Friday, January 11, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 73

Episode 73 – January 11 - I have almost run out of  things to write about and even things to repeat writing for the fifth or sixth time so today I thought I’d start with something different.
First I would like to send my thoughts and prayers out to Sergio’s family, friends and co-workers who succumbed to cancer last month. I was perhaps a bit harsh on him when he was my nurse but he probably should not have tried to return to work when he did. I was shocked to hear how he was actually a few years younger than me. The disease had obviously made him appear so much older.
I have to thank all the nurses on 6 West especially Denise, Layla, Esther and Kevin. All the nurses on 5 East especially Katha, Via and Maria. All my physios, Jennifer, Adrienne, Lisa (x2), Leanne and Amanda.
Thank you to Dr. Dana Haaf for his support and even thanks to Dr.McConkey because even if he lacked bedside skills he did a great job putting the big guy back together. And Dr. Brown the anaesthesiologist for administering the right combination of goodies the ease me through the surgery.
Thank you to everyone who dropped in to visit and or call. With very special thanks to Pam, Dennis and Bryan (aka the Crown Prince).
My three worst days here were October 31 the day of my injury, November 2 when i had the anxiety attack just before surgery and December 19 when they moved me into 623 and I had my worst anxiety attack.
My favourite three days in chronological order were December 21 when I first walked, New Year’s Eve (see Episode 62) to figure out why and the third would be I happen to mention I am posting this from home. :-)

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 72

Episode 72 – January 10 – Last night’s sleep was not my greatest, I kept waking and having to shift my legs because they were a bit stiff.
This morning started off quite well. Both nurses on the floor, Maria and Via were excited to come in and tell me that Dr. McConkey had given the okay to weight bear with the braces off. I won’t the real significance of this until I’m done with the physios today. I still think I may need to wear the right one and use a cane for a bit. However, I did celebrate by walking into the bathroom to brush my teeth sans any braces or walking aids then taking a quick lap around the unit with the walker and no  braces. I felt naked and cold but damn good. It was another silly grin type of walk.
The braces are the answer to Leslie and Lorraine’s reason for questioning my sanity the other day about exercising at 5:30 AM. If I have to strap on the frigging things to get up and pee, I may as well accomplish a few more things while I’m tied up. Now questioning my sanity for a whole bunch of other things would be completely justified.
I have turned my trusty reacher over to my roomie, Dale. I don’t really need one anymore especially when I don’t have to worry about standing up to get things on the other side of the room.
Dale is a couple of years older than me but like me, he also lost his wife to cancer about five years ago. He’s lead an interesting life working as a set carpenter on several major film productions including Romeo and Juliet in Mexico City. He’s only been here at the hospital for five weeks now but I can see his stay eventually being longer than mine in total but at least most of it will be spent on the rehab unit. He developed an abscess on his upper spine after lifting a heavy box on set. Many of his symptoms mimic those of a quadriplegic  but he is now able to stand and walk using a standard frame walker but still has a lot of numbness in his lower body. His ultimate prognosis is a lot more questionable than mine. That is one more reason I saying there are so many people out there much worse off than me. I will likely have some permanent damage but not enough to restrict me from doing most things. Dale will likely also inherit my window seat when I leave if his doctor gets her way just for his mental well being.
My physio, Leanne, came in and she tested me out without the braces in the room and there was no problem. We then went downstairs to work more on the stairs. This time we worked with the braces and a cane and again all went well.
It was great just being able to walk into the dining room at lunch time with bare legs although I did have to use the walker.
My afternoon physio session consisted of working more stairs with just a cane and the brace on my right leg. We were working on the regular hospital stairs going up  and down a flight of eleven stairs with Leanne and another physio, Deborah,  following me up and then walking backwards with their hands as I came down the stairs. At the bottom we had to rest  mainly because neither of them could stop laughing when I asked “ just what do you guys plan on doing if I fall forward?  I know I’m going to have a soft landing.” Everything went well; so I’m allowed to either walk around the unit with either bare legs and the walker or the cane and one brace. I’ll be opting for the cane because that’s what I’ll be doing at home. In the room, I can walk bare legged with the cane.
So another routine close to an evening with Rachel and the little blue pill.
Too be continued...

Thursday, January 10, 2013

How I Spent My "Fall" Vacation - Episode 71

Episode 71 – January 9 – Well today begins the eleventh week of my involuntary vacation and the beginning of week number 2 in the rehab unit. I’m still waiting to hear from the moron, Dr. McConkey. Apparently the concept of dealing directly with his patients is beneath him. Everyone knows that a doctor knows more about your body than you after all they went to school for a bunch of years. Some of them seem to think that those extra years of memorizing textbooks gives them a deity status.
We have Maria again as our nurse and she’s great but a little hard to understand when speaks fast.
It’s the charge nurse today, Kathleen, I can’t stand. She’s only here part time and I believe she’s semi-retired. She is a total bitch and needs to go completely. When you hear the phrases “I liked it better when...” and “The changed the format...” you know you don’t belong. I wanted to tell that I was still pissed that Plymouths no longer have tail fins either. Then she chastised two staff members for not staggering their breaks and she had to do some work while they were gone. That would be her job to make sure breaks are organized. Okay lady, you’re a lousy manager, a miserable person so get the eff out! I will give her credit she is very good at the front desk talking about her grandchildren.
My first physio session went great. Rather than wheel me down; Amanda asked if I wanted to try walking down. (Via elevator of course). We started off with a few warm up exercises on the stairs before actually walking up and down the stairs using only one handrail which simulates the condition at home. Then we moved across the hall to do more quad work on the shuttle machine. And the best part of this is that my favourite ex-cellmate and new found friend, Cheryl got to witness all this. Cheryl was there for her outpatient therapy. Sorry, Cheryl I forgot to bring to bring apple juice. But don’t worry there will be many other chances.
I doubled down on great friends today. When I got back to the room, my former classmate, Janice was waiting with a big bowl of homemade soup. It was delicious and filling. The only bad thing about it, I missed out on the tuna sandwich from my usual lunch. Damn, I may have to wait a whole two or three days until they bring us another one. Janice also volunteered to put her old lifeguard skills and help out with some water therapy at one of the local pools.

