Sunday, June 29, 2008

Another Award Winning Sunday!

Today I want to draw your attention to the lovely award The Man has placed on my sidebar from The Best Of Blogs.

I received this award because of all of you and I would like to thank you once more for taking the time to vote for me and for your generous support and comments.

I never thought that my blogging would turn into such a thing as the Best Inspirational Blog. When I received this award in my email the other day, I stopped and looked back over my past. I thought of my life and how I have lived it - of the incredibly poor cards I've been dealt and how I played them.

Perhaps I kept getting a losing hand, but over the years I have learned the value of rotten cards and hopefully I've become a better person because of them. I don't think I've always been one to see the glass as half full but I do know that my mantra was always "Where there's a will there's a way".

Now - every single day is one more for me to enjoy and to live to its fullest. I can sit here at my desk and look out at the trees and the sky and I'm thankful for that. Once you've been to the edge of hell and back - even once - you appreciate all that life has to offer. You learn to choose the better offerings over the easy ones and it becomes easier to say 'No'.

I am happy with who I am now and what I have to offer and what I choose to take. Life is precious and beautiful and my tendency to laugh these days over crying is such sweet joy and sorrow all rolled into one.

I am grateful for all of these things and for simply being alive. Walking that tightrope for that length of time was more than enough for me.

And as they say - last but not at all least - I would like to thank Debs over at The Lehners in France for giving me another lovely award. It also is proudly displayed along with the rest on my sidebar.

Thank you once more for reading my blog in the first place - and for your votes. I will always look at that award with amazement - believe me.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

'The Man' Tales - While The World Slipped Away

The doctor left the room unnoticed by Cid or myself. All we could see was each other. I stared into his brown eyes and felt my world giving way – dissolving down a long dark hole. I can only imagine what he felt.

He held out his arms and I let out a cry and fell into them, feeling them wrap around me and holding me close. I listened to his harsh breathing and tried to pull away to give him the space to breathe, but he wouldn’t let me.

“No. Stay here Aims, while I can still hold you.”

And I did.

He shuffled over on his hospital bed and I crawled up beside him and nestled in the crook of his arm and we held each other without speaking. My tears soaked his hospital gown but he didn’t care and neither did I. I could feel a strange numbness setting in and I tried to fight it because I wanted to feel every single moment I had left with this man. The numbness was stronger than my wishes and it took over – trying to spare me the agony of what might be coming.

Cid’s uncle arrived and was given the news. He held Cid’s hand quietly for a time and then informed us that he was going for Cid’s mother. This was something Cid had been trying to avoid, but he knew he had no choice in the matter. I could see he had accepted what the doctor had said when he gave a tired nod to his uncle’s plan. When we were alone again he shook his head and said,

“Now the dramatics begin.”

When the nurses came in to give Cid some Ventolin in a nebulizer, I slipped out and made two phone calls. My first phone call was to my mother to let her know what had happened. Leaning against the wall I closed my eyes and listened to the prayer she gave for both Cid and I. Then I listened as she told me to be strong for Cid and not to be thinking about myself. I knew that she was going to tell me this, but I straightened up and stood tall as she spoke the words.

My next phone call was to D. It was one I wanted to avoid but so desperately needed as well. I didn’t want to tell him that someone he considered to be a good friend had taken a turn for the worse. I didn’t want to tell him that Cid’s days were dwindling down quickly. What I did tell him was that I was staying as long as Cid needed me. I also told him that if Cid wanted to get married, I would marry him. I wanted Cid to have some happiness in this lifetime, however short it might be. D and I cried together, long and hard.

After that conversation I walked the halls and found a washroom so I could rinse my face and try to hide the evidence of my crying before I went back in to Cid. I didn’t want to be a burden to him when he needed all his strength.

That evening, the nurses brought in a small bed and we shoved the two together and pulled the curtains. Cid and I giggled and whispered together as if we were alone in the world and nothing mattered. As the night hours lengthened we eventually fell asleep holding on to each other, my head tucked underneath his chin and the world a million miles away.

In the morning they came and gave Cid his Ventolin again and told us that they were taking him in an hour for treatment over at the cancer clinic. We looked at each other and our hopes rose once more.

Monday, June 23, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Confusion Reigns

Everyone was as confused as I was over Cid’s condition. I waited beside his bed, holding his hand, while my mind raced over all the possibilities. I couldn’t take my eyes off his face and I watched him as he labored for breath while I prayed.

