Saturday, March 26, 2011

Dad; family; numb butt

It's the end of a long day.  I had a friend/financial advisor over for breakfast and I made a omlettes with red, orange and yellow bell peppers and cheese and some wonderfully delicious corn bread. It was so yummy that I had three pieces today. 

The weather is getting warmer so I actually spent some time in the sunroom this afternoon giving myself a manicure - in between phone calls from dad and other family members.  Dad was having a very confusing day today.  He called at 10am and wanted to know who was coming to visit today.  I told him that Karran would be there sometime this morning. He called back at 11:45am to say that Leila and two other ladies went to visit but he asked them to leave because it was nearly lunch time and none of us had come to see him.  I told him that Leila would not have minded if he had to have his lunch but he said he was tired and did not sleep all night till 4:40am.  I said that he should eat his lunch and go for a nap.  He said he was trying but he wasn't able to sleep.  He wanted to know where mom was so I said that she was over at her house trying to pack some things with the help of Karran and Kelsey.  He said that he would have his lunch and go to sleep. 

He called back again at about 1:30 to say that he could not sleep and was lonely.  I told him that he was fatigued and needed to sleep so he said that he would try again.  He called back about 2:30 to ask me to order Chinese food to take to the hospice and eat dinner with him.  I said that beside the fact that he cannot eat food unless it's blended into a soup, I could not go today because I had some things to do but I would be there tomorrow around 1:00pm.  He said that he would go to bed and try to sleep but he was restless. 

I called and asked Nurse Amanda if dad was okay  She said that he had a normal day (normal for him) but I was worried about all the phone calls he was making to me.  Amanda said he had some visitors who stayed about an hour but dad didn' think so. She said that he had a good night' sleep but he obviously can't remember.  Something was happening that I was not sure about.  Uncle Wazzie called and spoke to mom and he said that he called the hospice but dad didn't recognize him or know who he was  It's one of two things - either Uncle Wazzie had the wrong # or dad was very confused today. It could be that the dr. changed his pain medication and it's stronger than what he's had before so his confusion could be attributed to that.

Sophie called from the hospice about 4:30 to say that dad was very restless and could not seem to settle down. He told her that Leila went to see him after lunch but he asked her to leave because he was tired and needed to sleep but I know he called before lunch and she had already left.  He is getting confused about time but I guess it's to be expected, given the heavy doses of meds that he is on. 

Tonight I talked to my cousin Eddie in Florida.  I was recalling a conversation the two of us had in 1997 in Mara, Guyana about the role of women in Islam. Eddie buddy... you have to brush up on the old grey cells. They're getting forgetful  :)) .  That's the beauty of having family all over the world and keeping a family tree.  I get to remind them about birthdays and weddings and I get to ask about their families but the best part is that I get to stay in touch and know that there are a lot of people who I am proud to call family.  Hashina, you'll forgive Eddie if he comes home and doesn't greet you but rushes to the computer to get his update....That's family love and I do hope that he takes you out for your birthday even if it's a week late.  Enjoy the beach tomorrow.  I'll be thinking of you in warm, sunny Florida.

Numb butt

Do you want to know what I spent the last 3 hours doing? Something very painful.  I was transcribing an audio tape of a focus group that I hired a facilitator to do for me last Wednesday.  It's 90 minutes long and at the speed and accuracy that I type, it'll take me 40 hours to type.  Please anyone.... if you are a fast or for that matter... slow typist, please help me do this.... I am going crazy.  My butt is going numb from having to sit and type this.  I have a voice recognition software and I was going to listen to the audio tape and speak it into the voice recognition software but my voice for the last few days has been a bit raspy like I am losing it so the software does not recognize it or makes up words I am not saying.  It was so funny when I read what I was saying and what was being typed that I had a good belly laugh for several minutes.

It's almost 12am so I should get to bed.  Another early day tomorrow.  Good night....


Friday, March 25, 2011


I went to the hospice this morning and took some stir fried chicken and veggies with rice, thinned out with chicken broth - but blended so it looks more like soup.  Dad will have that for dinner tonight.  That's how his food has to be prepared now.  He was just finished eating his breakfast so I took him to the bathroom and trimmed his hair at the back of his head because the tape from the dressing hurts when it gets stuck in his hair.  I also shampooed his hair and of course I had to put some gel and comb it. 

