Tuesday, August 9, 2016

The Visit

I guess I should start with recent events and then, if I really do return to blogging, move back to keep you all up to date. In June, my airline mile saving spouse, P, wrangled up three tickets for us to go to the Motherland. Little did any of us know, I wouldn't be returning with him and our now newly nine-year-old, Lanes.

P, meticulous to a fault, had created an excel spreadsheet detailing our schedule for the trip. Everything was color coded and scheduled to the minute. There we had it--every errand, meal, visit with family and friends, breath taken, all highlighted and allotted a specific time.  The poor man tried to put down every conceivable eventuality onto his spreadsheet, but I just had to go and wreck it.

The Thursday before we left, I was grumbling about having a really sore throat. I got no pity, so I pouted and swallowed a couple of Vicks drops, the lemon flavor aptly complimenting my sour mood. I woke up randomly at 3 or 4 am, because that's what normal people do, and I realized that I could not get out of bed. I could hear P's voice ringing in my head; 'don't sleep in front of the AC with the fan on, you are asking for a cramp!'. Did I listen? No. Never. As such, I decided I must have caught one of these dreaded 'cramps' and I was determined to suffer in silence rather than hear the dreaded words 'I told you so', which incidentally, I hear far too much in my life.

However, I soon realized that not only could I not sit up, I couldn't stand or walk, and I had the strangest pain from my back right down my leg. Panic forced me to wake P up, and for someone who dispenses medical advice at the drop of a hat with great authority, he was almost at a loss for words when he realized that I had really done myself in.  

Luckily, my mother's cousin, who lives two doors down, is an orthopedic surgeon.  By 7am, I was in tears and desperate, and told P to call the poor man over at once.  By that time, I was in a full blown anxiety attack mode because I could only manage to lie diagonally across the bed with my head and feet propped at a certain angle. To add to my troubles, my bladder decided to kick in at that very moment, and I couldn't get up to use the facilities. 

My uncle had to show up on his way to the hospital to see me wild-eyed and wild haired, sprawled across the bed in my tie dyed t-shirt and owl print pink PJ bottoms. This was not how I needed to be seen in public, ever. He at once diagnosed a herniated disc and requested that I show up at the hospital ASAP for X-Rays and an MRI.

The first thing I discovered at the hospital was that only specific people are allowed to push wheelchairs, and they were identified by their dark green shirts. Godzilla might be on a rampage, but no one was allowed to push your wheelchair to safety except for one of these territorial folks, now affectionately known to me as the 'Wheelie Crew'.

I was zipped away by a chatty man who happily told me that I looked like I probably needed surgery. At that point, I began to feel nausea set in. I was not looking forward to the MRI because I remember my late father used to complain about feeling suffocated in it. I could hear his words 'and when they tell you not to move, you immediately feel like scratching your nose.'

I was missing my father so desperately that I was wishing to at least have an apparition of him,  but all I got were those not so helpful words.  I was shoved into the MRI machine before I could play 20 questions. As I went in, I wondered...am I completely sealed in? What if the lights go out? Would I be stuck? If I press the button to talk to the nurse, will I have to start over? How long was this? Will I run out of oxygen?

As I willed myself to calm down, I suddenly felt something on my cheek. Dengue is a big problem there and I was now worried I was trapped in an airtight cylinder with a mosquito. Being in a hospital, it would most likely be an infected one.  Since I couldn't swat it away, I moved my tongue to my cheek, hearing my father's haunting voice...'feel like scratching your nose'.

After that debacle, the sound of the machine got to me. At one point it sounded like a band of people shouting 'help me, help me' and then gunfire. This was the longest period of time in my life. Tormented by the voices in my head, I turned to prayer, and I think I never willed time to go by as fast as I did in there.

I was in so much pain that I was breathless and speechless and as soon as I was bagged and scanned, I swatted at P and ordered him to push me out of the X-Ray and into physio, as was ordered by the doctor (my uncle).  The nurses looked petrified, but P was too scared to disobey me so he jet propelled me to my destination, much to the chagrin of the Wheelie Crew.

While waiting for physiotherapy, I felt like I had a hot coal wedged in my throat. Before I had time to go on a flight of fancy and imagine that to be something horrific, my thigh started spasming and I had massive waves of pain from my back down my leg.

The devices at physiotherapy all looked like leftovers from a set of a horror movie set in a mental hospital. The good side of being in pain is that these things seemed appealing instead of terrifying if they meant some relief.

The lead physiotherapist was a robust lady imported from India. She was loud and commanding and had her little minions in a spin. She got to me, gave me a look of pity and announced for all and sundry that I would not have been in such a situation had I not been obese. Obese! I'm well rounded (pun intended) or curvy, but now this was pushing the limit.

By this time, I had not eaten all day and had grown weak. P was wishing he had the power of teleportation because he didn't know how I would retaliate to this battle-axe.  Undaunted, she repeated 'You are obese!'. Then she turned to P and said 'did  you know your wife is obese?'.  P started sweating and remained mum, really wishing he was anywhere but there.

She then ordered him to get me some sort of band, and she insisted that it be XXL. P asked if that was a bit too much, but she persisted and reminded him what she thought my proportions were. By that point, I was literally melting in pain and P was relieved that I had not verbally maimed this woman, who was probably my only shot at feeling better.

THE START OF THE STAY...

I spent two days going to physiotherapy, tormenting my uncle by not listening properly to his medical advise, and taking very strong medications because I am allergic to the ones that one normally takes for a herniated disc. However, between being unable to sit, wiped out from the strength of my pills,  and being unable to eat (despite my mother trying to feed me and P even offering eclairs),  I wound up extremely weak. On Sunday night, I nearly fainted and by Monday I was admitted to the hospital.

I don't know how but my aunt and her family materialized while P was shuffling around trying to get my paperwork done. I could barely sit in the wheelchair. I was slightly bemused that my aunt, as always, carried with her some crackers, a bottle of water, and her thermos of coffee. She usually has a chocolate too.

Eventually, I was given a room, and several blood tests later, I was given the good news that not only do I have a herniated disc, I had pneumonia as well. I guess that would explain the sore throat and fever.

I asked my aunt to put the TV on in the room, not just for a way to pass time, but for company and noise.  The first channel caught our attention because it was an Indian serial with subtitles. We were 'oohing and aching' at the gorgeous colors and jewelry, and within 2 minutes, I got hooked on the ridiculous and devious story lines.  

By the end of the week, in my fever induced state, I decided I was going to pack up, move to Bollywood and try my hand at acting.  Who cares about language barriers when I got the facial expressions down packed?

