Saturday, March 05, 2011


And I got this from Sharm....

Have a gorgeous day...
Having a butterfly day
Auntie Bauline sent me this by email and I thought it was uplifting so I decided to share an edited version with you.  Although it refers to the women in your life, I would prefer to think of this as the good people in my life - women and men.  The last phrase sums it up completely.

Time Passes.....

Life happens..... 
Distance separates.....

Children grow up.....

Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.

Hearts break. Parents die. Colleagues forget favors. Careers end.....
BUT.....Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how many miles are between you. A girl friend is never farther away than needing her can reach...
When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on, praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on your behalf,
and waiting with open arms at the valley's end...
Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk beside you....or come in and carry you out. Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters.....

Daughter-in-laws, sisters, sister-in-laws, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, nieces, cousins, and extended family, all bless our life!
The world wouldn't be the same without women, and neither would I. When we began this adventure called womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we would need each other.

Every day, we need each other still.
Have a butterfly day...

Friday, March 04, 2011

Update on Dad (and me):
I talked to Karen the student nurse at the hospice two days ago and yesterday and she said that dad is not doing so well.  He had some pain on Tuesday and Wednesday night plus he was short of breath so they had to give him more oxygen and plus some fentanyl (this frug is about 100 times stronger than morphine and is used to treat breakthrough pain in cancer patients.  He is already on Hyrdomorphone which is a derivative of morphine and is used to treat chronic pain.  He's been on various strengths of this medication for the last 3 years but in the last few months, the dosage is at the higher end of what he was taking.  This one is a 12 hour capsule plus he takes a 4 hour one and so far he's been pain free for the most part expect for some times when he gets pain and needs to take the fentanyl which acts very fast.     

I talked to Karen the student nurse at the hospice two days ago and yesterday and she said that dad is not doing so well. He had some pain on Tuesday and Wednesday night plus he was short of breath so they had to give him more oxygen and plus some fentanyl. This drug is about 100 times stronger than morphine and is used to treat breakthrough pain in cancer patients. When Karen questioned him about why he was not feeling well, he said that he could not explain so Karen asked him if he was scared and he said yes This is a lot for him to admit because he continually tells everyone that he is ready to meet his maker and he has made peace with his life. I know that he is scared because two weeks ago when he was telling me that he was ready to go, I asked him to look me in the eyes and tell me that he is really ready to die. He could not do it. He wants to be able to close his eyes and go but I told him that Hindus believe in karma and he will go when it’s his time and not before and I cannot help him to get there any faster.

He is already on Hyrdomorphone which is a derivative of morphine and is used to treat chronic pain. He's been on various strengths of this medication for the last 3 years but in the last few months, the dosage has been increasing. This one is a 12 hour capsule that he takes twice a day plus he takes a 4 hour one and so far he's been pain free for the most part except for some times when he gets pain and needs to take the fentanyl which acts very fast.

Monica the head nurse spoke to him a few days ago about being discharged and she reiterated that she would not support his discharge for the same reasons that we won’t – that he needs medical care which we cannot provide at home. She also asked him if all of this was really about wanting to be at home and he said that he is lonely because when we visit, several of us show up and leave at the same time. As unfortunate as that is, it is the reality of trying to balance hospice visits and the rest of our lives but at least one of us is there every day. Monica suggested that he speak to Fred Nelson who is a palliative care counsellor with over 30 years experience and he agreed to that. The good thing about that is Fred’s office is at the hospice plus Fred had already visited mom and dad at home more than a year ago so he is not a stranger.

Yesterday Auntie Bauline and Auntie Bhano called the hospice while mom was there and he is still trying to tell them that he is doing fine. When mom said to stop pretending, he finally said that he is not feeling so good. His voice is strong which belies his physical condition. If you are not paying attention, you could think he is doing well. He’s managed to fool a lot of people with his ability to say a few words in a strong voice but very quickly, he’ll turn the phone over to one of us so that callers don’t realize that he is as sick as he is.

