Thursday, May 25, 2023

Marsh marigold.

I had a mammogram a few weeks ago and they saw something different on it, something that had not been on previous images, so the radiologist suggested I have an ultrasound to investigate.  I had the ultrasound the other day at work, they had a cancellation and could fit me in, and it turns out, it's just a cyst.  Of course I never thought it was cancer (I can hear laughing in my head, of course I was convinced it was cancer) and I'm so thankful it's just a cyst.  Colour me happy.

One of the nurses in our building, a nurse in chemo, has been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer.  She's only forty-six years old and she's one of us, that's breaking my heart.  I make sure I put up funnies on instagram for her, because I think laughter is the best medicine.

I still miss Lucy and I think Heidi is missing her as well.  I've been taking Heidi for extra walks and she's been getting extra love.  This morning I filled in an application for a new dog.  We'll see what happens.  It's a male dog, which I haven't had in a long time, not sure how he and Heidi would get along.  Heidi is not very keen on males sniffing her back end.  I think she's had enough of males, lots of litters, and would prefer they just leave her alone.  

My young neighbor has just blown up her life.  She has three kids, two autistic, home schools, wants to live in Mexico, and also has bipolar disorder.  She and the kids spent four and a half months living in Mexico last winter and she decided she wants to do that every year.  Long story but they're trying to sell their house, it's a fucking mess ( I do love her but she is a terrible house keeper) and everything has just blown up.  Now she wants a divorce, or not, figures her husband will still support them all and can't stand to be around him.  He's a nurse who has PTSD from Afghanistan (he was in the military before becoming a nurse) and works long hours to support them all.  Sigh.  Life is not easy for any of us.

We're also in the middle of an election here in Alberta.  Our premier is a nutbar, so that's always fun.

I've been planning my funeral, because you never know when you'll kick it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

As so often happens here, spring has been short and swift.  Fires are still burning to the north and to the west of us and the smoke descends upon us at times.  I found this photo of the fire a couple of weeks ago that came close to the dog park.  That's what we saw when we were turned east off the highway.

I'm feeling low, sad over putting down Lucy.  She was a sweet dog and a pain in the ass at times.  She was a beagle, so completely food driven and relentless.  She rarely barked and I only ever heard her howl once or twice in the seven years she lived with us.  I know she was suffering and I'm thankful that she's no longer suffering, but I still miss her.  It's the same with my mum.  I'm thankful mum is not longer suffering but I wish she was still alive and healthy.  

I didn't realize how much stress Lucy's impending death was putting on me until I finally called the vet and scheduled an appointment for her.  I stayed with her while the vet put the propofol in her IV lock and she relaxed, and I stayed with her when the vet put the pentobarbitol in her IV lock and she stopped breathing.  I stroked her head the whole time and she suffered no pain.  Today I go back to the vet's to pick up her ashes.  I wonder how much room a small beagle's ashes take up.  

Jack came back home last night, from his auntie's house.  We told him that Lucy had died and he seemed indifferent but he did have a huge meltdown, complete with slamming doors, later.  I was talking to my neighbor this morning, he's an ER nurse, and he said that Jack has been through so much trauma in his short life, which made me cry again.  Jack's lost his grandpa, his home with his mama (three times), his daycare (also three times), and his innocence.  He's been assaulted by his own mother and placed in foster care with strangers.  He's lived his whole life with an addicted mother who can't even love herself, never mind love him.  I'm thankful he has his poppa, who will always have his back, and I'm thankful for a husband who is willing to start over with small children again.  

We were supposed to have a guardian meeting this evening but Lori (Jack's grandma and guardian) trailer's heater isn't working so she cancelled the meeting, so that she can meet the service guy out at the lake where her trailer is parked.  Last week she couldn't make a meeting because she had plans already, she went to a movie with her other daughter (Jack's other guardian).   It's hard not to feel played by these people at times.  We know nothing about what's going on with Gracie because that family keeps secrets.  

I'm off today so I worked in the garden, planted my annuals in their pots, cut the grass, seeded the brown spots where the dog pee had killed the grass, fertilized and watered the grass and flower beds.  I promised to take Miss Katie to Fort Edmonton this weekend because the park opens this weekends and OMG she is excited.  Work is busy.  Yesterday I had a sixty-six year old man with presumptive lung cancer.  He came for a biopsy because he had a huge mass in his lung.  He had a three month history of weight loss (thirty pounds) and headaches for the past two months.  By the time we were done with him, we knew he was stage four lung cancer with brain and adrenal mets.  He was a nice man who believed (hoped) that his headaches were from the bridge in his mouth.  He'll see the oncologist later this week and be told the news that he his dying. I try not to get attached to my patients but I still do.  More grief.  

Friday, May 12, 2023

Miss Katie stole her caregiver's shoes and then they put a lovely dress on her.  She's so beautiful and she loves high heels.  When both of my girls still lived at home, Katie would always steal her sister's shoes to wear, even the four inch heels.

We've had some rain, this was the sky last night when we took Jack and the neighbor's little girl for a bike ride.  Jack has a stryder bike, no wheels, and he's doing so well on it.

Spring has arrived in a rush.  I've planted all of my plants outside, three weeks early, because it doesn't look like we'll be having frost anytime soon, usually the May long weekend is for planting.  What can I say,  I lead a reckless life.

Not much else going on.  We're driving down to Wetaskiwin this morning to wish my father in law happy 89th birthday.  I honestly didn't think he'd survive the past year but he's a tough old guy.  I made him a nobake cheesecake with bumbleberry coulis, his favorite.