Amanda put me through a good workout in my afternoon first on the bike, then the shuttle and finally more stairs. For the first time I was actually tired by the time I was back in the room. As a reward for abusing me I shared with her my not-so-vast knowledge of Palm Springs recommending at least one restaurant and a few other things. Like me, PS was not on her radar until someone offered her husband use of their condo in La Quinta next month.
Speaking of travel, I figured I’d ask my nurse, Maria, about Columbia, because I was originally thinking about going to Cartagena. Good thing I didn’t book early for once. She sang high praises about the area. It has both the natural beauty of the Caribbean and a lot of history. I did as her what part of the country and she said Calli and by coincidence the care aide working today, Karen was from Medellin. I would likely leave both those cities off my itinerary.
Hopefully, I will have enough time between being reasonably fit enough to get around and having to return to work for a little getaway to recharge the batteries. I immediately ruled San Francisco or Vegas as destinations at this time because my knees would hate me if I sentenced them to those hills in SF and I know I wouldn’t be able to relax enough in Las Vegas. A week or two by the pool in Mexico or even Palm Springs may be in the offing. We shall see.
The other day, Dale and I made a pact regarding meals, if the dinner fairy appeared while one of us was out of the room we’d order for each other. Simple rule: everything trumps the fish, order chicken only when fish is the other option and jump all over the salmon whenever it’s available.
Dr. McConkey finally resurfaced at dinner time and I impressed him when I stood up in the dining room and stood and talked to him without any support. It looks like he’s going to let the physios work me without the braces and possibly lose the left brace altogether.
As per custom my night was capped with Rachel Maddow, a orange and one of Pam’s delightful chocolate goodies and a dash of Zopiclone.
To be continued...

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 70

 Episode 70 – January 8 – Today is the 45th  anniversary of the opening of the Pacific Coliseum. Growing up a block away, I watched this ultra-modern grow up each day as it was being built and I’ve spent 36 years working in this building. When it was less than 30 years some “very wise men” particularly in the sports writing field deemed this building to be old and obsolete and a bigger and shinier new arena. I guess none of these “wise men” had ever been to Europe. How many of you live in a house built over 30 years ago and find it old and obsolete? Does anybody see the irony in the fact that this obsolete building was completed in 1968 and the newest secondary school in Vancouver was built in 1962.
By coincidence, my friend, Nancy, posted a report today on FB about the new arena being built in Lincoln, Nebraska which her husband is helping construct working on the high steel. I am happy for Lincoln and even happier that this is a union project. Nancy, Shane would be proud that the bridge I take to work every day is named in honour of his union brothers who perished during its construction, The Ironworkers Memorial Bridge.
Yesterday, I opened by speaking of focusing on two things. The first being the Notre Dame football game which turned out to be a disappointment but I was still happy for the team; they made all Irish fans proud for a remarkable season with only a small blemish on its record.
The other focal point of my day was making progress on the stairs. If you read my journal yesterday you would know I wasn’t too pleased with that either. I didn’t feel much more confident this morning when I found one of the physios on the floor was off sick.
I had another tantrum that began with the OT,  bringing in what they called a heavy duty commode/shower chair that was huge. Any first year physics student could tell you that it was actually structurally less sound than the regular weight unit which by the way worked fine when I had my shower on Sunday.  Ironically, it reminded me of the bridge collapse I was referring ti above. She made the error that they were just trying to be cautious and then went into the “if you lived on one floor” bullshit that I’d be out of here. It’s the stairs in your townhouse that are the problem. This is when I went ballistic. They weren’t even challenging me. How could they know if I can or cannot do stairs without even trying? I still want to talk to that idiot surgeon. If he doesn’t want to cooperate sign himself off the case and assign someone that knows something about patient care rather than just anatomy.
I even implied if something isn’t done soon, I would be walking out of here on my own because I would be getting the same treatment or more at home.
Well the squeaky wheel does get the grease. Sabina talked to the physio, Amanda, and because of it Amanda agreed to try me out on the shallow stair set they have in the outpatient clinic. Well, I tried it out with no problem up and down several times. She then asked me if I wanted to try the set of regular stairs today and I did and conquered those just as easily. The only problem I had was remembering rather than alternating feet I have to take one step at a time. Left leading going up and right leading going down.
The second physio session in the afternoon built upon this morning’s session doing more quad strengthening exercises and more stairs. We ignored the low stairs and went straight to the regular ones. Amanda did want to try walking without the braces but the mean surgeon had specific instructions on the chart that the braces must be on when weight bearing and the effing clown is nowhere to be found.
One problem with the rehab unit is it is obviously meant as a stopping off place for elderly patients before moving to or back to an independent care facility and not really geared for relatively healthy people my age. Dale and I are the only patients under 80. Believe me there is nothing therapeutic about eating your meals with a room full of elderly sick people.
Joanne was my night again. And I had to laugh when she heard who my surgeon was and said “I met Dr. McConkey when I was working downstairs and I have to say I liked his father better.” She had worked with the senior McConkey at UBC Hospital. The elder surgeon started the UBC Sports Medicine Clinic along with Jack Taunton and Doug Clement. I have never met his father but I already like him better.
It was a standard finish to evening, a fist full of delicious pills, an orange, a chocolate goodie while watching the Big Bang Theory and Rachel Maddow.
To be continued...