I would never want to testify to it, but I never changed the channel after that.  Each show had a plot more dramatic than the next, and I found myself almost not wanting to leave the hospital because  I wanted to know what happened to the guy who got poisoned, blown up and suffocated all within three episodes.  Not only was not one hair on his head harmed, not one was out of place.  

My second favorite show was my favorite because it annoyed me. It was about an evil woman and her equally menacing mother-in-law. However, the younger protagonist looked like she was 40 and the elder one looked 20. Was the person who did the casting for that show drunk? 

Despite having found the serials, that first night was tough, and obviously all of us missed our scheduled flight.  Tuesday was a blur, between the pain in my back and leg and the inability for me to eat or comprehend anything around me. I vaguely heard P calling the travel insurance company and I heard words like 'immediate repatriation', which made me hyperventilate.  

In a weird turn of events, I had lost my most loyal and constant companion—my appetite. My food deprived, drug abused brain gave me visions of a helicopter hovering by the window as a swat team grabbed me out of bed and sent me back to Canada while I was protesting that I was in too much pain to be moved.  I genuinely  believed that was the case until P explained to me that they did agree I was in no position to go anywhere.

By Wednesday, my fever was in full swing, as were the effects of my medication. Each time I closed my eyes (or thought my eyes were closed), I would see these massive, terrifying 3D colorful images before me. 

Poor P, who really got a sore deal when he proposed to me, had to run off to a stuffy immigration office to get my visa extended on my behalf as I was clearly not leaving the island anytime soon.  For some reason, he decided I was incapable of being left alone, despite the fact that the nurses had grown fond of me and were in and out of the room every 20 minutes.

He had placed me under his mother’s care while he went to make sure that I didn’t become an illegal immigrant.  I complained to her that I was so tired, I just wanted to sleep, but that I kept getting these images.  She calmed me down, switched off the lights and said she would lie down on the sofa and pretend to sleep, so that I would feel sleepy and nod off.

So everything was dark and cozy in the room, and I willed myself to sleep.  My wrists were sore because my canuala had come off and had to be placed on my right hand instead. As I have a constant fear of the needle in the canuala snapping off and rushing to my heart, this made life difficult for me as I am right-handed and not every ambidextrous at all.

At some point after I was quite sure my mother-in-law had actually fallen asleep, I saw two fishermen, a tiny wooden boat and a river at the end of the room.  My mother-in-law was to my right, and I was trying to gesture to her to wake up, but at the same time, I was afraid to mess up my canuala.

One of the men was holding out a big rickety old flashlight and the other was telling me very rudely that I need to come with them immediately. Naturally, I was thinking why is there a river in my hospital room? The men were growing more agitated and kept beckoning me to them very rudely.

I was tired and pissed off. I felt like part of me got up off the bed, and in a voice that sounded like I was 60 instead of 39, I told them very firmly, and equally rudely that I am not about to go with some strange men, and that I was very offended that this is the quality of light that was sent for me. I went on to tell them that I'm a wonderful person (clearly pissed off me is not a modest me), and that if I am going to any light, it will be a beautiful big yellow light and not this dingy piece of rubbish before me.

This really angered fisherman, but I was not afraid, and they went off. Meanwhile, the part of me that remained on the bed, was a little offended and petrified, and I was gesticulating madly towards my mother-in-law for her to wake up and see what I was seeing. I figured if she saw it too, she would most certainly tell the men to get lost and leave her daughter-in-law alone. She can be a formidable force to be reckoned with, and I really wanted her to tell the rude men off.

I 'woke up' right after that, and my sheets were drenched in sweat, which was a feat because I rarely ever sweat.  My mother-in-law woke up just then and I told her what happened while she was out like a light, but she announced that I must have had a fever.

THE MIDDLE OF THE STAY....

The good thing was that after about five days of having fever, that was the last of it, although I still needed physiotherapy and medication for the 'pneumonia'.  For some reason, this condition was more baffling to the doctors than anything else, and before I knew it, I was sent for a CT scan. 

After my experience with the  MRI, I interrogated all the nurses about the CT scan to make sure that I would not be encapsulated in any piece of machinery.  It turns out that besides my lack of ability to follow instructions…complicated ones like 'hold your breath', 'take a deep breath', it was a cake walk compared to the MRI.  They finally figured out what was bothering my lungs since last September, and I was grateful for that. It turns out that this hospital visit was a blessing in disguise.

Had I not herniated my disc, I would have come back to Canada and been put on multiple inhalers, never knowing the true state of my lungs. At least now I have concrete proof to get through a GP and to a chest specialist. 

In addition to the MRI, CT, and regular X-Rays ( four total), I also had every organ in my torso scanned. I was the one person testing dummy for the entire Radiology Department. I wouldn't be surprised if I am radioactive and glow in the dark right now.  I have had everything except my head (which probably needs the most help) examined.

Once there was a neat box to tick for the state of my lungs, I had to do chest physio. Again, it seemed complicated because it involved breathing techniques. Then I was rather stunned to find out, I also get the joy of being pummeled to bits to get phlegm out.  Simultaneously, I was thinking this man looks like a very tall, well dressed, cartoon mouse. Although I protested (in my head) while it was going on, I did feel better after.

The next day when he came to my room, I was feeling a little better so I said 'ah, you've come to beat me up again, have you?', and this sent him two steps back until he realized I had a twisted sense of humor. 

As my stay went on, I had become friends with him, the other two sweet physiotherapists (who had to listen to my tales of medical woe) and even the battle ax lead physio who by that time had decided to stop calling me obese and instead wound up making nice with me.

On the home front, I was in a spin because Lanes and P had to fly back, and I had not seen her because they were determining the root of my pneumonia.  My sister-in-law, who especially made time to distract Lanes from my sudden disappearance,  came to see me the night before to tell me that Lanes was putting on a brave front, but she feels she is struggling deep inside. 

I called my mother immediately and I heard Lanes singing in the shower in the background. She came rushing to the phone and grabbed it from my mother and said 'mom, when are you coming home? Come home!' and she burst out crying.

That's when I nearly had a tizzy. The nurses came in soon after with my medications, and I told them about Lanes. They were like my buddies by that point. They at once alerted the GP on the floor and by morning he came in saying that Lanes could come in, but to wear a mask as she has to travel soon.

THE END OF THE STAY...

Lanes came in to the room the next morning, and she ran into my arms and squeezed me so tight, I felt so sad at the thought of her going back to Canada without me. How could father and daughter survive without my nagging? I mean supervision. I mean loving advise.

