Updates – Week One at the Gym…and Marsha

Last week I wrote about getting myself out more and joining the gym. I also talked about my new friend, Marsha, who lives in my building.

Well, week one has passed and as I write this, I am sore! Oye! Last Monday was my first day at the gym. I used the treadmill and then did half an hour with weight machines. This should not have been a problem had I been going to my own building’s gym three times a week like I had done -B.C. – before Covid. Last year, I’d have so say the most exercise I had was packing and moving. I walked miles while in Mexico, but let’s face it, besides carrying my heavy carryon bag through airports, I hadn’t done anything with weights. My body reminded how much I was out of shape. The next day was painful, so I took off two days and went back for more on Thursday. Friday I wasn’t nearly as sore, until I went to my first Yoga class on Saturday. Ouch!

Image by Pete Linforth from Pixabay

I took Yoga classes years ago, and for many years I did Pilates at home, again, until the Covid hit and my husband became unwell. That’s when I threw self-care out the window. Time passing without proper exerise and a couple of years more of aging had me struggling in that class, but I did it! Did I hold all the poses for the whole time? Of course not. Did I shake and have to restart several poses while on one foot? Of course I did. I also found myself having to modify some poses using ‘beginner’ mode, even though I thought I was an old pro. Did my whole body ache the next day? Of course it did! But I am glad I did it and have every intention of going back to next Saturday’s class. I also intend to give a Zumba class a try later this week, ambitious I know! But socially, I haven’t met anyone yet, other than the sweet young girls who work at the club. I seem to have developed a rapport with a few of those girls, and they make me feel welcome every time I come in to the gym. It’s a start.

Back on the Marsha front. I hadn’t seen her all week until we went out for a coffee for a few hours this past Sunday. We had also spoken on the phone a few times this past week. She keeps herself very busy going to her gym/club where she is involved in activities daily. She goes five days a week in the morning and doesn’t return till 5pm. Disciplined girl, but as she told me, she has to get out and keep busy or she’ll go mad with boredom. She doesn’t use a computer, so naturally, she couldn’t fill her days online, which reminds how grateful I am for having a whole other world of online life that keeps my sanity – most days.

I feel like Marsha is one of those people I’ve written about before – people we meet for seasons and reasons. Marsha is a pretty, stylish woman with barely a wrinkle. She has a fun personality, and during our long conversations – talking about our younger days, and our ‘crazy’ mothers, just another thing in common, and we discovered that we are related through marriage. Her father divorced her mother and married my mother’s first cousin. What are the odds? But I had never heard of Marsha before. Perhaps because she is quite a bit older than me. That was the shocker. As I stated in my earlier post upon meeting Marsha, I took her for her early 70s, a good decade older than me, but when I asked her point blank how old she was, she was hesitant on admitting her true age of 81. What??? No way, I said. I always considered myself a great age guesser, this wild woman threw me right off kilter. I knew I had a lot to learn from Marsha.

We talked a lot about love and marriage and our husbands. Her first husband was the love of her life and like me, Marsha had a shocking diagnosis of her husband while in her mid-sixties, her husband developed severe headaches and was given the death edict with a brain tumor. Her life as she knew it took a 180 just as mine did. The caretaking, the love, the anticipatory grief and then the lifelong grief is a bond we have in common. I couldn’t help but ask her how she went on after that, and how did she manage to wed a second time?

Marsha clarified, she never married the second one. She met him, he persisted on going out together, she caved a few months later and started dating him. Circumstances and loneliness combined had her moving in with him, and admitting, that they had a good life for nine years until he too passed away, but she never stopped loving her first husband.

How do you do that? I asked Marsha. ‘It just kind of fell into place organically,’ she responded. He wanted to marry her but she declined. She told me when her time is up, she will be buried with her first husband. No doubt, as whatever happens in my future, anyone else who may enter my life could only ever hold second place.

I enjoy talking with Marsha because she’s funny, she’s down to earth, and I believe I have something to learn from her. My inquisitive mind is always willing to learn, and Marsha has definitely worn the shoes of life – and death. With aging comes wisdom. I know I can look back on my own life and see the errors of my ways and also recognize how far I’ve come mentally and emotionally since my younger days. Surely, someone who has twenty years on me has something more to teach me from her own years of experience.

Connections open doors for us to new paths. We may not always know where those doors will lead, but one thing I know for sure, opportunities and meeting people only happen when we open a path – they don’t come banging on our doors. We first have to open the door and take a step out of our usual routines to allow the universe to let us see what and who are out there to enrich our lives.

©DGKaye2022

Updates – What’s New in my World? And, Oye, Another Birthday?

So, I often write about some of the goings on in my life and in my head/heart. Last Thursday was probably the best day I’ve had since I was in Mexico with my new wonderful friends.

Today, (the post goes live) is my ‘something’th’ birthday, and I probably won’t be answering your comments till much later tonight, because it will be my new best day because I’ll be spending it with my bestie, Banan, known as Bri in my books.

But getting back to Thursday – weeks previous to Thursday, I’d come up with the decision that I have to start expanding my horizons and decide what kind of group activity I’d like to join. The time is long overdue.