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 69

Episode 69 – January 7 – My mind today was focused on two things, the Notre Dame – Alabama Championship Game and the desire to attack the stairs. The first could bring some temporary joy and the second absolute ecstacy.
Last night’s sleep was the same as the night before but I was much more alert in the morning and I was up doing my exercises at 5:30. Of course, if I hadn’t made another decision based on pride over convenience, I may have been able to sleep a little longer. I have decided to forgo the urinal bottle altogether even if it means tying myself into the braces in the middle of the night.
Katha is back is as my day nurse and she’s always fun. The thing is that on this unit, your nurse isn’t as critical on this unit where you are no longer totally dependent on them. I can do most things for myself. However, they still get cranky when I help myself to the meds cabinet. Nurses can be so picky!
Fatport, the wireless provider for the hospital was still working on correcting my billing issue but they have provided me with another access code so I can maintain my online presence while they correct it.
My first physio session was scheduled for 11 but Amanda was running late but at least I was informed of the situation. The problem is that I have to suit up with my braces then sit and wait. This is a lot like when you get dressed up for dinner and then you end up sitting waiting for your partner to finish getting ready. It always seems like hours. She arrived at 11:30 and took me downstairs to the main physio department where we basically repeated a lot of the exercises we worked on last Friday with Leanne on the parallel bars with a few more repetitions. She showed up for my 2 PM session and did more of the same plus some work on the shuttle machine where I did some horizontal squats. I keep asking to take to the next level but we keep going over the stuff I can do already. At this rate I’m never getting out of here. Let’s kick it up a notch. Hopefully I got my message through to Amanda. Stop babying me and start challenging me.
The options today for lunch were a chicken salad sandwich or meatloaf. I chose the meatloaf. Well, when I lifted the cover I couldn’t believe the amount. There were two huge slices of meatloaf and two mountains of mashed potatoes. The old guy, sitting beside me, eyes just about popped out of his head. There wasn’t a square centimetre of empty plate. On top of that they sent up two salads. However, they did send up another packet of French dressing for the fourth day in a row. Does anyone actually like French dressing? I ended leaving those giant mounds of spuds alone and I hate leaving stuff on my plate. The nurse that was responsible for increase in my portions saw the plate and even she thought it was way too much. The portion of shepherd’s pie at dinner was more reasonable. And there was no French dressing either.
They did some more bed shifting with my first roommate, Mona and sent her upstairs to neurological floor where Dale came from while she waited for more surgery on her degenerated disc. The nerve block the tried didn’t take. She was in terrible pain all the time she was on this floor; so I hope all will work out for her. I know she appreciated my short little visits to her room. She wasn’t exactly popular with the nurses because she wasn’t really into the whole program and in many ways I can see why. The unit is designed primarily for geriatric patients to get them back to their care homes and independent living facilities. I don’t really fit in here either.
I received another surprise visit from a former classmate, Ray. I’ve know Ray since elementary school. He grew up one block over from us. He happened to be over on the North Shore to quote on a roofing job so he thought he’d just drop by. We chatted awhile about his business and a lot of other things while I relaxed on the bed letting my legs cool off without the braces between therapy sessions. Thanks again for dropping by Ray.
After my afternoon therapy session, I took it easy caught up on my writing and even drifted off a little.
My plan to get to the TV after dinner, worked. Those old people eat so slow so I just ate at a normal pace and hurried down to the lounge and the remote was mine. Unfortunately, my Fighting Irish  were not as cooperative going down 28-0 at the half so I headed back to my room. However it was worth listening to those self-entitled old men and ladies grumble that the News Hour wasn’t on. Look it’s 6:15 so the actual news has been over for at five minutes and don’t worry Mike McCardle will do the same sickening sweet story at the end of tomorrow’s news just with different characters in a different location.
Okay so my favourite lost tonight and they lost big. I think Notre Dame fans everywhere are proud of the Irish. They won all twelve regular season games during a season they were not even picked to finish in the top 25 and they ended second best in the nation losing to the odds on favourite to repeat as national champions. The team was led by one more ND legend in the making, Manti Te’o who overcame personal tragedies this season and became the best defensive player in American college football. Notre Dame student-athletes are students first and athletes second unlike many of the football factories in the south.
Now back to the hospital, my nurse tonight, Joanne, is another part timer from paediatrics and even she couldn’t figure what I was doing here when she saw me walking around the unit. I told her the magic word “stairs” and she sighed. But one knows if I can do them or not because the physios are afraid to overstep the surgeon and he’s nowhere to be found. Surgeons should leave the healthcare to healthcare professionals and stick to cutting and sewing.
And so to bed.
To be continued...

