October 14th – Security

The news story for the day in Saskatchewan is the arrival of our first snow of the season. It is more of a preview than the BIG event, but it is definite sign that winter will not be passing us by.

First snow of the season ๐Ÿ˜ฒ

I also have a bit of family news to share today. With Dom’s regular grandparent sitters unavailable this week, I was called up for active duty. It is not that big of a deal. Dom gets out of school at 3:22 and his Dad (son Mark) is here to pick him up before 5:00. There is barely time for a snack and a cartoon.

The challenge of this arrangement is that Dom attends school across the city from where we live. That means driving some distance to pick him up, and obviously the same distance to get back here. And… Dan is working this week. The driving is on me.

I do not love driving. Typically, I will do anything to avoid getting behind the wheel. But… this is for Dom. So I have been driving across the city and back. There is construction and trains and rain, and today there is the added joy of snow. If Dan was available he would no doubt be driving me across the city and back every day and I would be relieved and grateful and stressed out thinking about ever having to do this if he were not available.

But… Dan is not available this week, so it is on me. The rediculous thing is – I can drive. I have driven thousands and thousands of miles, much of it in hideous weather, through and around construction, and in vehicles far less reliable than our Jeep. When I do get behind the wheel, it all comes back. It is like riding a bike. (If I could ride a bike.) The thing is, I can drive, and when forced to do it I manage it rather competently. Then I am super pumped that I did it and I feel secure knowing that I am capable of doing it.

When I avoid anything it makes me feel nervous and insecure. When I actually meet my fears head on I become FEARLESS! Life is so complicated. ๐Ÿ˜‚

Ready to roll with Dom!
Snack Time

Take care and have a great day. ๐Ÿ’ž

August 30th – Quiet Day

Dan is resting for work tonight.ย ย  Dom is here for a few hours so I have been trying to quietly entertain him.ย  Dom is six so quiet isn’t that natural for him.ย  I made his favourite for lunch (leftover pierogies with sausage).ย  He ate them while watching cartoons.ย  The good news is he ate all of his lunch andย  managed to do it without stabbing himself with his fork. ๐Ÿ‘ (I know, Grandma should make him eat at the kitchen table but Grandma’s a bit of a rebel).

Blue eyed Dom๐Ÿ’ž

After lunch we went up to the playhouse for a while but the wasps were pretty bad up there today.ย  We came back in to play with Playdoh and marbles.ย  The marbles were not quiet. For the record, they were not my idea.ย ย  We are back to watching another cartoon.ย ย  In a bit, we will head out to pick some peppers for Erin.ย  That should be a fun bit of entertainment.

There’s not a lot of anything else happening today.ย  We got our Canadian Tire bill in the mail this morning.ย ย  Years ago, when I was alone with my teenagers, I worked long hours to provide for us.ย ย  At the end of the month, I would sit down to write cheques for our rent and for any bills I had to pay.ย ย ย ย  I was always so happy, relieved, and grateful when I had the funds to cover all of our expenses, fill my gas tank, buy groceries, plus stash a few dollars away into savings. ๐Ÿ˜Šย ย  ย ย 

Fortunately, we never had a month when I came out of this exercise unhappy!ย 

It has been many years now since I have had to wonder if my hard earned money would cover our regular expenses plusย  the miscellaneous costs or raising a family.ย ย  Now, when I go to my bank account to transfer funds to cover bills,ย  I know that our funds will be more than adequate. ๐Ÿ˜

But twenty years later, I still get excited when we receive a bill and I open my bank app to pay it.ย ย ย  I am so grateful and happy that we have the funds to coverย  every expense we incur.ย ย  It just never gets old. ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃย 

Another beautiful sunny day ๐Ÿค—

Wishing all a great day! Take care and see you tomorrow. ๐Ÿ’ž

August 7th – Family Day

Every day is a day to be grateful for, but today was an extra special day for us. Son Mark and Grandson Dominic dropped by for a visit. ๐Ÿ˜

We started our visit with brunch. Our power went out just as Dan was cooking the eggs and making the toast. Luckily, he was able to finish cooking outside on the barbecue and everything turned out perfectly delicious!

After lunch, Mark, Dom, Kat and I spent some time up in the playhouse. When Dom tired of the Playdough, we managed to watch a movie, play with Lego for a bit, and take a splash in the pool before it was time for them to head home.

Mark & Kat
Dominic, happy to dig into the Playdoh.

After our company left, I still had enough energy to get things cleaned up and back in order around here. ๐Ÿ‘

Unlike Kat, who obviously had no energy left after keeping up with Dom.