I’d thought about joining a grief group where I could be among ‘my people’, or joining a gym, women’s fitness – no men as I’m not interested in getting hit on. I couldn’t find anywhere close that had an actual, non online grief group. I’m at the point where I need to be around way more people, to find new friends that don’t live far away and whom I have things in common with – not necessarily grief – but a human or two I can connect with, someone who I can look into their eyes when speaking as opposed to chatting on a computer screen.

I talk to my friends online often in chat boxes, but there’s nothing better than real talk with humans face to face. I’m a people person and feel myself shrinking by spending too much time left to my own devices. I promised my two besties I was seriously going to join something when I decided where I’d feel most comfortable, and I decided to email a contact form for a Goodlife Fitness Women’s Gym, only ten minutes away, and went for the tour last Thursday.

Asal showed me around with a guided tour for over an hour. She was a sweet young girl. It felt great just to get out and talk to Asal (whose name that took me three tries to pronounce, and we laughed together). She asked me a short questionnaire – my goals, what I was wanting out of joining, any classes I’d be interested in. I told her my husband died a year ago and I’m taking my first steps in trying to rejoin civilization, mainly joining to take part in some classes for social interaction – Zumba and Yoga.

I’ve pushed myself to commitment and went back yesterday, to use the free pass to try out whatever equipment I wanted in the gym for however long I wanted, and they had great special plans to choose from at reasonable prices, and Asal was dropping the ‘joinup’ fee of $100, if I signed up then. I figured I’d try the two classes a week and use the treadmill and some of the weights, before I dived into machines. So I told Asal I’d like to use my free pass day Monday, (yesterday), and that I’d come while she’s on shift so I could sign up with her. So now I’m a member. For approximately $20 a week I can go whenever I want and to however many classes I want. I liked midday because there were people but not so many. I figured I’d eventually strike up a friendship with someone, it’s close to home, it’s only women, so what do I have to lose. And who knows, in the process, I could get in good shape. Sounds like a win/win. So this is my progress.

So, getting back to Thursday, before I got to the gym. I was on my way to the gym waiting for the elevator on my floor, where this attractive older woman was standing. I’d never seen her before, but then again, I’m picky who I want in my close circles in the building where I live, lol. I have a few friends from upstairs on my old condo floor, neighborly friends, but not real close. And there were many lovely greetings from what seemed the, ‘widow’s floor’ I’d moved on to, but nobody I felt a connection with. But today, there was ‘Marsha’.

My condo is, unfortunately, close to the elevator. I came out, locked my door, turned around and walked ten steps to the elevator. I saw the back of her and her pretty blonde bob before she turned around and asked, ‘Does it bother you living close to the elevators?’ I replied, not really. There’s no noise. I just feel like my door is vulnerable for quick break-in getaways if there were any, and have to remember not to talk on the phone near the door for fearing of being overheard.

We laughed while waiting for the usual long elevator wait. She told me she just moved in last month and gave me a short synopsis of her being twice a widow. She’s very attractive, and we shared a similar humor. I took her for her early 70s. I gave her my short synopsis, and after we got off on the lower level together, while I was going to the parking lot and she, to vote in our library, we both finally took a breath and were about to go our parting ways, when she told me her apartment number and added, ‘knock on my door around 645, I’ll show you my place then we’ll go sit outside in our park.

After I got back from the gym, my new good friend from Mexico, Shelley, Whatsapp video called, and we had a two hour catch-up and planning when I’m going to visit her and stay at her place for a few days. She lives in Brighton, Ontario, about a two-hour highway drive east of me. Me, anxiety highway driving woman. But, I made up my mind. I am driving to Shel’s. I’m not taking the train. That, my friends, will be an adventure.

We laughed about all our antics this past winter, and the things we’re going to do together next winter in Puerto Vallarta- definitely heading up to the best market in Bucerias. And we’re looking at late June for my first summer visit, as soon as it warms up to swimming weather again, as typically, our hot summer is now feeling like the cool of spring, and it looks that way on the weathermap for the next few.

My Bestie, Banan called while I was talking to Shel. I declined her call, texted her that I was on the phone with Shelley. I did call her back much later, almost dinnertime, of course no answer. I left her a text to listen to my long message about my surprising day. I told her to call me tomorrow because I had to make some dinner and I was rushing to meet Marsha. Banan was thrilled.

We caught up the next day. And I will end this here, and then I will reveal more about my outdoor meeting with Marsha and our walk to the coffee shop on Sunday, in next week’s episode.

I’m being bold and stepping back into civilization – baby steps, but it’s happening!

TBC….

©DGKaye2022

Hello Mercury Retrograde 2022

It’s a new year and a clean slate, and hopes are high that this year will be the end of the Coronavirus as we know it. But the fact remains that we are globally, high in virus and numbers, due to the the recent appearance of Omicron. We can all hope that as this virus continues, it will tamper down, lose it’s hurricane strength, and hopefully, no new strains will mutate. And in the meantime, because the world is already in chaos trying to stamp out this virus, we’re about to have our first Mercury Retrograde of 2022. Crazy times 2.0. It begins January 13th, lasting until February 3rd. But these dates are not inclusive. Like a full moon, retrogrades begin their ‘retroshade’ effects within a week or two of its arrival date, and can linger just as long after completion. And I’m already experiencing the shakeup.