Monday, January 7, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 68

Episode 68 – January 6 – Today is Epiphany, the twelfth day of Christmas and the last my tree would be up and my lights burning outside. Oh well at least my Hydro bill should be way down.
My sleep last night was quite weird. Obviously the Zopiclone and Benadryl combination were working in full force. I’d be sleeping on my right side and wake up to turn over to my left; I’d get as far as lying on my back and automatically flop back to my right. I repeated this process several times with the same result, I think, or I may have just dreamed up the whole thing. Either way I had a great sleep and even had a hard time waking up.
When I was able to clear my head enough I began my exercise regime including the homework Leanne. This included working my legs using Theraband. For those of you not familiar with Theraband it is lengths of latex sheeting available in various thicknesses and used for resistance exercising. Some others of you may be familiar with it for its original use, dental damming. Yes, that nasty sheeting they shoved in your mouth and then clamped around the tooth about to be filled. (Lee, I believe your dad may have shoved a few pieces in my mouth in the past). The real neat thing about new Theraband is the smell from the powder used to keep it from sticking together. It smells like cookies and mint. I reached to get it out of my drawer and I thought to myself “Wow, I can smell Pam’s goodies through the Tupperware”. Pam’s goodies do smell great but it was the Theraband. Another boring fact about Theraband is that I along with a couple of other salespeople at Ammunden Medical we responsible for introducing it to physiotherapists in BC. (Sorry, Lisa, but as much as I hate giving that man credit for anything; I have to give you dad most of the credit for this.)
Maria is our nurse today. She worked on the sixth quite often when I was there but she seemed to be missing during the time Graciela was in our ward. Maria would have been quite useful being from Columbia.
For the past two days, they have brought whole apples on my breakfast tray. Although I don’t mind them; I don’t normally eat whole apples for a couple of reasons. The first is just me being wierd; I get turned off by bruising on any fruit and in particular apples. The second is more of an orthodontic reason. I have a very distinct overbite and huge gaps between my front teeth and my bottom teeth are jammed together. Rather than bite I sort of scoop and break off with my bottom teeth and my uppers play no part. This is the same reason, I rarely eat corn on the cob and when I do I usually peel the kernels off with a knife.
Today was my shower day. Because of my mobility restrictions, I still require assistance even though I could do it myself. At least this time I walked into the shower room on my own. I am still required to use the braces and the walker so Pacita, the care aide had to assist me and I had to sit while showering. I could have easily done it on my own but the risk was greater than the reward.
After the shower, I was finally going to get to wear fresh clothes with a fresh clean body. I put on a purple striped golf shirt and a pair of black basketball shorts with red stripes down the legs. Colour coordination be damned! The fashionistas can kiss this! Besides it’s the shoes that make the outfit but we’ll discuss them in a few paragraphs later. While putting on the shorts it didn’t dawn on me initially but I was standing on my feet without braces and there was no real problem.
While I was strapping on my braces, Dr. LeNoble, the doctor in charge of the rehab unit came into visit and did a full check on my flexibility and my senses such as sight , sound and feel. He asked me if there was anything they can do that they haven’t been doing. I told him the same as I’ve told everyone. Keep pushing me to do more so we can find out what I can’t do rather than concentrating on repeating what I can do. He at least made a note of this. He also remarked that my toenails need to re-done. No kidding!
One more thing about the doctor; he was checking my lungs with the stethoscope on my back and told me to take deep breaths which I complied. Then he wanted check from the front and said “Okay you can stop breathing” and once again I complied. In a slightly panicked voice “I didn’t mean for you to stop breathing completely!” Dude, I’m just following orders.
I actually discovered another little flexibility victory by accident. When I completed strapping on my braces I realized I hadn’t put my shoes on. I was able to get them on and tie them up while still strapped in. I had a hard enough time doing this before my injury. My fancy Puma Clydes with the roses are almost as admired as my toenails. Unfortunately I can’t show off both at once. (see photo below)
Because there is nothing going on here on the weekends, I thought today would be a good day to pop up and visit Six West. Bad idea!! I stepped off the elevator and turned right towards the orthopaedic unit and I was greeted by a big whiteboard saying “Gastro-intestinal Outbreak” with further instructions underneath. I stuck my head inside the door to see if I recognized anyone but I only saw Ruby who was too busy with a patient and the little Iranian cleaning lady, Parvin, who was delighted to see me up, dressed and walking. I made a hasty retreat to elevators. I ran into Maeve, the OT and she was shocked at my progress. She also told me that I had made it out just in time. The outbreak started just after I left. The thought of still being there bedridden was frightening. I would have still been on bedpan orders at that point as well. All I know is that if it kicks in down here I will not be worrying about strapping on the braces as I make a mad dash to the bathroom. I may even leave the walker behind.
 Just before getting on the elevator, Liz, one of the charge nurses, walked by and did a double-take. She was shocked to see my progress and she also did not realize how tall I was. I keep getting that about my height but I’m only 6’3”.
I spent most of the afternoon in my room writing and listening to the Seahawks game because the TV in the lounge had already been taken over  by a couple of people watching one of those home renovation shows. I have a plan for commandeering the TV for tomorrow’s Notre Dame championship game. I was somehow only able to find today’s game on a station from Juneau Alaska. The funniest thing about that was one commercial for Stihl logging equipment which finished with the tagline “A majority of Stihl products are built in the US with domestic and foreign parts.” Could we get any vaguer? Have we covered our asses on the American Made thing.
Now there is something about the Sunday edition of the Province that always puts in a mood to rant. Today it was a two page spread  in the entertainment section with the bold headline “Do Album Reviews Still Matter?” Did they ever matter? Has there ever been a need for music, movie or art critics? Critics are a self created profession not unlike lawyers who created a need for themselves. Most critics are either frustrated musicians, actors etc. or mediocre writers who can’t get off the lifestyles desk.
My roommate, Dale’s dad, Jack, is a hoot. After visiting with Dale for a bit he left his wife and daughter and came around the curtain to chat with me and then he headed out into the hallway to chat with everyone else. This is his daily routine. He’s just a social butterfly.
Best advice today came from Via my night nurse for the last three nights after a discussion about what I might need at home, “Oh and try not to do it again!” Sounds like an excellent plan.
I’m still having a few billing problems with Fatport my wireless. It showed that my account expired again after two months but I paid for three. Last month they gave me a code for an extra month so I had to put that into play.
After finishing up my notes, I took my happy pills, orange and goodies and drifted off.
To be continued...

Sunday, January 6, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 67

Episode 67 – January 5 – I ended off last night perfectly. After planning out my end of evening affairs, I neglected to fill up the water chamber for my Bipap machine. I hit the call button and rather than that constant pinging noise I had finally tuned out, it was a constant alarm sound. Two nurses were in my room in a flash. There are two outlets for the call button; one for the regular ping and one for the alarm. Apparently there is a circuit fault in my call box that allow the signal light go on when the cord so someone switched it over to the alarm button. Not such a good plan.
Putting on my braces is getting easier and easier. The one lesson I learned is immediately upon undoing a strap fold the Velcro piece back onto itself otherwise you end up with a tangled mess with both braces clinging to each other like they may be trying to breed. I find it is easier to get them lined up better with the knees by putting them on in while sitting on the edge of the bed and fastening the middle strap first. The only problem is they are fastened by holding the brace under the back of my knee while fastening the straps over the top therefore I end up defying gravity. (See Marla, I was able to slip that one in just for you. Taking them off is such a liberating feeling!
The tangling thing brings to mind another thing that puzzles me. How do the wires of my earbuds get so tangled up and knotted in the drawer when I roll them up and put them away carefully after using them. I am constantly untying knots in them. I guess if I can solve this mystery I will have the mystic knowledge to figure what happens to strings of Christmas lights when they are hidden away in the crawlspace between January and November.
Well, I spoke too soon about the pancakes, today they only brought me one about four inches in diameter and yes it even the hard edges that required power tools to cut.
Anne-Marie our day nurse today, so it’s the first day I actually have a nurse that works regularly on this floor. Similar to the sixth floor there’s not much going on here on weekends but because I can wander around and relax when I want to so it just feels better.
Yesterday, I ran into the floor social worker while out walking and she was concerned because she knew I was one of the few on this floor that was of working age. I told her I was okay with both EI and my pensions and it made realize once again that I was blessed.
Being here has made me appreciate the small things in life every new thing I re-learn to do is a small victory. It also drilled home that even here on this floors there are patients worse off  than me including my roomie, Dale who  has so much further to go before he can walk again.
Even the woman, Charmaine, cleaning the rooms down here is much better to deal with. You can actually have a conversation with her.
The Crown Prince came into loaded up with a couple of bags of clothes and other goodies. So now I can discard the shirt and shorts I’ve been living in for the last three days. The orange shirt was the one I was wearing when they hauled me in here on Halloween. And he brought a grooming item I haven’t used in since 2005, a comb. My hair has been cut short since that time and I was able to slap a little gel get that unnatural natural look. It’s now overgrown and I’m getting that sheepdog look. My apologies to all you guys out there that haven’t used a comb for that long and more and will never need one again.
Let’s face it; I am at the age where I make old guy noises when I exert myself. You know those grunts and groans that you make when you stand up or move around. These noises actually make nurses’ ears perk up. I groaned a little shifting on the bed and Anne-Marie who was helping Dale on the other side of the curtain immediately asked if I was okay. The funny thing is I had the same reaction when Dale had made the same sort of noise. I attribute these grunts and groans to the same reasons karate experts give a yell before breaking a board or the noise that Maria Sharapova makes while returning a serve.
Grabbed a few of Pam’s goodies and an orange wolfed down my little blue pill and called it a night.
To be continued...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 66

