Monday, August 31, 2009
.... emotional fallout
.... when others see you as indestructible and strong, it is sometimes difficult to notice that the ones that count the most and who count on you the most are suddenly thrown out of whack when you are not on top of your game....
This second surgery has definitely taken the wind out of my sails. I knew what to expect but was still surprised at how it zapped my energy and left me feeling like I was incapable of more than just laying around - something I do not do well at all. By Thursday, I had felt completely drained and without enough energy to even come downstairs for more that a few minutes to eat and then back up to bed..... I wasn't sure that I would make it to my boss's retirement party on Friday but knew that I needed to go to show the kind of support he had shown me my whole career there. It was unfortunate that I ended up leaving on illness before he finished his contract. Annarita came on Thursday night and we made arrangements to have her come and pick me up for Friday afternoon.
It was wonderful seeing all the retirees come out to wish Jim well in his retirement - hard to believe that he started his career there in 1971... I think I was in grade 2 back then. It's so hard to believe how fast the time has gone since I started there in 1993. Amazing what can be accomplished in a few 'short' years. Smiles, waves and hugs from those around me that had not seen me since I had left. A few tears from someone whom I have not always gotten along with but whom I respect for his work ethic and abilities - we have always been up front with each other and the respect is mutual. I hug him and assure him that it is alright and I thank him. I am now leaning on the upper railing and I suddenly feel myself start to slip and Annarita is there by my side - my head is swimming and I feel like I am going to pass out as I begin to shake. She takes me over to the stairs where I plunk myself down and brace myself against the cool stone of the railings. I am excited to see some of the people I have not seen in a while and there are waves and smiles back. I really miss this place and as I look over to Jim - I know he will too. Min is standing along the railing in front of me and she turns to say Hi - Wow, she looks fantastic!! I can remember her first week of work at the station and how I liked her quick laugh and her candidness - I smile up at her and we give a quick hug. Mary comes up next and I smile up at her - thank you for being so wonderful. I am getting emotional and fight off the tears I know that are brimming. I am humbled by the care and concern of those around me. Mary hugs me and is off. The speeches are still going on and I gaze over the crowd and catch a little wave from Cal who is standing near the front doors. He has a huge grin and nods to me when I acknowledge the wave. I miss you!!
The speeches are over and Steve has offered Kip a memento of his early years as a tech - a 2" cart cassette... just a few years before I began there.... grins all around as the retirees remember the old equipment that they knew so well. Another well appreciated gift from the station, a seasoned bottle of scotch that he will savour in the comfort of his home later. I remember years gone by when a retirement celebration involved alcohol and dinner.... that comes later when we will have a gathering with the Engineers. I will miss our chats and the sage advice that has come from his office all these years. I have learned much and have grown up in this place with his guidance. I will miss you.
Speaking of engineers - they usually gather in a tight group and I find them in front of the receptionist's desk. Smiles and hugs greet me as I say hello to each one of my co-workers. I would love to be at work, back to my life but for now I have to be OK with being where I am but it is so hard. I am looking forward to planning our annual engineering dinner but know that I won't have many work related stories to tell this year... thank goodness the focus will be on Kip! These guys have all been hugely supportive of me - thank you so much.
