Living La Vida Murphy

True to form, I booked my flu shot for Friday, October 17th, and thus inevitably came down with the flu on Thursday, October 16th.

The flu with all its' attendant aches and pains seems like a preview of what life will be like at age 100. Fortunately, each new day brought a new symptom and left the previous days' somewhen else. Day 1 = disorientation. Day 2 = Body aches. Day 3 = fever& chills. Day 4 = Ear ache. and now Day 5 = weak as a kitten.

Meow meow.

Sadly, these were my holidays from the usual job and job 2 = no work for no pay. Luckily, they had my back and my lovelies had their service uninterrupted.

So a little Nick Drake and some chai tea and everything will be all right.
A shower and fresh bedding helped tons too.


Tempest in a Teacup

A little bit of the Mercury retrograde thing happening in second job ville.
Oh dear but there was a tiny miscommunication....

I am somewhat notorious for my bluntness. I try, really I do, to be kinder than necessary. The bluntness seems to shine through like a beacon. What I meant to do was write a little note in the communication book asking the other night managers if they review the work the serving staff do before they, the managers, go off shift. I always do. If things are not done I do them myself since I am the one responsible in the end. A whole ton of things were not done the other night; far too many to overlook. I meant to write a little note but it ended up being a long one that was open to interpretation. I ended up pasting over it the next day when the cook took it wrong.

The moral of the story is the same as always:
Do not write anything down after 10pm.

I really should know better.


Three Life-changing Letters - ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis:
A = absence of
myo = muscle
trophic = nourishment
Lateral = side (of spine)
Sclerosis = hardening

OH how my heart hurts when I read these three letters on a case file.
For a disease that is said to strike 6 in 100,000 Canadians, we sure seem to have a high proportion of afflicted in this Paradise of ours. Naturally, because we live in the best spot in all of Canada, we do get retirees from all over and everyone gets some sort of thing that slows them down. Some of us just get Old Age and all it's attendants, but others are felled by such as ALS.

In the last 2 years, I have attended 7 different people in this area of approximately 20,000 residents, and that is just the ones I know. Statistically, we should have a much higher popluation for these kinds of numbers. What is even freakier is that three of those people live within 1/2 mile of each other. In this case I am aware it is coincidental but it is still weird.

I was called into our sister town a few months ago to assist a gentleman who was about to go in and get a feeding tube installed. He still had the power of speech, and spent a lot of our time thanking me and complimenting all our team on their professionalism, compassion and skills. I recall thinking at the time: "Hmm, the last person who complimented me so profusely passed away not long after." These kind of people who see the good in all, and try to be the best they can in all ways in all times, make even their own deaths easier on others. I stand in awe of this.
This gentleman did indeed pass away not long after our meeting.

Now I am in another home, with another family, helping another person who is trying to live his best life under ALS's oppression. He also has an amazing wife who does everything she can to make things flow smoothly. My concern is always that these superwomen wear their bodies out caring for their spouses and do not realise it until after the fact when they too are clients. Still, you cannot ask the Sun not to shine nor command the Wind not to blow. She will do as she wishes until she cannot.

Me, I get to go home at the end of the day to my doggie and my beautiful new condo.
MMMmmmMMM! That could change in a heartbeat, as well I know. I enjoy every minute.

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It is with words as with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the deeper they burn. ~Robert Southey


*-* Severe Auto-immune Disorders *-*

What a thing to have happen to you in the sunset years of life, when all you want is to dandle your grandchildren over your knee and take vacations around the world in your own good time at your own speed. Your leisure time, now that you have it aplenty, is earmarked for just that: Leisure. Instead, you awaken one day to blisters forming all over your body. At first you think it is some weird virus, and perhaps your Doctor thinks so as well. Sometimes the Medical Practitioners are convinced you are severely allergic to a medication or food you recently ingested. As the weeks roll into months, it may happen that you are diagnosed with something like this.

My client of the moment who is experiencing this horrid disorder, has developed a sensitivy to touch of any kind. Although he is struggling to immerse himself in the oatmealed waters that provide his only solace of the day, he insists on doing it himself in the most unsafe manner you can imagine. As my Nursing instructor told me long long ago, "People have the right to fall if they so choose."

Being of the Matrix religion, ("You have to choose, Neo") this is all good with me although I find it frustrating to not render the assistance I can. Where I come in handy is to cut off the bandages covering his lesions. Some days this goes like a charm. Some days his fear of being touched is magnified to such an extent that he shakes badly making the removals very difficult. Hours of this man's day are consumed with Health Care needs. One hour to remove bandages and to bathe. 2 to 2.5 hours to rebandage the lesions. Each time I leave that home I am struck by the quiet fortitude of this man's wife. She chooses to be gracious and helpful in a situation of high stress. She is a true heroine.

Can it be that some of us flower most magnificently in the rain?

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“Those who are firm, enduring, simple and unpretentious are the nearest to virtue”. Confucius


Credit where due

Likely I am the last in the buyer group that purchased the same machine as I did two years ago, to upgrade my computer's RAM. My poor little 512k just did not cut it for the programs I like to use, so off I hied to Staples for 1 GIG of DDR RAM. It cost a mere $60 and for ten dollars LESS I could have put in a 2 shot. Being unclear on whether my computer could be upgraded to that extent I stuck with what I knew. What a difference in performance!! My little Acer is humming now.

