People have asked or phoned or e-mailed the last few days to ask about what is going on here, as I haven't been writing. Cousins have phoned and others asked yesterday. One request came from the Orkneys in Scotland, another from Scottish friends in Dawson Creek, and one from a place near the base camp under Mt. Everest where a good friend put up prayer flags for Duncan. She was on a hiking trek leaving her job teaching English in Hong Kong at a Christian School. I cherish prayers from anyone, anywhere. I am convinced that Our Lord honours all of our heart-felt requests.
I just have this habit of adding, "in Jesus' name, Amen" to mine.
I just have this habit of adding, "in Jesus' name, Amen" to mine.
I apologize for the passing of time since the last note. I have been busy just coping and attending to medical needs and visitors. So I will try to do a catch-up. If you know what is going on now, just delete this e-mail. That won't hurt my feelings.
Duncan stopped eating and lost a lot of weight very fast in mid-September. That is normal evidently. His codeine pills were not working well enough last weekend, and he was too weak to get himself out to the pickup to go to the planned doctor's appointment on Monday morning. So I took all my notes on the forms Home Care Nurse gave me to record medicine dosages, food intake, BM outtake etc. etc. etc. It was a terrible day last Monday doing that, as I ran into 3 bureaucracy glitches that wasted 3.5 hours of my day. I had to keep ducking out to go home to give Duncan the last of the codeine pills. Thank the Lord that we live in a small village so distances are walkable. It was also a 'hurry up and wait day' that I don't have time for anymore. I was panicking because I needed stronger meds for him for the coming night. The landlords, Jim and Martina, were listening for him with the nursery monitor their daughter-in-law lent to me. I got Oxycontin finally and they seem to be working fine. Also the Dr. wrote a prescription on the palliative # (so it is free) for a pill that works well to improve the appetites of cancer patients. It costs about $470 a month so I am glad it is free from this week on for him. He had stopped eating for 3 days and was disappearing fast. But in two days these pills perked him right up and he was asking for porridge and tapioca pudding with home-canned peaches, and even chicken soup. Yesterday he even ate a few slices of head cheese, although he said it was too spicy. That was always one of our favourite snacks when we were on the farm even after we stopped making it ourselves. We used to get a good supply of it for the trip home from shopping in town. Lawrence's Butcher Shop in Dawson Creek made one as good as homemade to buy before the hour drive, heading back to our Blueberry Mt. farm.
He has had some lovely visits with old friends. Ginter Grey came for a few hours last week. I didn't take a picture, darn it all anyhow. They had good chats with a few quiet times too during the visit. But it was amazing how alert he could be for old stories. Then on Sunday Cousin Bob Carson, arrived with a small water bucket filled with potted plants, and a box of KEY LIME TARTS. Yummy, but they are all gone now. He arrived in time to let me go to church as I hadn't been since the Sunday Auntie Donna was here. Our abbey is only 3 doors away.
Our Abbey greeter, Ken, was thrilled to meet Auntie Donna. He is very welcoming. John Gillis, Donna's son, who shocked me by turning 60 as he is still 15 inside my head, dropped her off for a lovely visit with us, while he ran off to judge a rodeo in Merritt. We had fun times with John though at each end of his judging weekend.
This week Duncan has had visits from his cousins from Lillooet, Sheila and Joan. The Bryson family settled there during/after the British Columbia Gold Rush era.
Cousin Rita from Kelowna was able to get off work and drive 3 hours to see him.That is me in the back. Neither of us like to have our pictures taken. But they talked us into it. Actually it was the other cousins, Joan and Sheila who talked us into staying still to pose.
Wonderful news today. An angel phoned to say her husband, who is very clever, would pick up our RV from Rocky Mt. House and deliver it to us after the Thanksgiving weekend. The angel is in the above picture at the back, Sheila. They are going over the Rocky Mountains to Thanksgiving dinner and a weekend with their son in Alberta and will come back via Rocky Mt House and pick the unit up and have a little adventure in a dirty RV. When it broke down at the beginning of Sept. our son's family had to leave fast so the tow truck could haul it away.Here is our grand-daughter and belongings on the side of the highway. Our son and his family took a taxi to the tune of $145. I just want it over the Rockies and home before the snows fly. What a sense of relief that will be. Neither of us realized how heavy worrying about the RV was on our shoulders at night, or during the day, until Sheila phoned with this offer to help. Praise the Lord for angels in the form of cousins. Other family members have been very generous too but I won't mention how as it might embarrass them. Then my brother, Art, says he will collect the RV from here and take it to his acreage in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island and work on selling it for me. I will never use it again without my trusty driver. That last sentence got me teary. I can drive it but choose not to any more.
Tonight Duncan is settled and breathing deeply. I can hear him in the monitor beside my computer. In the mid afternoon yesterday he had a shower and a shave as my brother, Art, and his wife Ingrid, were expected. I changed the sheets and put new flannels on his bed as it is getting colder in the nights here. The palliative room was freshened, floors washed and area tidied. He really doesn't like strong perfumes or aftershave....just a warning if you plan to visit. I need an 8-10 hour sleep. It won't happen soon. I do get two afternoons of respite a week though as a care worker comes to be here with him so I can meet friends for lunch and do shopping and banking. It is like having a new born as he needs meds every 4-6 hours in the night and day, and needs care and feeding. He can still get up to the loo and shower but doesn't want to, or even shave, very often.
Above is a shot of a camp at Barnes Lake where our grandchildren learned to shore-fish for trout. Duncan loves to watch "Indian TV" (nature and passing birds and beaver etc.) Germaine is teaching Eden how to cook on a campfire.
Below is a china urn that my sister, Linda is working on. She is an artist who started out doing bone china painting. She has a gallery. On the sides of the urn, we may put his saying, " I was born in Ashcroft" and on the other blank side, " I want to die in Ashcroft"
... " been a lot of places in between." and his dates will go wherever they will fit.
The visit to the funeral home to set things up was not as bad as I thought it would be. The new young owner, Shawn, is very comforting. He will walk me through all the paperwork. Still it was a shock to find out that just to take Duncan's body to the crematorium and return a cardboard box of ashes to me, is going to cost $2500. How do welfare people do that? I asked about internment in local cemeteries, and that is another $1500. So Duncan said, "Bullshit, throw my ashes in the river." But after discussion he wants them put beside his Uncle Duffy at West Pavilion at the little cemetery with pole fences around it. Rita says another option is that they can go on top of Pavilion Mt. at the Carson Cemetery. One of the grandmothers was a Carson. I will worry about that next spring.
Old Man Watching's brother Mack, and his wife Liz, stopped for visits on the way to Nelson and back. They stayed one night upstairs in the B/B as I was looking after it while the owners were on a wee holiday. He wrote a book about his/our ranching days. This is the view from the calving sheds at Empire Valley.
It is called 'A Cowboy's Life"
This is a little park a block from us. You can see that autumn is in the air although the days have been glorious. I wish I could get out more to go "walk-about". I hope you are having a more pleasant autumn with its seasonal delights than I am. However, I did get a 2 hour nap today after everybody left.