Boundbytheword Blog

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A crystal ball can be very scary… November 24, 2011

Filed under: What's Up? — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 3:43 PM

I stood in line at the country market yesterday behind a smart-looking elderly couple, well into their eighties. They nattered a little between them about correct change at the till, but I didn’t pay much attention. They were slow-moving enough that I’d finished checking out my $65 of produce and still caught up to them at the door. For a change, I wasn’t running late, so I didn’t bother side stepping ahead of them to get in front, I just hung back and watched as they walked together.

He was a dapper old guy – grey flannel hat and a navy sports coat, nice – if not dependable – shoes. She was put together nicely too: lovely senior-style blue pantsuit ensemble and freshly hair-do’d hair. Lipstick, earrings, the works. They were a couple who looked like they had a nice life, and I guess because both were completely white haired and wrinkled and were so matchy-matchy with the outfits, they looked like they’d been together forever. You couldn’t miss his impeccable manners either (something our generation and those after us have completely lost by the way). He stepped on the door mat to open the automatics, but let her step outside first. He held two bags of groceries, her purse and her arm as she walked. She held her tongue – not.

The minute she got outside into the gorgeous sunny fall day, she said, “I wish you’d remembered my shawl.” (to which he just nodded)

“Look at that,” she said, pointing towards an empty spot in the lot directly in front of the market entrance.  “You could have got a perfect spot, right at the door.” She shook her head and tut-tutted and shook her head some more. They walked to a spot beside my van – which was just three spots over from the perfect spot. He helped her into the car first, handed over her purse, and put the groceries in the trunk before getting into the driver’s seat. He hadn’t said a word. She hadn’t stopped – not even when she sat alone in the car and he was loading up the trunk. She sat pulling her jacket lapels closer to her neck, crabbing away and shaking her head, as if to say “you are soooo annoying”.

And I had to chuckle a little, because I see it everywhere –but it’s just so amplified when you are watching it with little old people. It’s like a scary glimpse into the future, so I said to myself – No way. No way am I going to be the nattering old lady, bitching away at my  old guy who’s just trying to do the right thing. No way. No how.

And then it hit me.

Last Monday I had to take Sam for a follow-up at the doctor. I was already there sitting in the crammed-full waiting room when my husband Will came up to the office door. He’d left work early so he could be there for the appointment with us. I watched him though the full glass door – still in his suit from work – looking rushed, probably panicked that he had missed us (instead of just missing the 25 minute wait). When he got to the door he turned the handle a few times and then met my eyes and shrugged a little. He tried the door again and gave me a look – a “can you help me out here?” look. But it’s not like his hands were full, or it was some key code door, it was just a door with a regular doorknob that he had to turn and push open. By the time he gave it a third rattle, a woman across from me asked, “Can’t he get in?”

“Oh, I don’t know what the heck he’s doing.” I said. And both she and I started to get up to let him in. She sat back down, and I walked over, opened the door and announced to my husband, “It’s not locked, you know.”

“Oh, it isn’t?”

“No,” I scoffed and shook my head in that way that says “you are soooo annoying”.

I looked up and saw a roomful of eyes on me, and realized that the crowd very likely thought I had just been super crabby to some poor schmuck that just came in for a flu shot or something.

“Oh – he’s my husband. It’s not like I’d talk to some stranger like that,” I said without realizing what I was saying. To which we all chuckled.

Egads ! I better not start wearing pantsuits.


The present is a gift… November 2, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Noelle Bickle / Abby Brooks @ 7:35 PM
Tags: , , , , , ,

Every day starts out just another day. Upon waking you never think today will be the day your lover leaves you, your dog dies, your mother gets diagnosed with cancer, or your boss will hand you the pink slip. Sure, you might have an intuition or inkling. You can assume or plan ahead, and of course hindsight is always 20/20. But let’s face it, we have little control over the universe. Then add to the mix times that we slip off a stair and end up in a cast for four months, or nearly slice a thumb off making Chicken Tetrazzini. There’s just no planning for dumb luck. Regardless if the happenings of the day are big or small – we never know for sure what’s going to happen until it actually happens – and even then, fate can take a turn to prove us stone cold wrong.

