Saturday, November 10, 2018

It's just Life after all

This gif made me think of this ad from years ago, which made me think about everything that has been happening of late to my life and my Mom's. 

Instead of focusing on the trauma, stress and dislocation we have to sit back and remember its all a game, or as grandma said in Parenthood a rollercoaster. 

How I Feel these Days

Marie Dressler 

Friday, November 09, 2018

To & Fro

I arrived back home in Toronto today after spending another week in London with my Mom. This week she began a new regime of pills to help offset the affects of Parkinson's, which has meant that the medical team need to balance her existing pills for her hypertension with the new Parkinson's pills. The older she gets the more pills she collects, and every pill needs to be measured against every other pill. It is a slow process to try and ensure that everything balances together. Earlier in the week her blood pressure fell dramatically scarring everyone involved when she failed to respond to repeated attempts to wake her. In the end, it was just a case of hypertensive delirium brought on by new Parkinson's pills, but was still scary to witness. 

Once the hospital has all her pills balanced then the next goal is rehabilitation. She has spent now two weeks in a hospital bed and the hospital suggested that she be moved to a rehabilitation hospital. After we chatted with her doctor we all thought it might be the best option for a couple of weeks, so now we just have to wait for a bed to come available. The only issue, for me, is that the rehabilitation hospital is even farther away from her apartment on the other side of the city, so it will mean even longer commutes to and fro from the hospital. 

The most stressful part of this whole process has not been the hospital visits themselves, but rather the transit back and forth and living in someone else's home. While most of my days are spent ensuring that my Mom is not alone and that she has what she needs, the traveling back and forth on the bus adds a whole extra hour to the journey there and back, let alone preparing meals in the evening. To get to the hospital involves at least two buses which don't travel that often leaving me tired. By the end of each day I am exhausted and I just want crash in front of her television set before falling asleep every night. 

Because I haven't been eating the best while at my Mom's, her kitchen is stocked only with ready to prepare meals, for dinner I was craving a spinach and squash roti from our new favourite roti place, Pam's Roti on Bloor Street. After work Mr.T made his way over and picked a couple up making for a really yummy dinner on a rainy November night. 

Sunday, November 04, 2018

Back Again

I'm traveling again back to London tonight on the train and will stay the rest of the week. Chatting with Mom over the past couple of days it sounds like the pills they have been giving her for her Parkinson's are working allowing her to move her legs better than they were before. If she continues to improve we may be able to have her back in her apartment in the next week or so. But as with any issue like this it is day by day. 

Saturday, November 03, 2018

A Weekend at Home

On Friday Mr.T had the day off so after attending yoga in the morning we made our way down to Dundas Street and then west to the Rosewood on the south side of the street for some dim sum. The quality of their dim sum is a little better than our go to place, Rol San on Spadina and they offer an early bird special which makes it also cheaper. 

We then made our way back home through Kensington Market and settled in for a quiet day relaxing at home. Because it was rainy it wasn't a nice day to out wandering around. For dinner we decided to just order pizza from the Pizza Nova, which is only a couple of doors away, allowing us to order and pick it. We watched an episode Ink Master OnDemand and then the 1963 version of The Haunting, the original adaptation of Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House which we have also been watching on Netflix. The Haunting has always been one of my favourite horror films because of how it plays with the idea of horror as a manifestation of fear or hysteria. There is a fine line between suspense and horror that too many horror films cross making them funny instead of terrifying.

This morning started out grey, damp and cool when we made our way to the market to pick up goods for me for the next week. I picked up a couple of pre-made Indian dinners that I can quickly cook when I camp out at Mom's next week, I will be taking the train back to London on Sunday night, because she has her kitchen set up in such away that it would be difficult for me to cook whole foods. Once we made our way home the sun came out and decided to go for our usual walk down to the Home Sense on Spadina and to the Winners and Loblaws at Queen and Portland. The rest of the afternoon we spent at home and opted for take away sushi from Sushi on Bloor and a quiet night at home. 

