Rhymes, Rants & Accolades from North Central BC

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THE SPANISH FLU – 1918(from my book”Common Threads” page 185)

[Note: the book is categorized as “Fictionalized Biography” but the following incident is from an interview I had with my uncle in 2007. His mother (my grandmother) had worked as a care aide at Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria where she contacted the disease] I never met my grandmother but I like this story!

“….For two and a half weeks Nell lay on a cot in the crowded Women’s Isolation Ward, not caring whether she lived or died. In all that time she only permitted liquids to pass between her swollen tongue and clenched teeth. Her body shrunk and she suffered from fever induced hallucinations- but no nosebleeds…[note apparently it seemed that: “patients with bleeding noses survived more often than those that did not” ]

“……. That evening [November 11th 1918] when the physicians made their rounds their voices were boisterous because of the alcoholic spirits they’d imbibed in celebration of War’s end…

“By the second week in November, hospital admissions with symptoms of influenza had decreased considerably. The larger number of beds now housed patients who were on their way to recovery. In Nell’s ward there remained only three women in a semi-conscious state. These patients displayed the blue skin tones of cyanosis caused by a lack of oxygen. The physicians making their rounds noted that Nell appeared to be one of them.

“‘ I’d wager a whole wad of money that woman won’t make it ’til morning,’ one of the doctors was predicating. ‘I won’t take you up on that one,’ his companion chortled, with a slight slur in his voice.

“The callous tone of the physician’s remarks penetrated Nell’s consciousness even before the words did. A wave of indignation swept through her and she was suddenly determined to prove them wrong. All that night Nell lay on her cot forcing tiny spurts of air into her tightly congested lungs. By morning she was coughing so hard hard her chest hurt. She was alive but the two other women in the ward were not….”

Note: my grandmother’s story told to me by her son, was related using terminology and reminiscences picked up from separate research (not necessarily factual)

Plastic bags, paper towels and baking soda

Oh my gosh! I am low on those so-called ‘single use’ plastic grocery bags! My cute cloth bag made by Elaine W for storing grocery bags is almost empty. I use grocery bags to keep lettuce, etc fresh in the fridge; to contain garbage (if the bag is leak-proof) and for umpteen other household things. And reuse for groceries, library books etc. What to do? Guess I’ll have to buy some plastic bags from the store…

I would like to share a hint about paper towelling vegetables. If you wrap your cut veggies with paper napkins or towelling before storing them in plastic bags they last longer. When you need more of that half-a-turnip or cabbage, replace the damp towelling. Also use aluminum foil to wrap your celery. It will last for (almost) forever. Another hint, which I learned from Florence and Ed S. is the surprizing cleaning attributes of plain ordinary baking soda. We had a kitchen cleaning project going on at the Legion and a bunch of us arrived with products such as Mr Klean etc. The S’s had their baking soda and it worked best of all. And none of that yucky man-made odour that they’ve recently determined is not healthful for children. Or for adults for that matter.

A Story About Love and Grief

This was posted on Facebook this morning by someone who knows about love and has experienced grief. It was written by Tim Ofield.

“I wish I could say you get used to people dying. I never did. I don’t want to. It tears a hole through me whenever somebody I love dies, no matter the circumstances. But I don’t want it to “not matter”. I don’t want it to be something that just passes.

