Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Things I'm thankful for today.

This face.
My girlfriend with ovarian cancer is no longer suffering.
Birds singing their hearts out this morning when I went for a walk in the river valley before work.
My son graduating on Saturday with his business degree.
My middle daughter will be coming for the convocation.
A walk after supper that took me past the duck pond.
Katie's doctor is going to call an infectious diseases doc to see if they can't sort out Katie's recurring cellulitis, which is starting up again.  Sigh.
Sunshine and warm weather.

What are you thankful for today?

Sunday, 26 April 2015


A day out with Katie.

We took Katie out this morning.  I saw her Thursday when she went to see our family doctor.  She looked good;  the doctor checked her over and took a nasal swab to see if Katie's nose is the culprit in all these infections.  When we picked Katie up I noticed she has another stye starting up which is how the last bit of cellulitis started. 

The big guy and I took Katie to a park down by the river for a walk and a run.  She doesn't get much exercise and I worry about that.  Katie wanted to run, so we ran.  Then we walked.  She was quickly out of breath but wanted to keep going.  I wasn't even out of breath so I didn't think it was that difficult.  When she'd had enough she wanted to sit in her wheelchair.  Then she got nauseated.  We managed to get her out of her wheelchair and she ended up on her knees, beside the path, vomiting and crying.  Did I mention the big guy hates vomiting? 

We walked for awhile with her in her wheelchair.  Some people went by with their dogs and that set her off crying.  She loves dogs but gets so anxious.  We headed back to the car after I had a weep which set her off crying again. 

For lunch we had hotdogs, sitting in a parking lot.  It's what Katie wanted, a hotdog.  And a coke, except she grabbed a 7Up from the cooler.  Her choice.  I didn't cook meals for her this past week because we were so busy at work that I didn't have the energy so we had to stop at M&M Meats for some frozen meals.  When we parked, Katie grabbed my hair with both hands and then as I tried to get away she got hold of my one hand and gouged me with her fingernail.  The big guy grabbed Katie's hand and I managed to get out of the car and buy the meals.  When I came back to the car Katie apologized.  We made it home without too much problem.  I wore my mittens and that irritated her because she couldn't scratch my hands.  

When we got to her house, the big guy got her out of the car and walked her into her house.  I brought in her wheelchair and she was already sitting down, looking sad and mad and anxious.  I kissed her and told her that her dad was coming next weekend. 

I love my daughter and I always take it personally when she attacks me.  She scares me because I know she can hurt me.  I also know she suffers terrible remorse which sets her off crying when it's all over.  And so it goes.  I wish it was different.  I don't know how to let go of this wish.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015



I had a meltdown at work today but I'm not sure why it happened.  I was working in our fluoro room, assisting one of the docs.  We had three patients this afternoon and the first two lines took longer than normal, which means I stood around in my lead for longer than normal which hurts my shoulders.  And I was having hot flashes under the lead, with my sterile gown, mask, surgical cap and sterile gloves on.  I could feel the sweat running down my back and my panties were soaked.  And I was hungry because I get hungry at 14:30 and need a snack but I couldn't have one because I was scrubbed in. 

So we finished the second patient at 15:00 and I took the patient up to the desk and there was my passive aggressive co-worker filling out her time sheets.  There's still work to be done.  There is still one more patient to go and I'm hungry and I lost it.  I also have a face that everything shows on it.  My friend asked me if I wanted her to do the last line and I said forget it!  I headed to my locker for chocolate and by the time I went back into the fluoro room, everyone was there which irritated me even more and I started crying, sobbing really.

I was not about to be labeled a cry baby or unstable or anything else.  I made myself stop crying, we brought the patient in and just as I was finishing draping the patient I started crying again.  So I had to stop and get undressed, blow my nose and scrub in again but I finished my fucking work.  Nobody can say I don't finish my work and I don't know why that matters to me so much.  The patient was a very sweet man who never knew there was anything wrong.  Thank god for masks.

So what's my problem?  I was hot and hungry and sore and tired.  But I think what got me even more is that I allow my passive-aggressive co-worker to push my buttons.  I have seldom met anyone more unaware of their surroundings and it even surprises me that she is able to drive to work.  Or maybe it's just the job she hates so much.  Maybe she switches off when she comes to work.  Whatever it is I find it offensive.  I love my patients.  I think the work I do is important and I also think that if you're going to do a job that you should do it well. 

So after work I came home and put my pyjamas on and hid from the world.  I made supper and repotted an orchid.  I ironed my uniforms.  I gave the big guy a massage because he's buggered up a muscle in his back.  But I still don't know why exactly I lost it today. 

