Wednesday, July 30, 2008

'The Man' Tales - That First Night

We made it through that first night back at home with relative ease. I set the alarm clock every 2 hours and not wanting to wake his mother or uncle – I dozed with my hand on the clock. When it went off, I snapped off the alarm and made up Cid’s nebulizer. I would then gently wake Cid and place the mask on his face and watch while he inhaled all the good stuff until there was nothing left. Sometimes Cid slept through the treatment, sometimes I did - especially as the hands of the clock crept towards the early morning hours. Between the medications I had to take for my mental stability and just sheer nerves and exhaustion – sometimes I had to curl up on the foot of his bed – and sleep. I was afraid that snuggling up to this incredible man would hurt him in some way or I would be disturbing him – so I let him be.

In the morning Cid managed to shave and shower with a little help from me. For the first time in our relationship I saw him naked – and we both gave each other that sad ironic smile that shared our disappointment over this before he got into the shower. Of course in the end it didn’t matter – we still loved each other as much as we possibly could.

I kept checking to make sure he was all right, and he kept insisting he was. Afraid that he might slip or just give out without the oxygen, I dashed in and out of the bathroom while his mother glared at me. This astonished me as it was obvious that Cid needed a caregiver and that she was unable to do it herself. Cid knew what I was talking about as we whispered together while I helped him get dressed. He patted my shoulder and stated the obvious – his mother just couldn’t come to terms with any of it.

When he was dressed, the four of us again gathered around Cid’s little dining table and ate our breakfast. His mother loaded our plates and pushed food down her son’s throat – oblivious to his denials of wanting more.

Afterwards, Cid made a big show of stating his wishes. He told me that if he didn’t do it in front of his mother that she would deny and not believe anything that was said.

“Do you have a will Cid?” I asked. When he shook his head my mouth fell open. What was a lawyer doing without a will? Here was an obvious case of ‘it won’t happen to me’.

Turning his chair to face the room he called me to him in a loud voice so his mother would hear. As I stood inside his legs with his arms wrapped around my neck, he said “I am leaving you everything I own Aims. My mother will get the car and the money from the condo sale and my bank account – but everything else goes to you.”

“Oh Cid,” I said quietly and hung my head. From the corner of my eye I could see the daggers coming from his mother and I leaned into him and let his arms protect me from her. I gasped a bit when I felt his arms withdrawing from around me and I watched as he unclasped the gold chain from around his neck and held it out in front of him.

“I want you to have this Aims. You see these two gold hearts dangling here on this chain? This heart is mine and the other is yours. They will be together forever and when you wear it, it will lie up against your own heart and you will feel me with you – always.”

Turning me around, he draped the shining gold around my neck and did up the clasp. Looking down at the two little hearts against my chest I could feel the warmth from Cid’s body still clinging to them. As I looked up again my eye caught those of his mother’s and all I could feel was the coldness from her stare.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Ramblings

Summer has thrown a bit of a loop into my normal blogging schedule and I hope you can bear with me for another month anyway. During the summer I help my brother with his white water rafting business. You can see what I am doing if you click on the link on my sidebar under Fun Places. Like any business owner these days, my brother is short-staffed - and his sister comes in very handy - and very cheaply too!

I love to go out and serve the lunch on the side of the river. It's just me and nature before everyone comes up from the river - very wet and laughing their heads off. I serve them up a hot buffet lunch and listen to them talk about jumping off the cliff into the river or being thrown out of the raft. The cliff jumping happens right before the lunch stop - so that is usually the topic of conversation. My brother and the guides wait until everyone is served before they come up and hand me their bowl and give me those smiles that say they are so happy to make someone else happy. I fill their bowl with hot steaming home-made chili and share that moment with them. There was a time - long ago - when I use to be a white-water rafting guide for my brother - and I know what has been going on out there on that beautiful river!

