Saturday, 8 October 2016

Giving thanks in challenging times.

It has been ages since I posted anything on this blog, the one for my private life minus garden. The garden has its own blog,  I am that fanatic.  I am just learning to work with an app that allows me to blog on the iPad, so I hope to get around to it more often. Winter is around the corner and I still want to finish some memory pieces, just for the fun of it. 

Today is Thanksgiving weekend in my part of the woods. It is my favourite holiday. In the past I would often have a dinner gathering featuring food from the land. If the garden yielded only one pail of potatoes, Thanksgiving is when they would be served. In the years we had chickens the whole meal might be homegrown. 

This year there is not much sense in having company over. My husband has been declining for some time and is now very frail and increasingly incapacitated. He was never quite the same after the car accident of July 2012, even though he suffered no physical damage.  I have often wondered if the accident was cause or consequence of his decline. It turns out to be the latter, most likely. Chris has been diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, an evil cousin of Parkinson's. Parkinson's is bad enough, but there are medications. Nothing can be done for PSP. It comes with Alzheimer's type brain damage and some eye problems for good measure. On top of that he is quite deaf, so having company is more stress than pleasure. Ergo, no dinner party. 

Nevertheless there is much to be thankful for. 

I am grateful that we live in paradise. 
The natural beauty that surrounds us is a daily source of joy. I can garden. The activity keeps me sane. Right now freezer and pantry are bulging with home grown produce. It is questionable whether the garden really saves money. But as I never cease to point out, I could have chosen bingo or golf as a hobby, and gardening is cheaper than therapy.

I am grateful we own our home, ramshackle as it may be, free and clear. We may be low income but we have no debts. We do not have to worry about being forced to move because our rented home is being sold out from under us.

I am grateful that we live in peace, in a safe society with a social safety net. Who knows how much longer that will be the case? For now it is here for us. Wonderful home support workers come in on week days to do exercises with Chris, to help him maintain strength as long as possible. I can still leave for a few hours, but respite care is available at a week's notice if I need to go out for a whole day, at a month's notice if I need a few days. We are benefiting from a new program that aims to keep seniors safely at home. We have had a bar installed in the bath and will soon have a rail by the stairs, all at minimum cost.

I am grateful my husband is not given to wandering away. This can be a real worry with dementia patients. The increasing stiffness and balance problems make a small walk down the driveway a major undertaking. No fun for him but easier on me.
I am grateful his delusions are not driving him to violence.
I am grateful he is still able to shower and dress by himself. This may change soon. We will cross that bridge when we come to it. I am grateful he is not in major pain. Perversely, because nothing can be done for Chris we do not have the stress of running around on the medical mill, going out of town to doctors. I am grateful for that. 

I am grateful I have been feeling fine and feel up to the task most of the time. If and when I will have to deal with interrupted sleep all bets are off. I cannot function on too little sleep. That is another  bridge to be crossed in time, as is the possibility of scary results from the colonoscopy booked for early November.*

I am grateful my children are thriving in Metro Vancouver and are great friends. I am grateful for social media that allow me to share a sense of their daily life without being an intrusive needy pain in the neck.

I am grateful for Dear Little Sir Echo, the Toyota. I even enjoy shifting gears again, though the fifth gear is still a challenge. I am grateful for a good honest mechanic shop where I will be not be ripped off in spite of my ignorance.

I am grateful for barter partners.
The shed around the well has been surrounded by Tyvek, the electric stuff has been checked and fixed. The sign at the base of the driveway looks great again. There is a gate in the North fence of the garden. There is delicious organically grown cherry juice in the pantry. All this in return for body work, which I love doing. 

I am grateful for electricity. Heating the place to keep emaciated spouse comfortable costs a bundle but so far we have the money. Light and heat at the flick of a switch or turn of a knob is wonderful. 

I am grateful for the internet. Life is circumscribed right now but the world comes into the house, and I get to socialise without leaving home. 

I am grateful for audio books and podcasts, which provide entertainment and education while I do kitchen work.

There is probably more, but that is it for now. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow Canadians. No matter what is happening in our lives, we are fortunate to live in this country.

*Update December 1. The colonoscopy was done, and I am fine. Phew! Chris stopped daring to shower alone, but has no problem letting our wonderful Angelita help him. He still insists on doing his own laundry. We continue to take things a day at a time.

*Update spring 2017
Chris took a sharp turn for the worse after January. He started falling occasionally and frequently needed help going to the bathroom. In consultation with the visiting nurse we put him on the waiting list for extended care. I hardly ever get sick, but this winter I got a mean bronchitis, probably as a result of interrupted sleep. Chris ended up being hospitalised with pneumonia, and while he was there a bed opened up in the lovely small facility right here in our own village. It is attached to the hospital, which is more like a first aid post, really. We were so lucky. Some people wait months for a bed and may have to settle for one in a distant location. It is hard on Chris but has been a godsend for me. 

*Final update. Till Death do us part.


  1. Thanks for this
    The challenges
    are getting bigger :)

    1. As someone (Bette Davis?) said, old age is not for sissies.


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