Bill and I woke before the alarm at 3:30 on Tuesday, May 22nd. Clemson didn’t budge but unfortunately after we got up at 4, we had to nudge him into movement and took him outside for his piddle. We packed the small cooler with sandwiches, yogourt and drinks prepared last night and left Clemson in charge when we pulled out of the Ridge at 4:35 am.
|No fun driving in this|
The day was wet with overcast skies and rain on our heads. It isn’t pleasant driving before any light of day as it is but with rain in the mix, many things factor into not a very nice drive to London. Half way, the rain mostly stopped but the clouds dominated the sky. At least it was warm very early on at 13C. It was an uneventful trip, which is always good and we arrived at Denny’s at the Highbury truck stop at 7.
|By 5:30 there was light at the end of the tunnel|
We do enjoy the food at Denny’s but the prices in the U.S are so much nicer. Breakfast choices began at $12.99 and no matter the amount of food, that is a high price to pay. We should have thought about that and gone to Southside family restaurant for half the price. No worries, this snail on the window wasn’t concerned in the least so with full tummies, we paid the bill and put it behind us too.
|Except for the toast, I ate it all!|
|Snails are such strange creatures|
|On the window, not on the menu|
From there, it was a mere 20 minutes to Victoria Hosp./LHSC where we parked in the underground parking on Level 4. Of course, we were early, by 45 minutes, but we always are and prepare for every occasion by bringing a book or crossword puzzle. Bill was called in quite promptly at 8:47. They injected the isotope and then he had to wait for 20 minutes for it to run through his system before taking a series of pictures of his arteries.
It was a long time waiting in the cold waiting room. They must need the air conditioning running because of their equipment but it sure isn’t comfortable for someone dressed for the outdoors.
|It was a cold waiting room in more ways than one|
Bill was in and out a couple of times, while I waited and eventually he came and got me so I could sit in a ‘closer to the action’ wait room. He had another treadmill stress test like the one 2 weeks ago and I was impressed! She had him talking for the whole 10 ½ minutes and he still seemed to do well.
We took the elevator down to the 1st floor for his final test, the CT scan. Another waiting room for me and he was gone for over an hour. The scan itself in the ‘donut’ machine took all of 5 minutes but there were a lot of people in and out for CT’s and MRI’s. It was 2 pm when we left the hospital and 2:15 by the time we rolled out of the parking area. Bill needed a couple of small items from AVF, the hobby store, and we said hello and chatted with Derrick for a bit. Now Stratford was on our destination for a quick visit with Dad.
We were 30 minutes away in Embro when Bill’s sister texted “Dad is not doing well, hurry.” You are never prepared to see a loved one in distress and yet your shield goes up as you try to brave a strong front. Dad was sleeping, if you can call it that, on the couch in their home when we arrived around 3:30. His sleep was very labored and slowly over the next 5 ½ hours our children, the grandchildren arrived.
Pizzas were ordered and devoured by the near 20 family members crammed in their senior apartment. Until about 9 o’clock, when Dad finally woke and opened his eyes (after his seemingly Rip Van Winkle 9 hours) he had no idea who was there. No one knew which breath would be his last so Bill and his 2 sisters hung close by. When he finally woke, we had Dad back in full fledged humour and wit. The good thing about this, the sleep could have gone on for hours more, was that Bill’s 4 girls were able to chat briefly to their Grandpa and he was able to see them before they left for home.
Bill and I were invited to sleep over at his sister Liz’s but when it came right down to it, at 10:30/11:00 with Dad seemingly better for the night, we decided to drive home. It was only an hour and a half to the Ridge. Donna and Gerry stepped up to the plate for us and ‘rescued’ Clemson from a very long day. They’d let him out around 9 but went and picked him up for supper and the night at 5:30. We knew he was in good hands so made our decision based on other circumstances.
We arrived home around midnight or 12:30 and crashed soon after. Our phones were on the last batter legs and so were we. Of course, no pictures were taken of most of our day and I know you’ll understand. We slept well, curled up with each other for once in a long time with no little hot heap in between us. It was an exhausting day.
Wednesday, May 23rd
Bill and I woke after a Rip V.W. sleep of our own at 7 and wasted no time getting moving. We had a tea and discussed the previous day’s events. Bill was scheduled to work today and Thursday at CanAm but texted Nicole, his ‘boss’, to inform her of his situation and hoping someone could take over the clients for the two days. We had no idea how long this would go on.
|Bill heading out for Stratford again|
We drove to Hanover after 8 to pick Clemson up and just as we were nearing town, one more call from Carol had Bill on high alert. Dad was not coming around this morning so we scooted back home and that is where Clem and I stayed while Bill made the drive to Stratford. I’m just catching up on the events to the best of my memory and kind of feeling a tad dumbstruck and also a tad ridiculous for not staying in Stratford overnight.
