The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT


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I’ve Quit Cheating

After my eye surgery I slowly became frustrated that I had to use glasses to read. Everything from recipes, labels, computer screen, iPad screen, etc. Not wanting to pay a great amount of money I purchased some binocular-style eye glasses. I soon realized the Optometrist community calls them “Cheaters”. These glasses worked really well and I had purchased as many as I needed – one pair for the: kitchen, office, TV side chair, night stand and my purse. I figured I wouldn’t have to search around the house to find a pair whenever I needed them. The scheme worked for quite some time, but each pair of Cheaters was different in style and intensity. (I just picked up a pair wherever and if they worked, they worked).

With time I soon began to wonder if I should actually upgrade my old prescription and get a proper pair of reading glasses. I was soon reminded by the mailman when she dropped an appointment check-up in the mailbox. The card sat on the office desk for a week or two, as I tried to justify any extra expense we may incur. With Nat’s nagging, I soon picked up the phone and made the appointment.

When I admitted to my Optometrist what I was using, he didn’t really chastize me and he certainly understood the expense. Turns out the price wasn’t so bad, as our health insurance would cover all but $40.00 and I was getting a bifocal upgrade where I’d have a wider area of view, with a good computer screen portion. I’ll see in a day or two when they arrive how better my daily life will be without putting glasses on-and-off, on-and-off, on-and-off. A frustrating routine to say the least. AND No, I’m not ready for that fancy little chain that hangs around my neck. It will be like wearing a necklace which I can no longer do because of my sensitive skin. Another frustrating scenario.

I had another appointment with the old law firm I worked for. One of the secretaries had called to have me sign an “Affidavit of Execution”. I was a witness to a Will back in 1982 and would I come in for 5 minutes to sign the affidavit. Nat and I also had a couple of other errands in the big City that day.

As I walked in the door, I recognized the Receptionist, but any other secretary or lawyer walking through the lounge were complete strangers. I was suppose to meet a secretary, but her boss came into the lounge to greet me and turned out it was one of the lawyers I had known and, in fact, a son of the founding father of that firm. I remembered him as a a pull no punchesvery conservative, old school kind of man and I only got along with him because I absolutely adored his father, and his father liked me (he had told my boss one day who past it along). I had also done some secretarial work whenever his secretary was on holiday and he made it a point to tell me what good work I did.

As we sat in the small “signing office” the first thing out of his mouth was “how could your boss allow a Codicial to a Will be signed and witnessed out of the office and with two strangers as witnesses? I politely replied my long term memory has faded from my brain after my transplant (a bit of a fib – it’s actually my short-term memory). I signed what I had to and tried to leave the office, when another secretary I knew and liked, asked me to stay a bit longer, as her boss also had a Will that I had witnessed. She was going to call me in a week or so, but since I was already there – why not? So Nat and I waited as the Affidavit of Execution was being drawn up and printed out.

Thinking I’d see the secretary to sign, I was completely surprised when her boss came out and was immediately up to his old tricks of trying to “get my goat”. I’ve known this lawyer from the first day he started at the firm and we’ve always gotten along famously. He was one of a few lawyers in the firm I could actually say “go to hell” to. We were verbal jousters and enjoyed the challenge. We reminisced for a minute or two, I signed where required, and he asked me if I’d return. “Honestly?“, I asked. As he shook his head I told him I now had a bit of a sour taste in my mouth from how my sister was treated. He understood and with a big grin on my face, I told him of my wedded bliss in a small village with peace, quiet and tranquility. We hugged each other and with that I departed.

Nat and I were then on our way to Costco for our regular trip of groceries and once we arrived, we had no idea how busy this place would be late afternoon on Tuesdays. We bobbed and weaved our way through hordes of customers, got what we needed and then got the hell out of there. We’re at that stage in our lives where too many people in one place can no longer be tolerated. We’ve been spoiled by our peaceful little corner of the world.

