Sunday, June 30, 2024

My last day of work was Friday.  I worked Thursday and Friday this past week and on Thursday, they had a potluck luncheon for me which was lovely.  Last weekend the MRI manager and his wife had bought me a gift certificate for Michael's and I remembered a video I had seen of young women at a bridal shower, painting their arms with fabric paint and then hugging the bride to be who was wearing a white shirt.  I thought this was a wonderful idea and bought paint and a t-shirt with the gift certificate.

The first thing one of my young nurses did, was paint a pair of droopy boobs on the t-shirt, complete with nipples.  People signed the shirt and left messages for me on it and near the end of the day, I went around asking people if they wanted to give me a hug.  One of the young nurses, asked if she could put her handprints on the boobs.  Of course I said and so she did.  The afternoon was lovely and I got to say goodbye to people and get lots of hugs. 

Friday was my actual last day, usually a day spent swanning around and chatting with people.  I was the only regular staff on, everybody else was casual.  Usually a CT tech comes out to help us with IVs but they were short staffed so had nobody to spare.  The first problem, a patient whose chart said she'd had a severe allergic (skin peeling off severe) to CT dye (she wasn't, the nurse who charted that made a mistake) and that took half an hour to sort out but I did learn how to look back at the nursing notes made while the patient was in the RAH. 

The next problem was kidney function tests.  Normally we do our own creatinine tests but there is a shortage of the cartridges needed to do this, so we had to draw our own blood, order the tests, print the correct labels and take it down to the lab and none of us really knew how to do that.  That took almost an hour to sort out, plus grumpy, frustrated nurses. 

The next problem was a patient with a strange mark in the middle of her port (implanted vascular access device) that shouldn't have been there.  We had a rad, reluctantly, come to look at, who then wanted a systemic (chemo) nurse to take a look at it.  It wasn't infected, yet, but it wasn't right either.  The decision was made to start an IV instead and the patient informed me she had no veins.  And the poor patient thought she was going to die because of the port problem.  I reassured her while I heated up her arm, nothing catastrophic was going to happen until we could decided properly what do to with her port.  Fortunately, I got a very tiny IV in first time and she was able to have her CT scan without incident.

By the end of all of this, I was late for my break by an hour and half.  I don't do well without food but I held it together, although I did end up crying on my break.  What a shitty last day.  It didn't get much better and we ran our asses off until a regular staff came in at 1pm to cover the last half of the day.  She was surprised to see me and told me to go home, which I finally did.  Wasn't a great day and reinforced my decision to retire.

And then yesterday we took Jack to Brick Fest Live, an overpriced lego thing which Jack thoroughly enjoyed.

This morning the sun is shining and the cat wants to go out and then come in and then go out and then come in.  I've put my sheets on the line to dry and I'm going to take Miss Katie out shortly.

Unless you're a nurse.

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Jack is okay, not happy but not sad or mad, very hyperactive though.  We went for a walk last night after supper, he wanted to find "interesting things", and we did.  He also burned through some of his energy.

Miss Katie is undoing her seatbelt on the DATS bus, all behavior is communication=she's bored/tired of long bus rides.  Her agency wants to put another harness on her to keep her in her wheelchair for long rides.  Katie is not the problem, long rides are the problem.  People with disabilities are expected to spend hours on buses to get where they need or want to go.  

This reminds me that Jack's behavior is also communication.  Is he confused/anxious?  Not sure what he's feeling and not sure he can identify more complex emotions like frustration or anxiety.   I know that for me, moving and walking helps to calm me.  Perhaps it will for him too.  Nothing wrong with making a practice of going for a daily walk.  

Caught this bee working hard.  I used to be terrifed of bees but have come to love them.  They are hard working and they're all sisters.  

The wild roses are all blooming right now, filling the air with their lovely scent.

 I'm bored with no routine yet.  What a shock.

Monday, June 24, 2024

My daughter came to visit; she made a lot of food; we had a party; she flew home; I cleaned the house.  The End.

It was a busy two weeks but it was also nice to have two visits with my daughter.  We're still working on rebuilding our relationship.  I still don't trash talk my exhusband, despite the fact that he did , about me, for ten years.  I don't want to poison any future relationship she may or may not have with him.  It's funny though, it took years for me to understand that he was abusive.  He did a good job of convincing me that I was the problem.

