Blank

Fear affects a persons perceptions. That is one of my biggest challenges right now, fear control. Even small changes, small shifts, invite me to fall into a state of near panic… what does this or that mean, are things going to get a lot worse now, and how, what don’t I see coming, what shocking surprise is around the corner. I am controlling the fear, for the moment, with writing. I write down every outrageous thought that enters my head, be it founded or unfounded. This is helping considerably; and particularly when the unfounded fear turns out to actually be unfounded. I have quite a collection of recorded fears, and some of them have been crossed out, not all though, not all.

The cold is bitter today. If I sit near the exterior walls of the house I feel chilled. Tonight the low is predicted to fall to -27C, with a wind chill of -39. Indoors is the only reasonable place to be. When the world warms, the snow is supposed to arrive in force. Winter is making herself felt.

I slept for six solid hours last night, for the first time in weeks. When I got up in the morning and saw the time I felt like crying with gratitude. If I hadn’t looked at the clock I would not have known that I had slept that long, I was not refreshed, because these days I do not feel sleepy tired at any point in time, I feel weary to the bone all the time. Although I am not perceiving the benefit of six hours sleep, I am very sure it is helping me to work my way through my present life situation. My diet is good, I am eating regularly and well, I am keeping hydrated, exercise is not something I have a handle on yet though, I keep looking at the elliptical machine, but have only managed it once a few days ago… something to aim for.

I have been writing poems, or pieces of them. Lines come fast, heavy with feeling, and then suddenly they stop, midline, or mid stanza, or on the final line, and I, staring blankly at the page, have no thought in my head. That needed thought, word, concept, it just won’t come out to play. As much as I am thankful for the blank mind, really, couldn’t it wait until the poem was complete!

Worldly Distractions

Weather

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-26°
Date: 6:00 AM EST Saturday 6 January 2018
Condition: Mainly Clear
Pressure: 102.3 kPa
Tendency: Rising
Temperature: -26.1°C
Dew point: -32.0°C
Humidity: 58%
Wind: WNW 22 gust 35 km/h
Wind Chill: -39
Visibility: 24 km

Quote

“Happiness is always a by-product. It is probably a matter of temperament, and for anything I know it may be glandular. But it is not something that can be demanded from life, and if you are not happy you had better stop worrying about it and see what treasures you can pluck from your own brand of unhappiness.”
Robertson Davies
1913-1995

Honorable Me

I am now recovering nicely from my fall almost a month ago. The hematoma is still there, still painful to the touch, but it is smaller and much less intrusive. Pain from my tailbone has been with me for decades, my body already has ways of coping with that, so the fracture isn’t as intrusive as it might otherwise be. I am also nicely recovering from a nasty summer cold, which saw me feverish and miserable for two days, but only two days, which was a blessing. I probably picked that up in the emergency ward at the hospital, which is not an ideal place for non-life threatening health issues. Where we live, there are no other options.

The weather has been wonderful, until today, which has brought with it a slow steady rain.

The house has had no recent viewers, we have accepted that it will not likely sell this summer. So we ordered firewood, a big financial investment, enough to take us through the winter, which Attila has been busy stacking in the woodshed. It looks like we will be spending much of next winter apart, something that neither of us is happy about.

I have been working feverishly on my genealogy book, and have taken up a new temporary volunteer position as a member of working group studying health care outcomes for older people. Most of the volunteer work I do is self-generated, anonymous, and low-profile, so this is a bit of a departure for me.

I am looking forward to getting back to my physiotherapist recommended exercises, which have fallen by the wayside as I recover from my fall. I have also given up my daily walk, as I am back at the country house, where walking is distasteful rather than a source of pleasure. I find that to sustain a health routine, it must be something I do not come to loath, as I have walking at the country house. At the little house in the city I look forward to walking, every day, and it is sometimes the highlight of my day. What a contrast: location, location, location!

As I continue to follow my natural way of eating, my weight continues to fall towards my own “normal”. This is quite pleasing. I enjoy eating things I shouldn’t, and I still do that from time to time, but I love the control aspects of eating to live. Mostly, I just avoid big helpings, empty calories, and drink lots of water, not much of a formula, but it works for me.