A few weeks ago, my son complained of sore ribs on his left side. It’s no wonder really – the backpacks they carry weigh as much as they do. Between math books and metal water bottles filled to the rim, between indoor shoes and other odd stuff they cram in there – the backpacks render them turtled. They aren’t accustomed to traveling around with a house on their back like our slow-moving amphibian friends, but they’ve been burdened with this kind of baggage since junior kindergarten.  So I could only assume as he lumbered off the bus and trudged up the 400 foot driveway, he wrenched his back a bit and wound up with a sore side. After taking it easy over the weekend though, he still didn’t get any better.

I thought he was  milking it just to get Monday off school –which in my defence – is something he tries to do quite often. If he can get a day to hang out at home, go on a family day trip, or even sit around on the computer all day – he’s up for it. So when I sent him back to school Monday morning, I gave him a pep talk and an Advil and sent him on his way. Same deal Tuesday.  That day was a class trip – we went to the Barrie Film Festival to see “Being Kind” a documentary about bullying (that’s a whole other blog post). By the time the film was done, his Advil had worn off and Sam still wasn’t right – we needed to make the trip into the doctor to check on this rib pain situation.

Of course because I thought the doctor would confirm it was a pulled muscle and just tell him to take it easy, I took Sam out to lunch first (Mucho Burrito – his favourite – but of which he only ate a quarter of), then out to buy his Halloween costume (Harry Potter – which, by the way – he totally looks like with those little glasses on). We got into the doctor’s office and he did his stuff: listened, poked, prodded, pondered and x-rayed, then decided Sam had pneumonia.

Pneumonia? But – he wasn’t sick. Sure he wasn’t eating much,  was a bit more tired, had pain in his back and repeatedly tried to get out of school, but….damn it…he was sick. Cue the mother of the year award.

So Sam stayed home from school the rest of the week, took his antibiotics, and rested a lot. He didn’t eat, and hardly drank other than what I demanded he get down. Even dad bringing his favourite (Haagen-Dazs rocky road) didn’t do the trick.  The biggest tip-off that he was in fact sick was that he had no interest in his I-pod, computer games, music or TV. He did a lot of sleeping and a good share of staring out into space. By Friday I couldn’t keep his temperature managed below 103 even with Tylenol, so I took him back in to the doctor.

I didn’t expect him to say he needed to get over to emergency, and once there – I didn’t expect them to say he was being admitted and being hooked up to oxygen.  After more x-rays and ultrasounds I was shocked that they were admitting him for the night and moved him up to the pediatrics ward.  Even after he was settled in – oxygen tubs in nose, IV in place for fluids, and hooked up to monitors like a Christmas tree – I still was surprised to hear the doctor say he’d be there for the weekend at the very least, but that I should expect it to run into the next week.  Then Sam didn’t get any better. Then we were transferred to Sick Kids Hospital in Toronto.

On transit to Sick KidsBut – he wasn’t sick!

Needless to say, I feel like a total dud of a mom. It’s bad enough that I didn’t see the signs, but – keepin’ it real here – I thought he was faking it in order to get out of school. Thought he was breathing short, rapid little breaths and flaring his nostrils to annoy me a little and convince me that he shouldn’t go back to class. I figured we’d be back to normal once the doctor gave him antibiotics.  I guess not.

The x-ray showed a scary, hazy mass over his complete left side – and his oxygen level was really low – which means he couldn’t breathe. Not faking at all…he really couldn’t breathe. They told me it would get worse because he had to rid his body of that congealed crap around his lungs by hacking it up – which is painful and exhausting, but is the only way out.  Unless of course they insert a chest tube – which is exactly what Sick Kids did. So, I set up camp on a hard-as-rock couch in his room and spent his wake-time reading aloud to him (his new one – The Son of Neptune). His sleep time I spent looking at his monitors and pouring my guilt out on the page – as I often do – to my loyal readers, who I know will have compassion for my lack of good judgement on this round of mommy-hood.  Pnemonia + pleurisy = scary stuff.

Damn, just when I was getting cocky that I ruled as super-mom.

When do the hard parts end? I hear the echo now…N-E-V-E-R –R–R!    I’ll blog later this week about our Sick Kids stay. Until then…hugs your kids.