Jack has been a shit.  He knows everything.  He's tired and grumpy.  He's mad at me a lot.  So I googled, why is my five year old so angry?  Past trauma, ADHD, unresolved grief.  He's had a lot to deal with in his short life and I forget that, or I get triggered.  He's pretty good at pushing my buttons and he knows how to hurt me.  I always wonder what goes on when he's at his mother's place.  I know she fills him up with candy and buys him lots of toys.  He doesn't hug her when he sees her.  It's heartbreaking really.  He probably wonders why he can't have a normal family, which makes me laugh.  Who has a normal family?  We always think other people have normal families, it's just us that has the weird family, until we grow up and start comparing stories with other people and realize that pretty much all families are weird in some way.

I have to remember to take a deep breath before I respond to him.  Show him how to deal with anger in a good way, because I'm so good at that.  Don't fly off the handle.  Don't get offended so easily.  Don't snap at people.  Don't say things you'll regret.  Bloody hell, this kid is going to make me grow up even more.  More self development.  More self control.  Sigh.

I may be tired too and the wind has been blowing hard all day which irritates me.  It's nice for awhile and then it just starts to bug me.

Tuesday, June 18, 2024

While Eastern Canada bakes under a heat dome, we have been inundated with rain and cold temperatures.  Hopefully, we'll have some heat and sun this week before we get more rain.  This morning it was 3C (37F).  Sigh.  It seems unlikely I will get many tomatoes this year but the flowers are happy enough.

My daugther and her fiance visited last weekend and we had a lovely, but rushed visit.  We took Jack to the park, they visited friends she went to school with, we took Miss Katie to Fort Edmonton, my husband made burgers on his new Traeger and we walked the dogs.  She's coming back this weekend to cater my retirement party on Saturday night.  I imagine we'll feel just as rushed and busy this coming weekend.  

I've done very little to prepare for this party.  As much as I want to stop working, I'm going to miss my work family so much.  I will still work from time to time, but it won't be the same.  My life will move on, as will theirs.  It's life.  I was listening to Julia Louis Dreyfus interview Jane Fonda on her podcast yesterday and Jane Fonda was talking about the third act of her life and I realized that retirement is the start of my third act as well.

Last night as I was sitting with Jack, I told him that we would be seeing his lawyer this week.  He asked why and I explained that this man helps to decide where Jack will live and be safe.  Jack was distraught and said, he didn't want to live anyplace else.  I told him that he could always live with us and that was not the problem.  He made me promise that I would tell the lawyer that he wanted to live with us.  I said I would.

I never want Jack to feel like he has to choose between his mom and us.  I know his mom loves him but she can't even take care of herself, even when she's sober.  There's no way she could work and get him to school (she's still not working) and stay sober.  It's too much to put on the shoulders of a five year old, which is why he had his own lawyer appointed I guess.  The lawyer meeting is on Thursday and then next month is the JDR.

I spoke to Gracie's mom a few weeks ago and she agreed that Gracie can't take care of Jack and that he needs to stay with us.  We also talked about his ADHD and she was against medication.  I can understand that but if it's the only way he can make it through school, then we'll put him on medication.  There is also home schooling as an option.  I guess we'll see what happens.  I think my third act will be busy.

Monday, June 17, 2024

it's never too late to say you're sorry,

to ask for forgiveness,

to do better

it's never too late

to stop (insert addiction here)

it's never too late to learn

how to love yourself, 

to forgive yourself

it's never too late to stop

lying, to yourself and

those you love

it's never too late

to open your mind

and your heart

it's never too late

to stop judging

it's never too late

to make amends

to build bridges, 

instead of blowing them up

it's never too late

to be honest

it's never too late to choose 


Thursday, June 13, 2024

 In The Battle Against Time

the first casualty was the floor,

dog hair was swept up into

a pile, the size of a small rodent,

and then the dogs were taken outside

brushed forcefully, only to have 

another pile, the size of a small

rodent to dispose of, and I pondered

attaching the vacuum, directly

to the dogs

the floor is now hairless, mostly

dog footprints linger everywhere

proof of all the rain, with 

more to come, which begs the question,

why bother?

my patience was the second casualty

youngest daughter saw the doctor

a three hour round trip which

involves driving asshats, a daughter 

who tugs on my arm, endlessly 

and old men with seemingly 

no idea of speed limits, tottering


groceries were bought, not

what I needed for tomorrow, 

but what I've run out of, now

the third casualty was the sink

the toilet was in need of a clean,

small clumps of shit

stuck to the rim, nobody

wants to see that, 

while I waited for the bedsheets 

to finish in the dryer

said toilet was given 

a once over, restored

to it's former glory

the sink can wait

the fourth casualty was

the dishes, some were

crammed into the dishwasher

others sit in the sink, stacked

ready for their bath

housework is like triage

who will see what

and how much dirt 

is acceptable

there is only so much time

in a day

hours spent driving,

walking dogs

prepping meals

something's got to give

today there were casualties

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Dandelion, after the rain.

