“for further tests”

I have an appointment on Wednesday “for further tests” after my mammogram.

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Serendipity

This afternoon, Ellen, the chaplain from our Fellowship came to visit Mom. She comes about every two weeks and spends a couple of hours sitting and talking with Mom. It gives me the chance to run off and do errands Mom would want to tag along for but it would be “difficult” to have her there, or so I can work away in my office and Mom has some diversion. I often pop down when she first gets here and before she leaves. Today, I ran off to the landscaper’s to pick some plants for the front garden and then went up to work.

Before she left, I came down and spent a few minutes talking with her. She is also a chaplain at one of the hospitals in town. Ellen mentioned that they had their annual service at the hospital’s perinatal  memorial garden last night. I wish I had known. I would have asked to attend.

When I had my miscarriages, they were too early (16 weeks for the first, and 8 weeks for the other two) for this to be done. All I had for the first was a few items that had been given to us – a pair of baby moccasins that I had bought, and the ultrasound. The hospital that dealt with me didn’t have any perinatal bereavement program. I didn’t even get any comforting words from the doctor who removed the dead foetus — on Valentine’s Day. The only kinds words I got were from the intern who was very kind and supportive. He was very nice. They had no support groups and there were only support groups for family bereavement which  was really geared to those who had lost children or adults. There was nothing for people who experienced miscarriage or stillbirth. I haven’t really had a chance to mourn and, for obvious reasons, I have only bad associations with Valentine’s Day.

Ellen was mentioning that she is involved with a program at the hospital which deals with perinatal death — miscarriage and stillbirth. The chaplains offer counselling and support, as well as offer the chance for parents to hold their baby, provide a “memory box” and photographs of their child. It may sound somewhat ghoulish to some but I can assure you  that for many, many parents who will never have memories of their child, it can be really comforting.

They have several volunteers who dress the baby so it can be taken in to the parents if they want, or just for photos to be taken if the parents want them. They take plaster casts of the hands or feet and when the baby is returned, put all the items into the memory box.

She said that they are always looking for volunteers. It isn’t something many people want to do. I said that it was very much something I would like to do and asked her to consider allowing me to volunteer.

Ever since the time when our Kosovar friends’ baby died and I assisted during the preparations for the funeral (assisting the women who wash and prepare the body for the funeral and washing the washcloths and towels and returning them to the mosque), I have thought that I felt so comforted to be useful and that I did something which truly helped the family. This program at the hospital would afford me not just comfort for my own heart but also to feel that I was of use and help to others who are experiencing the same thing I did. In a way, being able to do this would ensure that others don’t have to go through what I did in not being able to mourn or to be comforted.

There have been so many things, both paid and volunteer, that I have wanted to do that have been quashed by people and circumstances.. Finally, something seems to be working for me.

When I was married, I wanted to study to become a Doula. My ex made such a stink about how it was “too expensive” (a total of $600 at a time when both of us were working) and would take “too much time” (2 weeks part-time classes) and wouldn’t bring in any money (I would have worked part time on top of helping with deliveries) that I was forced to give up the idea. When my marriage ended I just couldn’t afford it. Now, instead of seeing them into the world, I will be seeing them out. Seems appropriate, really.

Photo Hunt: Card(s)

This week’s Photo Hunt challenge is “Card(s)”.

The obvious choice for me is two Christmas cards sent to my grandparents and my mother during WWII. They were sent by a young Polish airman that they met during a seaside vacation near Blackpool. The airman’s name was Alojzy Dreja. He was billeted at the same hotel my grandparents were staying at, near Blackpool for his training. Since my grandparents and mother spoke no Polish and Dreja spoke little English, they had to find a common language to converse in. In those days, Latin was still taught in most schools in Europe and even my mother could hold her own in Latin… So, they all spoke Latin!

The cards are hand painted by a fellow airman and included a letter and a folded paper envelope containing a Polish Christmas wafer. The only thing missing is the envelope that everything arrived in. Although the wafer is now completely crushed, it is entirely there. They were mailed December 27, 1940 which makes them 71 years old this Christmas!

Even more interesting, Alojzy, it turns out, survived the war, remained in Britain, married, and had a family. His son is Chris Dreja of the British band, The Yardbirds. Chris was able to confirm to me that Alojza was his father and I was recently contacted by Chris’ daughter, Alojzy’s grand-daughter, for information.

Alojza Dreja on his wedding day.

Mammogram: Shit.

I had my mammogram today. It wasn’t as bad as it had been in the past.

However, as I am far too inquisitive for my  own good and because the machine that develops the mammograms was right outside the cubicle I was sitting in waiting for the technologist to tell me if she needed to redo any scans… I peeked as she was looking at them.