These are pictures of the lunchsite and the lunch spread. I normally don't serve the lunch on the trailer - but I had just had a medical procedure on my back and I couldn't carry everything down the hill and set it up around the firepit - and then carry it all back up again. The only thing that gets lighter after the lunch is served is the huge cooler - and maybe me (I might have lost an ounce or two carrying all that stuff around). So I opted for spreading the lunch out on the trailer instead.

Most summers I have lived at my brother's place in our little 13' trailer. (This picture was taken on one of the Florida keys on our 2006 trip to Key West, Florida.)

Last year I told my brother that I couldn't help this summer - I wanted to stay home with The Man and swim in the pool and write and knit. But circumstances have changed all that. His full-time girl lasted a week before she went back to her fiance - and it has been cold and rainy so far this summer and I haven't been in our pool yet! My little trailer sits out at my brother's - but I have yet to spend a night in it. However - he needs me? I go. If I'm not helping out on the side of the river - I'm staying back at the building and showing off his pottery. Have a look at what my brother does during the winter months under Pretty Places. I think he is an amazing artist and I'm very proud of him. His pottery showroom is also where everyone meets to go rafting. It comes in handy.

As for the writing and the knitting? The knitting is happening - the writing isn't. My book sits untouched at chapter 14. In my head I am writing it - but it isn't getting typed out. The need to write eats away at me constantly. Perhaps when things settle down.

The knitting though!

Have a look at my sidebar at Big Blue Barn Knits! The Man and I have been working on getting my teddy bears up on I've got 3 bears for sale on now and I will be putting up more. We are also working on putting the thrummed slippers and mittens I make on and also the Thrummed Knitting Kits I designed for those knitters out there who want to make the slippers and mittens themselves. I wrote a pattern and built the kits with yarn and wool roving. I also designed a slipper for little girls that has heart beads around the ankle. Those kits include the beads as well as the yarn and roving.

If you want to put a Big Blue Barn Knits button on your blog, here are some instructions for a few different blog types.

Now - one more thing before I go and grab my knitting and sit out on the deck.

I'm sorry to do this to you - but every once in a while I am going to ask you to throw a vote my way on the Blogger's Choice Awards. You can only vote once - so once you have it done you can forget about it and move on.

I hate begging and grovelling - but I will do it here quite easily because none of you can see the red creeping up my neck and taking over my face. You can't see the cowering look in my eyes or my inability to meet yours as I ask you to vote for me.

I know the site is very hard to navigate - but if you follow the instructions in this post - you should be fine. I've heard otherwise from people who are not so techno-savvy - and my heart does go out to you if you are one of these people (I am).

That's it for my Sunday Ramblings. I'll get back to the story as soon as possible.

Monday, July 21, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Cid Goes Home

I never dreamed the relationship Cid and I had - and how it evolved – would ever be one of the confessions he felt he had to make before receiving the last rites. In a small way I was honoured, but my devastation overshadowed that.

After the priest left we started to arrange for Cid to go home. There was nothing more the hospital could do and we knew it and it was obvious that Cid wanted to be ‘home’ once more.

Just before we left the hospital the nurses showed me how to administer Cid’s nebulizer and to regulate his oxygen. They also let me take home a machine that measured the blood oxygen saturation levels. It attached to his finger and gave a continuous reading. After I had been through my little bit of training, one by one the nurses of the unit came to say good-bye to Cid. We knew it was going to be the last time and again I was impressed with how people reacted to Cid. He was instantly likable – no - lovable – and it was obvious they had been touched by this man while they cared for him.

His uncle had gone to Lethbridge and brought back Cid’s mother, and she waited at his condo while his uncle came to the hospital and ‘took him home’. I knew his uncle wanted to help in some way, and that being the strong masculine person who helped Cid get from the hospital into his condo was what he needed to do. It was awkward being the one on the ‘outside’ of the family – but I felt that I deserved to be alongside Cid as much as they did and I held my place firmly.

