Saturday, December 28, 2019

Another of the big guy's photos;  this one taken five years ago I think, in Banff.

Christmas is over thank goodness.  The tree and decorations are packed up and stored away under the stairs in the basement.

Christmas day wasn't too bad.  We had a lovely morning with Katie.  A friend of mine from work and her little girl,  joined us at West Edmonton Mall for a walk and lunch.  The mall gets busier every year.  I've been taking Katie there for as long as I can remember.  Katie's never been good about keeping hats, mitts or coats on and it's often too cold to go for a walk outside with her in the winter.  So we walk in the mall.  I'm not sure what she's signing but it might be meet friends.

Katie doesn't care about Christmas.  She doesn't care about gifts.  She's not stressed about cooking.  She just wants everything to be same as it always is.  We drove by the equine centre to see the horses, drove to the off leash dog park to look at dogs running in the snow and then drove to the mall.  I used to hate the sameness of her days when I was younger, I don't anymore.

As for me, I'm wobbling back and forth between sanity and crying jags.  I went for a walk with the dog yesterday which was nice.  Fresh air, sunshine, not too cold.  This morning I dragged out my stationary bike and rode for twenty-four minutes.  I remind myself that many people have it far worse.  But still I feel like a failure with two children who won't speak to me.  I overthink.  I'm too sensitive.  Blah, blah, blah.

Fucking hell I hate depression.  I try every fucking day to feel good.  I talk to myself.  I thank god every night, literally for the good things in the day.  I keep busy and still it tracks me down.  I know it will pass.  The days are already getting longer.  I'll hang on.

At least I can still laugh.

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas day tomorrow.  The little guy has been staying with us since Saturday.  Gracie is struggling again.  I try not to overthink the future but my mind does wander there.  What will happen?  Gracie is supposed to go back to work in a few months and she can't cope with staying home and taking care of the little guy.  I don't know how she'll manage with work and taking care of him.  She's staying at someone else's place right now, don't know who the house belongs to or what she's doing.

The little guy is happy here.  His diaper rash has cleared up.  He's sleeping well.  He had the worst diaper rash and when I suggested to Gracie that she needed to change his diaper every two hours she looked at me like I was crazy.  I've changed his diaper a lot, washed his burned little bum, applied lots of cream and his skin has healed up.

I hate uncertainty and yet it is the way of the world.  Wait and see and I'm so damned impatient.  I can't see Gracie getting her shit together.  My son is still missing, either avoiding the police or in jail.  We haven't heard from him since early September.  Not sure what to do or how to do anything.

Babies deserve better.  And how do you approach somebody and ask them if they can manage to care for their own child without alienating them?  As grandparents we have no rights.  It's a fine line.

Saturday, December 21, 2019

It's snowing as I write.  The chickadees are busy flitting about, helping themselves to sunflower seeds from the birdfeeder.  The world is quiet, blanketed in snow.  

The animals are fast asleep and I'm puttering.  It's nice.  I'm lowering my expectations of Christmas this year and hoping that helps with the depression.  Mostly I feel good.

My grandson is coming over later to stay the night which wrecks my sleep but fills my heart, an excellent trade off as far as I'm concerned.

I have a home, a man who loves me and hugs me often.  I have a job I mostly love.   I've given out my gifts at work and lots of hugs.   I have food in my cupboard and freezer, lots of Christmas cookies.  I am thankful.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

I can't decide which version of this photo I like better.  It's one of the big guy's photos, taken at Pyramid Lake.  The other end of the bridge is where we got married, a much warmer day though.

I had a young woman as a patient the other day.  She's twenty-six and is now palliative.  The white's of her eyes were yellow I noticed as she lay on the table in fluoro.  She was terrified, a needle phobia that made hospitals and medical procedures torture.  We were putting a central line into her arm, a simple five minute procedure that involved some crying, some Ativan and some hyperventilating.  When the tech put the tourniquet on the patient's arm, the young woman apologized because she hadn't shaved her armpits.  In solidarity, both the tech and I assured this young woman that neither of us had shaved our pits either.  In fact I'm not really sure when I last shaved them.