While he was brushing his teeth, I changed the linen on his bed.  The staff does that but this way, he can start his day with a nice fresh bed.  I settled him back in bed and cleaned the counter and floor in the bathroom.  It was full of baby powder - probably from his bath this morning.  Again, the staff does it but I was worried that he would go back to the bathroom and slip on all the powder on the floor.

He was having some pain again so one of the nurses gave him some meds.  He says that he doesn't know why sometimes he's okay and other times he needs so much meds.  I told him that he shouldn't worry about that.  If he needs it, he should ask for it.  I left about 8:45am and told him that mom would be there soon. 


Mom and Dad's home is now sold.  It was on the market for a few days so that was quite quick. The buyers had no conditions for the sale and the occupancy is April 28 so that also works well for everyone.  Now it's the packing/storing/disposing of the contents of the house.  We have 4 weeks to get it all done so we'll have to manage our time carefully and be as efficient as possible.  I'm sure it's going to be hard for Mom but it's a decision that has been in the making for several years.  

This upcoming weekend is going to be hectic with packing and sorting the house and contents.  Mom wants to take us out for breakfast on Sunday so we'll find the time to do something fun.  Then off to the hospice to meet the lawyer so dad can sign the papers for the house sale.  Tim who is the lawyer has known Dad and Mom since they first arrived in Canada  he was still going to university when his dad rented an apartment to them.  Tim and his brother both became lawyers and dad and mom have been using Tim's services for many years.  I wanted Tim to go to the hospice to get the papers signed so he could see for himself that Dad is aware of what's going on but there are times when he is confused - most likely from the meds he is on.  Mom is Dad's Power of Attorney but for me, it's important that he is involved in the house sale at every stage. 

After the hospice, it's back to home to work on a survey I am going to be conducting for my research.  I am hoping that I'll get about 100 teachers to respond.  Then I can carry on with my studies. It's been stalled for some time now and it's been a bit frustrating.  That's my weekend.  How is yours shaping up?

Thanks for the calls from Auntie Maggie, Auntie Bauline, Indi and Uncle George (Toronto), Auntie Rosaline, Eddie, Paro, (Florida), Yvonne (Guyana), Georgie (Maryland), Uncle Deo (England), Leila, June, Pastor Jim (Winnipeg), Joanie (New York) and the countless emails from other family and friends. As you can see, there are few of us family in Winnipeg but many, many family and friends in other parts of the world that care.  We are grateful and thank you for continuing to care.  

Have a great weekend...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Update: Uncle Sydney

I said I was not going to use red ink unless it's important.  This is important. Last Saturday Uncle Sydney called at home and wanted the number at the hospice because he wanted to talk to dad.  I gave him the number but when he called, dad was probably asleep so he didn't get a chance to talk to dad.  So when I went on Sunday, I called Uncle Uncle Sydney and dad talked to him for a few minutes. Uncle Sydney was crying because he was very upset that dad is sick.  Dad kept consoling him with "hey Buddy, don't cry.  I'm doing okay.  I'm doing okay."  Then dad told Uncle Sydney that he should talk to Joanie and Boyee kindly because they are all the family he has.  Uncle Sydney promised to do so.

Joanie called today to say that Uncle Sydney had a stroke and is now in the intensive care of the hospital  He thinks dad is in the bed next to him and he keeps asking Joanie to pull the curtains so he can see his cousin.  Joanie is trying to tell him that Uncle Dood is not here but he is not accepting that.  Joanie, you have been diligent in calling the last couple of weeks so I feel for you sweetheart.  I'm glad that I got to speak - even if only briefly - to Uncle Sydney on Saturday. 

Take care...
love to you...
Gathering blossoms

I was searching the Internet for something and came across this 'zine about rest and renewal.
There are some very inspiring stories, poems and drawings that were assembled by one of my best, most talented, and knowledgeable teachers I've ever had - chris cavanagh. 

While I was doing my Mater's in Environmental Studies at York U, I took a couple of courses about Popular Education from chris and he was so inspiring, that I eventually asked him to be my supervisor for my major research paper.  I learned a lot from him and I am grateful for the guidance and support he gave me through the difficult time when dad was diagnosed with cancer.  I've provided the link to the 'zine Gathering Blossoms Under Fire  and I even wrote one of the pieces titled "The Smell and Taste of Self-Renewal."  It goes over several pages, interspersed with other people's poems and artwork.