When Mercury retrogrades, it is said that this is because retrograde indicates the planet is moving backwards, when in actuality, a faster moving planet passes Mercury in its pause, leaving a feeling of going backwards. Mercury travels around the sun in 88 days and takes a retrograde 3-4 times a year. Since Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, its orbit is shorter than earth’s. It’s like Mercury has to slow down to let other planets catch up in-between its cycle around the earth. Things that occur during this period can make us feel exactly like things are moving backwards as Mercury pauses and other planets pass by. This first retrograde of the year will be in Aquarius. There will be three Mercury Retrogrades this year, all of them in air signs (yup, that’s me). Signs most influenced by these retrogrades are the people who have their sun or rising signs the same as the sign each retrograde falls into.

Mercury Retrograde Chart for 2022

January 14 – February 3 starts in air sign Aquarius, ends in earth-sign Capricorn
May 10 – June 2 starts in air sign Gemini, ends in earth-sign Taurus
September 9 – October 2 starts in air-sign Libra, ends in earth-sign Virgo December 29 – January 18 in earth-sign Capricorn

Refresher Course: Mercury Retrograde

How does this affect our energy levels?

We can expect to have more or even less energy during this period, mostly of the nervous, unsettling or over-zealous type, causing possible bouts of anxiety. Each MR will fall in and affect particular signs more so than others.

What kinds of things are affected by a Mercury Retrograde?

Mercury rules our daily activities – technology, communications, contracts and relationships. When the planet is in retrograde we can expect glitches, delays and miscommunications in all of the above areas as Mercury is the ruler of communications. Extra vigilance should be paid to planned dates, appointments, signing contracts, editing, buying, selling, researching, negotiating, wills, documents, deeds, leases, and more. Most often affected are, computer issues, transportation and travel. It’s a period where we can expect the unexpected. In plain terms, when a planet is in retrograde, the planet takes a nap. And while it naps, it’s like it relinquishes its duties and the territory it usually stabilizes can run amok. This period is typically a good time to take a pause ourselves from big decision-making and a good time to reflect, journal, re-organize and re-evaluate our intentions, as well, it’s a good time to re-connect with people and/or projects from the past. As you may have noticed in the previous sentence, anything to do with ‘re’ as in redo, revisit, etc. is good to keep busy with during the MR period.

~ ~ ~

And here I am, in the thick of a Mercury Retrograde. As I pretty much, limped through 2021 with a sick husband and then his ultimate dying, which left me in numb and shock and grief, and my consequent going through everything we lived and shared together and two months later, moving, and of course, all of this while living in a secluded Covid world, all that has kept me going these past few months has been to get the hell out of Dodge and spend a few months out of the dread of another cold, sunless, lonely winter, and get to Mexico.

Am I concerned about traveling in a pandemic? You bet your bottom dollar I am. This is particularly the time where I’m getting excited to go away, but I’m not. I’m feeling a surge of anxiety while constantly weighing the pros and cons of my traveling. I know I’m triple vaxxed and extremely cautious around people, but I know many on vacation sometimes forget they’re still living in a pandemic, often forgeting masks and social distancing. I have a girlfriend down there since November who I keep in touch with to get the scoop on what’s going on down there. Mexico was actually doing not too bad before the rash of carefree Christmas vacationers visiting there helping spread the germs. And as much as I feel armed with safety supplies and three jabs, I’m concerned about if things get even worse instead of calming down after the holiday rush.

Air Canada has already changed my flight three times before it flat out canceled my flight last week (thanks so much Mercury). They took off their daily direct flights into Puerto Vallarta and made them all into connecting flights to gather more passengers, leaving only two direct flights at this time, weekly. After making two phone calls – each with its own four hour wait until a human picked up, I managed to get on a direct flight again, leaving three days earlier than my original flight date. I was confirmed on the phone I’m booked, but it’s been a week now and I still haven’t received written confirmation.

Besides the airline kerfuffle, this event also entailed my trying to get hold of my agent in Mexico to first find out if the unit I’m renting was vacant for my early arrival. Thankfully it is, but I’m quite unsettled that more cancellations are coming, and the prospect of what if things get worse and I get stuck in Mexico when I’m supposed to return? These are a lot of heavy concerns floating in my uncertain mind in the already shady period of Mercury Retrograde, leaving me with uncertainty of things to come.

On the pro side, I’m not sure I can endure another long, lonely winter without sun again. I thrive in sunshine, and there are only so many times and methods in my toolbox I have to remove myself internally from the darkness around me. It’s getting real old and I need to get out of here!!! So, oh yes, Mercury Retrograde is already alive and well in my travel plans, and no doubt there will be more to come before this period gets roaring and then comes to an end. So I’m caught in this net of wondering if I’ll get to Mexico, if I can stay Covid-free, and if I’ll be able to get back home. I feel almost guilty about getting excited to go and apprehensive about preparing and packing for this trip. My long awaited vacation is living in a big question mark at the moment. I feel like I should be preparing to go, but also must be prepared not to. Nothing like trying to sit down on both sides of the fence. In my heart, I’m going, but in my head I am ever so vigilant on keeping an alert to whatever this retrograde has in store for me. It’s all quite unsettling to say the least, and that is proof that Mercury Retrograde is already warming up.

