Sunday, July 31, 2022

So on and so forth


I get these messages.

I get it. I really do. As I might have, in my past, being equally guilty of these kind of projectional questions to friends who were ill.

Following are the questions, followed by the real questions friends/acquaintances might be covering up.

"You must be better by now". i.e. for gawd's sake if you're not, stop malingering.

"Still your legs?" i.e. that's a hell of a long time to have your legs betraying you.

I've stopped explaining it's my entire body and its innards and I must have a world record for lack of sleep because, you know, disbelief reigns if I even mention it.

Because I've been so long on the medical treadmill and all the tests, some are giving up on me. I hear that. I don't dare ask for more that 1 item on my grocery list to be picked up. This week it was bread. I wanted to get two loaves but didn't dare ask as my friend who volunteers for me has massive handicaps of her own and is in constant pain.  I am feeling like my own nuisance that I wrote about.

I am so grateful to Daughter who comes in faithfully every couple of weeks - she's living way off, 2 hours away from here. That's 4 hours of driving plus picking up items for me, bank (cash) groceries, library, drug store at times and driving my car to make sure it's running. Other essential errands. And she has her own medical challenges (MS).

Grandgirl can hardly wait to get here in a few weeks so she can help me negotiate my life.

  • There is so much wrong with me that for the first time I'll list everything here:
  • Weekly lab work due to high potassium levels and monitoring of 50% under-performing kidneys. My doc calls me "the pin cushion." Funny not funny.
  • Extreme pain due to arthritis in my back exacerbated by a bad fall about 6 years when I was concussed after a spine shattering fall on the ice. 
  • Pulmonary vascular disease in my legs.
  • Far too frequent high blood pressure bouts and breathlessness  due to elevated something (forget what). Creatin? Not sure.
  • Occasional white light blindness when my chronic anaemia kicks in for a go at me and my iron plummets.
  • Far too many hospital procedures, I've had it up to here with tests which basically show nothing can be done. 
  • Blindness in my right eye brought on by one terrible procedure where because of my kidneys I couldn't get an anaesthetic. Ophthalmologist baffled.
  • I can't lie down due to terrible pain. I have morphine but am reluctant to take it due to developing an immunity and also I don't want to feel half-corked.
  • At night I try to lie on my bed with 3 pillows for a couple of hours but give in and go to recliner where in a pretzel-like position I attempt sleep, usually failing. This has been going on for three months.
  • Due to unseasonable and awful record breaking heat here I had to suspend physiotherapy as it would have been dangerous. Old women are at mortal risk in this heat as their hormones have reduced sweating ability. And no, our province is not equipped for heat like this, thus no air-conditioning. Thanks once again climate change.
  • Every expenditure of energy is an effort due to the afore mentioned challenges. The Spoon Theory holds fast for me.
  • Doc has been ill and my meds  have been screwed up. This takes a huge stress toll on me, explaining it all to the pharmacist who is now God. When one is exhausted, stress is like the final straw. I am sure I whimper now and again.
So one long whingey whine here. I'm truly having a terrible day and this might cheer you up, thanking your stars that things looks a bit sunnier for you. Far too many of my blog friends stopped writing when they were ill. I understand that. I miss them. But I also miss the absence of how they were dealing with it. Or not.
And no, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life," by Monty Python is terribly unhelpful unless you're a saint.

Friday, July 22, 2022

At Least

This painting by Franciszek Paderewski reminds me so much of going wild mushroom foraging with my mother when I was a child. What a feast she would create afterwards.

I comfort myself with the oddest words and phrases. Living alone, I suspect I'm not alone in doing this. I imagine if not living alone we rely on a partner to buck us up.

Self bucking-up involves tasks that are often challenging but can be managed with a little encouragement. 

But I say to myself regularly: at least I can do this or that. And remind myself that so many don't have homes or have far more serious and life threatening issues.

I remember one time, on a summer spent on a West Cork, Ireland island about twenty years ago we were discussing how often airline pilots were applauded at the end of a flight just for doing their jobs.