This past week my last parcel from Land’s End arrived. For years, I’ve been searching to replace my favourite all-around short-sleeved Oxford Shirt. I’ve never shopped at Land’s End before because of their limited sizes. So when I was googling for “Oxford Shirts” and landsend.com showed up, I gave them a look-see. They had finally up-dated their sizes and what to my surprise they had the exact Oxford Shirts I had been looking for. I ordered one to try it out – perfect. I ordered two more in different colours – more perfection. What the hell, I then ordered the balance of colours and now have one shirt for every short or pair of pants I own. I also have a reserve shirt for my day-to-day housework. It’s going to be my workaholic top. Just to be totally anal about the whole thing, I went to WalMart and purchased a wooden hanger for every article of clothing in my wardrobe and that of Nat’s. We’re both pleased now that our clothes hang in an orderly fashion and not igglety, pigglety in our closet.

I must add that the month of September has been really great physically and emotionally. Long may it continue!!

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Somehow WalMart Is My Friend

My life has not exactly been an acid trip this Summer. No frivolities, no romping around and no glorious feelings of euphoria. That’s a good thing, I suppose, these days with the Opioid crisis going on around me. Whatever happened to just good-old day-tripping????

The hot summer days have been passing me by and the boredom has set in so much so that Nat has to insist that I do something to get out once in awhile. As much as I love living in Ridgeway/Fort Erie there isn’t a whole lot of places you can go to window shop. I walk about the town centre sometimes while waiting for a prescription pick-up at the Pharmacy, but again, only one or two shops that peek my interest and once you’ve done them you have to wait another season to see what’s new.

Unless you travel to Niagara Falls or St. Catharines for special items (ie Costcos, The Bay, Outlet Malls, etc.) the local residents are pretty much obligated to shop at our local WalMart stores (Fort Erie and the supersized one in Niagara Falls). With only two large actual grocery stores (Sobey’s and No Frills) in Fort Erie, it made a huge difference when our WalMart store began selling groceries. At least we now had some choices. In fairness to Ridgeway there is also our local Valu-Mart store owned by Presidents Choice but it’s small and only carries a limited variety of brands and items.

There are shoppers out there that may still scoff at WalMart and it’s cheaper goods, and to them I say – Give It A Chance. When you are forced to shop at this conglomerate on a somewhat regular basis, you become emboldened at how much you can actually find to buy that fits your wants and needs at really good prices. (God, I’m now sounding like a bloody commercial!!!!)

Every once in awhile I have a small list of items to buy – Medicine Cabinet supplies, a salad for supper, printer ink, picture hangers, etc. In olden days I would have had to drive around town to find a Pharmacy, a Grocery store, a Business store and a Hardware store. Now I can do it all in one big store. At this age I, for one, am glad to do so. It saves me time and gas money.

Getting to the gist of my story – I now take my list of items to buy and for an hour or so I am transported to another world where I can walk around looking at tools, kids toys, sporting goods, business supplies and DVDs, children and adult clothing, jewellery, shoes, housewares, computer supplies, cell phone centre, small furniture, crafts, cleaning supplies and grocery. All  in one big swoop.

Now whenever I need a quick pick-me-up, I drive down to WalMart, fulfill my itemized list and have a wander around. I will even admit that I’ve found a few bargains in Women’s Clothing – a couple pair of great walking shorts that feel good on and are inexpensive (my word for ‘cheap’). It behooves me to say, this once “stay away from the cheap clothing” advice has now gone by the wayside. You can actually find some pretty good buys if you look long and hard enough – including the Alia Brand for the older women. This is also a great place for inexpensive house slippers, office supplies, medicine cabinet supplies, groceries, hardware items, games and puzzles, etc.

For an even more grandiose trip, I travel down the road to the Super-Sized Double WalMart across from the former Niagara Square. This is an actual thrill for me as the individual departments are larger than our local store, and you have an even greater choice of inventory in each. This is also where you can find even better deals on casual clothing items where the selections are greater.

So, whenever you’re in Fort Erie or Niagara Falls you can probably find me on any given day walking around in my own little world shopping for items I need, items I don’t need and even wandering around in lost amazement.

Funny how some people get their kicks now-a-days!!

P.S. Another kick I’ve found to be useful – and, believe it or not, at dear hubby’s insistence – is to get a monthly manicure/pedicure. I had them a couple of times but for special occasions. As the years are passing and my body becomes more stubborn in what it can and cannot do, I find having a pedicure very useful. This has now become an impossible task for me. Nat insists I do this as he feels I deserve some special treatment now and again. And so it begins – my adventures of being hand to toe rubbed, scrubbed and painted.


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This Is The Short and Long Of It.