Episode 66  – January 4 – The physio, Leanne, was a bit concerned yesterday afternoon that I may wake up a  bit stiff and sore after all the work I did but I was able to work out all the kinks during my morning bed stretching and exercising. I ran into Leanne on my first little walk this morning and she was quite surprised that I had no problems. The only problem I’m actually having is that my feet normally pronate and the braces force me to supinate so my lower calves twitch a bit. In simple terms, I’m knock-kneed and the braces force me to walk bow-legged.
The words supinate and pronate bring to mind another irksome thing; that being those squiggly lines lies that Microsoft Word keeps slipping under a lot of my scribbling. It doesn’t even recognize either word; and it was even snarkier until I switched to the UK version of English. They don’t even have a Canadian version which is different than both American and English, eh? We use “z” not “s” but we use “our” not “or”.  And regardless, Word still does not always know the difference between it’s and its. I do realize I use a lot of incomplete and run-on sentences and I do quite often end sentences with prepositions which by the way Word never catches. I write like I talk not talk like I write. Oh yes, in both instances I tend to babble on.
There really is some sort of staffing shortage around here because once again we have a retired nurse that is on the part-time casual list, Shirley and both days our nurses were replaced in the afternoon with senior nurses from another unit. Yesterday, it was Brenda from Cardio and today it was a familiar face, Sonya from 6 West. (Gotta love those East End girls!)
This morning’s breakfast was a change of pace. They sent me a couple of pancakes. They were bit better than the last time still a bit dry and chewy but at least they didn’t have the hard edges that required sawing with a knife to get through it. This may seem familiar to at least one of you. ;-)
While eating breakfast, Mona was sweet and offered me part of her breakfast. Any guess what it was? Hint: I politely declined. Damn! I’m making it too easy for you. Don’t bother memorizing this part, it won’t be on the final.
Mona found out after breakfast they were moving her across the hall to a three bed room. They gave her the same kind of mumbling excuse they gave me when they moved me last month. They said something about wanting to keep men with men and women with women. Then they said the guy coming in needed extra space because there was also  a lot of equipment coming down from the neurological unit. I then rolled my eyes thinking “oh, oh!” I fully understood why Mona was distraught. They moved her while I was out at physio so I wasn’t even sure that she wasn’t going to check herself out. After dinner tonight, I walked over to see how she was doing. She was definitely pleased with my gesture and she seemed to being doing okay. They had also moved a woman in, she knew from her mosque.
I made out okay with my new roommate as well. Dale is in maybe around sixty and quite alert but he’s confined to his bed and wheelchair after having a abscess on his upper spine operated on. My bonus on this is that the bathroom is all mine. Before Mona had a commode over the toilet and I needed a raised seat when I sat down so they had to be switched. I was capable of doing it but she kept trying getting staff or her visitors to do it. I had no problem with her son doing it and it didn’t bother me to ask him to put the commode back. I drew the line when she got her elderly aunty visiting from Lebanon to move it. I was not going to ask her to put it back. Oh and no one cares if I leave the seat up. Actually the seat has to be up to put on either device.
The one thing about the washroom is its windows. They are clear glass. It dawned on me as I was sitting on the throne and admiring the view of the mountains while looking in the mirror. Hey wait a minute! I now make a point of waving to the people in the tower across Lonsdale before getting down to business.
One the things, I have to learn to do here is plan my outings and prepare everything so it is in reach before I snap on the braces. Otherwise I end up climbing over the bed to retrieve things like toothpaste. This came to mind when I thought about dumping the non-slip socks for my fancy flowered Pumas. In order for me to do this I had to put on the socks , strap on the braces, retrieve the shoes from the closet on the other side of the room, return to the bed, take the braces off, put on the shoes and then put on the braces again. It was worth it. My ankles and feet are very happy. The shoes are now kept next to the bed.
Today for physio, Leanne took me downstairs to the main department and worked me out on the parallel bars and one of the knee exercise machines. After she wheeled me over to the machine, she and another physio set up the device and then asked me to climb on. I stood up from chair and walked about four steps before they both realized I was walking without any rails or my walker. They both basically said “Oops, let’s pretend we didn’t see that.” And I smiled smugly. My afternoon session was all done in my room where she gave me a bunch of “homework” to do over the weekend. Some of the things she wanted me to work on she normally wouldn’t trust most patients on this floor. But as she said “You’re young, alert and healthy”. Everything is relative; a near sighted man is king in a community of blind men. ;-)
Before lunch, Jennifer, the dietician came in to talk to me. Apparently I had requested my dinner entrees be doubled. I was puzzled because I wanted no part of most of the entrees in the first place for example yesterday’s chicken and tonight’s fish. It turns out it came from one of the nurses on the floor and it was based on the fact that last night there was Caesar salad with dinner but each cup was a third full. The nurse came to me with two more servings of salad from extra trays sent up. Jennifer and then discussed my weight and blood sugar intelligently realizing it wasn’t a major problem at the time and could be dealt with at a later date.
By the way, it seems there is an overabundance of Jennifers in this place even though my regular readers know I have a special affection for the name. ;-)
Jennifer also may have let something slip out of today. Apparently, on my chart I’m expected to be out early next week. Dr. Haaf said basically the same yesterday but he added the caveat that it is up to Dr. McConkey and the physio department. Leanne and I talked about it today and her main concern is the stairs in my house. She implied that I could have likely been out today if I lived in a one level environment but I’d still have to come back for therapy. None of my possible options made sense so I told her to keep throwing more challenges so we can find out what I can’t do so we can work to that goal.
Pam and Dennis came by and were pleasantly surprised by my progress even though they were regular readers. Their last visit was Christmas Eve a few hours before the braces came off so I was still lying in bed in my blue gown and stretched out on my back. And they once again brought more oranges and more goodies which I took advantage of before bed.
Too be continued...

