Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Real Fast Update

Sorry about this but I gotta run.
Have to go into Ottawa for physio (man, do I ever need it!) and I'm staying in town tonight to take a very good friend out for her birthday dinner.
This is an annual ritual with us.
Her birthday was yesterday but she just arrived yesterday from visiting her daughter and son in Vancouver for the holidays.
So, her birthday dinner had to be delayed a day this year.
Which just happened to work well for my physio schedule.
And of course, because I'm staying overnight I get to have breakfast in Ottawa tomorrow.
With my little chickadee, and my beautiful boy, and his father (gotta figure out a moniker for that man).
So, once again, tempus fugit.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

My New Coffeemaker (and why I needed one)

I am a coffee-aholic (in the morning).
One might say, I like my coffee (in the morning).
The qualifier is being added because I don't much care for coffee once the clock strikes noon; never have.
Not sure why that quirk, but all my working life I would look for coffee all morning.  But once lunch hit, I had no desire for coffee, turning my interest to tea or a cold beverage (but never water -- that is a more recent consumptive habit).
Anyway, back to the topic of this post.
For the past several years, I had a Tim Hortons coffeemaker:  I wanted my coffee ready now when I got up in the morning and that coffeemaker sure fit the bill.  It held hot water in reserve, always ready to instantly brew a pot on demand.  Two minutes after turning on the switch, my coffee was ready (there was a timer feature but why? when it only took two minutes to brew a pot?)
Then some time in October my Tim Horton coffeemaker broke.  I don't recall how it broke and that really has little bearing on this story except for the fact that it put me in the market for a new coffeemaker.
And that has every bearing on this story.
You see, I like to have coffee in bed while I read my morning newspapers (doesn't everyone?)
The routine we had developed in this household was that I would crawl out of bed to make my bathroom stop, during which trip I would start the coffee and get the kettle going for John's tea.  John would get up and make the trek down the lane to collect the newspapers (yes, through the rain, the sleet, the snow -- if papers are delivered, John collects them for me).
John would then bring me my newspapers along with my first cup of coffee and he would head downstairs to check his e-mail (he has his priorities).
He would be very good about coming up periodically to see if I needed a refill for my coffee (although sometimes the service was a tad wanting).
So you see, when it became time to replace the coffeemaker, it occurred to me that if I had one that was a thermos, I could just take the POT to my nightstand and John wouldn't have to worry about having to provide that refill service.
I guess Santa thought that was a very good idea because he brought me a Hamilton Beach Stay or Go Thermal Coffeemaker.
So there's another job John lost in 2009 -- I'm thinking he's not sorry to see it go.
(Don't worry, I wasn't without coffee between the time the Tim Horton brewer broke and Santa delivered the thermal version.  I have a few "travel" brewers left over from my working days.  When we disbanded our offices, the coffeemakers came home with me.  One of them was called into service but has now been returned to its rightful storage place in the pantry.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Time to Hang up the Microphone, Rod

For those who don't know this about me, I am a huge Rod Stewart fan.
I mean, HUGE.
Anyone asked what kind of music I like, the answer was always, "anything by Rod Stewart."
Until he decided to start releasing those "American Songbook" CDs when he thought he was a lounge singer -- yucko!  I have the entire collection, though.
Because every Christmas or birthday, I would receive the current Rod the Bod CD.
You see, one of the things I love about his music is his interpretation of other hit songs (let's face it, he doesn't do very much original stuff).  I truly believe his arrangements are genius.  His version of the BeeGee's "To Love Somebody" just blows me away -- and my car stereo gives it tremendous air time.
But that American Songbook series just didn't cut it with me.  Rod the Bod being a lounge singer just doesn't work -- wonderful choice of songs but he really should leave those vocals to Michael Buble (another artist I really admire).
So I've just continued listening to all my old Rod the Bod collection -- I have them all you know.
Until this Christmas.  Finally, it seemed that he had released a CD of songs that were closer to the old Rod the Bod that I loved.
Soul Music -- Sam Cooke; Otis Redding; The Temptations; The Four Tops -- how could I go wrong?
All the music I love.
By the singer I most love to hear.
And some of his best tunes were songs about those very singers.
It's gotta be a sure bet, doesn't it?
My step-granddaughter (my beautiful boy's older, half-sister) gave me Rod's newest CD for Christmas (on the advice of my little chickadee who had consulted with me, yada yada yada).
Today, we popped the CD into the player and listened while we worked.
Yeh, this will be the first and the last time it will be played in this household and it will not likely be played in my car.
Rod the Bod needs to hang up his microphone and leave the vocals to them who can.
He is finished; his day is done.
He was fantastically fabulous in his day.
And I don't doubt that he could still turn out a hit CD -- perhaps from the other side of the recording table.
The only effect that listening to "Rod Stewart Soulbook" had on me was to make me want to seek out the original versions of the songs that are covered on it.  Because these ones are terrible.
He knows good music; he just can't deliver it any longer.
Rod, please stop torturing yourself; this CD is an embarrassment to your talent.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

