For As Long As It Lasts

11 May 2013 | Kingston
29 April 2013 | Kingston/Toronto
22 April 2013 | Inverary, Ontario
22 April 2013 | Kingston
17 April 2013 | Kingston
12 April 2013 | Kingston
10 April 2013 | Kingston
28 March 2013 | Kingston
23 March 2013 | Kingston
13 March 2013 | Kingston
10 March 2013 | Kingston
28 February 2013 | Kingston
27 February 2013 | Kingston
19 February 2013 | Kingston
14 February 2013 | Kingston
09 February 2013 | Kingston
06 February 2013 | Kingston
05 February 2013 | Kingston
02 February 2013
31 January 2013 | Kingston

It lasted this long.

11 May 2013 | Kingston
Jennifer
Close Knit is sold. Our time on her is now a memory. We are doing OK here in Kingston, the nice weather is helping to lift our spirits. Al continues to struggle with low grade urinary tract infections. This is likely to continue until his July surgery. The doctors are opting to only treat him with antibiotics if he becomes more symptomatic that includes fever and blood in his urine. We had a day in Emergency last week because of severe right leg and groin pain and an inability to stand or walk. Ct scan and leg ultrasound did not turn up a source so pain control with morphine is the short term treatment. It seems to be resolving and may well have been a pulled inguinal muscle from Al’s struggle to walk. I have resurrected my pre-stroke bike and plan to do some riding this year. Between knitting and getting a bit more physical with cycling I am managing to stay sane, barely some days. Life Line is being installed on Monday. This will allow me short stints way from Al while knowing help is nearby if needed. I will contemplate over the next while about whether to fold this blog. If I do I will continue another site that will focus more on Knitting as survival and to keep friends and family current with our situation. Stay Tuned.

Its been a RIDE

17 April 2013 | Kingston
Jennifer


It was a year ago today I sent Al off to the doctor to get his eye checked out. Technically this is when our life started to take on a new look. The appointment a year ago was the start of discovering his brain tumor. I have questioned a million times if we should have declined the surgery. Dr. Wallace has reassured me what feels like a million times that without the surgery Al would most definitely have suffered a fatal stroke in time. Al has felt a bit perkier this week since finishing the most recent course of antibiotic. We are both heading to the University tomorrow afternoon to be part of a teaching session for physiotherapy students. I have been part of these sessions for the past 6 years and I enjoy it. I enjoy being part of a learning experience. It’s almost like being a Professor for a day. You get to talk about something you are expert in. I am hoping Alistair enjoys the interaction and sees that it is part of turning a shitty thing into something positive. We have sun here today and are finally into double digits.

April Fools MONTH

12 April 2013 | Kingston
Jennifer - freezing rain and miserable
This is NOT funny. Mother Nature is seriously SNAFU’d. Bridget was like Bambi on the ice and I struggled to not fall down.

Thanks Global Warming. What ever happened to April Showers. And how will this affect May Flowers?

A good day to knit, read, make cookies.

Juggling

10 April 2013 | Kingston
Jennifer
I haven't consciously been neglecting the blog. After receiving several private messages asking if we were OK, I checked and was surprised to see when I last posted. As one friend indicated she thought she may have sensed my armor cracking. I will admit being a full time caregiver is a huge job and you get very few breaks. I am given a total of 5 respite hours a week from Home Care and that is broken into 2 blocks of 2 ½ hours each. On these visits Al gets showered and exercised. I use this time for a break but to also grocery shop and do necessary errands. I'm trying my best to juggle Al's needs and find ways to recharge my own batteries. The tricky part is Al has no insight into how much work he is or how he impacts my quality of life. My sister stayed with him yesterday so I could get a 6 hour break. He was sad and mopey the whole time I was gone. I'm not sure how I can make that better for him but I know I need to continue to seek balance for myself. For the record I had retail therapy during that 6 hour break and I stimulated the economy in Westport and Newboro.

Last week Al had two appointments. First he had fracture clinic and his fracture is healing sufficiently and he is able to resume his rehab at its previous level of vigor. Friday we saw the neurosurgeon and we brought him up to speed on the plethora of medical obstacles since seeing him last fall. He was impressed with Als speech and articulation in answering direct questions and asking them. We will see him again in the summer and an MRI will be done then to assess what is going on with the residual tumor. Blood work was done last week that confirmed, at least for now, Al is on the right amount of warfarin, of course that can be influenced by the change in antibiotic he is now on for yet another Urinary Tract Infection. Tomorrow Life Lab will come in to take blood for that.