Highway 21 and 14 have been closed because of  smoke and fog, causing multi vehicle collisions, so we'll have to work our way around that to get to Wetaskiwin. 

Sunday, May 7, 2023

Katie can't talk; she's non-verbal.  She spends most of her time and energy, trying to connect with others.  She uses her body, her eyes, her smile, her hands, gestures, behaviors and sign language to communicate.  Because Katie is mentally disabled, her knowledge of sign language is limited to that of a young child, kind of.  Katie understands spoken English just fine but she has a limited ability to express herself, in part because I crapped out on teaching her more sign, for many, many reasons, some of which included things like time, work, personal safety and a limited attention span.  Because Katie is mentally disabled she got stuck in early childhood but not completely.  She's also a young woman with years of experience, lots of hormones and sadly, trauma as well.  What she lacks though is abstract thought, her world is concrete. 

Despite Katie's constant attempts to communicate, to connect with others, her inner life remains a mystery to me and perhaps even to herself.  I wonder what stories she tells herself. We need language to explore our inner workings I think, to tell our story, even to ourselves.

I'm imagine most people in the world feel like this; we want connections to others and even more importantly, we want to be seen and accepted.  But what happens when we don't even accept ourselves?  When we hide parts of ourselves?  When we decide that parts of us are unacceptable?  How deep do we bury those parts?  

Maybe we're like closets, overstuffed with useless stuff from our lives.  That time we were told we were too loud, that's at the back of the closet and we don't like to look at that, makes us cry.  That time you laughed when somebody else was bullied, instead of you and you just felt relief that it wasn't you being bullied and then you felt guilty and thought you were a horrible person.  That time when you hadn't slept for weeks and your husband was always gone and you thought about smothering your children and then yourself.  Or that time when you hated even the sound of your mother breathing because you knew she was getting old and was going to die and leave you.  Or that time when you were drunk, in a parking lot and kicked that glass which broke and scattered broken glass everywhere.  The snipes you took at your sister, making your best friend wait (all the time), lies you've told, people you've hurt both on purpose and inadvertently, and your anger.  

Or what about that anger and grief from all the hurtful things your family has done to you.  Do you hang onto that?  What if the anger that once served to protect us, now only keeps us apart from others?  What if the trust that was lost as a child never returns because it hurt too much and who wants to go through that again?  What if we spend so much time protecting ourselves from people that we no longer let anybody in?  Do we just sit behind a wall of hurt and anger and shame (a wall that was built as a child to keep us safe), keeping the world and everybody else out?  Is it better to be alone?  Is hiding from the world and from ourselves the answer?

Or can we start to clean out the closet?  Throw out the shit that doesn't fit anymore?  You're not really shy now?  Get rid of that.  All that anger you had, it was actually grief for all the things that hurt you (babysitting for your sister while your drunk brother in law talked for three hours on the phone about killing himself), your drunk husband (the only reason I drink so much is because I can't stand being here), or your very unhappy husband (I only wanted two children, after Katie's birth), your dad shaking in anger, being bullied, being sexually assaulted (in the park, at work, in my own marriage).  Perhaps it's time to let go of these things, time to forgive because holding onto my anger hasn't done me any good and it's taking up so much space in my closet (life) that it doesn't leave much room for good stuff.

And really, I want the good stuff, but to get to the good stuff, I have to look at all the stuff in that closet, which is a big job, a painful job, but a necessary job because I'm tired of all that shit that doesn't fit, that doesn't serve any purpose anymore, except to keep me apart and scared and angry and alone.

What if I can be kind to myself?  If I can forgive myself for the hurt I've caused others?  If I can accept that young people are selfish and that's okay?  What if I can accept my impatience and my judgement and see that they served me once but that it's time to let go of them, and not only that but accept my anger because a lot of bad stuff happened and that anger helped to protect me and sometimes there are good reasons to get angry (but I don't need to be angry all the time).  What if I can let others in to my heart?  

What if my heart grew three sizes?  Would it hurt?  Or would it just be wonderful?

Saturday, May 6, 2023

Last night after supper, the big guy took Jack for a walk around the block and he noticed black smoke in the not so far distance.  Because I'm nosey, we put Jack in his pyjamas and loaded him into the car so that we could go see what was happening.

This spring has been hot, windy and dry.  The winds have been ferocious and make me quite grumpy.  There are fires burning all over Alberta.  A week ago my manager and her husband lost ten acres to a fire caused by assholes in the next field over.  I don't know how much damage was done to their neighbor's property, but the bill from fire services was going to be $80,000 for the neighbor.  

We drove towards the dog park which is 6 kilometres away but were turned east by police.  We then drove down highway 21 and again got turned east by roadblocks.  At one point we could see flames crossing highway 21 and it looked like the dog park was going up in flames.

This morning we drove to the dog park and it was spared thankfully.  The fire which looked close enough to touch last night was in fact 1 kilometre south of the dog park; the flames must have been huge.  No houses or barns were destroyed, although a lot of people were evacuated.  The fire itself burned a narrow strip through farmland.

I feel like this tree right now, still standing, but surrounded by scorched earth.  Work is busy, my knee hurts a lot, which is making my toes spasm.  Jack is with us six nights a week again and he's not spending time with his mom alone anymore.  He is also very suspicious of his grandma and auntie, worried that they might be taking him to his mama's.  When they come to pick him up, he hides under the coffee table now.  I wonder again if I should be taking him to see a therapist.

This morning he asked us why he has so many parents.  Last night he asked me if his dad was dead.  I thought raising my own kids was hard, raising a grandchild is next level.