So this is Christmas

Well, we had our "traditional" Christmas.
And it was terrific, to be sure.
John and I got up and had our morning beverage (he has tea; I have coffee) while we opened our goodies from Santa and exchanged our gifts from each other (it gets confusing which is from whom in all the chaos).
I had quite a haul; John not quite so much.
That is not at all indicative of our behaviour throughout the year.
It is indicative of our personalities.
As we approach Christmas, I take John shopping and point out stuff that I "need" which he dutifully purchases, takes home, wraps and puts under our "tree."
On Christmas morning, I get to open lots of presents just like when I was a little girl.
Silly, I know.  But it's fun.
Much like the way I still fill our Christmas stockings.
From Santa.
When I was a child, I used to fill a stocking "from Santa" for my mother because I felt bad that she never seemed to have anything on Christmas morning.  It became a "tradition" and was something I continued doing into my adult years.
I guess old habits die hard.
My "real" presents from John (and/or Santa -- not sure, see explanation above) included a renewal of my subscription to (gotta get back to my family tree research!); two pair of gorgeous earrings  (he always buys me the most beautiful bobbles for my ears!); and the new coffee maker I've been wanting (had to have a thermal carafe - read further for explanation).
Once we finished opening gifts, we had to cool our heels until it was an appropriate hour to go into Ottawa for our traditional breakfast with my little chickadee.  We started doing this several years ago -- none of us is quite sure exactly which year was the first.
Every Christmas since I've been with John, I've had to "be with my little chickadee" on Christmas morning.  I recall trying NOT to be with her and it just didn't work.  So we've never NOT been with her at some point during the day on Christmas day.
Once my beautiful boy came into the picture, it became even more important to me that I have a presence there on Christmas morning.  But I didn't really want to interfere with their own family Christmas morning so asked that I be allowed to join them and I would make breakfast for everyone.  That worked for the first year after which it became an invitation from my little chickadee to join them for Christmas breakfast and it has evolved into a most pleasant tradition of our going there for a spread of fresh waffles with hot blueberry and/or caramel topping and whipped cream, bacon, sausauges, coffee, juice, and champagne.  It is delectable and has become an event to which all of us looks forward, even my beautiful boy!
This year, that very patient, wonderful beautiful boy of mine waited until we arrived, and then waited further until after breakfast, before openin his gifts.  He had opened "only one present from Santa" before we got there.  Can you imagine an eight-year-old child who has been jumping out of his skin with excitement waiting for this day agreeing to delay the opening of his presents because his Grandparents "would really like to be there to see him open his gifts?"
I couldn't believe it when my little chickadee told me that she had managed to stall him!  He is unbelieveable!!
He was finally getting a gift that he had been asking for for the past two years: a Nintendo DSi (every kid needs one, don't you know?).  The kid had been salivating about this for months!  And for weeks he had been making comments like, "I just know I'm not going to get what I'm asking for."
But this year, Christmas 2009, his parents had decided he deserved to finally get what he'd asked for -- but it was a gift from his parents -- Santa wasn't getting credit for this one, no way!
And the gifts from us, from his other grandfather, and another close family friend were all games to be played on the DSi.  So he was going to be one very happy little boy.
Now, this little guy is very much his mother's son.
Try as we might, we cannot get this child to show his emotions in front of other people (he is very demonstrative in front of his parents and me -- but that's about it).  Somehow, this child can totally contain his reactions when other people are around.  His mother was (is) exactly the same way (as is, I guess, his grandmother -- at least she used to be very good at it).
Anyway, with his father poised at one end and Grandpa John at another, each armed and ready with cameras as the child was opening the "special" gift, you'd think that one of them might have captured the magical moment when he realized what was in it.
This shot was taken as he was saying, "ah thank you" and he was instinctively leaping up to offer each parent a huge hug.  He stopped mid-way, saying "oh, let me turn it on," -- his excuse to not show too much affection and emotion perhaps because both his Grandpa John and that close family friend were sitting in view.  His parents got the hugs anyway -- several of them, along with lots of thank you's and "I can't wait to tell ...".
And then as he opened the games that are peripheral to the DSi unit, he immediately came to each of us in turn and thanked us (and wow what a long, tight hug I got for this one -- it was fabulous!).
We didn't see or hear much from that boy after that -- he was way too busy playing with his DSi (please don't make the mistake of suggesting that he got the DS -- it is a DSi don't you know?).
Normally, John and I don't stick around at my little chickadee's place too late in the day on Christmas Day because she usually goes to her in-laws for Christmas dinner, which they were doing this year as well.  But also this year, my favourit niece who lives in Belleville was visiting her siblings.  She had made arrangements to stop in at my little chickadee's place while I was there so that I could meet her daughter who is now three years old and whom I had yet to meet.

