Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thursday January 14 - Your Big Day

This morning I read to you the journal entry I made last night. I wanted to know what you thought of it. It contains an emotional experience that I don’t know if I want to share with everyone …yet. In time, I think you will want to share but I don’t think that you are ready for that decision now. It can wait. The important thing is that we shared an important and long overdue conversation. And for those of you whose mind wonders close to the gutter … forget it – it wasn’t sex. (If you want that – you will have to buy the book!)

I thought today was going to be a bit of a yawner after yesterday. Like a lost lazy summer day when you were a kid and your summer vacation seems to stretch far into the future. I couldn’t imagine how today could be more emotional then yesterday.

It started out slow and easy. We made preparations for the CTCL wheelchair bus to come and pick you up on Friday so you could be home for the weekend. I booked time off work to travel with you in the bus. We even called Mildred and arranged for her to ‘Chris-sit’ you on Friday afternoon while I was at work. You should me how easy it was for you to get from your bed to the chair using the pole and we socialized with some of the ‘regulars’ on the floor.

The atmosphere on the floor seemed a little charged with excitement as the social worker was tirelessly finding places for people to go before the strike. The staff was periodically tuning into the news about the strike negotiations. The union and the government were still talking to each other. That’s a good sign. I suspect it will be decided in the eleventh hour so that all parties can come away from the table, feeling and looking like they made the best deal they make. It’s just good politics.

You got a visit from Broghan, a cute little dog who doesn’t think he is a dog at all. Amanda and Broghan volunteer at the hospital through St John’s Ambulance Therapy Dog program.

We are both amazed by the great maintenance people who work at the hospital. They will be on the picket line too. It seems that every maintenance worker we’ve met, you have bonded with. Joe, Nellie and Tiny. It seems that they have been very well chosen for the job. Not for their attention to the dirt detail. Although I’m sure they have high standards. It’s the positive energy that they bring to work that makes them special. They don’t only maintain the facility. They maintain the morale of the staff and patients.

After lunch, we cuddle and talk. We talk about what stresses me. You have an innate ability to make me lighten up when I feel dark. It always amazes me when it happens. You can make my mood turn 180 degrees with just a few well-chosen words.

Why were you spared? You can help others like you helped me. Between your insights, your experience and humor, you can help a lot of people through their dark times and see the rainbow at the end of the rain.

The new OT person pops her head in the door to say that if we want, we could get a standing pole for the house too. “MacQuarries rents them out at $10 a week.” That’s a deal and if it means that we don’t need a lift, which is much more expensive, then that’s a great deal. She calls and tells them that I will pick it up today.

I force myself from your warm bed to go do errands. Get groceries and get the equipment for MacQuarries Pharmasave. Grocery shopping has never been my favorite job. (I would rather pick up dog poop!) But if you are coming home this weekend, we need food.

Tara and Quinn will probably never want to eat my cooking again. I’m going to have to slowly introduce my cooking back into their lives so we are less dependent on the kindness of friends so much. As it is, I only have to make dinners for them on Mondays, Wednesdays and the weekends. That’s not much work. I am actually looking forward to it. Today’s grocery shopping was almost fun.

As I picked up the equipment for your weekend visit, The ladies ask after you. I tell them that rehab is only eleven days away. “He must be looking forward to that.” They said. They are right. You are like an excited kid who is counting down the days to a really awesome summer camp. You are excited about the possibilities and a little nervous of being in Halifax by yourself. I won’t get to visit you nearly as much. I will get to Halifax on Tuesdays and Thursdays for this month, but in February we will only be able to travel on the weekends since I will back to work fulltime. We both have mixed feelings about going to NSRC, but the positives outweigh the negatives. We will get through this too.

Just as I drive into our driveway, the cell phone rings. It is the social worker. “We just got a call from the rehab. They want Chris to go tomorrow!” “Tomorrow?” I stutter. I didn’t expect this news. “Chris wondered if he could put them off until after the weekend, and go on Monday, I don’t think that’s a good idea.” She said. I agreed.

Rehab tomorrow. WOW. After unloading the groceries, I make a return trip to MacQuarries Pharmasave. “I’ll bet that this is the shortest rental you ever had.” I said as I walk in the door. I explain the change of plans and I add my theory. With the strike looming in the foreground, I’ll bet the social worker and stroke coordinator did a little negotiation of their own. It turns out that they are either very good bargainers or have a magical wand. Either way, because of their efforts, you get to go to rehab ten days early.

I am relieved. This gives you a little more time to settle into the folds of the NSRC before I’m back to work fulltime.

After the equipment return, I fly the car to the hospital. I can’t wait to give you a big hug.
You tell the children your big news when I bring them in before bedtime. They are both excited for you. Just before we leave, you show the children how you can stand using the pole. They are both struck by how tall you are. It’s that T-spine extension that you and the physio team have been working on.

We reminisce about your state when you first came to Truro. You have come a long way. You could hardly talk and couldn’t eat anything but thickened liquids. That seems like a very long time ago.

Tara has signed up for the music festival. Piano and singing. She is going to do musical theatre too. You ask her to do a request. You want her to play the ‘Feather Theme’ from Forrest Gump. You love that composition. She said that she would try to master it for you by the end of the year.

We take a few pictures of the family together to commemorate your big day.


  1. I have been reading your blog for months. Wishing you the greatest results at rehab. Be strong!

  2. Congrats on getting into rehab early. Best Wishes

  3. hi Tara this is Jenny good luck in the musical theatre!!!i KNOW you will do great.And Chris, work hard at rehab if you want some candy at Freak Lunchbox!! :)

  4. Lexie was so excited to tell us that Chris was going to rehab!!!!!!!!All the best as you start this new phase of recovery Chris!We will be thinking of you all!

  5. Wooohoooo! Congrats!


  6. CONGRATS!!! this is great news on chris heading to rehab!!! and good luck to tara!!!

  7. What great news!!! We have been cheering you on from Ontario. Train hard!! We know you can.
    Stephanie and Adam

  8. Way to go Chris! Good luck, train hard, stay positive and try to enjoy...the hard work will help with endorphin production....good things to keep coming! Gwen, thank you for sharing this. I saw you at the vet just a while ago and there was so much I wanted to say but all I could do was smile and say hi. I laugh, I cry, I cheer on your family everyday. Your whole family is an inspiration. I have quit smoking, started running again and when it gets hard, I run for 29 steps and then start counting again. Thank you for helping me see what matters and how to stay the course and keep moving forward. I am sending you all positive energy and strength.

  9. To the person whi posted the comment above:
    I'm here at the rehab today with Chris. Chris had an emotional day. He was feeling low and then he read your comment and it brought us both to tears. You have reminded us again of another reason to keep this blog going. Thank you, Chris would love to know who you are. please email us at

  10. This is Terry, I'm so stifled, trying to keep it all together, the only time I cry is when I watch a moving movie. I feel like I am in a movie when I am reading your blog. Damn, where's the kleenex. We'll see you soon. love T & C