Thursday, October 29, 2009

Monday October 26 - Acts in Faith to Live in Hope

I feel compelled to write every day – I don’t want to miss a day of journaling. I think I understand your running streak a little better now. You didn’t want to miss a day of running, because it would make it that much easier to miss the next and the next. I worry that if I miss a day, it will be easier to miss another day and another. I am going to stay true to your conviction to running and I will continue to journal until you don’t need me to do it any more.

This morning, I looked up the score of the Angels game from last night. I had stayed up to 11:30 when the Angels scored another run to make it 2-3 Yankees. Sadly, the Angels lost to the Yankees. However on the bright side, maybe there is a silver lining. Maybe Rod Carew wouldn’t be so busy and he can look at his mail.

Quinn asks what the score was from the game. Quinn tells me what he wished for on Sunday when we were eating dinner at A&W. He threw his two pennies in the fountain and wished with the first that the Angels will win their game. The second wish was for them to win the rest of the games. He said that he had a dream last night that the Angels won. When I told him that they didn’t – he was quiet. I pointed out to him the silver lining and he seemed to rally.

Tara is sleepy and feeling ill. A sore throat. She still wants to go to school but sleep-in a little first. I called work and find out that my first appointment is 9:10 – good - I can cut her a little slack. I let her sleep in an extra 45 minutes. When she did get up she was ready for her day.

We had some homework from the Dr. appointment last week. I had to collect a urine sample and take it to the hospital for Tara. I dropped Tara off at the school at 8:45 – And I foolishly think I have time to submit the freshly collected sample. Wrong – as usual the lab area was standing room only. Since I only have to drop it off – I thought the process might go quickly. They were serving number 1 when I got there and I got number 11. I gambled and waited. The numbers are going by quickly – serving 2 then 3,4,5,6,7,8 and then it the system stalls and no new numbers – in fact there is no one at the desk at all!

I can’t wait. I got to get to work. I decide to leave and come back at lunch. I scold myself for even trying to pull off the job today – but if I don’t do it today then when? I get to work feeling like I’ve dropped more balls. First Annie, now I can’t even drop off a simple urine sample. When I get to work – there is a small problem with one of my patient’s blood samples.

I lose it – another melt down – Oh boy – I’m on the edge. Val and Carmen do what comes naturally to them – they hug me and say understanding words. They help me find a plan to solve my immediate problems. This is just exactly what I needed. A plan. Kaila goes back to the human hospital with urine in hand. Val looks after my patient’s blood sample problem. Carmen gets me through the day.

Fran says I’m the queen of metaphors. I might over use them a bit but metaphors (good and bad) help me understand a situation better. The Juggling metaphor works for me this time– because the balls that I drop – I don’t have to pick up. There are people all around me who are there to help – who want to help. They will pick up the dropped balls and even start juggling some of my balls themselves. I am so lucky. I just have to learn to ask – being a natural do-it-yourself-er, this is something I’ve never been very good at.

I realize now why I’m so on edge this week. Early in August I registered for a one-day veterinary meeting in Toronto for Oct 29th. At the time we didn’t know that our lives would be so different. We talked about it and you said I should go. It is a meeting about succession planning for veterinary practices - a rather unique topic that wouldn’t be readily available at other times. It was a first-come enrollment. I booked the trip right away and I forgot about it.

A few weeks ago I realized I needed to do something about it. I talked to Juanita and arranged child-care. I was free to go. But I still don’t feel I should. It seems indulgent – flying off away from you and the children who need me.

I didn’t want to cancel the meeting because the information may be very good for our family right now since we don’t know what financial arrangements we might have to take in the future.

The closer the time came, the more anxious I got. I told myself this past weekend that I can’t go. It’s crazy to go. I don’t want to go. By Sunday night, I was a mess. While crying to Juanita on the phone, I decided that I would sleep on the decision one more night. I was tired Sunday and in no mood to made decisions.

Today is another day and I will go to Toronto on Wed. Fran is going to stay a few days longer before going back to Newfoundland. She will stay with the children at the house. Quinn likes that idea and is happy not to do a sleepover at Juanita’s. He likes doing sleep overs at Juanita’s normally – but this is not a normal time.

I will leave Wed evening and get back Thurs evening. I was indecisive because I didn’t want to leave you and the children. But all of you are in good hands.

I called the hospital - Your swallow assessment was great – you passed with flying colours (and you didn’t even study). First prize in the swallowing challenge is … (imagine a drum roll here) Thickened Liquids! I wonder what joys that will bring to your tongue. Stay tuned – we will see tomorrow.

When I pick up the children from gymnastics, Tara is feeling sick. She is with Craig, the guidance teacher from the school. He shares your passion for sports and he had a hunch that he could get the letter to Rod Carew through the Angels organization. He had sent an email to the Angels some time ago. Today, he received a reply! It’s from a public relations person who asked for the letter and says she will try to forward it to Mr. Carew!