Perhaps, we should have stayed at his sister’s last night, then we would have been there for this turn of events. Was Dad’s delightful wit last night his final ‘hoorah’? I’m feeling also forever blessed that he woke up and shared himself with us, without even realizing what a gift it was. He hugged us all, called us by name and expressed his love. I’m an in-law and when Dad said ‘hi Pat’ across the room to me and motioned that I come in for a hug, I felt like one of the siblings. Thanks Dad.
We are, Bill and I, trying not to let ourselves get too sad over this. It is inevitable now that we will soon be losing a wonderful, awesome man but Dad has had an absolutely wonderful, awesome life and he will be the first to tell you, ‘no regrets’ if he could. They’ve sailed on their own sailboat, spent 16 winters in Florida in their own place and more recently cruised most every large body of water and visited many countries aboard Holland America’s cruise line. Two round the world cruises were their latest endeavours. No, Dad is feeling very blessed besides having a loving family.
So, after Bill left this morning I made a tea and when it was done, Clemson and I curled up on the sofa in the warmth of the sun. It didn’t take long and I fell asleep only to be woken an hour later by Bill’s text that he had arrived and would soon be upstairs with Dad, Marilynne and his two siblings, Carol and Liz. I can’t believe that I dropped right back off to sleep for another hour and got up at noon. I think the words in my head were “get up and get outside!”
The blue sky was inviting, I must say so I put on light coloured work clothes and wiggled and lifted the lawn mower out of the shed, over the riding mower. I wanted to cut the grass and couldn’t get it out any other way. The black flies are almost non-existent so I hope that means they are soon done for this season. I cut the area I can do with my battery mower and when that was done, I came inside for a bite to eat and to grab a bottle of water. It was only 64F/18C but it felt much warmer than that because there was hardly any breeze today.
|My lovely rhubarb patch looks better every year!|
|Look at the size of this boulder!|
While digging the holes, I came across some huge rocks still in the bed and had to go and get the shovel and use elbow grease to get them out. This one was huge! I managed to get all but 5 tomato plants in the ground and then had to come up with another idea where to put those. Hmm. After scrounging in the shed and bunky, I found enough flower pots for the last plants. I may need to transplant when I find better pots but this was how I grew tomatoes in the city when I had no room for a garden.
I mixed up some Miracle Gro and watered everything, hoping I get awesome results. It was when I was placing my wire and plastic trellis’ for the tomatoes that Bill called. Dad had gone to sleep last night at 11 and hasn’t woke up yet. His breathing is not as labored as what we witnessed yesterday but it is obvious that it is slowing down and with the pain eased by morphine, he is at least comfortable. I won’t be seeing Bill tonight so wished him a good evening with his immediate family.
|All planted and watered|
Now grow, grow, grow!
Earlier today after walking down to gather the week’s local flyers, the mail lady drove up the driveway with Bill’s parcel from Champion. Yay! The parts for his generator have arrived. Now that we had our expected delivery, I hopped in the truck and drove to the east on North Line to locate the Maple Syrup Farm down the road. I called Monday to see if they would be interested in taking the empty bottle back and that I would be around today. It is so good and it couldn’t be any more local!
|Supports in place|
I had an errand in town as well so drove to the I.D.A. to take care of that and back home for some lunch. My times are all messed up, well, often our meal times are messed up but it was 5 o’clock after feeding Clemson that I felt quite hungry. I still have one container of my corned beef and vegetable soup so heated up a bowl of that on the stove. With a couple of small croissants, it hit the spot.
|Four of the tomato plants are in pots, the hanging one needs to be|
transplanted when I get another pot
I cleaned up the dishes and can tell that Clemson is missing his Dad again. I’m sure he is confused with what is going on, sleeping in strange houses etc. If we are both inside the Suite, he doesn’t leave my side.
|Stuck like glue, Clemson and me|
This has been a busy couple of days and although it is only 6 pm here on Wednesday, I’m going to call the end to my post. I don’t even know what pictures I’ve got to put on here today. I know that I worked hard this afternoon around here, accomplished a lot and at the same time kept my mind occupied.
UPDATE: Bill called me from Stratford just before 7 pm and Dad has passed in his sleep. No more pain. REST IN PEACE, DAD.
|My very favourite picture of Bill and Dad|
Taken June 2009
Thank you for reading. This is a sad day but we are all feeling relief for Dad. We celebrated his life with him yesterday, even though he slept through most of it. He will be missed in all of our lives.