Oh What a Fog!

This photo just arrived in my inbox from my Vancouver school friend Dawn Scott -

Anyone who knows Vancouver knows what that landscape shot should look like!
Those wavy lights are the top of the Lions Gate Bridge.


Levitate Me!

Why is the idea of nightly levitation so strange to so many readers of this blog?
Is it the idea that one might truly fly in spirit or the idea that one could be deluded into believing such? All I know is that more than a few people wondered about it. The truth of it is really rather dull and not even remotely dangerous.

Each and every night, a dreamscape arises in which I suddenly decide to move quickly and as I take longer and longer strides, a levitation happens until it is all levitation and no striding. Frequently in these dreams, there is someone who comments about my showing off and more frequently I am.

Unlike my teens and twenties, when flying and levitation dreams scared me so much I would awaken bolt upright with heart palpitations, this is a fun thing and a joy. I am a free agent in the universe. If only I could discipline myself to do things "that matter" in this hours, the world might be a better place.

The dreamscape that I do not care to go to is the crystal city. This silent world is one that I have visited since my earliest days. It is both strange and familiar, and utterly bereft of habitation. There are shades in this place but they are unable or unwilling to interact with me. I still believe this is a city of the dead.

Another strange and eerie world is the one out in the stars, where my communications are with beings if infinite light. When that dream is upon me, time distorts dreadfully. The vastness of the nothingness is a weary solitude and the beings are curious but sad. There have been nights that felt like centuries spent in that empty landscape. Many times I wonder if I could fully remember the entirety of the dreaming, would things be as I remember them to be or is it my rational mind striving to make sense of what is completely alien and unknowable as a human being?

As I get older, my ponderings are vapid and my musings slight. Whatever it is that prods me out of myself, it is a benign force. When I am aware of my self in the night, it is as a being of great force and size, unhampered by malevolant spirits who seek to fool me. As a younger person, I was terrified by them, and experienced years of flight and fear. My noturnal ventures started long before my brain injury and any head trauma, or I might blame things on some miswiring. As a 4 year old, my flying was between the trolley wires in front of our home where the No. 14 Arbutus glided past.

The joys of those flights was mitigated by the terrors of being persued other nights until the time came that instead of running/flying away, I stopped in my voyage and looked back at what was chasing me. I looked at what was and laughed out loud. My wise dream self, like Glenda the Witch of the North, banished the evil with a wave of the wand. "Begone! You have no power here!"
I never looked back.

All in all, a little levitation is fine.


Give me help
Give me help
You can... levitate me

Then take off them rings
Off them hose
Levitate me

Higher place
Levitate me

Elevator lady elevator lady elevator lady elevator lady
Lady levitate me
If all in all is true If all in all is true If all in all is true
If all is true
Won't you please fawn over me
----- the Pixies



They are EVERYWHERE living quietly among us. They look like us, they act like us and one day they will become us! Yes, I am referring to those in their 90s - the Noctogenarians.

It was not that many years ago that I was agog over people in their upper 90s managing to live alone in their own homes. I considered it an oddity. Now that I have been around the carelane a few thousand times, I know that this is as rare as sand on a beach. In this fabulous community of ours it is positively rampant.

Today I had the experience of seeing 7 clients, all closer to 100 than 90. It was an experience both uplifting and inspiring. I want to be them!!

As I was departing from the 98 year old, a visitor arrived. I heard her say as I was leaving: "She is surprizingly capable and really rather funny."
That would be my praise au jour.

“If you plan on being anything less than you are capable of being, you will probably be unhappy all the days of your life.” Abraham Maslow

Dreamscape of Gaiman.

For as long as I can remember, I have occupied my nights in a world more real to me than this one. I am a dreamer of the highest magnitude. As I age, my control over my dreams is getting better. I now fly weekly at least, and enjoy levitating nightly. It is fun.

The two things that I wished to dream about are conversations that I would like to have. Conversation #1 would be with Nick Drake. This assumes he would talk at all.
Conversation #2 would be with Neil Gaiman. One of these dreams came true on Friday night. Be still my heart.

