Tony’s Daily Journal - 2023

See my daily journal for 2018, for 2019, for 2020, for 2021, and for 2022.

On 18 January 2022, Laurie-Ann and Tony Copple returned from South Africa. This daily journal focuses on their time in Etobicoke as caregivers to her father Steve, and looking after their own health challenges. Please start to read at the bottom. Latest postings are at the top.

Jan 2023 | Feb 2023 | Mar 2023 | Apr 2023 | May2023 | Jun 2023

Sun Sep 17    Med - the final post

I am afraid this jornal ends here. I no longer look forward to writing it each day. My health gets worse by the day with chest pain and breathing issues. Many days I wonder how many days the Lord wants me to continuue on for. A couple of important events should however be recorded. On 18 Sept I checked myself into Etobicoke General Hospital primary with the pain in my legs from Pitting Edema and wanting to know just how serious it was, and secondarily from the increasing breathing issues and chest pains. In the few hours after I arrived they put me through all the machines from ECG to CT scan, and then checked me as an in-patient. My phone ran out of power, and this time the trusty Blackberry Q10 never recovered. I was there 4 days as various tests were done and injections were given. A doctor visited me once and explained nothing about any results they may have been seeing. My bed was uncomfortable and the room was cold, which I shared with Liza, a middleaged spinster with many problems in additional to medical ones. I was happy when they finally discharged me, but the days since the discharge have seen no redution in my breathing pains.

Two days later we had one of the most joyful and unexpected events. Around midnight on Saturday 27 July, L-A woke me to say James had come to see me from Las Vegas. Can you imagine the feelings on both sides?! In addition to wonderful conversations, he flew his drone in our side garden, he reconditioned my guitar, and he set up my new iPhone 18. He was very generous with gifts. When he left on the Tuesday we naturally wondered if we would see one another alive again. He was off to Alaska to see if Kathy and Sagan would feel comfortable there should James confirm a good job he's been offerred.

Sat Sep 16    Med

Woke with a wellness factor of 0. Took a nausea pill at breakfast which may have helped with the rest of the day. Or it may have been the Monster I had at lunch.
I went through the laundry for the cotton fitted sheet for Steve's bed. He had been kicking off the nylon fitted sheets.
Message from FNB asking where was the signed document they had requested; I sent again my reply saying I couldn't read it on my screen. But are we talking about the same document?
After finding Top Medical's email with their invoice for Steve's ambulance trip back from EGH, I put together a dossier of Steve's owings to us which Tara can delete from his bank account and send us by EFT. But by 6 pm there was no sign of her. This minor achievement allowed me to clear up quite a lot of paperwork gathered round my desk.
Sent a follow-up email to Mike Finlay saying I planned to contact all term mates and see who had a Mesothelioma diagnosis. It never drew a reply and now I am not sure I am well enough to get into controversy.

Fri Sep 15

At about 3 am I went for a pee and discovered Steve on the floor just inside the front door. He was asleep but seemed in no trouble, so I decided to leave him there. Fast forward to morning, and he had got himself off the floor and was sitting on the Deacon's bench. 8 am and he was now sitting on the floor. Allison came about 8:15, and I gave her an update. She grabbed one of his arms, and I the other, and he had enough energy to stand up, and we walkered him back to the bedroom. She was extra careful he didn't fall, and gave him his wash. When she'd finished she left him on the bed. I had my wash. I walkered him back to the kitchen, but as he approached his place setting, he had a sudden energy loss, and I was unable to hold him. I let him down to the floor carefully. L-A and I applied our lifting skills, but we were unsuccessful, and he remained on the floor a couple of hours. I finally got so sorry for him and his mournful look, I insisted he crawl, and this time his brain finally cottonned on, and he turned over and crawled to the kitchen door. With verbal encouragement from both of us, he was finally able to get his back legs up. I guided him back to his bedroom. It was a day of falls and recoveries, but no serious damage. Yet I worry that the strange behaviour that accompany them indicate a lessening of brain power. He had absolutely no explanation why he would have gone to lie down on the hall floor, and by tomorrow will have no memory of it. Tristan Blackwood called about 1:30 for our first financial planning meeting, and I had some problems with Teams. Laurie-Ann watched on an iPad. However it worked well enough to continue. I was embarrassed when he asked me how much pension income I have and I couldn't remember where I even got pension money from. Laurie-Ann was on the ball and was able to answer most of his question on behalf of both of us. I asked him to send me a list of the data he needed and I would reply with it in accurate detail. Despite these problems, Tristan handled the meeting very well, and I will certainly send him back accurate figures. He homed in on planning opportunities where we would cash out some registered monies, and put into TFSA, saving overall income taxes. It turned out to have beeen a good meeting.

Thu Sep 14    Med

I woke with a strange dream - very rare to remember my dreams. I was in a remote area of Asia where the rocks were all white - as if white-washed. Turned out this was done thousads of years ago to honour their dead, but today's survivors were washing off the white and re-consecrating the dead, and that is what I was involved in. I called Allison and found out when she was planning to come. The 45 minutes she gave me allowed me time for my shower, except that I had forgotten that I'd switched from showers to baths, and had a bath, with some physical actions proving very hard; just one more example of the brain's deterioration. It took so much out of me that when I slumped back on the bed after dressing, I fell asleep, and when I woke Allison had been and gone. I called Eddie, yesterday's technician, who said he was off today, so I called Vital Mobility, and they said I could expect someone at 2. This actually happened, and two men arrived with the new mattress and pump. It didn't take them long before the key parts of the bed looked (and were) new. I tested the systems and all worked perfectly. In fact I suspect the previous pump had never worked fully. I wasn't well, and my legs felt as if they had plaster casts on. I had worn the compression socks several days, and then given them a break, so it was disappointing the legs were still painful. But this plaster cast feeling was really quite painful, and made itself known whenever I stood, or sat.

Wed Sep 13

We were all up, washed, dressed and fed well before 10, but there were no calls to us, and I eventually realized the technician (Eddy) only called his next customer when he'd finished with his last one. So we got a call at 2:15 to say he'd be here about 3 pm. He unplugged all the bladders of the mattress, but heard no rushes of air, and turned his attention to the Domus 4 unit. It didn't take long for him to realize that the main air pump was defective and only blowing at a fraction of its normal power. Then he suggested we buy a new mattress anyway, since there is a major saving on the two bought together, and we would always have a spare mattress readily available. So we went ahead on the deal and I got out my Mastercard. The good news was that the Domus controller and the matress were in stock and could be delivered and installed tomorrow. I turned my attention to the washing. Items in the most recent wash had not dried properly, and some of them were large blankets. I made up his bed with dry blankets, and put some of the smaller ones to work providing acoustic protection from the noise of the low power alarm on the Domus 4

Tue Sep 12

L-A spent a fair portion of the day making elderberry pear crumble pie. We all enjoyed it at dinner. I called Vital Mobility and asked when we might expect the service call, and the best they could say was a phone call around 9 and a visit after 10. Though we received no 9 am call, knowing that we needed to be ready by 10 was helpful.

Mon Sep 11

Tristan (our new IG rep) called to clarify the $10K redemption which had somehow got lost in Carlos' hands, and not for the first time. I am glad to have talked to Tristan who speaks English, getting to be a rare thing these days. My concern for more Mesothelioma in our naval group triggered me to email Mike Finlay, the final line being, "I believe it is urgent to inform all survivors of this. It is possible some have died already. One option would be a short message to all survivors asking if they have Mesothelioma, and if so please to contact me for information that could be very beneficial.">

Sun Sep 10

I attempted to send R200 to Bella via PayPal based on her phone number. I knew most of the additional information they asked for, and I am fairly confident the money went through. She should have it by Wednesday. My body and particularly stomach suffered severe discomfort most of these days. In an effort to relieve it I took odansetron today and on Tuesday, and I believe it helped.

Sat Sep 9

Bruno called back at 6 pm last night! We have a plan. The problem is probably caused by damage inside the mattress. This can be repaired, but takes time. Such damage can be caused by someone sitting down heavily on the mattress, as Steve does. I am to call him at 10 am tomorrow Saturday (I did) and book a service call for next Wednesday 13. Sept. He hopes to have someone there when I call in who can tell me how to turn off the beeping - low pressure alarm (he didn't). I tried out the bed as it is and it's comfortable. I will try some acoustic ideas to reduce the sound of the alarm. I am expecting a time and material's charge. They have gone out of their way to accommodate me.

Fri Sep 8

Ian McCallum died. This was a shock to me. I determined to get the word out about awards being availanle from the MoD for Mesothelioma cases. Steve slept though all the beeps from his bed. He was pretty wet when Allison got here quite early. I served him a mixed grill. After breakfast I called Vital Mobility home health care, but Bruno was going to be round and about throughout the day so I left my name and number. I brought up the huge pile of washed and dried clothes; it was the most strenuous thing I had done in a long while and I needed a long rest afterwards. I sent Tara the latest information about our dealings with Vital Mobility Home Health Care. 'I have been in touch with a very helpful technical specialist there named Bruno. It is possible he'll be able to solve the problem remotely (if he gets back to me). The situation is confused by the fact that the bed was resold to John (or you) 2 months after being sold to the first owner. I wouldn't expect the warranty to have survived the resale. We hope you are feeling better than you have been.
The Domus 4 mattress controller settles into low pressure mode, and activates an alarm every few seconds. In an effort to make Steve's night somewhat comfortable, I put sheets and blankets on the defective mattress, and I put the controller in a cardboard box surrounded by cloths and small blankets, and covered with items of bed linnen. It worked very well, and with our bedrooom door shut, we could't hear it.

Thu Sep 7

The day started with a shower instead of my regular Thursday bath. I thought it would be less strenuous than the bath, and so it proved, and I found it more relaxing. Hartley Silver had got me thinking about compression socks. I realized that it was since I stopped wearing them my pitting Edema had started in ernest. This morning I put them back on and intend to wear them daily. So far they have been comfortable. We need to find a way to send Bella additional cash. If my FNB account could be resurrected, the problem would be solved because I could send her cash from there. So I started with the help chat line, and they gave me the customer service email, I sent them a message. I also contacted PayPal to ask if it is possible to send money with them to South Africa. Tara had sent us details of Vital Mobility Home Health Care, and I called them in Vaughn, armed with a copy on my screen of their original invoice. I got through to Bruno, who wasn't sure why I didn't appear to have the name of the buyer, though I had everything else. Later, L-A was able to tell me that the bed and mattress had been used for 2 months and then sold to John (Sinclair). Bruno then tried another tack, getting me to move to the bed, and, as I turned on the pump, tell him what went on with the lights. Then he directed me to a couple of large tags, both labelled 'CPR.' He said that the tags indicated (amoung other things) if air was escaping, and indeed it was. I plugged the valves back in the CPR side, to stop further air escaping. Then, when I turned on the pump, it actually (if slowly) inflated the mattress. He said to call him when the mattress was inflated, but by then he had gone home. I will have questions to ask, because once the metress was inflated, the 'Low pressure' lamp came on, and beeped. If Steve wanted a more comfortable night, he would have to put up with the continual beeping. Steve said, "Yes" to it. I had a rushed meatloaf dinner, and then a rushed trip to the church, where I couldn't find the chapel where tonight's connect group was due to be held, so I sadly missed it, and came home to do the remaining clearing up. My left leg compression sock had become painful as it rubbed on the bunnion so I took it off. The right leg sock was still comfortable, so I left it on for the night.

Wed Sep 6    Med

My last day to take Tobradex eye drops, a 5 day anti-biotic, but although it has been very effective, I was still waking with some hard deposits around the eyes, though far less severe than in the past. Steve slept on the white couch for much of the morning, but when he did wake for a pee, I took my opportunity to give him his exersizes. Paul and Lamberto hadn't given me a summary of the exercises they had introduced, but I figured that in the overall scheme of things those that Humail and Christine had used would do just fine. This morning they did better than fine, particularly considering that a few days ago I had given up in the middle. Steve performed the exercises better than he ever has before with me, both the brain/memory aspects and the physical aspects. It was a joy to work with him, and it will have done him a lot of good. Afterwards he had a good lunch in the living room. Late afternoon Steve grabbed his walker and beetled off towards the toilet, but unfortunately didn't make it before depositing some poop on the bathroom floor. His effort to sit on the toilet after taking off his diaper was only partially successful, so the toilet seat was treated to poop that should have gone down the toilet. Between the two of us we handled the fallout from these events and soon he and the toilet were cleaned up. I returned him to the white couch, but a little later I discovered him lying on the broken bed, so it can't be that uncomfortable. Dr Makar called me at 6. Further study of my blood test revealed my thyroid is borderline hypo (lazy). She wants me to come in 2 months (on a Wednesday) for a further test. As a bonus she said I can stay on the Tobradex for 5 more days. She also wants me to be taking vitamin D3 2500 IU.

Tue Sep 5    Med

Steve had a chiropody appointment with Dr Hartley Silver, but I felt it too risky to get him there on a walking stick, and this situation would only get worse. Allison had mentioned that it's possible to find a chiropodist who does home visits. So I decided to take over Steve's appointments. I had recently cut my own toenails with some difficulty and risk of drawing blood, since the LED lighted head magnifying visor James had given me would not allow sharp enough focus on my toes, though I had used it regardless for 7 months. I explained the situation to Shanna, Dr Hartley's receptionist that day, and she was happy. When she invited me into one of the two consulting rooms, I explained things to Hartley, and he was happy. In fact we had an exceptionally good chat. I asked him about my Lymphedema. He said the name of my condition is Pitting Edema. Come to think of it, my situation had got worse when I stopped wearing compression socks. He didn't recommend surgery for my bunnions, and didn't seem to think they were particularly serious. He cut my toenails and then smoothed them down with his special burnisher. It wasn't umpleasant.

Mon Sep 4

Steve very weak. We gave up on physio after a few exercises. I gave him lunch in the living room on the table. L-A managed to find Tim Hortons decaf coffee deliverable online. Troy Black has profesied about coming food shortages, and maybe we are seeing this in our deliveries. I knew there were a couple of wheel chairs in the garage behind the matress, and Steve was getting to the point where he might need to use one. I went out and investigated. The first is foldable, but had a flat tire. It's possible there is a repair pump hidden somewhere in the garage. Or I could take it to Canadian Tire. The second chair is in excellent shape, but is not foldable, so its use is limited to short walks up the street. L-A judged me too tired to help her with a regular dinner so we settled on (very nice) egg sandwiches and grapes.

