Saturday, May 29, 2010

A hospital birhday

During the day, staff on his ward sang "Happy Birthday" and gave John a special card. As a birthday gift, I tried to let him win a couple of backgammon games. Unfortunately, he couldn't compete with my superior skill! 

Later, Heather and Chris arrived with Augie in their arms and a delicious order of sushi for dinner. Birthday cake was out of the question because of John's blood sugar levels so we shared fat-free/sugar-free butterscotch pudding for dessert. Augie enjoyed the flavours of a California Roll for the first time and followed in the footsteps of his Papa with a love for butterscotch pudding!!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Burnaby bedmate

My bedmate in John's absence!

Sitting in Burnaby-Part 2

Only three male critters (the furry variety) to feed and water now. John has been in Burnaby Hospital since Tuesday afternoon, being tended to by a bevy of nurses, technicians and staff. The Doctor in Emergency aspirated the fluid from one knee and sent it for testing. The result was "GOUT", ruling out other horrible possibilities. So, they are stabilizing his blood sugar levels and pain while prednazone reduces inflammation. With assistance, he is able to walk from his bed to the washroom now.

On the homefront, the dog is refusing all attempts at a WALK. The cat is inflamed with "full-moon syndrome" and the mouse is still alive. I spotted his skinny tail disappearing into a cave of cotton balls!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sitting in Burnaby

On Saturday we drove from Salmon Arm to Burnaby to house and pet sit for my sister. They flew to Las Vegas on Sunday and I was left administering to the demands of four males.

John was flat on his back with swollen feet, knees and wrist...again!! As it was the long weekend, we had to wait until this morning to contact the Doctor and pharmacy for a much needed prescription. He can't walk or move around because of the pain so meds, water, juice, food, pillow adjustments are required 24/7. It is after noon and we are still waiting to hear from the Doctor!!

On my way upstairs to check on John at 2:30am this morning, I stumbled around the offerings of the second male in the household. Lucky is a very large, long haired black cat who is prone to regurgitating massive hairballs when he isn't demanding treats from the kitchen cupboard every five minutes! The hairballs usually leave trails of mess as he tries to distance himself from the unsavoury remains! I decided that the cleanup could wait until a more civilized time of day.

The third male, Rocky is a big furry dog who takes turns humping my leg and begging for food from the table. Sometimes he gets so excited that he manages to do an acrobatic "air-hump". Kookie-kong is his favourite thing and he drops it on my toes(heavy rubber vessel that holds an inserted cookie) with a pleading look several times a day. In the past he loved to go for walks but in his more senior years he isn't interested in going beyond the front lawn property lawn. Of course his lack of interest in "pooping" beyond the confines of his own yard has increased my labour dramatically with daily scoops. Probably marginally better than bagging the poop from neighbours' lawns!

The fourth male is almost assuredly a dead mouse!! My sister rescued "Otto" (or is it "Auto") from the garage two years ago. She placed him in a hamster cage where he has occupied his nights doing endless spins in the wheel. Unfortunately he isn't spinning these days and I am afraid that he isn't even breathing! I put fresh water into his small receptacle every day just in case he is still capable of drinking. I haven't seen his little pink nose or skinny tail once in three days!

I really hope that my sister is having a great time!! Fortunately she took the other two males from the household with her!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

We're ready!

Toilets are cleaned.
Walls are washed.
Signs are up.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What a day!