The brain surgeon eventually rushed into the room and I stepped aside so he could check Cid over. He inspected his surgery site and shone the flashlight into his eyes and then bent and listened to his chest. I kept my eyes on the doctor’s face during this time in case his expression gave away anything. Instead, he straightened up and told us he was going to have several tests done right away so he would know what was going on. When he hurried from the room I squeezed Cid’s hand and told him it was going to be okay. This doctor was a miracle worker.

In no time at all, Cid was being wheeled off for x-rays and a scan. I stuck to his gurney like glue; the warm clothes I had brought for his journey home were stacked on a chair back in his room and forgotten by us both. Cid was hooked up to oxygen and a heart monitor, and a crash cart followed us wherever we went around the hospital. I tried not to think about all the precautions they were taking and why. Instead I held his hand and squeezed it to let him know I was there and thinking about him all the time.

When the last tests were finished they wheeled him back to the unit and parked us next to the nurse’s desk. I could see the warm clothes and all of Cid’s hospital belongings sitting behind the desk on a counter. While Cid and I were shuffling around the hospital for his tests - he had been discharged. The nurses were now scrambling to find him a bed back on the unit. Shaking my head with all the confusion and inefficiency of the main office, I looked at this man who had come into my life and made me love him. Even with his eyes closed and his attention focused on his breathing, I knew he wanted me to be calm and not create a scene. It just wasn’t his way. Even though it was my way in the past, I respected his wishes and smiled at the nurses instead – and waited. It wasn’t their fault and I knew that a scene would just make matters tenser than they already were.

A couple of hours later they informed us they had a bed in the ward for Cid and they wheeled him into a large room with three other occupants. Knowing we had no choice but to take what was offered, I cheerily set up Cid’s belongings on the small bedside table while they got him into his new bed and all settled. The effort took his breath away again and the nurses fiddled with his oxygen levels and waited for his breathing to go back to normal. When it did, they adjusted the levels again and left us to each other.

I asked him if he wanted the curtains pulled so he could have some privacy, but he wouldn’t hear of it. Cid was a social butterfly and would chat happily with anyone he met, or didn’t meet. Memories of being embarrassed many times with Cid’s outgoing behavior flooded my brain and I was ashamed. I should have been happy that Cid would talk and smile with everyone. He had been alone most of his adult life and this is what he did to compensate for that. I left the curtains open to the ward and opened the window curtains to show him his view of Edmonton.

It had been hours since I had first arrived and Cid had been lying on a gurney and shuffled around for the entire time. I wasn’t surprised when he needed to use the washroom, but he had been putting it off because of the effort it would take and how it would affect his breathing. I offered to help get him to the communal bathroom, but he refused my help. So I called a nurse and they got him in and out and settled again. Just as his breathing returned to as normal as it seemed it was going to get – the surgeon walked in. I took one look at his face and bit my lip.

“It seems the cancer has moved into your lungs Cid and it is pressing against your windpipe. That is why you are having so much trouble breathing at times.”

“Can something be done about that?” Cid asked.

“I’m afraid not.” he said quietly.

“But you worked miracles on his brain. Can’t you or someone else work a miracle on his lungs?” I knew I sounded frantic, but I couldn’t help it.

“Unfortunately there is nothing we can do for this. I’m really sorry.”

I stared bleakly into the doctor’s face and then turned to look at Cid. The look that passed between us cannot be described.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

'The Man' Tales - The Hospital Stay

Remember all those trips I made back and forth to Edmonton when Cid had his kidney removed? That was because I couldn’t afford to get a hotel room and Cid would not let me into his condo because he was ashamed of it. My friend, the lawyer, was ashamed of his condo.

This time around I told him in no uncertain terms that I wasn’t going to drive back and forth to Edmonton for however long it was going to take for him to get better. With his head full of stitches and just out of surgery he couldn’t argue with me as I dug around in the pockets of his clothing until I found his keys. He gave a little groan when I held them in front of him and asked him which ones were for his condo and for directions to get there – but in the end he knew I had him. There was not going to be any arguing with me over this one.

