Western education 2013

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

.... helping hand

...... I am tired in a bone weary way this week but I know that I have to keep moving and keep the focus on getting my strength back..... and then the insurance agent calls this week to ask 'so how are we feeling today?' Not sure about the 'we' part - he sounded chipper and me, I had to grab a piece of paper to write down his name because no matter how many times he repeated it... it would not stick. Imagine if you will walking through a desert feeling extremely thirsty, hot and weary... you look up and see a shadow following you and you realize it is a vulture just waiting for you to drop.... not a comforting feeling. I am polite and informative but am tired of answering the same questions every single time.... yes, I have chemo every three weeks.... blah, blah, blah. He indicates that they are still working on my submission and did I submit my paperwork? Yes, 3 weeks ago - oh, well we still have not confirmed your Long-term disability...... this, even after I have been assured by someone else that everything is in order - I do not mention this to him and let him have his say before politely saying goodbye. I just want to scream!!!!!!! It should be the last worry in my day but instead I feel like I want to strangle the 25 year old on the other end who is oblivious to the fact that I am already worried about my health..... and should I really worry now about paying my bills too? I have now worked supporting myself and then a family for the past 28 years with no claim!!!! I feel like a beggar.

Tuesday 24th November
My new neighbor is knocking on my door at 9:30 and luckily I am dressed for the day... he excuses himself because he does not want to bother me but he is obviously upset as he quickly explains that his trip to a local utility company has been fruitless.... and expensive as he is out of pocket for the cab fair. The guard at the inquiry desk merely cut him off and pointed to the phone bank indicating that it was not his job to help despite the fact that this elderly man had difficulty reading the form. After almost 45 minutes my neighbor gave up trying and made his way to my house. He needs help filling out the application and is fearful that his utilities will be cut off as it has been outlined in the letter he has in his hands. I sit down with him and need to put on my reading glasses - the printing is so small and the room to write is even smaller. I fill out all the papers and then photocopy his identification. I have Art Therapy in an hour and offer to take him back to the utility company and help him out - no worries, it is on my way to Wellspring. The guard had been extremely rude to him and I wondered if it might have been because of his thick accent..... until I had to deal with him and found myself on the receiving end of not only being cut off in mid-sentence but being patronized.... if it is one thing I cannot stand - a rude patronizing kid wearing a uniform. I gave him my 'mom' look and point blank told him to never patronize me again....... he immediately got up and couldn't get to the photo copier fast enough with the ID from my neighbor. 'Too late, got that one covered, just answer one question - who would ever think it was OK to not assist someone who is clearly sight impaired?' I used one of the phones on the phone bank and called an assistant who indicated that even though they are not supposed to assist that they would come downstairs and help my elderly neighbor to make sure his papers were in order. The lady was delightful and was very kind to him and I thanked her profusely. On our way out, I promised my new friend that I would make sure that I would call the young man's boss and the company who hired him to represent them in the lobby - and I did. Being human is everyone's job - paid or not!!!! I dropped my very grateful elderly passenger off at City Hall to get his taxes in order and waved goodbye... I was on my way to Art Therapy.

I was so excited to see the girls and they were happy to see me. We chatted and made our crafts. Bev is so delightful and her fantastic smile is like sunshine on a cloudy day. She thanks me for being so nice to her and making her feel welcome.... she does not have cancer but she lost her husband this summer to pancreatic cancer... she said that in her first class with us I had told her that it didn't matter that she did not have cancer and that she was one of us anyway. We hugged after class and she promised to bring in a few bags for me to see that she had made to keep herself busy but did not know what to do with them. Kim has also opened up and shares - she is always so reserved but she shared a wonderful story after I told everyone about my supper club.......

..... Kim's sister also has cancer and after a recent surgery, the two decided to head out on a vacation but Kim could only afford regular class and her sister had a first class seat. Her sister did not want to sit apart during the flight and so she decided to offer her seat to one of two passengers that was sitting with Kim. The first one showed up and appeared to be relatively nice so the ladies approached him with an offer to trade seats... he was hesitant and couldn't believe that she would trade her seat but after convincing him that there was no catch - he gratefully accepted and so the ladies were able to sit together. He waited for them on disembarking and thanked them profusely for such a generous offer.... something that he will likely never forget.... and something he will likely pay forward. The other passenger in their row turned out to be a grump which made the ladies quite relieved that likely Karma had brought the right one to them first.

