Friday, September 28, 2018

A lovely summer and a not so lovely fall

I had a good summer. Quiet summer. I stayed home, I grew a garden, I walked my dog at the Reservoir almost every day. Usually there are two houses full of fairly noisy students next door to me and across the street, but this summer one house was empty because it is up for sale and the other house was empty because the owner wanted to do some cleanup (students are hard on the houses they live in). So it really was quiet. I know this will probably not be the case next summer so I thought this was a chance to enjoy it. It was, I did.

The first week in September I and four friends kayak-camped in Kejimkujik Park. We had near perfect weather and a very good time. There was one cold and windy day, we hunkered down for most of that day but the rest was perfect sunny warm weather. We arrived back at Jake's Landing tired but happy around 5.00pm on the last day. After emptying our kayaks and packing everything into three cars we went to a nearby restaurant for supper before heading home. I had left Hapi with a dogsitter and while she was happy to see me she was not frantic; the dogsitter had clearly taken good care of her.

I expected to be tired afterwards, we've been doing this trip annually for many years and the older I get the more tired I am at the end of it. I had one full day to get everything dried out and packed away before a day of rain hit. That was okay, everything went according to plan. But on the third day, when I expected to be more or less recovered, I was completely felled. Spent most of the day in bed, had a frozen soup for supper, went back to bed. Pretty sure I had a fever but my thermometer was broken so I could only go by how I felt.

It's been two weeks since then. I am not better. The fever was shortlived but the fatigue and brain fog have settled in for a good long stay. I am pretty sure this is ME/CFS. I had it at least once before, in 2000/2001, so I know what if feels like. Of course it is one of those things that only get diagnosed by process of elimination (not this, not that, not the other thing) and most protocols state that you have to have it for at least 6 months before it's official (one website said because it's the only disease that causes symptoms to last that long, but they didn't say what other diseases cause those symptoms for less than 6 months).

The first time I had it, it did only last 6 months and I thought I was cured. My doctor was sceptical and urged me to be extremely careful about resuming a normal level of activity. I thought I was careful. Every time I came down with something that caused a fever (usually a 'flu) I'd panic, but was always relieved that it really was 'just the flu'.

I think I might have had a relapse in 2011, but I can't be sure, and I don't know how long it lasted. At the time I did not have a GP, I went to an after-hours clinic and the doctor on duty ordered blood tests. She gave me a copy of the results which were all normal so there was no follow-up. I still have that copy and that's all the evidence I have that anything happened then. I remember the doctor and the blood work but nothing else. My blog makes no mention of it.

I don't know if this is a relapse or a totally new instance. I tried looking up CFS relapse, but there's nothing out there to suggest a 10 or 18 year remission between episodes. The first episode did not last more than 6 months so technically, it was not ME/CFS (although my doctor was certain that it was). I have not seen a doctor this time around. My doctor now is a half hour drive on the highway away and I don't trust myself to drive that far. I don't know whether he is willing to believe that ME/CFS exists or not, whether he will take me seriously or not. It seems like a long way to go to find out he is not. Maybe times have changed, maybe it's no longer a question but it certainly was back in 2000.

In 2000 someone recommended that I see a homeopath, which I did. Since I had something that I could barely get a diagnosis for and there was certainly no treatment for, I wasn't going to quibble about whether homeopathy works or not. Anyway this guy prescribed a bunch of stuff, I saw him several times and on the last visit he pronounced me cured. At the time I certainly didn't feel cured but apparently he was right. Normal life resumed, at first gingerly but after a year or so I got used to being normal again. Slightly less energetic, a lot more cautious, but well within the range of normal.

So I was thinking about seeing a homeopath again, there's one in town who is recommended by those who have been to her. But I visited her website and there was a form she wants you to fill in before your first appointment and just reading the form was daunting. I don't think I have the energy or the brainpower to do it, any more than to drive on the highway to see the doctor.

In the morning I get out of bed and dressed so I can take Hapi for her walk. The rest of the day I force myself to not go back to bed. All I can think about though is how nice it would be to sleep. Then at night I finally go to bed and I'm still thinking how nice it would be to sleep. All night long. Sometimes I actually do sleep.

Crap crap crap.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Tuesday September 15, 1998 - BC

New Westminster - sunny and warm.

There was a little lake at the rest stop I had pulled off at the night before, I woke to see ducks there. Very peaceful and pretty. I stopped in the Osoyoos - Summerland area for groceries at one of the many well-stocked fruit stands. Then I stopped for lunch at the Hope Slide, a huge landslide just outside of Hope on the eastern end of the Fraser Valley. Then it was straight on to home, stopping only for gas in Abbotsford. On arriving in New Westminster I went uptown to arrange for a phone to be installed at my condo, then home to a nice clean empty apartment. Yohan plopped down in the entrance way and I don't think he moved for two hours. I on the other hand spent the rest of the day unpacking the truck. What a mess!