Even in my wildest dreams, I am capable of sabotaging myself. The dream was as follows:

I am entering a very long hotel lobby when the man in front of me turns slightly. I realize that it is Neil Gaiman and my peppery heart goes pitter-pat. As I examine him in a pretend offhand fashion, I see that he has blonde highlights in his hair and is wearing a tan overcoat. A trench coat in fact. I narrow my eyes thinking this must be an imposter as there is no black teeshirt and no black jacket. Neil turns as we approach an elevator together and I see somthing in his hand that could ONLY belong to the real Gaiman. We begin to converse.

I look at him and with great conviction say: "Thank you for writing ____ insert Neverwas book title here ___ "

"My very great pleasure" says Neil.
And in a tizzy of fandom I flutter away tongue-tied.

Wouldn't you think such as me could do better than that? It was MY dream after all.

I hope I fare better with Nick Drake.


I don't think this type of fandom quotes passes our "notability" criteria. --Aphaia 20:08, 19 Jun 2005 (UTC)


The New Roster

Appropriatly enough, the New Year continued to provide change for me. Rather than a dime or nickel here or there, I got new clients~@@ ! They are not new, but are new to me and I love them. The new faces all attach to 90 somethings who live well independantly in their own homes. This never fails to bring a huge smile to my face as I aspire to the exact same circumstance should I be lucky enough to achieve nonagenarian status.

One of my new regulars is a familiar face from my days at a certain church. It didn't take with me, but the friends stayed. It is somewhat weird for my client as she wants to serve me lunch and chat about her life but does not emphatically not want help with any ADLs thank you VERY much. I know that if I report her, a reassessment may very well end with her being *placed* in a complex care bed bereft of everything she loves. Since she appears to be clean and clear and living in a sanitized manner, I shall not blab on her.

My visits are always a happy time for her. She greets me with, "I remember that there is something very special about you." What's not to love about that? As she sits in her den, surrounded by paperwork in piles, she admits to me that she does not want to live this way but she does need to go through each and every scap and read it all. Luckily for her, she does not have any children or grandchildren frowning down their noses, whilst eyeing her magnificent property with dollar signs in their eyes. In her case this would be several million dollar signs. Since she had no children, she was lucky enough to indulge in a lifetime of travel and career. "I loved my life" she says with a smile.

Today I heard about the guest house in Tobago. After retirement, her husband asked her if she wanted to try running an establishment in the Caribbean. She told me that she met more titled folk in those 13 years than in the 65 preceeding, since, after all, they bought the place from an Earl. Would I have the tenacity and drive to do that as my retirement? If I had a reliable partner who was always hard working, perhaps. But then again, perhaps not.

Just prior to my leaving, she proudly showed me the sunken living room features which she had custom installed. Hers is the home in the catbird seat along the most prestigious of golf course here in GolfLand. With a flick of her remote the curtains part to show off the 6th green. As I admire the view, she shows me her gild edged, framed certificate from Who's Who. This Lady was a world class decorator. There is nothing in this home that would not go well in any chateau, chalet or castle. There is a whift of 1950s chic about the place, but it is indeed chic.

The one teensy thing that I am pondering that might possibly be a risk factor in this instance, is something I have never run across before. Possibly my clients have not be forthcoming about this or possibly not rich enough but this is indeed something new for me. My lovely client is planning a trip to the USA for treatment in a private clinic for spinal stenosis. This will cost her many thousands of US dollars. At 96, this seems to be slightly risky to me, but then, it is her choice.
The true risk factor is that she suffers from a disease or disorder that causes tremours. It is a contraindictation for this type of surgery. It somewhat amazes me that the clinic she is booked into did not inform her of this. The goal, in her opinion, is to jet the walker.

My hand on the door, I turned to her and allowed as how walkers are good friends for nonogenarians. She looked me in the eye and said: "I have lots of friends but how can I see them when all I have to get around on is this thing. I might live a few more years, so I want them to be good ones."