On the way through the store, the clean clear displays of the flat screen televisions called out in my direction …… *buy me * buy me.* I have my huge and heavy Sony Trinitron in the extra bedroom/den and it aint moving anytime soon. It has a great picture but it weighs about 100 pounds and is very bulky. The living room here in the new place houses my computer with that stunning tiltable widescreen monitor that my father bought me but my computer, although great for watching DVDs, is not really up to broadcast standards. I could sense the wisdom of having a television in the space formerly sacrosanct. Despite these delusions, I assure you that my brain had not completely stopped working. I took the time to tour a few other stores in the area that sell flat screen LCD televisions. Best Buy and WalMart and Future Shop had deals but I was satisfied that my original choice of a 32” Sharp Aquos was best. Thus justified, out came my Staples card to instantly gratified my whim. (Yes, I admit to it being a whim and yes, I bought it on credit.)

About that justification thing: My reasoning for the purchase went something like this: With the economy at the start of the big dump, now is the time to indulge in these last few higher ticket items. Someone has to keep the economy going. Right? And there is the thing - it was not all that higher ticket, It was $699 plus taxes. Quite a change from 2 years ago when dad's behemoth wall mounted flatscreen cost 6k.

Now I am watching television with the best of 'em. More often I am reminding the replicant that the den contains a perfectly good tv for viewing teletoons.
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“Shopping is better than sex. If you're not satisfied after shopping you can make an exchange for something you really like.” - -Adrienne Gusoff


Weights and Measures

Every year at the same times my energies ebb. A calendar is not necessary for this observation - I could be on the Moon and it would come a-visitin'. October is one of my bad months. Too late I remember my Lite Book (tm), too early I remember my troubles. The Octoberness has fallen upon me.

Part of this years troubles are of my own makings and a testament to my frugality, (cheapness, my child would say). PAY a painter to patch, sand and wash walls? UNTHINKABLE. In my fervour to complete the job in a timely manner, I managed to upset both my shoulders and hands - especially my right hand. Repetitive strain injuries, to be sure. Live through this I must as mortgages times two must be paid. I cannot be anything less than spot on. This morning I awakened to below spot, considerably below.

The reasoning of September in which the perfect solution to debt and want was a second job that involved a few days of 18/24 seems to elude my Octoberness. Not factored into my Septembering equation was the obvious danger of working in a building with seniors loathe to open windows and willing to sit in the crowded dining hall coughing into the air delicately, (and not so). Working with Teens who come down with the inevitable school colds and flus, my exposure is doubled. Table by table, week after week, I see the ranks wane as residents catch the early Autumn bug. One week it is the husband, the next the wife and everyone else who sat near him staying upstairs for dinner only because of the logisitics of making a bathroom visit during the supper hour. Last nite as I leaned in to speak with a little lady profoundly deaf, she put her face right next to mine so I could hear her whisper that she had been feeling poorly all week but today was the worst. ---arg---

I suppose I rant about these things because I cannot speak about them and sound anything less than ungrateful. I am not. I am profoundly grateful to be working in the building I most enjoy visiting. It is me that needs to change, not the building. Perhaps I must revise the notion of working 18/4 to something less depleting. The work part is easy. The winding down part is hard. It is usually about 2:30 am before I am asleep these days on a double shift day. Six am comes early. Perhaps I should take an evening posting with the Health Authority and work Monday to Friday. Hmm unlikely to see such a posting. The perfect solution would be to have a posting that saw me work Thursday to Sunday, thus reducing the impact of one job on the other. Truth be told, if not for the pension I will likely never see, I would rather work 5 nights in the building and 2 days for the Health Authority. Whether in a Facility or in the Community, it matters not to me as long as my benefits stay intact. This seems more fairytale like every month.

The beauty of my job with the Government is that I am a regular Part-time employee with Medical and Dental benefits and a pension. I am going to need that pension all too soon. Because of my move to pricier digs, I require more funds than I make at that job. Traditionally my second jobs have been contract labour Hospice work providing end-of-life care for those who choose to die at home. I still treasure my work with the dying, but choose to insert something else for my second work now. My choice was a good one, of that I am convinced. What is surprizing to me is to find that I may prefer the second job to the first.

Change. Weights and measures.
I bend, but never, ever break.

“"The tools of conquest do not necessarily come with bombs, and explosions, and fallout. There are weapons that are simply thoughts, ideas, predjudices, to be found only in the minds of men. For the record, predjudices can kill and suspicion can destroy. A thoughtless, freightened search for a scapegoat has a fallout all it's own for the children yet unborn. And the pity of it is, is that these things can not be confined to the Twilight Zone.”
-- Rod Serling


Healthy Health Care

Still smarting from the indignity of having the Contract shredded and the Pension revoked, I remain skeptical as to whether my Union will survive after 2010 when the eye of the world is no longer fixed on British Columbia. Sure, we got some renumeration (all taxed at the lump sum rate, thanks Gordo) and sure we got our pensions reinstated ( starting date of the legal victory, not the original paid from date, thanks again Gordo) but not many of us believe that if he gets in again, and recession hits hard, Gordo won't pick on us again.

Predominantly a female work force, we work hard for you, the public, without judgement. We do things you do not want to. We see things that no human can witness without wincing so that you, the families and friends do not have to. We work for you. Present and accountable, we go everywhere, in our own vehicles, to provide one high standard of Health Care for all, rich and poor, young and elderly. This is the beauty of Government Health Care - we believe that it is every Canadian's right to access free Health Care.

We in Community Health are paid less than our fellows who work in Hospitals. We work at considerable risk because of our passionate beliefs. I have never met a Community Health Nurse or Worker that did not have this passion. I have never met a Community Health Nurse or Worker that I would not want in my own home providing care for me.

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“Compassion, forgiveness, these are the real, ultimate sources of power for peace and success in life.” Tenzin Gyatso, The 14th Dalai Lama