And so ended my four-month journey across the country and back. The only territory I failed to visit was Nunavut.

When I arrived home there was a letter from Laurene saying that I should call them right away as Ray had been diagnosed with lung cancer (again) and this time it was terminal. The breathing problems he'd been having in northern BC and the Yukon were the first signs of it, they had had to cut their trip short when Ray was airlifted back to Victoria. I managed to see him one last time at their home in Victoria.

Yohan was old (16 years) and not well, I knew before I set out on this trip that it would be his last. He died the following December. The vet thought he might have pancreatic cancer; that may have been why his liver was swollen when I took him to the Copper River clinic in Whitehorse. Josh eventually turned up. The police in Castlegar did track him down but they did not tell me his whereabouts, just simply that he was alive and well. Sam spent the full nine (eight?) months with Katimavik before returning home, he spent three months each in Quebec, Newfoundland and Ontario.

And that's the end of my travel tale.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Monday September 14, 1998 - BC

Grand Forks - sunny and warm.

I crossed Alberta and reached the mountains by early to mid-afternoon. I stopped in Castlegar around 7.00pm to try to locate Josh. I talked to a lady living in his old house, then tried to get a hold of the police. The Police Office was closed but there was a phone at the front door. After hours everything is routed through Nelson, which means long distance; and because of the new long distance plans, all circuits were busy. Some of the guys at the Fire Department next door were watching from their second floor lounge and offered to help. I went in and they called the Nelson police from their phone, I guess they had a better number to call. I made my report, they said they'd be in touch.

I got gas and made a quick supper—I was starving at this point—and continued on. I pulled off the road for the night at a rest stop somewhere past Grand Forks.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Sunday September 13, 1998 - Saskatchewan

Gull Lake - sunny and warm.

I got on the road early again and drove through to a rest stop on the side of the road at Gull Lake. I've been there before so I was looking for it. It was mostly prairie driving. Once again the CD player was not working properly. If there is anywhere you want to listen to music it is driving across the prairies.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Saturday September 12, 1998 - Manitoba

Falcon Lake, Manitoba
Falcon Lake - sunny and warm.

I left the campground early and made it to Falcon Lake, Manitoba by night. I passed through the infamous Wawa (where hitchhikers dread to be let off).

The Wawa Goose
Also passed through White River, the birthplace of Winnie-the-Pooh.

Postcard from White River
Lots of places to stop along the Lake Superior shore and the weather was beautiful.

Yohan being majestic. He can't hold his tail up anymore.
The shore of Lake Superior
More great scenery along the north shore of Lake Superior. I took a little side trip to see the Panorama amethyst mine. The mine itself was nothing special but the drive in was pretty nice, with a road up a cliffside and great views of Lake Superior. Panoramic.

On the road to Panorama
Panoramic view, Lake Superior in the distance

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Friday September 11, 1998 - Ontario

Lake Superior Park - sunny and warm.

I am finally on my way home! I stopped in the Muskoka area for lunch at a small town on Georgian Bay and then spent the night in a campground in Lake Superior Provincial Park, just south of Wawa. It was good driving and great scenery. It's an early fall, the colours are starting to come out.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Thursday September 10, 1998 - Ontario

Richmond Hill - sunny and warm.

In the morning Isaac and Gretel and I had coffee and bagels and then Gretel started going through her manual for the new job that she starts today at 11.00am. Isaac and I took Yohan for a walk in a nearby park and had a nice long talk about family matters. It was a bit of a touchy topic but Isaac seemed satisfied with what I said and I felt I'd pretty much covered it the way I wanted to. When we got back to the house Gretel was ready to leave for work. After she left I got ready to leave as well. I had talked to Beth on the phone the night before and had arranged to visit with her between 1.30 and 3.30 in the afternoon. Isaac helped me load the truck and then I drove him downtown to his job at Roy Thomson Hall. I then set out for Beth's place in Richmond Hill, just outside of Toronto.

Just as I arrived at Beth's I realized that I did not have my fanny pack which I was using as a purse. No money, no cards, no camera. I freaked. It was hard to visit with Beth because I was so focussed on the loss of the fanny pack and contents. Beth suggested that I call the Film Festival office to try to track down Isaac or Gretel, and after several phone calls I found someone who knew who Gretel was and agreed to page her. But Gretel was not at her designated theatre and it was a while before she called back. Finally I heard from her and Isaac was with her. He confirmed that my fanny pack was still in their apartment. We made arrangements for me to pick it up from him at Roy Thomson. I arranged to spend the night at Beth's as I did not want to drive into Toronto again.