Cid walked into his condo building under his own steam while I trailed the oxygen machine along behind him. He looked around the lobby with great interest as we waited for the elevator and you could see his shoulders sag as he entered his own home once more. We had already talked about how hysterical his mother was going to be and he had visibly steeled himself to this meeting while we rode along in the car and his mother had been mentioned. I had reached across into the front seat and given him my hand and he had squeezed it and then held it almost desperately. It’s not that Cid didn’t love his mother - it was quite the opposite. They were extremely close. It was just that his mother was known for being ‘excitable’.

As he stepped through the front door, his mother launched herself at him and threw her arms around his neck and screamed his name. I could see that he wasn’t strong enough to hold her and himself up and I motioned for the uncle to help Cid and take the mother off him. From what I could gather from the Italian that flew around the room, Cid was telling her 'he was okay – he was okay'.

Eventually we had him settled on the couch as comfortably as we could and we tried to get into a routine. The condo was small – a one-bedroom with a living/dining room and a small kitchen. His mother immediately took over the kitchen and began making food. Cid looked around his condo and said “I like what you’ve done with the place Aims” and we both laughed.

That day turned into a small family reunion with his mother cooking and the three of us trying to keep up with the food that came out of the kitchen. Cid kept bringing the conversation back to English so I wouldn’t be left out and his mother would shake her head a bit and frown before carrying on. I kept an eye on the machines and regularly gave Cid his nebulizer and checked his blood oxygen levels. When evening rolled around we got Cid into his bed and I set the alarm for giving him his nebulizer. His uncle took the couch and his mother took an easy chair while I curled up at the foot of Cid’s bed so I wouldn’t have far to go and I could shut off the alarm without waking the others.

I kept the curtains open so I could study and memorize Cid’s face in every light possible and I watched his chest rise and fall - rise and fall. As I listened to the sound of his harsh breathing as it filled the bedroom and floated away in the dark, I admitted to myself how terrified I was. I was afraid he was going to stop breathing right there and then – and I felt scared and alone as I sat in the dark watching his beloved face – and shaking.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

'The Man' Tales - What Do You Say?

I didn’t know what to say to that.

My heart broke and I heard it breaking and smashing into my chest wall and crumbling into little pieces as it fell into the pit of my stomach.

The years of our friendship flashed through my brain and I watched it in slow motion – like a mini-film - as it replayed every single experience I had been through with this man.

It slowed down to a frame by frame as it came to the priest who had held my hands and called me a special woman and I watched my feet as they walked towards the bed where this man lay – working at taking each single breath – again and again.

I watched myself lean forward and kiss him – softly – so as not to take away any of the precious air he needed – but still enough to capture the love that lay between us.

I wanted to hold that forever. That love. This man. But I knew – knew that I wouldn’t be able to. I knew that I was losing him. Forever.

All I could say to him was “Oh Cid”.

Friday, July 11, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Cid's Confession

When Cid’s nurse came in with his nebulizer, he asked her if he could see the priest who looked after the patients in the hospital. Looking into his eyes she patted his hand and said she would look after that right away.

I sat beside him and watched as he held his nebulizer mask up to his face and breathed deeply. When he closed his eyes you could see the dark circles and the blue veins on his eyelids. A sudden fear flashed through me as I looked at him and I recognized it for what it was. I didn’t want him to close his eyes around me because I didn’t want to imagine him with them permanently closed. Ashamed of my fear – I looked away. When I looked back he was smiling at me again and he made a silly face around the mask. I wanted to cry. I wanted to weep and wail and scream at the top of my lungs. Instead I smiled back and told him he was crazy.

I crawled back up on the bed and nestled myself once more into Cid’s shoulder and we resumed our chatting. We laced our fingers together so tightly that sometimes it hurt, but neither of us cared. But both of us were afraid.

I can’t tell you how much time passed before the priest arrived. It might have been hours, it felt like days, but suddenly he was there. A stranger with a kind face walked up to Cid’s bed and smiled at us as we lay wrapped together in our need for each other. I know I raised my eyebrows in a silent inquiry until my eyes suddenly focused on his collar. Then I knew who he was.

