Monday, August 24, 2015

Wow how things have changed!

I'm a bit like my dog Larry - with the tenacity of a Jack Russell "terrorist" going for a squirrel, I am determined to get back on my feet in short order.  I still haven't received a call from the hospital for an MRI (ordered on July 7) but I have hired a  physiotherapist for support with suggestions on exercises and alterations to the house. Since I last wrote we purchased an electric wheelchair and a lift chair.  I just received the lift chair on the weekend and it's made a huge difference.  Brian installed safety bars in various rooms and stairways.  He's even turned 2 very steep steps into 3 more doable steps - this one act of excellent carpentry has been huge! It's allowed me to get out of this hospital bed in the family room and make it to the main floor, where I can sit and participate with the family in my new lift chair.  Awesome!

With every day that goes by I'm gaining muscle strength, and the ability to maneuver around the house.  I still haven't managed to make it to the 2nd floor into my own bedroom, but I feel more and more like that's going to happen in short order…  We've put out the call for a stair lift.  Even if I do manage to make the stairs all the way to the 2nd floor, I'm in this for the long run...  Should I have a problem with the leg in future the stair lift will allow me to get to my own bed on the "bad" days.

I'm looking forward to attempting to make a meal in the kitchen tomorrow - I will need the services of a sous chef to go and get ingredients, but I am determined to sit on my stepstool and cook.  It will be the 1st time since mid-June...  I've not tried to drive since I blew out my knee, but I anticipate an attempt in the next couple of weeks.

During this time I've had a 2 visits from a wonderful physiotherapist by the name of Karen Schmitz.  She Is truly amazing... I've needed her guidance on how to exercise both legs to develop muscle tone and "work" the injured knee without further damaging it.  Right now my leg still has some inflammation. Karen makes me feel very empowered, and at the same time is aware how vulnerable this injury left me feeling.  My experience working in hospitals is that physiotherapists can come across like bullies but Karen is supportive, knowledgeable and fun to work with...  One day I hope she'll see me walk up those 13 steps.

All these changes in the house to accommodate my mobility led to some larger picture discussions over how we utilize rooms. My forced tenure in the family room (right next to the studio) was very necessary for teaching classes.  I can use the electric wheelchair or the rollater to make my way out to the studio and conduct class. I only had to go maybe 25 feet.  There were nights this summer I was very sore after walking that short distance.  Anyway, we decided to turn the family room back into a  library/teaching room.  Having students in the studio meant moving displays and removing tables - this was not conducive to being open as a studio on the weekend.  Some of my art pieces got damaged.  In future students will still walk through the studio, but end up for their class in the library.  All the TV and stereo gear is now removed from the library and as of Saturday was installed in the living room.  We feel this is a better use of the house because we weren't using the living room except for seasonal gatherings and ceremonies.  Angeni now has access to the TV and stereo when she is dog sitting while classes are going on...

Speaking of classes, I am quite surprised and amazed that as of Wednesday night our summer courses are complete! We're launching a new round of courses to start in September and run through winter solstice.  Hopefully we will have the dates picked and published by the Labor Day weekend...  It feels to me like we're running behind because our students are already asking for the fall course list. Another endeavour is the launch of a fund-raising campaign for Wolfe Island M├ętis Charitable Association.  The grand launch will be September 1 and everyone on our email list will get a notification.  In 20 years of operating Wolfe Island we've never actually done a formal fund-raising campaign. The expansion of spiritual services and the request for a community ceremonial garden means that we need a good funding base. Additionally there are some capital expenditures for new computer equipment and the typical things that a spiritual/educational organization requires over time.  One of the exciting programs involves aboriginal artists in education.  We enjoy working with the native arts students at the local Penetanguishene high school.  The monies for art supplies and support materials will fall under the fund-raising campaign.

Well the clock has passed over into another day so I will end this blog entry.  Have a wonderful week and bright blessings to you all!

Friday, August 14, 2015

A new paradigm...

As I sit here on my borrowed hospital bed I'm waxing philosophical about the changes in our family life this summer. This has been a week where I've felt like Don Quixote charging at the windmill...  Our healthcare system and community level supports have been gutted like fish and left hanging - and I don't mean in a good way. What I experienced as a part of the healthcare system in the 70s and 80s is certainly very different today.  There is confusion and a lack of true backbone.  Everything we've got to allow me to cope, from wheelchairs to ramps to crutches have come about because we got them not because the agencies who are supposed to exist to support us have done anything - the agencies are so back logged and so bereft of funding they can do nothing for months.  Even the hospital's in the region are suffering because they can't employ enough people to do the diagnostic testing required.  All radiological departments should have 2 shifts running - an MRI that was ordered on July 7 hasn't even been booked yet!  Southlake Hospital, RVH and Soldiers Memorial are all booking into December.  That's nearly 6 months... I won't know if I need surgery until after the MRI and my doctor cannot send me for the advice of the specialist without a proper diagnosis.  So I sit and suffer and my family suffers as they attempt to adjust to this life change.