P came with about a dozen canisters of Pringles, much to my confusion, and bad luck, because that evening when the chest specialist came in, he asked in horror 'are you going to eat all that?'.  He sees so many patients that by the time I saw him the next week after I was discharged, he was like 'ah the Pringles lady'. Thanks P.

The night P and Lanes were leaving, I had an emotional crisis and asked my mother to send me dinner. P and she were really happy since I had been refusing food all week.  That night, was all alone in the hospital, with only my Indian serials for company, and I was about to tuck into the dinner when ALL the nurses in my ward sauntered into my room.

Whenever it was time for medication, they came in pairs because they knew that each time I would whine about the quantity and size of the drugs, and then I would ask which ones were absolutely mandatory. It did not help that my aunt chimed in most helpfully on my first day there that I used to throw out all my medication when I was a child. After that, the nurses decided to watch me like a hawk. 

So when I saw them all, I thought that a major procedure lay ahead for me.  As it was, they were constantly drawing blood, nebulizing me, giving me steam inhalation, etc. I asked about my fate fearfully, and they all smiled and one of them said 'nah, we just came to see you because we know your family is leaving and we thought you could use some company'. 

I was so touched that tears welled up in my eyes.  Then one of them came forward and said 'are you actually eating dinner today? Everyone out. She is finally eating! Now when we come back we will check that you actually ate'. 

With that they all left cheerfully and I was starting to think I will actually miss them when I eventually get released, although I wondered how they constantly knew everything that was going on in my life.

By Friday, I had become well known in the hospital. Every time I was carted to physio or some test, I would be waving and making small talk with various members of the Wheelie Crew, who by now were happy that I no longer looked like I needed surgery.  I was greeted with gusto by everyone in the physio department and I always had a joke for my nurses. If that hospital was a small town, I could easily have run for mayor or town crier.  The place was starting to feel like home, and then I realized, perhaps it was time to return home.

I needed approval of three doctors, luckily one of them being my uncle who really was rallying for me, to be dismissed and finally, I was set free on Saturday.  With rounds of cake bought for all as a thank you gift, I sadly bid adieu to everyone.  I returned everyday for physiotherapy until I was forcefully repatriated by the travel insurance company. 

I will always be grateful for friends and family who came to visit me and cheered me on during and after my hospital visit, and for my poor orthopedic surgeon uncle, as I probably was his most challenging patient to date.  

Two weeks to the day I busted my leg, I found myself back in Canada, with much ado, but that's for another blog.  


If you would like the blog to return, please do comment below or on my Facebook page. I'm still on the fence, although I do have many stories to tell…I need some encouragement to fuel this madness…..

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sunrise, Sunset

I have taken to (literally) pottering around the garden, the one place those who know and yet love me will never ever think to look for me. I wouldn’t even be caught dead outdoors, which would be a challenge when finding a burial plot for me, but that problem has been delegated to my very competent niece, who for some reason is greatly looking forward to planning my funeral. She even has the burgundy lipstick I requested at the ready.
But seriously, for a germaphobe like me, getting knee deep in mud was considered appalling. I’d only consider getting down and dirty, say if a BBQ rib eating contest was involved. Otherwise, bring on the Purell, I’m not touching anything. I hover around doors until someone opens them for me. Lately, however, I find myself dashing to the garden store instead of the mall.  When did buying succulents ever seem more fun than buying shoes?
Make no mistake; I have not gone all Zen in the membrane. You won’t find me in the garden practicing Tai Chi and trying to find my inner peace with a cup of green tea. That, I assure you, will never be me. Not that there is anything wrong with it, but by order of my general clumsiness I avoid hot beverages and any activity that could require standing on one foot.
Even walking is a challenge for me. When I was scouting for a suitable plot for my father’s remains, I was so busy trying to read tombstones to make sure he would have some suitable company that I tripped and fell into poor Mrs. Amarasuriya's grave.
The poor soul probably had no idea a complete stranger of epic proportions was planning on joining her into the ever after, and I’m sure she was not pleased to make my acquaintance.  My life is a series of such graceful moments and bad decisions. Perhaps that should be the title of my autobiography.
My latest lapse in judgment was just last month, when we finally took a vacation to San Diego. We went to the zoo, which appeared so large, it should probably have its own time zone, if not zip code. Lanes, my dizzyingly adorable seven year old, was fascinated by the sky tram that ran from one end of the premise to the other.  She begged and pleaded to go for a ride on it, but my sensible spouse, P, refused to join her.
He pretended he was tired, but the truth is that he is petrified of heights.  I was not so sure myself, but when it comes to Lanes, I do tend to give in to her whims and fancies. P calls that ‘getting into situations’. Plus, I wanted to encourage her adventurous spirit.  She is growing up fast and soon enough common sense, self-preservation, and my nagging high pitched voice in her head will make her think twice about having fun.
I reluctantly agreed, thinking it’s no big deal. In fact, it seemed like a fun mother-daughter activity. All I had to do was sit, and I know I’m plenty good at that, as the impression of my rear on our couch could prove. However, when the tram moved, sashayed and made rickety noises, I realized we were sitting in bucket, with no seat belt, no helmet, with only a pole in the middle to hold onto.
We were jet propelled across the sky, elements in our faces, on a glorified pail that swayed with the wind. Up, up, up and up we went, as high as the eagles fly.  Lanes squealed with delight. I noticed the elephants below looked like ants when I deigned to look out.  At that point I made the executive decision to not look out. Ever. 
I was swearing in my head with every cool breeze that tauntingly nudged the bucket, so I clung onto the pole for dear life. I began reprimanding myself for taking my one and only child, after all I only have a heir, not a spare, on this ride.
I started saying LOTS of prayers, much to Lanes’ confusion.  She didn’t know why I chose this very moment to have a religious revival. I made a promise that I would never go on that ride again if only we got off safely. The last person to get on the last life raft of the Titanic probably had the same expression I did when I got off.  
An hour later (since we got back to P on foot), P was laughing at me. I was about to collapse. Lanes was screeching ‘again, again’ and laughing at me with her father.  As P shook his head at my bad decisions, we heard an announcement asking patrons not to panic because the tram was stuck! If that happened while we were on it, I would have had a mother of all hyper ventilations and they would have had to send a chopper to rescue us, and I would have made it to the 4 o’clock news. That’s not how I envisioned landing on TV.

In other developments, my little puppy is growing up. Lanes has taken to searching for Taylor Swift songs on uTube. She came up to me and announced with great delight that her favorite artist can make bad boys good for a weekend. She wanted to know if that’s what I did with P. I knew Lanes was looking for a reaction, so I pretended to ignore it but inside I was gesticulating wildly and screaming with horror. 