The one I got a really good look at had a pencil-eraser-sized white blob in the middle of it.

I won’t know for a week what that means but I am imagining it can’t be “okay”.

Shit.

Photo Hunt: “Informative”

I was wracking my brain trying to come up with something for this week’s Photo Hunt challenge. Whilst squinting at my photos on my Fotki profile, I was thinking about how nice it will be to get my new glasses so I can actually see without squinting. My appointment was on Thursday (My new pair will have graduated lenses for reading, computer, and for distance). I had a retinal scan and my doctor checked to see if there was any scarring from my long-lasting Shingles scrape. A small scar, not in my area of vision…

Anyhoodle… This brings me to this week’s Photo Hunt…

For some reasons, my Shingles postings have been found very informative to people who have either been diagnosed with facial Shingles, think they have facial Shingles, or have been misdiagnosed and KNOW they have facial Shingles. Very many doctors don’t seem to recognize the symptoms of Shingles on the face. Nor, do they seem to understand the need to promptly prescribe the antiviral OR understand the danger of facial Shingles (If the virus gets into the eye, itself, it can cause permanent damage to the eye. As a result, I have had so many people contact me asking if I think they have Shingles, what they should do, to complain about their doctor’s lack of concern, and/or to ask questions about my experience with Shingles.

And… apropos Photo Hunt… The entirely gross and embarrassing photos of my Shingle-y face have been found to be very informative to a lot of people.

Like having had a Mac truck parked on your tits.

In case you are wondering… that is what having a mammogram feels like. Mine is scheduled for next week.

And, lest you be unaware of this fact, men DO have mammograms. And they are done in exactly the same manner as those that women have.

So.

Am I complaining about having one scheduled for next week?

No.

I am just really, really, really glad to be female.

P.S. I love how all the illustrations show a smiling nurse helping a smiling woman flop them out on a flat surface while, instead of what it REALLY looks like… a surly nurse squashing them as flat as they will squash in the machine…. and then squashing them even more…. while you are standing on tiptoes… twisted at the hips… while being told off by the nurse because you moved….

Great meeting!

Tonight was the first Board meeting after the big brouhaha that finally came to a head in the co-op. It was the first time in months that I have been thrilled to be able to be at a meeting and “git ‘er done”. And I know I was not alone. Nice to be able to do things without having to be sidetracked with things that aren’t germane to business just to feed the ego of someone else whose only interest is to exact petty revenges.

Very happy.

And, more to the point, my blood pressure has gone down to the point that my doctor was very, vary pleased. It hasn’t been this good in years.

Photo Hunt: Triangle

This weeks Photo Hunt theme is “Triangle”…

Since I haven’t been out and about recently (due to Mom’s having been sick last weekend as well as preparing for her 87th birthday party tomorrow) I am falling back on some old photos (pretty much as usual) but they are favourites.

Floating Heart (Nymphoides aquatica)

Although they grow in most temperate areas of North America and Asia, Trilliums are the official wildflower of Ontario. It is illegal to pick or dig up Trilliums in their wild state in federal and provincial parks (partly because doing so damages the plant and they were, at one time endangered in this province). It is absolutely illegal to pick “Nodding Trilliums” (I know I took some photos last spring of some Nodding Trilliums but can’t find them…). Trilliums are, however, available from nurseries so you can enjoy them in your own garden. They are one of the first wildflowers to be seen in spring and last only a week or so.

Red Trillium (Trillium erectum)

White Trillium (Trillium grandiflorum)

Mom back home

Mom is back home and feeling good. Nothing directly related to her heart. Basically, she fainted.

Of course, Mom can’t just “faint” she has to draw a crowd. I told her last night that if it weren’t for these moments of excitement, I would have to take up chainsaw juggling to fill the void. We always joke that the only reason she does it is so that I will meet men in uniforms, but I am beginning to think it is SHE who wants to meet men in uniforms.

She is fine and watching TV.

An evening out

Tonight my friends were playing at a local bistro. Since the show starts early and ends early and it is close to home, it is great for Mom — and Mom Loves the band!. Since her birthday is next week, it was a good time to have some cake. My friend Krys made her wonderful Guinness cake.

Mom had a wonderful time.

Just a few minutes after this photo was taken (with the cake-baking Krys), we were leaving and she passed out in the middle of the floor. We called paramedics because although she sort of rallied a bit, she wasn’t really “with it”. While the paramedics were there, she passed out again and was sick. Her heart rate was really slow and her blood pressure low. So she had to go in to emergency. They’ve decided to keep her in for observation over night. They said that everything seems fine but they just want to make sure.

In looking at the photo, I can tell that she’s not really looking as perky as usual. I put it down to her being tired. I should have gotten her home when she first said she was tired. Oh well. Hind sight is 20-20…

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