Saturday, July 31, 2021

A Lovely Dinner; Foot #3 Down!

I am now quite cured of seeking pleasure in society, be it country or town. A sensible man ought to find sufficient company unto himself. This is the sentiment of Emily Bronte; the quotation was sent to my by my friend, Beth, who knows who I am.

It reached 36° here yesterday afternoon. That’s how hot it was in the afternoon when Jay arrived at my place to pick me up to take us to Drumbeg for our picnic. Oh my goodness it was hot.

Frank, the charming chimney cleaner came, as promised, at 9:00 am. He discovered that there was no need to clean it, so I’m chuffed that I’m burning clean dry wood and that my chimney is very efficient and clean. He found the manufacturer’s plaque as well, something that had been sealed inside the installed firebox.  He’s returning to so some modest hacksawing to allow access to the plaque, thereby making my firebox ‘more legal.’

My plastic curtains are working extremely well. Not one bird has died on my property this year. I’m very, very pleased about that. The little darlings are my buddies. They bring my yard alive and I’m very grateful for them.

Last night was a treat. I bought us two small pizzas—excellently made by our best restaurant on Gabriola—and Jay picked them up and came to my house to get me. I had chairs and my picnic basket at the ready, and off we went to Drumbeg.  It was an extraordinary evening. We were in the shade on a hot, hot night, and lots of people (mature adults) were there to swim. Although there were several people, everyone was quiet and calm. It was truly a Summer night to remember.

Sheba is really pushing my buttons. She chewed one of her hind feet. Now she is wearing three socks and I’m reaching my ‘fed up’ point with her. I adore her. She’s my partner, but her condition is ruining her life and mine. I’ve got to get to Tuesday to see the vet, but I’m certain she needs to be on tranquilizers—at least for a while. I’m sick of this having to constantly monitor her. 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Heading to 36°

Sheba did not want to walk yesterday. She’d only get up to pee. She was in pain, and it hurt to see her feeling so poorly. Plus, it was just far too hot for both of us (32°). I spent the day watering—in fact, soaking—the gardens and reading a book I’m really enjoying called Parrot and Olivier in America by Peter Carey.

I won’t leave her right now. I stay home and inside all day with her. I keep socks on her two front paws, and I help her up and off the bed. I’m dying to do fun things with her. This is the weather we wait for all Winter. I want to go for picnics with her. I want to evening picnic with her at Drumbeg. But right now, I do as little as possible, and I constantly monitor her. She’s showing signs of going for a rear foot next.

I’m reacting as a parent of a child might: Did I do something wrong? How can I help her? What if the doctor wants to put her on mood-altering drugs? Who will she be? Can I do that?

I remain optimistic. The vet helps me as much as he helps Shebie. He helps me believe in picnics.

I’d go mad were it not for reading. 

Once, all my friends knew that I read non-fiction exclusively. Great non-fiction books (and I think my favourite writer was Simon Winchester) was heroin. I believed my passion for N-F was a pendulum swing away from my years-long studies in English Lit. Then, maybe ten or twelve years ago, it was back to fiction, but this time my passion has focused on contemporary N-F.

Books that truly fulfill me seem to do so my means of their style. It’s how they tell the story where I find the art. So, when great style meets great story, I’m shooting up several times a day or all day long.

I just finished a book called Cold Mountain. Great story; not particularly stylish. It’s very straight-forward in voice, but there’s a rich use of Western idiom and it’s a story sensually set that’s richly described. I enjoyed it in the same way I enjoyed the Hardy Boys as a teenager—as a comfortable Summer read.

And one of my favourite books of all time is Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stigner. I read it long ago; it was a major life event for me. Now, I can’t remember why but I won’t give away my copy and I intend to read it again.

Both Cold Mountain and Angle of Repose are set in the American west. Normally, the words, “American west,” make me immediately take a pass. Learned something from that!

And now I have my living space defined by my needs rather what works for guests. I call it my Covid design. I have my chaise longue parallel to, and right up against the front window. I get great light, I can wave at passers-by on the street, and I see all my living space but for my office, so reading there very comfortably lets me monitor Sheba all day and have a pretty good time. It’s not a time to be outdoors anyway.

I can hardly wait for Wednesday when it may rain. God, I hope it does! I doubt it will.

Today we’ve been warned that temperatures could reach 36°! I’ll be inside again, reading and supervising Her Highness. The chimneysweep comes this morning and then, this evening, Jay and I are taking a picnic to Drumbeg so that we can enjoy the evening by the sea and the cooling breeze it brings us.  

Thursday, July 29, 2021


It’s hot. Tomorrow’s going to be 34°! It hasn’t rained since mid-June. My trees are suffering. I strap sawed-off two-litre bottles to the trunks and fill them with water so that the water slowly seeps into the soil around the roots.

Sheba’s is now walking on the formerly grotesquely swollen foot because her other front foot is so sore from her own chewing of herself. I spent all morning in bed with her, ensuring there’s no self-harming.