I was delighted to be able to hang around and visit with them. 
On the way home, we figured out a way to cook our own version of Christmas dinner and came home and did exactly that.  We had a chicken breast in the refrigerator that needed to be cooked, so I whipped up a small batch of stuffing, popped the chicken breast on top and threw it in the oven to bake while we prepared some mashed potatoes and a pot of mashed turnip/carrot combo.  And by 6:00pm we were sitting down to a pared-down version of Christmas dinner.  But Christmas dinner it was.
I spent yesterday baking more shortbread (the earlier batch didn't quite make it) and preparing stuff for today's gathering.  Everything is pretty well ready to just put out at the appropriate time.
We'll get breakfast behind us and then I'll set up the table and put out the munchies -- we're expecting everyone to arrive by noon so I have to hit the shower by 10:30am to ensure that I'm finished "getting beautiful" on time (don't want to be in the shower when the first crew arrives).
We're really looking forward to seeing the family today.  It's not too often that we manage to get everyone together.  Unfortunately this year, we'll be without our eldest granddaughter because she has to work.  It's becoming more and more difficult to find dates that work for everyone so we have to pick dates that work for most.
Anyway, tempus fugit again.  Gotta run.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's Christmas Eve

Well, here we are at the 24th of December.
Who'da thunk it?
If anyone's not ready now, they'd better hurry -- or call themselves ready.
We went out yesterday morning and got, we hope, what we need for our family Christmas on Sunday.  Here's our drill.
On Christmas morning, I'll get John up and make him have his juice before he's allowed to open any gifts (it's a carryover from my childhoold -- my parents figured if they could at least get juice into us before we raided the candy and junk that would surely follow ...)  After we open our gifts, we head into Ottawa where we have breakfast with my Little Chickadee and her family.  That tradition was started a few years back when it became evident that I was going to show up on their doorstep at some point on Christmas morning so I guess they decided they may as well feed me.  Now, we all look forward to it as the true tradition it has become.
We will do our blended family Christmas on the 27th but this year we are just doing munchies while we open our gifts.  With all that we've been through over the past three months, I just wasn't up to putting  on a full sit-down dinner.  The objective is to be with family and this is the compromise we devised:  no muss; no fuss.
Last year, we held our family get-together (with full sit-down dinner) on the 27th of December.  And we had a terrific ice storm that day.  All our guests got stuck trying to get into our place.  We had to call the township to come and sand the roads (it was a holiday -- they hadn't been planning to do anything until the next day).  Again this year, we're having everyone over on the 27th and guess what the forecast is for that date?  Yep, snow, rain, ice ...  Do the weather Gods not realize where we live?
Anyway, here's a photo of my village as it looks now (taken this morning, in fact).

Once a day, the train makes its trip around the village.  When my beautiful boy is here, he has that train circling the village non-stop.  It blows smoke out the stack,  blows its whistle, and generally makes a lot of racket.  He loves it!
And here's my creche that I mentioned in an earlier post.  You can see that Joseph and Mary  have already arrived at the "Inn" -- I figure since it's the 24th they can be there now.

I'll put the baby in the manger before I go to bed tonight so that he'll be there in the morning, and the shepherd will arrive later in the day tomorrow.  The Three Wise Men don't arrive until January 6th, of course.
Yesterday, I did a bit of Christmas baking in anticipation of our family get-together on Sunday.  I figured it would be safe to make the shortbread ahead of time (the rest will wait until the 26th, I want fresh).
Yeh, well, I guess I'm making more shortbread on the 26th too.
God that's good stuff!  Melts in your mouth.  And it's sooooo good with coffee while you read the morning newspapers!
Merry Christmas everyone.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fun with Words

I love playing with words (as do my daughter and grandson).
But what might even more fun than playing with words is seeing evidence of that fun being picked up by others.
For instance, I have used -- on more than one occasion -- the word "exhausticated" on this blog.
Except there is no such word as exhausticated.
It's just a stupid bastardization that I came up with years ago to describe just how very tired I am -- meaning beyond exhausted.
And lo and behold, I see this morning that someone in India did a Google search of the word "exhausticated" and was sent to my blog!
Fun, isn't it?
Now, why on God's green earth is someone googling the word exhausticated?
The word doesn't exist.  It's not a word in the English language.
At least it never used to be!
Perhaps there is someone in Vadodara, India, who is using my blog as proof positive that there IS such a word.
Sorry, whoever in Vadodara, India:  there really is no such word in the English language.
Some other words I deliberately "misuse" (but mostly in the pronunciation) include: deteckative (that's a carryonver from my father); pasgetti (my kid sister could never get her tongue around the word and that's how it came out so I've called it that ever since); brefikst (much the same story but I don't know who the first child was ...).
One of my favourite word gamers is my grandson.  He started experimenting on his own when he was about three years old (he's his mother's son, to be sure).
He would replace the vowels in words to make up new words.  For instance,  instead of calling me "Grandma," I became "Greema" -- that was a special favourite of mine.  He called me that for quite some time.
He loved playing his "replace the vowel" game.  He moved from that to rhyming games.
He rhymed constantly; nothing was safe.
I remember a story coming back from his day care when he was four years old.  He had said the dreaded "f" word at nap time that day and the teachers needed to call it to his mother's attention.
Turns out he hadn't really said the "f" word, not in the sense that it had been reported.
He was beyond napping, but he had to respect quiet time.
So he would lie there and talk to himself (that's how he went to sleep in his bed at night).
And as he talked to himself, he played his rhyme game.
On this particular day, he started with the word buck.
And went through the alphabet.
Didn't take long to get to "f" ...
And, as a second teacher who overheard the incident reported, "he just kept going merrily along through the alphabet."
So one has to wonder, why ever would someone have even thought that the child had said the "f" word under circumstances like that?
But it was funny!
Now, he's graduated to solving anagrams (and is awfully good at it!) and I hope he never loses his love of playing with words.
His Grandma certainly hasn't (but she's still exhausticated most of the time).