There is now lots of mingling and the retirees are coming over to say hello and to offer hugs. Annarita is at my elbow and is key is preventing Doug from squeezing me - he has the most incredible grip and I didn't have the heart to tell him at our early summer BBQ that I felt the last one right through the lump and into my spine but now with a recent surgery and a discretely hidden drain, she immediately warns him from hugging me. He does not know and when told, he is shocked. We get to hug anyway and he is gentle. I miss his sense of humor and his almost daily hugs before his retirement. Now he has some great stories and really knows how to tell them - I could listen to him for hours. Jack is looking tired and has his own news and we chat quietly together... he left before I started there but over the years he has had many occasions to come and meet with me - his passion is electronics and tinkering and it is something we both love. Before I had left for sick leave, he had called looking for a part..... We hug each other gently... I have always liked Jack and admired his work behind the lens - one of the first in London and he has some pretty great stories too. There is a lot of value in our elderly and you come to appreciate who they are in the short time that we are all here. Another hug and there are others to chat with. Don G. who is always snapping candid shots of people he knows all too well. He is a walking social committee and due to his diligence and love for others... he has kept in touch with everyone on a regular lunch routine for the retirees and was our go to guy in June for the BBQ invites along with Lynn who is still with us at the station and whose dedication to everyone is a testament as to why it is so great to work there. It is just a building until you fill it with people.... Don comes over and we hug - he knows and is supportive. His face is etched in the experience of time and his twinkling blue eyes are inviting to all whom he chats with this afternoon. His smile says it all and I smile back. Another hug and the shutterbug is off. Duane is there with a quick hug and hello.... he is on the clock and has come to say his bit before heading off down the hall. There is a birthday cake announcement for Sandra and would I like to go... I will come down soon. Deb W. comes to say hi... you can find me quite often chatting with the girls in the accounting office. I miss you girls!!
Helen has finally snaked her way over to where I am sitting in the lower lobby - I am still chatting with Jennifer when she sits beside me. Helen is a survivor and knows through Kelly O. that I am going through the beginnings of a journey she knows only too well. We are joined by Keri who smiles and says hello silently. It is nice chatting with her and getting to know the person that I knew so little about when she worked at the station. Intelligent and introspective would be two adjectives to describe a woman who is able to see her journey for what it is and to laugh at the crazy things along the way. We talk for a while and she listens intently - there is an event they are hosting at the Landon Library in September and she would like to invite me out. I would like to go and will find out more details in the form of a poster she will be hanging in Kelly's ice cream shop. Hugs and she is ready to go. See you soon Helen. Keri smiles at me and I smile back. She gives me a hug and lets me know she is thinking of me - thank you for being there for me and for always offering support - especially now. It means a lot. I am now off with Annarita to the newsroom to say hello to Sandra.
Mandi is in her office when we walk past and I wave - I have stayed too long and I am feeling the fatigue pulling at my every cell. Love you girl!! See you soon. We head into the newsroom and easily find Sandra - just follow Kim's laugh. :D I miss you girls in editing sooooooo much!! Hugs to Sandra who is offering me her last birthday cupcake. No thanks.... my stomach is so queasy and my head is spinning so bad that my escape comes quickly after. Annarita is guiding me back to the car. She takes me home and I am grateful for her kindness and years of friendship. Hugs and kisses - love you girl and I will see you soon!!
This is the day that is filled with a family visit from the inlaws!! Mom, Dad, Martin, Bronwynn, Uncle Paul (who is staying with us), Debbie, Brooke and Ethan are here for supper and a swim in a now very cold pool... the weather has dropped the temperature by almost 10 degrees over the past few days of incredibly cold nights. The kids do not seem to mind as they run in and out of the water with their water guns and floaties. I have an excuse - my drain is still in and causing discomfort when sleeping last night. I was up at 3 am because it was full and found instant relief when I emptied it into the measuring cup they had given me in the kit from the hospital trip and marked down the amount on a sheet of paper. The last time I saw a nurse was on Thursday but she did call this morning. She informs me that she will come and see me for sure on Monday. I am cold and tired as I sit around the firepit in the back corner of our yard. Max is lighting a fire and I ask him not to. No matter, the guys set up the fire on top of the old soaking wet wood and voila, instant smoke. I am now reeling and feeling sick to my stomach and too ticked to say anything so I leave to go lay down for a few minutes. A few minutes turned into an hour nap and I woke up feeling groggy but way better. Something is burning!! I make my way downstairs to find the lasagna is ready but what is burning is the overflow of sauce onto the cookie sheets. Supper is delicious and my energy level comes up and the evening is filled with laughter and great conversation. The time has gone so fast and we are once again in the driveway waving good bye and blowing kisses to the kids. They have grown so much!! Hope to see you all soon!! Thanks Deb for coming down - it is a long drive for you and the kids. xoxoxox
I make my way down to the grocery store in the mall and pick up items for breakfast. It is not a lot of weight - I am still on restrictions. Just this simple task has exhausted me. I was up until 2:30 am. Another crises with William. He is disappointed with his Father showing little interest in him (lives in Chatham area), a mother who is sick and a case of raging hormones. William loves Max but even this gets strained with all that he is dealing with and he leaves home in the early hours of the morning. I have called the police and the wonderful constables that arrive within minutes understand quickly that it is a case of an emotional crisis. They bring William home from where he has been waiting on his girlfriend's porch and watch as the returned son apologizes and hugs his mom and the tears she has for having worried about him. As much as you think that all is going reasonably well.... there is alway a reminder that we are all just human.
