The White Cottage

MY DAYS IN RETIREMENT

Nothing In Life Is Certain

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It never fails, just when things are going so well, something in life brings you back to reality. This past month has seen us enduring worry, concern and fret about something we have no control over. Nat’s sister, Jenny, began to experience some excruciating pain while recovering from a fall she’d taken earlier that month. The first time she fell she was told her lower back was damaged and she’d be bedridden for a month. Several weeks into her hopeful recovery, she began to experience more pain. This additional pain was even worse, enough so, that the family had her taken to hospital to see what was going on.

After enduring several weeks of utter boredom and pain she fell again in the hospital trying to get to the bathroom. This time she also banged her head. While in hospital she was put on morphine and for some ungodly reason, no doctor came along to see or examine her for over a week. It took this second fall to get some attention and it took her youngest son and his wife to take action in hand and give the Doctors a “what for”. He’s good like that, doesn’t let anyone take advantage and hovers over his Mom incessantly. He’d already been through hell watching his lovely wife get treatment for a brain tumour and leaving no stone unturned did everything in his power to get her the best treatment in the world. He succeeded. Natalie came through with flying colours, had the tumour removed and is now in remission. She, too, naturally has a great command and understanding of the medical system in Britain.

Once Jenny had been seen by the Doctors and finally went through several MRI tests, it was at first thought that she had broken her pelvis. Nat (hubby) finally discovered what was happening when he tried to call her one week and she was nowhere to be found. When he finally called one of her sons, Michael, he was then informed of the situation. While Jenny was in hospital, Michael gave her an old cell phone he had lying around so she could continue to stay in bed but call family, if needed. Nat decided to call her one day in hospital but he could tell she was “doped” up. She was slurring her words and not remembering too many things. Nat tried to re-assure her that things would get better and that he would keep in touch.

Several weeks later once Jenny’s son, Nat, got around to scolding the Doctors for their inactivity, it was arranged for another MRI and this time they found something around her lungs. Whatever it was, they also felt that it had travelled to her abdomen. Poor Jenny didn’t see any of this coming. She was convinced it was only her back and pelvis that needed healing – nothing else. Apparently, at one point, the Doctor remarked to (young) Nat, that if Jenny hadn’t of fallen, that maybe none of this would have been detected and things could have been much worse.

Once the tumour was found, naturally, more tests were required and she’ll be having a biopsy Monday August 4th to gather more information about what kind of tumour and how to treat it, etc. Jenny, now 80 years old, has been a hard and fast smoker all of her life, as was her husband, so, naturally, Nat and I can only guess the results of the biopsy, but will hope and pray we’re wrong. She’s also a hearty woman who raised 5 children while living in a camper trailer as a young wife and mother. She’s never had life easy, has travelled a lot and has seen some really good and some really bad times. She’s also strong-willed and determined. We’re all hoping these traits are in her favour to fight off what it is that is happening in this poor woman’s body.

It’s been a struggle for Nat and myself to decide whether to travel to Britain and see Jenny right now. We both know she’ll be ecstatic to see us, especially her little brother, but it’s hard knowing exactly what the right thing is to do all around. It would be so much easier to see Jenny in person, along with the family, and be able to hear first hand as to what is going on. Our one concern would be where to stay. We know Jenny’s children would be willing to put us up, but we both don’t want to impose on the family right now while they, too, are trying to keep things on an even keel and continue on with their lives, too. From what it appears, we’ll probably wait for the biopsy results after Monday, maybe talk to (young) Nat and get his advice. This “waiting” business is for the birds, and for only the second time in my life I’m on the other side. Not the patient this time, but waiting with other family members on test results and worrying about a loved one that’s very dear to my heart. A sister-in-law I’d love to sit and chat with for hours, who understands my ups and downs being married to her brother and has re-assured me on several occasions that I’m okay, too.

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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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