Thursday, October 1, 2009

Wednesday September 30 –Our first day apart

I had to hold back and wait until 8AM to call the charge nurse. Theresa, the charge nurse came to the phone. I start to explain my concerns and query why has there been no urology consult yet. She says you have a urinary tract infection (UTI) and are being treated for it. No kidding – I knew that was going to happen. Frequent catheterization and urine retention are the perfect conditions for a UTI.

I convey my frustration and said that if the consult occurred last week, perhaps this could have been avoided. She didn’t have a reply for this. I asked when could I expect a consult if you continue not to have bladder control yourself. “Probably Monday” she said. Great I’ll be by your side to see… I hope.

I go to work. I’m still frustrated and I vent to all that will listen. I feel a little better. You always know what to say when I’m upset at things, you would say something funny and it would always relax me immediately – that is a gift you have that I always appreciated..

As I start my day, I noticed an unpleasant smell. I ask Joye and Lisamarie if they smell it. They do but none of us can identify it. I wonder around – trying to find the source. I have to go into my first appointment with the smell. After my second appointment, Lisamarie and Joye noted that the smell vanished when I went into an appointment room and re-appeared when I finished. The smell from was me.

After some investigation, I discovered that, somehow, my freshly washed scrub shirt had been sprayed with a dog’s anal glands and I ended up wearing the smell.

So far my first day back … stinks!

The first two clients share their personal stories with me about their recovery from brain injuries. Lynn described how she resumed a lot of function back in the right side. Her legacy is that her handwriting has changed. Sue explained to me how her sensory input (sight, hearing, feel etc) seemed VERY real to her but it was just her reality not real. Her brain fooled her perception of things.

A little later in the morning, I was asked, by a lovely lady with a cat, if I mediated. I said no but I am learning to live in the moment. I told her that I found that concept very difficult. Especially when you have been a left side thinker for so long. She told me about her special machine and software that works with her computer. It is designed to help you mediate. She has found it very helpful in her quest to mediate. I ask if she read Jill Bolte-Taylor’s book, ‘My Stroke of Insight”, which discusses right brain thinking and mediation practices. She said “Yes, that’s the sort of thing that got her interested in mediation.

During lunch, I call Janice at the church. She has been ferreting out info on disability insurance and the paper work involved. I had filled out your disability papers last week but haven’t sent them yet. I couldn’t fill them sooner because it was tough citing the reason for your disability. ‘Hemorrhagic stroke’. I wrote the words for the first time. It stung. The words don’t seem to really explain the full experience of what we all are undergoing. Two horrifying words: Hemorrhagic Stroke” don’t convey the full meaning very well.

Once home, I drove the van to pick up children. Your car is getting the cruise control installed. I think I have made friends with your car. While driving the van, I keep trying to change gears on it. Apparently that’s not a good idea when you drive an automatic. I also really know what you mean about my van running and braking rough. I never appreciated before but since I have only driven your car for the past few weeks, I have really notice the brakes. The brakes do get better as it warms up but I don’t think I should drive it in the winter.

Dinner is waiting for us when we get home. Chicken minestrone soup made especially with Quinn in mind to help him along in his fight against the virus. For dessert we had Angel cookies … actually ‘Angel Cookies for the Cashen Kids!’… 29 characters including the !. Thanks Janine!

There some cards for you at the door. One card is from Niall. He writes “Hope your Dad gets better Tara” He and his friend, Emma, had a lemonade stand sale and made a whooping $24.26 Canadian and 0.19 American plus a $32.00 gas card which were enclosed in the card!

I will never stop being amazed about how your story inspires such wonderful creative support. Everywhere we go: school, work, grocery store, walking Annie, all the children’s after school activities – Everywhere, people stop to ask how you are doing and express their support for you to get well. This acknowledgment makes our journey easier.

After the children are in bed, I forgo journal writing for the first night since this marathon started. Instead, I build an outside chicken pen. It turned out rather well. I just have to get some chicken wire and we are set. Humane, safe and movable in the garden – the chicks are going to love this.

It does feel good to get a little taste of ‘normal’ life back … even if it’s only for 8 hours. It’s also feels good to finally give the chickens a home I had promised them. Tomorrow, I will focus on your needs again.


  1. Hi Gwen, Keeping you and yours in my thoughts. I rarely go to halifax but if you have some errands I can run when Im doing mine ( groceries, bills, whatever)..let me know.


  2. hi gwen
    don't forego "normal" ... it's as important to you and the kids as chris. lynne and i have both had to find "normal" in the face of adversity during times of health crisis ... finding minutes of normality is OK! and good!
    god bless.