I took the time to read it again and it reminded me of one of the things I love to do and why I love to do them.  It also reminded my of growing up ni Belair and how dad and mom used to tease me that the eddoe bushes were flourishing because of all the failed parsad it had to nourish it.

Here are 2 other reasons to smile.  I was deleting some files from a memory stick and came across these pictures that I had saved on my hard drive. 

2009-Sandra & Sahana

2009-Sabreena's birthday party


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Update: Dad; phone calls to dad; Happy Birthday wishes; funny

It's barely 8am and I've already had a busy day.

I was up early this morning because I had to make some sandwiches, a veggie tray and some cookies for lunch for the participants of a focus group that I am having today for my doctoral work.  Mom was already up so she helped to make them.  Indi, Mom and I prepared the veggie and cookie tray last night so it wasn't such a big rush this morning.

 Indi was leaving this morning to go back to Toronto so I offered to take her to the airport.  It's been great to have her with us.  She was good company for mom for a few days.  Dad was also happy to see her and she was at the hospice for all three days that she was here.  Her flight leaves at 9am so I got her to the airport at 7:50am - plenty of time to check in and have a coffee. 

I called the hospice when I arrived at work and Chandal said dad woke up about 3:30am and wanted to have his shower but she told him that it was too early so he went back to bed till 4:30am.  He had his first breakfast of oatmeal at that time and by the time I called, he had his second breakfast of dhall and roti.  I am saying first and second breakfast as if he is eating so much but it's barely sufficient to keep a child alive, let alone an adult.  Lat night I blended up some curried fish and rice - yes, blended fish curry and rice - so it looks like soup but it's the only way he can eat it without having a coughing fit.  As long as he can still eat it in whatever form, we'll keep preparing it. 

Phone calls to dad
I don't usualy use red ink unless it's important so parts of this message are really important.  Dad has been getting several phone calls each day and although we are very grateful for them, I am kindly asking that you read the blog updates or call at our home for an update on his progress rather than calling the hospice to talk to him directly.  He is getting very weak now and is unable to reach for the phone without extreme effort and that's only to reach for the phone, not to have a conversation.  Even a few words on the phone takes him an hour to recover from.  I will post an update on the blog when I have something new to say and as I mentioned before, I will title each posting so that if you choose to, you can read only the parts that relate to him.    

The nurses have also suggested that we have one or two family members communicating with them about his progress so if you can refrain from calling the nurses station, that would also be helpful. I try to check in with them twice a day if I don't go to the hopice or once a day when I do go.  Sometimes they are getting several calls a day just from our family alone and multiply that by 12 residents and the nurses would have to spend a lot of time just answering calls.  I don't want them frustrated with us because up to this point, the entire staff have treated him with the same care and respect that his family is giving him and we could not ask for more.  I'd like to keep it that way.   

I hope that as family and friends, you'll understand why I am asking this.  I have a long distance plan that will allow me to call from the hospice.  If I think he is able to, I will personally place any calls to family members and certainly the phone calls won't be long.  I have most of your numbers but for those of you who think that I may not have it, you can send it  to my email address which you should have.  

Happy Birthday wishes
I wanted to wish Dad's sister Auntie Goomtie a happy 89th birthday on Friday.  I can't believe that it was 4 years ago that I attended a pooja for her 85th birthday.  Auntie Goomtie had a memory as sharp as a razor and I asked for and documented quite a bit of information for my family jungle (this family is way beyond a tree, orchard or forest).  It's so tangled and interwoven that it is more like a family jungle than a family tree.  Celebrating her 89th birthday is quite an accomplishment and I think that's partly her attitude about life - that she sees the goodness in everyone.   So HAPPY BIRTHDAY AUNTIE GOOMTIE!!  And much love from all your family in Winnipeg.


I just got this from Sharm and it make me laugh out loud.


Take care all

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Update: Dad

I went to the hospice this morning and Nurse Amanda was just coming off her night shift.  She said that dad fell in the bathroom this morning as he was getting ready for his shower.  His BP was something like 88/58.  That's low and it may have contributed to his fall. They did his BP earlier and it was normal but dropped significantly when he was standing.  They got him up and he wanted to have his shower as if nothing happened. 

