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Posted By SkatingPj

As some of you may or may not know, my mother is battling ovarian cancer for the second time and we seem to spend a fair amount of time at the Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto.  Today was one of those where I had to concentrate on finishing my "work" writing (http://www.cbc.ca/sports/blogs/pjkwong/2011/01/chan-made-name-for-himself-at-nationals.html) in order to be able to have the time to take my Mom to her doctor's appointment before going to the rink where I coach until almost 9:30pm.

Her doctor, Marcus the Magician, needed just one more vial of blood so it was off to Dracula's Lair (Mom's euphemistic expression for the lab.)  There wasn't much of a line and I sat down and saved her a seat while she stood in the queue to drop off her hospital card and collect the number which would be called when it was her turn.  She was behind a woman about my age-ish who was pushing a HUGE wheelchair with a person huddled within under a mountain of blankets.  In thinking about it, it wasn't really a wheelchair as much as it was a Laz-Y-Boy on wheels or at least the size of one.  Regardless, the lady in question pushing the chair was a daughter looking after her own mother and we started to chat.

She shared with me that her mother was suffering from dementia, and in fact whispered the word "Alzheimer's" even before peeling back the layers of blankets to reveal an apple doll of an older lady who was now awake and looking around.  She has lost the ability to speak and understand and yet still has the ability to make sounds and to her daughter Debbie, it encourages her to think she can still bridge the gap. "When Mum got sick about five years ago, we put her in a nursing home and my Dad would go every day to feed her and look after her until he dropped dead."  She stops to stroke her mother's cheek and coos "Mum, the lady says you look pretty". She smiled at me when I said I liked the colour of her mom's cardigan.  "I bought it for her.  I like her to look nice. I put clothes out for her at night so that the nurses know what outfit to dress her in."  She turned her attention back to the woman in the chair; smiling and stroking her hand.  Debbie told me that her mom's health had improved to the point where she was only at PMH for some blood work and that because of her work with the school board she had been able to be by her side for every step along the journey. She told me that the cancer had caused her mother's skin to break down but that with her remission, her skin was back to normal.  Debbie looked lovingly at her mother and wanting to validate her success pulled back the blanket from her leg to reveal smooth and soft skin that is clearly benefitting from lots of Jergens lotion.  As her mother starts to make noises and squirm, her head falling to her chest, Debbie jumps up and in a soothing tone says "You can't be comfortable Mum, let's see if we can make things a little nicer for you" and proceeds to shift her and prop her head at a more comfortable angle." Debbie removed her mother's knitted cap. She felt it was important for me to acknowledge that her mother still had pretty hair.

Debbie smiled and patted her mother's hand and stroked her cheek again "I want her to have dignity. She raised eight kids.  She did a good job." was all she said.

Today it was the sweetness and not the suffering that moved me to tears.

 


 
Posted By SkatingPj

Holiday Pip (aka Sonic the Hedgedog)

 

It's a Monday thing.  not only is it Monday but it is the Monday of the week of Canadians and a very busy time in my life. In addition to being a writer and commentator, I am a figure skating coach - but not today.  The following is the email I sent to my "skating parents" to explain my absence.

 

Hi everyone - 

The reader's digest version is I won't be there this afternoon - with my apologies... 
Guilty with explanation.... 
I got up this morning and was busily working away at this and that and got up from my computer to make some toast.  I started to wash my hands at the sink only to realize (no flies on this girl) that there was no water coming out of the tap!  ARRRGHHHGGGGH!!  The tap was frozen.  GRRR !  It has happened from time to time as my kitchen sink is on the outside wall of my house. (It only feels like the wall is outside my house and not just the putside wall).   
The solution is the hair dryer which I focus on to the pipes that lead to the outside world from under my sink. It can take a long time to get the water moving again.  Did I say it can take a long time???  A REAAAAAAALLLLY long time. 
In the meantime - I Bberried my friends, "Ron" and "Elyse", to tell them I would have to cancel lunch.  Ron (not his real name - you will soon see why)  called me in a panic: "Is Pip ok?"  "Pip?" I asked. "Yes. Isn't Pip your dog's name?? It sounds like Pip is frozen to the hot water in the sink??!! How does that even happen??!  I thought that maybe the heat went out in the house while the dog was taking a drink in the sink and got frozen somehow.??!"  <Sigh> Clearly this is a man who would rival Robert Munsch's imagination.  We did take a while to stop laughing. The Pip of which he spoke - was actually the (water) Pipe - spelled one-handed and with my left hand on my Bberry which was attached to the wall charger and whose screen was a litle too far away to confirm accuracy...(The Pic above is not of Pip but the Holiday Pic of Sonic The Hedge Dog...my favourite Kwong!)
After a very loooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time - the pipes thawed and as I got up to answer the phone in a rush from beside the sink where I had been perched all this time,  I slipped on a piece of kibble and twisted my ankle a little. (Making the matter worse - it was a guy trying to sell me windows.) 
My slightly swollen foot is up on the ottoman, resting on my "medicinal" bag of frozen peas. I have taken my Advil.  I can be found hiding in my house - see you tomorrow! 
Pj :)

 

 

 
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