Sunday, April 20, 2014

Grandpa Shanks

me and my grandpaThis is my favourite photo of me and my grandpa.

I know I have shared it here before.

He passed away when I was 17, I was probably around 2 when this photo was taken, on Merrick Street in Smiths Falls.

Today is his birthday and while it's not the only day of the year that I think about him, I think about him often, it seems more significant to share a photo or a memory about him on April 20.

For the last few years of his life, my grandpa lived with us.  He had sold the family house in Smiths Falls and moved to Amherstview after my grandma passed away.  Him living with us provided my brother and I with a special opportunity my cousins didn't have.  Probably because he lived with us and likely because we were a bit older than most of our cousins, we have more memories about him.  When you live with someone every day, and, in particular, when you help to be a care giver to someone at the end of their life, you get to know them as a person and not a mythic grandparent.  I feel priviledged to have known my grandpa as a man, wise and honourable, strong and principled.  I wish that we had a few more years together, so he could have known me as an adult and so I could have known him better.

To me, it's almost unbelievable that it is almost 30 years since he passed away.  It almost seems unreal.  I take comfort in knowing that in the end, he understood how much we loved and respected him.  Happy Birthday Grandpa.

Friday, April 18, 2014

a good Friday

I awoke this morning with a long list of things that I'd hoped to accomplish today.

It's now late afternoon and I haven't even made a dent in the list.

It's still a good Friday though.  Any Friday that is a holiday, is a good one in my books.  We had a very very relaxing day.  I think we both needed a break after this week.

My cold finally feels like it's on the way out.  From time to time, I'm still coughing, but it's definitely happening a lot less frequently.  I'm sleeping better too, which is probably why I'm feeling better.  Sleep, you wonderful healer you, I missed you so much!!

Mark's doing a lot better now than he was earlier in the week.  He had his PICC line cleaned again and the dressing changed on Wednesday.  His arm was really bruised around the line and we couldn't figure out why.  Apparently, the person who changed his dressing last week, had not let his skin dry properly and the bandage had created a bubble and that made everything shift around a lot and caused the damage.  Mark's no longer having any pain around it and hopefully the bruising will be gone in time for his second chemo day, next Wednesday.  His stomach has settled down now that we're being more careful about what he's eating. So far, he's really not (touch wood) had any of the side effects we were warned about.  I take this as a good sign that he'll tolerate the rest of the chemo well. I hope I'm not fooling myself!!

In honour of a lovely Friday, spent with my hunny, I thought I would share this blast from the past with you all. Shocked me to realize that this song is now 22 years old.  Oh well, it's still as much fun (to me) today as it was all those years ago.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy Birthday

Yesterday was Mark's birthday.  This year, we decided, for a number of reasons, we were going to not really celebrate our birthdays (mine is next month) until the summer.

Right now, we have a lot of stuff on our plates and we both feel like we'll be in a better position to really celebrate in June or July.  Having said that, over the weekend, we did have a really lovely meal (that Mark cooked) on Sunday.  At times, I could actually taste and smell my meal.  We had grilled shrimp and veggies, so delicious!! Tasting and smelling are not things to be taken for granted.  I have been suffering with a nasty headcold for about 10 days now and I literally dragged my butt around all weekend.  On Saturday, we did some errands but on Sunday, I only got up off the couch to drag stuff back and forth to the washing machine.

A wild weekend indeed!

On Mark's actual birthday, yesterday, there was no cake, no balloons, not a hoop or a lah.  We were both sick.  I couldn't talk at all (had lost my voice from the coughing and had not slept a wink on Sunday night).  Mark was sick to his stomach (just a tip from us to you, read the list of foods to avoid during chemo BEFORE you start chemo - the spicy foods he loves are not his friends right now).  It was a pretty lacklustre birthday for sure.

When the time comes that we're both feeling perkier and happier, we'll celebrate properly.  In the meantime, we're both just adjusting to the changes we've made in the household to accommodate the chemo and continuing to take things one day at a time.

Friday, April 11, 2014

out damned pump

Mark just had his pumped removed.

He's feeling a bit lighter for not having to carry it around but his arm is pretty sore.  We stopped off (I say "we" but I actually vegged out in the car, this cold is not getting any better) on the way home so he could have the community nursing folks take it out and flush his PICC line. 

It was a busy spot but I'm sure it's easier to stop off there than it is to wait around at the house for someone to show up and do it for us there.

So far, so good, as far as chemo side-effects go.  If he starts to feel rotten over the weekend, we don't have much planned so he can just rest up.

I know that is what I'd like to do because I will be a much happier camper when I can talk, without choking again.