Sunday, December 20, 2009

What's the Big Deal with Sedation?

I've been asked to explain why I'm so frightened of sedation.
So I will.
You see, I am asthmatic and as such, I should be cautious about sedation.
Everyone should be cautious about sedation really, but especially asthmatics, perhaps some more so than others, as many case studies will attest.
But in my case, I have a history to support my fears.
My first experience with anaesthetic was in April of  1962 when I had my appendix removed.  I awoke in recovery vomiting myself silly, with Nurse Ratchet telling me to use the barf bowl (what the hell did I know, I was eleven years old for Christ's sake?).
My next visit to the operating room was in 1965 when my tonsils were removed; that occurred without incident.
I was back in OR again in 1972 and 1973, first to confirm the diagnosis and then to clean up the endometriosis that plagued my body.  The recovery from the surgery was relatively easy:  the impact from the disease had been so extensive that I was physically remarkably improved post surgery.
Then, in 1978 I had a hysterectomy and  I came to in the recovery room in respiratory distress.  The nurse thought I was in pain from the abdominal surgery that I had just endured and she tried to reassure me that everything was alright, I was just waking from the operation and all would be OK soon.  I of course was unable to tell her that I couldn't breathe because I couldn't breathe.   Finally, a very alert nurse noticed my distress and she jumped into action, literally saving my life.  It was determined that I had suffered a delayed response to the suppression that the anaesthetic had caused to my respiratory system.  Of course, it didn't help that they were also feeding me an aspirin-like pain reliever which I cannot tolerate (I experienced further complications from that later on during my recovery).
Fast forward to 1982 when I had bunions removed.  At my follow-up visit with the surgeon, he told me that he "had almost lost me on the table" (an unfortunate turn of phrase, I know, but he was a straight shooter) and had he not known my medical history, he might not have known how to get the best remedial response.  He advised me that I might want to keep in mind for future elective surgeries to mention that I should be put on corticosteroids prior to any surgery and should have a steroid drip used during the surgery to help keep me breathing (he assured me that any anaesthesiologist would know the drill).  Interestingly enough, it was that surgery that also taught us that I am allergic to cat gut -- my feet swelled up bigger than the biggest balloons ever as a result of the stitches used for that bunion removal!
Anyway, I've managed to avoid sedation in any form since 1982.
Except in, I believe it was about 1990 when I had to undergo an endoscopy (come to think of it, the problems I was having then were not unlike the ones I'm having today -- no explanation was ever found then either).  For that test, all I was given was the relaxant (there really is no need for "sedation" for the procedure) and even with that, the nurse had to keep telling me "you have to breathe" because my breathing kept dropping off.
Obviously, sedation is a problem for me.
I've had dental work for which others have been put under but I have had it done with freezing only.  My dentist simply will not risk complications when he is not equipped to deal with the unknown.
My dental surgeon is equipped to deal with complications and still he does the slicing and deep cleaning of my gums under freezing only. I simply will not risk sedation unless it is absolutely necessary.
So, from the day I was given the booking for the endoscopy/colonoscopy, I was stressed, one might say.
In fact, stressed would be putting it mildly.
Not about the procedure, you realize.
The procedure itself didn't concern me at all.  I wasn't looking forward to the prep for the procedure and that was a whole different discussion.
But I was concerned beyond belief about the fact that I would be sedated.
I tried to discuss the matter of sedation with the surgeon but he pooh-pooh my concerns:  "Nothing like anaesthetic; if you can take valium you can take this," he said.  "Bring your puffer with you," he admonished.
I contacted my doctor to express my concern, and he too pooh-pooh my worries:  "Nothing to be worried about, it's nothing like anaesthetic; you'll be fine," he insisted.  (That response, I might add, is very unlike my doctor.  Had the discussion taken place in his office, rather on the telephone, it would have gone quite differently.)
My point, and it was and is valid, was that I was terrified.  What good would my puffer do me?  I'd be "out of it" -- how the hell could I grab for my puffer?  My concern was that I would be unable to tell anyone that I couldn't breathe if I couldn't breathe!
I was convinced that I was going to meet my maker on December 18th.
But I couldn't confide that fear, in those words, to anyone.
Obviously, the doctors who should have recognized the perfectly valid concern (and the very real risk) weren't taking me seriously.
My husband and daughter, both of whom know how scared I am of anaesthectic, didn't need to know how absolutely terrified I was going into it (they will now) -- it would have just made them more nervous themselves and frankly, the stress around here was enough to deal with without making it worse still.
While I might tolerate heavy pain killers very well, and I can take a sleeping pill on occasion, I never take anything to such a dose that I would be "out" sufficiently well to allow a medical procedure to be performed on me without my waking up (it's all about dose).
I don't care what the name of the drug -- if it puts you to sleep sufficiently well to allow a medical procedure to be performed without your being aware, it has the ability to snuff your lights out (mine anyway)!
It was interesting that when I met with the anaesthesiologist prior to the procedure, one of the first questions he asked was if I had any experience with anaesthetic of any kind (remember the surgeon's insistence that "this is NOTHING like anaesthetic"?) and when I expressed my terror at being sedated, he didn't downplay my concerns one bit.
In fact, he wanted to hear the history and he validated everything I told him.
And he explained that the incident back in 1978 was probably exacerbated by the pain-killing drugs they likely had given me which I could not tolerate (they would have had anti-inflammatories properties and I cannot take anything with anti-inflammatory properties -- I have asthma).  That reaction set in motion future ones.  He suggested that they probably did not appreciate the seriousness of my asthma back then.
Now, I'm sure that a large part of what went into his decision to NOT sedate me was the stressful state that I was in over being sedated (not to mention that I'm sure he didn't want to be the one on whose watch something did go wrong, if it were to go wrong).
In any event, he made the right call and I truly appreciate what he did for me.  But my stress could have been alleviated so easily if I could have talked with him when I first met with the surgeon.  He could have put my fears to rest right then. It seems to me that the moment I expressed concern about being sedated, that surgeon should have flagged my file as a patient who might benefit by contact from the anaesthesiologist prior to the procedure.
But that's just my humble opinion.  A five minute conversation could have eliminated a month of stress and worrying.
And I wouldn't have had to spend the past month convinced that I was on my way to an appointment I wasn't ready to keep.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

