Twenty Two Years To Go

Psalm 90:10 “The length of our days is seventy years or eighty, if we have the strength. Yet their span is but trouble and sorrow for they quickly pass and we fly away.”

Verse 12 “Teach us to number our days aright that we my gain a heart of wisdom.”

It’s hard to believe but I am only twenty two years from a Century in age. I just reached another milestone, my 78th birthday.

I really appreciated all the good wishes, phone calls, cards and gifts from friends and family. One special gift was a walk on the beach at White Rock with Dustin, Laurie and Elizabeth, followed by dinner at the Boathouse Restaurant. And Elizabeth made my day bright with my favorite flowers, yellow roses. I am truly blessed!

Birthdays always make me a little nostalgic. When I look back at the years that are gone, I wonder where they went. Then I look at the possible years ahead and wonder what they will hold for me. The last twenty two years seemed to pass quickly, will the next twenty two go as fast? The Psalmist says their span is trouble and sorrow, they quickly pass and we fly away. This past week I had a taste of that.

A funny thing happened on my birthday. When I went to the Pharmacy to pick up some medication, I was asked by a young Pharmacist in training, if she could review my medications with me. I said “Ok”. Then, for her class notes she had some other questions about my health which I answered. She became concerned and said it would be a good idea if I would go to a Cardiologist. She was very serious so I decided to go to the Clinic and talk to a Doctor there. I was sent to the Lab for tests, I have an appointment to see a Cardiologist and I have a friend at the Pharmacy who is following up with my progress.

Then, last week, my sister had medical problems, we called an ambulance, and she is in the hospital. Fortunately the Extended Care where my brother is living is on the same grounds as the hospital so I can visit them both. This week I had to take my brother to the Denture Ciinic and we were taken there by a Cab that can handle a wheelchair. It is part of the Handy Dart system. I always accompany him because he has dementia. He would be totally lost if he went anywhere by himself.

I would like to be like Caleb, who said to Joshua, “Here I am today, eighty five years old. I am as strong as I was at forty five. Give me the hill country that the Lord promised me. ” (Joshua 14)  Psalm 92:14 says the righteous “still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green.” That’s a good promise to claim!

So, Lord, teach me to number my days aright that I may gain a heart of wisdom. However many years I am given I want to live them to the fullest! I know Who holds my future so I can rest secure in my Father’s Hands.



Crossing Paths

The  crunch of autumn leaves, the blue sky above me and the fresh breeze on my face, are so familiar. For the last month I have walked this path, from Yale Road Centre, where my brother is now living, to Central City Mall (old Surrey Place Mall.) It’s not far, about a block. A part of my walk there is for my fix at Tim Horton’s, a French Vanilla coffee.

I think about life and the circle of similarity between birth and death.  Yale Road is supposed to be a place for people who are on their way to a more permanent, residential care facility. The second floor is for people recovering from brain injuries and addictions. The fourth floor where my brother is, houses seniors who are in different stages, mentally and physically. They are waiting to go, somewhere.

Someone called it a holding tank! For some, this is the end of the long road called Life. Beginning as babies, in diapers, they now wear diapers again. They’re not called diapers, they are pull-ups or depends or something fancy. One woman messed hers and did the baby trick, wiping it through her hair and other places. When they bring her to the dining room for lunch, they move the plant out of her reach. She still reaches for other things. She’s in the baby stage.

Sleep is the other part, at the end of the circle. Part of it is boredom and part is a general tiredness. Not much matters here, every day is the same. People, patients, are now called clients on the elevator sign. Clients are not allowed to go on the elevator without a nurse or family member with them. Clients? Clients of Funnybrook Farm, Yale Road Centre, fourth floor, spend their time waiting. They hang around the elevators in their wheelchairs and to get through you sometimes have to move them.

The fourth floor clients wait for old elevators, to carry them, a few at a time, to and from the dining room, three times a day. In the dining room they wait again, for the food to come. The sixth floor people are served, then the trays are made up that go upstairs, and last of all, the fourth floor people are served. Always last, that’s part of the organization. The nurse says, “Somebody has to be last!” Every meal, every day!!”

I said, “This is wrong.” Diabetics should not wait until 9:30 AM for breakfast, almost 1 PM lunch and often 6 PM supper. Why are the trays for upstairs being done, while people that are here wait? One man, Arnold, was the last of the last, one night. He happened to be at our table, so I finally went to the servers and asked about his meal. The really bright answer from the nurse was, “We’re waiting for his dessert.”  Give him the main course while you wait. No common sense!!

Coincidence? The lady in charge of food services was in the dining room the other day. I didn’t know who she was and I was voicing my opinion about the feeding of the fourth floor people. She actually listened to me, wanted me to put it on paper and hand it in to the kitchen. She gave me her card so I e-mailed her. Since then she has contacted me and told me they are working on it. I really hope they are and I hope to see an improvement soon, not the new year, now!!

People crossing our path, sit at our table. One lady sits with us now, for most of the meals. Linda was born and raised in Castlegar, her dad had a business there for many years. We couldn’t believe it! How uncanny is that? Tom, born in Prince George, watched trains come & go as we did when we were kids. David, whose dad had a nursery, grafted roses when he was seventeen. when he told us he seemed to remember with some emotion.

Orv’s first room mate was Bob. With only 2% of his lung capacty left, he was waiting for palliative care. Last week, he passed away in the wee hours of the morning. His waiting is over. People have problems. One lady had a melt down when they put her in a wheelchair with an alarm. she had bruised her face in the last fall she had. I saw kindness in action when the nurse was crouching in front of her speaking softly. Most of the nurses are friendly. One in particular, Sandra, always comes and talks to us.

I was not too helpful for Luba when I wouldn’t let her get on the elevator. I was trying to get off the elevator, on the fourth floor and she tried to push past me, in her wheelchair. I blocked her and said, “You ae not sllowed to go on the elevator by yourself.” She started flailing her arms, hitting at me, and saying, “My invisible husband is with me.” I said, “You can’t take your invisible husband on the elevator.” The nurse came and got her and I went and got Orv to go down for supper.

When we got downstairs, I saw the front, glass door was open to let a couple in, and Luba was going out the door in her wheelchair. I quickly ran and grabbed her before she got out the second door. The first door is coded but not the second one. Again she said her invisible husband was there. I told the nurses there and alerted the security guard. On her second try the security guard got the nurse to take her back to the floor.

The autumn leaves are not so crunchy today, because the rain has made them wet! Tomorrow I will walk again and I’ll go to Horton’s before going back to the Yale Road Centre, fourth floor. Orv’s second room mate was here for a few days and is already going to another place. We wish it was Orv going to a more permanent place but our time will come. In the meantime, we are there for a purpose. I hope we can make a difference, espcially for the people on the fourth floor. Who knows what people will cross our path in the days ahead. Could be interesting!