The unfortunate truth that our “puddle problem” was indeed Mist generated has led us to keep her confined to the mud room, where we clean up after her daily. She still uses the kitty litter most of the time, but will unpredictably resort to using the floor, or furniture, occasionally. Occasionally is too much for us. The objectionable smell has all but disappeared in the rest of the house, thank goodness.

Mist is also becoming a bit more difficult to care for in other ways. Yesterday I heard a loud crash, and went downstairs to investigate. She had been on the windowsill, looking out the window, and decided to break through the window screen to gain entrance to the screened in porch. Having accomplished that goal, by demolishing the window screen, she was actively seeking a way to break through the screens in the screened in porch, to escape into the yard. I caught her before she made her great escape, which likely would have cost her her life, as the wildlife here is ever present, and always looking for its next meal. When I opened the door to the screened in porch she stared at me, then sauntered slowly past me into the mud room for a bite to eat. “No problem here,” she seemed to say.

Now we must keep the window closed to keep her safe, and have placed an air cleaning unit in the mud room to keep the air cleaned and the smell under control, at least to some degree. Attila will have to make time to repair the screen for future house viewings.

All in all things seem pretty darn good right now. I am loving this summer weather, with a few moderately hot days, around 30C, cooling night temperatures, occasional rain, and lots of sunny days.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

15°C
Date: 2:41 PM EDT Friday 17 July 2015
Condition: Light Rain
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Visibility: 10 km
Temperature: 15.3°C
Dewpoint: 14.7°C
Humidity: 96%
Wind: SE 18 gust 32 km/h

Quote

“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
George Bernard Shaw
1856 – 1950

[Well! I am feeling pretty damn honorable just now!]

Friday The Thirteenth

Friday, February 13, 2015

I guess I’ve been lucky all through my life. Friday the thirteenth has not been a day related to bad luck in my world. With one notable exception, one person who was born on a Friday the Thirteenth was an exceptionally negative element in my life for many years, changing the course of my path significantly. All water under the bridge now, but it was difficult to cope with at the time. I need to acknowledge that one black mark against Friday the Thirteenth in my reverie, as I acknowledging reality, which although it can be harsh, is crucial to my mental health. For me, acknowledging harsh realities is not the same as giving them power to darken how I see the world. Quite the opposite really, placing them in light of day puts them where I can see them, so that they can be easily balanced with the realities that fill most of my life, which are positive. Dark forces rely on darkness and denial to maintain their power.

Yesterday Terra and Lares arrived early to drive me to my appointment with the Orthopaedic Surgeon. It was just my luck that the snow plough drove by just after they called to say they were on their way. There was a six inch pile of mushy slushy junk across the end of the driveway. If the weather report had predicted warmer temperatures for the day, I would have left it. But the thermometer was to drop during the day, and I didn’t want a huge ice barrier left across the end of the driveway during the cold snap. So out I want with my shovel. I cleared the end of the driveway and was just finishing with that when Terra and Lares drove up. They stopped the end of the driveway, jumped out, grabbed the snow shovel from me, and finished most of the driveway. Then Lares rummaged in the garage and found a bag of snow melt, brought it out and applied it to the shovelled area.

It was interesting, when I looked up from my shovel as they came down the street, Terra was driving, and Lares had his hand across his eyes and was shaking his head. I do believe he was shaking his head because I was out there shovelling snow so they could get in! Terra tells me I am very independent! I don’t think she always approves of that, but as long as I can, I will be doing things for myself. Then, when I can’t do things for myself, I will ask for help and be thankful for it!

My appointment was interesting and extremely beneficial. I was almost immediately escorted to an examination room, and interviewed for intake. The surgeon arrived within minutes and we reviewed my knee issue. He sent me next door for x-rays, and then I was back in the examination room. Soon afterward, it is a teaching hospital, the Intern arrived and reviewed the problem, did an examination, and left. A short time later he arrived back with the surgeon himself, to discuss the x-rays, and treatment.

The upshot is that I have early arthritis in the knee, and mild meniscus damage. Surgery would be premature. I am relieved! I opted for a shot of cortisone under the knee cap to aid in healing, which turned out to be the truly time consuming aspect of the visit. The cortisone was allergen free, but the anesthetic was not. Since it is a teaching hospital, this eventuality was not regarded as an annoyance, as it has in similar circumstances, in three other hospitals where I have received treatment. Just the opposite, the allergen was regarded as an interesting problem to solve! And they did solve it, eventually bringing an alternative anaesthetic from the pharmacy at the hospital. If they had not found the alternative anaesthetic, they were prepared to do the injection without an anaesthetic. I would have gone through with it even then, but was extremely relieved that they were able to locate an allergen free product. The shot did not hurt, just a very strong feeling of pressure. My knee felt almost immediately better. We had to stay at the hospital for an additional half an hour, waiting to ensure I did not have an allergic reaction, before leaving the proximity of the emergency department. All was well.