I will keep you all posted on the status of my trip. In the meantime, be forewarned and prepared for the first Mercury Retrograde 2022!

©DGKaye2022

Updates – Moving On and Best Friends

 

 

Wow! It’s been so long since I posted a personal update here for you. I don’t know where the time has gotten to, but considering my last post a few weeks ago, talking about my brutal move and hearing Johnny Cash on the radio, and the post prior, talking about my moving in July and my BFF coming from the U.K., ya, well, that didn’t happen. But a few things have. And so I’ll fill you in.

 

My bestie from U.K. did not get here because our airports wouldn’t allow non-essential visitors without having to quarantine in a hotel at her own expense, for fourteen days. Heck, so many people can’t even afford to stay that long, so why would they want to spend it alone in quarantine? They only began allowing Canadian residents to come back home, in late June. And now it’s September 7th supposedly, where leisure air travelers will be welcome, as long as they’ve been double vaxxed and Covid tested prior to flight then no quarantine required.

 

Well this new time frame threw a wrench into my U.K. plans. And in the meantime, my friend Zan has sold her house again and will soon be moving to a rental home in a few weeks and she and her hubby will begin a new house project from scratch on the land they’ve purchased. So now, until she gets moved in and her and her hub take a private getaway for a week or so to Italy after their move, their first holiday since Covid struck, she will probably be here in late September. So it’s looking like some time in October I’ll be flying back with her to the U.K. It’s a tough wait, but probably better for time to pass as the summer crowds should be more tame, easier for traveling – maybe a jaunt to France, maybe to Italy, but definitely to Spain, and hopefully more time for the Covid to simmer down. Heck! I may even stay through Christmas, come back, and pack up for Mexico. All I know is I must get out of this constant space and spread my wings and breathe. I have no clue what I’m doing the rest of my life, but I sure as hell know I won’t find out by sitting on a couch with a computer. Nobody is going to come banging my door down with opportunity. I have to get back out into the world.

 

The last week of July, I took a little trip with my girlfriend Alison. We both needed to get out of our four walls, so we rented a hotel room up north here in cottage country for a few days. But, as it turned out, Zan’s sister lived twenty minutes from where we were staying and once Zan told her sister we were there, she swiftly invited us to stay with her instead. So, we stayed the one night at the hotel and off to Kokie’s beautiful home for almost a week! It was a slice of heaven to be in the fresh air and steal a few days at the beach when the usual rainy weather would let up. We had lots of fun yacking, Netflixing, walking, shopping vintage stores and playing Mexican Train Dominoes – a fun variation of Dominoes.

 

It was a lovely mini getaway and I look forward to Zan’s visit here so we can go back up to her sister’s house once she ever arrives here.

 

Coming back to my new abode felt a bit strange and back to reality. I am trying to establish somewhat of a new routine for myself without my husband and now, four months after his passing, everything still feels strange and out of sorts for me without a comforting familiarity.

 

And then something wonderful happened in the midst of my sadness and loneliness, I got a condolence message from my other BFF Bri. We had a falling out a few years back, and sadly, stubbornness had kept that distance hanging. I was elated to hear from her. She adored my husband, and I had wondered why I hadn’t heard from her, thinking she’d have heard the news, but she hadn’t. When she found out, she sent me a message. I replied, and the next thing I knew, we were gabbing on the phone for hours. A few days later, we met at my husband’s grave and spent a few hours together there sitting on the grass, filling each other in on our lives while apart. The day turned into night after picking up some food and killing a bottle of wine together on my balcony at home.

 

The reunion was just what my heart needed, and both of us said to each other that it was my husband who subtly found a way to inform her about his demise and he knew we had to get back together. We both felt that. The whole thing was divine intervention how it all came about, and the fact that I’m pretty much family-less now (a book for another time),  there is no comfort like a best friend who has been in my life for 37 years. She knows all the ghosts, good and bad, and understands my loss better than any family could ever imagine what I’m living.

 

God and the universe certainly do work in mysterious ways. Everything has its time and place. Yes, Zan never got here for my turbulent move, but had she come and the lockdowns coming and going, turns out, Canadians too are being made to quarantine right now still going to U.K. and I wouldn’t be interested in doing that either. Not to mention the new wave the U.K. has been experiencing much of July. Then there’s Zan’s sudden house sale and getting ready to move later this month. Suffice it to say, divine timing is looking much better for the fall than the summer. And in my deep and dark moments, waiting once again for this U.K. connection to happen, my husband and the angels were at work bringing me back together with Bri.

 

In the meantime, I am getting my feet deeper back into blogland. I do hope to get the mental energy up to get back to my MS I completed last fall and get that off to the editor by September. Lots of things up in the air, but definitely some good things to look forward to. I feel uplifted when I have something to look forward to, despite my loneliness and ache for my beloved husband that follows me wherever I may go, making plans and friendships are what keeps me out of ‘the dark’.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

 

The Clearing – Updates – Moving, Grief and Loss

It’s been awhile since I popped into my own blog to chat. But, holy crap, it’s the middle of June and I feel like I’ve been living within a cyclone since last Christmas, without stopping to take a breath. First, late last fall my worries about my husband’s health, in and out of hospitals for various things, yet nobody realizing the real culprit – cancer. Then the diagnosis, then my husband lives, barely, another 5 weeks. Heck, I didn’t even have the official diagnosis back before a doctor introduced herself during one of my hospital visits, alerting me she’s a ‘palliative’ doctor. Palliative??? Right in that moment was when the numbness struck me. I’m still numb in many ways.