Tonight, Quinn spotted another first star. He has been spotting stars every night that he can. He wished the Angels win the World Series NEXT year. Chris, I think you have created an Angels fan already. A fan who acts in faith to live in hope.

Just like your fans. We all are acting in faith to have hope for you.

When friends call or write and say how their visit with you went – it boosts my spirits – They see your recovery from a different and rosier perspective. They don’t try to read between the lines – they just take what they see at face value. They see that you are better then you were. A little re-count of a visit shows me that side – I need to be reminded of that side occasionally. This is especially true for the days when I can’t visit you.

My hope is that this journal will help you fill in your blanks. Hearing about your visits with family and friends help fill in my blanks.

Here are some re-counts of visitis that you had last Friday and Monday.
Karen, a teacher from the school, visited you on Friday She wrote:

I did have a good day on Friday...and it was a great bonus to see Chris! I thought he was looking very good considering all he has been through. He was awake and very alert when I went in at lunch time. We chatted, talking about running, you guys, even the existence of God! At one point Chris became a little agitated and was asking to talk to you and I told him you had to work but would be visiting later in the afternoon...I tried to comfort him and steer the conversation in a different direction...I thought I was doing a great job, until Chris looked me straight in the eye and said "You're very good at stalling". It made me laugh and let me know that however confusing the signs may be, Chris is there, inside an injured body, trying to connect with a world that is so different for him now. After one of the nurses, (Jenny Proctor) had been in, Chris asked me what her name was, he even wanted to know her last name. He then asked me to write her name down on his visitor list and to put an arrow next to it pointing to the word 'inspiration'. I thought that was quite something. Small wonders...another thing that struck me in a happy way was when Chris asked if I had a lap first I didn't know why he had asked me, then he pointed to my bag that was up on a chair to the side of the is a computer bag, but I just use it for my papers etc. I explained to him that no, I didn't have a computer in the bag, but I just felt so simply happy to see a healing brain in action! Thank you for sharing some of your time Chris...I'll be back! Much love to you all, you are constantly in our thoughts and prayers...

Laura, a fellow runner and school mother, visited Friday. She wrote:
I just want to say how much I thought he had improved since my last visit, which was I think about 3 weeks ago. He was making more direct eye contact with me when he spoke and his words were coming out much faster than before. .also, he was able to convey emotion with his words which wasn't there previously. He did seem a little glum.... but, who can blame him. We talked about running and he said he wants to run again and I told him I believed he would. I couldn't help thinking on the ride home, if he has improved this much in 3 weeks, what is he going to be capable of in a couple of months from now??
Take Care,
ps Chris was asking about Zoe and Jonah and who their teachers were this year... he corrected my pronounciation of Madame off.

Laura and Steve have just got back home after their long weekend with you. They wrote:

You've probably heard from the nurses today that Chris had good news - he can start to eat solids as long as they are mashed and he can drink liquids by spoon. He had the barium test this morning before we came over so he was feeling a bit nauseous from the barium. The nurse gave him gravol, which made him sleepy so we didn't take him outside. We sat and talked with Chris and when he got tired we left him for a bit before coming back. Oh and the other good news and Chris told us this when we first arrived - his bladder is almost back to normal. So all in all a very good news day!

A couple from the church came by to visit Chris this afternoon - I can't remember their names but I think the gentleman works with Chris on the maintenance of the church. They were a very nice couple and Chris was awake when they stopped by.

It was great to see you and the kids, and also your sisters and Maddie and Farley. Hopefully the next time we get together Chris will be in Truro and almost back to normal. His spirits were pretty high today and if he keeps this up he's going to improve in leaps and bounds. He certainly has a strong support group with you and the kids and family and friends. He's doing all the hard work and we're there to encourage and keep him going. I guess I better do my part now and start to practice running!!! If Chris thinks his recovery is hard, imagine me trying to run!! But I'll do it for him and of course Steve will be there to participate in the next run Chris is ready for in Cape Breton.


  1. Congratulations Gwen!!! Chris is helping you grow as well. It's hard to learn how to ask for help. Ask Kaila sometime ... I'm notorious for not asking ... but I have had to learn over the past few years. When we "drop balls" ... it's ok not to pick them up. We have loved ones and supporters who WANT to help ... but sometimes we DO have to ask ... and that's ok as well. These are all lessons preparing you for what is to come ... you're doing well. Love to you & yours ..

  2. Hey Gwen,

    D'Arcy didn't send a note after his visit this week since you were there too, but he told me that he also saw a dramatic improvement in Chris' appearance in the two weeks since he had been to visit! Keep the faith!