The days are long, the nights fall away too fast. So there sit hubby and myself as the Summer months decrease without much ado.

We’ve had a few activities of late. The party for my nephew’s 18th birthday was great. As usual the family frivolity was raucous and up-lifting. I, again, had a chance to get caught up with my other sisters, nieces and nephew on their comings and goings. I truly have to admit that at this stage in my life I’m jealous. When someone asks us “So, what’s new with you guys?”, my brain goes to mush to try and think of something exciting we’ve been up to. Alas, we can’t even come close to the others. Their travels, adventures and resulting stories are beyond what Nat and I could ever get up to, being the boring old sods we’ve become. I still enjoy listening and laughing along immensely.

Our one big event this past month came by way of an invitation to one of Nat’s golfing buddies 50th Wedding Anniversary. Nat golfs with the husband three days a week, and we’ve been to dinner with this couple in the past. The wife is Quebec French, speaks English enough for me to understand, but talks a little too fast for Nat. They’re definitely a fun couple and we love their company.

The anniversary party was held at their home in Port Dalhousie with a guest list of close to 100 people – mostly family and friends from Quebec who had travelled for hours on end and would be staying a few nights to enjoy each other. The Anniversary Couple decided not to do any of the work – and who could blame them – so caterers were hired to set everything up – tent, chairs, food, drink and an anniversary cake accompanied by gorgeous cupcakes.

As Nat and I walked towards the back of the house, the French language could be heard emanating around us. We were greeted by our friend and his wife, wished them congratulations and then wandered around to check everything out. Our friend owns and rents out the house next door to him, so there was plenty of space for guests to mix and mingle. We walked around where pockets of French were heard, along with pockets of English along with laughter and screams coming from the children in the swimming pool. They certainly had the perfect day, weather wise, for this whole soiree.

After meeting a few of the family, Nat and I soon found our way to some seating under the tent. Our necks were twisting and turning as we watched the party-goers and family members talk amongst themselves. It wasn’t long after that, a foursome sat down beside us. We introduced ourselves and the conversation started. I, for one, was very relieved one couple was originally from England. To top it off, the husband was from Manchester and a huge Manchester United football fan. I suppose you almost have to be if you’re born there. It’s probably a law, or something.

I’m not a discriminator of the French language and, in fact, am truly sorry I didn’t learn to speak it fluently. Yes, I know, I still can, but my patience has been lost somewhere between hear and the Atlantic Ocean. So having a couple born in Britain sit next to us was somewhat of a relief so Nat and I could have a more fluent conversation. The loud voices around us could, at times, drown out any talking resulting in Nat not being able to hear, especially with his newer hearing aid that (in my opinion) isn’t as good as the last one.

The entire party was lovely, the speeches (as always) a little too long and the food was delicious. Arriving around 3:30 pm and the time now well after 8:00 pm, Nat had to take me home. I was very tired and had pills to take. (Sadly, a routine that can break up a lot of get-togethers for us). It was our first night out in a long while, but was good.

Finally, this past week saw our Landscaper (GreenScapes Niagara) come around with the soil and garden stone for the bottom of the yard. This small project is going to help Nat when he’s mowing the lawn. He won’t have to twist and turn around the edge of the creek with the regular lawn mower, saving him quite a bit of time out in the summer heat. Wood edging now runs east to west across the lawn in a straight line about 10 +/- feet up from the shores of the creek. The area inbetween was filled with a plastic ground cover, lots of dirt and then garden rock.

Nat’s pleased with how the landscaping turned out and will certainly shorten his lawn mowing time. Hopefully, this next Spring we’ll find some large garden pots to plant with plenty of decorative, colourful plants to fill the space. Just spruce the joint up a bit!

With nothing else on our agenda, Nat suggested maybe we take a drive to Port Dover yesterday for a walk-about along with a Fish ‘n Chip lunch. We took the 2-2/2 hour drive using Garmin and with all things “Nat & Twila” the day somehow hits the proverbial rocks and went down the toilet from there.