I probably won’t go for a couple days because I think I got some kind of flu and with dad’s immune system so compromised, the last thing he needs is the fllu. Did you get the flu shot this year? Well, I did but it didn't stop me from getting what I think is a milder version of the flu on yesterday. I went to work at 7:30am feeling fine and had to facilitate a workshop from 8.30am-1:30pm. As the morning progressed, I could feel my head getting foggy and I started with a runny nose. By lunch, I could not see straight from a blinding headache. By 1:30pm, the workshop was over but I think I was not longer coherent because every pore on my skin was hurting and I felt like I was hit by a bus. I came home about 3:00pm and went to bed with a hot water bottle, waking on and off with a fever and chills and a very mucusy head. I slept fitfully until about 9pm, got up had a shower, used my netipot (great little apparatus for stuffy nose) and went back to bed till about 5 this morning when I got up and repeated the same thing. I am feeling less achy but tired and my eyes are very light sensitive so I will go back to bed if you don't mind. Here is a video on how to use the netipot.  It looks a bit gross but it's quite easy to use and works wonders expecially if you have allergies or hay fever.

Take care all and have a healthy weekend

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Update on Dad

I went to the hospice yesterday morning at 7:30 intending to stay for an hour. I should learn by now that it is not possible especially when I had to deal with a call I had from the Head Nurse Monica at the hospice on Monday evening. She just returned from her vacation on Monday and Dad insisted on seeing her because he wants to be discharged. I spoke to her for more than an hour – giving some historical information about his cancer and treatments. She wanted to talk to me before talking to him because she may have thought that we wanted him discharged. I explained that this was his own doing and not a decision we made. She thought it was wise because he needs medical care which we are not capable of providing at home.

So I went there yesterday to have the same conversation I have with him practically every other day. I explained AGAIN why he cannot be at home, and that the level of medical care he requires is so vast that it would be totally irresponsible for us to do that. He listened and seemed to understand, but at the end of the conversation, he said that I can call Mary (the Palliative Care Coordinator) to tell her that she can arrange for the send home care workers at home and they can take care of him. We already did that from August 2008 till the end of January 2011 and during that time, we started out with help about 8 hours each week to 22 hours each day by the end of January this year. From November 2010, there were home care workers in his home for 22 hours each day. I was managing a schedule of about 8-12 home care workers each week. Some of them were good but some of them were doing this as a second or third job and many times, dad or mom would have to wake the workers (even during the day time) to ask for assistance. The other problem is that they are not trained health care professionals so they would not even put some cream on his leg if it was a prescription cream. They could remind him to take his meds, but they could not put it in his hand or mouth. Although we are grateful for the assistance over 2 ½ years (they thought he would last for about 6 months when he was first put on the Palliative Care program), his needs have multiplied exponentially in the last month. I told him that although I understand that he doesn’t want to be at the hospice, he needs to be there It’s just like he needed to go to Emergency in November because in spite of our best efforts to re-hydrate him, he needed two litres of saline that could only be administered and monitored in a hospital.

His lips are very swollen and he now appears not to have a neck with all the swelling in his face. Most of you would not recognize him if I showed pictures. I asked the nurse about this and she said that the lymphatic fluids are pooling in his face because the tumours are going more rapidly now and blocking the drainage channels. His legs are also quite swollen and she explained that he needs a certain amount of protein in his body and he is not getting sufficient from his diet (although he is eating it) so the protein in his blood cells are now moving to the tissue and that is not reversible with medication or anything else. The best that he can do is to keep his feet elevated as much as possible which is what we were doing at home and continue to do that the hospice the cancer which is catching up with our best efforts.