And we asked each other shouldn't that apply to those who weren't paid but were just doing what was necessary?

There was a huge cast of characters in the old farmhouse, relatives and dear friends coming and going all summer. Each time someone brushed the floor or did the dishes or went down to the farm for the milk or gathered field mushrooms for supper or brought in the clothes from the line we all stood and applauded. And it made everyone feel good, so much is taken for granted in the small tasks of necessary work that we do, often completely unacknowledged by those around them.

So on particularly poor days I applaud myself with little phrases like "good girl!" "well done!" even for washing a  few dishes or tidying up or paying the bills. I sometimes take a little bow to my imaginary audience. Because some efforts are supreme and exhausting. A couple of "well dones" from my doctor the other day stoked me up a lot. He knows. At least I'm on the phone or on the internet. At least I am managing my own health along with my medical people.

Being old and sick is a full time job. Very poorly paid. We need all the encouragement we can get.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022



Do you ever wonder about your own status? I'm talking mental health of course, per the heading.

And what is sanity?

Well, here's a definition:

the ability to think and behave in a normal and rational manner; sound mental health.
"I began to doubt my own sanity"

We know what insanity is, of course - and this is just my recollection of a good one:

Performing the same task over and over and expecting different results. 

 Do we all fall between these, somewhere?

I don't know what thirty odd months of basic incarceration has done to my brain.

There have been spurts of outings and trips, but far too infrequent and, unlike some, I don't hold out any hope this pandemic is ever finished with us, too many variants with too many ineffective vaccines. I remember reading when I was in my early twenties that the greatest threat to humanity was a virus and it would take us all out.

I lived through the polio epidemic, which I've written about here. I've lived, again as a child, through the threats of cold war and nuclear chains being rattled every day on the news, and believing in the cataclysmic threats of Fatima - the angry virgin, seen by peasant children, threatening all of humanity until Russia succumbed to Christianity or some such rot. I imagine that must effect an unformed child-brain in ways we can't imagine. 

And yes, we all have trauma of some kind as children - from peer bullying, to drunken fathers (or mothers) to poverty and unimaginable abuse.

I suppose if I'm questioning my own state of mind, the brain health meter would point to sanity. 

I'm dealing with inertia, loads of it. It's hard to get enthusiastic, to experience joy, to make any kind of plans, to even call my doctor (who last time was coughing through a Covid variant- much to my shock as he was rigid in precautions).

There's also massive denial out here on The Edge of those also caught with The Covid. They label it something else, like cold or flu. Statistics are lacking. Many Covid deaths are written off as something else. The Economy defeats public health mandates or precautions.

And note I haven't touched climate change or Roe or Ukraine or all the other shyte happening around us. We really, really, don't deserve this planet. Like the pestilential fleas we are, we will be shrugged off. The Virus is winning.

All your thoughts are welcome.

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

Blog Buddies

 I've been fortunate in the friendships I have formed over the many years I've been blogging. A few I have met in the flesh and interestingly the friendships are just as solid and connected when that happens. A few stayed with me in my last home. I held wee dinners for some there and the conversations never ran out.

Many have died too. Which took the heart right out of me.

Marcia was a gifted woman, a teacher, a writer, with a tremendous wit. We had personal correspondence and Facebook chivvying and then 9 years ago she reconnected with a man who used to work with her years before. He had lost his wife. And the rest is history. He became the love of her life and they travelled the world together.

She didn't maintain her blog, unfortunately, life was too full I imagine, and there were his and her grandchildren to entertain and visit all over the country.

On Friday, she died. The Big C took her too. 

She was a vibrant soul, one I will always remember.

Marcia: a kindred spirit indeed. You will be missed.

Friday, July 08, 2022

A Nuisance


My mother died young and my father was a long time widower. He thought it would be a dishonour to my mother to marry again and also that he had seen far too many families suffer under step-parents hauled in.

