Happy New Year to All and Sundry!

A good riddance to 2007.

Come on 2008!

Happy New Year to all.
And to all, a good night.


Ode to Jeffrey

The dragonclaw sits by the bed
ashes split amongst wine drops
The mouthpiece I wipe clean of red
But pillow shams are plummy sops

A corner holds a few bags crumpled
The pitcher an unfinished ale
Four posters hardly even rumpled
The floor however, tells the tale

This whole vignette- this dreadful sight
My party tales do tell on me
Í sigh and pack my well-loved pipe
And coax it to flame most gently.

It makes things right- five farthing blend,
and what of last night shameless glory?
The smoke shoppes closed today my friend
But that, alas's another story!


just thinking about stuff

Coming up to another advancement in the year #. In our Western cultural reckoning:

My already boggled mind boggles more.


Some times when my mind BOGGLES in caps, I go here, and concentrate.

Living with a boggled mind is both a curse and a blessing.
A blessing in that it breeds compassion where indifference may have taken hold.

The biggest struggle in my life is communicating with my own family.
Sounds ridiculous but they are the worst offenders in not recognizing nor honouring boundaries.
--- MY boundaries!
They forget what lies beneath and are reassured by what the surface shows.

I am blessed in that I have never looked my age. This comes in handy as they tell me I have never acted my age either. -and- as more than 2 decades of this life are just things I have learned by rote - I don't feel my age either.

There is always a faint hope that time will dull this maelstrom and chemistry of the aged may offer respite to a tired mind. That is the only part of me that does get tired. My mind.

Perhaps the coming year will hold some peace.
God, I hope so.

Car Rant -- and meds rant --- and and and...

My car is a very sweet little Pontiac Grand Am SE. Although she is getting on in years, she looks pretty damned hot for a 1999. My car is equipped with every extra available for that model that year including the very smart rain guards on all four windows. When you live in the Rain Forest that is one smart option.

Although my car looks fantastic it has a teeny tiny issue with brakes. Ok it is a big fat issue.
It goes through front brakes one set per year.

The last time I got the brakes done, I paid extra for the top of the line callipers and rotors and blah blahsie blah and yes, here we are one year later and AGAIN with the brakes. (grrrr)
Apparantly this is a recall issue in the U.S of A. but not here in Canada.
Always a price for paradise.

rant 2 is the tired old brain meds one.
About once every three months I get a very nasty side effect and one that is potentially fatal. I throw up in my sleep. I have been lucky. I wake up a micro second beforehand.

So yes once again I am considering this cruel reality.


The Best of Both Worlds

A wonderful thing about working for the Government in Health Care is that someone else does the intakes, the administrative work and writes the cheques.

A wonderful thing about working for myself is that I can work full scope. Before you start thinking I am a wanton giver of catheters and enemas, a big nooooo to that. Working privately you can actually voice an opinion with your name attached to it. When you work for the Government your voice is only about the task involved. That is it. You may think as you choose but watch what you say as you represent our Health Care system. I like to tell my (government) clients:

" I am just the hands. You need to talk to the brain."

Works every single time.

I am kinda choosey about private care. I get the most satisfaction from Palliative Care so that is primarily what I do. I am not particularly interested in privately bathing and dressing people. I like a challenge.

This coming year I am considering a change. A big change. I am thinking I would like to renew my license and work full scope. This would mean working a set number of hours to keep my license. Remember, this is how I lapsed it - not working full scope.

To renew I have to go to school again. Upgrade.

There is a big huge part of me that wants to go back to being the BIG boss. Must be my age.
What to do?


A Boxing Day Zopiclonic

Zopiclonic you ask?

It is a therapeutic treatment - Like a colonic but less anal and more hypnotic.
More later.


A Boxing Day listening bit of BBC fun - here

I always had a soft spot for Siouxie Sue.


This being on my own experience has turned into a bonding extravaganza with my man, Tuckerkinz. He was a teensy bit disappointed that my idea of a perfect Christmas was to come home from work, take him for a walk, have a nap, take him for another walk and go to bed.
The very best part of that was the unplugging of my telephone and turning off my cell.

There you go, obligatory warning label. Off to bed with the last of the blues.


Our Christmas Present from Neil

You know you really should link off his site but ---

click HERE

Now tell me there is no Santa!
OOooooo thank ye web-gods and goddesses


Very Merry and Bright

Pre-Christmas blahs have set in around Paradise. It is the great expectations of the propagandized generation.(s) Lower the expectations and voila - stress falls off.

No expectations here - I am working Christmas and happily so. There is no one to put a stocking up for, no sitting down for a meal with family, no nadda. How wonderful! Being a Christmas elf for others suits me far better. As always, in helping others I can forget myself - those maudlin parts.