I took the subway to Roy Thomson and exchanged Isaac's YPT hat which he had left in Wolfville for my fanny pack, and then had supper and took some photos of Roy Thomson Hall before heading back to Beth's. In the evening Beth and I walked Yohan in a nearby ravine. I slept in the spare bed in an alcove off Laurel's room in the basement.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Wednesday September 9, 1998 - Ontario

Toronto - sunny and warm.

I had a small breakfast and said good bye to Sam, I was on the road by 8.30am. It was a nice drive from La Malbaie to Quebec City along the north shore of the St. Laurence River, through hilly farmland and forest and many small towns. I crossed the river at Quebec City and got onto the TransCanada highway toward Montreal.

Shortly after crossing the river I was adjusting the CD player (and not looking at the road) and I veered off the highway at speed. I zoomed across the grassy verge at 100 kph, knocking down a small reflector post and narrowly missing two larger signposts. By the time I got my foot off the gas pedal I had slid into a swamp by the side of the highway. The truck was at an almost 45 degree angle in the swamp, the 2 wheels on the driver side still on the grass but the other two wheels well into the swamp. I climbed out thoroughly shaken up. There was smoke or steam billowing out from under the truck.

Amazingly, the car immediately behind me on the highway followed me off the road. I guess they thought something was terribly wrong and wanted to help. So by the time I managed to get out of the truck (pushing the door open was hard because it was almost above me) that car was parked beside me and the three men in it were already out and asking me questions in French. Did I fall asleep? What happened? Did I have a rope or chain? I told them that I did have some rope but it wasn't very strong. I tried to dig it out but it was on the passenger side of the cab and I couldn't get at it. The men started talking about what they could do, that they really needed a chain to get my truck out of the swamp.

Just then a cube van also pulled off the highway, it drove a little ahead of us before stopping. We all stared at it: there was a chain wrapped around its rear bumper. The van driver got out and the three men ran to meet him. There was some discussion about whether to try to pull my truck out forwards or backwards and then they wrapped the chain around my truck's front bumper and the car pulled my truck out of the swamp surprisingly easily. They got me to start the truck and drive it forward a few feet to see if it was driveable. On seeing that it was they all left. From start to finish that episode took maybe 20 minutes! But I was still pretty shaken up by it all so spent another 10 minutes or so cleaning mud off the windows and straightening things out inside the truck. It was a good thing I had screwed down my sleeping platform when I was in Whitehorse, the back of the truck was relatively undisturbed by the trip into the swamp.

After that I pulled off the road when I wnated to fiddle with the CD player. The rest of the drive to Toronto was uneventful and as boring as only the highway from Quebec City to Toronto can be. On the outskirts of Toronto I phoned Isaac and Gretel for directions to their place and arrived there around 9.30pm. I told them about the swamp episode and showed them the mud along the passenger side of the truck, which I had not yet cleaned up. Isaac thought it looked kind of artistic, you could see the marks of the bulrushes sweeping along the truck side.

I said I'd really like a beer so Isaac got a sixpack of Corona from their downstairs neighbours. They live in an attic apartment in a three storey house in the Annex part of Toronto. They showed me their theatre in the stairwell between their apartment and the one below. They come into their apartment via an outside fire escape stairwell so the inside stairwell is blocked off at the bottom. It has a landing half way down which is their theatre stage, and the steps from their apartment down to the landing is audience seating area. They have lights on the railing above that shine down onto the stage, and at intermission their kitchen is the theatre bar. Their theatre can hold a grand total of six audience members. We also discussed their plans for the Film Festival opening the next day, which they are participating in. I slept on a futon on the floor of the living room.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Tuesday September 8, 1998 - Quebec

La Malbaie - rainy.

Since the time changed at the New Brunswick-Quebec border I had set the clock back an hour in the cab of the truck, but I forgot to change the clock in the back where I slept. So when I woke up and saw that it was already 6.30am I thought I was going to miss the ferry. But once I got into the cab of the truck I realized my mistake and saw that I was actually early, arriving at the ferry dock at 6.00am. I made breakfast there and boarded the ferry just before 8.00am.

You get a ticket in the line-up parking area and then pay for it on the ship. On the ferry ride I got caught up on my journal. After debarking I drove to La Malbaie and asked for the Katimavik house at the local tourist info house. The coast here reminds me a bit of the Labrador coast, but there mare more trees, farms and towns. It is very pretty.