Friday, January 4, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 65

Daryl and some old guy with beard
Episode 65 – January 3 – It was a bit different waking up in a new environment where I can appreciate the fabulous view of Grouse and Seymour. I’ve lived in this area for over 56 years and I never get tired of the looking at the snow capped mountains on a clear winter day.
If you include my stay in Emergency, this the sixth room in this hospital I’ve slept in over these two months.
Although I feel for anyone that was stuck in another Port Mann Bridge fiasco this morning, I get this smug look every time I hear about something going wrong on that billion dollar boondoggle. I’m so glad my tax dollars went to something important and not wasted on health or education.  Besides if you on your to work it really doesn’t matter if you’re stuck in traffic. It’s only important if you’re on your way home.
I hoped this wasn’t going to an omen but breakfast came and there was a banana on my tray. The food service woman recognized me and grabbed the banana and took it away. She knew! I checked the menu card and it was supposed to cantaloupe cubes.
After breakfast, I got dressed and pulled on my braces, grabbed my walker and flew solo around the unit. In my journey I ran into Leanne, the head physio on the unit and she told me that McConkey had at least authorized unlocking the hinges on the braces today. I really wish that guy would leave patient care to caregivers .
My morning nurse is Luanne who was called in for half a day because of a nursing shortage. I had overheard her in the hallway saying that she had not worked since August. From the looks of her she’s probably been retired for several years. There is no excuse for constant staffing shortages; this shows that the organization is poorly managed. Perhaps if you started with more staff they wouldn’t be so overworked and burned out.
While writing this and looking out the window, I realized that I can see the peaks of The Lions from the edge of my bed. If it wasn’t for another of those ugly condominium towers going up I’d be able to see the whole slope.
Another small victory this morning, I was able to wash my face and even better shave in a sink standing in front in front of a mirror.
Leanne came in around 10:00 and unlocked my braces and we started a new phase in my therapy. We experimented a bit in the hall with walker and then we went downstairs to main physio department via wheelchair to progress a little further. Leanne should know better than to ask me if I want to do more. I want to do everything! We started working on the parallel bars working on weight shifting progressing to lifting one knee and finally a simulated stair. I jumped through all of the hoops again so Leanne’s is going to talk to McConkey about removing the braces sooner than later.
My new roommate is Mona. She thought she shock me by telling me that she already been in the hospital with a disc repair for two and a half weeks. I win again! She is having severe pain problems so she can only either lie down or stand up and she can’t sit. I turned around and saw her standing in the doorway and looked down at her feet. Anyone care to guess what she was wearing? Oh that one was too easy! I’ll have to compose a few more difficult questions for the final exam.
It’s great to actually lie back on the bed for a bit of the afternoon when you have to option not to.
After a good rest I decided it was time for a walk. Okay, I lied I needed to use the bathroom but I figured if I was going through the trouble of tying myself up I may get some walking in. When I came out of the room, Martin, a co-worker was waiting for me so he walked around the unit with me and then we sat down in the dining room and chatted about a few things included a couple of union related that I had some details on and I gave him the answers he needed. While talking with Martin, Leanne came by and asked if the equipment in the physio department downstairs was free would I be interested in doing a little work today. Again, well duh! It turned out that the department was almost empty so she brought my wheelchair and we put Martin to work pushing my chair to the elevator.
By the elevator on the fifth floor there is an interesting double door with windows that leads to nowhere except a large drop to the roof.
Down in the physio we did a short review of what we did in the morning to make sure I hadn’t stiffened up the knees.
I got back upstairs and laid back on the bed. No sooner had I begun to relax and a woman comes in and said “Hi Mr. Donnelly, I’m Brenda from the Cardiac Care Unit”. Okay, at that point I was pretty sure I was going to be shipped downstairs because that introduction almost put me there. She was just there filling in as my afternoon nurse. Phewww!!!
This afternoon, I received another surprise visitor, Daryl, my grade 5 teacher. Apparently I still had some outstanding homework that hadn’t been turned in. Darn, I thought it wasn’t due for another week.  He was on his way home from snow shoeing on Seymour. He still looks great and a lot younger than some of his other students I’ve run into over the years. Thanks, Daryl! It’s always a pleasure seeing you!
Katha is back as my night nurse; at least they are fully staffed on nights. I heard the charge nurse scrambling to fill spots for dayshift tomorrow. This is not the way to run anything let alone a hospital.
To be continued...