The drive in was easy enough and when we arrived Nat asked if I wanted to check out the shops. With me, that’s always a given. Not being able to make up my mind, however, we decided to park down by the beach. Somehow I became a bit dazed. My legs were sore from sitting in one position for so long. The sun was beaming down and I was getting a bit hot. I asked Nat if we could do the shops, but by the time I began to walk the distance from the beach to the main street, I was about to collapse. He went back for the car and found a parking spot on Main Street, but then I became very disappointed. There was nothing of interest in any of the shops for me. I could tell Nat was getting a little disappointed. He had suddenly become very quiet. After a bit of a “discussion” on Main Street, we decided to go for lunch, maybe that would quiet things down.

Not knowing where any of the indoor restaurants were, and I had previously done a little research for fish ‘n chip places, I suggested we go to a very popular spot called “Willies” down by the beach. We were a little disappointed upon arrival. This was strictly an outdoor joint. Place your order, find a seat on the patio and watch the world go by. As we checked the menu, Nat found he could have his Perch lunch and I could get some Haddock. We took a seat but once we began to eat, I stated my huge disappointment in the Chips – over-fried, crunchy inside and out – with the fish not as well battered as I had hoped. I could tell from Nat’s face he was thinking the same thing.

We slowly ate in silence. I apologized for ruining his day and his silence said it all. He agreed his day had been ruined. In my defence I had long forgotten how hilly Port Dover is, how this was definitely a beach community with take-away, outdoor eateries and not a whole lot of quaint gift shops. I’m guessing the Bikers on Friday the 13th don’t exactly come for the shopping.

The day only got worse when we began to drive home. We set Garmin to Go Home but what to our surprise it was taking us a completely different way from whence we had come. We were told to turn right onto Haldimand Rte 3 instead of Provincial Rd. 3 throwing us a curve ball that lead to heated discussions about what was going on. I felt like Nat was looking to me for answers and (in my ignorant manner) began to explain what I thought was happening. I told him, in the end, that we could still get to Hwy. 3 once we arrived at Dunnville.  We continued driving in complete silence, arriving at Dunnville a half hour later. More frustration set in as Nat was unsure what to do and where to go. We soon found the road to turn onto to get back onto our beloved Hwy. 3 to home. It was extremely easy to do with sign posts everywhere. The balance of the ride home was in complete silence, but the Garmin situation was giving me an itch I had to scratch.

As Nat drove along, I reached for the GPS and went into the Settings. Long story short, I had soon realized that with the last Garmin Update done on the computer, the whole GPS had returned to its original Default Settings. With one of our trips we had changed the Settings – map display to 3-D, driving route to “Fastest” and not “Quickest” (huge difference), along with a few other minor items. I decided to open my mouth again and tried to explain to Nat what might have happened. I could see his face thinking this whole scenario out, and finally agreed that might have been the reason.

Our Tuesday trip was over – at last!! Arriving home in more silence, total frustration and disappointment we tried to think of what to have for supper and then headed to our recliner chairs. Please God, lights out and let this day be over. With all things “Nat and Twila” the silence continued into Wednesday morning with a little tip-toeing around afraid of who was thinking what, but each were afraid to ask.

 


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Oh, Look Dear, An Evening Out

As much as I hate to say it, most of May and June have been very ho hum. As stated in my last posting the routine was pretty much spot on.

A pleasant surprise did, however, come by way of an invitation to dinner at The Keg (St. Catharines). Our second oldest granddaughter has graduated from McMaster School of Nursing this June and it was finally time to celebrate her hard work and tenacity. It was decided that her family would meet us at The Keg on Tuesday evening for 6:00 PM reservations. I personally couldn’t wait, as I love The Keg and was really looking forward to getting out of the bloody house to see if other human beings were out there. I was also really looking forward to seeing Felicia (the graduate), her sister, Bridget and boyfriend, Mike, along with their parents. We always seem to have a great get together.

Wtih all things Susan (Felicia’s mom), the afternoon did not go as planned. Dumb luck turned around and dealt them a big blow. With everyone now at the restaurant, we were waiting for Susan and Feilcia to arrive. They drove home in separate cars because of certain other events and timing, and as they hit close to St. Catharines a large transport truck carrying some sort of chemicals had turned over at a curve and the highway was blocked. Apparently certain residents had to be evacuated or “stay in place”  for safety reasons. Susan turned off onto Highway No. 8 (a small two-lane road that winds and twists itself into St. Catharines) knowing that she could get to the restaurant albeit a little late. Not one to have life easy, the highway was filled with evacuees and other local traffic that turned into one mega delay. They texted hubby and daughter at the restaurant to keep everyone abreast of their whereabouts.

