Sunday, November 28, 2021

We had our meeting with the social worker, Gracie and her family, on Thursday.  I felt like Gracie's  sister thought Gracie was doing amazing and all of the good things about Jack were a direct result of Gracie's parenting.  Her sister also said that Gracie is not drinking, based on their daily phone calls.  The mom, Lori, was largely silent.  She still looks beat down by the death of her husband.  

I was quite proud of myself because I told Gracie that I was still angry with her for hurting my grandson, for causing him to go into care in Victoria and for him having to be cared for by strangers for a week.  I said I haven't forgiven you but I'm working on it.  The social worker thanked me for sharing how I felt.  Her family seems to have glossed over the fact that she's probably at least one of the reasons Gracie's father killed himself.  I can't forget that either.

Gracie goes into rehab on Wednesday and it was decided that Jack would spend four days with Gracie, surpervised by her family, at her mom's home.  I don't like this but there is little I can do until we have guardianship.  I had a meltdown at work on Friday morning, couldn't stop crying and then I realized how worried I was about Jack staying with his mom for four days.  I cried hard and then got it together and finished off my day.  I apologized to the patient that I had to pass onto another nurse and the patient was so lovely about it.  Our patients all understand how devastating life can be at times.

I also talked to Lori and shared some of my concerns.  I'm worried about her too because she's been through hell and Gracie has no empathy for her.  Gracie only cares about Gracie.  She said she would be okay with Gracie and Jack for four days and there would be other people there as well.  Gracie is verbally abusive to her mother at times.  Gracie's just a gem really.

So little Jack went off with his grandma and a good friend of her's yesterday.  We told him he would come home in three sleeps and he seemed okay with it.  Before he left we built towers.  He loves building towers with his lego.  

After the meeting on Thursday the big guy and I talked with the social worker by ourselves.  We still have a lot of concerns about Gracie and we shared those with social worker who also has concerns about Gracie.  She is not a young, naive woman.  We told her some of the things that have happened over the past two and a half years.  She told us that once we have guardianship and parenting, things will be much easier and she will go before the judge and advocate for us as well which made me feel better.  I'm trying not to think about December 14th too much, the court date, but it's there somewhere inside my head.  

When Lori picked up Jack she asked us what we were going to do with a weekend off.  Neither of us had a clue.  She suggested a date night and so we did.  We went out for supper to one of your favorite restuarants that we haven't been to in years and sat and relaxed and chatted about Jack and Gracie:)  It was nice.  Between covid and Jack and Gracie, these last two and a half years have been hard.  

I'm still worried about Jack but I know his grandma will keep a close eye on him and after Wednesday we won't have to see Gracie for forty-two days.  I don't know if she'll make it through treatment but either way, she still has to come back into the real world and get it together before she gets Jack back.  

It's a grey day in the neighborhood but it's warm out, above 0C so the dogs will get a long walk later.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Homemade soap

I'm at home today, baking Christmas cookies and making soap.  Yes, I make my own soap in an effort to cut down on plastic waste.  Not sure how successful I am at reducing plastic waste but I do like the feeling of accomplishment that comes with making soap.  My lovely husband made me a mold a few years ago and I still use it.  It's adjustable and contains no plastic.

Jack is doing well.  He's been with us fulltime now for six weeks this coming Friday.  We have all settled into our routines, including him.  I have never met a child who tells us when he wants to go to bed, "I sleep."  At seven o'clock he's tired and it's time.  We all wake up early, including him, because we have to get him to daycare by 6:30 am so that we can get to work on time.  He has a nap at daycare but he's tired by the end of the day, as are we.  He's over his cold for the most part and is happy again.  This morning Poppa had to go to the bathroom and he said, "No, Poppa sit." 

I said, "Poppa needs to poop.  Poppa doesn't wear a diaper like you do."  He looked a little surprised and then looked at his Poppa, wondering perhaps why Poppa doesn't wear a diaper and is this a thing that he'll have to deal with going forward in life?  Pooping in the potty?  He also smiled.  