Wednesday 25th November

..... so tired today.... dragging my butt out of bed after a restless night. The remaining hair on my head (crown) has become stiff and prickles when I lay down. I shave the rest of it off with a brand new 4 blade razor - I am not supposed to but I will need my rest. I have a few errands before my next chemo and have decided to do one a day so that I do not stress myself out. Today I go to Alicia's Deli to purchase our traditional Christmas treats. I will not be baking this year... too tired. We celebrate a special Dutch/German tradition on the 5th of December - it is St Nicholas and Black Pete's visit. The children put out their shoes on the night of the 5th and will get surprised in the morning. This year I will not be well enough to really participate as it is 48 hours after my Chemo. Max will be helping and is relieved the purchases will be ready for him.

Today I meet up with Thomas - he is trimming my wig and pulling the wow in the front bang down.... it is so long that he has to jack the chair up and sit on a low stool to trim the bottom properly :) It looks lovely but now we have to test drive it and so we head out to his favorite coffee shop. I seem to be the only one consciously aware that I am wearing a wig. To be honest - as much as I like the wig.... I really prefer the hats or headgear. Thank you so much my dear friend for being there and navigating me through unfamiliar waters. Love you!! xox

I have finally finished making Max's birthday present - he collects Santas and this year I have hand made one from a pattern I purchased from Fabric Land last year but found a few weeks ago. I am proud of the finished product which has taken me days to complete. I know he will appreciate the time and effort.

Tonight I am exhausted and find sleep evasive but will try anyway.....

Thursday 26th November
I do not quite make it up in time to see the kids off to school and I struggle to get out of bed.... I need to go to Yoga this morning. The sun always comes out on Yoga day and with it brings a smile to my face. I pull on my Yoga pants and tug a knit cap over my smooth scalp after putting some make-up on. Without the make-up you can see the eyes have hollowed and dark rings have formed beneath. I look at my reflection and when I am happy with what I see I head out - class starts at 10 am. It is so much fun seeing all the Ladies I missed last week..... interesting about a yoga class for cancer patients... you never know who will be there and who will miss because of appointments. I say hello to now familiar faces and grab a tea after with the volunteer and a few of the ladies who have a little extra time. We talk about naturopath products and I will head over to the Quarter Masters on my way home. I will also pick up some groceries for dinner. I am getting good at traversing through a store and directly to the items I need with little contact from the public - I am at a low point in my immunity and do not want to take risks.

I step into Quarter Masters and the ladies there are helpful and very supportive when I tell them what I need and for what. They show empathy and concern - they are surprised at my smiling face and my happy demeanor.... life is good for me and I am grateful for everything I have - no time for frowning or pity here!! The ladies wish me well as I thank them and head out the door. I will head off home and meet with my lunch visitor Sandra M. who has been staying away until she feels better. What a great visit - I miss her soooooooo much. The phone rings and William's school has called to say that he has accidentally been struck in the teeth by an overly excited rally goer at one of their home games. I call the dentist office and yes, they will take us in 45 minutes to inspect the injury. I walk Sandra out and hugs in the driveway as we are both heading down the road - her to work and me to Saunders. We are a little early so we drop in to a Tim Horton's and grab a coffee..... William is sensitive to others staring at me and as we leave he mentions this and then I laugh when I mention that I have yet to change out of my yoga pants!! I also had to smile because the only other person standing in line had a few groceries she was juggling trying to find her pocket change when a patron enjoying a coffee went out to his car to grab her some bags. I told him that he was super sweet and he smiled shyly back at me. Random acts of kindness!! By now I am completely exhausted and just want to lay down but we manage to get to Dr. Spagnuolo's office where all the girls come out to see me and to tell me how glad they are that I seem to being doing well. They are all just so wonderful and we chat while Will gets X-rays and examined. We will have to go back in three weeks to make sure that there is no permanent damage but for now he must wear his retained 24/7. Thanks for the well wishes...... I am so tired that I just want to lay down. It has been only 6 hours since I started my day and I am done!!! Time for home and a serious lay down before dinner needs to be cooked.

I am grateful for my in-laws getting home safely from their trip to Guatemala but am sad that they are not feeling well enough to come to Max's birthday celebration on Saturday.... it will be a quiet affair this year. I am grateful for the kindness of others and the wonderful stories they have shared about random acts of kindness. I am grateful for those that commit random acts of kindness towards strangers in a bid to make their lives better. I am grateful for the ladies in my Yoga and Art Therapy who make me laugh and share their lives with me. To my friends in the States - Wishing you a very safe and happy Thanksgiving holiday and may your Black Friday bring you wonderful surprises at the malls :). xox

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