My scars are a testament to the love and the relationship that I had for and with that person. And if the scar is deep, so was the love. So be it. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are a testament that I can love deeply and live deeply and be cut, or even gouged, and that I can heal and continue to live and continue to love. And the scar tissue is stronger than the original flesh ever was. Scars are a testament to life. Scars are only ugly to people who can’t see.
As for grief, you’ll find it comes in waves. When the ship is first wrecked, you’re drowning, with wreckage all around you. Everything floating around you reminds you of the beauty and the magnificence of the ship that was, and is no more. And all you can do is float. You find some piece of the wreckage and you hang on for a while. Maybe it’s some physical thing. Maybe it’s a happy memory or a photograph. Maybe it’s a person who is also floating. For a while, all you can do is float. Stay alive.
In the beginning, the waves are 100 feet tall and crash over you without mercy. They come 10 seconds apart and don’t even give you time to catch your breath. All you can do is hang on and float. After a while, maybe weeks, maybe months, you’ll find the waves are still 100 feet tall, but they come further apart. When they come, they still crash all over you and wipe you out. But in between, you can breathe, you can function. You never know what’s going to trigger the grief. It might be a song, a picture, a street intersection, the smell of a cup of coffee. It can be just about anything…and the wave comes crashing. But in between waves, there is life.
Somewhere down the line, and it’s different for everybody, you find that the waves are only 80 feet tall. Or 50 feet tall. And while they still come, they come further apart. You can see them coming. An anniversary, a birthday, or Christmas, or landing at O’Hare. You can see it coming, for the most part, and prepare yourself. And when it washes over you, you know that somehow you will, again, come out the other side. Soaking wet, sputtering, still hanging on to some tiny piece of the wreckage, but you’ll come out. Take it from an old guy. The waves never stop coming, and somehow you don’t really want them to. But you learn that you’ll survive them. And other waves will come. And you’ll survive them too. If you’re lucky, you’ll have lots of scars from lots of loves. And lots of shipwrecks.”
-Tim Ofield

From a “Queenagers” Persepective

Now that I’ve reached the Age of Consent no one asks my permission anymore.

Actually, it’s freeing. I am a person. Not a female, nor a male. Just me. I don’t need the approval or consent of anyone. Except my kids. And they are mostly too busy or too far away to keep track.

My life is probably boring from the perspective of younger minds and bodies. Ever since the medical professionals installed stents into my 80 plus – year-old heart, I’ve obsessed about two things: fewer sugar products (which I enjoy) and more green vegtables (which I dislike)

I’ve decided to incorporate some rules into my breakfast and luncheon regime. Combine veggies with crispy bacon for breakfast. Almost any greenery tastes better with bacon. Soup with large particles of green stuff in it qualifies for lunch.

And as for supper, gonna take my chances on that. You never know when someone’s gonna invite you to an irresitibly delicious dinner.

 

MY ANGIOGRAM ADVENTURE

Angiogram…??

Sounds like a message that once came by wire,
Delivered by someone In formal attire.
Important wording about something dire,
From the Prime Minister or perhaps even higher?

Maybe it was from the Queen,
Commemorating me for being….
Alive?

But a hospital gown was my realization,
With doctors and nurses in fraternization.
Cardiac Arrest might mean operation,
They’re eying me up in stern contemplation.

There’s a Cardiac Unit Investigation
Into spurious activities at this station.

I was then shuffled into a cavernous room,
No windows at all in that darkened tomb.
There were various people with masks, I assumed,
To hide their identity, from me I presumed.

With me on a high bed a group of them joined,
To hook me to wires with a camera in groin.
The xray machine checked the route it was going,
To my beating heart, its journey was showing.

A voice whispered softly into my ear,
“You have two blockages,” was what I did hear,
“We’re putting in stents cause we greatly fear,
Your premature death in less than a year.”

Thank you Vancouver General Hospital!

A Poem a Day Project

“It’s taken me years to begin searching, to realise that the days are not linear, that time does not simply move forward but spirals closer and closer to a shifting center…” (From “Do Not Say We Have Nothing” by Madeleine Thier”)

Why does time so quickly pass
When old we are, no longer young?
When books we’ve read
And songs we’ve sung
Are now forgot and tales we’ve spun
Do not slip easily off the tongue?

Our youth’s long past and middle-age
Is where our children’s lives have steered
And even grandkid’s birthdates veered
Past the triple-decade years.

Our great-grandkids up on the wall
Their baby pictures still pristine
A few already in their teens
Are graduating soon it seems.

The Chinese compare the passage of time to a funnel?

So that is why
My time has sped,
Since hair turned grey upon my head
My years have reached the funnel’s depth
Where fewer rings of time are left
And those I’ll gratefully accept.

A Poem a Day Project

Happiness is
learning your Windows 7 Laptop
which had morphed into a Windows 10,
thereby developing new
digital muscles
that act agressively
against anything Google,
has been tamed;
calmed to the point
where I can get online
without the knashing of teeth
and pulling of hair….(mine)

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