Saturday, December 18, 2010


So this is how my day went. I was about to put my watch back on after my shower, but decided not to because I hadn't filled the air with all of my hair product. That usually leaves a sticky film on everyone and everything within 50 feet. These days, I seem to forget little things, like where the heck did I put my watch 5 minutes ago, in the broom closet I live in. On top of my bed is the usual repository and after tearing it and the half dozen pillows apart, I still couldn't find it. I was trying to get out to see my Mom, and this time I would remember to take my handy dandy iPhone with me, so I would know the time. Having forgotten my wallet at home the day before, I would also take that with me, you know, just in case. If only I could find that too.
No problem in finding the f-sharps as I tore the rest of the apartment apart. My heart was in my boots when I remembered (!) that I had needed some info from it for my computer yesterday, and I had left it on the La Z Girl. And it wasn't on, in or under that. I also remembered gathering up newspapers the day before and taking them and a bunch of other recycling, down to the recycling room. And good Lord, could that be where my wallet met its end? Then I remembered St. Anthony and whipped off a quick prayer to him, for my wallet and my watch. On a whim, I checked out the newly started recycling bag, and there was the wallet, in with that day's newspaper. I was still kind of bummed out about the watch, but I thought to leave well enough alone, then rolled up my sleeves as I usually do and found the damned watch on my wrist.
Finding my car in the hospital parking lot should be so easy. I used to be the navigator in the family. The Ex Boy needed a map, I just needed intuition, and it never failed me. Which is why I am divorced. Nowadays, I think I would need a map to get out of a paper bag, never mind a GPS to find my car in any parking lot other than my own underground. Every day I visit my Mom, every day I take a mental note of where I parked my car, and every day I walk out of the hospital with absolutely no clue as to where it is. I haven't had to resort to firing off the panic button, yet.
The girls went out for dinner last night, in the big mall close to where I live, that I know like the back of my hand. I even checked the map at the entrance, the kind that says "You are here" and that the resto was over there. With great confidence I slogged my way through the army of Christmas shoppers for 10 minutes, until without a doubt I knew I was going the wrong way.
But really, the thing that made feel really old was this: reading glasses with lights on the temples, like headlights so you can read menus etc. in dimly lit places. I actually, seriously, considered buying them. Then I shook my head. Makes me wonder why restaurants are always so dimly lit, do we all have ugly dates? When I was young, I was near sighted, as I got older, the presbyopia set in.  Now I can't see who I am eating with. Already can't hear them. By the time I have myself geared up for all these deficits, I will look like R2D2 with all the bells and whistles. Woohoo, look out world, here I come!
And now I am heading out to play "Where's Waldo?' with my car.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December 12th

I dusted off my antlers yesterday. For those of you who don't know, I have a pair of antlers or a Santa hat for every working day in December up until Christmas. I used to wear them at Credit Valley Hospital, but being up north upon occasion at Christmas has its own deterrents. Now with my Ma the way she is, a little break from the mundane is what is needed.
Yesterday I wore the antlers that light up and sing. I think Credit Valley folks and indeed the folks in Mississauga where I live are a much happier bunch. Etobicoke, where my Mom is, not so much.  Maybe they don't celebrate Christmas as much there - the Toronto area is very multicultural. Yet I could see some people stifling smiles, as if  only I thought antlers were "normal"  and they didn't want to hurt my feelings. Perhaps they thought  I had escaped from my room. Well I guess the flip flops and short sleeves at the zero Celsius mark with snow and ice don't help, but hey, I do sport a polar fleece vest.
And the other thing is, I sing. In one reserve in Manitoba, where I have been a few times, I am the "Singing Nurse". I never said I sing well. I think  that I would clean up on "Name That Tune". In less than 7 notes. The rest of the lyrics are simple: "Lalalalala!" So now I sing Christmas songs or Spanish songs of any type from the parking lot to my Mom's room, and then some. There seems to be no joy in that Mudville. I think everyone in Etobicoke needs a yo-ho-ho and a bottle of rum. And maybe some antlers.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

December 9th

I haven't made it back to the far reaches of Winterpeg and beyond. This time, the Old Girl is truly sick. She now resides on the palliative care ward at her local hospital.  Fortunately for all of us, I know her doctor very well, back from the days when I worked as a palliative nurse. She couldn't be in better hands.
Which is not to say she is quite at death's door. She's still a Category 1 or two hurricane. If the garbage can isn't placed between the runners of her overbed table, with the table running parallel to her bed and the can near her side rail just so, you hear about it. So does the rest of the floor. Never mind you were trying to insert or remove a chair in the area so that you could yell a little more quietly into her ear. The food is lousy, that goes without saying, but when the doctor asks her how she is, the answer is always "Terrible," and when they ask her why, she says the food is horrible. One doctor asked her to give him something he could fix. She thought for a moment, and said she wasn't sleeping well. Then he fixed it.
Her hearing loss makes communication enough of a challenge  that they could use her on the Amazing Race if they came to Toronto and she was still around. Roadblock: One of you must make this old lady repeat this sentence correctly, and she will hand you your next clue: HAND ME THE NEXT CLUE. NO, NOT THE BAND IS BLUE!! THE NEXT CLUE. NOT TEA FOR TWO!! CLUE!! C-L-U-E!! PHIL, uh sorry, Phil? We'll take the four hour penalty please.
 Coupled with the non-desire to use her hearing aids, the visits are either really really loud, or relatively quiet except for the barked order of "Put the garbage can back. No, not there, there! THERE!!!" I jam her ears in anyway, and then the visit is punctuated every few minutes by "Take these out. I can't sleep with them in." I tell her I will do it before I go home. She just asks even more. Hmmm, maybe I'm not taking the hint.
She's refusing a hairwash by the nurses, giving all those oil rich nations a run for their refineries. She wouldn't let me do her hair either, since apparently I don't know how to put her curlers in. Come to think of it, I don't. Maureen, her home hairdresser to the rescue, so we will be all spiffy on Saturday. I still say when the going gets tough, the tough go to the hairdresser. Which is where I am headed to next week.
So that's how it goes. You win some, you lose some. I told one friend that I don't miss the Ex Boy one iota. But at the end of the day, The Bean has her Ian, my brother has his wife, and I would give anything to melt into the arms of my significant other, should he exist, for 30 seconds.
Thanks to all my wonderful friends and family for your prayers and support, and as usual, I will keep you posted. Our visits always end with "I love you" and that is the one gift we have been given. And I intend on taking every opportunity I can.