“Are you Cid?” His voice was soft and gentle and full of understanding.

We both nodded at the same time and he laughed a little before extending his hand. We both shook it. One after the other.

I felt like we had been transported to a bubble and the three of us were encapsulated in this glowing warm light. My chest hurt and I thought that perhaps there wasn’t enough air in that bubble and that I should step outside so I could breathe. When the priest looked at me and asked if he could be alone with Cid, I gratefully smiled and disentangled myself from Cid. Finger by finger. I could tell by the way he held on that he didn’t want me to go, and I couldn’t look at his face where I knew I would see the fear I could feel in mine.

“I’ll wait outside Cid.” I gave him the most reassuring smile I could drum up before I went and stood out in the hall and stared at a spot in the paint.

I stared at that spot for an eternity.

Eventually I checked my watch and saw the priest had been in with Cid, behind those closed curtains, for over an hour. Just before I had stepped into the hall, I had heard the priest ask Cid if he would like to make his confession and I had heard him reply with a ‘yes’.

I went back to staring at that spot until my view was interrupted once more by that same collar. He took my hands and squeezed them tightly.

“You must be a very special woman,” he said. And then he was gone. He left me staring after him with a questioning look on my face and the need to gather my strength and smile once more teasing the back of my brain.

“You must have been very bad all your life for a confession to take that long Cid.” I tried to put as much laughter into my voice as I could so he wouldn’t have to reveal to me what had occurred while my legs grew numb and I was still seeing spots.

“I had to confess to being in love with another man’s woman. It took a long time.”

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Here We Go Again! Another Competition is in the Air!

This blog has been nominated once more for another award.

Debs at The Lehners in France has nominated me for the 'Blogitzer' on the Blogger's Choice Awards. A big Thank You! goes out to her from me!

You can vote for me by first going to the Blogger's Choice Awards site and signing up for an account. Once you have an account (after you get your confirmation e-mail and follow its instructions) you need to log-in to your account. Then you can visit my nomination where you can vote by clicking the yellow vote button.

I am up against some very stiff competition so all votes are greatly appreciated.

There are a few other familiar faces who have been nominated for the Bloggers Choice Awards.
  • Debs has been nominated for Best Humor Award.

  • MOB has been nominated for Best Blog of All Time, The Blogitzer, Best Blog About Stuff, and Best Humor Blog.

  • Valley's Mam has been nominated for Best Political Blog.

  • Lisa's Chaos has been nominated for Best Photography Blog.
So drop by the Blogger's Choice Awards and vote for your friends. We all appreciate it!

And if you want to nominate someone else - or yourself - go right ahead and then let all of us know!

I'm just going to add this - - - -

***Unlike the last competition - I believe that only 1 vote per person is allowed in this competition. (I can't be sure as I can't find any rules.....)***

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

My Rant

I’m not going to apologise for how upset I get about cancer. I have had many taken from me because of this horrible, insidious, evil disease. I know a lot of people who have survived as well and my dearest friend is in her last week of radiation treatment after having her left breast removed.

Cancer makes me crazy and I will rave about it at the drop of a cigarette butt!

I was diagnosed with bladder cancer when I was 30. This type of cancer is directly related to smoking. The only good thing about that experience was that it made me quit smoking.

Cigarettes are evil. Tobacco companies are evil. Tobacco lobbyists are the Devil’s spawn!

I pray that a miracle will happen and a law will come out for the entire world that will ban the use of cigarettes. It would have to be a miracle with the amount of money the tobacco companies spend to keep their product in use. Still – I can dream.

I know it wouldn’t be the cure for Cancer. But it would help. Alot.

If you are a smoker or have smoked? Be afraid. Be very afraid. Don’t kid yourself into thinking it won’t happen to you. It may pass you by - but the second hand smoke from that stupid thing you put in your mouth just might kill the person closest to you.

I do not apologise.