Ongoing, I will be taking a temporary course of painkillers, attending physiotherapy, and beginning to go for walks again, lengthening my walks slowly as the days go by. I have a follow-up appointment in two months, to see how this regime is working. The surgeon emphasized that the exercises provided to me by the physiotherapist are crucial, and must be done EVERY day. I find that much routine difficult to maintain, but the alternative is pain, so it is a priority!

Diesel was a bit disoriented when I arrived home. He really would like me to stay put, here in the house! It is partly because he likes to sleep on my bed, and could not. I put the cyclamen in the bedroom while I was away, and shut the door to keep him from getting into it. I spent a few hours with him sleeping on my lap; he felt a lot better for it.

This morning was an early one here at the little house in the city. At 4:09 a.m. I was ready to get up and get started with my day. I had a lot to accomplish during the morning hours. It was recycling day, so the recyclables had to be gathered and brought to the curb early. It was pay day, so bills needed to be paid. A computer support visit was scheduled for the morning hours, which I needed to prepare for. AND, the big event, Attila was packing the car and getting ready to travel to the little house in the city! Anticipation about Attila’s visit is probably what inspired the early rising this morning.

Cold! What a cold day! Tank started up without issue, the new battery is working well.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Attila arrived safely on Friday afternoon, in time to share a hearty lunch!

He gave me a Valentine’s Day surprise. He made me Chocolates with cherry centres! They are my favourite!

Attila shovelled the snow off the garage roof, and it only took him about an hour. He started to carve out a path to the front door, and came in for a short break in the warmth of the house. While he was in the house the neighbour from across the street snuck over with his snowblower and cleared the path to the house! What a guy!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

We have been enjoying our time together immensely. Friday we did our shopping, and took the little car in for a lube and oil change, then we settled in for the weekend. It has been a cold one!

This morning there was another mound of snow across the driveway, but Attila took care of that in less than thirty minutes. We spent the rest of the day just hanging out, watching a movie, cooking, puttering. It was lovely.

Attila leave in the morning to return to the country house. The masonry heater will have discharged in his absence and he will need at least three full firings to recharge it. So, he must arrive home in time to chop the wood and accomplish two firings in the masonry heater tomorrow, before dark.

Diesel and I are going to miss Attila. Mist is going to be very glad to see him. She has been safe and warm in the country house, which is being heated with electric heaters in Attila’s absence. The cost of this visit will be high, as heating the country house with electricity, in this extreme cold, will be pricey. It was worth it though, to be able to spend a little time together.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

Little House in the City

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-25°C (-13)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 13 February 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 102.4 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -24.5°C
Dewpoint: -29.0°C
Humidity: 66%
Wind: W 6 km/h
Wind Chill: -30 (-22F)

-20°C (-4F)
Date: 8:00 PM EST Sunday 15 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.6 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: -20.4°C
Dewpoint: -27.7°C
Humidity: 53%
Wind: NNW 26 gust 38 km/h
Wind Chill: -32 (-25.6F)

Country House

EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT
-28°C (-18.4F)
Observed at: Muskoka Airport
Date: 5:00 AM EST Friday 13 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 102.5 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -28.3°C
Dewpoint: -31.1°C
Humidity: 78%
Wind: NW 8 km/h
Wind Chill: -36 (-32.8F)

-24°C (-11.2F)
Date: 9:00 PM EST Sunday 15 February 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 103.1 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -23.7°C
Dewpoint: -30.7°C
Humidity: 54%
Wind: WNW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -31 (-23.8F)

Quote

“I have to say, this global “warming” is turning out to be quite a disappointment.”
Attila, after coming into the house after shovelling the drive, in the wind with a a -38 wind chill factor, February 2015.