When I got to his room, he was sleeping and he had a big bruise on his forehead so he must have hit his head pretty hard to have bruised like that.  I kissed him and he woke up and said he was not feeling very well.  He is looking frail now.  I asked if he had his dhall and roti and he didn't.  Jim went to get the bowl and utensils and I told him I would take care of the rest.  I heated his breakfast but he didn't want to eat much.  I put quite a bit and kept talking to him while he was eating and surprisingly, he ate everything.  I made him a cup of tea and he drank that too.  Yesterday he didn't want to eat much.  He had his usual breakfast but only had a cup of the barley soup I made for him.  Mom tried to entice him with some ice cream but he didn't want to eat that. 

He is definitely eating far less than he was before and if I have to guestimate (okay so it's not a real word), I'd say he is eating about as much as Sabreena does in a day and she's 3.  He is now losing weight and it will become more evident as the days go by.  I also spoke to the nurses this morning about his progress and what we can expect in the next weeks.  He has a Health Care Directive but I am not entirely clear as to what that means when it comes to his care so I asked them to explain what they would and would not do based on his wishes.  It was a hard but necessary conversation and by the end of it, I felt like someone had punched me in the gut.    

I helped him to the bathroom and made him sit on his shower chair at the sink to brush his teeth because I don't think he is strong enough to be standing for several minutes to do his mouth care.  That worked well and I told him he is NOT to try to go to the bathroom or stand on his own.  He is to call for assistance and he agreed to do that.  I also told him that when he wants to stand up from a lying position, he has to sit for a couple of minutes or his BP will drop too suddenly and he'll fall.  This is all the information that the nurses tell him but somehow it registers when I say it (I basically get the information from them and tell him). 

He was all dressed in his shirt and pants (because I said a few weeks ago that he should reserve his pyjamas for bedtime) with his belt and all.  He didn't look too comfortable with his belted pants so I told him that he could keep on his nice shirt but I would help him into his athletic pants so he would be more comfortable.  He agreed and I helped him change into that then I settled him back in bed and rubbed some Glaxal cream on his heel and covered him.  I kissed him goodbye and told him that mom and Indi would be there within the hour. I think he was asleep before I was out of the room.  

On my way to work, I was trying to remember what he looked like when I was a teenager.  My throat felt constricted because it was hard to remember this morning.  Maybe when enough time passes, I won't see him the way he is now but more like the man he was.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Update: Dad; Indi

I called the hospice this morning and Donna said that dad woke up about 6:30am and was a bit irritated that the nurses had not woken him up at 4:30am to have his shower. Donna said that he needs to have his rest and they are not going to wake him early if he is obviously needing to sleep. He is getting a lot more pain and much more frequently now so they are giving him pain meds more often, which results in needing more sleep.

For the last week, he has been waking up closer to 5:30am but he didn't seem to mind that. Today he was not too happy with 6:30. I called mom to tell her that when she goes to see him, she is to tell him that I spoke to the nurses and he needs to sleep much more than to have his shower at 4:30am. He'll more likely accept it if I say that it's reasonable than if the nurses try to tell him that.

So I mentioned that my cousin Indi came to visit yesterday and she'll be staying for a few days. Well Indi has a special place in the hearts of our family. I remember the day Indi was born or at least the events of that day. Dad got a phone call to say Auntie Goomtie (Indi's mom) gave birth to a baby girl - number 13 of her children - and she needed to get to a hospital because of excessive hemorrhaging. Dad went with Uncle Mulchand to Enmore and took Auntie Goomtie to the hospital. He brought Indi to our house so mom could take care of her till her mom got better. I was still in primary school but I remember she was so tiny and her cry was so quiet. Mom and dad got a crib for her and we took care of her as if she was our own personal little doll.

I had to run to school every morning because I wanted to play with her and walk around with her. Then at lunch time I would run home and wolf down my lunch so I could hold her. The same routine was done going back to school and returning home in the afternoon. By the time a week was over, we all decided that we wanted to adopt Indi and dad and mom said that they would ask Auntie Goomtie if we could adopt her. We were pretty excited that we had a baby sister because we even gave her the name Indi. We were pretty sure that Auntie Goomtie would agree but our excitement was short-lived because by the end of 3 months, Uncle Chocolate (Indi's dad's nickname) did not agree for us to adopt her. Needless to say, there was lots of crying, especially from me because besides mom, I was with her every spare moment that I had. She went back to her family in Enmore but dad would still worry about her and we didn't stop hoping that she would come back.