8-10am - Visited Canadian Tire, Rona, Irly Bird, Home Building Supplies and Samson in search of house cleaning and mending supplies. I was ready to tackle a myriad of chores to prepare our house for potential buyers.
10-11am - Called a contractor for decking quote, carpet cleaners to schedule appointment and plumber re dishwasher leak; prepped the bathroom door for painting.
11-11:30am - Plumber arrived five minutes after I called him & we listened to his romantic history spanning the past five years.
11:30-11:45 - Watched plumber diagnose appliance problem that he could not solve.
11:45am - Decided to start washing the deck but I needed the hose so I had to walk around to the front of the house because John had left the hose there yesterday. Enroute I was distracted by a forest of weeds that needed yanking.
12:00 noon - Interrupted by arrival of the third roofing company(one hour early) for quote on new roof and redoing the deck; managed to get the roller on the handle in preparation of painting the bathroom door. Forgot about plan to wash the deck.
12:30pm - John called to say that the "Lady Car" wouldn't start and he was stranded.
12:45pm - After roofer guy left I drove down to pick up John.
1:00pm - Made lunch and took one bite.
1:05pm - Doorbell rang...surprise visit from Adrian's high school classmate with her two young children.
2:00pm - Realtor arrived through front door to sign contract; visitors left through back door.
3:00pm - Placed a call to BCAA re the "Lady Car"'s inability to rev her engine.
3:05pm - Drove down to meet BCAA at the "Lady Car".
4:00pm - Got the vehicle over to Fountain Tire for diagnosis, probably fuel filter.
4:15pm - Drove over to Canadian Tire and bought a jute carpet for the entry hall...very nice!
4:30pm - Arrived home, made tea and returned phone calls for half an hour.
4:45pm - Tripped over painting spread sheet on bathroom floor.
5:00pm - Rolled out the carpet in the entry hall and hated it! it for return tomorrow.
5:15pm - Dark skies, need to wash the deck and too late to start painting the bathroom door!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010


I can't believe that I have been driving for 50 years!!!


I had forgotten that in Revelstoke you can reach out and almost touch the mountains.
It was a glorious day. The sun was shining. I was with six friends as we wandered
through the town. Streets were closed to traffic and vendors sold everything from junk
to hotdogs. A Farmers' Market displayed organic produce and freshly baked breads.

We rested ourselves for lunch at Paramjit's Kitchen where we savoured amazing food.
Butter chicken roti, samosas with tamarind plum chutney and lemongrass chicken!

Three of us had paintings in the current exhibition at the local Art Gallery.
After lunch we made our way to the Gallery for a private viewing.
Strangely, the Gallery is closed on Saturdays and open on Sundays!

The theme of our exhibition is the threat to the Adams River and the sockeye
salmon run. Development is encroaching along the shoreline of this important
site at Roderick-Haig Brown Park. These two paintings reflect the vital link 
between land, river and spawning ground.

The tree emerged 
ghostlike onto the canvas, 
issuing a warning. 

Uprooted and leafless, 
it is reaching out, 
hopeful for reprieve.

Roots reaching deep
seeking the same nurture
as the wild salmon.

Pure, clean water
rushes down the river
connecting all life.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A challenge

What a challenge! After 19 years in our home, we have decided to sell and downsize. Our first chore is to interview realtors, attempting to find a good fit, someone who will recognize the value of our home's setting. The first interview was this morning with a woman realtor who has been in the Shuswap Real Estate business for many years. She has a proven track record, great energy and extensive knowledge of the community. We asked all the usual questions about commission, marketing and value. She will prepare a package and meet with us again tomorrow to discuss her evaluation. A second realtor will come for an interview this afternoon.

Realistically, we haven't updated flooring or countertops, the roof is 16 years old and the back deck needs a rebuild. Decisions have to be made about whether to spend money on these upgrades or not. Will we recoup the expense?

We have already decluttered and spruced the place up. Moving Adrian to a place of his own helped to remove a ton of stuff although there is still the question of 1000 record albums in storage downstairs!!

It feels like preparing for a divorce, a separation from a loved one. So many memories have been captured within these walls. Christmas dinners, summer visitors, writing potlucks, painting sprees, card games, reunions, birthdays and especially the memory of our marriage in the living room. We have loved the surprise visits of bears, skunks, deer, pheasants, robins, woodpeckers, flickers and chickadees. We have watched our crops of potatoes push up from the soil, tomatoes ripen, basil flourish, strawberries and raspberries sweeten. There is nothing like wiping the soil from a carrot and savouring that first tasty crunch and the enjoyment of a truly organic salad of arugula and greens picked at noon and eaten an hour later. Coffees and talks over the fence and on the deck with our dear neighbour.

Oh yes, we will miss this place.

Friday, May 7, 2010

A new day!