His uncle and I set up a routine that suited both of us perfectly. He would come in early in the morning and sit with Cid and I would come in later in the day and stay until the staff eventually kicked me out. Cid’s uncle had opted for a hotel room and was happy with that arrangement. He didn’t want to share Cid’s condo with me once I had managed to make Cid see the light of day on that subject.

So that is what we did. I would arrive in the early afternoon and sit with Cid as he slowly recovered. Most nights I left in the early morning hours – around 1am. The nurses didn’t mind my staying after visiting hours as I did everything for Cid and eased their load as much as I could. It was obvious that I just wanted to be with him and him with me.

I spent the mornings cleaning Cid’s condo and trying to make it as comfortable as I could for Cid when he was finally let out of the hospital. Every single day, before I headed over to the hospital, I called my mother. We talked about Cid’s condition and I held the phone to my ear and let the tears run down my face while Mom prayed for Cid. She always prayed for me as well and for my mental health to remain strong. In the early morning hours I called D and told him about my day with Cid and how he was healing. Both of these people helped me keep my sanity when I was so afraid for Cid.

When the days turned into weeks, Cid told me to use his car instead of my own. He didn’t want me spending money on gas and he had a pass for the hospital parking that was affixed to his windshield. He had been there so many times over the last couple of years that he had decided it was cheaper to buy a parking pass than pay the lot prices every single time. Cid was big on ‘cheaper’.

As with any surgery, walking is a big priority. When Cid could finally manage walking up and down the unit’s hallway, they sent him to a different unit. Three weeks had passed by this time and you could still see the red swollen scar if you lifted Cid’s hair, but the staples had been removed and he insisted there wasn’t any feeling around the scar. Cid was nothing but amazing to me. His determination to get better and get back to work made me ashamed of my inability to get past my own mental problems. Cid wouldn’t let me talk about myself like that and kept reaffirming that I too would get better some day. And if I didn’t? He didn’t care – he loved me anyway.

On the day Cid was to be discharged, I cleaned the condo and turned down his bed. I had never slept in it during my stay there but had opted to sleep on the couch instead. The idea of sleeping in his bed didn’t feel right without Cid to share it with. Looking around the condo I was pleased with the work I had done and I knew that Cid was going to be surprised when he walked in the door. His one-bedroom condo was in an older building and Cid had not made any attempts at fixing or improving. It just wasn’t his thing. He preferred to fill his balcony with plants and flowers and he was well known in the area for his ‘blooming balcony’.

I could hardly contain my excitement when I arrived at the hospital loaded down with warm clothing for Cid’s journey home. I was like a kid going to a party and I strolled into his room with the biggest smile on my face and a heart full of anticipation. What I found confused and deflated my party balloon instantly. Cid was lying on his bed with an oxygen mask on his face and he was looking as white as the sheets he was laying on. Rushing to his side I checked to make sure he was alive and then asked him what was happening when he opened his eyes and looked at me. Taking off the mask for a moment he said,

“I was just coming out of the bathroom when all of a sudden I thought I was going to faint and I just can’t seem to catch my breath.”

Monday, June 16, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Why God Created Surgeons

As they rolled Cid past us and he settled back on to the gurney, his uncle and I turned and looked at each other with our mouths open. How could he have had such a huge turn-around and be able to talk so soon after surgery?

Like excited children, we gathered our belongings and followed the gurney. We watched anxiously as they lifted Cid into what would be his bed for the next little while. Nurses hovered, checking vitals and talking to Cid while he smiled and gave me a wave before nodding to his uncle. My emotions were almost out of control and I thought I might break down and weep with my gratitude at seeing him looking so healthy and so – alive.

As I stood in the doorway trying to marshal my emotions, I heard the distinctive sound of slippered feet and I turned to see a doctor dressed in surgical greens approaching. Tapping Cid’s uncle on the shoulder, we both stepped aside as the doctor swept into the room and went to Cid’s bedside. He checked the surgery site and probed gently with his fingers, and then he shone a flashlight into Cid’s eyes and spoke to him for a bit. He checked the charts the nurses were working on and gave some orders before he seemed satisfied with everything. At last he turned to us and asked us if we had any questions.

Cid’s uncle looked tongue-tied so I stepped forward and asked, “How could Cid have been unable to speak English and not recognize us before the surgery, and now seem so normal – and so quickly after the surgery?”

The doctor smiled and spread his hands and looked skyward before he answered.