Sun Sep 3

Despite the odds Steve slept through on his deflated mattress and didn't wake us in the night. In fact I slept too well and was woken by Allison at the door. It seemed unlikely that we would get the bed fixed in the middle of the Labour Day weekend. I thought it unreasonable to expect Steve to spend the day on the broken bed, so after breakfast I set him up on the white couch. He has often spent hours on it, and he did this today. with pee breaks. Before phoning Sam d'Angelo, I made a diagram of the pump and the dozen lights on its panel, with its model number 9P 077000. When I did phone him, he assured me he had given all the paperwork with warranty information to John when he picked up the bed. It turned out he was a middleman, introducing clients to the manufacturer. He knew nothing of maintenance. I left a phone message for Tara stating this and asking if she was able to unearth said paperwork, though it seemed odd that he wouldn't have brought it here with the bed. But he certainly hadn't given it to me. Worried about where he would sleep tonight, I piled a few blankets onto his broken bed, making the mattress effectively thicker. Steve started shaking his hands uncontrollably as he finished his apple pie dessert at dinner. In fact I fed him the last four mouthfuls. But this had only been a warning, for soon he dropped off into an 'episode' where he lost the power of speech, and I strapped him into his chair. I had plenty of clearing up to do as I kept an eye on him. For a while he appeared to be getting worse, but eventually he turned the corner and became strong enough to walker himself to another part of the kitchen for an apple, and then to walk with my supervision towards the bedroom. We stopped at the bathroom where I replaced his one diaper with two, so that if he did pee in all the layers of bedlinnen, it would only be a minimal amount. But here our problems began, for he sat down heavily on the wrong part of the bed, and although he had just had enough strength in his legs to walk with the walker, it wasn't enough to stand from a sitting position on the bed, however much I helped him. For some time he attempted to bump himself towards the middle of the bed, making almost no progress. I just sat in the chair; it was 10:30 - past my bed time. After a while I thought he might have regained some strength, so I placed the walker in front of the bedside and he and I tried one last time to get him up. It worked! This 2 1/2 hour exercise was complete. He sat down on the mat and then got his head on the pillow.

Sat Sep 2

I woke earlier than usual, remembering the load of clothes in the drying machine, so I brought them up, not an easy task. About 10 days ago I had dropped most of the contents of a large coffee cup on the floor in front of the stove. By now the heavy kitchen mat from in front of the stove was dry after scrubbing it and leaving it in the basement, so I brought it up and put it in its place. Late yesterday Bella had reminded us of the cash she needed from us in early September, and when I took a brief look, it appeared more was needed than the South African government allows in a month. But when I revisited the situation this morning, prompted by Bella's figures, it appeared we would just be able to satisfy her needs, TKOG. I set up the three XE Money Transfers and sent three explanatory emails so she'd know exactly which expenses each should cover. Tara and Kennedy arrived late afternoon, excited at birthday gifts about to be given to Kennedy. Taylor Swift's Speak Now - Taylor's Version and some pastel gel pens were our contribution, and she spent the next hour or so listening on a CD player in Tara's room. Tara isn't well and went downstairs for a nap that lasted several hours till about 9. It was while she was sleeping that the pump on Steve's air bed failed. The lights became uncontrollable, and eventually the pump wasn't pumping and the bed deflated. Before she and Kennedy left she was able to give me the name of the person who had sold John the bed: Sam d'Angelo, 416 347 2233, Huston, we have a problem! My subconscious mind started trying to figure out answers. During supper I asked Steve, "Do you want pumpkin pie or berries and ice cream?" "Whichever is fastest," said Steve without hesitation. After supper I took him to his bedroom, knowing it wasn't going to be a comfortable night for him. This had been a busy day for me, but I was feeling a little better physically so was able to accomplish these things.

Fri Sep 1

We were awakened by Allison arriving about 8 am. I try to be up by the time the PSW comes, so instead I stayed one jump ahead of her as she washed Steve, and had his cerial ready when he was clean and dry. I felt too tired to join him at breakfast, but once he was back in bed I had mine. It being the first of the month I sent promised money to Bella by XE Money Transfer. Two hours later Paul and Lamberto arrived so Paul could show Lamberto the exercises he had chosen for Steve. I was embarrassed to see a wet patch on Steve's bum as he walked assisted from the bedroom, noticed immediately by Paul. Lamberto went through the short list of exercises with Steve, monitored by Paul. When they left, I walked with Steve to the bathroom. I took off his trousers which were wet across the backside. I then removed his diaper, which had remained dry throughout the last 2 1/2 hours. This was more than a mystery! An answer could explains endless items of clothing that I have lugged down to the washing machines, perhaps unnecesarily. It would appear to me that Steve removes his penis from his diapers, and then uninates freely into his clothes. Of course he remembers nothing of this, except ocasionally a warm sensation which he mentioned such as when I questioned him this morning. I sent the most urgent R10,000 of Bella's begining of month needs to her. Though I had lots to do on my 'Don't Forget' list, I still spent time on couches attempting to recover some energy.

Thu Aug 31    Med

Paul came again and spoke about getting a transit chair to avoid the risks of unsteadiness. I think we are unlikely to do this at Steve's present general health level, but if he deteriorates below being able to handle his walker, it will be an option. I felt sick and ill most of the day. Tara told L-A she may bring Kennedy here on Saturday. I tried the eye drops version of Tobradex and was immediately impressed. Soothing and effective.

Wed Aug 30    Med

I had been looking forwared to my appointment with Dr Makar, and rightly so because the results of the blood test she had taken showed a clear improvement since my first iron infusion. Since I hadn't felt better to match these results, they were all the more significant in encouraging me. She seemed keen on having the second infusion soon. I took the opportunity to see if there was an alternative to the Tobradex anti-conjunctivitis ointment she had prescribed, which left a film on my eyes, and she said Tobradex was also available as eye drops. I said, "Yes please!"

Tue Aug 29    Med

I was extra tired while making Steve his breakfast, which had needed some ingenuity because the last two sausages were growing fluff, and the mushrooms were hard. So we had scrambled egg, fried tomato and prosciutto, which needed two frying pans. After breakfast I just got more and more tired after exertion, and I went to bed shortly after noon. I was woken by a phone call from Dr Brezel's assistant to ask if she should send through a prescription with an alternative to his glaucoma eye drops. I suggested that instead she send an email with the name of the alternative and I would discuss with Dr Dang. I felt a little better so went into the garden and harvested some more elderberries. I spent part of the time sleeping on the grass. To get still more elderberries would need a longer ladder, but I wasn't prepared to take the increased risk of falling off it. L-A and I spent some pleasant time on the porch, she with tea and I with pumpkin pie and milk. We decided to have pizza for dinner and I went to Pizza Nova (the first time forgetting my money) with the recipe: chicken pizza with spinach, sun dried tomatoes, red peppers and red onions. Everyone liked it.

Mon Aug 28

Since the drying machine had some clothes we needed in it, such as my vest, the first thing I did when I got out of bed was to bring the dry clothes upstairs. They were really heavy for me but I made it, dumping the clothes on the end of my bed and then taking another 20 minutes sleep to recover. When I delivered Steve his morning Tylenol, I judged he would be fine till Allison turned up. I brushed my teeth and shaved and then dressed slowly. Allison was here for the first time since Friday 11 August, and washed Steve normally. I asked her about the new diapers I had bought for him and she said they were good. Paul the physiotherapist arrived about 11 and established part of his assessment by watching Steve walk with his walker into the living room. Late afternoon there was a bang from Steve's room. He had used the table instead of the walker to get himself across the room to use the teapot, which he had successfully done, but on his way back to bed he's lost his balance, and he, and the table were lying on the floor in some disarray. At least there was no pee on the floor. I pulled him with his legs to where there was more space, got him to roll over onto his front, brought the walker to be in front of him, and persuaded him to pull himself up with the walker while getting one leg standing. He knows the routine quite well by now. Soon he was back in bed for a while before joining us for dinner in the kitchen.

Sun Aug 27    25 years ago I asked Laurie-Ann to marry me.

We weren't sure if CBI had been efficient enough to restart the PSW service on the day after Steve returned from hospital, and if they hadn't I had lots of work to do. By this morning he'd had no help to clean himself. It would work well if a PSW came before the bed was soaked. I called CBI and confirmed that a PSW, Shivorn whould be coming around 11. I thought he could hang on till then. She's efficient and I told her to decide if he was steady enough on his legs to go into the bathroom. She decided in favour and there were no problems. So when she was done with him, she brought him to the kitchen for a very late breakfast. The fact that he had breakfast in the kitchen was a victory. He spent the rest of the day in bed except for lunch (served in bed) and dinner, shared with us in the kitchen. James, Kathy and Sagan video-called on this the occasion of Sagan's 8th birthday, and the talk was about bicycles. I should have had an hour or more in bed but I didn't. I felt desperately tired particularly after a trip downstairs. When I went to bed the drying machine was dealing with a full load.

Sat Aug 26

Dr Dang had delayed Steve's departure to enable me to receive the training from hospital physiotherapists in getting him in and out of bed. I have been doing this for months so I'm not sure how much I learned. More significant were the several pieces of equipment they recommended that we buy, notably a stationary commode. so that his toilet funcltions could all be conducted within the bedroom. They also recommened a 2-wheeled walker, a transport wheelchair, and an adjustable bed rail, and gave me a list of where these things could be bought. Steve's nurse Cuito promised that his personal belongings wouldn't be left in the hospital. I called Top Medical and booked the ambulance for 4:30, and informed Cuito. I went home via Valley Farm Produce in a thunderstorm, feeling pretty exhaused when I reached Alanmeade. L-A was preparing Steve's evening meal, and I went to bed for 45 minutes. The ambulance trip home for Steve was accomplished without incident, though Steve told me later it was a bumpy ride. The two ambulence men had just enough strength to lift him up the porch steps and onto his bed. They also mentioned in answer to my question that any hospital sheets and blankets that arrived with him were his to keep. I received a message on the landline from a physiotherapist named Paul offering to bring him exercise therapy twice a week, and we set Monday at 12:30 for the start. Steve was quiet for the rest of the night; I couldn't persuade him to let me remove his hospital diaper and his other wet clothes. He did eat a healthy portion of pork tenderloin and roast vegetables sitting in his inclined bed, and he was very pleased to end his meal with berries and ice cream.

Fri Aug 25

Dr Dang called L-A to say she had set up a training for me tomorrow morning from some physiotherapists in basic moves to get Steve in and out of bed. Tara and L-A spoke about the current situation re whether Steve would be better off in a long term care facilty, and they agreed as an alternative that we could hire a professional nurse who could come in between 10 pm and 2 am when Steve can sometimes be at his least co-operative

Thu Aug 24    Med

Late morning I was at EGH to see Steve. He was fast asleep when I arrived, and his bedmate Alfredo claimed my attention. Alfredo was unable to pee, and had used a catheter for two months. This I could relate to. He asked me to bring him iced water, but when I found the kitchen the ice container was empty, so I filled it. I took him tap water and some iced orange. Shortly after a nurse removed the water. Steve showed no signs of waking, but a little later his main doctor, Dr O'Brien came by. She said they had been trying to check the reasons for certain episodes he had been having, such a variable heart rated. She suspected the glaucoma eyedrops were to blaim. Then she said she was looking into the effects of the fall that had brought him into the hospital. I told her there was no fall; it was a misunderstanding promulgated by the firemen after seeing him prostate on the bathroom floor. Hearing this she said there was no reason why he couldn't come home. She said I should organize an ambulance for tomorrow afternoon since he was unsteady on his feet, and gave me the number of Top Medical, 416 716 6167. Dr Liederman called me! I took the opportunity to apologize for bugging him with my misunderstanding of how long the pain would persist. I aked when I should arrange a pre-iron-infusion blood test, and he said late September, and he would send me a requisition. About 2:30 I called Top Medical and ordered and ambulance. Their next window was 4:30-5 so I paid $209.51 with my Mastercard. Then I called the clinic at the hospital only to hear they had postponed his departure to give time for me to receive training in transfering him from from and to his bed, and they would call me when they have a time. They had told me this was on the cards earlier, but it was a pity they hadn't confirmed it. So, with some difficulty I cancelled the ambulance. During the day Tara called L-A and received an update on these things. All day my chest ached, even with the mild pain of typing onto this keyboard, and whenever I exerted myself physically I suffered the pain of fatigue.

Wed Aug 23    Med

I was back in Eringate clinic in the morning and Rhianna collected the blood samples. Since yesterday I had read the article 'What to expect from an iron infusion' (see Sat Aug 19), and while my new knowledge didn't reduce the pain, it gave me extra strength to handle it from knowing what was going on. It would take a while (a few weeks?) but eventually I should feel much improved all the time. It now seems very naive of me to have expected to feel better almost immediately. Maybe my experiences with blood transfusions gave me that idea. But I still think I deserved 5 minutes of Liederman's time to tell me something of what to expect.

Tue Aug 22    Med

It was good to be welcomed by Dr Makar, and so as not to miss anything important I read out my anaemia pain story since 16 August (just 5 days ago). I wanted to know if my experience was normal; an increase in chest and body pain when I exert myself to even the smallest degree. She impressed on me that when I call the (TGH Haematology) Clinic I ask a minimum of two questions: when is my bloodwork set to determine my next iron infusion, and when is my next infusion. These are a little 'in your face' because Dr Makar has had the same problem with communications there as I have. L-A had been concerned that my thyroid might not have been tested, but Makar had done so twice when I first became her patient, and there was nothing untoward. It turned out that this clinic did blood collection and analysis every Wednesday, so I was booked in for tomorrow at 10:50 by Rhianna, her second assistant, and it was to be a very comprehensive set of tests in case something had been missed. Bella responded positively to my questions last week, and I told her I planned to send her the first half of the cost of new glasses - R6,000 on 1 September plus some known needs for September, so that I send money in R5,000 chunks as much as possible. Although I had suggested to her that her prescription wouldn't have changed, the store thought otherwise and re-tested her, finding a significant deterioration. This may turn out to be an unexpected benefit of this sad accident.