Friday, November 02, 2018

Sleepless Nights

With everything that has been happening the past week my sleep patterns have been badly disrupted, either I toss & turn all night, never getting a good night sleep or I have stress filled dreams that wake me in the middle of the night. I keep thinking that I am seeing my Mom somewhere in my room (akin to the final scene from Woody Allen's Interiors). It is funny how my mind always relates things to me as clips from films that stay in my head. I used to think this was really odd and unique to me, but then years ago saw Phillip Seymour Hoffman do the same thing playing the drag queen Rusty in one of my favourite underrated films, Flawless. My brain must be using the downtime to try and process what has been happening leaving me less than fully charged each morning. But each day I try my best to get up and to put on a good performance while I am with her for her sake, as she is the one dealing with the issues of losing control in a strange environment. As Bette Davis said, "old age ain't for sissies." 

Thursday, November 01, 2018

To & Fro

It has been a rough week. Last Thursday I had a call from my Mom and a family friend that Mom was admitted to the hospital again. She had done bloodwork the day before and her new GP called her and told her to get herself to Urgent Care. According to the GP her sodium levels, which have been a problem since last year were dangerously low meaning she could suffer a seizure. 

After the call I made my way back home and booked a ticket on the next train to London. The only seat left was in business class, because I was booking so late, but thankfully I was able to book a seat. On the way to London the train was packed and I was seated by an older queer gentleman who worked with the government giving information about LGBTQ equity to healthcare providers across the province. It was to say the least ironic given that I was on my way to University Hospital to check on my mother. 

Once in emergency she was stabilized and the young doctor who admitted her suggested as an afterthought that she was suffering from Parkinson's. It was a blow that none of suspected and came as a shock to my Mom who began to cry, she did not want to be warehoused to some nursing home. She spent the night in emergency, while I went back to her place to settle in for the night. Over the next week we all had a crash course in what Parkinson's is and how it is diagnosed. A lot of the separate symptoms we had just assumed were old age, were in fact part of the Parkinson's diagnosis and after spending Friday in Emergency she was transferred to a bed on the fourth floor in General Medicine. 

The rest of the week saw me shuttling between her apartment, where I slept and ate, and her bedside in the hospital. I just wanted to make sure she was ok. The worst thing about the whole process was having to deal with the slow transportation system in London, it takes 2 buses to get from her place to the hospital and back again, making for really long days. 

Being in a hospital is no fun for anyone, let alone an aged woman who wants her independence and was trying each day to deal with new news about her body. On Sunday, they began a regime of treatment, including physio (she had again lost the use of her legs) and a medication to treat the Parkinson's. The trick was to match the dose with her needs, so over the next few days they tried to see if there was any improvement. 

This morning I caught an early train back to Toronto for the weekend, that I was able to pay with points (yeah!) instead of having to put everything on my card. I will head back on Sunday night to London and make sure she is ok for another week. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2018


David Golden, Self-Portrait
charcoal, conte, drawing, encaustic on panel

A couple of weeks ago Mr.T brought home a panel that he found for me to use for some of my encaustic. Rummaging through some old drawings and artwork I found an old self-portrait from way back in the '80s that matched the panel in size. By painting out the original image on the panel, then applying a couple of coats of encaustic to the panel and the original drawing I was able to apply the drawing to the panel creating a more stable medium for the future. 

For dinner I decided to make a pot pie. I pan-fried some onions with garlic, added some cremini and chanterelle mushrooms, carrots and potatoes and allowed all the flavours to blend. To this I added some sage, thyme and black pepper and a little flour. While this cooled I made a pie crust with a mixture of pastry flour and whole wheat flour and some cranberry sauce and mushroom gravy. Once the pie crust was read I used half in a cazuela, then poured in the mushroom mixture and topped that off with another layer of crust and baked everything at 400˚ for 20 minutes. I then lowered the heat to 350˚ and cooked for an additional 20 minutes. The perfect meal for a damp and cool fall night.