Mom, Sophie, Darwin, Karran and Kelsey went to visit today and dad was very tired and did not want to eat much. He likes to have his visits spread out so we are not all there on the same day and then no one visits the next day but the schedules do not always permit it. I have a long day at work tomorrow so I won’t likely visit (which I told him about but he still asked mom where I was and if she talked to me today). He is declining much more quickly now so things are changing weekly. From what I have read at eh virtual hospice website, if changes are happening over many months, then he probably has many months to live. If they are happening monthly, then he has a few months. If the changes are weekly, then he probably has weeks. From my observations over the last five years, I am now seeing changes weekly. No one knows for certain how long he has but we are doing what we can do to ensure his comfort and care. 

 Here is the website for the Canadian Virtual Hospice Canadian Virtual Hospice.  It has some very good information.  I may have posted it before. 

Have a good day everyone

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Kefir making and thinking about cheese making

I don't know if any of you have ever tried kefir (pronounced Key-fare) but I got hooked on it when I went to Iceland two years ago and everyone there was eating it like we eat yogurt over here.  I did some research and decided to try it when I read about all it's probiotic properties and how much more superior it is than yogurt and much easier to make.  I went to a health food store and bought some of the powdered starter and had great success for many months but as I did more research, I found out that the best way to make kefir is to use kefir grains. 

I ordered some from a lady in the US who sells 8 grains about the size of half a green pea for $10.  I got my eight grains in late November and started reconstituting them.  By now I have had much success to the point where I gave some to Sharm and Sophie today with the simple instructions on how to make their own.  I did read that you'll be eaten out of house and home with the profusion of kefir that the original 8 grains will eventually grow into and the lady was right.  So soon I am going to try my hand at making home made cheese . I found a great website with fabulous information and great pictures to go with the information.  It's called Dom's Kefir cheese making and the guy is great.  Dom's kefir cheese.  I am so intrigued by this that I am for sure going to try it.  I made kefir cottage cheese and kefir sour cream and I think I have made kefir laban which is great for dips. 

I used the kefir sour cream this morning to make two sponge cakes with maraschino cherries and cardamom.  I sent one with Sophie to the hospice for the nurses and a few slices for dad (even though I told him last week that I was not going to take anything more for him since he is not appreciative.  So much for my stern words.)  I was mad as heck last week I looked at him and saw that now he is a dying old man who is like an old dog with no teeth but likes to bark as if he can actually bite. 

I'm going to harvest my kefir from the next week and attempt the cheese. If you want to know how it turned out, you'll have to continue reading.  Apparently the process can take several months to several years so that's a lot of time you're going to have to invest in reading.  

Sharm, Trent, Sahana and Sabreena came over for haircuts today.  The grandbabies (yes I do know they are 6 and 3 but they are my babies along with Izzy (7) and Ronin (3) who are also my grandbabies no matter how old they are) had dhall and fresh roti that I made about 30 minutes before they arrived. It must be the Indian in them but that doesn't explain why Trent loves it too.  Maybe he's a Mennonite Indian - if there is such a person.  Sabreena was so cute.  She wanted a handful of smarties so she came to the kitchen really quietly and said "nan (instead of Nani), can I have a treat?" and gave me a kind of one sided smile from the corner of her eye.  So of course I melted and gave her a handful. Then Hana wanted some too.  When they were ready to leave, it was the same scenario so what did I do?  I gave in again.  I tell you, I am a total knock over for the sideways look from the corner of the eye.  She tried the same thing with a sippy cup I kept from when she was a baby.  She loves to drink from it when she comes over so of course I indulge her. 

That reminds me of when Subhadra was little and she used to want her banana loaf cut into 8 pieces (no more and no less or she wouldn't eat it) and she had to eat it with a toothpick.  So of course I let her.  Catherine used to tell me that I spoiled my kids and I used to say yes but they are mine to spoil and she'd soon grow out of it.  If that was the worse thing she could do at 4 or 5, I could live with it.  Sub, you are not going to think it was cute when you read this but it really was.  It makes me smile even when I think about it now.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend.  I am going to look at a two part movie that I recorded on the life of Che Guevara the Marxist revolutionary freedom fighter who helped Fidel Castro overthrow the Batista government in 1959.  Yes, this is my light weekend entertainment.

Take care all,
have a great start to your week.