Saturday, September 12, 2009

Friday, September 11th

I got another good night's sleep. I'm starting to pay back on the mortgage I took from the sleep bank during the last couple of weeks. My mind is finding a path of how to cope with life while you are in Halifax and the rest of us are in Truro.

I must go back to work in another week or so - the staff at Truro Vet have been great - As soon as they heard that you were on life support and expected to die they cleared my schedule for 2 weeks. And when they heard there was hope - they gave me another week and possibly more.

I must go back to work for many reasons. I need that outlet in my life - I'm a frustrated caregiver and nurturer and at this time and I have to do something healing. I need to redirect my frustration into my work. I need to try to get a new state of 'normal' in my life. The past 2 weeks, I've been trying to do that for the children, but I haven't done it for myself - if this is a marathon - I must pace myself and 'train' (get exercise).

Lastly, we will need the income. There will probably be extra expenses when Chris comes home. I don't want to envision what the expenses will be at this time - but I think it's wise to try to budget for it. Meanwhile, I am downsizing our monthly expenses - like get rid of cable (you will hate the thought of this but that's your incentive . you come home and we will get it again) - Tara, Quinn and I rarely watch TV and now there are far more important things to do.

Quinn discovers $4.47 under his pillow for his tooth. Tara exclaims "Hey, I never got that much" I offer the explanation that a different tooth fairy is on duty right now and she is not used to the going rates for healthy teeth. She looks at me suspiciously. I say nothing more.

As I walked Quinn to school today, he was talking about his new cousin and thrilled to have another boy cousin. I pointed out that Farley is 7 years younger then him and that it is similar to Quinn and his new found older friend, Sebastian, Assieh's son. Quinn loves spending time with Sebastian, and when I see them play together - I can see similarities to when you and Quinn play. Very physical and energetic.

Quinn also talked about the writing you did yesterday, He can't wait to share with his classmates. He is a little concerned that the word 'butt' is a bad word and he might get into trouble if he says it. I suggest he, quietly, tell his teacher about the 'catheter out my butt' line and see what she thinks before he tells the class. He really wants to tell everyone about the 'is it Christmas time yet' because he feels this proves "Daddy still has his funny in him".

I go to school with Quinn and organize bussing for them on the days I will work. Then off to the bank to settle things there . and finally, off to the QE2 to see you.

You are awake and want to hold hands and communicate. They removed the pressure monitor and drain from your brain last night. Your head looks better. I think that maybe on the weekend when Tara and Quinn are here, we will give your head a more even hair cut.

You have always regarded your hair as a way of measuring time or a means to a goal. In our early days together, you won't shave or get hair cuts between baseball season. You would look like a mountain man by mid April - then at the beginning of ball season - you would get me to do the 'big cut' - cutting your hair close. It always made a big transformation. The new you for ball season.

When we got pregnant with Tara, you didn't cut your hair for the 9 months. We have some great pictures of you, the fuzzy Daddy, with newborn Tara on our fridge. When Quinn was born on May 8, 2002, you sensed something special was going to happen that year with the California Angels. You didn't cut your hair the whole season and when the Angels won the World Series, I knew why . because you didn't cut your hair.

You thought it had more to do with the fact that Quinn's middle name is Carew. (After Rod Carew - a famous shortstop and hitter of the Angels). We have another great picture on the fridge with a bushy hair Daddy, Tara and Quinn all dressed in Angels clothes - taken the night the Angels won the series.

Lately, you have noticed the gray coming through in your hair . "A sign of wisdom" I said, but you didn't like it and kept your hair cut short. Now your hair is really short .in places and long in others - we will fix that tomorrow . if Paulette will let us. (She is quite protective of you . after all when she met you . you were dying).

I gave you a notebook that I just bought for you to record your recovery and messages. You write something - I can't read it. You write more - still can't read it. We hold hands and you stretch out your arm so I can tickle it (you have always loved it when I do this).

Paulette, your nurse today, is a real go-getter. She was on duty the night you came in from Truro. She has physiotherapy to work on range of motion and occupational therapy to measure you for a good chair to sit in so your body position can be changed easily. The increased white count is still a little mystery, all cultures are negative, but we are still waiting on one remaining culture.

Dr. Kennedy, a resident, was also on duty the night you came in. He stopped by and we discuss your case. The kidney ultrasound shows a small kidney stone, an incidental finding and not significant to your case at this time. I grill him for details about the blood count - "possibly it's a stress leukogram" I suggest. "Maybe" he says patiently (probably thinking - 'great, an interfering family member') but instead he says "it might be his main line, which will be removed today, and the tip cultured."