Wednesday began with the horror of Sheba chewing a second paw raw. Now she has socks on two feet. I will stop at the vet today to tell them, and I’ll continue with the meds.

I was up at 4:30 yesterday, to get a lot of little errands done before, first, Jane and Dana’s visit and then dinner here with Leo, Merrill and Issa. I took the bed out of the van and set up the chairs for picking up J&D at the ferry, and I cleaned up the whole interior. I also watered the gardens and did some shopping. I was already in plenty of time for their visit.

J&D wrote to say they were catching the 10:40 ferry. Something made me look at the schedule where I discovered that there was no 10:40 ferry—just 9:25 or 11:55. So I wrote to them and they got the message nice and early and decided to aim for the 9:25 that got them here at 10:05, a lovely time of day to start our day together, before it gets too hot.

We came here and they had a coffee and we chatted for quite a while, then Jane and I went to Drumbeg for a walk. Dana stayed here with Sheba and then, when Jane and I got home, we had lunch. Then more chatter before I Zoomed with my respiration therapist (Asthma) before taking them to the ferry.

On the way home, I stopped at the vet and told Karen that Sheba went after her other foot, and I asked about the appropriateness of tranquilizers again. She’s going to have the doctor call me this morning.

Leo, Merrill and Issa arrived just after five and they brought dinner! I love these people. Our dinner was delicious, and we had a ball together.

Oh, for a good long heavy rain!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Are We Both Psychologically Impaired?

Well … my free hamper from the Welcome Wagon for the Elderly arrived. I now have a device for taking my blood pressure and pulse, and a breathing tool to help ensure that my lungs stay healthy. The lung thing is quite remarkable; it looks like a toy but is a hum dinger of a tool for encouraging me to take deep breaths. And stool softener and antacid tablets—all souvenirs from my visit to the hospital and their outpatient services.

I couldn’t shake the worry, so I took Sheba to the vet. She’s now on different antibiotics for five days and if, by Tuesday, her swelling is not gone, she’s having minor surgery on her foot. The vet thinks that there’s a foreign object embedded in her foot—likely Spear Grass. It’s a nasty weed that really victimizes local pets. As I was going in, a man with beautiful eyes was picking up his Pekinese, who had one grotesquely swollen eye, also a victim of spear grass.

I sat in bed with her all morning yesterday, and read, to keep her company—and to actively comfort her and ensure that she didn’t remove her sock and do more damage to her foot. It hurts to see her limping; I ache for her pain. But now we have a remedial action plan in place that gives me relief and confidence.

Morning Bulletin: I’m starting to doubt the embedded foreign object theory because, when I went to check on her this morning, I found she’s started feasting on her other front paw. It tells me there’s something emotional going on, not Spear Grass. But that’s just my gut feeling. I am going to tell the vet today.

It’s like they say on TV: Once a killer, always a killer.

I’m processing something the locum at our clinic said to me yesterday. One question on my list for her was this: What was that ‘code blue’ thing that happened to me? I told her the state I was in in the same way I’ve written here and told to everyone I know. I wanted to know what happened. I wanted a name it for friends who wanted to know what happened to me. She said it was a giant psychogenic seizure. She said it was an emotional overreaction to the shock of my experience and diagnosis.

I hear: I’m getting crazier and crazier, weirder and weirder.

But I wonder, is this true?

Could be true; on the other hand, it could be a biased diagnosis. They cause me emotional distress in a medical, pathological, environment. I’ve felt disenfranchised or ghettoized as a person with a neurological disorder. 

Regardless, I have a more complex mental diagnosis in my medical record now. 

Regardless, I have been told that my little seizures can become a monster that can get my blood pressure to 246 and paralyze me. 

Am I in a movie?

I lived with a mother that had my father beat me. I hated Dad by mistake. Mother couldn’t walk without assistance. She was the dying swan. I wasn’t terribly keen on her, either. And everything that happened all seemed to make me feel guilty. And then I saw, To Kill a Mocking Bird. Oh my God, I loved that movie.

Boo Radly is the crazy man who lives down the street from Atticus, where Scout is staying. Boo is a subplot of the story about a trial. A fabulous story that’s forever been inside me. Scout is the one character who knows there is a person inside Boo. She leaves him gifts as others mock Boo for his difference. Later in the story, Scout is attacked,  and Boo saves her.

I identified with Boo. I felt different and unwanted. I loved it when he became the hero. Seriously, it really got to me. I had no self-esteem at all, and it gave me hope. Now I feel like I have become Boo. I live in the shadow of my symptoms.

I thought my code blue was due to my heart. The high BP reinforced my belief. Now they say its psychogenic, and that means it could happen again. 

Unhappy camper.

Jane and Dana are coming to visit today. We’re going to have lunch on my deck, and then Merrill, Leo and Issa and coming over with dinner for us on my deck! What a dynamic day in Pinecone Park.

This is the kind of gate I want for the friendship
gate going between my yard and Leo's and 
Merrill' place next door.