And I'm putting this in here for Debs and all the others. Smoking is not the only cause of cancer. But it is a big one. There are all of those people who get cancer who have never smoked (did their partner?) Sometimes - unfortunate times - it is genetics that cause Cancer. Or perhaps the unknown. Evil insidious disease! I hate you!

Before I met Cid, he smoked over 2 packs a day. He had quit by the time I met him and so had I.

I got lucky. He didn’t.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Punk Rock Mommy Will Live in Our Hearts Forever

Today I would like to honour the life of Punk Rock Mommy who lost her battle with cancer.

Carolyn at Laughing alone in the Dark first drew my attention to this young woman who was blogging about her fight with cancer. Carolyn asked all of us to throw our support behind this young woman so that she would win the Best of Blogs for Best Mommy Blog.

Today her husband Kelly has posted her passing and I feel like I have lost a friend even though I don't know her.

However - her passing now leaves her husband and their children to get through their days without her.

That part - that horrible - sorrow filled part - is like a death sentence in itself. It rips at us and we scream in our agony - and no-one hears. Not God - not Santa We are always alone with our inner pain and our attempts to put salve on the scars that fester and irritate inside of us.

Sometimes they heal - sometimes they don't.

As for this family - they need our help. They need our words and our support. There is a link for those of you who feel they can donate a little something financially.

Please - take a moment out of your day and read some of this woman's inspiring words. They are raw and vibrant and should be taught in school - 'How to Live a Life'.

I hate you Cancer! I hate you!

Monday, July 7, 2008

'The Man' Tales - When Morning Came

When morning came, I scooted down to the cafeteria for my breakfast and took it back with me to Cid’s room. His breakfast arrived about the same time as I did, and we sat up on the bed together and ate – just like we use to do at my kitchen counter. We talked about the imminent arrival of Cid’s mother and how that would change everything. I kissed Cid’s stubbly cheek when he rolled his eyes and shook his head over how his mother was going to react to everything. It had been quiet and cozy with just the two of us while his uncle went to Lethbridge to pick up his mother. These were stolen moments – and we knew it.

Cid was halfway through his nebulizer treatment when the gurney arrived to take him down for an xray to see if the radiation had helped. I marvelled at Cid’s graceful and kind manner with everyone he dealt with – from nurse to porter to doctor. I kept telling myself to remember this – remember this. Don’t let it slip through those holes that had appeared with the mental breakdown - and to take these memories and learn from them. Afterwards we cuddled on Cid’s bed once more and waited for the doctor.

That wait was hard.

We held each other tightly, barely moving away from each other as time ticked by. When the doctor walked into the room, I thought I was going to throw up with the apprehension I felt, and my mind reeled as I wondered how Cid was feeling. His grip on my hands was tight – his knuckles showing white and my hands turning red under his grasp.

This doctor, who had performed a small miracle on Cid’s brain, now stood in front of us with a blank face and a chart in his hand that we couldn’t see or read. He looked at the two of us, and our obvious love for each other and passion for more life together touched something inside him. I could see it happening. And I could see the answer before he even spoke.

“I’m sorry Cid. I really am. But the radiation didn’t do anything at all. In fact the tumor is growing so quickly and the xrays from yesterday and today already show the obvious change.”

“Perhaps more radiation?” Cid asked so quietly we could hardly hear him.

The doctor bit his lip and shook his head without saying a word.

“Are you sure there isn’t one surgeon that could operate and perform some kind of miracle?” I couldn’t stop hoping and I had to ask. I had to.

This miracle worker, who had given me such hope and happiness, now shook his head and took Cid’s free hand. “I suggest that you call whoever you need to call. Today. The hospital has on call every religious person you might want to talk to.” He paused for a moment and looked at our faces for a moment before he continued. “I’m really sorry.”

When he had gone, Cid and I took a breath and looked at each other. I tried to smile through the tears that were streaming down my face, and Cid reached out and held me without saying a word.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Wordle Sunday

A footprint, with a Cid sticking out of it.

