Our 15 Hours To Hell And Back

It all started around Wednesday afternoon when Nat complained of his right shoulder being really sore. Thinking he’d twisted a muscle or joint when moving the snowblower in the garage to make room for the new riding lawn mower we purchased from our neighbours (more about that later) he put a heating pad on it and the next morning it felt liked it had eased up. Not to be free and clear, he felt some of the pain moving over to his left shoulder only this time more intense.

Neither one of us are nonchalant about such things, we both had that look in our eyes, as he complained the pain was getting worse by Friday afternoon. Come Friday evening, while watching the hockey game the pain became very intense down his side. I soon began to Google such pains and realized this could be the signs of a thrombosis near the heart. As the hockey game was now over, and being 10:30 PM, I drove Nat to the Douglas Memorial Hospital where we were checked in and soon told again!!!! that we should have called an ambulance which would have taken us to the Welland Memorial Hospital ASAP. How are you suppose to know?? But lesson learned.

After a blood test and other things, Nat was advised by the attending Physician that it looked like he had elevated ??? levels indicating some blockage to his blood vessels. As we now had to wait for the Ontario Paramedic Transport to take Nat to the Welland Hsopital (about an hour and half wait), I had some time to slip home, grab whatever I could (snack, drink, iPad, etc.) and would meet him at the Emergency Department. This was the only way we could have worked keeping the car nerby in order to drive the two of us home once this whole ordeal was over.

Not knowing where Welland Hospital was, the nurse drew a map for me and while at home I grabbed Garmin and also double checked on Google Maps on where to go. I’m also not a lover of night driving and had to re-assure Nat over and over that I’d be okay. This was something that had to be done, no brainer. Plus the way there looked really easy with my 2 maps and Garmin, and at 1:30 AM the roads are vehicle free.

I arrived earlier than Nat and once he was checked into an emergency room, the wait began. Once seen by the night shift Doctor a chest x-ray was ordered. Waiting for results. Then an ECG was ordered. Waiting for results (I’m guessing around  3:30 AM by now). More inbetween blood tests and blood pressures. Then a Cat Scan was ordered. Waiting for results (had to wait for Radiologist who doesn’t check in until 7:00 AM – and it’s only 4:30 AM). Once the night shift had gone home and the day shift was getting their instructions for the day, there were more updated blood tests, etc. and then we were told we would have to wait for the Consulting Doctor who wouldn’t be in until 10:00 AM (Saturday) to give us the results of every test and then her final opinion. It had now been well over 10 hours of waiting and tid-bits of information along the way.

Finally as Dr. Sun came into the room she was giving us news we really did NOT want to here. That Nat may have to stay the night!!!! He had already had his very first ambulance ride, was now lying in his first hospital bed and he really wasn’t in the mood to be told he’d be having an overnight stay. Well, he wasn’t alone and between the two of us we managed to convince the Doc if there was any way he could evenutally be released we were hoping she’d find it.

With more repeated questions by the Doc, she ordered an Ultra-Sound and advised once those results were in she would see what could be done. Fingers, toe and even eyes crossed at this point in time – now around 1:00 PM Saturday. Finally the results were in. Nat was told he had several small blood clots in and around his chest, plus he also had Pneumonia. We were absolutely baffled as to where that came from. He had had an extremely bad cold back in December, but things soon cleared up and he was feeling great. Oh well, only Mother Nature knows the answer to that one.

Inbetween all of the waiting, worrying and intermittent pop-ins by nurses, Nat couldn’t get a wink of sleep, I was so bloody tired and physically wrangled by sitting in a small office chair for over 12 hours, I finally grabbed my coat and laid down on the floor beside Nat’s bed. When one of the nurses found me down there, she whispered to another nurse to grab a small bed and put it in Nat’s room. I love this woman, she saved me.

I’ver never been on the waiting end of things in a hospital. It’s absolutely exhausting and unbearable. Once I was given the bed, I fell asleep at least for an hour or two and was able to sit more comfortably to keep Nat company. He had insisted I go home at one point, but what was the use. I’d only worry, I’d go to sleep and miss anything important, and I really didn’t want to leave Nat at all. I was determined I would be driving him home sometime on Saturday.

Dr. Sun finally agreed that we could go home with a prescription and instructions on how to behave and take care of himself. He was given Blood thinners for the clots and she was going to prescribe pain killers but that may be even more detrimental to blood clots, as they clot the blood to stop the pain!!!

By 2:30 PM Saturday we arrived home. SOOOO tired, Sooooo hungary we didn’t know what to do first. We ended up making a couplel of grilled cheese sandwiches, sat in our recliners and soon fell asleep for a couple of hours. We were both very dopey when it was time for the 6:00 o’clock news. It was also Saturday Night Hockey and the Leafs were playing the Senators and it would take Nat’s mind off of things.

