Monday, 20 August 2018


We met with a new agency this morning who wants to provide care for Katie.  They listened to us and asked questions for two hours.  And not only do they want to provide care for her but they also offer a day program for her.  They want the cape off, they want her out of the wheelchair, they want her living her life and they understand that the agency needs to accommodate Katie, not the other way around.

I am thankful and I cried of course.  Tears of joy.

Friday, 17 August 2018





I had a wonderful day yesterday.  I helped a doc insert an arm port, the first ever in Edmonton.  The doc is an amazing man whom I love working with.  He is kind, dedicated and extremely knowledgeable, mostly though it is his kindness which shines through.  He helped a patient yesterday, a young woman who is dying of cancer;  he made her life a little better

I got news that there is an agency that is willing to take on Miss Katie as a client;  strangely enough it is the very agency I had hoped for.  The big guy and I meet with them next Monday and Katie could move in to a new home in five weeks.  Her behavior, or rather her mood has improved radically on the valproic acid.  She can pay attention longer, she's less anxious overall and she's enjoying life much more.  I am thankful. The new agency will care for Katie alone at first, implementing the behavioral strategies as advised by the behavioral consultant before moving a roommate in with Katie.

It's not just Katie whose behavior has improved, I am also working at changing my behavior around her.  The big guy pointed out to me that unless I am looking at Katie, I am in effect plugging my ears.  She signs and uses body language to communicate so you need to be looking at her to "hear" her.  Only took twenty-six years for me to learn that but I guess better late than never.  I have been working at paying much closer attention to her, looking at her, looking into her eyes and she's much better.  He's right.  Of course he's right, he's often right.  He pays attention to people.  He pays attention to Katie and he notices things I can miss.  I've also started singing to her more as suggested by the behavioral consultant.  Katie likes music but it's not really the music she likes, she likes to be sung to, she likes the interaction and if the song makes no sense, she likes that even better.  She understands humor, gets that it's the disconnect between what is expected and what is delivered that is funny.  And she has a beautiful laugh.

Last Sunday I met my son's girlfriend.  She seems like a decent if somewhat fucked up young woman.  She is happy to let me be a part of this new baby's life and I told her that she has our full support, regardless of what happens between my son and her.  Both she and my son have stopped drinking so all we can do is hope and pray.

I'm also on holidays for the next ten days which is lovely so I'm sitting here, writing, thinking about taking the dog for a walk before it gets too hot.  Right now both animals are curled up on the chair beside me, fast asleep.



Time to fold laundry, walk the dog, paint a wall and some trim, maybe even work in the yard a little.  Happy Friday.



Thursday, 9 August 2018


I'm feeling a little desolate today.  The country is burning it seems.  The sun is a strange red color and the skies are hazy.  I tried to make pumpkin loaf this morning before it got too hot but forgot to add the baking soda and the baking powder so now I have two lumps of ingredients that appear dried out but not cooked.  Fuck.

My son is out of jail.  His young girlfriend, I'm assuming she's young because who else would believe all his lies, was happy to take him back, despite the fact that he's hit her and lied to her and trashed her place.  Yesterday he sent me an ultrasound of the baby, still a tiny nugget.  There will be a gender reveal party.  Would I like to come?

Just back it up a little here.  What about jail?  What about the abuse?  What about the drinking?  What about the lies?  I'm just supposed to ignore all of that I'm guessing but I can't and I won't.  My son knows how I feel about babies and family.  Family first.  Babies need love and support, they need family.

I am the grandmother but I don't want to sucked into his drama, don't want to be manipulated.  I feel for this young woman deeply and my grandbaby but I feel a wall going up to protect myself from my son.  I never knew this could happen, that I would need to protect myself from my own child.

Yesterday a patient came in, I'll call him Stan.  He's been coming to us for awhile.  He has MS and cancer, I don't even know what kind of cancer.  His wife is his fulltime caregiver.  She's much smaller than him but she moves him from wheelchair to stretcher by herself.  It's how she does it at home.  When they arrived yesterday he was pale and shaking and slightly yellow.  He looked awful.  We got a bed for him and I went to check his bloodwork.  His liver is shutting down.  His hemoglobin is low.  He's dying, not today but soon.