“Sometimes we get lucky. It’s as simple as that. Cid’s tumor was encased and pressing on the part of the brain that manages speech function and other things. We managed to remove it all and we doubt very much if it will come back again. However – Cid’s current state? Let’s put it down to he’s an amazing person – and that I’m an exceptional surgeon. Does that help?”

It was all the answer I needed and I turned to look at Cid’s uncle to see if he had any more questions. He had a big white hankie and was wiping his eyes with it before he blew so loudly into it that everyone in the room laughed. The surgeon took one more look at Cid before he patted us on the shoulder and left the room.

We stood in the door for a while longer until the nurses were finished with their charting and seemed satisfied that Cid was comfortable and didn’t need anything more. Once they left, his uncle and I took up our positions on either side of the bed and beamed down at the patient. I took Cid’s hand and felt his reassuring squeeze, then bent over and kissed him softly.

“I love you.” Cid’s words seeped into my brain and calmed me instantly. I looked up to see his uncle smiling at both of us as I told Cid the same thing.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Another Award Winning Sunday!

I just want to say thank you to both Debs at The Lehners in France and John-Michael at Just Being John Michael for the lovely awards they have bestowed on me.

Once more I am humbled by these and I really appreciate the thoughts behind both of them. They are now proudly flashing by on my sidebar.

Thank you both!

Friday, June 13, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Brain Cancer

When I got to the hospital in Edmonton, Cid’s uncle was there. He had driven from central British Columbia on the request of Cid’s mother who was still in Lethbridge. His creased and worried face had me on full alert as he met me outside Cid’s room. I shook his hand and told him who I was and why I was there. He tried to tell me what the doctor’s had thought had happened, but his heavy Italian accent made it hard for me to understand at first. He informed me that they were going to operate the next morning and try to remove the brain tumor. No one knew what the outcome would be. Shaking my head in understanding I went to enter the room, but his uncle put out his hand to stop me.

“Don’t be surprised by Cid’s condition when you get in there. He has lost his ability to speak English and doesn’t recognize anyone.”

I stared at him in disbelief. It had been less than a week since we had been lying together on the bed in my guestroom and listening to talk shows. How could this have happened in so short a time?

Taking a deep breath I entered the darkened room and went to stand beside his bed. His eyes were closed and a frown creased his forehead as if he was in deep thought. The room was darkened because the light affected him and I could barely see him in the gloom. Taking his hand I bent over and gently called his name. He opened his eyes and looked at me, but I knew he didn’t recognize me at all. It was absolutely obvious in the look he gave me and then the one he gave his uncle. Neither of us registered. I held his hand and felt how cool and smooth his skin was, but he didn’t respond at all when I gave it a small squeeze. Instead he withdrew it quickly and tucked it back under the covers, and my heart hurt.

Cid closed his eyes and drifted back to sleep as I stood beside his bed and watched him. After a while his uncle and I both went to stand outside the room to decide what to do. His uncle had arrived earlier and was tired from his long drive. I insisted he go and get some sleep as there was no way I was going to be leaving Cid alone. After giving me a great hug he gave his nephew one last look and left while I pulled up a chair and settled myself in for the wait.

Sometime in the night I woke suddenly and found myself in a strange room, sleeping in an uncomfortable chair. Once I oriented myself, I soon realized what had woken me. Cid was out of bed and standing in a corner talking to himself. I couldn’t understand a word he said but it was obvious that he was upset. The sound of him peeing into the corner got my attention and I sprinted for the nurse’s station. We all entered the room at once and a nurse tried to get Cid’s attention and failed, so all we could do was wait until he had relieved himself. Out of nowhere a janitor arrived with a mop and cleansers and while he cleaned up the corner, the nurses got Cid back into bed. He was so agitated and confused, and I knew he felt completely alone with no one there who could understand what he was saying. I felt helpless as I watched him thrash around in his bed and babble at us all. A nurse came with a hypodermic and in a few minutes he was settling back and calming down. While all of us were relieved, I could still feel his anguish and my own and I sat in the chair for the rest of that long night and watched this beautiful man that I loved so very much.

In the early morning hours they came and got him and wheeled him away to the operating room. A nurse came in and packed all his belongings and I had a horrible thought that they didn’t expect him to live. Instead she said that he would be going to another unit once the surgery was over with and that his clothes would be there when he arrived.