How ingrained social conventions are.  This woman is dying and she's worried about her armpit hair.  Then this morning I went to see an orthotist to have orthotics made for my poor feet.  I apologized to him because I hadn't shaved my legs and then laughed at myself for doing the same thing as my young patient had done.  The orthotist told me about his grandfather who when the grandfather was in ICU was so stressed about not having a clean shaven face that the orthotist had gone home and gotten his grandfather's razor for him.  I pointed out that body hair is not a priority in ICU, what with all the other systems not working.  Then the orthotist said, "Maybe he wanted his face shaved because it was the only thing he had any control over."  And maybe that's what it was about for my young patient.  So much of what was going on around her was out of her control but her armpit hair, that she could still have dominion over.

I'm not so different, so much of my life I have no control over but my kitchen, my home, that is my safe place.  I make it clean and tidy and comforting.  There, I have control.

I always find it so interesting how the universe conspires to teach me lessons all the time and I'm thankful as well.

Friday, December 13, 2019

Waterton, Prince of Wales Hotel, a photo from five and half years ago.  I'd like to go back and take better photos now but it's not the same anymore.  They had a massive fire in the summer of 2017.  Medicine Lake up in Jasper had the same fate, massive fire in 2015.  I will never see these forests regrow to their original beauty in my lifetime.

Work has been very busy sadly.  New patients everyday, old patients that just never come back.  One of my favorite patients told me that she's not doing well.  Her cancer is spreading and she's dying.  She maybe fours year older than me.  A couple of weeks ago she was in hospital and her husband picked her up from the hospital and just dropped her off at home so he could go back to work.  She was so hurt.

I told her about how angry I was with my mum when I realized my mum was getting old and would die.  I couldn't understand what was making me so angry all the time until I realized I would lose my mum in the near future.  Once I told my mum this, my anger disappeared.  It's not uncommon to be angry with someone for dying.  Even though it's not their fault and it makes no sense, it's what happens.  I told my patient this.  Anger is a part of grief.  My patient's husband is angry he's losing his wife just when they should be retiring.  It's not her fault and it's not his fault, it just is.  He's grieving and so is she.

My patient is a loving woman, mother and grandmother but she said she's just so tired.  She's been dealing with her cancer for years and it's getting worse.  We cried, we hugged and we shared photos of grandchildren on our phones.  I fucking hate cancer but at the same time I'm thankful for my job that allows me to meet such wonderful people.

Life continues on.  I'm having supper with my niece tonight and then the little guy will be spending the night with us.  My niece is a lovely, thoughtful, outspoken young woman whom I admire and like a great deal.  I'll have to remember to tell her that.

Gracie continues to struggle with depression and anxiety and we continue to support her.  I have no idea how this will eventually play out but we're in it for the long haul with our grandson.   The sheriff came to the door the other night to serve my son papers but I told him we have no idea where he lives.  I hope that one day he'll be the father his son needs.

I'm off today so I have a full day of baking Christmas cookies and bread.  I'll listen to the radio and stay warm.  The dog is curled up on the chair beside me, sleeping hard as only dogs can.

I'm thankful for the gift of time.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

I have been busy on my new kitchen counters.  I baked gingerbread men and sugar cookies;  then I practiced decorating with royal icing.  I've never decorated cookies with royal icing so I watched you tube videos.  Same way I learned to quilt.

I put up the Christmas tree because a little girl and her mama were coming over for supper.  The big guy turned on the Christmas lights by saying, "Alexa, turn on Christmas lights."  The little girl who is not so little anymore, she's growing like a weed, thought it was, "Awesome!"

The little guy spent the night with us on Friday night which is always wonderful.  He's so damned sweet and easy going and has the best laugh.  He's everywhere now, exploring the house now.  I turned my back for a moment and I found him crawling up the stairs.

We took him out with us yesterday.  He got to see Santa, although he was not sure to what make of the fat guy with the beard.  He enjoyed himself though, yelling as we walked through the mall.