At the Katimavik house I talked to Christian, the project leader. He told me that Sam was working in Clermont and I could probably see him at lunch time at the City Garage. We talked about Katimavik a bit and how they get the most applicants from Ontario and Quebec and need to advertise more in the other provinces. He said that Jacques Hebert has retired from the Senate recently and is now touring all of the Katimavik sites. They got their budget increased this year and may have 750 participants instead of 600.

I drove to Clermont and chopped up some of my vegetables at a picnic spot by the river and then showed up at the City Garage for noon to meet Sam. He is really enjoying it. Later I went to see their work site where they are clearing trees and brush along a trail by the river.

Sam asked me to stay the night which I agreed to but that definitely throws off my schedule. Also it is further to Toronto than I thought. Oh well.

Around 5.00pm I returned to the Katimavik house in La Malbaie. After some milling around I had supper with the group: fajitas and coleslaw. A bit skimpy due to miscalculation. I brought in all of my CDs from the truck for Sam to go through and pick stuff he wants to tape and I got on the internet on their computer to pick up email. After supper I brought Yohan into the house.

They had a weekly meeting scheduled which I sat in for part of. Five of the participants are francophone and six are anglophone. No one is bilingual so Christian must do a lot of translating. They first debated a statement proposed by Christian that healthy human beings have choices and must therefor take responsibility for their lives. Very interesting debate. The conclusion seemed to be agreement with the statement, but the debate was limited to 30 minutes so who knows what the outcome might have been if they had gone on longer. Then they discussed food, money, work and the schedule of events.

It was a very long meeting and afterward they thanked me for visiting. Part of the group then went out to the local Sub shop, and another part started work on making a clubhouse in the basement. Sam taped the CDs he wanted. I was pretty tired and went to bed in the truck around 11.00pm.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Monday September 7, 1998 - Quebec

Riviere-du-loup - cloud and sun.

Isaac and Gretel got up very early and had left by 6.00am for Toronto. I started packing and was ready to leave by 8.20am. Said my good byes and was off.

I made pretty good time until I got to New Brunswick. First I stopped for souvenirs in Sackville, and then I made awrong turn and started heading for Shediac. I bought gas outside of Moncton and missed my turnoff for the back road via Renous and had to double back. The gas station was right on the turnoff but I didn't realize that at the time.

I stopped for supper on the Renous - Plaster Rock road. It was a beautiful sunny clear day and the leaves are just starting to turn, the hillsides were touched with russet and bronze. I was planning to get cheaper gas in Edmunston but I missed it and ended up going back because I didn't want to pay the Quebec price just yet. And so, as a result of all that I did not get to Riviere-du-loup until 7.00pm and the last ferry across the river was at 6.00pm.

I forgot to mention that Sam had sent me email from his Quebec Katimavik posting saying how much he liked it and giving me his address and phone number in La Malbaie. I looked at a map and realized that it was just across the river from Riviere-du-loup and that there was a ferry crossing there. I thought I could visit him there on the way home. I had also phoned Beth in the Toronto area yesterday and had told her I would be in Toronto on the 8th and could visit her on the 9th. But now that I had narrowly missed the ferry my schedule was going to be all out of whack.

I found a good campground right next to the ferry dock and went to bed early. The first ferry will be at 8.00am so I need to be up early to be at the ferry dock for 6.30am.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Sunday September 6 1998 - Nova Scotia


The last day of socializing in Nova Scotia. I had coffee with Dennis at the Coffee Merchant and he gave me some names of people in Vancouver that I might contact. I called Marilyn to leave Isaac's address and phone number for Marilyn's daughter Ariana. Heather answered so I went up there to return her thesis, which I had borrowed when I had lunch with her on Thursday.

Heather became interested in alternative communities when she was living in my old house at Wenega. Unfortunately it burned down and she had to move; she ended up going back to school at Acadia and studying sociology. Her thesis was on the Wolfville and area scene, focussing on Eos and Wenega. She collected quiestionaires and did interviews; when she completed her thesis she made six copies for distribution. When I returned the copy I was borrowing she asked if I had any comments and I did. I also relayed some of what was said last night, especially some of the reminiscences. She wished she had been there.

I stayed for tea and cookies and by the time I got back to Fritz and Carolyn's it was almost 7.00pm. We had pork chops for dinner.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Saturday September 5, 1998 - Nova Scotia


We spent most of the morning chatting. Isaac and Gretel left to go visit Wenega (in Baxter's Harbour) and I did some baking and food preparation for the next leg of my journey. I wasn't feeling well and had an earache which I have been treating with ear drops that Carolyn gave me. I was talking to Dennis yesterday who was really sick with the flu so I'm taking lots of vitamin C, echinacea and garlic in hopes of not coming down with it.