The other night in the bathtub he stood up, turned around and presented me with his bottom and said "Nana look," and then laughed.  He kept doing it too because of course Nana laughed.

He has a fine sense of humor that boy and he keeps us laughing.

Work is fine.  It has lost so much of it's sense of urgency for me.  I just don't care about all the petty details.  We have a good group of nurses working now, with one exception, but she'll never change.  I like working with young nurses.  They have energy and their energy spreads through the department.  I still care about my patients but have let go of a lot of my grief.  Often once I realize why I'm feeling the way I do, I let go of it without even realizing it.

It's cold, there's snow on the ground, winter is here, although it's supposed to warm up a little over the next few days.  We have another family meeting tomorrow with the social worker and Gracie and her family.  Should be interesting.  Gracie is supposed to come over today, the first time we will have seen her since I served her with the guardianship papers.  She didn't show her face on Sunday and I wonder if she'll come today.  I probably sound like a  heartless bitch but I don't care that much about her feelings.  She hurt my grandson and needs to deal with her problems.

I am a woman who has lived with chronic depression most of my life.  I was a single parent.  I put myself through nursing school and I left two abusive relationships.  I can do hard things.  The strange thing is, I haven't felt depressed since all of this started.  I'm thankful but it seems weird.  You would think that an assault on your grandchild, having him taken into care, a suicide and now parenting full time again would have sent me spiralling down but it hasn't.  Small mercies indeed.


Sunday, November 21, 2021

The week in photos.  Ginger shortbread cookies for Christmas.

The snow arrived last week and turned the dog park into a winter wonderland.

Bagheera sitting on the furnace register, warming herself.  She's not a fan of winter or the cold. 

The big guy and the little guy playing with a balloon.

Heidi taking it easy on the couch.  The towel was for Jack.  He's been sick and coughing so hard he vomits.  Heidi's okay with that.


I'm almost done reading this book.  An excellent read about what happens to siblings in families with damaged or difficult children.  I realized it applied to me as well.  My sister has a brain injury and made life awkward when I was growing up.  I imagine it was worse for her twin though and it was definitely hard for my middle daughter.

And this photo reminded me of Steve:)

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

BC has been hit by an atmospheric river which destroyed or closed all of the highways in and out of Vancouver.  These are roads we have driven on many times.  The Coquihalla is the highway we always take when driving to the coast;  pieces of it are missing, not covered with mud, missing.  That highway took eight years to build and traces through the Cascade Mountains.  At it's summit, it is 1,444 m above sea level and can be a treacherous drive.  I've driven it in July and it was snowing at the summit.  We drove through an awful snowstorm there in early May one year.  Most importantly, it's a major trucking route and a huge part of the supply chain in Western Canada.  The town of Merritt, a major hub on the Coquihalla, is completely underwater and most of the population have been evacuated.



This is the Trans Canada Highway in Abbotsford.  Again a highway we drive regularly.  The highway sits in the valley and is completly covered by water.  This is the main highway in and out of Vancouver from the East.  All the goods that travel by truck from Vancouver to Alberta and from Alberta to Vancouver use this route.  Life just got harder for everyone in the West.

I've been listening to the radio this morning and it's overwhelming.  I want to smack climate change deniers on the head and yell, "Snap out of it!"

All images have been taken from the internet.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

 I lost my voice this past week.  Jack, or somebody, was kind enough to give me some kind of bug that settled in my sinuses and produced copious amounts of phelgm which then dripped down the back of my throat, only to land on my vocal cords and inflame them.  On Tuesday my voice started sounding awful.  By Wednesday it was worse.  I went for a covid test which came back negative.  Thursday was a stat holiday and then back to work on Friday by which time I had lost my voice.  I could only whisper.