We will have to monitor her monitor time closely because she found Swift singing at a Victoria’s Secret fashion show on line. She was watching it with rapt attention when I swooped down on her like a falcon snatching a bunny.  Lanes calmly said ‘oh but their wings are so beaaaaaaaaaautiful! Just don’t look at the underwear’.

Meanwhile, she is growing physically as well.  Lanes will need braces or spacers or something else that sounds like one of Santa’s rejected reindeer.  Her jaw is too small to accommodate her teeth.  This is yet another one of my delightful traits I have deemed fit to pass down to this poor child.  There should be a ‘do not swim’ sign and twenty life guards next to my gene pool.

Her orthodontist showed us a gadget which looked like a medieval torture device. Lanes was lounging on the dentist chair with her legs crossed at the ankles and her elbows relaxed on the arm rests, looking like she was flying first class to Hawaii. She was facing away from me, gazing out the window, probably waiting for a cold drink to be served to her, so she missed the look of dismay that was flashing across my face.

Like a cross between the village idiot and town crier, I wanted to flay around the place insisting that thing was not going in my baby’s mouth.  However, when I heard words like ‘restricted airway’ and ‘pulling teeth’, I realized it would be for the best. Lanes, bored with the view of the highway,  came to investigate and by some miracle decided the device was quite neat, but announced that she would much rather have some braces, preferably with color options.

Leave it to Lanes to request dental procedures like she was ordering from a menu. She was delighted when she found out she could have four braces for now. Meanwhile, P and I were about to collapse, hoping our dental coverage would be of some help with this entire procedure.

While we remain on the fence about this, Lanes is determined to get braces. No doubt she will try to wear us down with constantly asking for it. I must say, it’s quite an effective torture technique. With her growing up, almost every day is a battle of wills between mother and daughter. P, as usual, escapes the drama on account of his ‘selective’ deafness.

We went for an event at Lanes’ school, and all the second graders were asked to come up to a stage, where they were asked what happened to them when they got into trouble at home. Lanes, sitting on the front step with her feet going in different directions, hands on her chin, with her mouth wide open, looking the epitome of boredom, perked up immediately.

She caught my eye in the audience and she glared at me daringly, with a mischievous smirk playing on her lips. I couldn’t believe that after all the times we have told her to participate in school; this would be the first time she would listen to us.

My heartbeats sounded like a loud swirl in my chest, and I contemplated fainting and causing a diversion. I was too far in the row to run and pull the fire alarm. Other kids chimed in with innocuous comments such as ‘it’s ok, don’t do it again’, ‘thank you for saying sorry’. Who are these parents? Mr. Rodger’s neighbors? 

When Lanes is in trouble, I go up an octave, steam pops out from my ears, and my pony tail swivels around my head. There is usually most certainly a firework display to follow.  I definitely tend to join the crazy train when it comes to Lanes not listening to me.

Just a few weeks ago, she miraculously found her neon blue piggy bank, and despite my lengthy lectures on economics, Lanes insisted that every single penny must be spent on her next outing. She had scrimped and saved spare change so that she could buy an ice cream cone. That was her lofty goal when she was four years old. The pig went MIA, probably did a world tour, and voila was in our living room three years later.

We were all delighted for her when it resurfaced, and by the weight of the pennies, Lanes decided she was very rich. She had $5. With a little help of her father, she wound up with $8.  Ever one to get super entangled in my dealings, she wanted to come to the garden store and buy something for herself.

My nutty sister and her brood were visiting, so I thought it would be a fun activity for all of us. I pawned her off on my nieces and went to accumulate herbs for my next project. Lanes went about finding something for exactly $8, after I reminded her that there was such a horrid thing called taxes she should account for before making her purchase. She will make some credit card company very happy someday.

I was thankful she only had $8 and left it up to my nutty sister to deal with. When I found them at the cashier, my nutty sister was looking thunderstruck. Her eyes were wide and her eyebrows were so far up her head, they might as well have been an Alice band.

Lanes came running up to me saying she bought an ornamental duck for exactly $8. The duck was wearing a cute chef’s hat and apron—and a sign that said ‘I Kiss Better Than I Cook’.  Lanes was in fits of laughter as she told me it would be funnier if it said ‘I Cook Better Than I Kiss’.

The only consolation I had at that moment was knowing that when we relayed this story to P later and showed him the duck, he would look quite ill. The look on his face was classic.

He had the same expression he did the time when Lanes was a year and a half and our neighbor’s son, two months older than her came over with a flower and kissed her on the cheek. His mom and I ‘oohed’ and ‘awed’ at the cute Kodak moment, but P said ‘well that’s not necessary, it’s not necessary’. The teenage years should be fun!

Next time, accounts on the alleged secret life of my nutty sister's postman and my attempts to get back in shape. With that I must sign off. More musings from BC next time….