Before there was a label for it, I was a Goth in a world of Beach Boy wannabes. An Elvira before Midnite Theatre aired in my area. A big weirdo my sisters said. Altho the kids now think of me as boringly straight and staid, it still is an effort to get up and out that door every day. Left to my own devices, I would not venture far. I DO NOT venture far. For Christmas Day, I can do it with no effort at all. That is what Christmas is for me - doing something of value for someone else.

Of course I do get double overtime. But I would do it anyway.

Thus endoth Birthday Week

It was not a banner birthday. In fact it rather stunk as birthdays go. The week, however was rather nice and I took much pleasure in NOT BLEEDIN WORKING AT ALL!

Alas fair Lady D is in despair as Chemotherapy treatment number 1 did not agree with her at all. Nausea set in before her anti nausea drugs took hold and she was world class retchingy ill. I admire that she could undergo the intravenous chemo at all. For me, it would not work. My reactions to needles are so catastrophic it would be worse than the disease. I would likely keel over from the shock. The pills I can do. The radiation I can do. The other.... no way. D doesn't believe me that I admire her for it but I do. I am lucky I wont be losing my hair.

Finding out that her hair will definitely fall completely out within a month was hard for her. We went to the Cancer Society to choose among their wigs for something that would suit. It was awesome to see hundreds of wigs there along with scarfs and hair bands, bandannas and other headgear all for free. At no cost to the borrower I should say. It ain't free.

As I signed the register, there was a bad moment where Diana's eyes went down to the paper and saw the entry above ours. ((*deceased*)) yikes. It was pelting with rain so we did not investigate the big city as much as we would have liked. We did take luncheon at the Dorchester Hotel where our server was obviously hung over. The food was great. Being treated less well than the half male party beside us was less so.

It broke my heart to hear Diana say: "I already feel ugly enough..."

It is awful to know she means it.
Bloody cancer.
Does it leave anything?

Going to bed with Neil Gaiman

oh yummy what a tasty thought THAT is....
so very tasty that my cunning sleepytime plan failed.

The audiobook of Stardust in my possession is both written and read by Neil Gaiman.
Since I gallivanted about with my Father today and braved the shopping mall crowds, my return home was to a lite meal and bedtime. The storytime was but a bonus.

Having gone to bed with Neil Gaiman, I am now awake without him. The book is finished and even the interview with the author has been heard.

PIty I have to work tomorrow. I bet I could sleep in.


Learning to Live.

I'm learning to live.
This new way, this medicated restrained way, has become my new normal. Finding out it has been over one year - ONE YEAR - amazed me. Part of the change is that strange indifference to time. Strange new kind of indifference. Time is a topic that does not benefit from written dissection.
When you have lived so many years in an altered state, something new is not only challenging, it is downright weird.

Life in the very very weird Pepperland has some perks.
Small joys.
And this unending quiet rebellion against time.

Some things never change.


It's so quiet. (sshh! sshh!)

OOooooo I have the place to myself for a few weeks.

And what does this mean for me?
Guilt-free HGTV viewing!
teeny tiny bit of loneliness
Oh thank ye God.


My Birthdayness

Opening my eyes to my birthdayness, I allowed it to settle upon me.
Once ensconced in it, my hand flew to my mouse to check my Gmail.
Yes yes I know.....

There was a message from he_who_works_for_Uncle_Sam. Sorry he cant engage in felicitations but he leaves this morning at 1030 for Iraq. Strange he would be deployed on my birthday.
Wonder who chose THAT flight.

Apart from my feelings on the whole Iraq-America conflict, I have a horror of anyone I know entering war zones. He does not believe himself to be much at risk despite the fact of his uncommon height. Large target. I have bad feelings about this....

Back to the birthdayness-
Also in the Inbox was a cute E-Card. Very nice indeed.
I then took myself out for breakfast, went and bought myself a heavy winter coat for dogwalking in colder weather, and stopped in on the Office Christmas soiree. I gave the Union sponsered party a pass last night. I dont do nights well, if at all. So fully loaded on delicious treats I came home to:

A dozen roses from my evil twin brother. Beautiful red roses. He is so thoughtful.

A three course Japanese food dinner followed by gooey cake.
I feel sick@!^%$%#@

Whilst at my fathers, where aforesaid gooey cake resided, I idly picked up the Church bulletin from last week and noticed a memorial service for Vern Dahl.
I had to sit down.
I love Vern.
Now THERE went a gentleman.