As time was really ticking away, we were told by Susan, to at least go ahead and order if we wanted. As Nat and I were now starving (usually eating at 4:30 pm) we decided to at least order our salads. We had nicely started when Susan and Felicia finally turned up and began to tell us their tale of woe. Felicia looked gorgeous in her lacey white dress and I could not help but look at her and smile. She had grown into a beautiful mature young woman and was about to begin her lifetime of adventures.

As orders were now taken, Felicia and I began to talk about her future travels. This is going to be one girl who likes to go places, see things and meet lots of people. With the whole family now well into our steaks and conversation, we were having a great time. We even indulged in dessert – Billy Miner Pie, Fudge Brownie, etc. It was all sooooo delicious. We finally said our goodbyes and headed home. What a great evening.

Our next adventure will be the open house for Bertie & Clinton Mutual Insurance CompanyThey moved into larger headquarters and Nat and I are looking forward to seeing the new place, along with sister, Claudia, who is one of their agents. Another one of those few times I need to take to see a relative!!

Later that evening we’ll also attend our oldest granddaughter’s 24th birthday. This will just be an informal gathering and another chance to see Karly, Lucas, Marilyn, Sean and Linda.

We also received a “good wishes” only to my nephew’s 18th birthday party. Date and time yet undetermined due to work schedules. I’m really looking forward to this event, as I’ll see my side of the family and that’s always good for a lot of laughs, catch-ups and stories.

The month of July, Nat and I will be back to our usual routine. So will have to absorb as much of the family frivolities as I can to see me through to (hopefully) Thanksgiving.


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A Day In The Life. Seriously!!

6:45 am – sleepishly hear Nat arise from bed, get clothes and go to bathroom to get ready for the day

6:46 am – roll over onto Nat’s side of bed and fall back asleep

8:33 am – slowly wake up, step onto floor, grab clothes and go to bathroom to get ready for the day

8:50 am – walk to office, turn on computer, printer and mouse – roll up window blinds

8:51 am – walk into living room, kiss Nat good morning

8:51 am – walk to kitchen, get morning pills, drink and take to living room

8:52 am – walk to office, print out LA Times Crossword puzzle for Nat – go into Crossword Blog  for theme of puzzle and write in one or two to get Nat started

8:55 am – return to living room, give Nat his puzzle, sit in recliner chair, ask each other how we slept – start to discuss what’s for lunch and supper

9:00 am – take regimen of pills – squint eyebrows and rattle head to think of what to eat for meals

9:05 am – still trying to decide what to eat for lunch and supper – discuss various ideas

9:07 am – go to freezer to remove meat or fish for supper to thaw

9:08 am – grab 4 mints from freezer, turn on iPad to play games, read Twitter feed – Nat does crossword puzzle – answer any crossword questions Nat stuck on

10:30 am – make sandwiches for lunch and put aside – return to recliner

11:00 am – Nat makes coffee

11:15 +/- – Eat lunch while watching one of many taped TV shows

12:05 pm – clean up from lunch

12:10 pm – return to recliner to decide what to do for rest of day

12:15 pm – Nat works in garden, if necessary, I run errands or do office work or maybe bake

2:30 +/-  pm – Both finished and return to recliner chairs to wait until time to fix supper

3:45 pm – Start to fix supper

4:15 pm – Eat supper

4:45 pm – Clean up, put on evening track suits for comfy

4:46 pm – Nat returns to recliner, listens to music waiting for his show at 5:00 pm – I go to office to watch a TV show/podcast while playing Freecell game

5:30 pm – Return to my recliner chair – begin watching regular 3 news shows – local, national and American

7:00 pm – unless hockey game – settle in for night of TV watching whatever that may be – DVD collection, taped TV shows or regular TV

8:30 pm – take evening regimen of pills

10:30 pm – off to bed – Winter time lucky to keep awake until 11:00 pm

10:32 pm – take nighttime regimen of pills

10:33 pm – Kiss Nat good night

10:45 pm – Lay in bed, play one iPad game – lights out.

Good night.


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I Can See Clearly Now

Finally, I had the second cataract surgery done on my right eye. After being delayed I became a little anxious, as by now, I wanted it over with.