Happy owners

Field of dandelions

Rest stop above Shuswap Lake

It was a new day today and it felt as though we turned a corner. We rejoiced that the dressing on John's incision was clean overnight! The sun was shining! It was time to christen our new vehicle on a short road trip.

Surprisingly, the fields looked green and lush as we headed to Armstrong. Delicious local asparagus was available enroute. We stopped at Arndt & Toshiko's for a quick visit before returning to Salmon Arm via Enderby, Grindrod, Mara Lake and Sicamous. What a smooth ride! An amazing sound system serenaded us with Norah Jones and Pink Martini.

There are definitely more road trips in our future!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Murphy's Law

It must be Murphy's Law! When I checked on John last night as he watched the hockey game, I noticed a splotch of blood on his t-shirt. Closer inspection revealed that the dressing over his incision was full of blood and leaking. I quickly drove down to the hospital to ask for a couple of new bandages. The nurse didn't seem alarmed when I explained the situation. Back home I redressed the area and soaked the t-shirt. Before bed, I checked it again and discovered that the new bandage had also filled and was leaking. Once again I applied a new dressing and we got ready for bed after soaking t-shirt No. 2. By 6am we were in trouble again. I threw the third t-shirt into the sink and we headed for Emergency.

What luck!! Within minutes we were admitted. Ten minutes later John's blood was collected for INR testing and the Doctor appeared. He said that John required a suture and immediately set about to seal the leak! His INR test was fine. We were in and out in just over one hour!!!

Don't get me wrong!! All of the hospital personnel, without exception, have been amazing...but, I really hope we don't have to see any of them again!...unless it's at the grocery store or the theatre!!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Whew!! Quite an overwhelming few days at our house. 

I expected that John would arrive back in Salmon Arm quite late on Monday night, but I was unaware that he didn't get back until after midnight.  When I arrived at the hospital at 7am, I found that his bed was empty. His roommate informed me that he was in ICU! In a panic, I flew down the hall and learned that in order to have him hooked up to a heart monitor, they had to keep him in ICU. To my relief, there were no post-surgery problems. 

Meanwhile, at home, our grandson was still suffering from diarrhea and gastric pain. He refused to eat and alternated between bouts of crying, rare smiles and short naps. His parents were exhausted and his mother had developed a migraine complete with bouts of nausea. It was such a helpless feeling, not being able to ease either of their pain.

At 1:30pm, John was released from the hospital. The house was quiet when we arrived home. Megan and Chris had taken Augie for a drive to give Heather an opportunity for sleep. I settled John into the downstairs bedroom. 

Apparently Augie slept almost the entire time in the car but soon resumed his painful crying. Before dinner they decided to take him to the walk-in clinic where the Doctor checked his ears and throat, confirming that it was probably a teething problem. Last night was another round of sleep interruptions.

This morning I asked my friend Diana, mother of four, what she would recommend and she immediately said "gripe water". Chris ran out to get some and Augie swallowed two teaspoons before they left. We received a phone call when they arrived home. Augie slept most of the way and was  a much happier little guy. I hope this is  a magic potion to help them through the rest of the teething stages.

Since they left, John has wandered through the house, listening to music and gazing at the view. Later he insisted that we should  pick up our new car at the Honda dealership. Thanks to our friend Karen for driving us down to finalize the insurance. We took a short trip around town before bringing my exhausted patient back home to rest in front of a Canucks playoff game! He is a happy camper!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Small delights

from toothy grins
to finding Spot
and salad spins!

Off to Kamloops

We learned last night that John was being sent to Kamloops today for the pacemaker implant surgery. I arrived at the hospital this morning at 6am to give him a hug and kiss before he left. The ambulance didn't arrive to take him to Kamloops until 7:45 am. His surgery was scheduled for least 1 1/4 hour drive from Salmon Arm!!

Megan drove up for a visit with Heather, Chris and Augie on Friday. They intended to return on Sunday but Augie developed a fever along with vomiting so they are still here. Just as well because they are all exhausted and there is a heavy snowfall on their route home. It would be a difficult drive with a sick baby.
There is even snow on our hills today!

John should return to the hospital later this afternoon. We aren't sure whether he will be released today or tomorrow. It has been a long and stressful two weeks.