I hope you are enjoying a pleasant day! Take care and see you tomorrow ๐Ÿ’ž

At the end of the day the most important thing is that your family is safe, you have food to eat, and you are grateful for what you have.

– Anonymous

Windy Wednesday

It’s a chilly day in paradise today.

Kat and I took our usual walk this morning.ย  The cold wind was doing a good job of blowing the leaves off of the trees.
Dominic arrived to spend a few hours with Kat and I.ย ย ย  After lunch, we will venture out to the playhouse for some Play-Doh creativity.
I will try to finish my latest read later this afternoon.ย  This is a great book.ย  I just finished a chapter on the importance of walking for one’s mental and emotional health.ย ย  I could not agree more.

Time to put together some lunch for Dom.ย  I made an Apple Crisp yesterday, so at least desert is ready.

Dan was serving desert last night ๐Ÿ™„. I swear I peeled lots of apples for this. Either they really cooked down or I tossed Kat way more slices than I thought I had. ๐Ÿคฆ

Keep safe – and warm!

Working It!

As summer winds down and Dan has returned to work, things are coming together.

Kat is grounded for a few days with a sore paw (seems to be a bit of a sprain). As long as she is limping, even a little bit, I think it is better for her to stay home and rest when I take my daily walk.

I miss Kat on my walks but it gives me a bit of freedom to pick up the pace and extend my walks. This morning I went 5.5 kilometers! YAY!

Dominic Danger

I had my five year old grandson Dominic for a few hours yesterday. His father (my son) wanted his middle name to be ‘Danger’ when he was born. There are days when that would have been so appropriate. Yesterday was one of the days! He was full of energy and bad ideas from the minute he arrived. Fortunately, I was able to channel most of that energy into creative and slightly messy activities.

One of many cedars in our yard.

I finally fertilized and soaked all of our cedars. That was a two or three day project but I am glad that it is done.

Grandkids Playhouse

I scrubbed the deck on the kids’ playhouse, wiped down the railing and polished the lites. I usually have that done much earlier in the season but it was one of those things that I just did not get around to. ๐Ÿ™„

I trimmed and mowed our lawn last evening after Dan went to work. I even got the grass clippings bag hauled to the back gate and into the trash bin! I was so proud of myself. ๐Ÿค—

I also cleaned all the branches and debris off of our neighbours lawn, mowed it, and swept her driveway. Our neighbour lost her husband a few years ago and a couple of years later suffered a serious stroke. She is in a rehabilitation/longterm care centre. They took a lot of pride in their home and took such good care of it. I do not know why there is no one to maintain it or check up on it now. They both had family living around here. ๐Ÿคท We take turns with the neighbour on the other side of it doing what we can – making the lawn looked taken care of. We are just trying to make it look somewhat lived in until someone takes it over.

Hope everyone is having a great week! Take care out there๐Ÿ’“

Scoping Out Playgrounds

Now that I have my grandson every Wednesday, I am on the search for nearby playgrounds. The one we went to this Wednesday had an abundance of great equipment for him to enjoy. The only problem was that the walk was a bit much for Dom. On the way there he asked me twice if we were still in Regina and on the way back he asked if we were still in Canada. ๐Ÿ™„

I do not think the park I went to this morning even had a name but it was a relatively short walk with a few points of interest for Dom along the way.

I had to go under the overpass.
Through some trees
Past some picnic tables
Beside a splash pad – it has four jets like this.
Basic monkey bars and swings
Dom loves slides!
Of course there is always a police car, complete with lights and sirens, on the adjacent Lewvan.
Canada Post out delivering the mail.
And a train heading over the underpass.

I think this walk is worth a shot with Dom. The worst he can do is clutch his heart, drop to his knees and tell me he is not going to make it. That is a whole other story. ๐Ÿคฆ

Have a great day. I hope you our enjoying the same beautiful weather we have today!

Happy Birthday Rory๐ŸŽ‚

It is hard to believe Rory is fifteen, going into grade ten, and looking to start drivers training –