I Had Wine Last Night

And it was the first I've had since October 3rd, 2009.
You see, as a result of that unfortunate seizure episode on the morning of the 4th of October while we were visiting in Nova Scotia, my doctor had instructed me to adjust my Cesamet dose downward to a certain level.
Shortly thereafter, I asked if I could increase it by .5mg per day to see if it would afford me a little more pain relief and he agreed that I could, "as long as I continued to abstain from alcohol."
So, ever since then, I have continued to not have any alcohol in any amount, on any occasion.
Thanksgiving happened but I was still very much in recovery mode at that point so it was fairly inconsequential to me on that holiday.
We would have visitors for dinner, or we would be visiting friends for dinner, and I would have what we had by then begun to call my "new" special wine:  a glass of milk.  (When I do drink the real stuff, I only drink my own, sulphite-free brew-it-yourself wine -- my "special" wine.)
My doctor has never altered his instruction to me, and whenever I spoke with him, I kept forgetting to ask if I could resume having an occasional glass of wine or two (or three or four on occasion ...).
Then I had this procedure hanging over me and I'm having such difficulty taking in food that I figured I really shouldn't upset the apple cart by adding wine to the mix before we get a diagnosis (or lack thereof).
So, I continued having my new special wine with my dinners.
But last week, when I spoke to my family doctor about this upcoming procedure, his words to me were:  "That seizure was a one-off event.  The chance of all those triggers ever coming together again is just not likely to happen.  All your bloodwork and EEG and other tests are perfectly fine.  You have nothing to worry about."
His office has also since called to let me know that subsequent bloodwork that was done to verify my electrolyte balance indicated that it is good to go; and that both my ultrasounds showed no abnormalities.  The doctor wanted to wish me a very Merry Christmas in light of all the good news; and good luck with the procedure on Friday.
So, based on those reports, and having received a clean bill of health following the endoscopy/colonoscopy, since "all is normal" and "nothing is wrong" and I have "nothing to worry about" I figure:  Why the hell can't I then return to my "normal" lifestyle?
That lifestyle, my pre-seizure lifestyle, involved having a glass (or two) of white wine most evenings.
John and I look forward to our daily "drinky-poo time" which usually happens around 4:00pm each afternoon.
So, I made an executive decision about my body and my health.
Without checking with my doctor (it was, after all, Friday afternoon), I determined that I could safely add wine to my diet.
And last night, for the first time since October 3rd, I had a glass of wine; I didn't want a second.
And, thus far, I haven't suffered any dire consequences.
So, John was delighted to learn I will again be joining him for our daily before-dinner imbibing hour (it took him about a nanosecond to pour my glass of wine last night).
I'll discuss my new intake with my doctor when next I see him early in the new year.
In the meantime, easy is as easy does ... but at least I will enjoy a glass of my "real" special wine over the holiday season.

Friday, December 18, 2009


Well, the anaesthetist was a sweetheart.
He listened to my concerns about being sedated.
He didn't ridicule me.
He explained why we wouldn't have the same problems today that I've run into in the past.
He accepted my word for my history, without in any way giving me the sense that I was "not of the medical profession, " so had no idea of what I spoke (that is the usual response I seem to receive from doctors).
And because of my history, he chose to approach my sedation a little differently.
And he stood by, monitoring me, and we talked.  I asked why, if this was what it was like, I would have no memory of it.  Everyone I know who has had this done does not recall the procedure or most of the rest of the day.  That's when he told me that I would remember it.  He explained that because of my history, he was only giving me as much drug as I needed to allow the doctor to do what he was doing.  And he was only adjusting it if and when I cramped.  So I was really getting very little sedation.
I was getting NO sedation in my view, just relaxation.
I even asked for my glasses so I could see what was happening.
And the doctor explained what I was seeing as he was probing through my body.
It was a very informative visit.
When it was over, I was wheeled into recovery, wide eyed and almost sitting up, ready to go!
Two other people, whose procedures had been completed before mine, were out cold.
And when I did finally leave, those two persons were still lying there but one of them had at least wakened up.
So I have to wonder why anyone has full sedation for this procedure -- do they not understand that sedation of any kind is a risk?
The doctor explained that he found everything to be "normal" but he took a biopsy to test for some very rare conditions, just in case (he was in there, why not?).
My doctor should have the report by next week, which recommends that he might want to request a CT scan to further investigate other possibilities for my inability to eat.  I'll get the holiday season behind me and see him in mid-January to discuss where we go from here.
But, this past week from hell is over and now I can turn my attention back to things that matter.