I spend all day talking to people.  I have to ask questions.  I tease, joke and distract my patients while starting IVs.  When I work in the interventional suite, I teach my patients all about their new central line.  I stand at the reception desk and call out patient's names to take them back for CT prep.  I talk a lot at work, except this past Friday.

I realized on Thursday night that I was going to have a problem so I decided to make up flash cards with the most common and important questions I needed to ask patients.  I opted out of the interventional suite and started IVs only on Friday.  I had other people call out patient's names for me and I used gestures a lot.  I got my point across with very little talking and today my voice is feeling much better, not back to normal but not a whisper anymore either.

Miss Katie can't talk.  She doesn't have the neurological ability to get everything working together to make speech.  That doesn't mean she's quiet, quite the opposite.  She's very noisy and uses sounds, gestures and sign language to get her point across.  Most people think she's deaf until I explain that she can hear just fine but she can't talk.  Some people assume she's stupid because she can't talk, those people are wrong.  Other people try to ignore Katie and talk to me but she doesn't usually let that happen.  She intervenes.  She should be the focus of all conversations, or so she believes.

On Friday, most people didn't talk to me.  One patient seemed to think I was deaf and wouldn't be able to hear her and used gestures to communicate with me.  A few patients chatted with me, I could nod my head or shake my head.  If I had to, I could get close up to patients and whisper but I tried to avoid that, being in the time of covid and all.  Mostly I found it to be a lonely day.  I missed joking around with my coworkers and my patients.  Every interaction took a lot more of my energy.  I couldn't use my flash cards on people who didn't read english which limited me, although I did find that patients for whom english was a second language seemed to be much more at ease with my gestures.  I was worn out by the end of the day, not just from work but from the work of trying to communicate without a voice. 

And then I thought about Katie and how hard every day must be for her, trying to get her point across, trying to communicate with others, trying to make a connection, and I realized how little credit I give her.  She is tenacious, she has to be.  Katie sails through life and she makes it look easy most of the time, but it's got to be hard work, trying to make yourself understood, trying to understand what is going on around you, every day.  I wonder if she gets lonely.  God, I hope not.  

Village in Newfoundland

I remember when I was a girl and then a young woman, I wanted to do something big.  I wanted to be a jockey.  I wanted to go to the Olympics.  I wanted to write a book.  I wanted to live in the mountains in a small cabin with thousands of books and a husband and children.  I wanted to be a veterinarian.  I wanted to travel the world.  I wanted to go to Australia.  I wanted to be a photographer.  I wanted to take dance lessons and go to the New York School of Performing Arts.  I wanted to live on a farm.  I wanted to have lots of children.  

It's funny how dreams change as we get older, and even harder when you realize that you are just too old to be able to do some things, that the future is much shorter than you imagined.  I'm nearing the end of my nursing career and I've let go of a lot of things.  I wanted to work in ICU and Emergency, but that didn't happen because I had to take care of Katie.  I don't think it would have been a good fit for me honestly but sometimes I am sad that I don't have that kind of experience to draw on.  I am envious of young nurses who try new things, even as I realize how much I love the job I have now.  Sometimes I feel like I've settled but then I realize I've settled for more connections with my patients than I could possibly have had if I had worked in ICU or Emergency.  

When I look back at my life I wish I hadn't had children so young, wish that I had been brave enough to go to University and study medicine or neuroscience or photography or genetics or all of them.  I wish I had paid attention more in school and worried less about boys and sex.  I wish I had known that everyone fears rejection, that I wasn't alone.  I wish I had been kinder to myself and others.  I wish that stood up for myself more and stared down the bullies.  I wish I had told more people to fuck off and told more people that I loved them.  I wish I had known it was okay to fail and to try again.

I wish I knew how much alike we all are;  all of us afraid being abandoned, of being unwanted, of being unneeded, of being laughed at.  I like google because when I ask a question and I think I am the only human being in the world to feel the way I do, I find out that one million others have asked the same question.  I'm not alone.  I never was but I didn't know that when I was young.  It's comforting to know that I'm not so special, not so weird, not so fucked up that I am the only one.  I belong to many tribes. 