 

I knew my husband had something bad happening to him before the edict was read, but I wouldn’t even let my mind visit the thought that he was going to die. I couldn’t. The minute I’d allow myself to go ‘there’, I knew I could never pull myself out of that black hole of fear. I had to stay strong for him, give him hope – even when he knew there wasn’t any, I thought I would keep the positive thoughts and chat going. I never shed a tear because I knew if I did I may never stop. And I certainly wasn’t showing any fear to my husband. I ate it up. I didn’t even feel, and still don’t, that I was living in my own body. Like some invisible hydraulic system is towing me along to keep going and keep doing. Don’t stop.

I haven’t stopped all year. In his final week, bedridden, my beloved husband could no longer walk or talk. The reality of what was to come was top of my mind, yet, I kept pushing it away and kept doing. I knew I was on limited time and I didn’t want to spend one minute away from my husband, but I had to go buy a plot for him. For us. I also didn’t want him to know where I was going, even though he knew I never left his side unless he was asleep. He knew where I was going.

I witnessed my husband living between two worlds in his last days. Before he lost his voice, he’d wake at night several times to tell me he loved me. Other nights I’d wake to him calling out, raising his arms, eyes closed, to his dead sister Grace and his dead daughter Sue.

Unfortunately, I’ve had enough experience with being around death to know all the steps that lead to the finality. The on call palliative doc had come around the day before George died and told me ‘the most he had left was a week’, I looked him in the eye and told him my husband won’t live another 24 hours. There’s no glory in being right.

I lay beside him when his eyes opened that next morning and held his hand for dear life as I listened to his own life fade within. From silence to gurgling. I just lay there telling him I loved him as I do 100 times a day, still. And then I cried. And quite honestly, I haven’t really stopped.

In the deepest moments of unbearable grief, I had to make funeral arrangements. A funeral in Covid where we were restricted to 15 in the funeral home service, where there would have been hundreds.

All I wanted and still want to do is bury my head in my pillow and stay in bed for an undetermined amount of time. There is where I feel closest to him. The banner from over his coffin ‘Beloved Puppy’, rests now upon his pillow, as does the stuffed puppy he bought me one Valentine’s Day, who holds a stuffed heart from its mouth saying, ‘Puppy Love’. There is my solace. His slippers remain at his side of the bed.

But solace is in short supply as my marathon of life and death continues. There were weeks of paperwork, lawyers, banks, investment advisor, insurance, and the government papers I had to contend with to close off a life. And just for something else to add to the mix, I had to do the income taxes. Yes, who in the world with a broken heart continues to go, go, go, carrying overwhelming grief, while having to use their brain, then adds a move into the mix?

The move. Last fall before we knew of my husband’s demise, we were talking about moving, downsizing, somewhere else, getting ready for us to purchase a place in Mexico next winter (so was the plan). But God had other plans and moving was put on the back burner. And in my sane brain, I knew someday I’d have to move on my own because I don’t need a huge condo, nor do I want to pay that huge rent. But I also knew with my grieving and adjusting to a different life, that moving was not prime on my mind at this stage. All I want to do is exhale from what I’ve been living all year. So, I went down to the management office to ask the girls if my husband’s name needs to be taken off the lease. Before I could stop myself, the words seemed to pop out of my mouth – because they weren’t in my head, “Do you have any one bedrooms available?”

That was in April, one week after my husband passed. The agent told me that as a matter of fact, she had one coming up in July. A few days later, she took me for a looksee and told me all they’re going to do to it. I made a great bargain with her regarding me keeping my SS appliances and them having to move them, among a few other goodies, and suddenly, I was signing a new lease. That’s how the moving thing happened. I wasn’t looking, but I’m pretty sure my husband had some divine intervention in it. It’s safe here, lovely grounds, nice people and tons of amenities and close to every highway. I’m pretty sure my husband wanted me to stay in familiar territory. And July seemed ideal, enough time to get ready. NOT!

We have moved several times in our wonderful life together, yet, somehow, we still had too much stuff. If I had had time, I would have taken proper time to sell things for the value they’re worth, I would have set up an Ebay page, along with some others. But let’s be real, that left me two months to first clear the clutter that isn’t going to fit, before packing can begin. It’s insane here. I have some good friends and only one family member who pop by a few times a week to lend a hand. I have access to my new place so I had a bit of work done in there (besides what the management has done). I have many things on ads, and I get pinged lots, which of course is distracting when I’m in the packing zone. I’m moving a week earlier than planned, and my BFF who lives in England has been waiting to get here before I move so she can at least help with the transition. But that’s looking like she won’t get here til first week July, as we’re crossing fingers my province drops the 14 day quarantine in a hotel rule if one has been double vaxed on July 5th. Oye! So much going on!

