Saturday, July 28, 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, July 26, 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, July 19, 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.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

This is me and my middle daughter.

  We may look normal but really, we're not.

I've been thinking about age a lot lately.  Obviously I have gray hair now and wrinkles but there are so many more changes that continue to surprise and sadden me.

I've had arthritis since my son was born thirty-four years ago.  I was walking down the stairs at work last week and realized how much more painful it was than when I started there only seven years ago.  I have arthritis in my both of my feet, along with plantar fasciitis, which can make walking painful at times.  I can feel my left knee grinding, not much cartilage left in that joint.  My left thumb has decreased range of motion and I can't grab things to open them easily anymore, in fact I just can't open things with my left hand.

A few years ago I slipped on some ice and partially dislocated a couple of ribs.  There must be scar tissue there now because it always hurts there on my back.  When it rains, all of my joints ache.

My eyesight is getting worse.  We went to a movie a couple of weeks ago and when we walked into the darkened theatre, my eyes took forever to adjust to the dark.  I couldn't move because I couldn't see.

I have foot drop on my left foot, due to nerve damage and trip easily.  I hand onto railings now when I go up and down stairs.

When  I get sick now I takes much longer to recover.  I'm not complaining, merely taking note of the changes that have happened over time.

My mother was older when she had me.  When she was my age, I was seventeen and my younger brother was fifteen.  I can't imagine.  Her sense of humor kept her going I'm sure.

I feel the clock ticking.  I've lost friends already.  There are few summers ahead than there are behind me.  I know that this is a normal part of ageing, but it's interesting to go through it.

The best part of ageing though is having so much experience and maybe even a little wisdom.  I've learned that things change and that's okay.  I've learned that I have no idea what life will be like in five years.  I've learned that the you're never to old to fall in love.  I'm learned to wait, although the big guy would laugh at that.  He doesn't realize how impulsive and impatient I was as a young woman.  Or maybe he does and still loves me anyway.

I'm off to pick up Miss Katie for a run in the park and lunch at the mall.  It's a beautiful sunny day and she loves to run.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

My son fell off the wagon.  He was supposed to come over for supper on July 1st, instead he and his girlfriend got drunk and fought.  He smashed her TV and hit her.  This is the second time that he has hit a woman, that I know of.  The only reason I know what happened is that he left his phone behind and his girlfriend messaged me on his phone.  His defense is that he doesn't remember.  That is not an acceptable defense to me.  He is no longer welcome in my house and I am coming to terms with having an alcoholic son.  It breaks my heart and there is nothing I can do to fix him.

I'm coming to term with the fact that I basically have not control over anything.  I never did but now I'm starting to understand.  Not a fast learner.

I'm feeling out of sorts, not sad, not mad, just out of sorts.  The hunt is still on for a new group home for Miss Katie.  I am hopeful.  Last Friday the behavior specialist came out to my home to go over her recommendations for Katie.  She is not fond of the agency who now cares for Katie and especially dislikes that Katie is in a wheelchair with a cape on.  The agency's way of dealing with Katie's behavior was to put more and more and more restrictions on her.  I feel like I have failed her in someway.  It's one of those things though that happens gradually and it's not until you look back that you can see how far things have gone off the rails.  There is also the divide between the management at Katie's agency and the caregivers.  Most of the caregivers are sad and concerned that Katie has been evicted.  The management blames me and Katie for Katie's eviction.  

So I am hopeful that we find a better place for her to live with an agency that truly does want Katie to be her best and enjoy her life, not just put in time on this planet.

Things I am thankful for today.

A day off in the middle of the week.
I see my massage therapist and my counsellor today.
The sun just peeked through the clouds.
Rain last night.
Cinnamon toast for breakfast.

Friday, July 6, 2018

I have a knack for pissing people off.  It is my super power as it were.  Two days ago we had a young boy come in for a conformal brain MRI.  The only time we get children is when they need brain radiation and it's never good.  They don't survive.  It buys their family time and maybe improves symptoms.

This little guy is seven, one eye looking the wrong way, probably because of where the tumor is.  His parents and big sister were with him.  The only good thing about children is that they don't know they're dying at this stage, but their parents do and it often feels like a funeral procession walking down the hallway.

I had to start his IV for the MRI scan.  His parents had been told by the staff downstairs in radiation that he wouldn't need an IV.  The staff downstairs were wrong.  The mother was upset because she could have put emla cream on to numb the little guy's skin before the needle poke but she was given the wrong information.  The little guy was stressed because he didn't think he would be getting poked.

I checked with the MRI techs and it was going to be about forty minutes before the little guy was going on the table so I found a vein that looked good and his mom put emla on his skin and I told them to come back in thirty minutes for the IV start and the emla should have helped numb the skin by then.

Then  I called downstairs and left a message for the staff who told the family that he wouldn't need an IV.  I told them he was going to need an IV, that they had given the family the wrong information and had caused a lot of stress for a little guy.  I was not rude but I was assertive.  Two of the MRI techs heard me leave the message.

Later, after the IV start, after the little guy vomited due to stress, after the MRI scan, a message was left on the nursing phone by one of the staff downstairs.  She was obviously angry and said she didn't appreciate the message I had left.

So I went into MRI and told the supervisor that if there was any fallout from this incident, that I was to blame.  He didn't care.  Radiation had sent the patient up without any warning, the whole thing was a shit show, he was frustrated with radiation.  I said that I had a knack for pissing people off and laughed but I also felt bad.  I was advocating for me patient, I was giving information and felt I had been misunderstood.

One of the young techs, also a psych major, said that when people have such an angry response it's usually because they know they are at fault in some way and it was a way to deflect blame, to protect themselves.  I'd never thought of that but it makes sense.  I'm pretty sure I do the same thing without thinking.

I then told her about my sister and my mum dying and my sister's anger with me.  She wondered if my sister did in some way feel responsible for my mum's death and for how poorly she treated my mum in the last year of my mum's life.  I don't think my sister was responsible for my mum's death but I do hold her responsible for hurting my mum's feelings.  My mum felt like a burden when she died because of what my sister said to her.  My sister told mum she should be in a nursing home, not an option I supported.

So perhaps my super power is pissing people off because I hold up a mirror.  It's not my intent to piss people of but I do strive for the truth.  I know we all lie to ourselves, me included, but I do try to look at myself honestly which causes me all kinds of stress because as a human being I am a messy individual with conflicting ideas, believes, values and intentions.  It's not easy being human.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

When the big guy and I came back from holidays on Wednesday, the cat had stopped eating.  Not only had she stopped eating but she had vomited throughout the whole house, always a lovely way to come home.  Poor thing, we took her to the vet who did bloodwork and an x-ray but couldn't find anything wrong with her.  He gave us medicine to stimulate her appetite which only made her vomit more.  I tried mixing some food with water and gave it to her by syringe which was only partially successful;  this involved wrapping the cat in a towel and the big guy holding her tightly while I grabbed her head and opened her mouth while I injected the contents of the syringe into her mouth and then held her mouth shut.  I ended up with a fair number of puncture wounds on my fingers and the big guy was covered in scratches but the cat kept the little bit of food down.

Yesterday I came up with the idea of tuna shakes.  I took a can of tuna, added water and liquified it.  Totally disgusting but the cat liked it.  She slowly started to take a little by herself so I offered her the shake throughout the day.  She especially liked it warmed up.  Made me gag.

This morning she said hello like her old self and even ate a little of her food.  She seems to be on the mend.

Tonight my son and his new girlfriend are coming over for supper.  I haven't seen my son since January when we told him he had to leave.  He's sober now even went to AA once that he told me of.  I am wary but hopeful.  We'll see.