I got the bill for my surgery. Now I know what those doctors were wearing masks for. ~James H. Boren

I learned a long time ago that minor surgery is when they do the operation on someone else, not you. ~Bill Walton


A Good Big Sleep Later . . .

After the many losses of this past week, it was a mercy and a blessing to go home after job #2 and lay me down to sleep. A good big sleep it was, awakening to a clearer mind and a refreshed spirit.

Some losses are easier than others. Some losses bring echoes of others. There was something so valiant in our warrior, something so fierce and strong that took such a battle to best, that to see it gone is difficult to process.

My slots will fill again with new faces and new spirits but there will never be another Mike.


End of the Road

All week long, the buzz has been around our tenacious warrior gentleman, who clearly was at the end of his life. No one wants to be the person who accidentally chokes him on water or rolls him and feels the final death spasm but someone has to be there. It was inevitable that one of us would be the last Health Care representative to attend to him and today was the day. My co-worker and I walked in to find him deceased. We did his last care as an act of closure and a nicety to the family and then we cleared as many of the medical reminders away as we could.

We said our goodbyes, telling his wife in respectful tones,how much we admired her for being so present and willing. Grace under pressure needs to be affirmed. We left the home, looked at each other and decided to go for coffee. I booked off my next client as I could feel my usefulness as around the zero mark. My coworker did the same. Do not think badly of us. We just needed to breathe.

For three years we have been going into that home to care for this man. At first we went to the upstairs bedroom. Next we used a lift for bathing but assisted him to stand and walk. A renovation moved him to the lower area where a hospital bed and an Angel overhead lift made transfers safe for all. Last summer the word came down the pike that the assisting to stand was off the books. He grumbled but acquiesed. His decline necessitated catheter and bowel care, and even this indignity he bore. His wheelchair was modified repeatedly to accomodate his growing needs. Pureed food came before syringe, and this last week, it was very little of anything. The constant throughout all this was his resilience and refusal to have things done any way but the way he wanted. He did not suffer fools but once he trusted, that trust was firm and unwavering.

To see another human being use their will so mightily is an awe inspiring thing. Very few of us possess the tenacity to wrestle Death to a draw. The trouble with a draw is that there is always a rematch, and Death being who he is, always wins.
There are no words for the things we see and do. There is no one other than another Palliative Care worker who understands the feelings that wash over us at such a time as this. We are happy that he has found his rest but we are sad that we bore witness to such incredible pain and suffering.

The reason that man stayed around this planet on this plain for so long is that he understood what is stronger than death. It is love. He had the love of a wonderful woman, bless her heart.

It will be a long time before I forget these two extraordinary people. I stand humbled.


Palliative Care is not for some....

One of the difficulties within the structure of the Government HealthCare system, as it pertains to care in the home, is that it assumes every Doctor, Nurse, and HealthCare Worker can do palliative care at an acceptable level. This is a fallacy.
Although we all see some of it, and most of do some of it, not all of us enjoy it. There are also those who the client does not enjoy having. The things my clients tell me would put the curl in or take it out of almost anyone's hair. Some days, I hear about circumstances and comments of the unfortunate nature and some days I hear it first hand. Today was such.

In the home of our magnificantly fierce gentleman, he of the indomitable spirit, things are not going well. There are some nasty complications this far down the end of life road. His strong heart and will keep beating in a body that is literally rotting from the inside out and it is a source of amazement that he fights on for every breath. This week is truly the end. He has not taken food for 2 weeks, and his breathing is laboured. He is gasping for air. He is choking on water which we administer with a syringe. He expresses himself in grunts and makes eye contact to show distain or amusement. He and I get along well. I try not to ask too many questions and keep my chatter lite.