So now you are updated. I know my posts have been far and few between since my husband became terminal, but I’m doing my best. This Friday I will have my monthly contribution for WATWB, and if I squeeze out any spare time, I may have a Sunday Book Review. As moving begins Thursday, with official movers on Saturday, and the fallout of unpacking to deal with after, don’t expect much from me next week. But hopefullly, once I move and catch my breath then exhale, I hope to be back in blogland more regularly.

 

grief quote

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

 

 

 

Let’s Have A Look – Our Medical System During Covid #Health and #Wellness

I thought it was time to write another episode of #LetsHaveALook because I need a good venting about the current status of our medical system and compassion – here in my city of Toronto, Ontario, and god only knows what’s going on in the rest of Canada. Based on the shenanigan Covid policies of our current hospital system, I must dance through hoops to get things done regarding my husband’s health. I’ve learned about some appalling policies put in place at the hospital, both while hubby was in hospital, and now in the follow up procedures.

As I’ve mentioned in past posts about my husband’s illness and his recent two-week stay in hospital, I learned about all the strict policies in our hospitals currently in place right now. Since before Christmas our city has been in complete lockdown. Now lockdown has become a word of no significance to me anymore, because, Covid or no Covid, I am locked down at home now caring for my husband 24/7.

I’ve promised to share the documented journey here on my blog in a series of posts. And until I get the complete diagnosis, I won’t be sharing that journey yet. But in the interm, I feel I need to share my thoughts on one incident in particular that sparks a flame under my ass, and that is a severe lack of compassion in a ‘certain’ department. That department would be Oncology. Yes, you read that right. The most scariest department one would have to contend with, and their policy.

Before I get ahead of the cart with the horse here, allow me to elaborate on a few mountains I’ve had to climb thus far just to be able to visit my husband in hospital.

I found out in a cruel way that visiting patients is limited to TWICE a week only, each for only two hours. That’s it! Well, anyone who knows me, knows that isn’t going to happen. And it didn’t.

At first my hub was left in emergency for two days because of a bed shortage, and while in emerge (what we call it in Canada), there were NO visitors allowed. So for those two days I was blessed to have my team of Dr. B and his secretary Lisa to get me through the hurdles and keep me in updated communication. As soon as I signed out after my second visit, a nasty admin at the nurse’s station informed me that my second visit was my last one til next week. I emailed Lisa with my complaint that this cannot stand. I cannot leave a sick weak, scared man alone for days without me. I just can’t! Lisa and Dr. B took my cries for mercy to the higher echelons of policy-making, and gratefully and miraculously I was granted daily visitation rights for two hours daily. I took those two hours to bathe and change my husband’s clothes, because I saw how overwhelming the system had become and the nurses have zero time to give a little compassion, conversation or anything else but the basics – meds and bloodwork. Yes, the hospital that I’ve always touted as one of the best of care, the nurses have spread themselves much too thin at this point.

I walked those corridors daily and saw so many seniors alone in their rooms, no visitors, no comforting attention, and it broke my heart because I know I couldn’t live that out with my husband who is reliant on me. Dr. B. promised he’d call me daily to update on the MANY tests my husband endured. I’d email Lisa nightly to let her know what time my visiting appointment was for the next day, and asked her to let Dr. B know when I’d be there so I wouldn’t miss his consults. When he was in surgery and couldn’t meet up with me, he’d call me at the end of the day. This is what compassion is about.

My cell phone is and was on 24/7. Most nights hubby would call me in a tizzy or disorientation mode of confusion and wake me at any hours of the night because he was scared or needed assistance. I’d console him then hang up and call the nurse’s station and ask to please send in a nurse to help him. Then I’d lie wide awake staring at the ceiling, praying he’d be alright and not be scared.

Now, the above was just a sampling of my world in those two weeks. After one test leading to another and my hub becoming a human pincushion, Dr. B called me mid-last week to report on what he could of the final biopsy results that had partially come in.

It began with my husband’s ascites – fluid buildup daily, requiring weekly paracentesis, blaming his liver disease – cirrhosis of the liver for the build up and Dr. B circumventing hospital policy that states NO BOOKING IN PATIENTS FOR ANYTHING. He informed me I need to get hub into hospital and the only way to do so was to get him to emerge and when they learned how sick he is, he would be admitted.

The hospital stay involved bloodwork taken from hubby’s battered and bruised arms three times daily to check his levels as his meds were evaluated and adjusted, and then an ultra-sound/liverscan to see what’s going on there. Well, ultra sound led to other Xrays, two CT scans, and finally, a biopsy. Each test produced questionable evidence leading to the next. The reason some of the tests weren’t exactly clear was because of the fluid in his belly – despite my poor hub having three drainings while in hospital before some of the procedures, hoping to enable clearer views.

P.S., biopsy results showed a mass on his liver. There were a lot of technical words and more I can’t get into yet, and as Dr. B stated, he could only read what was found so far and apparently, ‘staining’ markers were not complete and he told me he had referred husband’s case now to ONCOLOGY. I do not need to elaborate on how that word and news has affected me. Dr. B assured me oncology doc would get in touch with me soon.

Gratefully, but not really grateful, the secretary of the referred doctor called me the next day. This was when the next act of cruelty was presented to me.

The secretary called to give my husband an appointment to meet and discuss findings – operative word – husband. I questioned her. Certainly, I was coming with him? Nope. I was told, “Unfortunately, during the strict lockdown, doctor will only have one person in his office” and that I COULD WAIT IN THE WAITING ROOM!