Knowing what to expect this time, my anxiety was a little lower except for the fact that the surgery was put forward to 8:00 AM with an arrival time of 6:00 AM.  I love my sleep and it was sheer torture for me to get up at 5:00 AM, get dressed and be out the door by 5:30 for the drive to Welland General Hospital.

Entering the hospital my groggy eyes finally fully opened and as Nat wandered down to the reception area, I proceeded to get checked in. The two gowns, the ooey, gooey gel, answer same old questions as before and have the IV put in. This nurse had a problem trying to get the IV in, so she left a note for the Anaesthetist (thank God as he was perfect).

This time I was the first patient. Thankfully I would be done in time for Nat and I to get home, have a bite to eat and manage to get one or two things done around the house before returning to the hospital again to have the patch removed.

My relief was self-evident once arriving home. I was now doctor-free for the rest of the year, except for an annual check-up in June. I treasure my freedom from the medical community and despite the fact it’s only April, the year so far has seemed long and stressful. Nat had one chest scare in January, all of the pre-op appointments for the cataract surgeries in January and February, my first cataract surgery and Nat’s second chest scare in March, a major side ache and pains experienced by me the first of April, an ultrasound test, an appointment with my Nephrologist and then finally the second cataract surgery. For us, those were busy times.

Getting the great ultrasound results was a huge relief. My kidney, liver, pancreas, etc. were all scanned and are in excellent shape. After explaining the whole scenario to my General Physician and then my Nephrologist, it was suggested that it might just have been a big ‘ole gas bubble!! Only I would have a gas bubble that big and painful.

In between visits with the medical community, our lives have been relatively quiet. Nat has finally had the joy of using the new riding lawn mower purchased from our neighbours before they moved to Kitchener. He admits it does a nice job and cuts his mowing time in half. I’m glad he likes it and hope it really helps when the heat and humidity are upon us. Too bad we couldn’t devise some sort of shade/umbrella for over his head to protect it from those hot rays of sunshine.

I also had a chance to say my goodbyes to the staff at the TanJay/Alia Shop at Niagara Square before they closed their doors forever. The convenient location of this shop, its friendliness and inventory made it nice to wander around on those days I needed some “alone time”. A few days later, Nat and I took a trip to the Canada Outlet Mall to check out their TanJay/Alia store. The Niagara Square store gave me a couple of coupons, so it goes without saying I found several items I couldn’t live without. To enjoy a little more of the gorgeous day, we walked further down the Mall to say hello to our grandson, Lucas, at the Nike Store. He’s finished his first year at Niagara College and is continuing his job for the summer. For the first time in eons, we had a great one-on-one talke and found our once shy grandson to now be more outgoing. We left our growing potential basketball player to get on with the job at hand and said we’d see him again.

It’s now been the second day since surgery and my right eye is coming along great. I’ve noticed, however, that I’m having trouble reading my Twitter feed on the iPad, along with other close-up writings. I tried using Nat’s reading glasses and they’ve helped, so it looks like I may be making a visit back to our eye doctor for a new assessment of my eyes after the surgery. I have that sinking feeling reading glasses are going to be in my future. After the first eye was done, everything was so clear I was beginning to hope that reading glasses wouldn’t be necessary. I’ll hang on until I see my eye surgeon this week and see what he has to say. It’s very frustrating not to be able to read but at least on the iPad I can stretch out the screen making the words larger.

It looks like the month of May is going to be a quiet one. I’m hoping I can get back to some baking. I’m also looking forward to going to the Dunlop Community Centre to the Art Show they’re having on the 6th. Sisters, Gail and Bonnie, along with the other artists, will be showing their works and this will be the first time Nat and I have had a chance to see everything they’ve been up to. Maybe I can get lucky and find something to hang on our walls??

Here’s hoping for a peaceful, quiet summer – no doctors, no Ambulances, no ERs. Just give me the patio, a big ‘ole easy lounger and my iPad and I’ll be ecstatic.


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Rainy Days And Foggy Heads

As life goes, so does our misadventures. This past Friday Nat started to feel a small pain at the bottom of his rib cage. By 2:00 we were unsure as to what to do and he kept looking at me for advice.  My advice was only he knew how bad he was feeling but I did interject that “better safe than sorry” was always a good credence to follow.