I tried taking the dogs to the off leash this morning.  There was a small dog in the paddock, so I couldn't put Charlie in there first to run off some of his energy and poop, so I let him loose in the main park.  He pooped and as I went to pick it up, my phone rang and as I went to answer it, Charlie ended up in a growling, snarling match with another dog, in the two seconds I was distracted.

The owner of the other dog was pissed, so I just decided to leave.  The thing is, Charlie only gets agressive when he's scared, but Heidi doesn't help because she has to put her two cents in as well, and then things go off the rails.  I ended up going for a walk in the neighborhood with Charlie on his leash but I walked a little to fast, didn't want to be late for my hair appointment, and really upset my right knee.

Three months ago, I slipped on the ice and wrenched by right shoulder, that is almost fully healed.  Two weeks ago while I was gardening, I did something to my right knee and it's very sore.  My knee is sore enough that I kind of fall onto the toilet seat, much like my mother used to.  I've been trying to support myself by hanging onto things which has made my back unhappy.  I'm fucking falling apart.  

Miss Katie turns thirty-two on Sunday.  My middle daughter and her fiancee are flying out here on Thursday to help with my retirement party, except my retirement party isn't this weekend..  My daughter wanted to cater the party but she booked the flight for the wrong weekend, so now she's coming out twice this month.  I'm not complaining, it will be so nice to spend time with her and Katie will be so happy to see her as well.  And the upside, they'll be here for Katie's birthday.  Katie has three grey hairs now; she's obviously not going to grey young like I did.  It's hard to believe that it's been thirty-two years since she was born.  She was supposed to be called Annie but she was a giant baby, 10lbs 11oz, and didn't look like an Annie.  She ended up in NICU because her lungs were wet and she was hypotonic, but two nights after she was born, we took her home.  There is no way to describe how much I love this girl, or how much I worry about her.  She is my hard gift and the two of us are bound together as long as we're both alive.

My leopard's bane is blooming which makes me happy.  It was so cold the other day and today it's 24C (75F).  

Saturday, June 8, 2024

This was my garden last year on June 5th and the photo below is one I just took today, June 8th.  I thought everything was severely delayed this year because of the cold weather but, except for the tomatoes, pumpkins and squash, the flowers look like they're at the same stage, slightly smaller but not too bad.

Hubby stained the deck and it looks so nice.  I planted carrots in the rectangular raised beds but Charlie dug them all up so I thought, screw it, and planted lots of flowers.  The dogs also chewed my clematis down to the ground so it's not up on the trellis yet, but it did survive.  The dogs also destroyed my male haskap bush, also chewed down to the ground over the winter.  I've been hoping that it would revive, but so far it hasn't.  It's cold and wet today, 6.6C (43F) but the dogs will still get their walks.

The photo above was taken on July 5th last summer, so I'll be able to compare the growth in another month.

Otherwise, not much.  Two days of work left.  I had a lovely patient yesterday and she had raised her granddaughter from birth, so we shared stories and it was so good to hear a happy story.  Jack is with his mom again.  Another judicial review comes up in a month and Jack also sees his lawyer in a couple of weeks.  Just regular nana stuff:)

Wednesday, June 5, 2024

The marsh marigolds are blooming at the dog park.  I'm always happy to see them bloom in the springtime, and they fill the boggy areas with their colour.

The dogs had a wonderful time, especially Charlie.  He doesn't walk at the park, he only runs.  

The ponds around Sherwood Park are slowly refilling with all the rain we've had over the past couple of weeks, making the ducks, coots and pelicans happy.  I think when I'm retired I'll spend some time at this pond, with my husband's telephoto lens, capturing the wildlife.

As for me, only four days of work left.  I finished up my CPR course yesterday, probably the last one I'll ever take, after forty years of CPR courses.  I saw a patient of mine yesterday whom I call my Georgia peach and I was so glad I got to say goodbye to her before I retired.  She's from Georgia and has a lovely southern accent.  She and her husband are driving down to Geogia this summer for their granddaughter's wedding.  I gave her a big hug and wished her well.

I saw another patient on Monday who looked vaguely familiar.  She is the same age as me and a trans woman but she was a man when she started coming to us ten years ago.  We talked, a lot, and she was so easy to talk to.  After we were all done and she was sitting in the hallway, I realized who she had been as a man.  I can't imagine how difficult it would be to go through a transition at our age.  What was so strange for me was how much we talked, much more than when she had been a man.  Was it her?  Was it me?  Do I treat men and women differently?  I'm sure I do but because I had her as both a man and a woman, I was shocked at how differently our conversation went.  Or was she just a lot happier as a woman?  Affected by the hormone changes in her body? Did she feel more comfortable sharing as a woman, than she ever was as a man? I don't know the answer but I do know it was lovely to see her.