I'm frustrated and I'm trying to channel my frustration into activities that are co-creative with the universe, like making jewelry and doing my prayer shawls...  Teaching has been a godsend and although I joke with my students that I feel like a giant "talking head", at least I feel like the students are benefiting from the life wisdom and healing skills I've garnered over the years...

Since I last wrote I've managed to get an electric wheelchair and the loan of a manual wheelchair to take in the van.  Brian and friends installed some patio stones along the side of the driveway to accommodate the transfer of my walker and the wheelchair to the van; prior to the installation of the patio stone walkway I was sinking into the sand and twisting my leg.  We're looking for something that's as high as a barstool but really sturdy so I can sit in the kitchen and try to cook.  I haven't cooked a meal in 2 months.  Brian rebuilt the stairs from our office to the living room, turning what was 2 steps into 3 so it's easier for me to negotiate.  I've had a fabulous physiotherapy session and another one coming on Monday... 

Back in the day many of these things would've been covered by our healthcare system but not anymore.  Keeping disabled, middle-aged and senior citizens in their homes should be the objective of our governments - fewer paid staff, fewer buildings to maintain and happier constituents.  I want to live here as long as possible because it 58 I shouldn't have to give up my home for the want of about $7,000 worth of equipment.

Suffice to say we're doing our best to cope...  Angeni turned 17 this week and will be having a bonfire party tomorrow night with about 11 of her closest friends.  In previous years I would've made the cake and decorated it in that strange, mutant way I always did...  But not this year.  It will be a purchased cake and I will do my best to instruct my husband on what disgusting things to pick up at the Bulk Barn which I can use to at least decorate the cake...  He will be supervising.  Perhaps I should really stretch to see the positive in this - 12 teenagers? In our backyard?

I look forward to being able to drive sometime in the next month.  The thing I want more than anything is to get a stair lift so I can sleep in my own bed.  I desperately want to get back into my own bed.  I'm grateful for this hospital bed but it's enough now...  Trying to take one day at a time.  I feel and see the passage of summer without experiencing it since I can't get outside very often.  I hope your summer is going well.  It is new moon today and here's to new beginnings for us all!

Blessings friends.

Monday, August 03, 2015


We've been working for weeks on the content of the upcoming crystals course, which will be presented starting on Wednesday nights for 4 weeks in August. It's been a long time since I've presented crystals as a stand-alone course. I always have some aspect of crystals in just about every course I teach, but this is a major course dealing with both practical three-dimensional aspects of crystals and the more metaphysical, esoteric and healing uses of crystals. So it's contingent upon me every time I teach to update the material I'm using and freshen up my resource materials.

Some of the handouts were so old that Brian had to find software to convert the document format to something we could access for editing!  The content doesn't change much - there aren't many new crystals - but I like to update my presentation.

It is both anxiety producing and a thrill of rise to the occasion.  I push myself, and tend to over-prepare.  That's okay.  An adrenaline rush is always fun - some people sky dive for their rush, I prepare teaching materials.

If I'm honest with myself, I think the thing I like best about teaching is the look on student's faces when I pull together concepts that close gaps and fill in loopholes in their knowledge base.  The grand epiphany, it is... and I often see a hunger in people to learn more when they "get it".  Sages called it 'gnostic conciousness'.  It is a knowing that resonates to the soul and cannot be refuted.  I live for the big 'a-ha'.

The anxiety part of this process relates to my perfectionism. I don't always remember the names of the crystals and I'm sure I've forgotten more of the names than I ever will remember.  I seem less concerned whether a stone is a piece of leopard skin agate or a piece of jasper - I'm more concerned with the relationship I've developed with a particular stone which has been part of my healing repertoire for years. I don't deal with stones by geological classification as much as I see how they function when placed on a person. Crystals are living things!

Anyway, it's been a good exercise of distraction for me while I work on healing this leg of mine. It is much less swollen but I still can't use it to climb stairs. Another round of appointments next week should yield some support from physiotherapy and assistive devices. I desperately want to get back in the kitchen, and even more desperately I want to get back upstairs into my own bed and out of this hospital bed in the family room. Suffice to say my trusty crystal wand is here and I use it on my leg regularly through the day as well as the collection of traditional medicines.

If you're interested in the last spot in the crystals class, let me know! Blessings and have a great week.