Mon Aug 21    Med

I called V and made an appointment to see Dr Makar at 10:40 on Tuesday. I'm worried about the tiredness pain in my chest, becoming much worse after the slightest exercise, and L-A suggested it could even be the fault of my thyroid, or other organ, so time to have these things checked out. And I am not getting the feedback or support I would expect after the iron infusion. Today was the first day of our Numeris online radio survey. In the afternoon I went to see Steve in his new room (7052-1) - for cardiac patients, following an incident last night when his heart rate fell quite seriously. He had recovered by the time I saw him and I used it as an opportunity to watch two nurses clean his backside. He had not lost his teeth, his glasses, or his electric shaver during the move from the 10th floor. I was pretty tired when I got home about 6.

Sun Aug 20

We both went to church, which celebrated community day instead of a message. As part of community day, Catherine and Bob spent some special prayer time with us. Community Day was for the kids, and there was plenty for them to eat and occupy themselves.

Sat Aug 19    Med

No apparent let-up from the anaemia pains 3 days after the iron infusion. However, if I had read What to expect from an iron infusion, or Dr Liedernan had explained it to me, I wouldn't have expected immediate results. Starting Monday we are going to be tracking all our radio listening for Numeris for a week. Ever since we set up the stereo so we could watch Netflix, we haven't been able to listen to radio on it. I did switch round a number of audio cables. But for L-A to track her radio listening. she needs a radio! So this afternoon I fixed the FM and AM channels on the stereo. Truth to tell, I don't know what I did, other than check wiring, but FM studdenly started blaring from the speakers. We then spent the rest of the day listening to 96.3 Classical FM. It had been bright sunshine all day so I waited till dusk to photograph the newly shorn bushes in the garden. Here's the one outside Steve's window. I sent pics of all the shorn bushes to Tara, and also a photo of Steve shaving in the hospital.

Fri Aug 18    Med

We were woken by the landscaping team in their 4 trucks getting to work trimming the bushes round the house. What had started with a comment from Steve that he couldn't see out of his window had become a comprehensive exercise in beautifying the gardens all around the house. They did good work (though I understand they were paid well). L-A had a call with Steve's dietition, who told her that that the cause of his heavy cough was a condition caused by drinking liquids, and recommended 'Thicken Up Clear' to be added to his foods. She said she'd leave samples in his room. Laurie-Ann was able to source some on line in Laval and ordered 3 cans. As the contractors left, I harvested what I could from the elderberry tree, and when I took it in, L-A immediately started work on what would become elderberry pie. As the day progressed I still didn't feel any better, so during the morning I left a phone message for Dr Liederman, that I was actually feeling worse after two days, and should I be worried? I also asked if I should be expecting a second infusion any time soon. After lunch I went to the hospital to see Steve being fed by a nurse. Apparently when he feeds himself, too much goes onto the bedsheets. I had brought him a couple more bananas. I got him his fully charged shaver so he could continue shaving for a while. While he did so I said, "Hi" to his room mate Josie, and ended up praying for her, which she was touched by. I picked up the Thicken Up Clear and was on my way, stopping whenever I spied a bench. L-A had texted me suggesting that we dine on Pizza, so I aimed for Pizza Nova.

Thu Aug 17    Med

I woke hoping to detect some reduction in the fatigue caused by my anaemia, but if there was any it was wishful thinking, unless you count a determination to visit Steve during the morning. He was all smiles when I arrived. He'd just finished his breakfast and was wearing his teeth and his glasses. I had brought his shaver, and suggested that he should do some shaving right now, which he did, with good work particularly on his upper and lower lips. By the time I was leaving he had also worked well on his chin. He had a new room mate called Josie, and she was keen to chat with him, and tell him how handsome he is. Someone in the nursing station told me that if I rang his bell, his nurse would come, and that's how I met with nurse Kiren, who wasn't able to tell us much, but I thought it would be good for Steve to hear anything she had to say. On the way out of the parking lot I photographed the red notice telling visitors they should pay inside the building. Now this is nonsence, as admitted by the parking staff, who had some BS reason for why the notice is there. I wonder how many visitors have scrambled back into the building unnecessarily. Back home I gave L-A her breakfast, shortly after which she returned to the bedroom for more rest, and I joined her in such a good idea.

Wed Aug 16

Hot news (for me) as I scanned today's headlines: Monster (energy drinks) pulled off Canadian shelves. Their labelling doesn't come up to scratch, though there have been no (zero) reports of illness from drinking Monster drinks. This sounds like it comes from the same government watchdogs who want to ban all non prescription drugs. Monster has been of major help to me in battling fatigue. I hope the company is engaging really good lawyers to fight it once labelling issues and the like have been resolved. I went to TGH for my iron infusion, somewhat apprehensive, and taking breaks. First I needed to attend the TGH pharmacy, and they seemed to take forever as they prepared my particular dose. I was worried I would be late for the infusion appointmennt, but I needn't have been as nurse Michael, wearing a rainbow watch strap swung into action. The process was much as with other infusions as the rich brown-red fluid cursed into my vein and body. Someone mentioned this was the first of two infusions, which would explain why I had two prescriptions. Someone else mentioned it wasn't covered by OHIP and cost $600, but no-one else has yet confirmed that. The process took about 90 minutes plus half an hour flushing. Shortly after I returned home, feeling neither better nor worse than when I left, James called and I took the video call. He was extemporizing on his piano to get himself in the right frame of mind for a job interview with an ajent company for Amazon. In their project to greatly expand the use of drones for online deliveries, Amazon is hiring a group of drone experts. This group will go to Seattle for three months intensive training in the skills thought to be necessary, and the group will be pruned as members demonstrate (or not) their skills and ability to fit in with the Amazon culture. I asked James if I might pray for him before the interview, but he turned down the suggestion flat saying that he didn't want a job won with any divine assistance; he wanted it to be achieved through his own efforts alone. Now when I was an atheist, I believed exactly the same. So after our call I prayed that he would have a successful interview and be selected for the group, since all good things come to those who ask, or someone asks on their behalf. Then I had a thought come into my mind, that a company like Amazon is more interested in attracting staff who will follow the Amazon culture, than their technical akills, that can always be taught, so I texted the the gist of that to him in hope that it could help with the interview. He didn't get the message till after his interview call. In the evening we watched the movie Blackberry, a pretty scathing indictment of how not to run a company, with a sideswipe at why few Canadian companies have achieved lasting international success.

Tue Aug 15

James called after breakfast and we went droning around his part of Las Vegas, while being able to chat. He has overcome a number of technical problems to get to this point. His worst issue now is that Luna barks at the drone. See 3 Aug: The problem I had obtaining my discount for the September Conference was resolved satisfactorily by an email from Catherine to So I can attend everything at half price. I failed successfully to call Steve's nurse at the hospital, and I won't be able to visit tomorrow, but I am confident the hospital will call us or Tara when they are ready for him to move out. Bella needed cash for Cathy's scans, and I was able to send it plus two family allowances without exceeding the R25,000 maximum per month. I am still unsure how the MasterCard interest is calculated on cash outlays to fund international transfers, so having sent Bella's money I paid off the MasterCard in full. We are going to need more money from Carlos soon. Tara called L-A with news from the hospital. Steve has a urinary tract infection, so we are unlikely to see him for a few days. I was relieved there had been some communication between us. I plugged in his shaver, and next time I go see him I'll attempt to shave him. I thought a lot about my iron infusion tomorrow, wondering if I'd really feel a difference, or whether it would only be marginal. I certainly didn't relish the idea of the discomfort of the last few weeks in my body becoming the norm.

Mon Aug 14

I woke after an hour's lie-in with two goals for the day. After getting breakfast for the two of us, I gave the bathroom a major cleaning with some of Carol's very strong-smelling disinfectant, a scrubbing brush and the mop. This left the floor pretty wet, and it wasn't dry by the time Laurie-Ann needed to use the facility. She came up with an excellent idea: lay the front door mat on part of the bathroom floor, and the pink bathroom towel on the other part. Feeling like Sir Walter Raleigh I then invited her to enter. One goal accomplished. Next I went to the hospital to see Steve. I took several rests on the way to his room. and I did see him, but he didn't see me. He was either in deep sleep or drugged up. There was a nurse working at a computer outside his room, and I asked her if I could speak to Steve's nurse. After 15 minutes or so, his nurse Achmar turned up. She was awaiting the doctor's visit. She said he had spent quite a lot of time talking in his gibberish language, and they felt his dementia was worse. She was concerned that if I took him home I wouldn't be able to get him safely into the house, and that an ambulance may be necessary. She assured me that before sending him home they would have a detailed talk with me. My impression was that there was nothing wrong with him that would prevent his return home. I left him a couple of bananas, and went downstairs to the cafetaria where I had a burger and a coke. It's getting to be a habit. I used my credit card to leave the parking lot, but found the audio instructions confusing. They suggested I could insert them in either order, but after my credit card was rejected twice, I inserted the parking ticket first and everything finally worked, probably to the relief of the line up of cars behind me. L-A cooked a comprehensive everything root vegetable stew with turkey which used up some of the vegetables that we have because od Steve's absence.

Sun Aug 13

L-A was determined to attend CTF although she didn't get to say more than "Hi" with Bob or Catherine. The worship was excellent. The speakers were Mike and Robbie Frank. Mike had been an extremely successful businessman turned Christian public speaker. After church we decided to have hamburgers at Zula Burger Pizza as an alternative to cooking dinner that night; instead we had eggs.

Sat Aug 12

I was woken by watching the sun rise over Las Vegas - live - via James' drone, and even able to talk to him for part of it. I was still sleepy so was seeing some things double, but it was still special. I had a bath, which was harder than usual due to my continuing diminishing iron. Then I cooked us porridge which made up for it. I packed up a bag of basics for Steve, and drove to the hospital about 1 pm. The hospital reception didn't know his room number but knew he was on the 10th floor. On the 10th floor it wasn't obvious which window was a reception, and I must have looked confusued because a passing nurse directed me to the one in front of me which had shown no interest in me thus far, and had no sign such as 'Reception.' They asked me for his name and and told me the room number was 1059. Steve was looking very clean and tidy, and at first dozy, in his bed, as he figured out who was this person? Then he recognized me and was happy to chat. I looked around for his belongings, and found a plastic bag labelled 'Patient belongings.' Inside were the clothes he came in with, and I greedily grabbed at his grey jacket, and in one of the side pockets was his upper denture! I cleaned it as best as I could and then sought out his nurse. I showed her both dentures and explained that he would now be able to eat solid food. She got the importance of the point as I recommended she inform the local food distribution people. I showed Steve the things I had brought him: his glasses, his comb, his shoes and a change of clothing. By now he was a very different person from the man who had lain all night on his bathroom floor. That person had the mental illness symptoms of dementia which we haven't seen before. This man was gentle, communicative and glad to be safe in a hospital bed. When I was leaving he stretched out his hand to me in a firm handshake. I told him I'd be back in a couple of days. On the way out of the parking lot, I read a notice: 'Please pay at paystation before returning to your vehicle.' so I reparked the car, and took the parking ticket back into the hospital, and payed my $14 at the paystation. I then went to parking services and complained. 'Why couldn't I pay on exiting the parking lot?' Well it turned out I could. So I complained that their sign was misleading. Their response was that it was helpful when there were lines-up of cars waiting to leave. I repeated that their sign was misleading. Back home L-A asked for salmon dinner with pasta and fresh vegetables, which I found challenging to prepare. I dislike Pan Sear salmon but my main problem was that the anaemia had exhausted me. But I was very happy with my visit to Steve and his reaction to it.

Fri Aug 11

I was conscious of a weighty decision as we turned in on Thursday night. If Steve didn't wake in the morning, whose fault would it have been? Yet his history showed a habit of falling to a low ebb, but then recovering. In the end it was the thought of Allison coming in the morning, with her experience that suggested we could leave him where he was and monitor him through the night in the hopes that at some stage he would 'awake' from his 'turn.' In fact the major challenge of the night was finding a way for Laurie-Ann to pee. While I was able to stand over Steve in the bathroom, there was no way for her to get in there, so she ended up using a kitchen pot with my help. Steve hardly moved in the night, but we knew he was OK from his occasional gruff words, intelligible or not, which we could hear from our room. I got up at 8 and unlocked the door and brushed my teeth and shaved. Allison arrived as I was putting on my shoes to discover the grand scheme for herself. It wasn't long before she agreed we call the fire service, so I did that, and they arrived within minutes. Getting him off the floor took longer. While in the early stages last night Steve hadn't wanted to co-operate with me, now he was confronting a higher level of authority, and also the early stages of sanity had returned. It took two strong skilled experts finally to get him on his feet and, via the walker, onto his bed. It was now that the team leader called in medics to establish his current physical status. Allison was still here and took the opportunity to sponge-bath Steve on the bed, and make him more comfortable. She was a good member of the team. They came with the equipment to move him to the ambulance. The medics plugged their devices into him and found no serious issues, but it was his brain that had led us on an unmerry dance, so I wasn't sorry when they carried him off to Etobicoke General. I cleaned the lower denture that he'd taken out in the bathroom, and searched for the upper one, not finding it anywhere in the bathroom or bedroom, and mad with myself for not checking his coat pockets before they took him. Laurie-Ann informed Tara of the various happenings in the night. Tara was unwell herself. Suddenly the house without Steve seemed a place of extra peace, and we both decided to take several hours on the bed. I woke the better for it, and had a small lunch and a Monster. I checked my upcoming appointments and have my next CT scan on 18 October. By then I'm really hoping for progress with the anaemia under the supervision of Dr Liederman. I called the hospital, and with some difficulty found Steve's nurse. They would be running tests on him and I can call tomorrow to see if there are any conclusions.