This is a quiet day... coloring with Lydia in bed... I have not regained my energy and that is so not like me. I find myself sleeping quite a bit and just manage to do some crosswords in the evening. It has been a long day.
I am feeling more myself today after an 8 hour uninterrupted sleep!!! I go to the Credit Union which is the first time I have driven in a week - I am exhilarated by the independence and the sun beating down on my face. The drain is still attached to me and I have emptied it this morning at 9:30 but have not heard from the nurse yet. I have waited all morning and have decided to get on with my day. The shirt I am wearing is a little tight and not too discrete about the package tucked in to my left side. The breast cancer logos on the strap holding the drain's pouch up is visible to the outside world and although I am aware of it I am getting on with my day regardless. I have successfully taken out all my savings for the summer mad fund which would have been a weekend trip somewhere but is now going to be used to pay the plumber and get school stuff. I drop by the station to sign Andy Mendham's retirement frame and to drop off some money to Scott L. for a drink on me. I have learned not to commit myself to anything these days, unless I am there already!! I wish he has a long and healthy retirement filled with lots of Grand Babies and wonderful memories - you have certainly earned it my friend.
I have a little extra money in my pocket and I call Uncle Paul to let him know that I am taking the gang out to lunch. Will has decided not to come but the rest pile into the car and it is off to the Covent Garden Market and Chauncey's for a wonderful lunch. There are too many wasps on the patio so we are eating in the near empty dinning room. I get a call at 1:30 from the nurse and she wants to know if I am at home and since I am not... she will call me tomorrow. It has now been 4 days since I have had anyone but my husband check my bandages. I am emptying my own drain every 24 hours and I am asking her to come tomorrow to pull it out. We'll see about that she says as she signs off. Wonder if she is getting paid for this patient's care today? Moving right along - it is now off to Thames Park where Lydia and Mitchel play in the playground. Although it is cool, the sun is warm on our backs and the sound of the splash park finally lures Lydia over. She loves water and I finally convince her to play in her shirt and underwear. This way at least she has one dry piece of clothing to go home in and with no towel... we will find a way to make her comfortable. It comes in the form of an electric hand dryer in the adjacent washroom. In 10 minutes, she is dry and very happy - she hugs me as she dances out of the washroom. Thank you mommy this was the best day ever. It is now off to the ice cream shop where the best day ever ended in a wasp sting to the lip. A quick exit without even a good bye to Kelly to head home to the medicine cabinet for the Benedryl and some pain medication. I really should carry these things in my purse... note to self.
The rest of the day is uneventful and Lydia and I play a board game out in the Gazebo. We are playing a lot of board games these days - they were always fun times for me when I was a kid....
I am missing my other life but have found a renewed interest in crossword puzzles, games and coloring.... I have also discovered that everyone around me has a story and their own journey and as Helen so eloquently put it - you are somehow nicer to people because you take the time to acknowledge that although you do not know them, you do not know what they have been through or are going through. I wholeheartedly agree and I hope that when this journey is over that I will always bear that in mind. Remembering other people's life moments such as birthdays or accomplishments makes them feel important and really in life.... isn't that how we all want to feel? I know that I will not be the same person I was going down this path but something tells me I will be better not just physically but mentally too!! Thanks to everyone who waved, hugged or said Hi to me along the way and especially those that understood their kind gestures have helped make this journey palatable. xoxoxoxoxox
Tonya and Annita will be visiting with us later this morning and I am looking forward to the company.... it has been a long time. She is going through the journey of job displacement and now finds her very busy work schedule come to an abrupt halt - we should have a lot to talk about :)