Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Life, death and oscillations

So twice a month seems to be about my speed these days, for blog posting that is. Not that I have any great speed at anything else, still have a cold, still tired of it, but still alive and kicking.

Hapi and I went to the Kentville Ravine this morning, it was super icy with a thin coat of snow hiding the ice. But a gorgeous cold sunny day. We met Bodhi and his owner there. Bodhi is a 6-month-old all-black Great Dane: acts like a puppy, looks like a horse. Bodhi always tries to get Hapi to play with him and Hapi growls and growls and finally relents and plays with him. Bodhi also likes to push me away from Hapi by body-checking, which is a bit scary when one is standing on a narrow icy path ten feet up from the creek.

As we were walking under some really tall hemlocks the snow on the upper branches started to cascade down in chunks and spray. It was like standing under a snowy waterfall. The whole forest got foggy from the snow spray and the chunks of snow fell from a great height in slow snow motion. Very dreamlike, very beautiful.

Later in the day I went down to the theatre to get some files off the computer in the projection room, and as I passed through the cafe at the front of the theatre someone called out my name. I looked and it was an old friend I hadn't seen in more than a year. I had heard that he suffered a stroke recently but was OK.

I stopped to chat with him. He told me the whole story of the stroke and what it brought up for him. He lives in the Harbour, his wife commutes every day into the Valley for work. The stroke happened in the early morning just after she left to work, and he kind of thought that was what was happening but since he didn't have a car he thought he would just lie down until she got home in the evening. Then he thought that she would probably take him to the hospital, so he should have a shower before she got home.

Crazy, eh? But his symptoms were so mild, a bit of double vision, a bit of dizziness, and that was it. He didn't think it was that big of a deal, and he didn't know that if you think you're having a stroke you need to go to the hospital RIGHT NOW.

As it was, they misdiagnosed him at the hospital and sent him home. They thought it was an ear problem and gave him aspirin(!!!) (aspirin!!!) (omg, so much for RIGHT NOW!!!). He ended up having to return the next day because he still had the symptoms and wasn't content with the ear problem diagnosis.

O, ...M, ...G.

Can you imagine?!?

Anyway, that was a few months ago and his symptoms have cleared up with little residual effect. But, it could happen again at any time, and he might not be so lucky the next time. So now, he's not very complacent about that, he is not nearly ready to check out, but they are telling him that besides quitting smoking, improving his diet and getting more exercise (done, done, and done!) the only other thing he can really do is get to the hospital, quickly.

But that's the kicker. He lives a 25 minute drive away from the nearest hospital, and his wife uses the car to get to work every day. He would have to find a neighbour who is home and ready to drop everything to take him in, assuming he recognized what was happening to him and could still use the phone to call around for help. And 25 minutes might not be quick enough.

So what to do. Should he move next door to the hospital? Stay put and take his chances? He has no answers and neither do I. If I lived in the Harbour I would not want to move next door to the hospital in town. But that's a scary choice, knowing it could literally be the death of you at any moment.

Once that conversation was out of the way we went on to some other interesting stuff, stuff I hope to talk more about with him later. But Hapi was tied to a lamppost outside the cafe and I didn't want to leave her there too long, I really had to leave in mid-conversation. I think we could have gone on for another hour or two easily.

In compensation for Hapi's long wait at the lamppost (I looked out the window a couple of times, she was holding court while passersby stopped to admire and pet her) I took her the long way home via the rail trail and the Acadia woods. Still sunny, cold, and icy with a thin skim of snow. But just so nice to be out in the woods with my dog on a sunny winter day.

As noted above, I still have a cold. Very annoying and energy-sapping. I suppose that what I really should be doing is lying low till it is cleared up, but I have a dog that requires a couple of vigourous walks every day. Can't not do that. Our weather is still all over the map but generally way warmer and dryer than last year. The weatherman says it is due to a positive Arctic Oscillation this year. Last year it was negative. It's not a regular thing, no telling if it will stay positive or if next year will be negative again, but generally they say that it is increasingly more often positive than negative. No doubt due to climate change but I can't say I am upset about it. I am all for positive Arctic Oscillations if it means I don't have to shovel the driveway.


Wisewebwoman said...

Make sure you don't have a lung infection Annie, colds should not last this long. Learned that from a doctor years ago when I was suffering like you.
Don't you have ambulances for your friend??!! Here out on the edge of the Atlantic we have ambulances?
Stay well my friend.

Barbara Anne said...

I second the thought that this cold might be a bit more. Be sure to have OJ and vitamins along with healthy soups. DH always suggest I hang my head over a pot of boiling water and inhale deeply. Have kleenex ready as your nose is likely to run big time for a short while thereafter.

We haven't moved house but have gone from being at the south end of growing zone 7a and now we're at the north end of zone 7b where we can expect milder winters. No snow or much cold at all so far this year. Today it was nearly 70*F. Yikes!

Be good to you! Hugs!

Annie said...

Thanks for your concerns my dears, but this is a head cold that just won't quit, I look forward to hearing properly sometime in the spring. Yes, I could go to the doc and maybe get an antibiotic, but the way I feel about antibiotics is that I have to be really really sick before I'll go there. I really dislike the side effects, not to mention the longterm after effects, so sorry, not going to the doc.

As for ambulances, yes we got 'em here, but don't forget that for the ambulance it is a round trip, so it'd take at least an hour from the first phone call to the arrival at hospital. The neighbour could do it way quicker. Besides, for the neighbour it's an excuse to drive really, really, illegally fast. Around here, that's how you do it. Cheap thrills for all.

Barbara, I had heard that about USDA growing zones, they're heading north. Pretty soon you'll be at the equator. Kidding. I also heard that they revised the zones twice, and you're actually back to where the first zones were set up to be. Hang on to your seat, never know where you'll end up.