As the evening wore on, Nat’s pain was still relatively substantial, so after a little research we discovered that moist warm heat would help to reduce some clotting. We grabbed a hand towel, ran it under very hot water, stuck it into a cloth and Nat put it on his side where the pain was, along with the heating pad over it to keep it warm. Finally, the pain was beginning to subside enough for him to enjoy the game.

I ended up hitting the hay by 9:00 PM while Nat watched the game and came to bed by 10:00. We were both dead to the world, until Nat felt a bit more pain around 4:00 AM and had to get up to walk about and sit in his recliner where he felt some relief. Me, myself and I didn’t hear a thing and slept for a good 12 hours. What a treat.

Sunday morning neither one of us felt normal – somehow we had been on some sort of weird trip to hell and back. At least, however, we were now home and were staying put.

As for that riding lawn mower – our good new neighbours that moved from Thunder Bay, are moving again. The husband has brain tumours and they are downsizing to a condo in Kitchener, where he’s close to his family. He’s not yet  had his operation, so I may never hear the results, but I’ve told his wife that we’ll be thinking of him. They’ve been really good to us and we’ll miss them a lot. Therefore, because we kept good care of our lawn and house, the hubby felt we should have first dibs on the lawn mower and it was sold to  us at a price we couldn’t resist. God, I’m glad Nat’s finally got one. I hate watching him in the scorching heat mowing the lawn. Now, he has a little relief which is better than none!!!

1000 Island Cruise – Day 1

Taking a weekend trip for a one day cruise, took just as much planning as a week (or longer) trip. Had we been to the 1000 Islands before it may have been so much easier. As we had purchased a new Garmin GPS unit (our old one was very outdated) we felt this was a good time to try it out. Little did we know what trouble it would give us. First of all, Nat has a golfing buddy who refused to pay the tolls on the 407 ETR  whenever he travels to Quebec and takes the 403 E to the 401 E without any hassles, so Nat wanted to try this route himself.

Setting up the GPS was easy enough, but we were very puzzled when the route chosen was through the United States around Lake Erie  and on up to the 1000 Island International Bridge – the way we did NOT want to go, despite the fact it was going to be quicker and faster. No matter how we tried to change the route the GPS was being very uncooperative. With all things technical that Nat and I get into, we became frustrated. So, after Nat left for his golf game on Friday, I decided to play around with it, along with doing a little research online. I discovered that we could “Plan A Trip” which included stops along our route. I tried it out, but without any stops, just clicking on the Highways we wanted to take. It worked. We were now going via the 403 E to the 401 E and on up to Rockport, Ontario where we were going to stay. We took along the Google Maps printed out for back-up.

It looked like a 4 to 5 hour trip and check-in at the Boathouse Country Inn was 3:00 PM so we were on the road by 9:00 AM. The GPS was doing its job and took us exactly as planned, despite arriving at our final destination she had us turning left instead of right. We’re thinking the GPS was unable to detect the small side road entrance through rod iron gates depicting the name Rockport.

The road trip, itself, was uneventful. Let’s face it, nothing to look at along the 401 E at all. One of the more boring trips I’ve ever been a passenger on. The number of times that my sister, Claudia, took her son back to Queen’s University at Kingston must have been mind-numbing, but she’s such a great traveller I’m sure she was very use to it. She has my admiration! After a short lunch break past Oshawa we were back on the road. Nat and I tried to keep a conversation going or listen to satellite radio (which we have free for 3 months) in order to pass the time and somehow we managed.

Despite the pouring rain and miserable weather, we reached the tiny little village of Rockport, just off the 1000 Island Parkway and sitting along the shores of the St. Lawrence RiverWe settled into our cute little country inn room with a small balcony that looked out over the docks. Our room consisted of a couple of wicker chairs, the usual TV and small fridge with Queen sized bed covered in a colourful country Quilt. Very cute, very cozy and charming.

Arriving just before 2:30 PM, we had time on our hands but with the lousy rain still pouring down, we got unpacked and organized and then decided to check out the little General Store before going for our supper. The shop contained the usual trinkets, souvenir items, sweat shirts, T-Shirts, mugs and bits of jewellery. Naturally, I found a few items to buy – a lapel pin for  my collection, a hand-made Inuksuk and a couple of key chains.

