Dying Embers of Summer

Holly enjoying a Fall morning in Lotusland

I’m told that one of the perks of being a grandfather is babysitting – except for when the occasion includes changing a diaper.  It’s not that men CAN’T perform this necessary ritual – it’s just that they’re afraid of pinning the diaper to the baby’s skin!  And that’s why they wait until after the child is ‘toilet trained.’   Note: this ‘rule’ does not apply if you’re a father (unless you celebrate ‘celibacy.’)

So when a friend’s three-year-old granddaughter said that she had to go to the washroom, he started to panic.  It’s not like he could just walk into the Ladies room with her!  His eyes began scanning the sports complex for a woman who could get him out of this jam and then it hit him!  He would take her into the Men’s Room – after he checked to ensure that the ‘coast was clear.’

Fortunately, the changeroom appeared empty, so he quickly went back out to get her.  But as they entered the room, a naked man suddenly appeared from the shower area!

His three-year-old granddaughter quickly raised her hand to shield her face and shouted “AWKWARD!” as she quickly ran out of the room.  It’s one of the funniest things I’ve heard in a long time and it’s probably why KIDS can sometimes appear to be much older than their years.

I thought about that story this morning as I got ready to go to the to the States to pick up some stuff from Trader Joe’s and Costco.  But first, I need to call Norm to see if he’s back from their cruise yet.  He and Dorean flew to Quebec City to cruise the St. Lawrence River and then along the Atlantic Coast to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  But they did it during the recent Hurricane Matthew storm!  

Thankfully, Norm spent many days and nights at sea fishing on his Dad’s boat, so he wouldn’t have been as afraid as most of the other passengers.  In fact, knowing Norm, he was probably helping to reassure and comfort all of the other passengers (and crew)!

Oooops!  There’s the phone ringing now …. and it’s Norm!  

“Hi, Norm, when did you get back?” 

“This morning!” Norm replied, “but you’ll never guess what happened on the ship during the storm and then again on the plane en route to Seattle last night?!”

To be continued.

I had so much to tell him because much had happened since we last had coffee together in late September.  I know that he’ll want to know how my cousin made out with her brush with the law.  It still makes me angry just thinking about it!

My cousin, who is in her late 70’s, lives in another province and is dependent on public transit to get around.  On this particular morning, she was standing at the bus stop, when suddenly she saw and heard several police cars racing down the street with sirens blaring.  She wondered briefly what the commotion was all about, but she was more interested in seeing if she could see her bus coming down the street.  

The next thing she knew, she was laying – face down on the ground, with a knee pressing against her back!  It happened so quickly; she didn’t even have time to scream. The two RCMP officers helped her up, and it was then that she learned that it was their police dog who had knocked her to the ground – at their command!

“We warned you to stop, and you refused our order, so that’s why we gave the ‘attack’ command to the dog.   You fit the description of one of two teenagers who had just committed a robbery in the area,” the Mounties explained.  

And then they left her standing there at the bus stop – alone!

My cousin had her back to them and had no idea that they were there and didn’t hear them calling out to her.  She somehow fit the description of a teenage boy – from behind!

My sweet cousin is also a cancer survivor – three times!  She had breast cancer 43 years ago and had both removed; several years later she had thyroid cancer, and then a few years ago, she had a cancer tumor removed from her lungs.  She is at best in fragile health and certainly posed no conceivable threat to the officers or their dog.

“Oh my God!” I yelled into the phone, “the Mounties did this to you and then just left you standing there?”

“Yes, and then when my bus arrived, I didn’t have my bus pass – it must have dropped from my hand when I was tackled to the ground,” my cousin replied.

She didn’t have any change in her purse so she couldn’t give the driver the exact fare, so the driver gave her a free ride – which was a bit embarrassing.

When she got home, she called 911 to report the police incident and got told that her call wasn’t an emergency!  But after my cousin angrily objected, two female Mounties arrived at her home.

The Mounties interviewed her and then left.  My cousin peaked through the window and noticed that the two Mounties were sitting in their car, but it didn’t appear that they were leaving.  In fact, they sat in their car for thirty-five minutes and then came back to her door.

“We’ve interviewed the two officers and their version of the story are different than yours.”

I couldn’t believe my ears!  My poor cousin, who has gone through so much pain and suffering in her life and now this?

“Are you going to charge the two Mounties?  You should at least lodge an official complaint,” I urged.