Thursday, February 19, 2015

To Everything There Is A Season

Have you ever seen those game shows where a contestant gets into an enclosed cylinder and grabs at dollar bills while being attacked by winds going at 100 miles an hour?  That’s what 2014 was for us, except instead of snatching at money, we grasped at life changing events—not quite as fun.  I’m tired and overworked, my boots don’t fit, and come to think of it, neither do my pants, but that’s another story for another day. Here is what happened during my long hiatus…
May brought the first of the two unexpected trips for me.  My niece’s nanny, Anna, insisted we go to Poland to pray for my father, who at that point had battled stage IV cancer for six years.  She was adamant that a pilgrimage would help and her relentless efforts paid off when my nutty sister and I found ourselves literally on a wing and a prayer, headed to Eastern Europe within a matter of weeks.
My boss was surprised by my sudden religious revival, my diligent spouse, P, was in a flap at the thought of running the five ring circus that is raising our one and only child, Lanes, all by himself, and I was in a state about being stateless since my passport, still of the motherland, usually gets people kicked out of countries instead of being welcomed in.
However, as tired as I was by the three legged foot race it was to get my visa in order, on the way there, I was delighted to have my sibling to myself. That never happens with various spouses and children running around, no offense to them. I was less enchanted when I found myself pasted to the window because my sister decided to bring a green army tank as her carryon. It was placed on my left foot all the way to Poland.  It’s a wonder I didn’t develop deep vein thrombosis.
Anna came too, and I nearly fell to the floor with amazement and delight when she pulled out of her handbag, homemade, individually wrapped, meat chops and chocolates for each of us. She force fed us while we were waiting for our flight, and I did not protest one bit. She’s magical to say the least! Slow roasted chops in a bag. Brilliant!
The onus of planning the trip fell upon my nutty sibling, and she found someone on the internet to drive us around Poland. The internet. Was this a Lifetime movie waiting to happen? Was my smiling face about to appear on a poster somewhere? Did she find some stalker or nut job? Who was this Anthony guy?  Overly prudent and prudish, I was squawking about this nonstop and took it upon myself to fight him off should he make any untoward passes at pretty and delicate Anna, who could easily pass off as a Gabor sister.
I felt silly approaching him in my black bodyguard outfit, brandishing my umbrella on day one because Anthony turned out to be a charming man, who looked just like Robert DeNiro!  He was completely bossed around by Anna. If she started a request with ‘I’m asking you nicely’, he best get on it! I was rather teary eyed when we left him behind in Warsaw, but I think he was in bad need of a vacation after running around the Polish countryside with us, each pointing in a different direction.
I was happy that our pilgrimage went off well. Anna arranged a private mass at Jasna Gora. Everything was in Polish and the only thing we understood was when my father’s name was announced, with perfect pronunciation. Anthony was next to me, giving me cues on when to stand and kneel.
Still in disbelief that I actually made it there, I was moved to tears.  My sister looked otherworldly, and Anna, in-between praying and crying, was taking pictures, despite being told not to use the flash. Anthony was muttering under his breath, steam coming out of his ears at the looks we got each time little streaks of lightening came out of her camera.
When the priest approached us with the host, I froze.  P had told me very sternly and with great authority that only those who are baptized may receive communion. Here I was, praying fanatically and the priest who had hundreds waiting for him was offering me the bread. I confessed quickly to Anthony that neither my sister nor I were baptized and I hoped he would rescue us from any sacrilege. 
I looked terrified and ate it, all the while, hearing P gasping in horror in my head. In terrible fear that I had committed an act of blasphemy, I cried even more, envious of my sibling, who had no idea of the faux pas she had committed. No wonder they say ignorance is bliss.
After we prayed, several people flocked to Anna and Anthony to inquire about the foreigners ‘with such great faith’.  A security guard, on the good side of 70, and costumed like he was off the set of a Federico Fellini film, asked Anna if he could marry my sister, which sent me in a fit of giggles. Anna kept him at bay saying she was married and then he wanted to marry me! What am I? A consolation prize?
On the heels of my return from the trip, we finally started to make a real move (pun intended) towards getting out of our crazy ghetto fabulous building. We found a realtor who had the most fascinating hair—because naturally, that’s what one looks for in a real estate agent. Lanes was mesmerized by him, and that made all the house visits we had to endure bearable.  After a series of shoes on, shoes off, nice deck, too old, too expensive, finally on Lanes’ 7th birthday, we got a call from our agent, Andrew, saying he found a place.
The location was a bit far, but we thought we would go since Andrew was so awesome and we didn’t want to disappoint him. We got to the place a little early, so we scoped out the neighborhood. I had started to plan the spiel we would give Andrew about declining this place, when we realized that there was life out in the boondocks. The house was central to many stores we frequent and then I found the prize, an oasis in the desert, a Taco Bell.
The clouds parted and there was a ray of sunlight.  It was at that moment, that I turned to P and said, we will take it, sight unseen.  P laughed at how easily I was swayed. All it took was hope of a few chalupas (which incidentally, I found out later, were NOT available here—it was a tragic moment).
The house turned out to be nice, even though there were fish (and shrimp!) tanks everywhere and the walls were Pepto-Bismol pink, neon blue and operating room green.   Despite the nauseating palette, it was the first house I entered that I felt at peace. By this time my father was really taking a turn for the worse, and I was steadfast in my mission to grant him his wish of raising Lanes in a ‘proper house’.
We put in an offer and our agent entered some sort of American Gladiator round of negotiations with the sellers.  His boss and he were starting to get sick of the other party and were about to tell us to walk away, but by that time, we had to book a last minute flight to the Motherland to see my father before it was too late.
The agent’s boss, Italian and all about la famiglia, looked me point blank in the eye and asked if I was in a rush to put the deal through so that I could tell my father we have a house before he passed away.  My feelings were bottled up until that point, because frankly, who has time to cry with a seven year old around?
I ungracefully burst into tears, hacking like a choking seal.  The waterworks instilled in him a great ferocity to get the deal done and at 10pm he jet propelled the seller’s agent over and we were signing paperwork before we knew it. Soon after, we were on a flight, dazed and confused, for our second unexpected trip for the year.
This time, my boss was praying I made it on time, P was at a loss for words, and I was completely unprepared to be fatherless.  We did make it on time, just enough for my father to register we came and for him to see pictures of the house on the internet. The cancer was in his brain by then, and except for smiling when Lanes spoke, he didn’t do or say much after that.
Lanes was convinced that her presence would protect her grandfather and despite invitations from her cousins, she spent every waking hour in his room. The one day she was asked to step outside, he passed away just after the family priest came and said a prayer over him.
The funeral was the next day. My nutty sister, refusing to accept fate, did not bring appropriate clothing for the event. She had to wear clothes left behind in her closet, which were probably left untouched since 1984. As we stood by the coffin, my sibling looking like a waiter no one would hire, I couldn’t see her as a 40 something year old. I could only picture her as a young teen and myself as a child. 
It was the same feeling I had when I got lost in a store when I was three years old and despite the sales ladies consoling me,  I was convinced they would kidnap me and that I’d never see my parents again—only magnified a hundred times more.  We didn’t want to leave the casket. My father  was the picture of good health, and he donned his favorite suit and trademark mischievous smile—the kind he gave when the joke was on everyone else.
He loved colognes and my nutty sister put his favorite bottle in the casket. Luckily, I noticed, because he was to be cremated. I’m sure my father didn’t intend to go out with a bang! I fished it out and thus spared the guests who did manage to find out about the funeral (my father wanted it immediate and on the down low) from becoming BBQ entrees. Instant and free cremations were not gifts they wanted.
My sibling stayed on a little with my devastated mother, but we had to run back because there was no leave left for us to take. I would have wound up losing my status at work from full time to temporary which meant I’d lose all my benefits. Plus, we had to pack and move.  Moreover, Lanes had just gotten into a new school and she needed to be there for the first day. 
Good job on us! Not only did she lose her grandfather but we ripped her apart from the comfort of her beloved friends. Some day when I’m dropped off at a home, these deeds will come back to haunt me. I am not up for mother of the year, that’s for sure.
Moving day was a nightmare onto itself. Lanes began the day by throwing up.  Turned out it was the excitement of it all, so we shipped her to school. The movers didn’t believe me when I said we had a lot of furniture and they double booked us.
As a result, P had to run off to manage them and clean the apartment and I was left to carry everything up and down stairs since they unceremoniously dropped all our stuff in the garage of our new place. I’m amazed at the power of adrenaline. I lugged stuff that I could barely push on a good day. I could have bench pressed Rambo, made dinner, and given a TED talk at the same time, I was so pumped!
That day itself, I set up 85% of the house, starting with Lanes’ room. Over that weekend, everything was unpacked and we could have fooled anyone into thinking we had lived in the house for years. I am so amazing, if I do have to say so myself!  Looking back, I would call us meticulous hoarders. I have no idea how we managed to store everything in an apartment.
With the move over, came braving the commute. It is a blooming nightmare. I wake up at 5am, where I stand at a bus stop on the highway. Considering it rains 80% of the time here, I brace myself every time a truck drives by so that I don’t get sprayed. I then run to catch another bus and then dash up a series of stairs to catch the train. Getting home is even worse.
I race down stairs at the train station to catch the bus.  If I had to eat a 100 year old duck egg at the end of the stairs, my routine would be exactly like a leg of the Amazing Race. If I don’t run, I either fall or get carried by the crowd.
If I miss the bus, it means at least a 15 minute wait in the cold and rain for the next one. If I do get on the bus right away, I usually have someone’s armpit in my nose and another person’s backpack in my ribs. It’s a long 25 minutes, invariably perfumed with the l’air du body odour and unseemly bodily gases.
This bus pulls to the station just when my other bus is pulling out. That means another 15 to 20 minutes in the elements, and usually I’m fuming in the line next to the idiot who decides to start smoking.  Undaunted, I’ve taken to studying the flight patterns of Canadian geese while I’m waiting. I might start to name them.  When I do get on the bus, I eventually get to a stop where then have to walk across two major highways to get home, wasting 7 minutes at each crosswalk light, where I have the pleasure of inhaling exhaust fumes.
Sadly, this is the best route for me. The other two alternatives did not work out at all! With the first one, I wound up on a narrow strip of pavement in the middle of nowhere waiting for a bus that never came.  I got splashed every time a car whizzed by, and the wind was shoving me into an overgrown hedge. My umbrella bounced me off the hedge and into a garbage can, from which I was pinged back into the hedge. This cycle of misery continued for little over an hour.
I was roaring with rage by the time I got home, and I might have found a goldfish swimming inside my left boot.  With the second alternative, my co-worker showed me a route wherein I found myself crossing over a sprawling highway four times! After which, I had to stand at a very precariously placed bus stop. If a driver sneezed, he could have swerved and taken us all out. No way!
Such is my life nowadays.  At best I have five minutes when I get home to shower and have Lanes’ dinner ready.  When Lanes gets home, everything is a blur. Her lunch is uneaten, her hair is everywhere, and I can’t wrestle her into the shower or settle her down for dinner or to do her homework. It’s like wrestling an alligator in a big vat of jello.
With that I must sign off, and I promise like a politician that I’ll post again next week. These days I don’t know what lies ahead seven minutes from now let alone seven days! I’m telling the universe that I’m going to win the lottery, so I can spend my days wearing chunky jewelry, eating chocolates, writing and adoring my 45 rescue dogs.  But for now, it’s off to catch bus number one I go…(please do leave comments)…more musings from BC next week…