The poor man couldn't stop shivering.  I piled blankets on top of him while his wife explained that it was the air conditioning that was to blame.  I mentioned that I had checked his blood work, trying to get a feel for her understanding of how poorly he was doing.  She just talked about the weather, the heat and the air conditioning.  She doesn't want to know that her husband is dying, or rather she's trying to avoid knowing this.  Some part of her knows already that he is dying but she's trying to keep going, trying to have hope, trying to protect them both from the knowledge that his time here is short.

It's what we do.  We protect ourselves as best we can.  My girlfriend who died in May knew she had brain tumors.  She told me that she never thinks about them, can't think about them.  I told her I thought this was how we protected ourselves from awful knowledge.

When Katie was young she used to paint with poop or more precisely, smear shit everywhere.  One night I was home alone with the kids, had put Katie to bed and was sitting watching TV.  When I went to check on her she was smeared with shit from head to toe.  Her room was smeared with shit, the bed, the walls and the carpet.  I burst into tears.

My son was sixteen at the time.  He heard me and came upstairs.  He took Katie and bathed her while I cleaned her room as best I could.  His tenderness and caring with both his sister and me have stayed with me all these years.  I want to believe that he is still that young teenage boy.  I want to protect myself from what he has turned into, from this awful knowledge.  My son is an alcoholic and a drug addict and an abuser and it breaks my heart.  I don't know how to have hope with this knowledge don't know how to keep going.


Friday, 3 August 2018


One of the big guy's photos.  It really is that beautiful on Vancouver Island.

Life carries on.  It rained today which was a nice break from the heat.  I appreciated it and I'm sure the garden appreciated it.

We were short staffed at work today and we had six central lines to do.  There were no allergic reactions, no fainters, no transport patients, no hour long IV starts.  It was good busy which made the day go fast.  My coworkers and I all worked together like a well oiled machine and the radiologist we worked with is a gentle, kind man with a wonderful sense of humor.

At one point one of the my coworkers snapped his glove before cleaning a patient's chest prior to a central line insertion.  He ripped the glove and said he would use his left hand instead as the sterile gloves come in pairs and he didn't want to open a new package.  I said, "So your girlfriend is going to clean his (the patient's) chest?"  The patient cracked up and laughed so hard it was fantastic.  He didn't even feel any pain when we put in his central line.  Job done.

I love making patients laugh.

My last line patient was diagnosed with stage four esophageal cancer seven weeks ago.  The doctors have given him weeks.  We talked about it while we waited for the doc.  He's okay with it but his wife is having a tough time he said.  I think it's harder to watch someone you love go through cancer than go through it yourself.  He knows he's dying but his family hasn't caught up to his acceptance yet.  He doesn't have the luxury of time.  He's fifty-nine years old.

My son is back in jail.  Life carries on.  Last night I sat on the bed feeling like I wanted to crawl out of my skin and then I just sat there and felt what I was feeling.  As I sat there just feeling everything, the anxiety, the dread, the need to move or do something slowly subsided.  I've gotta do that again:)

I'm thankful for the natural world which calms me.
I'm thankful for laughter.
I'm thankful for hugs from friends and the big guy.
I'm thankful for small beagles who like to walk.
I'm thankful I sat still last night and just felt.

What are you thankful for today?


Saturday, 28 July 2018


I worked in the garden yesterday which always helps my soul.  I have only a few annuals in pots but they're right outside my kitchen window so I get to see them all the time.  They cheer me up.  

Most of the backyard is shaded for a good part of the day so I've been adding hostas and astilbes and moving ferns around to fill in empty spots.  We have a lot of trees in the backyard which suck up a lot of moisture so I've been adding mulch around the perennials, cedar mulch which always smells so wonderful.  
 
The big guy put up this gate for me this year.  I love it.  It makes the garden feel welcoming.  The old gate was solid wood, weighed a lot, never latched properly and hung at a slant.  This one is light and beautiful.

I'm going for a long walk after I post this, before it gets too hot.  Tonight we're going out for supper with friends and tomorrow my in-laws will be over for supper.  Rest and relaxation.

In other news my son informed me that I am going to be a grandmother.  I hope to god that both he and his girlfriend stop drinking.  He says they have, I pray they have.  A baby deserves better than to be born with fetal alcohol syndrome.  I'm torn.  When I got pregnant with me son, nobody was happy.  It was not a good way to bring a baby into the world and I don't want history to repeat itself.  I have to find a way to welcome this baby into the world despite the lies and the drugs and the alcohol.  A fine balance I'm guessing, something I'm not very good at.  I'm more of an all or nothing kind of person, given to extremes the big guy would say.  And I am.  I love with all my heart but once you betray my trust, it's so difficult for me to ever trust again or forgive.