Thu Aug 10

I felt better when I rose - early - probably from the blood transfusion. L-A had an early appointment in Etobicoke General Hospital to do with her fatty liver disease, and she had decided to go in by Uber. Before even waking Steve, I fed L-A her breakfast, and got the walker out of the Chevvy. But at about the time she expected the Uber, she received instead a message saying no drivers were available. I was available so I took her, but first went inside to get the car keys. Then I had a bad idea. I locked the door with the door blocker as its very first trial for real and went out via the rear door. It was only when we were on our way to the hospital that I realized I'd forgotten that Allison could arrive before I returned. Best available plan: get L-A to the hospital asap and get myself back asap and hope that that was before Allison arrived. I was lucky; the traffic was light, and I was indeed back some while before Allison came, so the problem disappeared. Quite early I received a call from Dr Liederman's staff with the full details for an iron infusion at TGH next Wednesday at 1:30. L-A arrived home - by Uber - earlier than expected after a reasonably helpful visit with Dr Sarah Wong, and a booking for a Fibroscan, which L-A arranged for 11:30 on 11 September at Liver Scan Direct. James had set up the technology so that as he flow the drone and its camera sent back the views he wanted to capture, he was able to forward the video footage to me. This was exciting stuff. It was a 'first' for me, but also for him. By lunchtime the benefits of the blood transfusion seemed to be wearing off, and I had a Red Bull. I asked Chat GPT how to tell which oranges, nectarines and mandarines, etc are more tart and which are sweeter, receiving information I could have done with for years. L-A went off by Uber to Bob and Catherine's leaving me to supervise the ever more erratic Steve. He was having a bad day from both a physical and mental health perspective. In mid afternoon he tried to put on his shoes (for no good reason) and fell heavily on his backside. As the day continued, his behaviour and speech became stranger. At the start of dinner, I found him drinking from my Lactulose-Pharma strong laxative, which probably shouldn't have been on the dinner table, but I hadn't seen him before actually taking medications not prescibed for him. Around 8:30 he started crawling, searching for tiny things on the floor, and refusing to get up. I had had difficulty getting on to the Zoom call but we had figured out the problems. I reloaded Zoom on my machine with the latest version and I think that helped. So I enlisted the prayer power of the group to ask for mercy for Steve as he enters definitely a new phase of his illness. L-A got home close to 10 pm and Steve was now stretched out on the bathroom floor, his lower denture on the bathroom counter, still searching for little bits and talking gibberish, with his face prone next to the toilet and refusing any help or advice to get up and into bed.

Wed Aug 9    Med

I had 3 scheduled appointments at PMH today, but just getting to the hospital while fatigued was my early concern. I stopped to rest three times while walking from Queen's Park station. I went to the blood collection centre, and then to Medical Imaging for a chest X-Ray. I was preparing for the X-Ray (ie taking off my shirt) when Dr Liederman's assistant called and confirmed I would be hearing from them about iron infusion. Mystery solved. There was still 20 minutes before my appointement in the Lung and Sarcoma clinic, so I went to Tim Horton's for a Bacon English Muffin and coffee, my first food of the day, and wondered what news I would be hearing following my CT scan last Monday (the one before being 24 February, when Dr Bradbury had been very pleased to see some tumour schrinkage.) On my way up to the clinic I made friends with Bo, a volunteer stationed near the elevators, whose job is to help everyone, but particularly first time patients as they navigate the hospital. Soon I was in the clinic, disappointed not to be seeing Penny Bradbury, but pretty happy with Dr Jamie Feng. All of Dr Bradbury's staff are high class. He delivered excellent news, that the recent scan, 31 July, had shown continued significant shrinkage of the Mesothelioma tumour. Now this was really good to hear, particularly after immunotherapy had shown far less dramatic results. He confirmed that Dr Liederman was indeed planning on an iron infusion. Most of my significant discomfort is caused by my hemaglobin and the low iron levels, not by the cancer, so I am very happy with the way the treatment is moving on the cancer front, and on the anaemia front. But Jamie wanted to give me some more immediate relief in the form of a blood transfusion. He sent me to the blood Collection Centre for the extra tests they do before a transfusion, and then organized a transfusion for me at 1:30. This gave me 90 minutes rest before I reported to the Day Clinic, where I met Dr Robert, and not for the first time. This transfusion ran more smoothly than the previous two. Robert couldn't have been more attentive. Getting home from PMH had been marginally easier than on my previous visit for the CT Scan, possibly because I had received the blood transfusion. But I still stopped for rests every so often. I stopped off at Valley Farms and bought some nectarines, which were quite nice but lacking in tartness.

Tue Aug 8

I took Steve for a haircut with Ben. Just getting him into the car was dangerous for falling, but we hade it, and Ben recognized him from the store entrance. I asked him to cut it extra short because I really didn't feel it wise to bring him in again, and thought I should cut it myself, or find someone doing home visits. I had taken $25 of Steve's money from his wallet (with his permission) to pay. While he was in I went to Silvertime and bought a new leather watch strap to replace the original which had failed on Sunday, and then bought a 6-pack of Pale Pilsner from the LCBO. This had proved to be my favourite local craft beer from 6 bought there recently. When checking in online for tomorrow's hospital visits I noticed that two medications had been added to my list on the UHN Patient Portal: Cyanocobalamin 1,000 mcg/ml injection, and Monoferric (Iron Isomaltoside). My guess is that they were added by Dr. Liederman's staff. Steve decided to try and dismantle his walker seat just as we called him into supper. Normally it would be food trumps all with Steve, but tonight he was determined, despite the fact that the food was left-over souvlaki. I was far from my best and something triggered me to break my own rules and threaten him. I said that if he didn't come into the kitchen for his dinner I would throw it in the compost. Now, he can detect an empty threat at half a mile so he just stayed in the living room until I capitulated and went in there and cajoled him. He came, and really enjoyed the souvlaki, saying so a couple of times. He was way behind us and we had left the kitchen while he finished his meal. Suddenly we heard a crack of glass. I was in there fast to see that his previously full glass of ginger ale was now all over the red table mat and the glass itself was in two or more pieces. I wheeled him towards the bathroom, where I changed his trousers and diaper and took him next door to bed. I returned to the kitchen and tackled the clearing and washing up, beginning with placing ramikens under the red table cloth so it would dry overnight.

Mon Aug 7

When I took in Steve's morning Tylenol, I asked if he was dry. And he said he was. I decided to experiment. I took him into the bathroom and had him drop his trousers and diaper, which were indeed dry, and then invited hime to pee, which he did with some volume. After pulling up his dry trousers and diaper, I returned him to his dry bed. He was sill dry when Allison arrived after her vacation of some weeks in Europe. It was good to see her again. I had forgotten to upload a Brian Wilkie podcast for Sunday, but when I got into it the situation was worse. Brian had been away and I only found one suitable sermon to upload, but it wasn't till I was quality checking that I discovered I had completely forgotten the previous week, 30 July as well. I posted a notice saying podcast missing on that day, and if I can possibly find a sermon of his I haven't already used, I can recover. My eyesight was compromized by blurredness since I had applied Tobradex last night, although it had fought off the conjunctivitis. I had a Red Bull with my lunch although it still tasted awful, because I wanted to be productive for the afternoon. Cathy contacted L-A about Pat Codner's 'memorial' service. It seems it could happen as soon as next week, when we have nothing planned at present. I opened up uFile, after praying for inspiration, studying the second of their suggestions, soon realizing they were referring to L-A's colouring book business. I obtained the missing NAICS code from the previous year, and now I just need to how to key in her sales for 2022. So that was some progress. I changed Steve's trousers and diaper before they wet his bed.

Sun Aug 6

Neither of us was up to going to church, so we watched the CTF service on line - until the signal failed after the first half hour. This was particularly sad since Steve and PSW Amy happened to be watching at the time just after she had finished cleaning him up. Both L-A and I were extra tired for much of the day. For dinner L-A ordered in souvlaki, and the three of us shared dinner for two, and there should be enough for tomorrow night. There is a change going on with my taste buds. As well as some individual foods losing their appeal for me, I wasn't enjoying some whole meals, such as the souvlaki as much as in the past.

Sat Aug 5    Med

This was a tired day for me, which at first I put down to the three trips to Home Depot yesterday. But my tiredness today was unrelenting, letting the Home Depot and installation of the door blocker off the hook. I have never felt like this before, and spent a lot of time dozing on the couches. I twice felt it necessary to help Steve change his trousers and diaper.

Fri Aug 4

The PSW this morning hadn't been before; her name was Mary Loo. When she was done I played Hello Mary Loo to her and she was intrigued. Mid morning I gathered my energy together and drove to Home Depot. My intention was a rent a small hand-held drill, but to them, 'small' was the largest drill I had ever handled. It was industrial capability, and heavy as I found out lugging it back to the car. The rental was for 4 hours. When I got home I soon found my first hurdle: the 2" drill I had bought yesterday left an inch of screw sticking proud, and no extra strength would persuade it to burrow through further (and incidently preventing our front door being closed). Either I must buy a 3" drill, or I must be satisfied with the reduced security of 2" screws. Not forgetting the time limit on the rental, I chose the second option. The chance of buying a 3" drill appeared a lot less after yesterday's experience, and surely it wouldn't be hard to buy 2" screws. I removed the drill with a wrench from the basement because I had jammed it. I drove back to Home Depot, and had the most frustrating time trying to find 2" Phillips screws. A passing customer service assistant was no better than I and I asked if he could send a specialist, but no-one came. I was trying to decide whether to ignore the 4 hour deadline when I found a small box of square-ended 2" scews. I then searched out the aisle which had yielded the Phillips adapter, and was able to find a square adapter, size 2, the smallest. I bought the screws and the screwdriver adapter and returned home, where L-A had got the potato-parsnip-leek soup heating up on the stove. I tested that the screwdriver adapter fit the new screws and it did. We were on our way - again! But we weren't home and dry. There is an oblong screw hole in the flat steel part that will hold the door blocker into the door post, and a short screw is provided to use half way along the oblong, so that the door blocker can be temporarily put in position. When I did this. the door blocker would not reach the closed position. So I loostened the short screw and gave the door blocker more room, and this time there was too much room and the door wouldn't fully close securely. So I drilled a different hole for the short screw, and this time the door blocker was in the ideal position. I drilled 3 2" holes and screwed in the 3 2" screws. Something must have slipped because the door blocker wouldn't block. I ended repositioning the three 2" holes twice more before the door blocker fit, locking and unlocking perfectly. Without further ado, I drove the drill back to Home Hardware, and was delighted when the nice Muslim receptionist forgave me the extra hour, so that I only paid $21.63. for drill rental. 'Installs in just minutes...' had again proved itself nonsence except for someone doing this job regulary, but I was pleased by the final result. I know that this device is designed to stop forced access from outside, and it will, but our usage of it depends on Steve not being able to figure out how to unlock it. Our strategy depends on not ever discussing the device in his hearing, so that in the heat of the moment he would have no clue why the door wouldn't open for him.

Thu Aug 3    Med

I awoke feeling extra tired, which would normally have been depressing but this morning was appropriate since I was booked for a video call with (my) haematologist Zachary Liederman, and what I wanted to discuss with him was why I can become so very tired after making minimal physical effort. I found it quite hard work just getting Steve's breakfast, which this morning started with fresh cantaloup. Steve had soaked his bed through to the plastic mattress, so while PSW Elizabeth washed him, I stripped the bed and squirted the mattress with 'Scrub Free.' I had her deliver him to the living room, but when he got tired of that he returned to his room and lay on the mattress which by then was dry. My chat with Dr Liederman was good and helpful. My iron defficiency was only marginally worse than the average patient in my condition, and fairly stable. There's a possibility I have anaemia of Chronic Disease. I found this on line: values for serum iron and transferrin are typically low, while the serum ferritin value can be normal or elevated. Dr Liederman suggested a couple of options: a bone marrow biopsy, and an iron infusion. I preferred the latter because it promised as much as two months relief from extreme fatigue, while the biopsy offered no such relief. So that's what we are going to do. If it has no effect, that would be the time to have a biopsy. I have been impressed by the way the specialists at UHN are prepared to take patients' opinions into account when deciding on treatments. A small part of me however thinks that they have run out of ideas and that's why they are more ready to listen to the patient's ideas. After the call I moved Steve back into the living room while I made his bed with a dry fitted sheet and a clean pad. Ten minutes later I told him he could return to the bedroom whenever he wished, and he did so almost immediately. Then came my favourite moment of every 2 days: opening a can of Monster, and drinking it all in one session sitting on the grey couch. It's like the Monster greedily sucks up the tiredness and sharpens up the brain to enable enything I need to do to be done more efficiently. The first thing I did with my extra energy was to call CTF and leave a message for the September conference ticketing staff to sort out the fact that when I registered online on 30 July I wasn't able to use my IMFAMILY code to get 50% off, so I used a legitimate (?) alternative of just paying half price, namely $85. Maybe they already approved my ruse. Continuing with my extra energy I got started with the chisel on the front door, hammering out an indentation the size of the part of the door blocker that will be screwed in between the door edge and the door post. I was very glad I had bought a new, sharp, chisel, and the work went well. Next step is to rent the drill. However, exact positioning of the device will be vital making use of the oblong hole, and for the online advertizing to say, 'Installs in just minutes using 3" hardened screws (included).' is sales BS. I will have to be right on top of my carpentry game to get it right. When I was making quite a noise chiseling, Steve came by, and I needed to give him a plausible explanation of what was going on without revealing we were going to be locking him in. So I said, "I'm making some minor improvements to your house," and that seemed to satisfy him. TKOG.

Wed Aug 2    Med

At 11 I had a video call with dietician Dr. Meredith Barwin. My pitch was that I had almost no appetite, and with some foods this was exacerbated by my taste buds. I might walk through Loblaws but have no wish to try or buy any of the foods on display. Formally liked foods included chocolate, Red Bull (but not Monster), shortbread and other cookies, orange juice. She quizzed me on my daily diet and supplements, and recommended I not take so much Vitamin C as Linus Pauling, but reduce it to 2 gms a day. I'm not prepared to do that but maybe strike a compromise. At the end of the session she admitted I was typical of other cancer patients at the same stage of the illness. So I didn't learn anything that might give me my appetite back, or help me appreciate some favourite foods again.

Tue Aug 1

After breakfast I drove to Home Depot and asked for the tool rental department. What I really needed was to understand the world of drilling and power screwdriving since the days when I had these tools of my own. The agent at the rental reception soon gave me some good advice; before forking out rental money, buy the low cost items I would need to do the job. First, an impact bit, which would allow me to use a drill as a screwdriver. This hadn't been invented in my day; I just jammed the head of the screw into the drill. He told me where I would find the right size in the store. He also said I should buy a 1/8" drill bit 3 inches long or more. I went off into the store, and with help found the first, but they only had drills about 2" long. I asked him where to go to find a longer drill and he recommended Princess Auto in Mississauga. Even showed me the location on his phone. One down, one to go. Without the help I could never have pinpointed the impact bit I needed. It was time to prepare lunch so I drove home. After lunch I first drove to the bank to deposit L-A's birthday money from her dad, had a strawberry ice cream at Java Joe's, and then returned into the sun trying to read the GPS. At one point the sun won and I took a wrong turning and I went right into the centre of Pearson Airport. At least after that the sun was behind me and I found Princess Auto after about 25 minutes. The place is huge. I asked a cashier where the drills department was, and even found the same 2" drill stocked by Home Depot. I looked all over for help and finally found it just finishing off with another customer. He led me back to where I had been and said they didn't have a longer drill bit, and they probably weren't made, because at 1/8" diameter they would be too lilely to break. Of course - now I understood - though my understanding had come at the cost of a long and unnecessary journey. By the time I got home I had decided to put off any chiselling till tomorrow or later depending on circumstances. But I wouldn't be returning to Home Depot tool rental until all my ducks were in order. It occured to me that in my youth I would have gone to one all-purpose store for everything, and it would have been quite small. But today the trend was for massive stores to serve all commercial and domestic needs, and one thing that had suffered was customer help in the store. The experienced man who had helped me in Princess Auto was the only customer service man on duty, and probably run ragged.