Isaac and Gretel returned from the Harbour around 7.00pm and we all had lasagna for supper. Then people started arriving: Lin, Aunah, James, Chris and Trish, as well as Fritz and Carolyn, Isaac and Gretel, and myself. It was a really nice time reminiscing, looking at old photos, discussing Heather's thesis about intentional communities, and so forth. Chris brought beer and Isaac contributed wine.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Friday September 4, 1998 - Nova Scotia


I wrote some email at the library and then met Carolyn and her sister at the Baptist Church, where Heather was trying to pick music for the Sunday service. I enjoyed sitting in the church listening to her play different pieces. Then we went to the Coffee Merchant for lunch on the patio; I had chili and a bagel with cream cheese. Carolyn had to go to Rafuse Building Supplies to pick up some gyprock and I was going to stop by The Odd Book and meet her later at Rafuse. On my way to Rafuse I ran into Sam Vander Kloet who suggested I come by the Biology Department for coffee at 3.00pm.

We loaded the gyprock onto my truck roof rack. Erica wants to trade rooms with Kurt and Carolyn is removing all the shingles in Kurt's room and replacing them with the gyprock. It is turning into a bigger job than expected and she wants it all done by the weekend. I am kind of reluctant to help because it is such an unpleasant job. Anyway, after we got the sheets into the basement we drove over to Heather's place to see her floor. They have a family room with a rough plywood floor which they have stained to look like tiles. It is quite impressive, it looks like the real thing.

I went to the Biology Department for afternoon coffee at 3.00pm. I recognized most of the people there and some of them even remembered me. Sam was talking about whether to retire, he says that if he does they won't be replacing him and there won't be any botanists in the department. But he will probably get to keep his office space and his blueberry plants.

I started cleaning up the truck in preparation for leaving and Isaac and Gretel showed up around 6.00pm. They made sandwiches and then we walked down town with Yohan to get fruit drinks at The Main Squeeze. We walked back after dark (a nearly full moon) and Gretel went immediately to bed. Isaac, Carolyn and I watched "Fierce Animals" then I went to bed on the livingroom couch. Fritz had gone out and returned around 2.00am.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Thursday September 3, 1998 - Nova Scotia


I had lunch with Marilyn and Anh Hua at Marilyn's place on Pleasant St. Anh is planning to move to Vancouver in September or October. Marilyn gave me Ariana's address in Toronto to pass on to Isaac. Heather Holmes arrived because she is going to move in with Marilyn. She let me use her computer to check email and I had a message from my friend Baz in Vancouver who said he was in London England right now.

In the afternoon I walked with Yohan to the library to respond to Baz's email. Afterward I returned to Fritz and Carolyn's and started phoning people to come to a party on Friday night to see Isaac.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Wednesday September 2, 1998 - Nova Scotia


I booked some time on the computer at the library and then went to The Odd Book and picked up a couple of books, "The Great Code" and a book on crewel embroidery. Fritz and I spent some time talking about Ken Wilbur's and Daniel Dennett's ideas about consciousness. I also read a book by Colin Wilson on Atlantis and the Sphinx which provoked a discussion on scientific method, reductionism and so forth. Wilson is fascinating and frustrating—very interesting ideas and total disregard for logical argument. Unfortunately Wilbur is similar, in my opinion. Since I have lots of time now I am doing a lot of reading. I finished "Fall On Your Knees" which was good, and tried to start "Angela's Ashes" but couldn't. I called Marilyn to arrange lunch tomorrow.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Tuesday September 1, 1998 - Nova Scotia

Wolfville - warm and sunny.

I went to the library to book some time on the computer at noon, then spent an hour doing errands in town until then. I was going to return to Carolyn's via Highland Avenue, but ran out of gas half way up the hill. I had been running on near empty until I could get cheaper gas in New Minas but I guess I didn't make it. I walked over to Judy's to phone Carolyn who wasn't home. Judy drove me over there and I picked up a half liter of lawn mower gas and then we went to where I had left the truck. With the half liter of gas I drove to the gas station to fill up and replace the lawn mower gas. I went back to Judy's to thank her and she invited me in for lunch. She also gave me a whole bunch of tomatoes for Carolyn but I ended up eating most of them because they were so good. Carolyn returned home later and we went to New Minas to shop for groceries and pick up some camera film I had left for developing. We rented the movie "Kundun" which we watched that evening. I phoned Isaac in PEI and he agreed to come to Wolfville on Friday, so I will be staying here until the weekend. I did a big laundry.