We headed to the Cornwall Pub for our supper and decided on fish ‘n chips. A bit disappointed, as the menu proclaimed “Fresh Cut Fries” which turned out to be very evident that these french fries had been frozen, as was the fish. The meal wasn’t bad, bad, but just disappointing. We were at least satisfied for the evening and returned to our cozy little room, settled in for the night and hit the hay by 10:00 PM. We were both very road weary.

Will Up-Shade Be My Saviour???

As weeks go, this one was fairly typical, except for Saturday – but that’s another posting.

The usual quiet Monday.

Tuesday saw Nat run a few errands in the morning while I re-organized our back-up CDs and did further research on downspout diverters. The one we purchased from Canadian Tire (a Fiskar product that looked to be the perfect answer) was disappointing and we were going to return it as soon as a replacement could be found. After a little Googling we came upon a diverter that was sold by Lee Valley and from a design point of view, looked to be more efficient. So with nothing on our plates we hopped in the Van after lunch and headed to Burlington. By going to the actual store, as opposed to ordering it online, we’d save shipping and handling charges, Nat would be able to ask the Lee Valley staff about this particular diverter, how it worked and he’d be able to actually see one before ordering. The trip was successful, his questions asked and answered and we headed home with our new purchase.

Wednesday was, again, the usual. Nat’s golf game in the afternoon and me in the office getting caught up on podcasts and other stuff.

Thursday Nat decided to switch the new downspout diverter for the old one. He had some finagling to do because of the difference in sizes between the two, but managed to get things figured out. He had to grab another one of those concrete stones to place under the rain barrel in order to raise it to a proper height for the new diverter to work. When we first moved into this home there was a fire pit in the back corner of the yard, which was surrounded by rectangular concrete stones. Not being the Kombya sort by sitting around a fire pit at night and singing old folk songs, we decided to dismantle the whole affair and retrieve the concrete slabs for whatever reason. These stones have since come in handy in a few projects and Nat has now used one behind the shed as a base for the wheelbarrow, one at the side of the house, again, for keeping stored items from sitting in possible mud, and a couple of stones as a raised base for the rain barrel. With the new diverter up and running we headed into St. Catharines right after lunch for my regular check-up at the Hotel Dieu. A good report by the Doc was most welcomed and we were out of there within 30 minutes.

Friday morning we ran a couple of errands. Bell Canada had finally sent us the refund we were owed ($20.46) and we headed into Fort Erie to make that deposit, along with returning the old diverter to Canadian Tire and then picking up our Trip Tik from the CAA for September. We’ve decided to head down to Corning, New York for a couple of days just to have a break and decided to have CAA do us a Trip Tik for reassurance reasons. Google Maps isn’t bad, but at our age extra reassurance is sometimes needed, and besides, it was free. As the day wore on, the heat was getting heavier. I stayed indoors and got a head start on the housework, while Nat watered the plants and added a mesh to the eavestrough around the new diverter to prevent leaves from blocking up the works and thereby rendering the whole process useless. As usual, he found more work than he had originally anticipated and ended up vacuuming and washing down the front of the house. We’ve had an especially bad year for spiders at the front of the house and Nat was anxious to get the webs and other bugs caught in such webs, cleaned up.

Once the housework was partially done – I decided to split things up over a couple of days because of the heat – I took some time out to do a little research on window shades for cars or vans. Ever since my transplant I’ve been exceptionally sensitive to the sun and, naturally, it’s always “my” side that gets the direct sun whenever Nat and I are driving around. At one point I took the time and purchased one of those “roller blinds” for cars and gave that a try. After licking the little suction cups on the damn thing and trying to get it to stick to the window, there were times that it would pop off and fall onto my lap or down the side of the door. Once I managed to get the blind to actually stick, I’d pull the shade down only to find that the placement was wrong. The sun would peak over the top or along the sides. With much todo, I tried placing the blind in various spots, but the sun somehow knew what was going on and decided to change positions in the hot summer skies. There were even times when I’d finally get the blind placed right, despite the slant of the Van’s front window, when the sun would hide behind the clouds so I’d roll up the blind, only to have it snap off of the window and come flying back at me!! Geez, Louise, this is no longer funny. Naturally, the more frustrated I got, the madder I became and Nat would be trying his damndest to steer the Van down the highway while his whacky wife was fighting a roller blind beside him!!! It was maddening to say the least and that bloody little roller blind now sits on the Van’s floor gathering dust. My Googling fingers went to work and it wasn’t long before I came upon a really neat and ingenious idea. It’s called Up-Shade and there’s even installation instructions posted on You Tube. After checking the web site out and watching the video, I called for Nat to get his opinion. This was a mesh product that fitted within the car window itself and was shaped so as to allow driver and passenger to see the outside mirrors while at the same time being shaded from the sun’s harsh rays. You could virtually buy a shade for each window – irregular for the two front windows and square for the two back windows. Plus, they come two to a pack!! There’s also a video on You Tube where one of the developers demonstrates how easy it is to go through a drive-in with the Up-Shade installed. Honestly, this thing is ingenious and looks exactly like the answer I’m looking for. Wasn’t too much wrong with the whole idea, except would it fit a “Van” window. The sizes carried stated they would fit a small to mid-size car, truck or SUV, and that they were working on newer sizes that would be available mid-September. After Nat measured the Van’s window, I contacted Up-Shade asking if they shipped to Canada (they’re based in Arizona) and if their new sizes would fit a Chevy Uplander. With no word of a lie, I received a reply within minutes. Yes, they ship to Canada, they said and they would email us in September when the new sizes were available and yes, the new sizes would, in fact, fit our Van. I was impressed!! Now, we’ll wait and see what happens in September and will most likely have a new shade for the Van by the time the snow flies!!!! Oh well, there’s always snow glare!!

