Thursday, February 28, 2008

Part 2

Thursday morning, day 2.
Wake up, we have a room/ward for you!
We should be able to do your surgery today, so you can't eat or drink anything until after the surgery.
My friend Valerie held a vigil at my bedside all day, bless her. I was in and out of consciousness all day. My mouth felt like the Sahara Desert. I was put on a saline drip to hydrate me but it did nothing for that thirsty feeling all day.
I did feel truly blessed all day though. My phone rang and rang. I had visitors all day. I don't really know many people here and still I had more visitors than everyone else in the ward. Talk about a pick me up. They have no idea.
Lying in a ward with people better and worse off than you can be humbling. The lady next to me was facing a huge life decision, whether to have her foot amputated or to opt for reconstructive surgery and face possibly a lifetime of operation after operation. She was a very nice and interesting person who was facing so much more than I was. I will be fine after this, she has a life changing decision to make. I had no place to complain.
All day they kept saying, surgery maybe after 3, surgery maybe after 6, well, surgery around 9. At 9, they came and told me two emergencies had just come in and there would be no surgery today for me. Whaaaaaa.
Can I please have some water and food? OK, until midnight and then nothing because we will do surgery tomorrow.
Valerie could go home now and I slept fairly well that night after the water and sandwich and yogurt. Best meal I ever had!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Canadian Health Care, experience 1

We arrived at the hospital, on the busiest day in 5 years. No kidding, the news crew was there to document this. It was in the paper the next day too. So you know what that means. Waiting and plenty of it.

Another interesting point is that since we have only lived here for 3 weeks we do not have a Social Insurance Number, which is apparently your key to the excellent health care up here. We have interim insurance and therefore have to pay up front and get reimbursed. The looks we got though when we said we did not have a SIN card were priceless.

High and low points, from what I can remember....

-having my makeshift splint removed and the coat and my favorite fleece removed was painful, I let them cut off the turtle neck and long underwear and sports bra. Yes 4 layers of clothing had to be removed! Painful!!! And all done in the privacy of the hallway in the triage area! "Sir, could you please turn the other way we need to get this lady's clothing off and there are no rooms to do it in."

-X-rays, this will only hurt a little. Don't believe them.

-slopping on the plaster and splint that would hold my arm for the next 3 days unbeknown to me at that point. From my hand all the way up and over my elbow to my armpit.

-We will have to do surgery, you broke both the ulna and the radius. We will put in a couple of plates and you will be fine. There are no rooms or ORs available now.

Nurse," should we just send her home and let her come back for the surgery?"

Doctor,"there is no way she can go home! She will never make it through the night, she will be in too much pain and then you need to consider any bleeding."

Thank you Doctor!

"Where can we put her? We don't have any beds." Find someplace!

So I spent the night in the ER triage area on a gurney between a woman with a dislocated ankle who cried all night and a lady on the other side who coughed all night. Thank goodness for the morphine. I only cried once and could not be heard over the others.

So I guess the only high was that the doctor would not send me home and made sure I at least had a bed and pain medicine. Or was that a low too?

An Otherwise Perfect Day or Crash

It all started so nicely. Valerie was here from Houston. It had snowed all day the day before. We decided to shovel the driveway and enjoy the blue skies and decent temps. We had a blast, no really, we did. We shoveled and chipped away at the giant chunk of ice at the bottom of the driveway. We were successful too. Only after we had completely cleared the driveway did the beloved snowplow drive by and dump a fresh load of street snow at the end of the driveway. I'm sure it was Valerie and I's beautiful smiles that convinced the driver to back up and plow away the deposit he had just made. Yippee!

Valerie said, "we should go skiing." I said, "really, do you want to?" She said, " Yes, can we?" I said, "Yes, let' get moving and go." So we did. The drive was beautiful. The snow was crisp and clean. The sun was shining. We got to the hill and rented our skis and set out to enjoy the day after eating our pb&j sandwiches for lunch. We had a great time. We high fived each other on the lift at our genius for choosing to ski instead of go to downtown Toronto and see the city. The slopes were fresh with snow, not too many people and we could not have been happier. Then, while going down a gentle alley way to the lift, CRASH.

I caught an edge and tumbled, out of control, out of bounds, into a tree. OUCH!
Valerie no where in sight, me knowing at that moment I had broken my arm cried pitifully, "help" "help". A very nice young, 16ish, boy stopped and asked, "Are you OK ?" "NO." Next skier stops and helps get my twisted leg out of the ski, that did not pop off like they are supposed to. Long story short, I got to ride in the toboggan behind the snowmobile wrapped like a pappoos.

Valerie drove me to the hospital where would begin yet another adventure in another posting.

How to have fun in the winter

When in Rome.... or when in the frigid north.... ski!

One advantage of this location is the proximity to skiing. TJ and I joined the Browns one weekend in Ellicottville for a ski weekend. We all had a great time. The snow was not quite like the snow in Utah, but the company was great and we somehow managed to have a good time. The dogs got to come too and sure did love the freedom of running around in the snow! A true winter wonderland.

