Trying to keep busy today so as not to remind myself that I'm not travelling in to work for my next rotation. Having been off the summer is not so unusual, as I've made that my habit as a casual to take the summer off. I managed last summer (even though job sharing) with time off for the daughter's wedding to again be out from May - September. So I'm four for four since starting this gig in 2012. But after having June/July off for post op recovery, today would have been the second day of my commute, were I not having treatments. At the time I type this…I would be landing in Inuvik, scrambling to drag my stacks of luggage to the Aklak Air counter and trotting out to the Beechcraft 1900 for the flight to Banksland. But….those plans are all waiting for 2017 now. I've just read a post from a RCMP couple attempting to get out on vacation stating the flight in to Sachs Harbour is cancelled today due to freezing rain…...somewhere. So, I'd have been stuck at some point along the way (likely Inuvik) with my perishables, something that has yet to happen to me in my interactions with the weather gods.
Since my current social life is focused around the healthcare system, you might think this will be a list of appointments or interactions but….. one must have small pleasures. I learned this about 15 years ago when I was employed in a provincial job where I worked from a home office and visited employees in their homes for insurance case management, I could find every craft shop, Frenchy's, farm market and local winery near my intended appointment and would reward myself accordingly. If I arrived early (not usually the case) after having miscalculated the distance or traffic I would check in for an overview to see if the locale rated a post appointment return. Usually the routine was to focus on work (which could be pretty intense as the employees were applying for disability benefits / being eased back to work) and I'd amuse myself with a little recreation following. Have some nice souvenirs from those days…..Cheticamp hooked rug coasters for example. But I digress….
On Thursday the early morning routine of blood draw was augmented by the accompaniment of the eldest daughter who was having routine fasting blood work done too. She's not a fan of this activity (not that anyone is, but she carries a large portion of her father's genetic code in that respect) and we had to enter the fray of earlier blood collection due to the skipping breakfast. I manage to avoid the rush by only have haematology measured (white count - immunity / Hgb) which doesn't require fasting. We stopped later at the local provincial park and I took a shower - bit nippy in the early morning of the concrete shower building. While about half way home I answered the phone (yes on handsfree) and the chemo nurse was advising my results were fine for the next day's treatment. For anyone tempted to accuse the healthcare system of dysfunction (and there are multiple opportunities) this is not one of them. I had my blood drawn at in a small community hospital about three hours drive from the city at 9:30 am, tests were run, reports generated and faxed (rural / urban run two different reporting systems so results can't be accessed digitally) to the tertiary cancer centre which the oncology nurse retrieved, reviewed and called me at 10:20 am to share. Hadn't even made it home yet from the lab, I told the nurse and we chuckled.
By noon the shore captain arrived and we gathered ourselves, our things and headed towards the city. We stopped at the baby daughter's place, moved into in March which I hadn't seen yet outside the city and then a further stop to drop off halibut cheeks to muscle shirt man (don't ask) which is becoming a habit when we head in that direction. A rush hour drive across the city / bridge to the new parents and our granddaughter. Lots of fun to take turns snuggling with her - give me that baby! The life partner and his assistant eldest daughter made a run for wine and take out pizza at Piez Bistro which I recommend:
|hats and more hats|
We left our laundry with the daughters to do (now there's a switch….parents taking laundry home to their kids) and headed across the harbour to the hotel we'd booked for the night. Unfortunately with the insomnia of steroids (me) and snoring (he) I slept no more than if I walked the floor with a newborn. Enjoyed breakfast with the bus tour which had stayed as well. To each their own, but bus tours are definitely not on our travel bucket list…..just sayin. Over to the oncology clinic appointment where things are confirmed to be going well, up to the chemo floor and a two hour wait for the medication to arrive. How ridiculous! A 10 am appointment and the meds come up from pharmacy at noon. The nurses explained that pharmacy is understaffed, they are not covered there for their breaks and are not allowed to work overtime, so everyone waits for hours and the nurses (who don't want to) have to work overtime to get the treatments done. How annoying and unnecessary when the prescription is the same and could be done the week before. I made sure to share my thoughts on the patient satisfaction survey I received this week in the mail. On a positive note, only one try for the IV and the meds ran smoothly. The life partner exited to visit with his granddaughter, retrieve the daughter, laundry and run some errands and returned as my IV was being removed.