"Procedure" Day

Well folks, today I will undergo a not very pleasant medical procudure (but I'll be sedated so I won't be aware).
I've been prepping for it since Monday.
We have to be in Ottawa by 8:00am for the scheduled 8:30am procedure.
Assuming all goes as planned, we should be back here by no later than 11:30am, I expect (that's allowing for even unexpected delays, I think).
Once home, I'll be resting and rebuilding my reserves.
I'll post a quick update here later.
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sad Day for Major League Baseball in Canada

The Toronto Blue Jays have given away Roy Halladay.
Yes, given away.
The Jays will say they've traded him.
But that's not what I call it.
Not when the Jays will pay the Phillies $6M to take him.
And get nothing in return.
Yes, nothing, when you consider what they're giving up.
Doc, you will be missed -- big time.
Rogers Corporation continues its efforts to end Major League Baseball's presence in Canada because that is surely what this will harbinger (this could be the penultimate nail in the coffin).
The declining attendance stats for Jays games tell the story; and that will only get worse now -- they have no drawing cards left.
However, for what may well be our last annual "Jays Journey," John and I will buy tickets to the Jays/Phillies match which is scheduled to take place in Toronto at the end of June 2010.  We're fairly confident the Phillies will be featuring their new ace pitcher for the opener of that series!

Monday, December 14, 2009

14 December 1979

Thirty years ago tonight, my father passed away.
My parents lived in Toronto and my father had gone to bed earlier in the evening (my mother had stayed up to watch her beloved Perry Como whose Christmas special aired that night).  My mother heard him get up to go to the washroom, she thought.  Then she heard the bang as he fell.  Obviously upset, my mother called me in a panic,  "The ambulance has taken him away ..."
Those were the most difficult calls I've ever had to make, as I let my siblings know in turn that our father was gone and our mother needed us.
He was 53 years old when he died. "Myocardial infarction" is the official medical term for the first and only heart attack my father suffered.

My little chickadee was only four years old in 1979, and she thought that had we been visiting that night, she could have saved her grandpa.  When we were there, she always "went to bed with gwampa" to read him stories so he would go to sleep "pwoppelly." 

This photo was taken in the summer of 1979.  My little chickadee had put Grandpa to sleep and was now phoning her "Whea" to bring her up to date on the day's events.

To my little chickadee's thinking, if she had gone to bed with her grandpa that night, she could have saved him.  It wasn't true of course.  Nothing could have saved him from the massive attack about which he had been warned just months earlier.  One of his favourite jokes was about his doctor's having told him to stop smoking, stop drinking, and lose weight.  So he was looking for an overweight doctor who smoked cigars and liked to drink.  Today, I think most people take their health responsibilities a little more seriously than that.
My father was born Richard Romeo Cherryholme in 1926, the third child of Thomas and Marilda (Raymond) Cherryholme, although he never knew his older brother who had died in 1925.   (I didn't know about this older brother until my Aunt identified a photo of a child for me.  Since then, I've found the documentation of the child's birth and death.)  My father's only sister was six years older; younger twin brothers would follow, but not for another six and a half years.
It wasn't until about a year and half ago when I located my father's baptism record that I discovered why his middle name was Romeo:  he was named after his godfather, a common Catholic naming convention.  The man was obviously someone close enough to the family back in 1926 that my grandparents asked him to take on what, to Catholics, is a very serious role.  I could find no further reference to the person in any other family documents, and we never heard mention of the man in our household, that I know of.   (The surname does show up in our family tree, but I had to go back a century earlier than my father's birth year to find it.)
After finishing his education at Ottawa Technical High School, my father worked at Ottawa Car and Aircraft as a precision grinder.   He married Dorothy Mae Sharpe in 1943 and enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the same year, serving as air gunner.  His service included one year in the United Kingdom and India.  He was discharged in 1946, having been awarded the 1939/45 Star, the CVSM and Clasp, and Air Gunners Badge.

Dorothy Mae (Sharpe) and Richard Romeo Cherryholme
c 1950

My parents raised a crowded, rambunctious household of two boys and six girls.  At the time of my father's death in 1979, their descendants counted 20 grandchildren and four step-grandchildren.  Those numbers have grown considerably in the thirty years since his passing, now obviously including great grandchildren and several more step-versions as well.

Rest in continued peace, my father.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In the Spirit of the Season ...