Thursday, January 3, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 64

Episode 64 – January 2 – This marks the beginning of Week 10 in this hell hole. The sleep part of this is getting easier being able to flop around as much as possible.
I am going to warn all of you now that this episode may contain quite a bit of anger, frustration and venom.
The first annoying thing was the fact that some care aides and nurses seem to have the need to hand you a wet face cloth first thing in the morning and a bib before meals. The face cloth may seem like a good thing but then you have to find locations to place it afterwards where it won’t get something wet. I have refused to wear a bib from day one. This may seem like stubbornness but I had to draw the line because this place sucks all the pride and dignity out of your soul.
It didn’t help that I drew Barb as a nurse. She’s competent but not a very good advocate. The good thing is it could have been Maggie who appeared on the floor today. If that was the case I probably would have just got up and tried to walk out of here.
In a bit of foreshadowing or maybe it was psychic thing because I had the urge to throw something at the wall but when Barb came to give me my blood thinner shot I went to move my overbed table and it caught something and my breakfast tray went  flying. Who knew those things were so aerodynamic? Unfortunately I had already finished my breakfast.
The charge nurse from the rehab unit came up to talk to me and tell me absolutely nothing. She told me that there was no room but I was first on the list. I nearly blew up because they had told me they had a bed on Monday and then the line was that they couldn’t take me Monday because they were short staffed but the bed was waiting and Tuesday being a holiday the situation would be the same. Let’s just say this nurse got an earful. And Edna was practically applauding as I vented. The worst line I heard was that if emergency was really busy then there would likely a bed for me on the fifth floor. I thought I had heard wrong but this is true. If Emergency is overflowing each floor has to open extra beds. Whichever idiot thought this made sense needs to be fired. Hospital accountants are penny wise and pound foolish. Right now I am costing you, my insurance company and I time and money but this clown will probably get a bonus for making budget.
The biggest problem is surgeons and hospital l senior managers do not give a damn about patient care. The surgeon basically washes his hands of the day to day stuff which would be fine if he would let the physios and nurses that have one hundred times the knowledge of patient care. Surgeons are amazing at what they do cutting and sewing after that don’t let them deal with human beings. The system needs more nurses, nurse-practitioners and therapists.  
It is probably a good thing that I’ve been almost caffeine free for over two months. I may have been even more irritable.
Obviously, someone heard my complaints because Lisa, the physio came in for my therapy at 10 rather than the usual end of the day. To prove a point, I put both socks on myself and then she asked me if I wanted to put the braces on as well which I did relatively easily. I then got up into the big Arjo walker with little effort. Little effort is a relative term when your legs are bound straight out. I showed off by pushing that cumbersome thing twice around the ortho unit. Lisa realized I wasn’t actually using the arm supports she asked me if I wanted to give a regular walker a try. Of course, just keep throwing me challenges and I’ll go after them head on. So she sat me down on the edge of the bed while we waited for the assistant to find a suitable walker. It then dawned on me I had to pee and for the first time in two months I was able to do it almost standing up albeit into a bottle. Small victories and baby steps!
The assistant measured up the walker, I stood up in it and found walking just as easy in it. The next test was to see if I could get into the wheelchair with the braces on and again it worked out on one attempt.
About a half hour later, the charge nurse came in with a porter and told me there was a bed in 5 East waiting and we had to pack up. These people haven’t got a clue about what is going on. Communication is not a big thing around here.
So I gathered everything up and we headed downstairs to room 512. It was a bit of a culture shock coming from a unit where you are totally dependent on the nurses to a unit where you are expected to do so much more for yourself. I like the idea but it is a little bit overwhelming.
It did help that my nurse is Tara who had looked after me during first week upstairs on 6 West and was able to help me along.
I’m not sure I’m crazy about meal arrangements though instead of being brought to your room there is a dining room where everyone eats together. Let me put it this way; once again I’m the youngest one on the floor by at least thirty years. This is not exactly the most appetizing situation. The other stupid thing they did was transfer me in the middle of lunch delivery instead of waiting until I had lunch on the sixth floor. So here I was sitting at the table while everyone was eating their lunch and waiting for someone to track down my tray.
My first visitor on the floor was Lorraine’s brother, Rob who also had to track me down from the sixth floor because according to the front desk I was still. Unfortunately, Rob’s original reason for being here was not to see me but to look after his mother who had just been brought here to Emergency because of a respiratory problem. Hopefully she will be okay.
One of the best things about being here is I no longer have to wear a gown all day so I was able to wear a pair of shorts and a shirt for the first time in months.
The physio came into see me after lunch to assess how I would be doing my transfers and other things. One of the main other things came into play and the original was to revert to the old method until I was assessed by the occupational therapist in the morning but Tara thought we could actually try getting me into the toilet. So although there was some dignity restored we still aren’t one hundred percent there. Sitting on the throne with your legs locked out straight still presents problems.
Tara did share something encouraging with me after helping me get set up on the side of the bed so I could work on my writing facing Grouse Mountain. She told me her and the physio were recommending that I lose the braces entirely. Hopefully, McConkey will listen to people that know what’s going on for once. 
I appreciated everyone’s words of encouragement on Facebook this morning when I had posted about being so frustrated. As you can see now my frustration was with the stupid system that was letting me progress as opposed to me not getting better. I am better; I just need to be able to prove it. I want to thank all of you for you kind words and I would especially like to thank Cheryl who had a screen full of my venting this morning and was able to empathize with my struggles today and the roller coaster ride I’ve been on all day because she had just been through a mini version of this last month and is making great strides in her recovery.
And just to add one more hill to the roller coaster my wireless server was down this evening.
It also helped that my night nurse, Katha, is the same one that came up to interview and assess me last week.
I will miss the fun I had watching everyone come and go from my bed in 603 and the all the great people working up there on 6 West but I’d rather sit here and stare at the mountains and deal with the added stress of actually making progress here on 5 East.
I am on the mailing list for Ipso-Reid’s online surveys. In a beautiful touch of irony, they sent me one today about healthcare and in particular doctors’ performance. You talk about timing being everything. Hee hee!
And I finished my first night in my new home with and orange and one more of Eric’s delicious biscotti. Note to self: Eat orange before sweet thing not the other way around.
To be continued...