We stopped at Pete's Frootique, a small independent market which has been purchased by a large grocery chain and although it's still good, there are signs of change. We picked up some gourmet treats, fruits and veggies and headed out of the downtown core. We convinced our chauffeur to stop at Michael's (crafts) for ergonomic crochet hooks and yarn (essentials of life) and browsed the aisles. Really pushing it, we further convinced our driver to stop at Chapters (bribed him with a Starbucks coffee) and I used my Plum points to pick up a discounted copy of a Winston Churchill biography. Crocheted my way home as I congratulated myself for the ergo purchase. Have decided to do hats for a mission which supports the homeless who can sure use a warm hat in the cold so a routine project which doesn't take much attention:
Although it rained (yeah for the water table) on the way home Friday evening, meaning we are able to have brief, very brief showers, the weather has certainly changed to autumn and it is quite chilly especially early morning and late evening. I am minding the cool breeze on my fuzz covered head and am switching from the cooler summer hats (to protect from sunburn) to the warmer crocheted versions. My wig is cool and comfortable as ventilated but the wind does blow through it. I didn't realize what an insulator hair was until it's disappeared. But as my son said….you've still got as much hair as Dad and a lot better chance of growing it back than he does at this point.
In addition to my craft purchases we checked the post office box and found the Mary Maxim parcel had arrived. I had ordered a baby afghan kit for a daughter of one the shore captain's employees (childhood friend of our daughter as well), she is expecting a baby girl in a few weeks so I best get my act together. The project is small (should've read the specifications) but will work to put over a car seat. It is also optimistic to call it intermediate level. I spent the first evening getting the pattern straight in my head, ripping it out (sometimes called frogging) and replacing it until about 1 am, finally accomplishing about four rows without too many (noticeable) errors. It is a unique pattern/shade and she will appreciate it. so I am soldiering on. And the positive of staying up late is that you're tried enough to sleep.
Slept until 10 am on Saturday and then puttered until those gainfully employed arrived home to ready for a memorial service for the husband of the plant's long term secretary. This created a flurry of finding dress clothes not recently worn, the lint brush for cat fur embellishments and showers measured in minutes. As we headed out to the vehicle our daughter discovered that Squeakers (indoor kitty on a harness) had escaped her leash and was no where to be found. Too late now, gotta go. We returned home after the service and reception to do a feline search and eventually she was located yowling in the top of a 30 ft. spruce tree swaying in the wind on the edge of our property. The shore captain headed in to the house changing from his funeral clothes, making bold pronouncements about how many trees he'd climbed in his lifetime. Meanwhile, the youngest daughter (aka cat whisper - half her father's weight and 33 years younger) had arrived for supper, shimmied up the trunk and convinced Squeakers to come down with her. We were impressed at the kitty's cooperation and nonviolence in the retrieval, thus the only scratches were from limbs. Perhaps she was in shock as she was not herself until today, or maybe distressed about all the balsam as she's quite fastidious.
Sunday we started our day off with the monthly local Fire Dept. breakfast which we haven't attended for years, as Sunday has become a day to pack / ship fish for the transport to the USA. Our daughter and neighbour walked both ways to burn off the generous meal and we all enjoyed a visit with community members we haven't seen for a while, catching up on the local news. The remainder of the day unfolded the way that a weekend should with books, naps, crafts and general relaxing.
So today has been (as predicted by oncology) the delayed day 4 - 7 set of classic side effects from treatment on Friday. Last month I had attributed it to perhaps withdrawal of steroids but the prevailing opinion is that the aches, overwhelming fatigue and general feeling of having been beaten with a log is due to the chemo. Oh well, at least I know what it is and it will be improving by tomorrow. And….Friday is the halfway point in the cycles.