This is a wordle - passed on to me from my good friend Rachel at

This is my footprint. A combination of words from my blog. I note with great satisfaction - that there is indeed a Cid sticking out of my footprint. Almost like I tripped over him and he stuck.

Thanks to The Man for figuring this all out for me and putting it up here. And thanks to Rachel too!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

'The Man' Tales - Off we go to radiation

They came and got us about an hour later. Paramedics bundled Cid up and the nurses brought the crash cart and wired Cid up to it. Once we were all ready, they wheeled Cid’s gurney out and down to the loading dock for the ambulances. Laws here in Alberta prohibit anyone besides the patient from riding in the ambulance. I knew they were going to refuse my admittance long before they told me just that, and I smiled and waved once Cid was inside and told them I’d meet them at the Cross Cancer Center. Surprisingly both of us arrived around the same time, and I had still to go and get Cid’s car from the parking lot when they were pulling away from the hospital. You just never know about traffic patterns do you?

As it was the weekend, the Cancer Center was mostly quiet with locked doors and darkened rooms everywhere you looked. We proceeded down the hallways on quiet feet and all of us talked in hushed tones. We laughed when we realized this and Cid grinned from behind his oxygen mask and tightened his hold on my hand. Once we got to the radiation area, a physician and technician appeared and they took possession of Cid’s gurney and pushed him through a doorway with that sign on it that warns of the proximity of nuclear stuff. The door was red – the surrounding walls outside that area were red. And I was blue with streaks of yellow and small hopeful areas of green somewhere inside me.

As they wheeled Cid through the door, they held up a hand in the stop motion as I tried to follow through. Shrugging my shoulders I gave Cid the thumbs up and told him I’d be waiting for him just outside when he was done. Finding a seat, I perched on the edge and flipped through tattered magazines and chewed on my fingernails. When I got tired of doing both of those things – I prayed. Long and hard and in as many variations as I could think of.

I could hear machines winding up and dying down, then winding up again. I may have been wrong, but I thought I saw the lights dim at one point as well. The paramedics had deserted me as they dashed off for a cup of coffee, and it was a long lonely wait in the bowels of this quiet building. I wished for more activity to take my mind off how the building already felt like a tomb. But that wasn’t to be had. Instead, the clock ticked – slowly. And my heart hurt – dreadfully. I kept trying to find wood to touch whenever I thought of the possibilities of this radiation not working. Everything was plastic. So I patted my head repeatedly.

When the doors finally opened and Cid’s loving face appeared once more behind his oxygen mask – I thought I was going to break down and cry right there. Instead I leaned over and lifted his mask and kissed him long and softly. When I raised my head and replaced the oxygen mask, I found the paramedics had magically appeared at the foot of the gurney – almost like they had been beamed in from wherever they had been.

When we arrived back at the hospital, it was a wait again situation and I climbed back up onto Cid’s bed and we shared the space together, quietly. We wouldn’t know until the next day if the radiation had had any effect whatsoever. To keep Cid’s mind off it, I talked about future plans as if none of this was happening. Cid’s gratitude was evident and he patted my hands or hugged me close.

When the day ended and we snuggled once more behind our curtains, I noted that Cid’s harsh breathing had not abated at all. While he slept – I prayed once more and touched the wooden chair sitting beside the bed repeatedly.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Please Hold

For those of you popping by every day to see if I have continued with the story -

Believe me when I say I am not sitting here waiting for the throngs of adoring comments to come in before I continue.

I am enjoying a very rare 5 day time-off with The Man.

Being July 1st - we are celebrating Canada Day today. He managed to get the Friday and Monday off and I of course have taken complete advantage of that in as many ways as I could.

We are catching up on many outdoor projects that have needed to be done for a very long time. I believe - with any luck - that today will be the day the pool goes up. We have had no summer up until now - so now the pool. I'm so excited about this because I was beginning to dry out....

(a note on the above picture - this was taken last Canada Day 2007)