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 62

Episode 62 – December 31 – Yes, today is New Year’s Eve and even under normal conditions I would have said so what. For the most part I find this to be one of the most contrived and overhyped holidays, amongst a myriad of contrived holidays. In the past thirty years, I’ve worked more New Year’s Eves than actually celebrated. I made a pocketful of coin rather than blown a paycheque each year. It doesn’t sound right but of  the twenty-one New Year’s Days I had with Lorraine the first kiss of the year more times than not came from a co-worker or a stranger but Lorraine always got the last kiss of each year. Mind you I’ve had some memorable December 31s including the one at Whistler I had talked about in a previous episode. I was reminded of a daytime New Year’s Eve 29 years ago. When my friend, Sharon, was visiting last week, she said almost smuggled in a piccolo bottle of Henckel Trocken so I would have something to toast the New Year with. I laughed because the only time I had ever drank from those tiny bottles was in the parking lot of the Bloedel Conservatory at 9 AM after her wedding. Hey, we couldn’t be expected to knock off whole bottles at that time of the morning. 9:30 maybe! 10AM without a doubt! There was a very attractive loophole for those getting married on December 31 in those days. Happy Anniversary, Sharon and Eric!
Ironically the event I would have worked tonight had already been cancelled. Damn. I so wanted to be able to book-off!
Before going off shift, Cat checked my glucose levels and they were still stuck at 4.9. The muffin was good for me; maybe not so much for Regina who came on as my day nurse. I put her to work right away. (Repeat mantra – “I never want to be a nurse.”)
It has now been two months since I was locked up here. I keep hoping it’s been a season long dream sequence a la Bobby Ewing.
The toaster at Evergreen thought it would be fitting to let us know one more time before the New Year and the alarm went off again at 7AM. Actually I’m beginning to believe Edna’s granddaughter and it’s really because the little old dears down there just want to ogle the firefighters.
Just as lunch arrived, Regina came in and told me she had to help pack up my things because they had a bed ready on 5 East, the rehab unit. So I obtained a small plastic bin and loaded everything in my bedside drawer into it and began organizing everything else within my reach to get ready for the big move. As soon I was already to go, Regina came in and told me that the move was on hold probably until tomorrow. I just left everything in the bin because as soon as I unpack a porter will be at my door to move me. The bad part is because of the move, I got moved down on the floor physio’s list therefor  no walking.
As I’ve said before, I somehow manage to lose things in my twenty square feet of a bed. This time it was my cell phone. I used the old trick of borrowing the portable phone and calling it. Sure enough I was pretty much sitting on it. Damn, I should have had it on vibrate.
I just read a post by the daughter of a friend about her accomplishments during 2012 and it made me feel proud. I really believe that our definition of family has evolved some for bad but more so for the good. We are in a way reverting to more of a tribal system where a friend’s children become our own. It really does take a village. Well done, Missy and remember the good things in life will always outweigh the bad as long as you let it.
Talk about serendipity, just as I had finished typing the Henckel Trocken story above, I received a message from a former cellmate, Cheryl, asking if she would be allowed to bring me up some bubbly. Nurse’s official answer: “No!” Nurse’s unofficial answer: “You never asked me that...I have no idea what you are talking about.”
Cheryl showed up at about 7:30. It’s amazing how much better a person looks in something other than a blue hospital gown and a face grimacing in pain. We got right down to it and popped open the bottle of apple juice. And then compared battle scars with Layla as the judge while she was taking my blood pressure. (BTW – my blood pressure tends to rise in the company of two beautiful women, hee hee!) Cheryl won on actual length and length proportionate to body size and I took the quantity and symmetry prizes. We chatted and sipped apple juice or rather I babbled on. I tend to do that when I’m nervous and hadn’t had any apple juice for two months. We toasted the Eastern Time Zone New Year watching a live feed of the ball dropping in Time Square. The ability to tap into the EST feed of New Year’s celebrations has been a godsend to west coast parents of young children and retired party animals which are not necessarily mutually exclusive groups. It was n*** to add a new NYE memory by getting to know a new friend a little better. Thank you so much, Cheryl!
My year ended on one more good note. A few minutes after Cheryl left, I received a call from my beautiful niece, Jennifer calling to wish her ailing old Uncle D a Happy New Year. The poor dear was sitting in the dark with Molly due to a blackout. Knowing that I was better than okay brightened up her night at least figuratively made my even brighter. After saying goodnight, I made a quick call to the big guy upstairs and her night was brightened up literally; her lights came back on. Hey! Prove me wrong! Love you, Jen Jen!
And with the aid of Zopiclone, Benadryl apple juice, I was out like a light. (pun intended)
To be continued...

How I Spent My “Fall” Vacation – Episode 63

Episode 63 – January 1 – I have definitely always liked New Year’s Day better than the night before. Family dinners were always far less stressful than any other holiday get togethers. And January 1, was always my big day to veg out in front of the tube. I would start out with the Tournament of Roses Parade and graduate to the smorgasbord of college football bowl games. We had always a tradition/rule of no TV especially sporting events on Christmas Day and New Year’s was the exact opposite.  I guess I’ll miss out on that today but there is always that tiny thread of hope that I’ll be home by next Monday night to watch the championship game featuring my beloved Notre Dame Fighting Irish. *crossing multiple fingers and other body parts*
One Scottish/Irish superstition about the New Year is it is good luck if a dark skinned man was the first visitor through your front door. This was usually the guy that delivered your coal or a chimney sweep. During my time with Version 1.0, it was my duty to go over to her mother’s place each New Year’s morning and knock on the front door. (We normally always went in through the kitchen.) In a family with all lily white skin, beige is dark.
I wanted to vow that this would be the last holiday I’d spend in this joint but being a good Catholic School boy I forget about Epiphany this Sunday marking the twelfth and last day of Christmas. I normally keep my tree up and my lights burning until then. At least I won’t have the headache of packing up the countless boxes of Christmas decorations this year. However, I still have to pack up my Halloween decorations and my Halloween curtains are still up next to the front door. Over the years we had found fabrics commemorating a number of holidays and seasons so I now have over a dozen different sets for that one window. The Christmas curtains caught a break this and got to take the year off. apple juice did not have too much of a detrimental effect on my blood sugar. Layla took it at 6:30 AM and it was only 6.2.
Must have been a special day today, they sent up a waffle and scrambled eggs with tropical fruit salad. The waffle was a change from the usual slice of whole wheat toast and it wasn’t quite as chewy as the pancakes they sent up a couple of weeks ago. I think you were in on that tasty repast, Cheryl. ;-)
Before lunch, my good friends and fellow Night Owls, Christine and Tim dropped in and of course the paid the toll and brought some goodies. We took turns verbally ganging up on each and rehashing old war stories. They get better and funnier every time.
This brings to mind another thing. How many of you have seen that eye roll and bored look on your son or daughter’s face and heard “Dad/Mom, we’ve already heard that story.” Crap, we are not just becoming our mothers and fathers we are becoming our grandparents.
Speaking of sons, the Crown Prince came in again today and we chatted away for a couple of hours. That’s two days in a row just because he was in the neighbourhood. His mom raised him well. :-)
This is the time of year that we all sit back and reflect on the past year. For the most part 2012 was pretty good. Work went well and I earned a lot more respect for the people upstairs while I assumed a bit more responsibility. Seeing the Panama Canal in operation was fabulous and I’d highly recommend for any mechanical geek. You can read about it on this blog in “Journey to the Big Ditch” or get a more visual experience in my Facebook Album “Las Aventuras de “La Sombrera Rosada” y Dennis en Panamá Feb 12”. In July I was able really get to reacquaint myself with a very special person and met a precious little dog in Palm Springs. Again you read about in “ButIt’s a Dry 110°” and view more photos at “Jen Jen & Den Den's ExcellentAdventure in Palm Springs July 2012” Oh yeah and something happened to me on Halloween night. If only I could remember. Damn, now my medium term memory is going along with my short term.
Dinner arrived and I guess because it was New Year’s we got hammy kind of stuff, What bugged me was I saw Edna’s tray go by and there was a big slice of pumpkin pie. I looked at my tray and all I had was a dish of diced pears. *insert pouty face* Oh well at least there was no chunks of core this time but  there were a few bits of peel.
And we are still in a holding pattern with regard to my move to rehab.
Layla brought me my little blue pill to go with my orange and chocolate goodies. Now only if I had something apple juice, perhaps? ;-)
To be continued...