Monday, October 12, 2009

Sunday October 11 – The Question Mark

Quinn is interested in writing to Katherine, in Burkina and Sinthujan, in Sri Lanka our two sponsor children. The movie last night, with the main characters being foster children, made Quinn want to connect with real people who are disadvantaged. He makes them each a card during breakfast.

When we get to your room, the strong smell of pee hit us – Yay! You peed on your own! That’s another big step.

Just when I was thinking about it being six weeks today that you collapsed, and your recovery was taking so-o-o-o long, you take another step in the marathon. It’s very hard sitting on the sidelines, watching such a slow pace and being unable to do anything about it except cheer you on.

This is Thanksgiving. I am grateful but I know I should be more grateful. Six weeks ago I thought you would die. Six weeks ago, I had to think about a funeral not a wet bed. Six weeks ago my heart broke. Now it’s healing … slowly.

The resident was in. I hadn’t met her before, she had a nice compassionate way about her. She was just checking in. She had been following your case. She said the PEG tube would be a big step forward to getting you to rehab. That ‘s the first time anyone brought up the subject of going to the rehab hospital, except me.

At lunch, I go downstairs to the family room next to the ICU to use the microwave there. Being in that room, again, suddenly made me feel a little more grateful that you are not there now. My heart ached for the family who camping out and waiting for news of their missing family member today.

Today I don’t feel so brave about the new normal for us.

I suppose really there is a grief process at work here. I’m grieving for my old, comfortable life. Some days are harder to get through then other days. I don’t know where I am in the process. I think I skip back and forth. Anger, Denial, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

I don’t think I have bargained at all but I certainly felt all the other emotions off and on. What a roller coaster ride … I just want the ride to end.

I ask if you would like me to cut your hair.

When you had your surgery, only the front half of your head was shaved. Six weeks later, your hair re-growth looks good but the hair at the back of your head has got quite long.

The scar curves around your forehead and down the side of your head on the right side. If you looked in the mirror you would see a scar in the shape of a question mark. A rather appropriate symbol since we will probably never know what happened to cause the bleed in the first place. It’s a mystery. In fact there are many unanswered questions about you condition and our future.

As I sit with you throughout the afternoon. You drift from your childhood to present day. One minute you are annoyed with Steve (Chris’ brother) the next minute you think you want to play cards, but you forgot what to do after I dealt them out. At one point I was pretty sure you didn’t know who I was. I asked – you mumbled. I asked later and you said ‘Gwen’. It’s hard keeping up with you in your time travel.

Janice, Edwin and the gang from PEI arrive. You are awake and talk with them. They are in Halifax to see Jaimee who is playing in a field hockey tournament this weekend as well as see you. Since your marathon began, Jaimee began one of her own. Her marathon was a little more planned then yours. She is in her first year at university. A new normal for her.

Janice takes Tara and Quinn to see field hockey game and go swimming in the pool at their hotel.

Juanita and Wayne, with Maddie and Farley, come to visit. Wayne is taping the third Angels game for you. You are in your chair now and we walk you about. – I had hoped to get you outside today, but it’s getting late in the day and cold. We walk the halls of the hospital and play with Maddie while she eats her supper.

Janice and Edwin have planned a Thanksgiving dinner at Mary and Stuart’s house. Turkey with stuffing etc. They have been working on dinner since noon.

Going to Thanksgiving dinner without you doesn’t seem right. I feel empty and sad.

The children are back from the pool. They had fun. Dinner smells good. Erica (third daughter of Janice and Edwin’s) even made place name cards with a heart and a 29 on each one. Before digging in to the food. Janice says a prayer. Then we go around the table to say what we are thankful for. Erica says “Organ donation”!

Wow, she nailed it for me. Those two words spun around my internal dialogue from “Why is this happening to us?” to “We are so lucky this happened to us … it could have been worse.” Thanks Erica for re-adjusting my outlook.

Your Thanksgiving dinner was ‘Promote’ – vanilla flavoured high protein liquid with a side order or Isosource HN with fiber. Mmmm.

Janice, Edwin and I go back to the hospital to say good night. Edwin says to you that he wants to thank you for introducing him to running. You almost smile and stretch out your hand to him.

It’s very hard saying goodbye when you are awake. I kiss you goodnight.

Third Division Playoff game: LAA 5 against BOS 4! LAA won the series and move on to the Pennant playoffs.

Happy Thanksgiving Dear. We love you. Be strong and keep running. We are here to cheer you on. You will finish this marathon.


  1. Thank you for reminding me to be thankful!

  2. happy thanksgiving cashens ... from all of us!!

  3. Gwen, we saw the last part of that game, and when the Angels won, I was so happy...Gary didn't understand why I would care if the Angels won ( being strictly a hockey Mtl Canadians' fan...) and I said " It's great for Chris!!" Thinking about you all.

    The MacIsaacs