Mon Jul 31

Steve was asleep on the white couch when I rose at 7:30. He could so easily have opened the front door and walked out the house with his walker, as he had on 27 July, but I was fast asleep throughout. We had dodged a major bullet, or as we prefer to say, TKOG. For weeks now I had made very slow progress intalling a lock on the front door which (hopefully) he wouldn't be able to open. I was now deternined to take action. Steve was soaking and I didn't want the smell punctuating the house, so when he woke I led him to the bathroom, had him stand at the toilet bowl, drop his trousers, take off his diaper, and attempt to pee. This became quite a routine as he and I got better at it. In the afternoon I went to PMH for my first CT scan since 24 February, somewhat apprehensive that this would set the seal on how successful my course of 6 chemo infusions had been. They made me drink water for half an hour before the scan, which took 12 minutes. I searched on line for hand held power tools, and somewhere along the way I had a revelation: rental. Why was I even considering buying power tools when I could rent for a day and get the job done? L-A had ordered me a 4-pack of Red Bull, but when I tried one I found the taste very unpleasant. I have had it before and liked it so this is new. It still had the same benefits as an energy drink. I still like (very much) the taste of Monster.

Sun Jul 30    Med

I had intended going to church, but when the time came I felt too ill so we watched online. I was pleasantly surprized when Murray mentioned in his sermon that they had property in Raleigh but it was not so they could return there, but to earn them US income. Why was I 'pleasantly interested?' See the entry in this journal for last Sunday 23 July. I have noticed a degradation in Steve's mental and physical conditions in the last month. He will talk gibberish for an hour or more. If questioned he will refer to imaginary characters in his dreams some of whom he knew 30 years ago when working for Via Rail. The recent peak of bizarre behavior was 27 July (see below). He has also had more falls, some resulting in blood flowing when he has landed on an arm. I have learned how to return him to his bed from lying on the floor without lifting him (which I can't do). Recently he suffered a bout of diarrhea, and in his efforts to deal with it, just made matters worse. This is just one indication of losing control over his body. He can lose the strength in his legs particularly after a fall, or after falling asleep at the meal table. L-A and Steve were both fast asleep in their rooms when I started warming up the dinner. It should have been easy: M&M meatloaf, steamed veg (cauliflower, carrot) and fake mashed potato. Too often I have to wake L-A and ask for guidance on the dinner, and tonight I was determined not to do that. So at dinner time I woke them up and called them in. As I served up, I sensed something was missing from the meal. Laurie-Ann quickly supplied the answer, "Where's the mashed potato?" I didn't like the sound of my first option, eat the dinner without potato, though had I been dining alone it would have been the obvious choice for a man with little appetite. I looked at the cooking instructions and saw there was a microwave option which would only take 2 minutes. So I sweet-talked my guests and got on with it. I thought the result was very palatable, and M&M got more negatives for being too sweet, than my ultra hurridly cooked potato.

Sat Jul 29

I went shopping in the afternoon, primarily for a hand-held electric drill, but Home Depot had nothing in my capability/price range. Next, I went to Home Hardware where the closest was a corded drill for $50. But they did have a chisel for $10 which I bought. These tools are necessary for the front door security locks. After also visiting Loblaws I got home around 6, where L-A informed me Tara was on her way! Our kitchen floor was filthy so I got busy using the swiffer several times. Steve smelt pretty bad so I changed his trousers and diapers. and then brought him into the living room. Tara and Kennedy arrived just as the house (and Steve) looked presentable. TKOG. The three of them sat together on the grey couch writing a birthday card for Laurie-Ann, which came with a bottle of Villa Sandi Prosecco, a sparkling Brut, and a Folonari Prosecco extra dry sparkling white wine which if I play my cards right I will get to drink. (L-A doesn't like dry whites.)

Fri Jul 28    Med

I was generally feeling ill this morning, but by the afternoon it had passed and I was feeing more human. Steve also was acting more human as the day continued. I don't let grudges because of his behaviour survive the day, and neither does he. I spent several hours on our taxes with the help of a reply from uFile help but the help was insufficiently helpful to get me over the current hurdles.

Thu Jul 27    Med

Steve and I enjoyed real porridge before his PSW might turn up. It really is a faithful food, never tasting different, and always delivering energy for the day. I sent him back to bed after the porridge so I could give MLD to L-A. When L-A got up I gave him his toast and coffee, and then changed his trousers and diaper. The PSW was new and I have forgotten her name. As I took her into Steve's room, he was sitting on the bed trying to deal with a pile of shit he had recently delivered onto the floor in front of the bed. As he told me the story later, he was standing in front of the bed and the eruption came from hs backside beyond his control. As we surveyed the situation the smell was awful. The PSW took control of him and got him into the bathroom before he could touch anything. I used kitchen roll and 'Scrub Free' to wipe up a succession of shit from the floor, and when the kitchen roll no longer showed brown, I cleaned the floor with the swiffer. I thought at the time that were Steve not my loved relative and friend, there is no amount of money you could pay me to compensate me for my caregiver service to just one person daily. Steve told me that this PSW was excellent, and I was able to tell her, but it must have been something of a baptism of fire for her.
We visited Sue Neudebauer at CTF, a very long term friend of Laurie-Ann's, so they had plenty to talk about as we drank Attwell's coffee. Sue does the bookkeeping and payroll processing for CTF. UHN called to ask me to have a blood test before my CT scan on Monday, and to inform the triage nurse in the lung clinic when it was done. UHN also called to give me the phone number of their dietitian Susan Haynes so we can discuss my loss of appetite and problems with taste. We were late joining tonight's connect group, and I was only a temporary face besides L-A's as I attended to Steve. He had one of his fixations around 8 pm that he was to be visited by people from his past - mainly railway workers - so he dressed in special clothes and shoes. For a while he hovered around the front door, and then when I was back with the connect group he was out of the door and down the steps with his walker. Next time I looked he was walking through the bush next to the porch, and for a while was entangled in it. He couldn't stand so semi-crawled. He was still convinced he should be walking to the railway HQ. Next time I looked out he had walked back to his walker and he and it were out of sight. I started walking around local streets and spotted him on Harrop turning left onto Woodbank. I was able to persuade him to walk(er) home, and then to re-enter the house, not without threats on both sides. It was soon near my bed time and I was very tired, but Steve wasn't ready for bed by any means, nor was he concerned with interrupting L-A's late night Kindle reading. As I fell asleep I heard part of the activity between them. He hadn't had sleep for a long while. She finally persuaded him to return to his bed around midnight. The washing machines weren't sleeping either, ridding his bed pads and sheet with the remnants of his toiletting.

Wed Jul 26    Med

We were woken by PSW Lesline ringing the doorbell at 7:30. She had left a message on the landline. Today is the day I absolutely must get through to CBI and have them change our number from the land line. I enjoyed sleeping on till 8 while Steve had his wash. Dr Bradbury's assistant Evelina called back and was able to give me two numbers for Dr Liederman's group. She also gave me a number for Dr Bradbury's group dietition to discuss my poor appetite. She also told me that my chemo course was now over, a fact I had failed to take in at my last session with Dr Lucy Coalte on 28 June. I watched very satisfied as the driver of the recycling truck got out to pick up the cardboard boxes. I am definitely less fatigued today than on the previous two days, and this may be due to Bis-Glycinate. I spoke to the office at CBI and asked them to change the number they are using for us from 416-622-5819 to 647-203-8595. I also asked them if we might see Slava from time to time, and the clerk said she was working fewer hours with regular clients only. I asked if a note could be added to her file saying we would love to see her if the situation changes. When I served a small slice of yesterday's shawarma wrap to L-A she was unable to eat it due to the side effects of her zoledronic acid infusion. I ate mine, but didn't like it. Steve ate his. Dr Liederman's office called back. He had booked me in for a follow-up meeting on 11 Oct at 11:30, but after hearing my story the assistant said they would look into bringing it closer, and possibly by video. I had a difficult call with National Bank Mastercard where the French speaking agent wasn't able to explain in English whether I need to pay the full amount outstanding to avoid interest (which I did), but raised the possibility that the interest payments on my international transfers may be giving rise to daily interest payments like cash withdrawals. Laurie-Ann was suffering badly from zoledronic acid infusion side effects. These included changes to her taste buds, making her unable to eat yesterday's shawarma. Instead she went to bed late afternoon. Steve and I had shawarma for dinner, and he ate it all. I ate a small portion without pleasure. After dinner I changed Steve's trousers and diaper so he might have a more dry night; this is becoming something of a routine.

Tue Jul 25    Med

This was fatigue day max-so-far for me, and I worried that it was going to get worse. I spent much of the time on the couch dozing. My wellness factor was around 1. The day started with L-A getting up early for her appointment at Sunnybrook for a 6 monthly zoledronic acid infusion. I got her breakfast about 7:15 am and her Uber arrived about 8; a large one with space for her walker. She had decided this was the best way to get her there in view of Steve's fragile situation. Steve fell while attempting to get out of bed, and bruised and cut his arm. I dressed the cut, and managed to get him back on the bed. I got Steve up for breakfast, which he was just finishing when a new PSW, Ockay (?) arrived. I went for my monthy B12 injection at 11 am. Steve and I spent the rest of the morning dozing on the couches. L-A got back at 12:40 also in an Uber. An hour later I served her borscht, but couldn't get Steve out of the couch, or think of a way to serve him. He would have to wait till energy returned to his legs. That turned out to be about 4 pm, when L-A had returned to bed, and I served him his soup on his hospital table. My afternoon was less fatigued than my morning. I tried to find my haematologist Dr Liederman's number, without success. So instead I left a message for Dr Bradbury's assistant, Evelina Thomas, that my fatigue was serious, and asking if I should seek another appointment with him, and should I call him direct, in which case I need his number. I put out on the kerb some large packing boxes that had come filled with L-As cullinary purchases from 10 days ago, hoping they would be picked up by the recycling truck. I went to Shawarma Club and selected a family pack. I found it distasteful but asumed it was my taste buds. L-A and Steve seemed to like it. A combination of Prime Video and extra clearing up resulted in my finally getting into bed at 11:00, an hour late.

Mon Jul 24    Med

The fatigue I have suffered in the past few days made me decide to switch from Feramax to Bis-Glycinate at 6:30 this morning. I had a date with uFile (see 22 July below) before 9 am, and dreamed about a distorted version of it during the night. So I made sure I was up in good time, and about 8:30 I responded to I wasn't very hopeful, but it worked! At this time of day it got through, reinforcing my theory that the problem was lack of capacity on the uFile servers, probably the result of many more customers than in the past. For me it was really good news, and possibly the first step on being able to Netfile our tax return. Steve brought himself into the kitchen for breakfast just as I was serving myself beans on toast with a poached egg, and wasn't intending to serve such a basic breakfast to him. He was in a good state as I served his breakfast. L-A called for MLD right at this moment, and I had to ask her to wait till I had the kitchen organized. L-A cooked beet borscht for our lunch, starting after breakfast. It's full of very nutritious ingredients, though not one of my favourites, which is surprising since I like beetroot (pickled beets). As lunch approached, L-A suggested I give him his physio exercises, which I did, and he did them better than ever before; it's really making a difference. Afterwards he settled on the couch. I settled on the other couch to drink a Monster. Till then I had been experiencing a day of almost painful fatigue. Bis-Glycinate hadn't made any difference yet. Monster gave me a wellness boost to about 4 and I drove to Renforth IDA, where, thank goodness, Tylenol No 2s were waiting for me. I was completely out. The borscht was almost ready, when Steve suddenly rolled sideways as if having some sort of seizure. He was still able to respond to our voices, but his body was not in his control. Fortunately he was already sitting in a safe place, where he remained for some time. He kept on rolling to his left, even when I moved him significantly to where his weight should pull to his right. L-A and I had our borscht. The afternoon brought me relief, as Monster did its stuff, and I was able to do useful computer work. The evening saw Steve emptying his bowels and leaving reminders of them on the bathroom floor, but they were light enough for me to clean up with the swiffer.

Sun Jul 23

L-A got dressed in her flowing green dress made for her in Worcester, which suggested she was deturmined to come to church this morning. We went to the same spot that we had last week, and were soon saying "Hi" to Catherine. Rachel was the main female soloist for worship, and it was a lively session indeed. For the first time I sat throughout the worship, just being low on energy. Lilian was one of the speakers before the sermon. Ash spoke on making sure the strength of your relationships exceed the strength of your specific personal issues, with amusing illustrations from her relationship with Murray. After the sermon, Catherine, and then Bonnie joined us. Then Bob. Then Murray. He had been given a box of Highland Collection Shortbread Assortment, baked in Scotland, and he was giving it away. I accepted his offer, since I am always on the lookout for foods my taste buds will accept. Finally Ash joined us, and she got to see L-A's giving key - Perseverance. This was a prophetic word from Sandra Long, confirmed by Ash. I commented to her that she had mentioned in her sermon that they owned property in Raleigh, and I wondered if this meant they were only here in Toronto for a season. Such a conclusion hadn't occured to either her or Murray. They own two houses there as rental properties. After lunch I wasn't good for much, so spent time on my bed. After dinner we continued watching The Man in the High Castle - very scary.