Reconnecting

Yesterday I attended my first appointment, an assessment, with the physiotherapist. I didn’t like the feel of the physical building, just something about it that felt, well, aggressive. Then I discovered that the clinic shares facilities with a small gym. That explains it, there is an air of pushiness to the place, and gyms strike me as places that encourage the push. While perhaps that is warranted at a gym, it is not a great energy for healing. So that is one strike against the place, a physical plant issue.

The physiotherapist came out to greet me with a smile, she was young, and friendly, and not aggressive in the least. I liked her. So that is a strike for the place.

She asked me if I had brought shorts with me, no one had mentioned that I might need them during my initial call to set up the appointment. Another strike against the place, an administrative issue.

She went through the assessment efficiently, and kindly. She explained what she was doing as she went along. She asked for permission to touch me, when she needed to touch my body. More strikes for the place.

Her assessment made sense, she taught me two knee exercises to build strength around my knee. She printed out a sheet outlining the exercises, and wrote a few notes on it based on my questions. Very professional, and great “bedside manner”. More strikes for the place.

When I tally up the strikes, and weigh them as what is most important to me, this clinic is acceptable, and it is close by. I wouldn’t rave about the clinic settingj, but I would rave about the physiotherapist.

I began with the exercises last night. I was shocked, truly shocked, by the weakness in the injured side of my body. I have been babying this knee for quite a while, without thinking, and my muscle strength and tone have deteriorated significantly as a result. I know this because I do the same exercises with the uninjured side of my body, and the difference between the two sides is shocking.

I have postponed further visits to the physiotherapist until I have been to the Orthopaedic Clinic for the assessment there. If I need surgery, I will need all of my health coverage benefit for the post surgery physiotherapy. When the benefit runs out I will be done, as we have no financial means of paying for it ourselves. I explained this to the physiotherapist, and to the administrative person who processed my payment. I had to pay for the appointment myself, and must apply for reimbursement.

The visit to the physiotherapist, and the exercises, force me to centre my attention on my body. This is a tough thing to do, as I suffer from various forms of chronic pain. My method of dealing with the pain is to universally disconnect from painful sensations. That means that reconnecting with one source of pain means reconnecting with all of them. Yikes is all I can say!

Hopefully my brain will soon train me to “localize” the pain sources; to disconnect from some, while remaining connected to my knee and leg area. Fingers crossed!

Sunshine! It was very cold here this morning, but it was tropical compared to the temperature at the country house! Attila is going through another phase where he must get up at 3:00 a.m. to fire the masonry heater, then get up again at 6:00 a.m. to close the damper and get ready to leave for work. During these spells the country house can be quite chilly during the day. Attila is not there during the day. I am glad I am not there! If I was I would be wearing long underwear, layers and layers of sweaters, a down vest, a scarf, and gloves, just to keep from getting chilled. I can do it, I did it for over ten years. I would still be doing it, if it weren’t for the isolation in the bush and cabin fever, which are the reasons I am staying at the little house in the city.

I am reminded of my Grandmother, when she was in her seventies, during harsh winters. They heated their house with wood, it was cold at night! Granny wore a balaclava to bed at night, which was a great idea! I remember thinking how clever she was, figuring out how to stay warm!

I had a busy day, managing to get around with Tank, doing errands. I filled Tank’s tank with gas, for the first time this month. It wasn’t that low, but I wanted it topped up. I bought a few items at the discount store, things on Attila’s list. After the discount store, the last stop was the grocery store. Resisting the temptation to buy more fresh vegetables, the list was followed, milk, coffee, soda, olive oil. Then it was home for lunch.

The afternoon was spent at the laundromat. The wet laundry was carted home and now festoons the furniture and every available flat surface. It will be dry by morning, ready to fold and store away.

It was a pleasant and uneventful day.

Worldly Distractions

Weather

The Country House
-26°C (-14.8F)
Date: 7:00 AM EST Tuesday 20 January 2015
Condition: Clear
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: -25.6°C
Dewpoint: -28.0°C
Humidity: 81%
Wind: WNW 4 km/h
Wind Chill: -30

The Little House in the City
-16°C (-3.2F)
Date: 5:00 AM EST Tuesday 20 January 2015
Condition: Not observed
Pressure: 101.5 kPa
Tendency: rising
Temperature: -16.1°C
Dewpoint: -19.2°C
Humidity: 77%
Wind: NW 9 km/h
Wind Chill: -22

Quote

“Success is following the pattern of life one enjoys most.”
Al Capp
1909 – 1979