Saturday, April 28, 2018

There is laundry hanging on the line outside, gently moving in the breeze.  The windows are open and there is robin perched on the poplar at the back of the garden, singing his heart out.  There is the scent of yeast in the kitchen as the sourdough rises yet again. This afternoon I will plant sweet peas, climbing nasturtiums and scarlet runner beans to attract hummingbirds.

Later on I'll take Lucy out for a walk and I'm guessing that the small lake on the path in the photo above will have dried up.  There is overland flooding all around the county but we are dry and safe.

Katie is doing well on her new meds, mostly.  The threat of eviction has been removed and there is a new case worker from social services working with the agency to come up with new ideas for dealing with Katie's behaviors.  I met the case worker on Thursday and fell in love with her.  She is kind, stubborn, opinionated, thoughtful and cares only about her clients, not the bureaucracy she works for.  She talked about the trauma that disabled people face throughout their lives and of course I started crying.  Even before meeting Katie it seemed like she knew Katie.  This gives me hope.

Work is much better which makes life so much easier.  There is still anger and despair and grief but I have enough in myself now to be able to carry it for my patients for the short time they're with me.  And there is also laughter and joy because life doesn't stop just because you get a cancer diagnosis.  It goes on, the good, the bad, the funny, the awful;  it all still continues.  Such is life.

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Medicine Lake, the big guy's favorite place in the world.

We were in Jasper this past weekend to visit friends.  My girlfriend with metastatic breast cancer has been admitted into the hospital and is gently sliding down towards the end of her life.  One of the tumors in her brain is pressing on her right eye, causing the eye to bulge out and bother her.  Her speech is slightly slurred, her legs are swollen and she's taking small doses of morphine for the pain.  She dozes off and on, half listening to everything going on around her.  Sometimes she follows a conversation and sometimes her brain misfires and strange things come out.  Her filters are gone and she gets stuck in a rut, perseverating on something.

She sleeps at the hospital and everyday her husband takes her out for a daytrip someplace.  Last Friday was to Hinton for more quilting fabric.  She has made eight quilts since her brush with imminent death back in February.  I told her husband she wants more fabric because then she can't die.  She still has quilts to make.

She's also planning a camping trip this summer.  She wants to attend a wedding in Ontario.  She is full of plans, not ready to let go of the world yet.  And a dog, she wants a dog.  A bernedoodle to be exact, the size of a turkey.  Most of all she wants a future.

Her husband has arranged for people to be with her when he's not there.  She is surrounded by friends, family and love.  He is well cared for.  They live in a small town, a close knit community and his freezer is full of frozen meals dropped off by neighbors and friends.  He's taking care of himself too which is good.  He's taken an extended leave and spends his time with his wife, doing whatever it is she feels like doing that day.

My friend is only fifty-seven.  I hate cancer.  I know we all have to die but it still seems like a harsh way to die.  She has spent the past thirteen years dealing with cancer and now it is dragging her under.  It is unrelenting.  

There is a line in a song by Ed Sheerhan, Supermarket Flowers that rings true for me.

"A heart that's broke is a heart that's been loved"

My friend has been loved and has loved.  I will miss her.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A very happy Miss Katie with her honorary niece.  The new medication is working and Katie is doing well.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Miss Lucy enjoying the sunshine.  She is the sweetest little dog, slightly neurotic but oh so sweet.  She's a rescue with an enlarged heart, a bad back and a sensitive stomach which sometimes leads to bloody diarrhea.  When she's very excited and running around like a maniac she will chase the cat and ultimately hump the cat, something which deeply offends the cat I'm sure.

We had another meeting about Katie.  Social services is now involved which is hopeful.  Social services provides the money to the agency which cares for Katie.  For the first time in years, somebody actually asked questions about Katie's needs.  The agency which cares for Katie has undergone some changes in the past nine months.  The original owner has retired and her son has taken over.  He is also a very kind man but not the same as his mother.  He has given Katie until the end of April for her behavior to improve, otherwise they want us to find another agency to care for Katie.  In the meeting on Thursday we all agreed that Katie staying where she is, in her home, is in Katie's best interests.  Now we just need to make that work.  Suggestions were made, a plan will be made, emails will be exchanged and hopefully something good will come from all this.

Katie was started on valproic acid which is mostly used for epilepsy but is also used as a mood stabilizer, something I didn't know.  She seems better.  Her behavior is better but time will tell.  And of course she is a young woman so her moods cycle along with her periods.  She was in her glory on Thursday because there was a room full of people who wanted to meet her.  She loves people and if she wasn't disabled she would have made a wonderful politician, although a mental disability doesn't seem to handicap some politicians (cough, Trump, cough).

I'm hopeful.

Pain is inevitable.  Suffering is optional.

I've seen this quote before but just reread it in a book I'm reading right now and it somehow struck a chord in me that it never has before.  

Note to self, remember suffering is optional.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

My beautiful, wrecked daughter

heads touching
tears mingling
shoulders shaking
we hold each other

unable to fix
I can only hold on
unable to stop
you can only hold on

hearts breaking
I see the baby
that was placed 
in my arms

and you?
who knows
a smell, a touch
something familiar

drugs coursing
through your body
fear soaking
your brain

my baby gone
replaced by you
my beautiful,
wrecked daughter

Sunday, April 1, 2018

I miss my granddaughters.  And it seems there is nothing good today but that's not true. 

Here is a photo of a Chinese magnolia.

My mother in law called to say hello and wish me a happy Easter.

I called my Auntie Fran in England and she is doing better than I thought she would.  She's incapacitated and her house has been sold but she was looking forward to seeing the pet therapy animals tomorrow.

I took Lucy for a nice walk, not long, it's still cold out but the sun was shining.

The big guy and I got the light bulbs in the foyer changed.  It's two stories high but we got it done and now it's bright in the foyer.

My oven is broken and normally when I feel this shitty I would have spent the day baking things that are not good for me but that make me feel better.  So it's good my oven is broken right now.  Glass half full.

My big guy gives me as many hugs as I want.

Saw Katie today and the increased dose of antipsychotics didn't really touch her, the 4mg of Ativan that I gave her stopped her pinching and slapping though.  Back to the doctor next week.

My girlfriend whom the doctors thought was going to die last month;  her husband sent me a photo today of her walking in a blizzard with a big smile on her face.

Tomorrow will be better.