I had a small epiphany the other day.  Even though I needed a couple of days off to restore my batteries, I feel much better mood wise when I am helping others.  It lifts my spirits.

More baking today.  I'm going to try to make brown butter shortbread.

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

I still need one drawer front and two cupboard doors as well as new light fixtures.  I also need to paint the pantry door white.  I love it!  I especially love the drawers and the huge countertop I now have on the island.  It will never look so clean or empty again because, life.  The kitchen table even fits which we were worried about.  Now I'm going to cut out, bake and decorate the gingerbread men.  Have I mentioned I love baking?

Real life.  All the lights are on because even though it's ten am, still dark in the house.

The kitchen will be almost finished today, the last countertop will be installed on the island and I will have my kitchen back.  The dishwasher will be hooked up tomorrow and I will be happy.  It hasn't been hard and it didn't take long but it is a disruption and I have a hard time with disruptions.  

My feet are feeling better which is a huge relief as well.  They're still sore but only a little.  I'm walking normally again and trying to be more mindful of them.  There is nothing I can do to stop the arthritis or the aging of my feet and I have to accept that.  My body is slowing down, despite what my brain wants to do.  

It's been incredibly busy at work.  We even had an extra nurse yesterday, six instead of seven, plus a CT tech and we were all run off our feet.  Everything got done but just busy, busy.  We have a new provincial government who wants to cut health care and education funding so most people are anxious, myself included, about what will happen in the coming year.  The big guy pointed out that I am senior, the most senior nurse and I won't be laid off or bumped but it brings back memories of the early 1990's when there were massive health care cuts and lay offs.  I was laid off for three years.  An entire generation of nurses were lost to other areas, a lot went to the States.  It was a horrible time and those memories came flooding back.

I'm trying to take better care of myself.  I've been so tired lately with one thing and another.  Fatigue affects my depression, plus the short days.  I took a couple of days of vacation this week to rest and restore myself.  The weather is nice right now so I'll take the dog out later, when the sun comes up, for a walk which both of us will enjoy.  The dog discovered the waste basket filled with Kleenex in my bathroom this morning and had a great time shredding them.  She's never done that in that 3.5 years that we've had her and I don't know why she did it this morning.  Boredom?  Irritation?  Who knows.

We had a lovely visit with Katie last weekend.  She continues to do well in her new home.  I am thankful.  She is happy and she is learning.  She continues to enjoy the new word "with" and loves to use it.  I accidently popped her balloon on the weekend, minutes after I paid for it and she was not pleased with me.  I apologized, said sorry but she persisted.  I had to laugh because when she hurts someone she always, relentlessly says sorry.  On Sunday she found out that a sorry is not that satisfying sometimes.  The shoe was on the other foot and she noticed it for the first time.  It's progress.  

I guess my other daughter didn't find my apology that satisfying this past summer either.  Sometimes a sorry is not enough, sometimes we need time too, to take the edge off the pain. Time does heal, I think because it dampens the memory of the hurt, of the betrayal.  Sometimes we need to remember and sometimes we need to let that memory go.  To quote the bible, a time for everything.  

Right now is a time for a shower.

Sunday, December 1, 2019

We went to our work Christmas party last night with Mrs. Potato Head.  She had a good time, as did I.  Mrs. Potato Head was a stand in for one of our coworkers who said that she would rather walk through hot lava than go to a party with her coworkers.  Her and I share custody of Mrs. Potato Head, so I dragged the lovely lady with us.  Mrs. Potato Head has been to Vancouver, Nova Scotia and Mexico.  A Christmas party was no big deal for her.  She did manage to keep her lips off any of the men there which was a relief.

At one point she lost her hair.  She's like that though, kind of a party animal.  She's a much more exciting woman that I am.  She doesn't say much but people are always talking about her.

It was nice to get out but I had two glasses of wine last night and now I have a headache, because I'm a lightweight when it comes to alcohol.  I got to see friends that I haven't seen in awhile.  Lots of hugs and laughter.  The big guy and I even had a dance.

We're off to see Katie this morning which will be nice.