Eventually I left for Canada and sponsored my parents to come to Canada and once again, Dad and mom asked if they could adopt Indi and bring her to Canada with them. Her dad didn't agree again so mom and dad got their papers in order and sold their home and belongings to move to Canada. At that time, Indi's dad agreed that dad and mom could adopt Indi but by that time, they were about to leave Guyana so they couldn't bring her. We were very sad about that but eventually Indi herself emigrated with the rest of her family.

Over the years, I have seen and visited Indi in Toronto and I am quite proud of the woman she has become. And I still love her dimples. I used to love to look at her smile when she was a baby and I so wished that I had dimples that I would spend endless hours at school pushing the eraser end of a pencil in my cheek so that I would get a dimple. Alas it never worked but it was worth a try. So that’s my Indi story.

Happy Monday everyone,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Update: Dad & Indi; Mom; phone calls
It's Sunday early evening.  I went to the airport this morning to pick up my cousin Indi from Toronto.  We went to the hospice about 10:45 and dad was in the bathroom when we got to his room.  I didn't tell him that Indi was coming so it was a nice surprise when he finally recognized her.  I spoke to Wynona today and she said that he is having a lot more pain in the last two days so he is needing a lot more pain meds.  From 6-10 this morning, he needed extra pain meds three times.  From 10:30am-12:30pm, he needed it twice more. 

He wants to stay up and visit but he is really not able to do so.  Mom arrived at 12:45 and I left there at 1pm to come home and unpack all the goodies that Indi brought from Toronto.  There was about 15 pounds of fish - gilbacka and snapper, okra, bora, eddoes, plantains, eggplant and green mangoes.  There was also cheese rolls, pine tarts, chinese cakes, butter flaps, tennis rolls and a loaf of plait bread. All of these are from Narine's bakery.  Can you hear me say yuuuuummmmmyyyy?  I don't know if the stores in Toronto have anything else left.  I already cooked some of the eggplant and gilbacka.  I'll take some of the curry for dad but I am not sure he'll be able to eat it, unless it's blended like a soup.  These days, he has to have all his food blended otherwise he can't get it down.

Mom and Indi left the hospice at about 4pm. Karran and Kelsey went to visit before he leaves for Montreal for a week for work but dad did not wake up while he was there.  Sophie and Darwin were still there when mom left.  While mom was there, dad needed more meds twice. That's seven sets of pain meds in a few hours.  I am surprised that the man is still able to stand. By any reasonable expectation, he should be completely bed ridden but he is still able to move around.  I called Uncle Sydney so dad could talk to him and he told Uncle Sydney that he was doing good. Indi had to smile because he could barely stand up but his voice sounds strong. 

We took mom to the theatre yesterday to see Calendar Girls.  It was so beautiful and inspirational and if you are not familiar with the story, it was a group of women who belong to the Women's Institute. One of the husbands pass away from cancer and the women decide to raise about 600 Pounds to buy a new sofa for the visitors waiting room of the hospital because the one that was there was terrible.  They decided to take nude pictures of themselves for a calendar and it was such a hit that they raised almost 600,000 Pounds.  It was so great that I think I might use the same idea with all of dad's visitors to the hospice and make a calendar with it.  So if you are planning to visit in the next few weeks, prepare to be featured in next year's calendar in the same format as the calendar girls only this one will be of Calendar Boys so I can enjoy it too.

We went out to dinner after at a really nice Italian restaurant that has great buns (not like the kind in the previous paragraph but equally as good).  I had a great salad with grilled fennel and chicken breast in a maple sauce and some tomato and boccincino.  It was delish.  Mom went to church this morning although I had to convince her that she should do something other than sit at home and mope.  In the end, she was glad she went because the other members greeted her and offered their prayers for her and dad.  

Phone calls
I wanted to say thank you to all the people that have been calling in the last week: Ida, Auntie Siloch, Auntie Maggie, Indi, Kumarie, Uncle Deo, Auntie Mamus, Auntie Lovin, Radha, Georgie, Pastor Jim, Eddie & Auntie Rosaline, Uncle Sydney, Joanie, Goutham & Indra, and I am sure that I forgot some people but your call is still appreciated.  Mom's number is forwarded to our number so with all the calls, it is sometimes difficult to return all your calls if we don't get to speak to you directly.      

Take care all.
Hope you had a great weekend.