Vern is another uncommonly tall man. He retired from a fabulous job in the RCMP to Paradise here and lost his beloved wife not long after. I met him at a Church function. We continued our friendship at the local A & W our Thursday breakfasts. And sometimes Fridays too! Over the last 3 years we developed a mutual affection. He was too olde for me but we had a good flirt. We were doing just that not 3 weeks ago.

Apparantly Vern had prostate cancer and did not know it until too late. Diagnosis was 3 weeks before death. THAT is a shock and a loss. No wonder our date didnt pan out. (!!)

So another year older.


Requiem for a deleted post.

This space stays in honour of a man who used his wife's potentially fatal illness as the basis for insulting her.
This means you M.L.

Have to be circumspect about the name thing but -
you still get the shit of the year award.

Birthday Week!

Oh ho it is birthday week. MY birthday week.
This year not only did I take my birthday off but five more days around my birthday too.

What do I want for my birthday?
True love & romance.

What am I likely to get for my birthday?
Good wishes and a gooey cake.

I am giving myself a present this year.
I will let you know if I like it.


Obligatory Rant on Brain Meds.

Risk versus benefit.
The cruelty of beneficial medication for brain problems.

Nevermind the Short Term Memory Loss.
Nevermind the acid reflux.
Never even mind the scary notion that in ten years or less my liver might be so damaged it won't matter what shape my mind is in - this is what irks me about brain meds:

Having grown up with a pharmaceutical junkie, that is someone who took dozens of pills daily for everything but the real problem- I was always opposed to the use of prescription drugs unless direly indicated. Climbing aboard the good ship brain medications was only done when my own ship capsized for the umpteenth time. before I was cognizant that I had a brain injury. Years of neglect and absentee parents had left me psychologically scarred, but I did not yet know that I had a traumatic brain injury in my past. The informed mind over matter thing, despite being incredibly interesting did not work for longterm management.
All that information.
All those therapies tried.
No regrets - I learned more about the workings of the mind than I could have in two Doctorate theses. Interesting.

Succumbing to a brain accident or stroke was becoming more and more probable. I did not sleep more than 2 hours a night for weeks on end. Once every 4 to 5 weeks I would crash. This had been my pattern for as far back as I could remember. Nothing - not alcohol, drugs or unending sexual pursuits had calmed this pattern. I also had the ability to think about many things at once; way way too many things, and combined with my hypersenses made life in the big city almost unbearable. Almost because I wore light sensitive glasses and wore earplugs.

Finally, it came to an end. I was done. Grudgingly, kicking and screaming all the way, I consented to try brain meds.
The difference after 3 months was flabbergasting. I slept. SLEPT!
The sleep debt got paid off in little bits. It was fabulous. Now I truly understood what other people took for granted - normalcy of a kind was mine. Heaven for awhile.

Five years into Brain Meds I had a seizure. Or five.
Always a heavy dreamer, a parasomniac, nighttime became a terror for those around me. Sleepwalking. Sleeptalking. Sleep SCREAMING.
Then I blanked out during the daytime. The weirdness had arrived.

This was the PTSD diagnosis.
I still have trouble saying that. But it is true.
So I have new meds. Different meds.

I am one year into this treatment.
This is what life now is:
I have a new body. It is 25 pounds heavier than my olde one.
I have a slower mind. A new ability to sleep ten hours with minimal yelling.

Is it worth it?
Well -
(heavy sigh)

I am still alive. I have not stroked out.
But I am profoundly depressed over side effects. The same medication that has kept my brain in check has also sucked my ambition and enthusiasm. I have gone from freakishly off the charts high energy levels to very low energy. I have acid reflux. My short term memory is suspect.

So we are back to the start of the rant.
This cruel choice. The trade-off.

The Cancer Clinic

(cue creepy music)

Driving down ye olde highway into the sunrise.
Normally, I am already at work by now. Normally doesnt figure much anymore.
It is a cold day and all I can do is pray there is no snow on the Malahat.

The anglo saxon coming fast and furious from my mouth hints as to my state of terror. The other person in the car - Lady D., has just completed her part in our long discourse on whether or not using the f word constantly in sentences means you are a comfortable inhabitant of the working class (her contention) or just plain lazy in your speech (mine). In an eerie echo of my Edwardian grandmother I hear myself say: "It sounds so common."

Aha! It is out. I am a snob reveal-ed.
A language snob at that. An unarmed language snob I think to myself.

We wonder on to the topic of my cruel trade-off which of course is one of my trademark rants.
The Brain Medication rant. I suppose I nurse curse AND rehearse that one.
It is a cruel trade-off though. I miss my metabolism, my smaller self and my multi-tasking. I do not miss the inability to sleep and the hyperactivity. I want middle ground. Sadly, not possibly. So say goodbye to more of my liver but a happy decade of roundness is mine.