I show Margaret the notebook with the illegible writing and she sees "Love you"! I didn't even see it - my mind was looking for different messages. If the note says 'love you' then it is followed by something else that looks like 'baking' - now this definitely worries me - because I know that you must have serious brain damage if all of a sudden you love my baking!

After your, physio, I return and you are asleep, I sit by your side, writing the journal. Paulette, comes in and tells me that you are tired after the physio and she's going to let you sleep rather then shave you as she had planned.

We talk about your special miracle and I ask her the question that's been on my mind. "If Chris hadn't donated his organs, would he have come to Halifax to await brain death anyway?" "No" She ventured her opinion, "They would have likely kept him in Truro to die."

WOW. I have no words for this thought.

Our first date was a little strange, with both of us being a little shy, we didn't want to call it a date. We had worked together at a large companion animal veterinary practice that had an emergency service for the Ottawa and Hull valley. I got to know Chris the summer of 1985. His unique sense of humor drew me to him. I asked him if he wanted to donate blood with me and he suggested we play squash after at the YMCA. "Let's do it" I said.

On Nov 14, 1985 - we donated blood together. It was his first time. After, we went on to the squash game. I was losing .miserably. "My hand-eye coordination is off because I don't see well with one eye" I said. Shortly after this comment, I started to bleed all over the court! I had forgotten that I had taken an ASA earlier that day. He helped clean up the mess. It was a great date that wasn't really a date. I still have the blood donor card from that day.

I guess, when you think about it, your generosity with your blood that day gave you to me. Now, your generosity with your body gave you back to us ... WOW.

I show Paulette what you wrote this morning, and she said without any doubt in her voice, "Love you back". this is the best anniversary present ever.

Dr Witter, the Intensive Care doctor, came in, with a new device (Orator) that allows you breathe through your tracheotomy tube and mouth at the same time. With a little practice, you will be able to talk. I asked you if you wanted me to bring the newspaper tomorrow so we could check out the baseball game results. I said "You will want to bone up on the season's stats because John (a long-time friend) thought he would be in Halifax next week to see you." I asked you to say yes - but you were tired after the day's events.

Paulette said that you are going to be moved tonight to a step down ward. Sort of a half-way house for the semi-sick-but-getting-better-every-minute patients. This is great news. Tonight, you have a new home on the seventh floor.

As of today, you have had over 2900 people sign on to the blog with your story. That's has got to be a good sign.


  1. Gwen:

    Jeff and I have been reading the journal and are inspired by your words. Journaling helps you to speak your thoughts in a much more tangible way! This will help Chris at some point.

    Kristin is home for a wedding this weekend and would send her best to you as well.

    Know that you are all in our thoughts and prayers.

    Jeff, Susan and Kristin Joudrey

  2. I look for your updates several times a day and I am so thrilled when you post one! The news you write is so amazing I don't even know what to say and think; Im just so happy you are writing it!
    Thinking of you guys always and running my runs for Chris!

  3. We are so happy that Chris is doing so well. Stay strong Chris. Reading todays blog reminded me of the haircut I gave Chris with the clippers in the grooming room at the Clinic. He said it was good, but now I know how much he worries about his hair I wonder what he really thought:)
    Thinking of you all everyday,
    Love Nadine, Ruben and Ryleigh

  4. Dear Gwen, Tara, Quinn... and Chris!

    Our glee increases by the day... I just can't believe it. Go Chris! Linnaea says, "I love and miss you all and am getting happier and happier by the day as I hear that Chris is getting better." Liam says, "I hope Chris gets better. I miss you all and I'm hoping for you." Eben says, "I hope Tara and Quinn and Gwen are feeling better now that Chris is feeling better again."

    Brooke and I send our biggest hugs... you're never far from our thoughts. Love You All!!!!


  5. Hey Tara and Quinn,

    Lindsay an Jenny are selling ice tea, lemonade and koolaid to raise money to help you guys out with your expenses. I told them to push the 'crossing light' so cars would have to stop, but they are way more honest than me.They think some of the money should go towards " Freak Lunchbox".....tell your mom to call me if she doesn't know where THE candy store in Halifax is!

    Gwen I laughed out loud at your baking comment- remember when we met? I bought some homemade cookies and told you and Chris to tell all the other neighbours that I had baked them for you..just to see their faces! That was the same time that Chris asked me how I felt about him spanking my children---and I knew 'ok, this is a funny family!'

    Thank you for your blog, Gwen.

    Marion and the MacIsaac clan