To be continued.

My cousin decided that it would be too stressful to pursue charges and although she is probably right, it still makes me angry just thinking about how stressed out she’s been because of the actions of those two brave policemen!   Their dog probably hates them for making it attack a helpless, senior lady.

But I guess it could have been worse – they could have tasered her too!

I can already imagine Norm shaking his head in disbelief when I tell him about my cousin’s ordeal.  Things were much different when he served with the Force!


Well, I will tell Norm about my incident in the washroom with two nurses, after my gallbladder operation on October 12th at Langley Memorial Hospital (LMH).  He will probably shake his head when I tell him about this incident, too.

I had arrived at LMH at 7:00 am for my 9:15 am surgery.  After prepping me for the operation, a nurse advised me that it would be delayed an hour.  Later, another nurse informed that there was now an additional delay.  They finally wheeled me into the operating room at 11:45 am, and that’s when the fun began!

In my meeting with the anesthesiologist the day before, it was decided that they would have to administer the oxygen by passing a hose through my nostril, down my throat, and into my lung through the lung valve – and they would be doing this while I was awake!  The incubator that they usually place inside a patient’s mouth/throat might cut into the scar tissue inside my throat – causing my lungs to fill with blood.  So that is why they needed to use a different, more uncomfortable procedure.  But I had gone through this when they diagnosed me with throat cancer, seven years ago, so I knew what to expect.

The last thing I remembered was sitting upright and fighting with them while they held me and tried to put the tube down into my lungs.  And then, just as suddenly, I awoke in a darkly lighted dormitory.  It felt like being in a Spa!  

A nurse told me that they would be keeping me for about four hours and then I could go home.  I hate being in hospitals – even though I love the healthcare workers.  It’s just hard to sleep in a bed that’s not like the one at home, and I spent three weeks in hospital during my cancer treatments in 2009.

About two hours later, they moved me to the final recovery room.  It was painful trying to move or change position in bed.  The nurse tried to help me change positions, but I would get a sharp pain if I tried to lay on my side – I had to remain on my back.  She told me that I would be there for at least two hours.

I laid there and stared at the clock on the wall outside my room.  I watched the second hand as it slowly and continuously circled.  

“Hello, Nurse!” I shouted weakly, ” when can I go home?’

“Not until you go pee.”

“Okay, please bring me a can of ginger ale.”

About five minutes later, I had two nurses helping me to sit up in bed and then to walk me across the room to the bathroom.  The nurse pointed to the red cord beside the toilet and told me to pull it if I needed help.  She also said not to lock the door.

Now my Mom taught my three brothers and me to sit when we had to pee in the washroom at home.  So I was house-trained.  But the drill on this occasion called for me to remain to stand; which almost made me giggle with excitement.  But as I looked at the red cord and then down at the floor I noticed a steady stream of blood dripping on the floor!  And the front of my gown was covered in blood!  

I pulled the red cord.  I was no longer giggling.

The door suddenly burst open, and two nurses had things under control within a short but scary few moments.  And as they helped me back to my bed, I could see and feel their concern.  And that made me feel loved. 

I overheard the head nurse talking to my surgeon on the phone; mentioning “significant bleeding,” which added to the fear I felt creeping from within. 

But the two nurses cleaning me up had calmed everything and changed my dressings like I was a newborn baby!  And that too, made me feel loved.

I giggled for the rest of the evening until my release – on good behavior at 9:15 pm.  Soon I  would be home with my little Holly.  I hoped she wouldn’t be sulking again!


You can leave if you perform...

but the nurses wanted to see more!

How's this Nurse Cratchet?

No, my shoulder!!!

Okay, how's this ladies?

The nurses said I could now leave but they hid my clothes!


So then I tried a different tactic – a selfie!

Holly was happy to see me.  I spent the next four days in bed.  Lots of time to think about my life.


I’m hoping to resume writing in the New Year but my highest priority is to find a new ’cause’ to support (volunteer)!  I’m leaning towards something involving dogs, seniors or children.  If you have any suggestions, please drop me a line…




Today’s Tune (from Danny’s library of purchased music):

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An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor living in Vancouver, BC (as in almost pregnant). His other passions include: patient advocate (he had Stage 3 Throat Cancer) ; daily power walks at the Promenade in White Rock; and of course, spoiling his dog Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).

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