I DON’T THINK SO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I tried to remain calm and use ‘honey’ instead of the actual venom I felt rising within. I told her that my husband is very ill, weak, scared and old. I am his voice and his caregiver and that he doesn’t absorb information easily. Again, I reiterated, that sending him on his own was NOT going to happen. She said she’d talk to the doc and call me back. She did, and nothing changed. So I sent off an email to Lisa to inform her about this policy and how cruel that is, and I will not do that. Lisa emailed me back that night and agreed with me on the sorrowful lack of compassion, and let me know she’d sent a new referral to a different oncologist.

The next day I get a call from the different doc’s secretary. She noted that she’d seen a prior referral to another doctor, and the note Lisa attached to the the new referral, stating that patient’s wife must accompany. But then she apologized and told me, it doesn’t matter which doctor you have in oncology, the procedures are the same. I lost it.

I told her I’ve spent two weeks visiting my husband and seen many nurses and doctors, one on one through that time, and asked her how on earth oncology can be so uncompassionate? I asked her why the doctor couldn’t take us into a ‘bigger’ room so he wouldn’t catch our cooties. I told her there was no way I am sending my husband into this stranger doctor to be given devastating news on his own. NO WAY! She went back to the original doctor to speak with him about my concerns and called me back. She informed me the doctor said I could wait in the waiting room and he would call my cellphone and let me listen in on speaker phone! JUST NO!

In my tattered and tizzied state, I asked her where the compassion is for the scared people going through nightmares in these predicaments. I also asked her why every other doctor is giving us telehealth calls, phone calls, and some even doing Zoom calls, surely we deserve that option than to scare what’s left of a person’s dignity to death before they even know what they’re in for. Again, she said she’d call me back and speak with the doc.

She called back a few minutes later, letting me know the doctor has agreed to speak with us both at home on speaker phone. Charming not, but I at least won the war.

Now I ask, WHERE THE HELL IS THE COMPASSION? I went through hoops and ladders to get as much as I did. Who else has this fight in them when they are faced with these dreaded circumstances? How many can push like I did? How many succumb to living in fear and uncertainty? Not this girl, as long as I’m able to I will fight for compassionate rights of the elderly. I am truly astounded at the heartlessness of this policy!

The Covid has not only turned all our lives and our personal worlds upside down, but despite the pandemic, people continue to get sick  and die in numbers much larger than from the Covid. My stomach turns at the amount of people with dire illness who don’t have a Dr. B or a  Lisa, or even an advocate who is tenacious and adamant to fight for rights against stringent policies. And I can’t help but wonder how many doctors themselves who have sick loved ones, wouldn’t fight tooth and nail themselves to ease the fear of their own loved ones in similar predicament.

Humanity? Humility, dignity. I really do believe that hospitals need to be able to make exceptions without having to go to the end’s of earth and sanity to do so. And oncology needs to find their compassion again. Put on a Hazmat suit, get a bigger room to chat in, heck, use the danged food courts that have been shut down, but just stop the madness! The people that have to go to oncology, DON’T WANT TO BE THERE in the first place. So please, bring back compassion!

The road is proving more difficult as the days pass. My time is no longer my own as I wade through this new role. I’ve been my husband’s caregiver for a few years now off and on while he’s been able to do most things on his own, but he can no longer get out of a chair by himself. With the help of our Ministry of Health system, he now has an occupational therapist, we’ll soon be getting in a physiotherapist, and this past week or so he’s been home, I’ve managed to have delivered all the seniorizing, safety items needed to assist him and around our home.

We will have our call next week with the oncologist, and I’ve currently got some phone numbers to call to get some homecare to stay with hub a few hours once or twice a week so I can run errands and get basics – like food. When difficult times come, it’s been interesting to actually see who shows up to the plate. Not many.

I am ever grateful for the friends I have who call, message and email me to check up on me and keep me uplifted, especially in the those moments when I could use a word of encouragement. I wish you all lived closer to me, but I am grateful to have you in my life. It’s not difficult to see how mental health can be eroded when our plates runneth over and there’s nobody else around. And the damned Covid restricted insanity to add to the mix.

 

Friends and family

Credit to Judy Hoskins of Pixaby

 

It’s so often friends who are more the family than blood relations, as is definitely the case for me. Maybe that’s because we get to choose our friends and not our families.

 

©DGKaye2021

Note: This posting went live March 9th morning, later that evening, my husband was rushed back to hospital. If you don’t see me around the usual haunts, it’s because I’ve laced back up my warrior boots and doing God’s work again.

 

Updates – This Extrovert is in Hibernation Mode #Health and Wellness

The last cliffhanger I left you with for my first 2021 post, my husband’s illness, my nonfunctioning leg, and our shower ceiling caving in, have been keeping me quite busy lately. The onslaught at everything coming at me has put me in introvert mode. I am 99 percent an extrovert and one percent introvert. When I get in introvert mode, it’s an introspective thing where I need to close myself in – not quite at the part where I’m digesting things and trying to find my way around what seems my new life.

When I get quiet, my mind is very busy. And until I can come to resolutions and/or acceptance I need to go within myself, not ready to share with others what I haven’t yet digested myself. So for those good friends of mine who check in with me daily and silently know that when I’m ready I’ll spill, thank you.