One of his greatest fears was to become "a nuisance." A nuisance in his mind encompassed a huge range of character defects. Such as neighbours who were always borrowing stuff, people dropping by uninvited, hypochondriacs diagnosed by him, drunks, cars who cut him off, asking for any kind of help if you were sick, children who threw balls over his fence, workers who needed to use his property to perform essential task for the neighbourhood (cable, telephone, electricity, water).

He had adjectives to add, of course. A right nuisance, and awful nuisance, a thoughtless nuisance, an unimaginable nuisance, et al.

Of course I inherited this feeling but only in some areas that I know of  though some might differ.

And that is in being sick, in being needy, in being sad, in being in grief, in being worried. I just don't want to inflict myself and my state onto anyone else. I truly don't want to be a nuisance. 

I think part of this is the fear of being incarcerated in some awful place with no privacy, sharing a room with an irritable noisy crank, being hauled into terrible games and sing-songs by attendants and being forced to be nice to everyone.

Recently, I've had a few bad days and felt like a total nuisance even to myself. I could barely move and just about everything was a challenge. I did not reach out but did respond to one who checks up on me all the time (she would be a nuisance in Dad's book).

She came over and took care of me even though she has her own health issues. And I was so grateful to her for attempting to feed and water me. I was also nauseous on top of everything else. A triple nuisance you might call me.

Most of all I am nervous about being a nuisance to my family. My health is unpredictable and varies wildly from wheelchair use to a modicum of walking. So I bottle up a lot.

The reason I am writing this is to see if there any others out there who feel as I do, bordering or being "a nuisance" because of health or other issues. Or even fearing of being a nuisance at some stage in their lives.

Or maybe it's a strictly Irish thing.

Sunday, July 03, 2022



I am continually fascinated by how people's lives, once dead, can be sanitized to the extreme where you wonder whom the obituary is talking about. Or whom the article or book was written about.

A friend dropped off a magazine for me to read as it featured her father, a brave Norwegian sea captain who saved many lives during WW2 and had a full chest-load of heavy beribboned medals to prove it.

She has shared much of her father's story with me. None of it good. For instance he moved to St. John's after the war and married her mother. He forgot to mention that he was also married in Oslo.

He was a man who was into the swinging lifestyle in a major way and her and her three siblings' childhoods were warped by the mad drunken key-swapping parties in their house.

His first wife tracked him down when my friend was around twelve and he was yanked back to Norway to parent the two children he had had there. He never returned to St. John's.

My friend tracked him down when she was twenty-one so she could introduce him to her infant daughter. 

He was pleasant and polite, she told me, but very disinterested in her life and baby. She was introduced to wife number one but this woman had no English so she wondered  what lies he told her to account for my friend's presence in their home.

Needless to mention, wife number one is not mentioned in this glorifying article, just the second wife and her four children.

And I know several such immaculate life stories far, far removed from the dark underbelly of truth.

How about you? Know any?

Friday, July 01, 2022



I love my adopted country with all my heart. I was out on the beach today and I observed how discreetly we observe Canada Day which is today, July 1st. Little crests on polo shirts, grannies wearing red cardigans over white shirts, small maple leafs on beach chairs and umbrellas. Red and white beach balls, little girls in red and white pleated skirts and so on and dogs with small maple leafs on their collars.

We don't blast it from the rooftops. There's just this quiet pride in this beautiful country rolling from sea to shining sea and fact: our landmass is greater than the United States.

The land area of Canada is 3, 855, 103 square miles compared to America's 3, 794, 083, making Canada 1.6% larger that the States.

And we invented so many things - here's some you might not know about.

  1. Paint roller
  2. Garbage bags
  3. Pager
  4. Peanut butter
  5. Road lines
  6. Wonderbra
  7. Search engine
  8. Imax
  9. The pacemaker
  10. Basketball
Sometimes we're number one in the top countries in which to live but this year we're number two.

Round-up of the best countries to live in the world in 2022
  • Switzerland.
  • Canada.
  • Norway.
  • Singapore.
  • Australia.

And oh yes, a picture of the beach from today. So many birds on the water following the capelin, a small fish (note granny in front of me in red cardie). It's been four weeks since I've been outside my door. I'm so grateful to be somewhat mobile.