"What if I fall?  

Oh but my darling, what if you fly?" 

 Erin Hanson

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

I got new glasses last week with a little bling on them, rhinestones.  Never thought of myself as a bling woman but as I've gotten older I want something more interesting on my face.  Do you remember bedazzlers?  How I scoffed at those women and now I'm one, although maybe a little more subdued.

I have a day off today and I had to go for a covid swab.  I've lost my voice and I have a sore throat so I thought I'd at least get the test to make sure I'm fine for work on Friday.  I ordered groceries online for the first time ever because I have to stay isolated until the results come back.  It wasn't hard at all and I'll pick up the groceries when I pick up my hubby from work.

Gracie and her brother will be coming over after work to visit Jack.  I'll wear a mask.  She's mad at me again or still, not sure.  Sadly or gladly, I don't give a flying fuck what she thinks of me.  Jack is better and back to daycare although he's not sleeping well and only wants his poppa.  He got so upset last night that he vomited which he doesn't like at all.  It's hard watching him struggle and he has no words to tell us how he feels.  Gracie is oblvious to all of this because it's only about her.

I took the dogs to the dog park on Sunday and this was the view.  It was crowded which you can't tell from this photo.  The park is huge and most people like to walk through the trees, including me.  We still don't have snow thankfully and none is forecast for the next week which is lovely. 

I've filled out all the paperwork for guardianship and I was going to file it at court today but that will have to wait until next week.  I imagine Gracie will lose her mind, again, when that happens and she is served.  

Aside from Gracie, we're getting used to having a full-time child again.  Meals and meal times have changed, weekends are tiring but he's such a sweetie.  He goes to bed at seven now, instead of nine when he lived with Gracie.  We get up early and need to get to work and he seems to do well with the new bedtime.  I've also noticed I don't put things off until later but rather do them when I have time.  He's quite the motivator.  Jack also loves talking to "Alexa", except he calls her Lexa and she doesn't quite understand him, yet.  

And humor helps.

Monday, November 8, 2021

We still haven't had any snow thankfully and everyone and their dogs have been enjoying the dog park.  Yesterday as I sat on a bench, talking to a girlfriend on my phone, a random dog jumped up on the bench and sat on my lap.  She's wasn't a little dog, she was a golden retriever called Bella and she got some free pets.  

Jack spent the day with his mama yesterday and didn't seem himself when he came home.  Gracie didn't say anything to me.  I texted Gracie's mom and asked how the visit went.  She said it went well but Jack seemed a little off, tired and warm.  Sure enough he had a fever so he and I are both home today.  He's been sleeping off and on.  His temp has come down but he's grumpy and calling for Poppa over and over.  It's only 11am and we've been up since 4:30am.  I still have my jammies on but I did make a loaf of  bread.  

We've watched Gecko's Garage, Blippi and I forget what other kid's shows.  I've finished watching The O'Briens which was a nice Irish movie and now I'm watching The War On Grandpa because it's better than kid's shows.  

I may be bored but at least I'm not sick, poor guy.

Friday, November 5, 2021

Well, I made it through the week at work, or three days anyway.  I did miss my patients and I missed most of my coworkers.  I had to tell my story, or rather Jack's story, over and over but that's out of the way now.  He's doing well.  

Gracie came over for a supervised visit on Wednesday with her brother.  Her brother is such a sweet guy and Jack just loves him.  Gracie bought a bunch of toys for him because she thinks you can buy love?  I don't know.  That's just how I feel.  She's never apologized to Jack, she just goes on as if nothing has happened.  It was a long two and a half hour visit.  At one point she locked Jack in Heidi's kennel and thought that was funny.  I immediately got him out of there.  WTF!  She was also screaming when she was playing with him.  A couple of times I almost yelled Jesus!, she scared me so bad.  She kept asking Jack if he loved her and did he miss her.  She wanted him to shower her with hugs and kisses.  She is a bottomless pit of need and expects a 2 1/2 year old to fill that pit.  I don't like having her here but this is not about me.