PSystem Angelo, you now have to keep your end of the bargain. Please cook your famous eggplant for me. I'll pop over anytime. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Red


‘Shall we light a match and play with it?’, ‘What would happen if we crossed the road blindfolded?’. These are the types of questions my nutty sibling might as well ask of me. For some reason, even the most innocuous of suggestions made by her lead me to wind up wanting to call an ambulance for a nebulizer or spontaneously combusting from exasperation. Probably, a little bit of both.


During my unprecedented two month silence,   I was nearly tackled at a supermarket, my child channelled the Rockettes at the dentist, and my spouse tried to claim the blame for a near flood at our apartment. That’s only the stuff I do remember. Naturally, between all this, and the unceremonious passing of my laptop battery, I was rendered speechless.


My computer won’t work unless it is plugged in, and thanks to my meticulous better half, P, and his unhealthy fascination for acquiring sofas, finding a socket usually involves a large amount of gymnastics and flexibility. I couldn’t be stiffer if I was spray tanned with a can of starch. 


As they say, empty vessels make the loudest noises, and it was unusual for me to go silent for so long.   Friends wondered if I had fallen off the face of the earth, so I tried my hand at contortion and crept under the bed and stuck my hand through the side table to reach an outlet. Voila, I’m back on line. 


Any old how, since last I wrote, we took a weekend trip down to Seattle to pester my sister and her husband for their birthdays. Conveniently, they were born two days apart. During this visit, it was decided that I should revamp my undergarment situation because I had items in my wardrobe from when ‘Dynasty’ was on TV. 

My faithful sibling took me to numerous stores, but I was as interested in shopping as a lazy donkey is in taking a hike.  On the last night, I relented and took my stash to a changing room, patting myself on the back for remembering to not only lock, but block the door.


In the past, my sister has been notorious for swinging the doors of changing rooms open at the most inopportune moments, invariably causing me to flash old ladies and frighten them so much that their meticulously curled hair stands on end. To my surprise, there was silence behind the door. 


Could she have left me at the store? Anything was possible. I rushed out to find her whizzing by with groceries piled up in her very short arms. I grabbed a carton of milk from her hand and rushed after her. Never one to follow the rules, she entered an area marked ‘exit only’ in an attempt to perform a ‘self check-out’.


Always one to follow and then bungle up all the rules, when I actually take time to read them, I stopped short and gestured towards the sign. She beckoned me over saying nothing happened to her and to get a move on it already. As I set foot towards her, the alarms went off! I half expected a net to fall on me and for some bull dogs to tackle me to the ground. I’m lucky I didn’t get pepper sprayed!


To my horror, I realized when everyone turned to me, not only did I have the carton of milk in my left hand, dangling gaily from my right hand were two very large bras, one of which was such a bright red, that it might be used in an emergency kit in case of an avalanche.  I was about ready to check myself out to the big buffet in the sky!


My ears were burning and I was rendered motionless at the pure trauma of it all.  To make it worse, two teenage boys who work in the store were sent forth to put the alarm off, and they were trying their best not to laugh at me. Perfect. Just the cavalry I need when I’m stuck holding underwear.  I didn’t look like a blooming idiot; I looked like the idiot with the parachute sized bloomers.


My sister, of course, found it hilarious and she still wanted me to come through the same way with her milk. What a nutter.  I made a bee line for the next cashier and bought everything in my possession. I would have bought a lawnmower and a fridge if they threw that in, just to leave the store. I plan on never returning. 


