost a two week stay in the lap of luxury, we felt appropriately loved and cared for. It's hard to say thank you to such generosity, and we know we were lucky to have such dear friends to help us throughout our pancreas ordeal.

Thank you to all of you for reading Rob's saga, he's laughed and loved being the center of all this attention, despite his claims that he doesn't like to be any trouble. Rob and the kids and I hope we never have to put a medical comedy on this blog again, but it was fun to share with you.

On our last morning at Quisisana, Danielle made this fancy sign out of crayons and a placemat. When I got to Vermont I hung it on our frig as a reminder of good friends in a crisis. And as a reminder to stay away from salmon. We'll miss you, too. And thank you.Because I like to end all these blogisodes with a little video, I decided to honor the request of reader Emily Steinfeld and put up a ridiculous video my friend Marissa shot of me singing during the Act IV Cabaret. It's about as stupid as can be, but it will give you a flavor of the fun we've had in Vermont.  (Update as of 9/1/11) It was originally posted sideways, but I finally hooked it to youtube, so now you can watch it correctly!)