Friday, 18 January 2013

FAQs about Rosie

To my  blog friends: I have blogged about my friend with Parkinson's before. 
This post is part of an effort to reach out to more volunteers.
The old posts are here.

One member of Rosie's team suggested using social media to find new volunteers. Thanks Anji, brilliant! A message has gone out on Facebook that directs people here.

To anyone who came here after seeing the Facebook post: Thanks for coming this far. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions with answers. Feel free to ask more, it does not oblige you to anything. My life 
has been so enriched by being part of Rosie's. I don't always feel like going, but am always glad I went.

FAQ 1: How much time are you talking about?

Answer: Rosie has no Home Support between 1.30 and 5.30. Volunteers bridge that gap, or part of it. We are happy with ANY time you can donate. Some people come weekly, others once a month, others even less than that. We are grateful to all.

FAQ 2: "I could spare an afternoon  now and then, but don't want to be tied down. What if I get called to work? Or: I want to go to Mexico in the winter, or not come when the grandchildren come to visit, etc."

Answer: You let Rosie know, and you don't come, as simple as that! Rosie has some people on her team who are usually willing to switch dates. 

FAQ 3: I don't have any experience in care giving. What exactly do I have to do?

Answer: All serious personal care is done by Home Support Workers. Rosie needs some help transferring from wheelchair to other chair, and from wheelchair to toilet. She can stand and swivel. Rosie has the metabolism of a humming bird and needs to eat small amounts frequently. She needs help preparing snacks and on a bad day she may need help with feeding. Rosie's ability and energy fluctuate from day to day. On any day she enjoys company and/or a chance to get out.

FAQ 4: My back is not great. Do I have to lift her? 

Answer: No, you just gently assist Rosie to stand up by pulling on her arms.

FAQ 5: I worry about my ability to communicate with Rosie. Sometimes I can hardly hear her soft Parkinson's voice.

Answer: Rosie's voice has improved with medication, AND she has devices now that really help. The I pad rocks!

FAQ 6: How will I know what to do?

Answer: Rosie has an excellent mind and will tell you what she needs. Our job as volunteers is to be her arms and legs.

FAQ 7: Will someone sort of train me? 

Answer: YES! One of Rosie's established volunteers will be glad to show you the ropes.

FAQ 8 How do I get in touch? 
Answer: start by sending me an email with subject line Rosie, we'll take it from there. Or use Facebook, or leave a comment, whatever!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Roaming through London with Dickens and Google Maps.

The Kobo mini e-reader has been loaded with free classics. I have just spent a few days with Dickens and enjoyed it immensely. I picked David Copperfield because it is the all-time favourite book of our dear retired librarian and of the author himself.

I had read it when I was 12 and barely remembered it. The only part that had stayed with me was irritation with David for falling in love with stupid Dora, and taking years to figure out he belonged with wise Agnes. The whole rich cast of other characters and plots had not left a trace in the preteen brain.

Even though the setting is realistic and there is a lot of social commentary, there is a fairy tale aspect to the tale. Most of the characters wear white hats or black hats. Innocence is wronged but vindicated. After trials and tribulations a happy ending is provided for most who deserve it. The writing is, of course, quite wonderful and often funny with a bite. It made me laugh out loud, wipe away the odd tear and wanting to jot down quotes. I loved it and couldn't put it down.

After spending a few days immersed in Dickensian London I feel like spending some more time there before moving to the next book. I have never been to London and it is not likely that I will get the chance. So I am having some fun with Google Maps, with the extra guidance of  David Perdue.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

A long day of hugs and tears, and more communications snafus.

Ah, the benefits of extended families! I really wanted to share in the memorial for Nooveya, but needed a ride to the other side of Kelowna. I cannot drive that distance or in that traffic. All three potential rides fell through for valid reasons. At the last moment  Linda's middle daughter Larissa had the brilliant idea that her partner's parents, who live near Nakusp, might take me. They did. Mom R. drives a school bus for a living and was not fazed by the four hour drive there and back again in the dark and snow. Thank Earth for steady drivers. I am so grateful.

It was standing room only at the memorial place. Aunt Larissa and Mom Chandra had created a slideshow of Nooveya pictures that had us all alternating between giggles and aaww....And more tears of course. There were many tears but it felt good to share them. 

In her too brief life this little girl touched so many hearts. She would come along with Mom when Mom volunteered at Evrrdy's school. Everyone agreed she was special, so happy all the time. I wonder if  part of her knew she only had a short Earth contract and was just visiting? 

Talking about networks, R's sister has a huge home close to the gathering place and kindly opened it not only to her nephew and his partner, but to Larissa's large family. We went there after the open ceremony for more food and drinks and general hanging out. By the time we got back near Nakusp it was close to midnight.

I had driven to my benefactors' home in a rural area on the other side of town in the morning. It is just a 15 minute drive home and the road was OK for winter driving. Halfway there* the car suddenly sputtered, slowed and stopped. I managed to steer it to more or less the side of the road and made a few attempts to get it started again. Nope. A few coughs, even a few attempts to turn over, but no go and eventual total silence. My new friends would still be up and it would be no big deal to them to give me a ride home. Guess what: the cell phone, freshly charged, hardly used and topped up a few days ago, said "emergency call only". WTF?

I womaned up and set off on foot for a walk in the dark. My main worry was slipping on icy patches. My boots are nice and warm but the profile is pathetic. I was also wearing my moderate temp coat, not the long one with the hood for really cold weather. It was about minus 10C. Mumbling little blue engine exhortations I had made it about halfway home when I was overtaken by my neighbor, on her way home from evening shift. A warm car never felt so good!