On the weekend I had a very short, ten seconds, episode of double vision.  To be honest it was the most frightening thing that's ever happened to me.  I thought I was having a stroke.  I still have to see a doctor but it scared the shit out of me.  I've felt very mortal ever since Shirley died.  I've had an endometrial biopsy for unexplained bleeding which came back normal and a sigmoidscope for unexplained bleeding which shows I have hemorrhoids.  And now this and I feel like a hypochondriac and an old woman all wrapped up into one wet, weepy bundle. 

And I miss Shirley.  She listened and she always had good advice.  I trusted her.  I had a dream about her not long ago and she was laughing.  She had a wonderful laugh.  I'm glad she's happy but I do miss her.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Sunday, 12 April 2015



I had such a lovely day yesterday.  I made brownies and did the laundry while the big guy vacuumed.  The bathrooms got cleaned and then I headed out to visit a friend.  I stopped to buy her a lovely orchid and some yummy treats from a local bakery.  My girlfriend who was supposed to die in February but outlived her stay in a regular hospital bed and has been transferred to palliative care.  I went to see her.  She looked lovely.  Her hair is growing back in, short and gray.  She had her makeup and jewelry on and I helped her get dressed.  We visited for awhile and I got to meet her sister and niece.  Then we made arrangements for more visits.

When I got home I prepped for supper.  The big guy's daughter and son in law, along with our beautiful granddaughter, were coming for supper.  I even had enough time to go pick up a new phone.  We had a lovely evening, visiting, eating and marveling at our granddaughter.  The cat was not quite so enamored by the baby, although the baby loved the cat. 

When they left, taking the last bit of brownies home with them I told the big guy what a wonderful day I'd had.  It was nothing special, it was just nice.  I got to rock and hold and chat with my granddaughter.  I saw my friend.  I fed those I love. 

I'm getting used to being called nana.  The first time the big guy referred to me as nana, I looked around for my mum.  I still miss her sometimes.  She would have loved to have a new baby in the family.  She loved babies and children.  Her first job was as a nanny and then she took care of her children and then her grandchildren for the rest of her life.  She loved having her family all together and feeding them.  I guess the apple doesn't fall from the tree. 

Friday, 3 April 2015


The face I love.

I think this photo was taken eight years ago which would have made Katie fourteen.  She looks younger than that to me.  I can't remember where the black eye and fat lip came from;  there have been more than a few injuries over the years.  If you look closely you'll notice that a part of her one front tooth is missing.  That happened when she was at a horrible school for three nightmarish months.  Her aide, a truly stupid and incompetent woman, put somebody's else pants on Katie that were far too long and Katie fell and smashed her front teeth.  Both front teeth are now dead and she had to have two root canals which meant two general anesthetics.  This was the only awful aide Katie ever had in school.  The woman tied Katie's hands behind her back one day to feed Katie lunch and told me about it!  She thought it was a good idea.  WTF!  And the woman was not fired even after I complained to the principal.  That's when we found a new school for Katie with a wonderful program that allowed her to be herself. 


I like this photo better.  Same age, no bruises.  Katie's on the train at Fort Edmonton;  one of her favorite places on earth.  And she doesn't have that anxious look on her face that is now often the norm for her.  If I could erase Katie's anxiety I would.  It started with puberty and has not abated.  In fact it seems to get worse each year. 

I remember when Katie was a baby I tried to develop a formula that would tell me what Katie's mental age would be when she grew up.  I tracked her developmental delays and made elaborate formulas because I wanted to know what the future would hold.  All for naught.  I have a twenty-two year old daughter who can't talk but who never stops signing.  She has an amazing memory and sense of direction, as well as a fully developed sense of humor.  She can't tie her shoes or understand abstract concepts but she understands people.  She can't talk but everyone knows her name.  One year we were in Sylvan Lake for a holiday, about a hundred miles south of here, and a woman on the beach knew Katie by name. 

I've slowly come to the realization that I have no idea what life or the future will bring.  I see that everyday at work.  People are living their lives, working, fighting, laughing, loving and then boom, they have cancer.  Which reminds me of the poem by Robbie Burns, "To A Mouse". 

But little Mouse, you are not alone,
In proving foresight may be vain:
The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often askew,
And leave us nothing but grief and pain,
For promised joy!

I'm older now and I realize I have virtually no idea what will happen in life except that it will end in death which is freeing in a way.  I don't have to fight so hard to make happen what I want to happen.  I can give up control and expectations, a little;  I'm not that wise yet.  But ever so gradually I'm learning to let go.  Maybe that's what life is for, to beat the expectations out of us so that we can learn to just be.