So it has been busy for me and I got bogged down by some stomach grief and lethargy. I have been asked to be part of a Patient Experience Advisory Committee at Kingston General Hospital. Our hospitals do a very good job but there is always room for improvement. I would like to be part of the solutions and improvement.

Tell me more snow is not really predicted. Geez.

For The Birds

28 March 2013 | Kingston
Jennifer - warming up but grey


These are bits of natural (ie. no chemicals) fibers I have set aside from a year of knitting. Once I see the first Robin I scatter these bits at the base of trees. I could be delusional (and likely am) in my thinking that the Robins will seek this out for use in their nest making. Its bright, fun and super warm. I have to believe its just got to be better than twigs and dead grass. I like to think I’m the Home Depot for birds, providing free easy to access insulation (delusional again).
Part of this is how I entertain myself and balance my caregiving. Yesterday we got an ambulance ride to Emergency to deal with the current issue. Al’s catheter had become blocked with clots from his Warfarin level being too low. He got irrigated and we were on our way with a new increased dose of Warfarin to take. This whole Warfarin thing is very sensitive and despite my best efforts to get the blood work drawn at home, it appears I will have to Take Al out often for this testing. If I take him to HDH (Hotel Dieu Hospital) the blood gets drawn and the results within an hour. If Life Lab comes in, it goes off to Toronto and you don’t get results until the next day (thank you privatization). Since the Warfarin levels dance a fine line between life and death I will take him to HDH. Fortunately the weather is turning warmer here. I will scatter my bits today for the birds and revel in the delusion that I am making them warm and cozy homes.

That Time of Year Again

23 March 2013 | Kingston
Jennifer


The Girl Guide Cookies are out. I was getting a few items at Loblaws this morning and picked up two boxes from the sweet girls who had a table set up. As with Halloween I made them work for the 5 bucks a box I was handing over. I questioned them on how they had achieved certain badges on their sashes. Mostly the mothers stepped up to answer the questions. I was just coming off a challenging week filled with obstacles with Al so I resisted the urge to ask the mums to butt out and let the child do the explaining.

Yes, yes I sound ugly. Al has to have blood drawn often to check his warfarin levels. After lugging him out Thursday for three appointments and having his blood drawn at the Family Doctors we were called back Friday morning to have the bloodwork done again because the nurse had not drawn enough for the test on Thursdays visit. I called Home Care to see if someone could come in to take it and it is being arranged for our future enjoyment but it could not be arranged on short notice. And to have the pleasure of Life Lab come to draw blood we get to pay 30 bucks a pop. I will go this route as its easier opening my wallet than bundling us both up and managing a wheelchair. Plus with the broken shoulder I think its easier for Al to not be moved so much.

So I had no choice but to load Al up and take him out again on Friday. I was still weary and bruised from Thursdays lifting the wheelchair in and out. So off we went to Life labs; which wasn’t easily accessible for someone in a wheelchair. We managed and for the first time ever a man came over and asked if I’d like some help with the chair. I usually pride myself in being independent and I surprised myself when I immediately told him “that would be lovely” and I stepped back while he got the mud on his coat.

In fun news I purchased a new dinning set for 6. This means we can entertain more guests at one time. Since it’s hard to get out I’ll bring the socializing to us.

We will go out to Sydenham tonight for a family pot luck. There will be Euchre involved, a game Al loved pre stroke so I’m hoping he might give it a try.

Is spring ever really going to arrive?
Vessel Name: Close Knit
Vessel Make/Model: Marine Trader Double Cabin
Hailing Port: Kingston, Ontario
Crew: Al, Jennifer & Bridget.
About: Ex sailboat couple from S/V Ruth. Continuing our trip down south, in a little more comfort (& alot more work!)
Extra:
Alistair and Jennifer are a couple who met in 2007 after Jennifer survived a stroke in early 2006 and lost her husband to cancer the same year. Al had been a life long sailor and after dating several months Al suggested a lifestyle on a boat, cruising. Jennifer had no sailing experience and was [...]
Close Knit's Photos - Main
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Who: Al, Jennifer & Bridget.
Port: Kingston, Ontario