The next morning, I was worse for wear (pun intended), and we returned to Canada.  P packed a stash of mail that my sister had given him. It seems she has accidentally maybe on purpose signed me up for something or the other and advertising agencies are under the impression that I am a senior citizen. As such, I am the proud recipient of multiple invitations to retirement homes. She even wanted to take me for the orientation for one—said they gave fabulous canap├ęs.


I didn’t want to know how she knew this. All I know is that if I went with her, it would be a one way trip with me winding up in a wheelchair, screaming that I was not over fifty-five despite my prematurely gray hair and malfunctioning organs and she would nonchalantly tell the attendants that I was not quite with it and to please put me down for an early bird special. 


It didn’t help that soon after I chided her for constantly trying to send me to gated communities, I was standing at a bus stop when a lovely elderly gentlemen began to explain the topography of the areas surrounding us, circa 1952.  He painted quite a quaint picture as he described brooks and lanes where now a behemoth shopping mall stood. As we were deconstructing the area, bit by bit he remarked that it was so lovely to see a beautiful young lady smiling.


Since I was working with him, moving my eyes left to right, I was stumped as to where he saw the lady, and quickly chimed in that folks are not as welcoming as they used to be back in the day and I went into my usual speil about how dogs are better than humans. As I continued to nearly give myself whiplash looking for the friendly woman, next thing I know, the older man had given me a gentle hug and said he was talking about me!


Mercifully the bus, now five minutes late, showed up that instant and I was spared any further awkward moments sponsored by my not so bright brain. Captain Obvious is clearly not a friend of mine.  P and my sister were highly amused by this story, and my sister hooted and said that this is why I’d be such a hit at the retirement home. Them old ladies will love me. Not. On the bright side, at least I’d be the belle of the ball somewhere.


That being said, I am now considering a move—anywhere. I lost several nights of sleep and hours of pay thanks to the shenanigans at our crazy a$$ ghetto fabulous building. In an attempt to camouflage its flaws, I mean renovate, we finally got new carpets and our hallways were painted. 


Gone are the peeling blues on the doors and the ratty threadbare brown carpet in the halls (original color unknown at best). We were surprised at the sudden upgrade, but our cautious joy was soon overcast. A few Saturdays ago, I noticed a huge damp spot on our carpet near the kitchen. 


As a reflex, my first thought was to blame the spouse and child. Always a safe go to, when in doubt. However, my six year old, Lanes, was adamant it was not her and P thought perhaps it was him. It seemed like a rather large spill, and unless he was giving an elephant a wash in our living room, there was no way he could be responsible for it, despite his protests that he was.  


At the back of my head I knew it had to be the miserable apartment. I pretended it was the dishwasher and refused to use it.  Denial is the next best thing when one can’t blame those one is biologically and legally obliged to live with.


On Sunday morning, there was even more water on the carpet. Of course there are no emergency numbers given out to us tenants, that would be far too practical and responsible, and so I had to do some detective work that led to a domino effect of calls and I finally tracked the apartment manager down at 7pm.  Turns out, it was indeed, a burst pipe.  P was randomly protesting his guilt, saying he must have done it, up until this point, when the jig was up.


The drama didn’t end there. They had to send someone to suck up the water the next day. I insisted I be there and begrudgingly left work an hour early to tend to that. Of course they sent someone at noon, when I was still at work, probably running away from some ghost or the other.  I was so livid, my angst alone could have powered the greater metropolitan area. 


The next weekend, I woke up to sunshine, a rare event in these parts. Thanks to the extra burst of light, I noticed we had lovely clumps of mold all over our bedroom ceiling. Back again to chasing down the apartment folk, and back again to taking more time of work. I was really down on the deal literally because they didn’t send someone over until the time I normally get home from work.


So I missed an hour of wages for no good reason. By that time, I could have powered the entire province with my anger. My eyebrow started twitching and I almost had smoke coming out of my nostrils. I was fed up and ready to move! That being said, we are too darn lazy to pack. So it’s back to being non-proactively annoyed.


Other than that, in another weird segue popular in my blogs, Lanes is growing in leaps and bounds. She keeps popping out teeth at such a rate that the Tooth Fairy is now on strike due to long hours and poor wages.  My little munchkin is also sprouting billboard sized adult ones left, right, and center, and we were terrified there was no room in her little mouth for them. 


Concerned, we took her to the dentist, where she proceeded to lounge like she was receiving a spa treatment while having her teeth cleaned. Never before have I seen a child so delighted to come home with a toothbrush and dental floss.


We were sent off to an orthodontist, who gave Lanes a quick check up and then turned to us to explain a game plan for dealing with our spawn’s troublesome molars.  I had two problems concentrating. The first was because he was holding onto some false teeth that reminded me of something from a pirate movie. I was dying to get my hands on the choppers and chase people with them while cackling in pirate speak. The second was because behind him, Lanes was having a glorious time on the dentist chair. 


She had her legs up in the air and she was flailing them to and fro in a motion that looked like a combination of the can-can and water aerobics.  Whee, sway to the left, whee sway to the right. I willed her to stop when it looked like she was turning her attention to various buttons, but since she knew I was completely powerless in that situation, she continued to have a whale of a time. 


 It was hilarious to say the least, especially since that poor man, thinking we overly pushy Asian parents who wanted her to have orthodontic work done at such an early age was imploring us to hold off for a few years.  In the end, I stopped stifling my laughter and asked the orthodontist to look behind him. Lanes froze momentarily, but after the dentist gave her the green light, she proceeded to do her Broadway routine. It was the ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ meets ‘Mamma Mia’.


After we got that out of the way, we explained that we were in no hurry to get Lanes decked out with spacers or braces or anything at all, especially if they sounded like the reindeer that didn’t’ make the cut for Santa’s sleigh.


I was longing to play with the false teeth, but thought better of asking to have a go at it. I’m sure if I did ask, P would have put his palm to his face and started shaking his head, the way he often does when I come up with these ideas. With that, I guess I better sign off. I’ll try to do the limbo with a sofa and sleep early on a Friday night so I have energy to keep up with blogging the way I used to. More musings from BC...soon? Please leave comments below….

This blog is for Katherine, Hans and Sonali, because you are awesome!

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Gotcha Katherine!

An overactive imagination and boredom make a dangerous pair, and it led me to literally jump start 2014. Picture it, yours truly, big haired and bleary eyed, unused to the quiet because everyone who usually sends work our way is on holiday.  A former colleague, who I affectionately refer to as 'The Beard', and I were shuffling documents in a secure, cabinet lined area of the office.