By this time it was midnight and I was wide awake, too worked up to go to sleep. Had I mentioned yet that our land line conked out again last Friday? The telus mobility website was and remains not functioning because of upgrades. We have Chris' phone but it only has a bit of credit. This is all a bit too reminiscent of the communications snafus we endured in July.

At least we are together, the internet is working, and so are my legs. Tomorrow is bus day and we will do the shopping then. I will cancel the Tuesday engagements. We'll manage. And now it is time for a rest. I am retreating to the bedroom with David Copperfield on the Kobo.

*for locals: I got stranded on Highway 6 just before the turnoff to Brouse Loop.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The space of a dawn: Nooveya's song.

Nooveya's mother gave permission to post these pictures. They are all from her Facebook. If this were paper and ink the text would be unreadable because of tears falling on it. Nooveya is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable. The name is Inuit, the people of her father's mother.
Nothing soothes the raw howling pain of losing a child. But I find some comfort in these words I once heard in a radio play about a girl who died young. "Lives are like books. Some are long fat novels and some are short stories. Your daughter was a short story. Brief, but nonetheless complete". Nooveya's life was not even a short story.

Her brief life was a song, a bright year of joy and happiness that will always be remembered.

The expression "the space of a dawn" comes from a poem for a friend who has lost a 4 year old daughter. The rest of the poem is pretentious Stoic claptrap but these lines are lovely. They took up residence in my head when my own first born died a day after birth. Pardon my French.

"Mais elle était du monde ou les plus belles choses
ont le pire destin.
Et Rose elle a vécu ce que vivent les roses:
l'espace d'un matin."
(computer does accent aigu on the e but nothing else. Never mind.)
Francois Malherbe

Quicky attempt at translation.

But she was of the world where the most lovely things
are to soon be forlorn
And Rosie has lived the short span of a flower
The space of a morn.

Nooveya did not even have a morning, just a dawn. But what a joyful dawn it was.

Nooveya Sakari Joy Popko was born December 3 2011. Dad Michael and grandma Linda were there.

Brother Evrrdy loved her right away. Uncle Keelan handing over the precious bundle to her big brother.

Big brother with sister at home.

She was smiling by week 5.
Her trademark beaming grin had fully developed by February.
                        Communing with Grandma Linda.
Below: Nooveya in the arms of her mother Chandra. I love this picture. Nooveeya did not inherit the dimples but had the same happy sparkle as her mother.
 The first time I saw Chandra she was in the arms of her beautiful mother Linda, my sister in spirit. Linda is 13 years my junior but has been my guru in matters of  homesteading and food preservation. This woman is a master gardener, cook and canner and has passed the gift on to all her children. She is a fantastic mother, competent at everything she does, an incredibly generous, energetic survivor and one of the people I love and admire most on this planet.
Below: a smile in April.
Early spring gave the Popko grandparents a chance to travel from Norman Wells to Greenwood to meet the new grand daughter. Nooveya got to ride in Napatchee's amoutie.
All grandparents together at the Greenwood homestead.
Trust Linda to house and feed multitudes without blinking an eye. Below: kisses for auntie Drisana, Mom's big sister.
Auntie Drisana with cousins Milena(left) and Seren (right).
May saw some adventures: hiking and geocaching in the hills near Kelowna. 
Shamelessly flirting with Uncle Keelan.
On top of the mountain with Mommy!
               Big brother introducing  the joys of the lake.
Zia Aimee came to visit.
Evrrdy graduated from Kindergarten, with Dad and grandma Linda.
Summer brought many outings to beach and playgrounds and visits to family. Nooveya loved exploring nature.
Below: kisses from Opa.
The summer pictures are not necessarily in chronological order. I am trying to put all her loved ones in there.
The girl sure loved her food! Helping auntie Larissa with some baking during a trip to Fort St John in the gas belt.
Glam picture of Larissa.
With uncle Pravin, the youngest Blasing sibling. He was spending the summer with his big sister Larissa in the land of opportunity.
OK, she could cry. She just didn't do it often.
Camping out at Grandma's in the tent with Evrrdy.
Hanging with big cousin Seren.
And auntie Drisana
Evrrdy was willing to share his huckleberries.
That boy is the best big brother a girl could have.
Below: with uncle Keelan on an outing to the lake.
We have to try that sand!
The whole family on top of the mountain, including dog Catan.
Exploring in the playground.
And with big brother.
On Daddy's back in July.
My turn to drive the truck!
The sweetest picture of the siblings.
                                  Making jam with Linda.
The best nana in the world.
Muck. Rocks. LIFE! Let me at it!
Some rocks require serious study.
How do you know what's edible unless you try?
                                  My turn to feed someone.
Fun with uncle Pravin.
A full year of life includes Halloween. Watching Evrrdy carve a pumpkin.
Ready to scare the world with her sweet uncle Keelan!
We are getting upright now. Are you eating something I might like?
Studying animal sounds.
By November a girl needs a hat outside.
The Santa couch at Evrrdy's school.
Daddy's girl
Tasting birthday cake.
Christmas time. Ohhh...tree...
Helping Opa grind coffee the old timer way.
Guess who is climbing stairs now? Queen of the castle!
Nooveya's song ended suddenly in the morning of December 30. 
Hug your children and appreciate each day with your loved ones.