Yesterday morning one of the xray techs gave me a small retirement gift and a card with a painting on it called, "Not Forgotten".  She told me how much she had enjoyed working with me and said that she would not forget me and then I burst into tears.  

Yesterday I was also working hard to finish up my CPR course online and one of the other nurses, the one who always does the bare minimum required, said that she needed to work on her course.  I told her that I only had four days of work left and I needed to complete the course.  I asked her when her CPR expired and she told me the end of June, mine expired a week ago so I told her that I'm going to leave the floor and finish it.  I stood up to her and I was proud of myself.  This is the same nurse that often has an "injury" just before summer and requires the summer off.  This year it's her back.  She was fine for four months of holidays but now that she's back to work, she can't manage.  Everyone is longing for her retirement.  She told me that she would not be able to make it to my retirement party and I bit my tongue and did not say, "I didn't want your there anyway."  

I worked very hard in the garden last weekend and I've been suffering with sore knees since, unable to sit down on the toilet without holding onto something.  It's getting better but I remember my mum having this same problem.  WTF!  I'll be pissed if everything starts to give out just as I retire:)

Saturday, June 1, 2024

My daughter came out a few weeks ago, not as gay, but as woman living with MS.  She not only told everyone who follows her on tiktok and instagram, she also raised $3000 for the MS Walk.  She's a strong, young woman and is followed closely by a neurologist.  Prior to telling everyone, she had only told a handful of people about her diagnosis two and a half years ago, and now it's out there, which is a good thing.  People need to see that MS doesn't stop your life, it just changes it.  She's on immunotherapy and that's keeping the disease at bay but it does make her susceptible to infections.  A rock and a hard place.  Right now she's doing her thing, cooking and making videos and she loves that.  I could never give up a job that provides benefits, a pension and security but she did and I'm proud of her for doing that, for being braver than her mama, for following her passion.  

Jack is starting school in September, something that makes me happy and nervous in equal parts.  I have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), as do my children.  My son was diagnosed when he was probably about ten years old, I brought it to the doctor's attention and asked for an assessment.  That was thirty years ago.  When I started reading about ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), I realized that I had it as well, just without the hyperactivity, although some would argue that I am hyperactive.  My middle daughter was diagnosed about a year ago and Katie, I just assume she has it as well, along with all her other stuff.  

And now there is Jack, who gets in trouble at daycare for not listening, not paying attention, not sitting still.  He has one friend/frenemy at daycare who rats him out on a regular basis, telling me, "Jack didn't listen today."  It upsets Jack.  My husband struggles to understand it as well.  Jack can't sit still, he rocks his chair because it's soothing.  He gets the zoomies because it feels better to discharge all that pent up energy.  Sometimes he can hyperfocus on something but then gets in trouble for not listening or paying attention to other things.  He forgets what he's agreed to, because he wasn't paying attention when he answered, and then gets upset.  It's hard for him.

I'm sixty-one and I've had years and years of living inside this brain.  I cope and to be honest I appreciate ADD.  It allows me to pay attention to more than one thing at a time.  I am easily distracted but I also notice things that other people miss.  I get a lot done in a day, both at work and at home.  When I clean the house I stop and start different things often.  I'll stop in the middle of vacuuming because the dishes are bugging me, so I do them, go back to vacuuming and then get distracted by the laundry.  Evenutally it all gets done but sometimes it's hard to finish one thing before I move on to another.  Getting through school though, can be hard with ADD or ADHD.  Schools have a lot of written and unwritten rules.  Schools don't appreciate neurodivergence and I'm so glad that there is a word like neurodivergence now, instead of calling someone bad or a weirdo or a loser.

A lot of research has been done on neurodivergence in the past thirty years and I'm realizing that now because of Jack.  I'm learning things about myself that help explain why I do things and how my brain works.  I'm also learning how to help Jack.  I explained to him that his brain works differently than some others and that's okay.  It's not a good or bad thing, it just is.  I want him to succeed at school, I want him to feel good about himself and I want him to understand himself.  

The more I read and learn about ADHD, the more my life makes sense and I hope it will feel the same way for Jack as he goes through school, grows up and lives with his brain.  Different is just different.  It was the same way with Miss Katie.  She's different in some ways but in most ways she is the same as the rest of us.

The other day Jack had done something and he was upset about it, frustrated with himself and frustrated because he couldn't blame others.  I asked him if he was mad at himself and he said, "No!  I'm sad at myself."  He's starting to understand and that's a good thing.