It was a real adventure driving out on Sunday in TJ's truck after it had snowed all night. Trucks are not known for their ability to climb snow covered hills. It took us 3 tries to finally get up the hill and over the crest and onto the main road. The Little Engine That Could came to mind. If I could have only been able to push! Driving home in whiteout conditions was a new experience too.

Happy Pancake Day

Happy Pancake Day!

Yes, it is Pancake Day in Canada??!!! Not Mardi Gras, Pancake Day. What have I moved to????

I found out at dinner from a friend of Linda's that the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday is called Pancake Day in Canada. You are supposed to eat pancakes for dinner. Woooo Hoooo! Wow, all these years we thought you were supposed to eat, drink and be merry when all along we were supposed to be eating pancakes! What have we been missing? NOTHING!

Thought you would all appreciate the humor in this finding. Apparently, the tradition is from the English (boring) heritage when everyone was supposed to empty their pantry of the "good stuff" in preparation for fasting during Lent so they used all the sugar, eggs and butter (must have been from Tatamagouche) for pancakes. Again, whooo, hooo! No mention of the wine, beer and King Cake! I much prefer the French and Spanish tradition of Mardi Gras.

So eat, drink and eat pancakes!
Happy Mardi Gras!
Love, Lisa

P.S. weather report for anyone who cares. Rain tonight. All the snow is melting and the temp was in the +category all day, even saw the sun for a few hours this afternoon. Above freezing for you farenheiters. That's all from here for now. Gotta go set the butter out for tomorrow!

The Beginning

Thought I'd give everyone a little too much information about life in Canada, week1. Hope you don't get too bored! It got really long.

TJ and I arrived in Mississauga last Sunday and spent the night with Linda and Hugh. Michelle, Geoff, Abby and Lesley were all there for dinner that night and we crashed hard because we were so tired. Oh yea, it was cold too. No, really cold not just freezing cold. The dogs lived in the condo for two nights and were realy city dogs getting to ride on the elevator and walked on a leash to go to the bathroom every time. They did however love the lake and all the ducks and geese in the lake. Sadie thought this must be the reason she spent 3 days in a dog box in a car!

The movers came on Tuesday, we claimed our "stuff" at customs and had no problems! $65 later we were on the way to the house. Linda came over to help clean and unpack and then Cheryl (her husband Edward works with TJ) came over to help as well. Linda bailed before lunch and Cheryl stayed until dinner. She was amazing. She opend and unloaded boxes and basically forced me to put stuff away. We gladly took her to dinner that night with us and all ate well and slept well, in our new house among the boxes. Dogs still getting the leash bathroom due to incomplete fencing in the backyard. Oh yea, TJ "had" to work this day and made a 3 hour drive to Sarnia and flew home that evening. You can imagine my delight at that situation. Weather: It snowed lightly most of the day but the sun did shine too.

Wed. more unpacking. Cheryl came over and helped all day! What a trooper. TJ stayed home and did man stuff, moving boxes from here to there and taking empty boxes outside which was very helpful. We went through a lot of stuff. Out to dinner again that night. Weather: sunny and high 20'sF for any Canadians.

Thursday I chilled! TJ worked. Cheryl stayed at her hotel and read. We went to dinner that night to let Edward pay off his bet against LSU in the Sugar Bowl. Great French restaurant in west Toronto. Slept like babies again that night. Weather: more sun more 20's

Friday, I tried to get the boxes out of my master bedroom and unloaded some of the upstairs. Got somewhat organized. Cheryl and I went out and bought some new lighting for the kitchen, temp fencing for the backyard for the dogs, other sundries. As if there weren't enough to deal with. I COOKED DINNER at home that night.

Sat. TJ woke up at 6 with an upset stomach, I think I should not cook at home anymore, he spent the better part of the day groaning and moaning. Low grade fever. Great, just what we need, the flu. Maybe it was just food poisoning, lunch? We did manage to get a lot done around the house though. The goal is to not have any boxes on the main floor by the end of the weekend. 2 boxes to go! It started snowing in the afternoon and is still snowing. It is very pretty and I have realized that the good news is that when it snows it is not that cold, 28.

Observations: No garbage disposal, ugh. Some list of stuff I am supposed to compost and put in a green bin. UGH. We have a green bin, a grey bin, and a blue bin, still trying to figure out what goes where.
Doing laundry is a challenge. The glass doors that close off the washer and dryer are very wide and the way things are situated laundry goes something like this. Slide doors all the way to cover the dryer, put wash in washer. Close doors. Open again to unload wash into laundry basket because the doors cover the dryer and you can't get to it, slide doors to other side and put clothes in dryer. Meanwhile if you are doing multiple loads you would put the wash in the washer while the doors were on the dryer side. UGH! These things are not disclosed on the buyer sheet! How did these people live with this all these years???Plans are in the making for a better system. There has to be one.

It does seem that everything up here takes about 5 more steps to get done than it does in the states. One reason these Canadians are sturdy people.

The people around here have been nice so far. Have met neighbors on both sides and across the street. A variety of people, young and old. Very nice though. I still like the area, it is very pretty and I can only imagine that it will be beautiful in the spring and summer.

Hope you enjoyed this edition of the Canada Chronicles, stay tuned for more as life develops. You can unsuscribe by pressing delete when you get these emails.

Love to all,
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