The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

A Stressful Time – What Makes You Say That??

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Had my follow-up appointment at the Stroke Prevention Centre at Niagara Falls General Hospital and am pleased to report that things went pretty good, except the fact that we were over 20 minutes late – no stress there, right!!!!

When I was at Dr. Chew’s office I was given the date and time of my next appointment. I went home and wrote it down, like I would and then a week or so later received an appointment reminder call from the secretary for Connie and when she asked if I knew where they were, I immediately said, “Yes, I’ve been there already”. No problem, right?? As Nat and I arrived at Dr. Chew’s office we were then informed that the appointment wasn’t there, but at the Stroke Prevention Centre just down the street at the Clinic in room 204″.  We then drove to what we assumed was the clinic – it had more than 3 floors and when we walked out of the elevator we were standing directly in front of a dental receptionist’s desk. Long story short – no stroke prevention centre and, in fact, no room 204!!. Naturally, no one in this dentist’s office had even heard of any other clinic or “Connie” (the only name we had) and had not even heard of Dr. Chew.

Now befuddled, bewildered and bloody muddled, we rode the elevator downstairs and asked at the Pharmacy. The Pharmacist was kind enough to at least get us Dr. Chew’s office number (which I had neglected to take with me, only because I didn’t think I would need it!!). Our story had baffled even the poor Pharmacist and thank goodness she at least knew which “Dr. Chew” we were looking for (apparently there’s quite a few in Niagara Falls!!). She had also explained that there was another clinic just beside (and attached) to the Hospital that may be the one we were thinking of. She further informed us that we could even walk there and she kindly “pointed” us in the right direction. Once we stepped outside the two of us were still lost. We were now standing behind the Hospital, were no longer on “Ferry Street” and were totally confused, lost, frustrated and getting a little “testy” to say the least!! With the weather being extremely cold and the winds blowing at a furious pace, we hopped back into the van to get warm and to settle ourselves down. I grabbed Nat’s cell phone and called the secretary at Dr. Chew’s office but lucky me I got the Answering Centre for Dr. Chew – what were the odds???? I began to try and explain what had happened and that I was now very late for my appointment and had no idea where we were. I was put on hold while the answering service checked with Dr. Chew’s office and then came back to try and explain where to go and how to get there. We at least now had the actual name of this Clinic and drove around to where we were to go. We finally spotted the name of the Clinic on the building, but once we stepped out of the van and tried the door, it was to no avail. Nat then walked around the side of the building and soon found the front door and even the big parking lot that adjoined the building. It turns out we were parked in the paramedics special spots, but what the hell, we proceeded down the walkway and into the clinic.

We had now arrived at “Connie’s” office and gave a quick rendition of our story to which it turns out the Secretary had understood. It’s happened before, that the girls at Dr. Chew’s office have neglected to hand out this pink form that explains where to go and who I was to see. It also turned out that Connie would be able to see me, albeit for a shortened appointment – a half hour instead of the full hour.

My appointment with Connie was extremely informative. Naturally, we went over the events of my mini stroke, my medications, and she began to ask me questions about my life style, my eating habits and any high stress levels lately that may have contributed to my little stroke. I told her my “depression” stories, my family concerns and soon found myself even confiding in this very nice woman. As soon as I realized what I was doing I backed off in order to let this poor woman explain things to me in the short time we had. Her words of wisdom were good to hear, I thought, but still not stopping the old brain from going on a tangent at night where it whirls and twirls until my head spins and suddenly I’m unable to even fall asleep.

We  had a really nice conversation and she went through all of the signs, symptoms and side-effects of even a small stroke. It was really good to hear that my being tired all the time was connected and, in fact, a side effect, along with being hungry all the time from the Prednisone. I explained about the diabetes scare and that I’m determined to maintain my exercise routine and to try as best I can to lose some weight. I was feeling so great prior to this whole event and have fallen back on the weight loss. This is where she stepped in and advised me this “getting back to normal” thing is going to take quite a long time. A major surprise to me as this was only a “little” stroke. She re-assured me that if I needed to rest after completing a task or job around the house, then so be it. Have a seat and recoup for a minute or longer until you feel like you can continue, even have that mid-afternoon nap if that’s what your body is telling you. These are words I never thought I would hear from a medical professional, but they were certainly comforting to know that I wasn’t crazy in my being exhausted at times. When we  completed our session she handed me her card and advised me to call, if need, or even come back to see her again. I left thinking the medical profession has come such a long way from when my Dad had his stroke in the late 1970’s. If he had had this kind of help I’m certain things would have turned out so different.

Having wasted so much time trying to find this Clinic, Nat and I were now trying to re-work our morning. We decided to grab a bite to eat at Tim Horton’s and then head home to recoup what was left of the day. In our senior world, that means deciding what to do next!!

The rest of the week saw Nat finish off my new little side table. It looks fabulous, but still seems very small for Nat. I keep telling him it’s just what I wanted. So while he was downstairs painting and staining I continued wrapping some more of Thamazine’s Christmas gifts, and true to form, as soon as I started to tire Connie’s words could be heard in my brain “have a seat, sit a spell”. She was right, it worked, of course, and I was able to continue on albeit in bits and bobs, but managed to make headway.

Nat and I also finally received the GST/HST form for our rebate on the solar panels. Knowing government forms, it was the usual mumbo jumbo and we had to call Marinus for help. Bless his heart he called back and walked us through the form which was even easier than we thought. Too many strange words and too many lines not necessary in our circumstances. Alas, I was able to complete the form online and it was sent away lickety, split through the world wide web and off  to the powers that be, wherever they are. We’ll now wait for that red flag to be raised on the old mailbox and run out in the cold, snowy weather to grab that rebate as fast as we can. It’s only been about 4 months waiting for this thing – proof how much the Government prefers to “take” rather than “give”. From henceforth, however, we’ll be giving back but on an annual basis to the Tax man – bless their little money grabbing hands!!

We finally had the rafters in the attic re-inforced yesterday (Friday) as required by the Engineer when the solar panels were installed. Again, another long time in being completed and now according to the contractor “we’ll be able to land a helicopter on the roof now”. Good to know!!!

Today was also my Aunt Elva’s 100th birthday. Sadly a huge snow storm hit around Fort Erie, Hamilton, Toronto and points north of Toronto. With great hesitation it was decided that the “Rouse” girls would stay home for the sake of our safety and forego the event. I can’t help but be curious if any of the other relatives from London and even North Bay made it to the party. Nat and I both feel bad, as I hate to say it, this may have been my last chance to see Aunt Elva and even our beloved Uncle Bill. It also goes without saying that we may never even see any of our cousins any more as we all live to far apart from one another. It’s not that we’ve always been close, but at least there was some sort of “family event” throughout the years where we would gather and try and get re-acquainted. The terrible perils of getting old.

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Author: Twila

Born and raised in a small town in Ontario, Canada, with 5 sisters and a brother. Now retired, my husband and I travel, play golf and am slowly renovating our new (old) home. After my kidney transplant in 1999, we've learned to enjoy life to the fullest. Nat and I have driven across Canada, taken an Alaskan cruise and drove home via the Northern United States. We've also been to Mexico, the Caribbean, the East Coast of Canada and Cape Breton. We've done the "Snowbird" thing, having lived in Destin, Florida for a couple of months of the year. In 2007 we changed our travel plans in order to move into and renovate our new "old" home, but hope to someday get back on the road again. We also love returning to Scotland (Nat's origin of birth) to visit his family and tour the Highlands and surrounding Isles.

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