I went off to the cafeteria and tried to eat as I thought of them cutting into Cid’s skull and messing about in there. I was terribly afraid of what they would find and could barely get down my breakfast of fruit and tea. Afterwards I went to the unit where he would be transferred and checked to see if he was back from surgery yet. They smiled and said it would be a long wait and I went and sat in the lounge and tried to occupy my mind with the magazines that were strewn about. I haven’t a clue what I read that day, but eventually Cid’s uncle arrived and the two of us kept each other company as we checked the minute hand on the clock constantly. The longer we waited, the more worried both of us became although neither wanted to show it. I wrung my hands constantly until they ached but it was a welcome pain to distract me from the wait.

When the doors burst open and Cid’s gurney came through, I was up and striding towards him when he turned and looked my way. The smile that spread across his face hit my heart and made it glow. What he said next brought tears to my eyes and I wasn’t ashamed to let him see them.

“Hi Sunshine! What are you doing here?”

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'The Man' Tales - There's That Word Again

Cid’s specialist took him off the steroids and he once more became the slim and dashing attorney that I had first met so long ago over tea at the local truck stop. 10 years. I couldn’t believe all we had been through in the 10 years we had known each other. He had been my friend and adviser throughout all those years and we certainly loved each other quite passionately although not physically.

Cid still went to work and still had power of attorney over my life which was something I was comfortable with. When the tax season came around once more, D did the paperwork and sent it in. In no time at all we were summoned to the AISH office with the government claiming fraud on my part. D and I attended the first meeting where a bullish man threatened jail for both of us and again told me I had committed fraud because I had applied for AISH as a single person. Bewildered, I kept repeating that I was single, and his roaring accusations soon had me in hysterical tears while D clutched my hands and tried to comfort me. As the ex-policeman threatened jail for both of us, I could only think that perhaps Cid could save me once more.

One phone call later and Cid was on the case. He requested all the paperwork and the laws and regulations about AISH. While I sat at home and tried not to be hysterical about it all, Cid reworked all the figures and studied the regulations. The government was insisting that I pay back all the money they had so ‘helpfully’ given me. Remember that $857.00 per month? They wanted it all back because D and I were living common-law so therefore I was not 'single' as I had stated on the application form. They figured it out to be over $7,000.00. Cid did the math and found they were trying to have me repay them almost $1,500.00 too much. He took it before a review board for me and made sure I didn’t have to appear – and won. He arranged for me to pay them back $20.00 a month. We were so strapped, how could I afford any more than that. So I wrote out a year’s worth of cheques and sent them off and only thought about it again when the notice came around that payment was due. Then they got another 12 cheques. I had never seen Cid in action in court, but his quiet ways got him quite far and he always told me that was his secret. It’s great loving a man with those kinds of qualities.

A few months later Cid started feeling sick again. Sick enough that he decided to take some time off work. This was something he never did except at Christmas when he would take 4 or 5 days and spend it with his mother. But he never took holidays – no matter how much I begged him. After watching his doctors dance around him and ignore him for far too long, I started researching other options for him. I read of ‘healing dirt’ in El Santuario de Chimayo in New Mexico and tried to talk him into taking a trip to this place and immersing himself in the dirt like the thousands of other pilgrims who flock there every year. I told him it could at least be a holiday for him. But he wouldn’t do it. Instead he came to the barn and stayed for 3 weeks.

While D went off to work, Cid and I lounged around and did very little. He didn’t have the energy to do much of anything. He had me take pictures of him on one of his good days when he was feeling spry and looked great too. We laughed and joked around as I used his fancy camera and snapped away. I tried to be upbeat for him and keep my own illness at bay so he wouldn’t need the extra worry of my mental health over his own problems. We would listen to the radio and read or watch tv. I let him sleep when he was tired and when D got home from work the two of them would spend time in the kitchen trading and sharing recipes. He taught us how to make Polenta from scratch and other Italian dishes that melted in your mouth. He loved to cook and so did D while I reaped the benefits. I had been unable to cook since coming out of the hospital and D had taken over that chore. He enjoyed it even more when Cid shared the kitchen with him.

Eventually Cid felt like he should go home and try to get some work done. I was against it as I didn’t want him to leave, but I knew he had to. He had clients that were looking for him and court cases coming up and I couldn’t keep him to myself forever. The world was calling.