I feel right now my life is at a crossroads of many things – some I can’t peg, yet, I know are brewing, and some I’m having a difficult time facing. I don’t know if this past year was a catalyst for or if because of the isolating life we’ve been living alone together 24/7, it has allowed me to watch and be part of as my husband’s health issues persist. In a flash I seemed to have gone from wife to caregiver.

As I long for the days of Covid to pass so I can resume living, I’m just as anxious about when the time for living does come back. Because the living I’ve known for over 20 years now, is not and will not be the same. Since just before the new year, my husband has been accumulating fluid daily. This happened five years ago when he was first diagnosed with Cirrhosis of the liver. He was drained and put on two types of heavy-duty diuretics. One in particular was specific to pulling fluid from the liver area. The combo finally got properly dosed and worked well for the past five years. Then late last fall, a side effect of one of the pills, retaining too much potassium, was raising hub’s levels and had to be cut down. Thus the fluid buildup came back – except it’s not going away anymore so he’s now that guy who Dr. B told me about five years ago when I asked him if this fluid retention would come back. He’d told me he had patients who had to have a paracentesis every month, but maybe my hub would be luckier, I’d hoped. We had a good ride for five years, but now my husband has been going every two weeks for draining (Paracentesis). They can only get out approximately four of the ten litres he carries (we know by weight). Four days later he gains it all back. Last week I spoke with Dr. B and he’s moved the procedure up to once a week. We have to sign consent papers every time he has this done because of course the danger of inserting the long needle in his side with a drain tube, guided by ultra sound, done by a radiologist, has its risks. Today is drainage day again, thankfully.

My life has changed so much, considering there’s been no real living going on. Last February we were in Mexico, we came home mid March and the next day was lock down. My husband fell ill the day before travel home day, and life has been unwell ever since. Just like that, snap, our lives changed, during lockdown. My husband will not be going back to work of course, so I never got to experience that transition time from when he went to work a few days a week and loved to run errands, giving me my personal time. He always needed to be busy. So he got involved, voluntarily with some household jobs – emptying dishwasher and the many garbage cans. Then he’d take some garbage down the end of the hall to the chute, and the rest to the recycle bins in the parking level. It gave him something to do and he enjoyed it. I don’t enjoy it quite so much, but I’ve relieved him from his duties. The days before draining days he walks on a walker because his legs are like lead.

Current prognosis on past events:

So it took three weeks and various shades of yellows, greens blues and purples, but as of four days ago, I can walk proper without limping. I’m pretty sure I tore my calf muscle. It was painful and only a few days later the bruising was down my whole calf, ankle, and foot. I was using hub’s walker for over a week. So I guess there wasn’t enough excitement when I stubbed a toe bang on, precisely to the corner of the TV stand. I don’t remember feeling that kind of pain in many years. After sitting down and holding my foot for ten minutes til the initial throb wore down, I hobbled to the freezer door, below the fridge doors. I opened it and put my foot right among the frozen vegetable bags and stood there with the door opened for a good five minutes. It helped a lot. The pain was gone. The next day however, 3 toes and half my foot up were purple and I couldn’t move two toes. But, as of this writing, I have movement back. I am definitely blaming this shyte on Mercury Retrograde. Our shower was fixed and retiled almost two weeks ago, and we’re awaiting the new shower door. Until then, I’m grateful for the clear, shower curtain and temporary bar they put up for the meantime.

Two nights ago I had to call 911 as my husband slid to floor trying to get out of bed at 130am to go to washroom. I could not lift him for all the tea in China and was forced to admit my defeat and call for help. I realized my superhuman powers are limited after watching two EMS guys struggle to finally get him up. They were very kind and gave me some helpful tips  to help ‘seniorize’ things at home. They are also going to set up some help to come in a few days a week to help with hubby, so I’m looking forward to that part.

So yes, as you can see, there’s a lot I’m swallowing right now as my first priority is my husband, but in my head and as I witness my husband’s health decline, it’s all still so raw and very tough for me to witness and accept, as I’m having to learn to accept that things will never again be the way they were.

So that’s my update. I felt since I’d posted about the mayhem going on in my life, my readers at least deserved a follow up.

 

Never take life for granted for it can be snatched in the blink of an eye.

 

©DGKaye2021

bitmo live laugh love

 

7 New Year’s Resolutions to Make Your #Blog More User-Friendly | Daily Echo

reblogging

Sue Vincent is sharing some great tips here to help make your blogs more user friendly. Many bloggers may not be aware of the importance of these tips to help make sure your blog gets recognized.

 

7 New year’s resolutions to make your blog more user-friendly.

 

You’ve done all the celebrating, the world is slowly getting back to normal and the Easter eggs are already crowding the shelves of the supermarket (yes, really). Many New Year’s resolutions have already been broken, slightly bent or put off till after the weekend… but there are a few easy ones that you can implement that will make your blog far more user-friendly… you could check off one per day for the next week. Once done, they take care of themselves and help readers make the most of your site……”  READ TIPS HERE

 

Source: 7 New year’s resolutions to make your blog more user-friendly | Daily Echo 

 

DGKaye©2016