What Were We Thinking!

For the longest time, Nat and I have been wanting to visit the big new Rona store in Welland. Today was the day. We had decided last night to take a drive in the morning and go check it out.

As usual, not knowing exactly where the store was, we did advance research. I went online to their web site, found the “Welland” store and made note of the address. I then did a search on Google Maps for directions and printed them out. Looked easy, I thought. Yes, we also have a GPS unit and would use that as our main locator. The Google Map would be the extra guide, just in case. Welland is very unfamiliar to us and we wanted to be sure.

We were up and ready and out the door by 9:30 this morning. Naturally, the address we wanted wasn’t available on the GPS unit yet, but the address that came up seemed close enough; we’d be in the area and would be able to find the store no prob!!! Yeah, right!!!! Getting to Welland was a breeze, but finding the store was a whole other matter. We followed the GPS to the exact spot where it told us to go on Rice Road – thinking that the store would be just down the road. However, we were now in Fonthill – albeit the “Rice Road” end of town!! With well thought-out reasoning, we concluded, we were in the wrong spot, that we missed something along the way, so decided to head back into Welland and start over. Made sense, right? Wrong!!

We arrived back in Welland and this time decided to drive down the opposite half of Rice Road from whence we had just come. Wrong again! Rice Road ended and Prince Charles Drive began and still no sighting of a Rona store. We were now totally confused. A whole lot of good the GPS unit was doing us!! Plus the Google Map was just as wrong! We came to the brilliant conclusion to ask for directions at the corner shop just across the street. What were the odds we picked a clerk that wasn’t from Welland and had no idea where Rona was. How nice!! All of a sudden a jeep pulled up beside us in the parking lot. With more well thought-out reasoning we’d ask him for directions. As luck would have it, he and Nat recognized each other – GM workers – again, what are the odds?? He started to laugh once we asked “where’s the new Rona store?“. “It hasn’t been built yet!!“, he chuckled! Adding “it’s going out by the big new Wal-Mart, but you can go over there if you’d like“.  Funny!! GM humour I guess!!!

By now we were pissed off at ourselves for our stupidity, waste of gas and time. But we both could have sworn there was a new Rona in Welland. Where did we get that information, who told us, or was it just our imaginations and a rumour or two that we misunderstood. There is a new one coming – it’s just not there yet!! The store locator on the Rona web site was for a small local hardware store that Rona had taken over a few years back. What were we thinking!!! What the hell, let’s just go home – it’s close to lunch time!!  Not to be dismissed, Nat had another good thought. As we were approaching “Nigh’s Sweet Shop” in Stevensville, he asked “wanna go in?“. “You have to ask“, I replied!!! Having had a crappy morning and never having been in this well-renowned shop, we felt we at least deserved a good treat. We were pleasantly surprised and fully enveloped by the wonderful smell of chocolate, along with a wonderful array of boxed sets all ready for Easter and any other occasion you could dream up. My God, so much to choose from, so little money?? We managed to put together a little “12 pack” and with some more laughter headed home to eat and stay put for the rest of the day!!!

On a more productive note, the conversion of the record albums is going better than expected. I test drove one of the CDs that were completed while driving into Niagara Falls the other day, and man or man, I was greatly surprised at the quality and sound, plus the fact that it played in the Van’s CD player. I’ve now completed 30 transfers and only have around 150 more albums to go, I can then hit on our tape cassettes and 45’s. What the hell, at least this major project is now started and I’m getting reacquainted with some pretty good old and golden goodies! After today’s outing I’m starting to feel like an old and golden goody myself. Wrap me in a dust jacket and put me back on the shelf!