Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Saturday April 17 – I’m 49 going on 78

It was a tough day … all day. You had a long list of things that you wanted to do and I needed to get groceries. This conflict ended with a discussion about priorities and you sulked. You didn’t want to do anything except smoke.

Finally, we got everyone out the door. You visited Donald while the children and I got groceries. I had hope that a visit with him would catapult you back to the world of hope. A visit would give you another purpose … It didn’t. Donald wasn’t having a good day either. When we came to pick you up, you did manage to make me cry when you said good bye to Donald.

Today, Donald was in a little world in his own head. Although you talked, Donald’s deafness and his own turned in state made communication difficult. Donald’s 90 years have started to take their toll. When you were ready to leave, you reached out and massaged his elbow. You said, “I love you.” Just like a son would to his father. Donald made a noise. I think he did hear you. I don’t know what he said but I’ll guess it was I love you too ... just like a father would to his son.

This morning Quinn and I were cuddling and Quinn started the ‘I’m Lucky’ game. I wonder if one of the more spiritual reason that adults are suppose to have children so that they can be reminded about the great and simple games that you can play with them.

The ‘I’m Lucky’ game is different from the ‘I love you’ game. In the game, you try to think of as many reasons as possible why you are lucky. This game started because we successfully arranged two playdates, one with one of Quinn’s friends from school. Connery and the other is a playdate with Erin, Tara’s friend. “Tara is lucky that Erin is coming over!” He said. I point out “You got Connery to come over … that’s pretty lucky.” Not to be outdone, he says “I’m lucky to have a Mum.” I squeeze him. “I have a Quinn.” Rising to the occasion, Quinn counters with “I’m lucky to have a Dad and a sister.”

We forget how very lucky we are.

Quinn is a hugger. He is the best kind of hugger … a random hugger. His hugs are good and strong and he even does the back pat for added effect. His timing is always good. I think he gets that from you. It links into the timing you use to deliver an especially funny line. Hugs and humour must well timed to have the best impact. Today, Quinn merged to two talents.

Just when you and I were at a rough spot this morning about what we were going to do, Quinn skips into the room and reaches out to give me a hug. I think, as I connect with his arms …’What a great kid’. What I didn’t know was that he had the little buzzer wound up and concealed in his hand. As we embrace I get the shock of the buzzer going off on my back … I jump up and scream. He giggles and the tense moment between you and I lightens for a bit.

You still wanted to smoke. You had your backpack with the cigarettes in hand. The screen door was open and you could have gotten out. That’s when Quinn hugged you. The feeling past. Timing and the touch of a son are powerful things.

For a brief time you had a period of being good. Hollis came to visit you and the two of you talk while I skipped out to the animal hospital to get some papers. Hollis’ visit was very therapeutic. After Hollis left, you felt good. We talked like the old times.

You seemed safely on firm ground and ready not to falter. I remind you what I had seen earlier in the day with Quinn’s hug. You had a chance to get outside to smoke, but you didn’t. It’s almost like that you have two voices, one on each shoulder. Now the good guy is winning but the bad guy keeps trying to get you. “You have to stay strong.” I said.

Lately, you have talked a lot about redefining yourself. You explain to me that simnce you are born again and you will need to make fundamental choices about who you want to be. You feel that the legacy of the stroke has limited many of your choices. When you feel sad you are over whelmed by the sense of loss and when you feel good you are ready to take on new roles that are inspiring to many.

This is the good voice and the bad voice in your head. There is nothing wrong with your ability to process thoughts and re-organize them into an understandable concept.

Fran came to visit again from Newfoundland. She came to check on Mum and her progress from surgery. We have been very frustrated at not being able to call her because the phone system in her room is messed up. Thankfully, Juanita got to the Halifax Infirmary yesterday and discovered the problem but it’s still not fixed yet.

Fran got to our home late. The two of you had a little talk and we looked at pictures of you while you were in the Halifax Infirmary. You could hardly recognize yourself. I expect it’s a little shocking seeing yourself looking so broken.

Fran and I fall into a sister conversation and you interrupt with a request for a Tim Hortons run. “It’s 10pm, I don’t want to go to Tim’s now … it’s late and I’m tired.” I sighed. Fran declined to go for you too.

Tim’s Coffee and Boston cream doughnuts are becoming your new addiction. Within minutes of rejecting your suggestion, you get quiet. As suddenly as the good mood came … it went.

A dark cloud came over you again. You circle back quickly to your depressed state. You want to get to bed. You refused your medicines. You want to suffer without them. I plead with you but you won’t take them. Regrettably, I got frustrated and angry. This was the first time I got angry at you since before your stroke. Yet it wasn’t enough to vent to you about you. Minutes later, I turned on Tara. She didn’t want to sleep in the bunk bed. A minor thing but it seemed big at the time. Tara and I exchanged words and she tried to cry herself to sleep.

I couldn’t bear to hear her sobbing and went to her bed. We made a compromise. She needed to talk. She was worried about you not taking your medicine as well. We talked, we share and we cuddle for a while. In very little time, she fell asleep.

My vet class reunion coming up this summer. There were about 120 of us and many of them I haven’t seen for a long time. I emailed one of my classmates about your stroke and the word has spread and I have received messages of strength from voices that I haven’t heard in 25 years. I can’t imagine getting to the reunion this summer. However perhaps connecting with people from my youth when I thought anything was possible, would be a good thing.

Many of the messages mention the fact that we are all older. Getting old is a two-edge sword - it cuts both ways. We trade thinking anything is possible for wisdom. I used to think anything was possible. I used to think it until very recently. Suddenly now, I feel old and tired.

Today, I think I aged far more then a day ... maybe as much as 29 days. Great, at this rate, a year from now, I will be 78 years old … that’s if I actually live that long.

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