And, he is SO big. ๐Ÿ‘€

Rory with Prim and Maddy (& Kat)
Grandpa With Baby Rory & Genie
Little Rory – Those eyes!
Turning 2 at Candy Cane Park
Rory & his sister Genie at the ‘Under the Sea’ theme room at the Saskatoon Travelodge. Rory struggled with extreme chronic pain, and mobility, speech and dexterity issues throughout his younger years. His mother arranged for a number of diagnostic appointments in Saskatoon. I would go with her and the kids and arrange for special hotel accommodations so Rory would have positive memories of those days. He loved the hotel outings but struggled with the medical visits. They were hard on him. Ultimately, tests would reveal genetic collagen issues. Rory was prescribed higher and ever higher levels of painkillers until he was finally old enough to be accepted into a pain management program.
Rory at the Sheraton Cavalier in Saskatoon. This hotel did not turn out great, as the waterpark was closed when we were there, but as always we had a great time. We did have a beautiful corner suite on an upper floor which was memorable and perfect for us. We also had a great supper in the upscale lounge to celebrate Mother’s Day. Best of all – Rory loved the view of the city, especially after dark when the bridges were all lit up.
On our last trip to Saskatoon, we stopped at the Royal University Hospital gift shop. I bought souvenirs for Rory and his sisters and this elephant to add to my collection. This will always be one of my most special elephants as it is a tribute to Rory’s early struggles, to his mother’s dedication and determination to get him the help he needed and to the memories we made on those trips to Saskatoon.
Rory at the Gravelbourg Inn. Not all of our trips were for Rory’s medical issues. Rory and his sisters also enjoyed trips to visit my mother. It was always an adventure staying in a small town motel, taking Great Grandma out for brunch and stopping off for a visit at the town playground.
Rory had a special place in his heart for Great-Grandma. My mother had suffered with chronic pain throughout her lifetime. Rory was so sensitive to that connection. They shared a common bond.๐Ÿ’ž
Outnumbered – Rory with his sisters – Brook, Maddy, Genie & Prim – visiting with Santa
One of many lunches with Rory and his sisters. Those kids were always so well behaved in restaurants. Even as infants and tots, we could take them anywhere. My daughter and I went into a store one day and one of the cashiers turned to the other and said “that’s her” and pointed at Jen. Jen looked at her and the woman said. “You were at the oriental buffet last night with your family. You and your husband have five kids and they are all so beautiful and well behaved!”. It wasn’t the only time people commented on Jen’s family, by far, but it was pretty note worthy – and well deserved.
A highlight of a Rory sleepover at our house was always uninterrupted computer time!
Rory’s Grade 8 Graduation – With everything that Rory had endured as a youngster and everything he went through to overcome his medical issues, his Grade 8 graduation was a major accomplishment and a huge step forward in his life. When his teacher presented him with the award for the most improved student in his class, we were all moved to tears. Rory so deserved the acknowledgement and we were all so proud of him.

Happy Birthday, Rory! We love you so much! We wish you all the best going forward. Grandma & Grandpa D. ๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ™‰๐Ÿ™Š๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’๐Ÿ’

Chronic Pain

Rory and Grandpa

Chronic pain is part of life for many people. We have a genetic collagen disorder in our family that causes migraines, muscle cramps, IBS and severe joint pain, amongst other things. I, am relatively pain free most of the time. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for my mother and cannot be said for my son Mark, my daughter Jennifer and for her children. This was something that was relatively accepted in our family until my grandson Rory became virtually incapacitated from pain as a young tot.

Rory and Sister Genie

When Rory was an infant he was very calm and quiet. Any amount of activity was followed by a nap. He did not complain or act as though he was in any particular discomfort. He was just a very sweet baby. As he got a bit older, it became very obvious that he had major issues. He had trouble speaking, walking, climbing stairs, his eyesight deteriorated, he had poor dexterity and he had very little stamina. During the day, it was obvious that he was always suffering from some degree of pain. At night, he would wake up screaming in pain. Jennifer started taking him to doctors looking for answers and relief for him.

Rory with his sisters and great grandma.

For several years, Jennifer took Rory to their family doctor, who in turn sent him to one specialist after another, who ordered one test or procedure after another. When tests came back negative for potentially fatal conditions, the doctors would advise Jennifer to give Rory pain medication and more pain medication and to be grateful that he was not dying. The fact that the quality of his life was no great hell did not register as an issue with them.

Eventually, it was determined that Rory suffered from some form of a genetic collagen disorder that he would eventually outgrow – not that my mother, who had lived to be 95, or my siblings who are in their 70’s, or my children who are in their 40’s had ever outgrown their chronic pain – but Rory would.

When Rory was about twelve, he was accepted as a patient by a physician who specialized in pain management. With his help, and a lot of work and encouragement from his entire family, Rory was able to work through his pain to the point where he was able to start building up muscle tone, which helped to make the pain manageable.

This spring, Rory graduated from elementary school. This fall, he started high school where he has been managing fairly well despite ongoing issues. He does extremely well academically. We are all happy for him and for how far he has come in managing his pain. However, it is still an issue and it remains to be seen how well he will function as life goes on.

Rory’s grade 8 graduation

The thing is, how long are medical practitioners going to obsess over the length of one’s life with no concern for the quality of that life? If medical practitioners and medical researchers do not feel that severe chronic pain is an issue worth addressing, who does?