Always one to take pride in my multi-tasking skills, I was listening avidly to a tale the Beard was spinning while trying to take care of some work. Oh, and did I mention, rumor is, the office is haunted--or so they say, and I've felt. Thum thum thum...cue eerie music here.

He claimed he was alone in the secure area when he heard someone bang their fist hard into one of the cabinets. Knowing fully well that no one was around, and no one else could have access to the room, he looked up quickly to see a man in period costume and a top hat, with a 'Freddy Kruger face' walk by.

Have you heard the expression, 'can't say boo to a ghost'? Well, the Beard apparently, has not, because that's just what he did. When it comes to fright or flight, he opts for fight. In response, the apparition walked by again.  

I laughed at the Beard and told him the rule of thumb is that one should never challenge any being with potentially super natural powers.  I had the heebie jeebies a little but I let it go because I was concentrating on what I was doing with full force--I take my temp job rather seriously.

Next thing I know, I heard a deep voice coming from behind the cabinets. I flapped my arms and hands several times, possibly levitated an inch off the ground in my attempt to take off and I bee lined it towards the Beard, where I shamelessly crouched and hid behind him with tears streaming down my eyes!

Meanwhile, he nearly passed out in hysterics because the voice belonged to the newest temp in our office. Of course, he wasn't amused that I hid behind him and kind of pushed him towards the voice, but that's another story.  My response to fear is obviously flight--and offering a sacrificial lamb.

The Beard and the new temp thanked me for the best laugh they have had in awhile. It seems it was a classic moment. Considering I was holding my bladder until I finished my work, this story could have ended far more tragically for all concerned. If only they knew.To make things worse, when I did rush to the loo after that, the tap came on by itself! Talk about timing!


Speaking of holidays, weird segue, we went to Seattle for Christmas to visit the family. Chaos is not far behind when I spend time with my nutty sibling. We accompanied my father for a session of chemo and as usual, he decided to go forth without his hearing aid.  At every stop, a nurse would ask for verification of his date of birth and he would happily respond with a lecture on the topography of his veins and where he would like to have various drugs injected into his person.
My father is just the right combination of harmless and clueless that makes women want to call him 'sweetie' and offer him a hearty soup and possibly a teddy bear.  As such, when I explained that we were having two different conversations because he refused to wear his hearing aid, the nurses would smile and indulge him. 

My father, oblivious as usual, happily smiled and batted on, oozing charm all over the place.  I was a little in awe of this and wondered what part of the family tree my sister and I had stand under in order to get clubbed by a branch that would magically give us some of this charisma. 
When my father was getting his blood tested, I volunteered my arm for squeezing. When I was little, he used to tell me to squeeze his hand really tightly because it would distract me from the pain in my arm whenever I got a vaccine. As touched as he was at the reversal in roles, he embarked on long conversation with the technician about how daughters are bossy. To my chagrin, the technician chimed in agreeing because he had three of his own! 
We met my sister outside the room, where she was having fun with my father’s cane. Channeling Charlie Chaplin, she kept swinging it to and fro and pointing at random things, such as my nose and left eye. 

In between all that, she dropped in on the hospital floor several times, much to my germ fearing mind’s horror. As reluctant as I was to hold anything that has been on the ground of a medical facility, I had to confiscate the cane in order to preserve various body parts and to avoid law suits.
We were soon sent off to the ward for chemo.  I spied a bunch of gadgets near the head of the bed and I made a mad dash for the chair near the controls. The last thing we needed was my sister to grin and start getting trigger happy with the buttons, something she is absolutely notorious for. 

The last time we were all in a hospital together, my father got jet propelled so high that he looked like an old Volkswagen that was about to get its undercarriage inspected. He was so shocked, he was at a loss for words and was making random hysterical noises.
Undaunted, my nutty sister found a lever at the end of the bed, and my father suddenly found himself, open port and all, slammed into an upright position. He squawked  and said that the night before he had a nightmare that he was on a bed that snapped. 

By this time, I had stood up in horror.  Unbeknownst to me, I was flailing my arms (again with the chicken impersonation) and hitting my head, screeching at my sister to cease and desist immediately. I wanted her to step away from the bed and any patients immediately.

I didn’t realize the commotion I was creating until I noticed that my sibling was staring at me with a wide eyed crazy grin.  For someone who was just moments ago chastising my family for not being quiet enough, I could have powered the greater Seattle area just with my flailing limbs and head bashing. Luckily, no other patients were in the vicinity.
A nurse showed up and diffused the situation. I realized that there was a section in the ward that had lots of food for patients and their care givers. Always the first one in a buffet line, even at a time like this, I was dying to go check it out but I was scared to leave my father alone with my nutty sibling. 

I was torn between my weird sense of obligation to be my father’s bodyguard and my constant craving for any kind of food at any time of the day. Eventually, greed got the better of me and after some grunting at my sister, I took off and came back with some mac and cheese, crackers, shortbread, coffee and a ginger ale.  If not for recently losing my gall bladder, I would have tried the chocolate ice cream too.
As my dad was finishing up his treatment, I stood up to use the facilities when my sister said ‘don’t flush today’. I was confused and wondered if it was the hospital’s effort to be green and save water, but it just didn’t seem sanitary in a place that one can’t even step into if they walked by someone with a cold.
Luckily for me, I stopped to follow their conversation because my sister kept going on about not flushing and then my father made me realize she was talking about something that had to do with his treatment. Imagine my horror if I went in and didn’t flush! With my luck, a nurse would probably have been waiting to go in the loo right after me. My reputation, and only that, would have been down the toilet!
After we were done, we followed my nutty sibling to the car park. I was monopolizing my father with one hand and clinging onto his medication, set in ice, with the other.  My sister complimented me on my shirt, a gift from my meticulous spouse, P.  It was rather loose fitting and big--I could have had an entire production of Cirque du Soleil under there.
My nutty sibling just lifted up the shirt, assuming I had a tank top underneath, and made me flash the entire parking lot. I couldn’t cover myself because I was safeguarding the drugs, and so I was left to squeal and be mortified and apologize to any cancer patients who had to bear witness to this horrifying sight.
My father, not observing the sisterly drama going on,  got home and told my mother that he had a wonderful time with his two girls. I was worse for wear between the cane poking, bed shifting, and shirt flashing. I rotated around the house in various states of hysteria but for some reason everyone ignored me.

With that, I must sign off and take a mental health break. More musings from BC soon, do leave some comments...

For my Muttley, born this day seventeen years ago. Still handsome as ever in my mind, always a treasure in my heart.