... I have changed the "slide show" to the right of the screen.
It is a presentation of the Christmas cards that John and I have sent over the years.
We sent a home-made card our very first Christmas together, and have continued to do so every year since.
When the images are of a home, it is our home that you are seeing; most of the bird images were taken at our kitchen window.
Hope you like the show.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Almost Ready

I'm almost ready for the big man's visit; just a few minor details to take care of now.
Someone has asked why I'm in "such a hurry" to get everything so completely ready this far ahead of the actual date.
But, if you think about it, there aren't a whole lot of days left until Christmas, not really.
For instance, today is Friday, December 11th. 
That means that Christmas is 14 days hence -- precisely two weeks from today!
I still have today, Saturday and Sunday free, in terms of doing anything that needs doing.
And remember, for every day that I "do" something, I have to rest one, maybe two days to recover.
But, unfortunately for me, I cannot rely on any of the five days from December 14th to the 18th for any Christmas preparation time because I will be involved in the prepping for and then the conduction of a medical procedure, the details about which you really don't want to hear.
Then, I can absolutely count on needing several days to recover from not the medical procedure, but the effects that the five-day prep will have had on my fibromyalgic body.
In any event, I will definitely be home resting and restoring strength on the 19th and 20th, to be sure.
The 21st is a toss-up right now.
At this point, I have a physiotherapy session scheduled for the 22nd and I plan to visit with my girlfriend before she heads off to Vancouver to celebrate the holiday with her daughter (my other daughter).
If one looks at a calendar, I'm thinking that brings us dangerously close to the 25th of December.
So, I'm really just coming in under the gun.  To my "always be prepared" way of thinking, I felt it would be prudent to have everything done before I started prepping for this God-awful event that I am so not looking forward to having done on the 18th.
Call me crazy but I guess that one week of Girl Guiding had an effect ...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I Put Christmas Up !

I did!
Yesterday was a "snow day" of sorts for me.
Since I'm retired, I don't really get snow days now but I was house bound.
Couldn't go out anywhere.
The lunch that I had scheduled for yesterday was moved up to the day before in light of the anticipated storm (women are sooooooo prescient aren't they?).  And we had a wonderful visit, my angel and I.  That's gonna be my new moniker for that particular friend -- "my angel."  Cuz that's what she is.  And she knows why.
Anyway, since yesterday was a snow day for the region, my cleaning lady couldn't show up either.
So that precipitated a total rework of my planned timeline for putting up Christmas.
And this timeline really works better all around, on a lot of levels.
I had been "bringing Christmas upstairs" for the past several days and our living room was getting quite cluttered with various and sundry boxes.
My plan had been to move all those boxes (along with all the wrapped gifts) to the screened porch for the few hours while the cleaning lady was here, let her do her thing, and then bring everything in and assemble my village.
Turns out with the storm hitting, had I done that, everything would have been caked with snow (you should see the porch now -- covered with the snow that blew in yesterday).
The village is all set up (it is never the same way two years in a row cuz I don't remember from one year to the next how I did it before).
The Creche is ready, waiting for the arrival of its special guests later this month.
The gifts are all wrapped and placed under the "tree" and none of them got snow soaked.
The stockings are hung by the "window" with care.
Now we'll just sit back and wait.
For somebody.
Or something.
It is beautiful to sit here when all is dark outside, with only the lights of the village and around the living room window lighting up the room.

The Creche is set up on a table just to the right of the village (you can see part of it in this photo).  Mary and Joseph are on the window ledge further to the right of that -- they will arrive at the "Inn" on the evening of the 24th of December.  The baby is hiding behind the Creche, and will not be placed inside until the morning of the 25th of December.  Notice the wise men on the window ledge to the left of the village?  They are making their way to the "Inn" -- they have a long way to go yet since they don't get there until the 6th of January!
Having done all that, today I will remove all the extraneous storage containers and boxes from the living room to the porch to wait until I reverse the process some time after the 28th of December (that is the date we will have "family Christmas" in this household).
Our cleaning lady will come in on Saturday to make up for the missed day yesterday so the house will be put back into tip-top shape again.
Now I think that was a fairly productive use of a snow day!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Today's Agenda

Had a lovely day yesterday (much better than Saturday, which was a complete downer).
John got a call from a good friend whose wife had found a dead deer in the woods back of their place.  He thought John might want to get a picture of whatever is obviously eating it.  Of course, John jumped at the chance so we high-tailed it over there with his trail camera so they could go off and set the camera up to capture the activity when it happens (boys and their toys).
So it turned out that I had the unexpected opportunity to visit with the person who originally found the carcass and caused the visit to happen in the first place.  She just happens to be a very good friend of mine (and a dedicated follower of this blog, but that's not why I'm saying nice things -- I'm saying nice things cuz they're true).
I'll be seeing that same friend for lunch on Wednesday but that's OK -- you can never see your good friends too often (well, maybe they should go home eventually)!
Anyway, today I'm headed back into Ottawa for physio -- which, as usual, I really need.
Then I'll stop at my little chickadee's place to drop off my "old" OfficeJet printer cuz I just bought me a new one.  My little chickadee holds out for all my office discards cuz they are in perfectly good operating condition for her purposes; they just don't meet my needs any longer.
Then I'll come home.
That will be quite long enough a day for me I'm afraid.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