Sat Jul 22

[Grossness Alert!] Steve was lying against the bed slat way off the pad when I woke him about 7:15 for his morning pill. A night of urine had seeped through. I needed to remove his wet trousers and diaper, and foolishly sat beside him on the bed while I did it. The bed was wetter than I thought. I took off the trousers and diaper, but it was only when I stood up that I realised my trousers were now soaked in Steve's urine. There wasn't much to do about it immediately because I had a half naked man standing beside me. I asked him to go to the bathroom and use the toilet. As he pushed the walker to his door, he was peeing on the floor out of control. But somehow he did have control before he left the bedroom and entered the bathroom, and as he stood in front of the toilet there came the sweet sound of a full stream landing in the bowl. This I hadn't heard before! I think it is because he wasn't wearing a diaper, and normally he tries to pee round the edge of the diaper, which reduces the flow. When he had finished I had him sit on the toilet while I pulled off his wet shirt, and pulled on his final (washed) short sleeved shirt - the yellow one - on over his head. Then I had him move to the living room couch where first I placed the pad from last night, which was dry! I put my wet trousers in the laundry and replaced them with blue shorts. I stripped his bed and washed the wet part of the plastic matress cover with Scrub Free and left it to dry. I prepared his Cheerios and called him in for breakfast. When he was done, I returned him to the couch and put the second of our two fitted sheets on the bed. Sim (PSW) arrived, but there was a problem. Steve had 'dropped off.' However, he wasn't in deep yet, and Sim was able to rouse him, and take him for his shower. We listened to Canadian Spaces, followed by Windows of Opportunity from 2013, very pleasant and a contrast from how the day had started. For lunch I ate the final leftovers from Steve's veal paprikash, and to be frank I was disappointed, both by the sauce and the meat. After lunch I tackled the response from uFile to my query about problems. Here is what I had asked them:
'My tax calculations check out, but I am not clear to Netfile.
The deduction for net capital losses of other years that you are claiming on line 25300 of your return is too high compared to your amount of federal tax owed.
But when I 'Click here to fix,' I get a revolving circle on my screen that continues forever.
Do you have any suggestions?'
The response from had nothing specifically to do with my question, but explained how I could reply to them with permission to examine my tax file. It seems the standard instructions for replies to the helpdesk don't work, due to (I'm guessing) overloaded servers. But now we have a new problem: their instructions to me didn't work either. I have tried many times; the only thing I haven't been able to try yet is responding to them before 9 am on a business day morning, or after 7 pm.

Fri Jul 21

At 6:30 am I found Steve lying near the front door. I gave him his Tylenols and returned to him an hour later, when he was ready to crawl and then get up on one leg. He had left his room without a walking stick or the walker, a common cause of falling, and I took the opportunity to reinforce again that basic rule, which we have told him many times. I sent Amanda $90.39 by eTransfer, half the online cost of a Filter Queen Defender main air filter. She received the money. I served Steve the rest of his veal paprikash for his lunch. We had noodles. In the afternoon I also gave him a slice of watermelon. Allison texted me to say she was on holiday and would be returning 7 August. I had originally texted her when we thought she was sick, but received no reply. I spent time on the door blocker, realizing (at last) that it is meant to be screwed into the edge of the door (requiring chiselling in our case) and not into the front of the door. This device is primarily designed to prevent access by burglars should the regular lock fail. An issue is exiting the house after setting the door blocker, which I would do via the door into the back yard. Another issue is would Steve be able to figure out how to unlock it. In this, my great difficulties figuring out how to unlock it would turn out to be an advantage, since he would experience no less frustration trying to unlock it when in place on the door. We have to decide therefore whether to search for a simpler device designed just to keep kids in a house, or to install this device. I went to No Frills for kitchen roll and bathroom tissue, and was able to pay for them with the Optimum card, except for the tax which apparently can't be paid with a rewards card. Then I went to Shoppers and bought Tylenol Extra Strength. I found two different versions, with about $3 difference in price for 500 pills. I asked a pharmacist what was the difference, and she pointed out the cheaper one was caplets, and the more expensive was tablets. The tablets were smaller with a sweet coating. I decided to buy expensive - and paid with the Optimum card. I signed up for RCI's automatic 1-year subscription renewal. For 2024 it was $143. One less job for L-A after I'm gone. When I brought Steve into the kitchen for dinner, I told him a knife would be essential to cut his schnitzell (which was half the Hunter Schnitzel I brought home from Rhapsody Cuisine). But when he sat down in front of it, he was the same old Steve, struggling to slice though the meat with the side of his fork. I reminded him about using the knife. But still he tried to use his fork. This got me angry (a very rare emotion for me to use with Steve), and I removed his dinner from his place setting and in a assertive voice told him he would get it back when he promised to use his knife. I think it was the angry voice that was the last straw for him, and he got up and went back to his room. It was only then that Laurie-Ann told me that for years he had preferred to cut with the edge of a fork. I had thought it was just a symptom of his dementia. Ten minutes later I went to him and said he could eat his food any way he liked, and would he please come back into the kitchen? He did, and I plan to keep my word and never tell him again how to eat his food. He does use a knife occasionally, so I don't think he'll starve.

Thu Jul 20    Med

I had serious constipation in the morning. I'd already taken Senokot 2 days ago and Clearlax for the last 2 days without effect, so today for the first time I took the more powerful Lactulose. It was a liquid, sweetened, I thought, with glycerine. I spent the next 2 hours in some quite severe pain in my rectum as I strained periodically to let out the definitely not-soft-yet stool. Eventually I did what I should have done much sooner: asked the Lord for help, and within a couple of minutes the breakthrough began. That pain was soon gone, to be replaced by a pain in my stomach, possibly a hunger pain. I had some gumbo soup for lunch and that pain reduced. I was pretty sure now that my condition wasn't going to prevent our visit this evening to the Rhapsody Continental Cuisine Hungarian restaurant. We were concerned about leaving Steve with the possibility of his getting out of the front door. I had not yet been able to install the door blocker yet, although I had found a YouTube telling me how to do it, but I had problems with following the YouTube, suggesting our device was not what we had seen on Amazon. So I gave Steve a pep talk about not thinking about leaving the house, brought him a buttered scone and a banana, and promised him a fine Hungarian meal from the restaurant when we returned. We were soon on our way to Rhapsody Cuisine, 10152 Yonge St., Richmond Hill (905-884-0305) via the 401, 400, & Major Mackenzie Drive, taking us past Canada's Wonderland and a huge and scary roller coaster in operation. There seemed to be a special rush hour going in the same direction, but for once we had left in good time. Laurie-Ann had also prayed for a parking spot. As we drove past the restaurant on the east side of the road, I saw no spots, but we had to do a U-Turn for her to get out, and as we arrived in front of the restaurant, there was now a spot waiting for us! TKOG. L-A was able to walk to the restaurant door with her cane. Inside, it was cosy and ... Hungarian, and we opted for a table near a keyboard player playing gypsy music. Soon our waitress, Alice, arrived, and took our drinks order (mine was a Sleemans Honey Brown). Shortly after we were ordering our main courses: Weiner Schnitzel for L-A, a Hunter Schnitzel for me, and a veal paprikash for Steve. When they arrived we saw ours were massive, which at first disappointed me in a fine restaurant, but I then realized they'd fill us for tomorrow as well. We tucked in and it was excellent, and the musician, Paul Mathew serenaded us and the guests at large with several disparate genres calling for different hats. The piano accordion was probably his best instrument. We stopped eating when we still had room for dobos and palacsinta respectively. Alice didn't need to be asked to bring plastic containers to take the majority of the food with us. The bill including tip came to $167. When we got home, Steve was waiting for us on the Deacon's bench, and I was soon able to serve him most of his veal paprikash, which he thoroughly enjoyed. The whole event had turned out very successfully; a fitting final episode in culinary sequence celebrating Laurie-Ann's 62nd birthday.

Wed Jul 19

My wellness factor was about 2 for much of the day, so each minute was something of a struggle. Breakfast was interesting: fresh rhubarb, followed by water melon. Steve expressed delight at the water melon, which meant plan A (to give it to a neighbour because it didn't suit my taste buds) was no longer appropriate. Late afternoon while listening to Spotify I thought I heard an ad saying PC Optimum Points become invalid after a certain time. For months now, ever since getting the PC Financial MasterCard with a bonus 100,000 Optimum points, I have known there was something amiss. The app on my laptop indicated there were 100,000+ Optimum points availanle to me, but in the stores (eg Shoppers, Loblaws), the points on my Optimum card were around 4,000. Clearly these needed to be reconciled. I was nervous about trying to do this on line myself, in case I managed to delete the larger amount. On line I was unable to find help other than the virtual chatbox, or the 'live' agent, but I had always sensed I would need help from a live person somewhere in the depths of President's Choice. Today I was determined and called the number on my Presidents Choice Mastercard: 1-866-727-6468. This led me to a series of convoluted transfers, but eventually I reached a live person, Noro, who sounded willing to help me get to the bottom of it. It was a slow process, because her primary responsbility was making sure I was who I said I was, but eventually she became convinced of this. The first thing I asked her was whether there was an expiry date on the points. No, they don't expire. Then it was just a case of linking the Mastercard onto my existing Optimum Card. With her guidance, I followed the steps on line, firstly finding a list of all my MasterCard purchases, and then seeing the magic figure of more than 108,000 points. There are myriad ways in which these points can be spent, and she wanted to be sure I was aware of all the new offers that come out every Thursday, but all I needed to know was could I use the points on the Optimum Card for paying for purchares in Shoppers or Loblaws. I will report back when I have finally succeeded in this. I must say the whole process of manipulating the President's Choice software seems to me to be way over complex and frustrating, made worse by President's Choice having no conventional bank buildings with people you can talk to, but instead everything being run from the Scarborough HQ, where finding the right person to talk to is a personal triumph.

Tue Jul 18

Steve had slept through the night, but by morning he was ready for the bathroom. When I removed his diaper I saw it was pretty dirty, meaning that his daily wash was important. I got him onto a damp bed but OK for the wait for his PSW. Her name turned out to be Elizabeth, but not the same one as yesterday's. I briefed her fully and she made him clean and dry again. Soon the three of us were breakfasting on eggs from yesterday. I was very careful that he didn't drop off before I got him back to the bedroom. Perhaps foolishly I didn't lock him in bed with the bed slats. An hour later, he had taken himself into the bathroom, and when I knocked on the door he said he had diarrhea again. Unfortunately he had locked the bathroom door. M-A had replied to me that a $US interest free loan would be fine, so I sent her the money via Paypal. When I revisited the bathroom, the door was unlocked (thank the Lord), and there were no signs of faeces having reached the wrong destination, or even the right one. I washed and dried his backside and front side, and then had him move to his room with the walker. In the middle of my helping put on a clean diaper, which requires him to lift his feet alternately off the foor while standing holding on to the walker, he lost his balance and landed on my shoulder. His (hopefully clean) underside brushed my hair and left side of my face, which was scary, but I was able to move his weight to the edge of the bed while I finished the diaper. Lunch was the last of the excellent cauliflower soup, after which I went to bed. I got up at 4 feeling an increased wellness factor from ~3 to ~5, allowing me to have more cake, put the garbage on the road side and finish storing the Metro and Voila deliveries that had arrived this morning. Dinner was the penultimate meal of L-A's extended birthday season, originally planned for yesterday: chicken paprikash, one of L-A's best dishes. M-A had what is getting to be a regular evening call with L-A, during which I was asked my advice about some books M-A (thought she) had ordered from Amazon and seemed to have evaporated. I told her I had sent her $US 2,000 by Paypal. When I was turning in, Steve asked for help and I had him move into the bathroom, and remove his sodden shorts and diaper. As he stood in front of the toilet, some residue from his recent diarrhea dropped onto the floor. I put paper towel (thank you God for paper towel) on the brown stuff while he tried and failed to pee. Then I got him sitting on the toilet and wiping his backside, a skill for which his myelin is less effective than it was, but has a significant role on how long we can look after him for. For example, when he has wiped, he sometimes wants to dispose of the dirty paper anywhere but in the toilet bowl. I had him return to the bedroom where I fitted another diaper before returning him to bed. Then I cleaned up the bathroom floor.

Mon Jul 17

Steve called me from his room twice more in the dark hours, but I didn't mind because he had a good pee in the toilet each time rather than soaking his clothes. I changed his diaper about 8 am so that the PSW (Elizabeth) wouldn't be faced with too much of a challenge. He and I had a large mixed grill. I noticed he was looking somewhat docile as he finished his food. James called at this moment just as Steve slumped in his chair and drooled over the place mat. I told James we were having a medical emergency, and we put off the call. It was about 9:30 and Steve was too far gone to get him to use his walker. I brought our Air Canada luggage strap, and strapped him into his chair with it to reduce the chance of his falling onto the floor. Usually he recovers from episodes like this in about half an hour, but this one was more serious. Laurie-Ann had hoped for French toast during her birthday season, so with the help of a recipe via her iPhone, I got to work. It was a question of whisking up a few ingredients, dunking 4 slices of bread in the mixture, and then frying them in the new Uno Casa saucepan she had ordered because we thought Tara had taken back the white frying pan (and the plastic microwave cover). L-A loved the French toast. Come 2 pm, Steve was still in the chair, and I was still there beside him making it impossible for him (and the chair) to fall. Steve occasionally mumbled incoherently, but mostly swayed to and fro within the limits set by the strap. When I asked him if his legs were strong enough to stand, he said, "No," but by 2:30 I had had enough, and got him into position to stand with his walker. I then prayed (out loud) that the Lord would strengthen his legs. As he stood, I assisted him under his left arm, and bingo, he was standing with no great effort. I made an appropriate comment about the power of prayer. Soon he was back in his bedroom, but if I thought I'd be able to relax, I was sadly mistaken. He said he needed to go to the bathroom, so I passed him the walker. Half an hour later he was still in the bathroom, so I knocked on the door, and inside saw the caregiver's nightmare: faeces on the floor, on the bath, and yes, to be fair, in the toilet. Steve had diarrhea, and was attempting to clear up the mess while not stepping into the mess he had created (photos in the Mediclinic album) He was sitting on the disabled chair in the bath, and I was not ready to take on my responsibilities. I shut the door after telling him I was going out to collect Laurie-Ann's free birthday latte from Starbucks, so he shouldn't call me for help in the next 20 minutes. Not that the idea of asking my help had occured to him. L-A had ordered on the Starbucks App so all I had to do was pick it up. When I got home we had a little coffee party, and I gave her her Cuthbert cross in a lovely presentation box, with the extended gold chain that Gillian and her workers had made. L-A was delighted and the additional chain they had added was exactly the right length. Buoyed with something good for a change, I returned to the bathroom where things were even worse. I started with cleaning him up, washing faeces off his balls, backside, his feet, legs, forehead. This enabled me to return him to his bed and raise the slat so I could work in peace on the rest of the problem. I think by now he was embarrassed by what had happened, and the fact that he had made a bad situation worse. When I got to the toilet bowl I saw that he had had a second bout of diarrhea. I used a series of flannel sized cloths, hot water and 'Scrub-Free' bathroom cleanser, ignoring the scrub free logo. We were both exhausted by 7, and decided on home made soup and egg sandwiches for dinner, and I served Steve in his room. Amanda called to wish L-A happy birthday, and they had a great chat. After dinner L-A iced the cake that she had put so much planning into. I hope Steve won't call me too often during the night ahead.