We soon arrive in the Garden City and find the Royal Jubilee Hospital very easily.
Our destaination, The Cancer Care and research place, sits just behind.
The Centre is a newer building. As we enter, I am instantly aware that this is very probably the very best building/ work site our Health Authority has. It is open and airy and has windows that can let in fresh air. I have some serious workplace envy happening.

We see a series of people. Firstly a Client Care Aide. Excellent information compassionatly delivered. (Thank you Terry) Then we see a Radiation Oncologist. Another wonderful influx of information. But weighty, and oh so serious.

We stagger out under the weight of tmi to find a funkie lunch spot. We agree on the Parsons Cafe, and two thumbs up on that! YUMMY! Now is it Parish Cafe? Rectory Cafe? Parsons?
well buggerit all but it was tasty. Organic food grown locally. Cooked beautifully. Priced moderatly.

Back for round two: Chemotherapy 101.
Now we are getting somewhere. This is the suggested immediate.
We are fully loaded now with options a go-go.
After agreeing to be part of a test study, it is off for blood samples and then out to the car and homeward bound.

It is Lady D at the wheel. She does not take well to my suggestions of driving below the posted speed on the icy road. She believes that the posted speed is just an indicator and it is best to keep up with traffic. I bite my tongue so as not to mention the other drivers are in cars more winterized- we dont even have snowies on.

So again we rant our way home. Rant on her crazy ex- husband, on my ongoing war on mess in the home, and blah buggery blah blah.

The truth is we are both processing the information that in ten years time 20% of women just like us die of the cancer. The truth that even with chemo AND radiation it is still 7% that cannot be helped. The truth that we hate cancer and we hate these salesmen of treatment.
Yes they are salesmen. They are selling a product that likely we will feel obliged to buy.

That will be one round of chemo over 18 weeks thanks.... hold the radiation for now.
And the Tamoxifen 5 yr plan for dessert.

Lovely. Just bloody lovely.


The Pain of Enduring.

Another exercise in grace.
Another series of object lessons.

I sat in a room of 14 people all who work with me in the field.
I listened to the concerns and voiced a few of my own.

I work with some wonderful people. Almost all of my coworkers are people I would not hesitate to trust my life to. Amongst the pearls there are a handful of ten year+ employees that have something else going on.

The something else is a strange disconnect between what the Policy and Procedures of our region are and what they actually do in their practice. It is all about safe practice.
For me there are only two issues : Health and Safety --- is it safe? is it aseptic?T

These people of the something else never report incidents that put their co-workers at risk unless forced to.

So the meeting continue. We address the regional no lift policy.
No, they have no concerns.
My eyebrow goes up.

Interesting because in the room are two of the something else who several times a week violate the regional no- lift policy. They consider it to be stupid to call in another worker for a 3 minute transfer. They take the risk. But when they are not available and someone new is sent in, the new person is now at risk. And the new people get hurt.

These two of the something else never bothered to report 5 serial incidents where their client took a swing . They agreed that he really did not mean to hurt anyone.

We are all different.

I sat across the room watching.
They contribute __Nothing__ say __Nothing__

Where do we get these people?
Did they actually go to College?
Or were they *grandfathered* in?
Is it coincidence that they are supremely confident that they know best?

Sometimes when I get pissed off on the job, I have been know to say: I am not your boss. I am not your supervisor. I can only be my own best person, just as you must be for yourself. If you have some problem report it to your supervisor. I aint your supervisor. But for heaven's sake report it.

This post was prompted by finding out that two of my coworkers were injured in a place where the no lift policy was violated. Repeatedly.


RIP Hubert

Hubert, our fish, lived in an outsized brandy snifter on the dresser in the other bedroom.
Hubert was decidedly low maintenance. Seemingly content with his lot he lived a loved life.

I came out of my long lovely hot shower to a screaming roomie.
"Were you in my room? Did you touch my door? Did you slam something?"
A few more questions and I asked what was going on.

The snifter lay shattered on the floor. Hubert lay quietly dead.

I think the sudden cold low temperatures caused the glass to contract too suddenly . I think.
I once had a man make me an etched glass mirror in Art Noveau style for my December birthday. He had worked on it for a few months and it was breath-takingly lovely.

I brought it home in my car, and hung it up on the wall. The night was cold, the wall was an outside one and the next morning there was a huge crack right across the mirror. A pattern destroying one. To this day he thinks I dropped it carelessly.

Bye bye Hubert. That was an ignomious way to go.

and yeah - roommate suspects I slammed a door.