We looked at each other knowing that if we called the ambulance the rest of our day was shot. It was now close to 2:30 and I called 911 for the ambulance. Calling 911 was an experience in itself – being asked so many questions, given so many instructions (in case of a heart problem) and what to have on hand when the paramedics arrived – have his meds ready, his Health Card on hand, stand at the door and keep an eye on any further developments in his condition. My mindless brain was spinning and forgetting half of what the operator was telling me.

The paramedics arrived from just down the street, sat Nat in the dining room and he was soon plugged in to a heart monitor, blood pressure cuff and temperature taken. His pain, naturally was now starting to dissipate somewhat, but the paramedics detected a slow heart rate and he was now being strapped into the stretcher, covered up and wheeled into the back of the ambulance for a ride to Niagara Falls General Hospital.

I was now trying to gather my thoughts on what to do next as I’m very unfamiliar how to get to the Niagara Falls Hospital. I get the GPS set up, double check the address on Google Maps for a visual of where I was going, grab Nat’s wallet, my coat and purse and I’m off.

Going down Sodom Road was the easy part, but the GPS was not taking me the same way that Google Maps was. Suddenly I’m crossing the QEW and headed towards Chippawa. The GPS was taking me another way through Niagara Falls and I’m now getting a bit unsettled.

I’d been this way before when Nat and I went to see my sister at Fallsview Casino but Portage Road can be very confusing in its twists and turns. As the rain was still on I was having a hard time getting the defogging gadgets working so I could see clearly out the front window. While driving through rush hour traffic, I was opening the driver’s window, the passenger window and even the back seat window. Eventually I got things working and I’m sure a few people behind me thought I was drunk as I swerved a bit trying to get everything organized.

Once I reached the twists and turns of Portage Road I accidentally took a wrong right and ended up in unfamiliar territory. I was now baffled and confused. I made a couple more turns and headed towards the parking lot of a Church to get my bearings. I reset the GPS to get me to the Hospital from where I was and luckily I was only a couple blocks away.

Departing from the car with the rain still on I grabbed the umbrella which was stuck in the down position and I was getting soaked by the time I managed to get the damn thing put up. I headed towards the Emergency Room, found the two ambulance attendants who were now getting ready to leave and was directed to where Nat lay waiting . He was plugged in again with blood being taken along with the blood pressure cuff making its noise every so many minutes. The orderly was hooking him up to another monitor and asking him a dozen questions – the same asked by the ambulance attendants. I sat beside his bed and we began to wait. Somehow we had been here before but, God willing, for not as long

We had a gorgeous Roast Chicken waiting for us at home and it was now past 4:00 pm. We waited a bit more, spoke to the orderly whenever he appeared to check on Nat and waited some more.

Finally the Doctor arrived, checked all of Nat’s test results, asked him the same questions and gave us her thoughts. She advised that the pain was coming from the stomach area and she asked Nat more questions about ulcers, etc. She was satisfied that Nat was okay, the pain had now completely cleared and he was finally disconnected from all of that machinery and cleared to go home.

As Nat was getting dressed, his hand began to bleed where the shunt had been removed.  We grabbed some Kleenex  for him to hold over his hand until we reached the car. As we were exiting the Emergency room, I realized I had forgotten Nat’s shoes (he was in his slippers) and coat. The rain was still on, so I went to get the car to pick him up. Damn, I had left the back window down and the rain had pretty much drenched the entire side of the door, along with parts of the back seat.  Luckily the parking lot was practically empty and no one stole our little red “Ruby” as I had also managed to leave the damn thing unlocked!!

With Nat now safely seated in the car and with me at the wheel, he began to direct me out of this foreign establishment. The rain was a bit heavier now and as I was trying to turn left onto Stanley I assumed an approaching car was turning right onto the street I was on.  It turns out I was wrong and as he angrily beeped his horn at me I back off and tried to explain to my very scared husband that the rain made it look like his lights were flashing to turn. Finally all things were clear and we were soon on our way home.

One of these days, I swear, my foggy brain is going to get me into deep trouble. As weird as it sounds I have to remember to think, think, think!!!

When we arrived home it was now 5:45 pm but we were both very hungry and decided to proceed with our supper plans – Roast Chicken with French fries.  With all things now calm we enjoyed our meal, sat back and watched the news as if the day was all a crappy dream.