Sun Jul 16    Med

Steve called out to me about 1 am, and we could hear banging as he attempted to let down the bed slats. So I went to his room, and he didn't seem in too bad a state. When I asked if he would like tea and raisin bread, he jumped at it. Ten minutes later we were in his room both enjoying tea, and toasted raisin bread with red current jelly. By the time he'd finished the tea he was ready to settle down and get back to sleep. My wellness was above 4 when I woke in the morning, making this a chance for taking L-A to CTF if she was well enough. The other prerequisite was for the PSW to come early enough. I discovered Steve was very wet, but as soon as I was washed I invited him for breakfast, the non-cooked version. H was in a good mood so I invited him to come to church, and he said 'Yes!" As he finished, Shavon arrived and soon had him clean and dry. The bed was still drying from my efforts to disinfect the plastic mattress, so he came into the living room. Half an hour before we should leave for church, I said to him that he should have a pair of long trousers for church, but by now he had changed his mind and said he didn't want to come after all. So he spent the time we were away locked into his bed. I found seats for us near the front in church, and also near Catherine and Bob. The worship was inspiring, and Mel Rogato held the congregation in her grip as she spoke on Gratitude, as a part of the current theme of living joyfully. At the end she was standing fairly close to us, and I had the chance to thank her for the talk, and give her one of L-A's memory sticks with colouring sheets and talks from 'Ways to Grow in God.' Apparently she has four children. Back home I had received an email from M-A saying the Tucson trip would exhaust her ready cashflow and could we help with a gift. I said, "No," but could send her another interest free loan of $US 2 with payment within a year. I discovered a strange situation: Steve was still in his bed, but had heavily wet his shorts. I decided to change his shorts and diaper, and found that the diaper was almost dry inside the wet shorts. Now how could that happen, unless he was taking out his penis to pee instead of peeing in the diaper? The explanation is feasible, since he has no control over peeing in the diaper, but some control over peeing into the toilet, or into the teapot. L-A took a nap in the bedroom and I took the opportunity to restring her Cuthbert cross on the extended gold chain from Pash Jewellery Design which I will give her tomorrow. I also examined the security lock, and wasn't able to figure out how to lock it and unlock it, which is kind of first base stuff, so I send an email to the manufacturer. I had felt stronger all day than yesterday, so perhaps I did forget the Feramax yesterday morning. Shortly before midnight Steve called me from his room, where he had half unlocked the side bed slat. I asked if he wanted to pee in the washroom, and got him out of bed. He went into the washroom, but later he called me again, and I found him fallen into the bath at the far end. I wasn't sure how I was going to rescue him, but a good start was to have him grab the disabled bar on the far side of the bath. Then holding his right hand I was able to get him up on one leg, and he stepped out of the bath. A few minutes later he was back in bed, and so was I.

Sat Jul 15    Med

The most arduous part of my day was the nearly 2 hours of clearing and washing up ending at 9:40 when I collapsed into my bed. The collapsing into bed part was actually quite nice because I had earlier laundered our bedsheets and pillow cases. For much of the day I was fatigued, and even wondered if I had forgotten to take my Feramax iron supplement in the morning. L-A roasted a chicken for our evening meal, another foretaste of her birthday celebrations. She also pepared coconut cauliflower soup (Thai version) which we much enjoyed at lunch time. WeTransfer informed me that some of the Alpha films had not been downloaded (by Fred in Nairobi) yet, so I reminded him. He does have 02, 04, 06, 08. He had received 01, but was forced to reformat his laptop, losing everything including the 01. I will be sending him more. These films enabled us to run Alpha in the nearby high security prison in Worcester, and they have 'streeters' filmed in Africa. The security lock arrived from Amazon.

Fri Jul 14    Med

There was a knock on our bedroom door at about 7 am, and it was Steve with a 'cup of coffee' for me. I knew he had no idea how to make coffee or any other food or drink, so I asked him to leave it in the bathroom for me to drink later. It turned out to be warm water with some milk added, but it showed he had a heart for something other than his own needs. When I went into the kitchen I found Thai noodles on the floor, and the remains of the flavour packet and oil which he had eaten, in the garbage. He was curled up on the white couch in soaking trousers fast asleep. That was where he was when Slava arrived about 8:30, and took him to the bathroom. I prepared breakfast for the two of us, every minute feeling more dizzy and less well. I posted the CT scan and other apppointments that came through yesterday to my calendar. I called CBI; didn't get Ruth, but appealed to the woman who answered to let us have Slava back on Wednesdays. Late morning I drove to 151 Marion Street to pick up Laurie-Ann's birthday present, and on the way home collected the Kindle at the postal outlet. She didn't want to open the package till Monday, her birthday. I struggled to prepare lunch - L-A's home made leek and potato soup, and I really enjoyed it. But I dozed at the table, feeling and looking so weak that L-A suggested I sleep in bed till 5. This sounded great to me and I slept like a log, being woken by my alarm for my 5 pm meds. Sleeping is the best answer to 'chemo fatigue;' one of the questions on the UHN online checklist before an appointment is 'Are you sleeping more than half the day?' So far my answer has been 'No,' but there may come a time ... I called Allison's home number and wished her a speedy recovery from whatever was keeping her off work for the last two days. I prepared dinner with the remains of the Cape Town stew, but there wasn't enough for the three of us, so I ate the Thai noodles that Steve had attacked this morning, which was fine for my reduced appetite. Also I knew we would be having M&M Key Lime pies for dessert, an early part of L-A's birthday celebrations. Constipation had been building for 4 days, and on three of them I had taken Senocot. Mid evening I felt it was worth a try, and I succeeded, big time. Maybe it was the Key Lime pie that did the trick. But I was disappointed that Senokot took so long.

Thu Jul 13    Med

There was a powerful smell emmanating from Steve's room when I got up, so not knowing what time an unknown PSW might turn up, once I was dressed I changed his daiper and soaking shirt. I squirted the room with air freshioner. Whoever was coming would not be greeted with the small and soaking clothes of half an hour before. The PSW who came turned out to be Slava. After she had washed Steve, she told me she hadn't been on the roster for 28 Alanmeade since the day he was carried off to hospital when we were on vacation in Collingwood. CBI had somehow got the idea that the hospitalization was Slava's fault. The results came through from yesterday's blood test. Out of 16 tests, 11 were flagged for being beyond the normal range. No wonder I feel lousy today with a wellness index around 3. Ferritin was flagged with a value 1154 ug/L, and a standard range 30 - 250 ug/L. I noticed that I have no chemo and related appointments next week, which would normally be my chemo week, so I left a message for Dr Bradbury's assistant querying this She reurned my call an hour later to say I am having a time off chemo to allow my body to recover while awaiting CT scan results. I mentioned I had seen yesterday's blood test results, and was concerned about so many being out of range, and she said the good news was that I don't have the antibody that kills red blood cells. I took Steve to Dr Silver's offices at 1:30, and all went well and quickly. On the way home we bought a small Hawaiian pizza at Pizza Nova which did the threee of us very well. Laurie-Ann prepared 'Cape Town Stew' for dinner, the poor man's version of waterblommetjiebredie and lamb dinner. After supper for the first time withot being asked, Steve took his teeth out and put them in a glass dish. At a time when he is meant to be regressing, he surprises us with behaviour that suggests recovery. A bunch of appointments came through including a CT Scan at 3 pm on 31 July, and a review with Dr Bradbury on 9 August. M-A called L-A about 7:20 without prior notice. We forgot tonight's connect group - both of us. I should have remembered, but L-A's concentration was already on her call fom Tennessee.

Wed Jul 12    Med

I was due at Dr Liederman's rooms in Toronto General at 10:15. He is a haematology specialist and I had been referred by Dr Bradbury. Unfortunately I didn't check my calendar till 9:30, so I left home immediately and arrived 15 minutes late. As it turned out, it wasn't a big problem. A female doctor checked my vitals, and keyed in quite a lot of information on my history, and then Dr Liederman appeared. I had thought that the main issue here was the low iron reading that had shown up in my blood tests for months, or possinly the high Ferritin reading on the one time it had been measured. No, these things were not the main focus of their investigations, but instead the possibility of an entity in my blood which destroys red blood cells. Dr Bradbury had mentioned this. So they sent me for a special blood test to find out more. They said I could go to the TGH blood collection Centre, or the one across the street in PMH which has taken all my blood samples up till now. I decided to check out the TGH facility - bad choice. I was standing in line half an hour just to get a piece of paper with my number on it. I then waited another 45 minutes. But eventally my blood was collected. I was hungry but didn't want normal size lunch, so I bought coffee and a Portuguese tart at Lettier's and ate them in the company of a lady sharing her salad lunch with the birds. Both my coffee and the tart were extra nice yet not overpriced. The lady had experienced the same long wait for her blood test. so I told her about the PMH facility which operates much more smoothly. I drove to Walmart to get washing machine detergent, and the reason this apparently mundane event makes it to the journal is to emphasise what a large role the house laundry needs play in my life. I finished the previous detergent this morning, and the idea of having a day when I couldn't meet Steve's daily needs for clean clothes, bed linnen, and clean bed pads would be a problem. I bought some Crush Orage minis in Loblaws on my way home in an effort to find a thirst quencher which didn't aggravate my weird taste beds, and this didn't. The landline rang about 8:30 pm, which is very unusual so I answered it. It was a PSW to say that Allison had called in sick, and they were looking for a replacement. I took the opportunity to give them my number instead of the landline.

Tue Jul 11    Med

Went to Dr Mandelcorn (the younger's) opthalmology department within Toronto Western Hospital. I had hardly been there 5 minutes when a nurse had me in front of one of their machines to measure all aspects of my eyes. While waiting for the next phase I had an interesting chat with a couple in my age bracket. He was on his 4th go-round for retinal re-attachment. I asked him whether after reattachment he was able to focus both eyes on the same target, and he said yes, he was. He told me that what I thought were skin cancers on my hands were actually bruises. Dr Mandelcorn came in and looked though his own special glasses into my eyes, and agreed with me that my left eye was continuing to progress. He was satisfied with how things had gone so far. When I said that I had days when my eyes seemed to be covered with a film, blurring my vision, he said he had noticed a couple of spots in my left eye that could be removed here on sight with laser surgery, I agreed immediately and he went ahead. I haven't noticed any resulting change in my vision. I was then free to go, and I have only realised later that I wasn't asked to talk to Maria about any further follow ups.
With her birthday in mind on 17th L-A ordered a Kindle. She has long been using the app on her iPad, but this will bring better viewing size and other advantages, and make the long hours she spends reading on her green chair more pleasurable.

Mon Jul 10

We awoke to a mystery. Steve wasn't in his bed, but the bed side slats were still in place. He was sitting in the living room. It was about 5 am. Either he had climbed over the raised bed slats, or he had lowered them, and then raised them again when he was out of the bed. While this seemed unlikely, there were no other possibilites. The episode meant that it was urgent to get a security lock for the front door. I drove L-A to chiropodist Hartley Silver. I had an ulterior motive. I had missed not just one, but two appointments for Steve within days of each other last week, and I really wanted to pay in full for one of them. But his assistant (wife?) was even more adamant and refused my money. Although my wellness factor was less than 4, in the afternoon I drove to 151 Marion Street, Pash jewellery Design, to meet the owner Gillian Batcher. No more details now because L-A reads this journal and has a birthday coming up. I will say that my wellness factor rose a little as a result of the meeting.

Sun Jul 9

There was a text from Luke on my phone when I got up, so we knew we would be going to his worship night in Aurora. My wellness index was about 3, so we decided against CTF church in person, but watched online. I guess I am finally getting the normal response to chemotherapy, which in my case is an overall mallaise and unwillingness to be proactive. Up till now I have felt perfectly normal during chemo cycles. Our journey to Aurora started badly, with multiple traffic slow-downs which only eased once we were on HWY 400. Garmin took us via road closures and detours to 126 Brookview Drive - except that 120 to 130 didn't exist and we had some texts with Luke. It was only then that we realised we should be looking for 126 Brookeview Drive. I reset Garmin, and we began a 25 minute journey in a south easterly direction, which delivered us to the right place about an hour and a quarter late. I helped L-A up several steps without a railing and we entered the house. I was immediately transported back to the prayer hut in Pemba; the same style of music and singing by the worship leader and the congregation. As we moved into the area where Luke was leading worship, with a keyboardist and a lead guitarist, two kind ladies saw that L-A was disabled and gave up their seats to us. For half an hour or so the worship continued and the majority of those gathered seemed familiar enough with it to sing along. Luke then gave a talk, introducing Joshua Muse and his wife Olivia. They could well have been guest speakers at Harvest School. Their theme was: 'Don't waste the kairos moments that come our way.' During the talk L-A found some egg sandwiches etc, which partially substituted for dinner. When Josh had finished, the proceedings returned to worship. We were sad that we hadn't had a chance to talk to Luke and Jessica, though I think we sat next to them during Josh's talk. I was concerned that we shouldn't leave Steve fo too long and suggested to L-A that we slip out. On the way we bought a copy of Josh's book: 'Called by the Fire.' Our drive home was uneventful and Steve was fine when we got there.

Sat Jul 8

I sent Beth a text saying how well she had organized the funeral, with the picture I had taken of her, and she replied almost immediately. After an early dinner we watched Darren Wilson's latest film, The God Man. It contains examples of God entering peoples' lives and changing them forever, in different locations around the world. But the focus is on his daughter's transformation from drug addict to believer. We (his audience) never knew he had a daughter, and to discover that while he was filming this remarkable series of films, her priority was getting high, showed once again that being a sincere believer and a missionary to so many may make no impression on a son or daughter. This may comfort many of us who find ourselves in similar situations, but it also points to our new civilization which follows different gods, like the god of self pleasure, and the god without consequences, and the god who has given us all the answers to life's big questions.