John did his Christmas Shopping

So he has now completed his wish list.
And thank God he gives his list to me and doesn't actually mail it to Santa.
Cuz THIS is what his "list" looks like:

I kid you not!
It's on a 3x5 index card that he thought he'd recycle (note the scratched out fax number; there's also old information on the flip side) and he tells me that this is his Christmas list.  (Damned good thing I was with him when he made that list cuz I wouldn't have a clue what in hell he was talking about otherwise.)
No "Dear Santa."
No "I've been a very good boy all year." (Cuz THAT would be, well, you know ...)
No, "Thank you for the gifts you left last year."
None of the niceties that one teaches a child to include in a letter to Santa.
Oh now I get it -- that's why he calls it a wish list rather than a letter to Santa!   Duhhhhh!!!!
But you know, just as a letter should have a sender, a wish list should have a wisher.
And I don't see anything on this piece of paper to even tell me what it is.  It actually looks like an old note that John must have dropped.
I guess I'll just put it in the bag of burnable garbage; I can't imagine what else it could be for.

Infrequent Posts

My postings here will be rather infrequent for the next while.
With the holiday season closing in on us, I have too many other pressing demands on my time and I can no longer spread myself as thinly as I used to (my continuing weight loss doesn't leave enough of me to go around).
My energy level is such that I have to conserve it for spurts to be applied toward preparations for Christmas and, frankly, I'm running out of days for that.
You see, with the medical appointments that I still have peppering my schedule, and the "rest and recovery" days that I still need to slot in around those appointment days, I'm running out of available days for doing certain things that just must be done.
And, believe it or not, I can't usually just sit down and bang something out quickly to put up here.  I put a considerable amount of thought and effort into my postings.  In fact, sometimes when I think of something I could post, I'm just too tired to do it justice so it doesn't happen.
I firmly believe that a job worth doing is worth doing well.
So, unless I can post something worthy of my time and yours ...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Quick Update

I have to be quick.
We're heading into Ottawa today.
John wants to do his Christmas shopping.
I know, I know.
Most of you probably think that means he wants to DO his Christmas shopping, as in buy gifts that he will be giving to others.
But no, that is not what that statement means for him  (he doesn't have to worry about buying for others cuz I do all that shopping).
To John, "doing his Christmas shopping" means going to the stores to make his wish list of items that he hopes to get from Santa.
It makes it very difficult for Santa to finish shopping before the end of November when John only gets 'round to making his list in December.   But, that's the way things have happened this year.
So, we will go into Ottawa and John will do his Christmas shopping.
We will also pick up two more gifts from our list (one which I forgot to pick up on Monday when I was in Ottawa -- I am getting very dotty in my old age) and the other gift we only identifiied last night.
And that will leave only one more gift to get -- and as soon as we figure out what that gift will be I'll get it.
Of course, once I get John's list from him, I will forward said list to Santa so my darling husband won't be disappointed on Christmas morning.
Gotta go, my chariot awaits.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Grandma's Dictee Lesson

So last night, while I was on Beautiful Boy duty, I had to help with homework.
I hadn't thought that would pose any great problem for me since he is, after all, still only in grade 3.
You see, on Mondays, he gets his words for the week.  The number of words varies from week to week; and it could be a set of words or phrases.  He studies them all week and on Fridays the words are dictated to the class (the good old spelling drill hasn't died).
That shouldn't be too much of a challenge for a retired wordsmith.
How hard could the words be?  After all, the boy is only in grade 3.
So he hands me the list and says, "OK, Grandma, I'm ready, tell me the first word."
I looked at the list and almost choked.
My beautiful boy is in French Immersion!
Besides having no idea what the first word meant, I couldn't say it to save my soul.
And my attempts to pronounce "une bouilloire" caused no end of giggles throughout the household.
He must have told me a dozen times how to say it, but it just wasn't happening.
There is no way I can wrap my tongue around those letters (I'm still trying)!
I do, however, now know what the word means.
The next word that caused uproarious laughter was #7 -- une grenouille.
Well, didn't I just pronounce that one all wrong!
So he had to give me lessons on how to pronounce the French word for frog (you never know when you might meet one you know :))
And when I couldn't get it right, he eventually said, "Grandma, IF it was spelled in English, this is how it would be spelled," and he proceeded to write out phonetically in English how I should pronounce it in French.  And that just got me laughing all the harder because the kid just continues to amaze me!
For the curious, his words were -- une bouilloire; un bouillon; un chevreuil; une citrouille; un ecureuil (that first e has a cute accent); un fauteuil; un feuille; une grenouille; un portefeuille; une vadrouille -- and he was able to spell them correctly and to tell me what each meant.
His Report Card was definitely worthy of the reward. 
Grandma managed to pull off the giving of the reward just as she planned it too.
And my beautiful boy was a very popular boy when he arrived at day care this morning carrying that coveted book let me tell you.  He was swarmed by the other children but I think that might have had something to do with the way he was displaying the book as he sauntered into the building!
I stood at the door to try to catch his answer to the question, "Wow, where did you get that Marcus?"  "My Grandma got it for me because I had a good report card ..."   That's all I needed to hear.
Now, repeat after me : "grenouille" -- and be sure to roll that "r" ...