My philosophy of care remains unchanged: do the job well, be mindful of the client's individual, maintain client dignity and then get the hell out of the way.
Each day as I enter this home over the holidays, a different co-workers face greets me. As he is a two person assignment, it is essential that at least one of the two is both trained and familiar with the client. I am that one. Today the other is a pleasant well-intentioned woman who has high skills. We rarely work together. She enters the bedroom, greets our client, bends down over the man in the bed and announces:
"Oh my GAWD- your eyes look awful. You look like you are going blind."


"Happy New Year. Well, I guess it isn't a very happy one for you eh."

and so on.

My experience dealing with people who are inappropriate, is that they do not learn appropriateness from co-workers- they learn it from clients. Until the day a client tells her that she is out of line, she will continue to be who she isand so, I waited until she left the room to lean in and say:
"You'll have to forgive her. She means well but is a tad insensitive."
He snorted.

We got him up today. After a week where he spent alot of time in his bed, he wanted a change. He has a wonderful bed that inflates and deflates evenly in rotation so that his inability to move does not result in bedsores. With that bed, it is not necessary to reposition him unless he desires it. Once up in his modified wheelchair, only massive pillowing kept his head erect, as he is too weak even to hold his own head up. Each breath rasps and there is a faint gurgle. Every single respiration sounded like he was wrestling the angel of death for it. When I left the home I was thinking how nice it would be if he could have a wee nap by the fire and just sleep on into eternity.

Soon. Very very soon.


"We would never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world."
--Helen Keller


Strangeness in the already Strange

Life with a head injury is never dull. Coping is a committment. Learning to live well takes decades even amongst the non TBI-ed. For me, there are always lessons to be learned and much humbling involved. The greatest of all challenges in my lfe is to keep and maintain balance. My natural good mood and humour takes a turbo jet to the black lands when my rest is disturbed and the holiest of holys in my home is my bed, my lovely bed. (sigh)

The carefully constructed life routine, so revered by me went to hell in a handbasket as the snow grabbed the resort areas and throttled remorselessly. The usual winter here, should it contain snow, only keeps a white frosting for days, usually less than three. Our first snow started December 13th and has not yet melted. More on the way, they say.

Many locals, me included, could not get out of our own driveways for a few days. No work, no pay. I walked, but could not attempt anything outside of our Village centre, and am minus a few hundred dollars. Luckily for me, my contract with JOB #2 involves working on statutory holidays so I was able to recoup somewhat with the two big stats. Not so luckily for me, this meant quite a few days of working double shifts and the loss of two regular days off. My four day work week evaporated as did the three days of great necessity that I get off.

Working for the weekend is common. Loosing said weekend, for one such as I is a nightmare. Day one generally involves me doing alot of sleeping and snoozling so that days 2 and 3 are better. This week did not contain the usual and I am feeling it. There is a woman who can do my shift tomorrow at Job 2 THANK GOD and hopefully by Sunday I will once again feel rested for my double shift. Monday I can rejoice in knowing I am about to get my threes. WOOT!

Banal, but mine. This is my life.

===== *

Jean Paul:
No rest is worth anything except the rest that is earned.


The Neverending Snow...

Here in Paradise, the weather continues to be remarkable. Understand it from our prespective; our official website says thusly:

Most Canadians envy Vancouver Island climate as it is the country's mildest. Temperatures on the coast, even in January, are usually above 0 °C (32 °F). During the summer season, maximum temperatures average 21-24 °C (70-75 °F).

The rain shadow effect of Vancouver Island's mountains (including Mount Arrowsmith, southwest of Parksville and Qualicum Beach), as well as the mountains of Washington's Olympic Peninsula, creates wide variation in precipitation.
The rain shadow effect means the west coast of Vancouver Island is much wetter than the east coast. The average yearly precipitation ranges from 6,650 millimetres (260 in) at Henderson Lake on Vancouver Island’s west coast (the wettest place in North America) to only 635 millimetres (25 in) at the Saanich Peninsula in Greater Victoria. Rainfall is heaviest in the autumn and winter and snow is rare at low altitudes on Vancouver Island

Uh huh. This is a picture of the view from my bedroom balcony.

Weekend forecast is for more snow.