He wasn’t home a week when I got a message on my phone. “Hi Aims – it’s Cid. I feel like shit. Pat’s going to zip me to the hospital. You have her phone number. She’ll know where things are at. Love you.” I hit the save button and picked up the phone again.

I didn’t like talking to his ex-fiancée but I had no problem making that call. I found her at her home which made me think that things were good if she wasn’t at the hospital. Instead she told me the cancer had gone to his brain and that they were going to operate. I hung up and packed my bags this time. I wasn’t going to leave him alone.

Monday, June 9, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Fuzzy Memories

Things are fuzzy around this period of time so please bear with me if I remember something suddenly and post it another day. It is not only me with the fuzzy memory - it also includes everyone involved during that time. I've been asking around and we all have the same problem.

I think everything is fuzzy in my mind because of how stressed we were over Cid. I know the doctor started him on steroids and his weight ballooned. I have a picture of him sitting on our couch wearing his favorite hat. His face is almost perfectly round and his hat is more perched on top and holding on for dear life. He looks cranky, but I think this was because his huge cheeks overwhelmed his eyes and made them look small. Or it could have been that the specialist had started him on radiation, and the combination of the drugs and radiation made him feel weak and tired.

As his treatment progressed and he became more ill, he opted for spending his weekends here at the barn instead of driving the 7 hours to Lethbridge to visit his mother. He took over the guestroom opposite the kitchen on the main floor and I set it up so he had everything he needed. He liked to listen to talk stations after he had taken his contacts out and before he fell asleep. I’d lie on the bed beside him and put my head on his shoulder as we listened to people chatting miles away and across the universe. Sometimes the talk shows would be full of static and as we lay enveloped in our cocoon of love and friendship, my mind would drift and I would think we were listening to a program from the 1940’s. Strange how that happens sometimes.

On those weekends, D and I insisted that he use our phone to call his mother long-distance. He was the type of son who called his mother every day to check to make sure she was all right and to ask how her day was going. He would sit on one of the kitchen stools and lean on the counter as he chatted away in Italian with his mother. I sat at the other end of the kitchen and listened to his satiny voice speaking in an unfamiliar language. Without fail, the movie “A Fish Called Wanda” would pop into my mind and I would drape myself along the counter and drool as Jamie Lee Curtis did when John Cleese spoke in a foreign language. I just couldn’t help myself. Trying to keep the hysterics at bay while Cid wondered what had got into me was almost more than I could manage. Once he learned what I was doing, he took to ignoring me or looking down the hall so he wouldn’t see me carrying on and burst out laughing himself.

One day I received a phone call from my friend ‘N’ with news that was horrible and sad. Her husband’s daughter had been on the same psyche ward with the same psychiatrist as me. Sometime during the previous evening she had hung herself. The psychiatrist had been on the unit to check in on her and had felt that something was wrong as he stood at the nurse’s station. Running back to her room, he had found her and had cut her down and administered mouth-to-mouth. He revived her enough to put her on life support and my friends were awaiting the outcome.

When she said these words I immediately pictured the ward and the nurse’s station. I had an eerie feeling the daughter had been in the same room and the same bed as me and while my heart broke for the daughter, my skin broke out in goose bumps with the creepiness of it all. Anyone who is suffering enough to commit suicide is someone who can’t reach out for the help that they need and finds not having to deal with the problems any longer just easier for them. I understand. I truly do. But it is not the answer. The consequences for those left behind are something that suicidal victims just can’t think of. It is too hard for them. But for those then left behind - it is too horrible.

A few weeks later they turned off the machines and my friend’s daughter slipped into that land where she had wanted to go. My roommate from the ward went with me to the funeral that was held in this little town where we live. It was the first excursion out of my home without my usual protectors and it was to an event that boggled my mind. Everyone worried that it would be enough to send me back into the hall – but as I sat there, I thought of my friends and their loss and how it would affect them for the rest of their lives.

As ‘N’ and her husband walked past me after the ceremony, I hoped that they knew I was there for them. ‘N’s husband was oblivious to everything, while ‘N’ threw me a grateful glance before clutching his arm tighter to support him during this horrendous time. It later came out the daughter had lied to the psychiatrist and accused the father of sexually abusing her.

(Repeated questioning about the possibility of sexual abuse is something psychiatrists do when they first meet a patient. They almost seem fixated on that possibility - as if every mental break has to be related to sex in some way. I went through it for the first few months on the hall.)