The more time I spend with her, the more I wonder if she is mentally ill.  During the meeting we had on Monday afternoon she was very manipulative and refused to acknowledge that she had done anything wrong.  She was angry and wanted her own way.  She tends to talk in circles but when you really listen, she says nothing.  Right now Jack remains in our care, she can have two supervised visits a week, one at our house and one at her mother's house.  There was much drama and crying and yelling.  It was exhausting but I was impressed with Gracie's mother who told the truth, even when it was uncomfortable.  I also told everyone that I was concerned about Gracie's verbal abuse towards her mother.  Gracie is angry with everyone except herself it would seem but again, I have no idea what she's thinking.

It was nice to be back with my patients again.  Their grief can be heavy sometimes but I feel like I can at least do a little something to make their journey easier.  I had a new patient yesterday who at first seemed very needy until I sat down and talked to her.  Six weeks ago she had emergency surgery because a tumor had completely occluded her bowel and she was obstructed.  She also found out that the cancer had invaded the nearby lymph nodes.  I talked to her and explained how things work and then I listened to her.  Mostly she was worried about her eighteen year old daughter.  When I have a chance to listen to patients I feel like I am doing something worthwhile in the world.  

Life continues on.  Nothing big which at this point, I am extremely grateful for.  Thinks I'm thankful for today.

Roomba to pick up all the dog and cat hair.

Cinnamon toast.

New glasses.

Hugs from the big guy and the little guy.

A very tasty supper last night of sesame chicken.

No snow yet.

Jack is safe.

A day off to catch up.

A tall glass of iced tea to start off the day.

A peaceful home.

Enough money to pay our bills.


What are you thankful for today?

Monday, November 1, 2021

Heidi on her first trip to the ocean.

Halloween was last night and we took Jack trick or treating.  He was blown away by the concept of going door to door and people just giving him candy.  People were surprised and pleased by his thank yous.  I was surprised at how well he did as he didn't have a nap yesterday.  

We visited aunt Katie in the morning, had lunch out at the mall and then came home, hoping he would sleep but that didn't happen.  I tried laying down with him in the hopes that he would fall asleep but that didn't happen.  Then he got very grumpy, like a grumpy grizzly bear I told him.  A couple of our friends dropped by for a quick visit.  Jack had diarrhea a couple of times which involved a quick bath mid visit while our friends were over and then felt much better.  In fact he felt so good he climbed all over our friend, also named Jack, and had a great time.

It's cold now but still no snow which is lovely.  The sun is shining and some trees still have a few gold colored leaves hanging on.  This afternoon we have a meeting with the social worker, Gracie and her mom and us about Jack and what's going to happen in the future.  The social worker thinks Jack needs to live with us for an extended period of time until Gracie can get it together, stay sober and take some parenting courses.  She supports our application for guardianship which I've now filled out and just need to get the application to the court.  

We found out in our meeting with the social worker on Friday, that half a dozen people called the police about Gracie assaulting Jack and that they have it on CCTV as well.  I'm so thankful so many people stepped up to intervene on his behalf.  There are still good people in the world.  That court case still has to proceed and I have no idea what will happen.  Gracie seems to still be in denial about what happened but it's hard to argue with video tape.

Jack is doing well.  His language skills are exploding and this morning he said good morning to his teacher Punita.  She smiled and said to me, "OMG he called me Punita!"  He is a charmer.

I start back to work tomorrow which I am a little nervous about, trying to fit everything into the day but I'll play it by ear.  As I sit here typing I can see the chickadees in the pear tree, pecking away at the few pears that stayed on the tree.  A movement out of the kitchen window caught my eye and a gust of wind just brought down a bunch of leaves off the poplar.  It's the natural world that keeps me grounded and I need to remember that.