Thursday, 26 July 2018


Today I would rather be here, wandering along the beach, listening to the sound of the waves gently touching the sand.  It's been a tough week.  We have long term patients at work, many patient's I've known for years.  One of my favorite patients came in this week for a scan.  I've known her for five years.  She has a wonderful smile and laugh.  She loves life, especially spending time with her grandchildren.

She was looking and feeling awful when she came in so she ended up on a stretcher.  We joked a bit, I got her a blanket and then she said she thought she was almost done which made both of us cry.  She's only sixty years old and she's had cancer for the past five years.  She has a seven month old grandson who won't remember her.  I suggested she leave a letter for him but she said no, she wanted her other grandchildren to tell him about her.  When she left I gave her a big hug and I thought about how much I hate cancer.

Yesterday I found out another one of my favorite patients has opted for assisted suicide on Saturday.  Fortunately I was in a stairwell when I was told this so I could cry in peace.  This patient is a man who is only a year younger than me;  he has a three year old daughter.  He's kind and gentle and just such a lovely person.  He's been coming to us for awhile as well and now he's an inpatient nearing the end.  Today he came down to us to have his central line checked because somebody thought it might be leaking.  He was pretty well medicated, maybe even a little high, but not in pain.  I overheard him explaining to the x-ray tech that he was going for MAID, medical assistance in dying, on Saturday so we just needed to make sure the line was working.  He told the doc too.

Yesterday when we took him upstairs on his stretcher he was singing.  Today I told him that it was a honour to take care of him and that I was so glad I had the chance to meet him.  He said, "I'm so glad we met too Sherry."  I smiled and didn't tell him that wasn't my name.  I'm okay being Sherry for him.  He made me smile and I will raise a glass of wine to his memory when I go out for supper on Saturday.

Today a young man paralyzed from his tumor pressing on his spine came back to us;  he was with us last fall for months.  He was a huge guy, six foot five, three hundred pounds.  It always took five of us to move him from the stretcher to the table.  He's lost almost a hundred pounds, the cancer has spread to his brain.  He doesn't have much time left.  His daughter is sixteen months old now and walking;  last fall she was still a baby.  She won't remember her daddy.

There are more.  People getting sicker, new patients taking the place of those who have gone.  A never ending carousal of cancer.

I will spend the weekend working in my garden, digging up weeds, mulching, moving plants, digging in the dirt.  We're going out with friends for supper on Saturday.  I will walk the dog.  I will try to remember to be thankful for the time I have here.

Thursday, 19 July 2018


I've been on estrogen and progesterone for the past five years because I kind of lost my mind when menopause first hit me five years ago.  But you're only supposed to stay on it for five years and my time is up so I've been decreasing the dose for the past few months until this past Monday when I took the last patch off.

So now the hot flashes are back in full force, enough to make me want to vomit last night.  We took the dog for a walk and it's hot as hell here.  When we got back home to our lovely hot house I sat down and had a hot flash which heated me up enough to feel sick.  It passed but it's a very unpleasant feeling.

I also feel foggy and maybe a little irritable, maybe a lot irritable.  I have a problem with my temper anyway which I try to keep in check but when my hormones are out of whack it feels like trying to rein in a dragon, a fiery, pissed off dragon.  So there's that.

Otherwise life is fine.  I need more exercise but keep finding excuses to not exercise when the best thing for me would be exercise.

I'm training a young nurse to work in our interventional radiology suite and found it difficult to focus yesterday.  She had lots of questions which I tried to answer while also assisting the radiologist.  Mistakes were made, by me.  Nothing to do with the patient, just with me not paying attention to what was going on because I was distracted.  I kept handing the rad the wrong instruments.  He's an extremely kind man and when I apologized to him later he said not to worry.  We're a team.  I'm helped him when he first started and today he was able to help me.

So I'm not losing my marbles but I am having a hard time dealing with distractions, something the big guy would agree with as we had a long conversation about this last night.  He's not wrong but it's hard to hear the truth.  Neither is this a new problem with me, I've been like this my whole life.

I'm off today so I'm taking the dog for a nice long walk before it gets too hot.