This being said - that accusation has stuck with him since then and destroyed his relationship with his own family. ‘N’ and her husband sued the doctor, and the only thing they got out of months of anxiety and strife was admittance that he hadn’t read her chart from her previous incarceration in a hospital in Edmonton. The chart stated that she was taking meth and was dating her supplier, an older boy who was trying to get her to go live with him. The sexual abuse accusation was false – but the damage had been done and nothing my friends did afterwards has ever changed the minds of his family.

I want to say ‘Psychiatry!’ and leave it at that. But I can’t. I know there are many good aspects about this health field. But there are many bad aspects as well. It is always something to keep in mind. No pun intended.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

I Actually Won Something!

It appears that all the votes are in and have been tabulated - and Big Blue Barn West has won for Best Inspirational Blog on The Best of Blogs!

I am in a state of shock as I never win anything!

I know it is all because of you - my readers - who have been following my story and faithfully voted for me. I want to thank all of you for taking the time to follow the links every 24 hours and then vote.

I also want to thank all of those people who nominated me. I found out after the cause that Softinthehead was also in on the nomination with Stinking Billy. If anyone else nominated me - well - thank you everyone!

It was a fun three weeks watching the percentages going up and down and then just hanging in there. The only downside was someone named susie who claimed I was cheating by asking for votes and then stated that my story wasn't true. (found in the comment section under Best Inspirational Blog)

First of all - I'm sure Barack Obama and Hilary Clinton will be horrified to find out that they are cheating in their contest against each other by asking for support and votes. And secondly - susie - you can have my past any time you want it. I would gladly exchange it for anyone else's - even yours.

With that little bit of nastiness out of the way - I would like to again thank all of you for your support and readership and your votes. I have no idea what winning the Best of Blogs will bring, but it is the writing of the story and reading your comments and emails that count the most.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Monday, June 2, 2008

'The Man' Tales - After the Concert

Shortly after that incredible concert, Cid started to get headaches. For a man who had never suffered from them before, he didn’t know what to do. His doctor prescribed painkillers and on one of his visits I sent him home with my rubber hot water bottle. I thought some heat on the back of his neck might help ease the muscle tension he was experiencing and also relieve the headache. Somehow I missed his call that evening, but I did get this message on my machine.

“Oh hi Aims, it’s Cid. I just took two Tylenol three and I have the hot water bottle on the back of my neck. I have to tell you – I’ve never used a hot water bottle before, but the smell you get from it is pretty incredible. If only I had a rubber fetish. But I don’t. Love your smile and I love you Aims. Goodnight.”

This was so typical of my Cid. I laughed when I heard the message and I saved it in my phone archives so that I could tease him with it whenever I wanted.

Cid’s headaches continued but they didn’t stop him from biking and hiking. One of his neighbors in the condo started to take an interest in him and they began going out for supper now and then. Cid always called me afterwards to tell me of all the funny things that happened during these ‘dates’ and we would giggle together. Sometimes my heart would suffer that pang of jealousy – but who was I to be experiencing this? I still slept beside D every night and he looked after me every day. I chided myself on being such a fool and gave myself a lecture on letting Cid experience someone – anyone – and to not be jealous but to be his friend. Always.

Cid’s neighbor was Chinese and insisted that she was a good cook. Cid kept telling me that he somehow doubted her culinary sense and I howled with laughter when he left a message about her cooking. The message was hard to understand because Cid was laughing so hard. His laugh is one of those that gets really high and goes on and on and is so surprising in a man. Still – the message he left was about the neighbor bringing over some food and Cid tried giving a piece to one of his cats. The cat ate it and then went and hid. What Cid was calling about was that his cat had just come out from under the bed and puked all over the place. He couldn’t stop laughing and apologized for his bizarre message. I had to save that message too. I couldn’t resist.

As time went on and Cid’s headaches got worse, I insisted that he hound his doctor and get some answers about what was going on. The doctor sent him home with another prescription. Nothing seemed to help and I made Cid go back and demand some kind of action. The doctor finally sent him to a specialist who did some tests and ordered x-rays.

I was home on the day Cid went in to the specialist and got the results.

“Oh hi Aims. It’s Cid.”

“Hi my love!”

“I’ve just come from the specialist.”


“The cancer is back. It’s in my lungs.”