Fri Jul 7

For my midnight snack I ate the whole of the La Roca chocolate truffle I'd bought yesterday. The taste was fine, but slicing off part of it was almost impossible. I do prefer their chocolate fudge cake which Loblaws appears to have put on hold: more cake. less gouiness. Steve called me about 5:30 wanting dry clothes. It was also the time I had set my alarm to get on my way to Ottawa by 6:30. Laurie-Ann appeared about 6, so we all had breakfast together. I had somehow failed to charge my phone last night and travelling without communications would have been foolhardy, so I spent a while before leaving putting the phone on charge from the cigar lighter outlet. As I left for the 401 via Islington, I had about a spare hour to reach Bethel Pentecostal Church by 1. The traffic was light. I stopped for coffee and light snacks, but mainly to text L-A with my progress. As I approached Ottawa, I realized I didn't know exactly how to get to the church, and I couldn't remember the names of the nearby streets. Trying to guess the way used up all my spare time, and it was clear I would be late. I asked a passing couple, and he soon showed me a map on his phone, the magic street name being Meadowlands, which I was able to find on the GPS. Soon I was at Hogs Back, and ahead of me was Prince of Wales, and then I remembered everything, and entered the church about 1:30, having sadly missed the family eulogies. The first person to greet me after the service was Anthony d'Abramo, and then, inside the reception, Dina d'Abramo. Then I saw Beth chatting with John Counsell, so I joined in for a hug, and a brief chat. John is pastoring a 4-Square church in downtown Ottawa. There were only 3 or 4 others there whom I knew, but people were kind enough to introduce me. I chatted more with Beth. Shortly before I planned to get on my way I realized I had no pictures, so I did a brief round with the camera. Then I went out to the car and started on the return trip, for which I had a target address, so I got out of town far more effiently than I had entered it. Would I have sufficient stamina? I have never driven the double trip Ottawa:Toronto in one day before, and certainly not under chemotherapy. I wasn't hungry. and seemed alert. I was getting low on gas, and filled up in Kemptville, where I also bought some Monster. In Mallorytown I stopped to text, and a downpour discouraged me from getting back on the highway for half an hour. I thought I would attempt again to play the Jabra bluetooth through the car stereo. Suddenly the Jabra spoke to me, stating the FM frequency to be set on the car stereo. Very soon, I had the Blackberry playing its music on shuffle. The sound quality was excellent, and I relished the idea of great music for the rest of the trip home. This mixtape comprises the music I never tire of, and shuffle adds to the listening pleasure, never knowing what's coming next. The rain stopped as suddenly as it had started. I knew I must rest on the trip home, so every hour or so I found a place to stop, maybe have a pee, and try and sleep for half an hour. The challenge I then had was for the 2 hours when the low sun shone right into my eyes and those of all the others on the road. I used my right hand to shield my eyes, and drove from Trenton to Etobicoke without a rest break, probably helped by the Monster and L-A's and M-A's prayers. I got home around 9:15, and was really happy to be back with L-A. She had done very well catering to Steve's needs. She had ordered in Chinese food, and I had some; just what my body needed, though I hadn't felt hungry till I had it in front of me.

Thu Jul 6

I worried that after being locked into his bed all night, Steve might have been very wet by morning, and I did change his clothes, but having the bed slats up wasn't as big a challenge to him as I expected. I went shopping at 1, getting some strawberries, baguette and chocolate cake at Loblaws, and then Draino at Cloverdate. I decided to have my lunch at Pick 'N' Chus, and sat on my own in the food court. A young man came and sat next to me. I said, "There's a hungry man." He said, "You get like that when you've been where I was recently." I said. "Where was that?" Turned out he was an ex inmate. I said I had been a prison visitor, and was familiar with what it was like in jail. I prayed for him and he was grateful. His name is Renaldo. I put the car Jabra Cruiser Bluetooth on charge, and in the evening, attempted to play music from the Blackberry to the Jabra Cruiser (which worked), and from there to the car stereo (which didn't). I didn't know the FM frquency that the Jabra used, so for this and other reasons I gave up.

Wed Jul 5

Laurie-Ann came to bed about midnight by when Steve was in bed. At 4 am I went for a pee and saw that Steve wasn't in his room, and the kitchen lights were on. I searched the house but couldn't find him or his walker. The front door had been unlocked and left ajar and the outside lights were on. I rechecked the house incuding downstairs. I left the house and walked around adjacent streets. It was a a balmy night. I walked round the side and back yards. I decided to drive slowly around Alanmeade Crescent, but saw no sign of him. He had to be out there somewhere. I woke Laurie-Ann and told her what was going on, and that I was going to call the police in case anyone had reported finding him. The 911 receptionist couldn't have been nicer, and said she would put out a call, and also have an officer come to the house. I sat in the living room to wait, and after about 10 minutes heard the sound of a voice. Expecting the police, I opened the door, and there was Steve, attempting to push his walker up the porch steps. He was wearing a light shirt, pyjama top, and a diaper, with the pencil I use for my goceries to buy list in his shirt pocket. He had a smile on his face and seemed none the worse for his adventure. I got him into bed, and raised the side of his bed. He said he'd been in the back yard, but I find that hard to believe. I called 911 again to report the false alarm but five minutes later a police officer did arrive. He wanted to see Steve, and take some details from me.
In the morning Steve seemed none the worse for it all. From now on we'll have to keep the side of his bed raised even though he won't be able to go to the bathroom without help from me.
I prepared lunch, and went to Steve's room to fetch him, to find him on the floor beside his bed, having presumably fallen from it. He was awake but really didn't want to move, or follow my suggestions for returning to bed. His legs and other parts of his body were sore; not surprizing after falling. I put a pillow under his head and gave him 2 Tylenol. Some time later I returned and was worried to see that he hadn't made any efforts to move. I tried to encourage him with the thought of a good lunch waiting for him. It was nearly 4 pm when He seemed to be taking seriously the process of getting off the floor. His head was near the foot of the bed, and he said that he could see his glasses, which had been lost for several weeks. Lo and behold, there they were on the floor. I had looked here before and not seen them, so it's possible I had disloged them from the air matress. This was a great relief to him and me. At last he started to get into a crawl position, and then to lift himself on one leg, and reach the walker. His pants were soaking, so while he stood, I changed his clothes and diaper. I led him to the kitchen, gave him his glasses, and fed him the lunch I had prepared from leftovers. He was still fatigued, so after he had eaten I got him to the white couch, and he slept on it for a good while. I needed to relax, so I listened to Paul Simon's Seven Psalms. McCartney isn't the only octagenarian still creating amazing music. Yesterday I had watched Tom Power's recent interview with Paul Simon. Amanda had returned our Filter Queen Defender air purifier when she visited a couple of months ago, and the recent smoke from Quebec wild fires reminded me that we should get it up and running. I assumed that this would require the purchase of of a new main filter, but when I opened up the unit, it had a brand new filter installed. Amanda must have replaced it, which I hadn't expected. I emailed her that I would send her half the cost of the filter. Our only problem now is finding a convenient wall socket that would allow it to operate effectively. Steve slept on till 8, but then I noticed he was soaked with urine. I got him off the couch and he used the walker to reach the kitchen. With him still holding onto the walker I removed his diaper. As I did so I saw and heard that he was peeing, and I was close to being a target. He had no control of this whatsoever. I don't know how he had soaked his shirt when he was on the couch. I got a dry shirt and diaper from his room, and moved him away from the pool of pee, and put on the clean clothes. Then I sat him at his place and served him his supper, which he ate with gusto. Then I escorted him down to his room, got him on the bed, and after covering him with a blanket, raised the side slats on the bed. No more night trips out of the house for him.

Tue Jul 4    Med

Shortly after midnight we were woken by a bang from Steve's room as once again he fell on the floor after trying to walk without his walker or a walking stick. Luckily there was no blood this time, and I was able to return him to bed quite fast. In the morning there was pee on the bathroom floor. When Allison arrived we discussed the situation. He has no control over peeing in a diaper, and now he seems to be losing control when trying to pee in the toilet. She dressed him in shorts and I gave him breakfast, after which he continued to be hungry throughout the morning, making a nuisance of himself in the kitchen as he foraged for food. At one point he found our communion sets The Miracle Meal, but backed off when I said he would have to pray if he had one. I finished keying in our medical expenses, though I will go through all the paperwork again to make sure I haven't missed something. Laurie-Ann suggested I drink a Monster late afternoon, and it really gave me a boost for the remainder of the day. Throughout the day Steve was more energetic than usual, not wanting to sleep. Both L-A and I felt somewhat better than we had on Monday, though in my case some of that was down to the Monster.

Mon Jul 3    Med

Today wasn't good for L-A. After eating little yesterday, she didn't want anything today, not even tea in the late afternoon (although she did drink it when I gave it her). She thinks she may have eaten too many Brazil nuts, and found lists of things online that she shouldn't eat after such a transgression. I suspect it's her body protecting itself by fasting. My day started unusually. I got up with a wellness factor about 2 and took Steve his Tylenols. I said, "Would you like your morning meds?" and he replied, gruffly, "No." That was a first. A little later at breakfast when I told him the story, he didn't believe it. Though I didn't feel like cooking (or getting up) I made us an egg and sausage and mushroom fry-up. After that we both went back to our respective beds. I really didn't feel well, and a nausea pill had only partially helped. I had two bouts of diarrhea, the first in months. Strange that we should both have felt poorly on a day when Steve felt better than usual. And I stayed there till 2 pm. This hasn't happened before. I slept well - maybe that's what my body needed. I had a cup of tea, and then returned to bed till my 5 pm meds alarm woke me and I finally decided that it really was time. It was now that L-A at first told me she didn't want tea. Instead she instructed me in cooking pork chops with cranberry sauce and pork rub spice. I served it to Steve and me for supper while listening to Mix 98.3 from Johannesburg. When I took Steve to his bedroom I could smell he needed a change of clothing, and I took his trousers off and his diaper, replacing them with two diapers. Then he said to me, "I wish someone would give me a regular bed."

Sun Jul 2

L-A told me when I gave her MLD that she wasn't up to church this morning. I had just two breakfasts to prepare before I went and they were simple, so I wasn't pushed for time. The service was run by the founder of the church, John Arnott, and Steve Long, his successor. John administered communion which included healing prayer, and I took advantage of the latter to pray for my right leg and the tumour. I still had pain in the leg afterwards, and the tumour doesn't communicate. I had come into church wanting to ask for prayer for Laurie-Ann. At the end of the service, people wanting personal healing prayer were led to a room I haven't been in before near the main doors, so I headed on down there. By the time I arrived there were many more people wanting prayer than providing it. Bonnie was just leaving, having decided she would be at the end of a long line, and she had a 2-hour bus trip home. Yet she seemed in good spirits, and it was nice to chat with her. Decisions were made by the leaders to do group prayers, but I could see I wouldn't fit into any likely groups. So, since I am qualified to pray for healing, I prayed for L-A's. I prayed that she would soon be well enough to come to church on a Sunday, and that her fatty liver disease, which gives rise to a number of symptoms would be healed by the Lord. Then I drove home. First job was to clean up the BBQ from last night. Didn't take long with kitchen roll. Then I fed L-A with chicken noodle soup - all she needed. I had noodles. When I went to wake up Steve for his noodle soup, he preferred to stay in bed - until 5! I reheated his noodle soup and when he finished it and his bagel with beef, gave him his physio exercises. He was weak but willing.

Sat Jul 1 - Canada Day and Neesa's birthday

I had a midnight cuppa and toasted raisin bread. But at 3 I was restless and wanted a pee. Steve was awake and asked me for something to eat. I asked if tea and raisin bread would be good, and when they were cooked I brought him to the kitchen and we chatted and ate. About 6 my bowels sent my brain a discrete message to say they had yet more for me. All this and no laxative for several days. I know you don't want to hear about this sort of thing, reader, but it's important to me. I sent Bella the three R5,000 transfers she needed now we are in a new month, and she received them all. So Cathy gets her operation on Monday. Canada Day was quiet for us, guarded by Yvan Baker's lawn sign, the only one I saw anywhere. I'd written a birthday letter to Neesa, and Laurie-Ann wrote one of her own. I checked out 'Paul McCartney Presents McCartney III, the enhanced album;' the same songs (plus some switches) as its predecessor McCartney III Imagined, which I prefer. He has tried to substitute his own versions for the excellent ideas done by Beck and the other world-class producers. Still pretty good for 80, and the voice excellent. In the afternoon some sunshine brought Steve out on on a walkabout, and I thought it might be nice for him to sit on the porch on L-A's red chair for a while. Made a pretty picture in yellow, red and green. But then two things happened. He fell asleep as if after a TIA, and a rain storm hit us. Luckily he stayed dry on the porch. L-A had planned grass-fed beef burgers cooked on the BBQ. South Africans would never BBQ burgers, only 'real' meat. I was encouraged when the BBQ flashed up on the first twist of the spark knob, after not having been used for months. I kept a close eye on Steve, and he gradually came back to the land of the living, finally speaking (one word) when he saw the cooked burgers. We ate inside, and I served him his on the porch. After he finished the burger I was able to coax him inside with the bribe of cherry pie. Then, after a short time in the living room, he went to his room. Laurie-Ann also went to hers. She got up around 9 hoping to find some fireworks somewhere, anywhere. There were some lights visible and bangs audible in the neighbourhood but she's too short to capture any on camera. By the time I tried to catch Canadian Canada Day concerts on CBC Gem, and did watch Jann Arden, their presentation was almost over.

Fri Jun 30

I couldn't sleep even though it was nearly midnight when I got between the sheets. I got up about 1 and had tea and toasted raisin bread, and did computer work. I dozed, and about 4 went back to the bedroom and slept on and off till 6. I got up at 6:25, and Steve was up, and making his way to the kitchen. I gave him Cheerios, and he walked back to his bed, and slept. I washed, dressed, and had cornflakes with hot milk. I left for the hospital at 7:45, getting there about 10 minutes late for my chemo infusion. The walk seemed less strenuous than the last time. I asked them if they could supply me with 4 or 5 Dexamethasone, and she gave me a pager. I went to Tims for coffee and a bacon English muffin - nice. My appetite was better. than the last time. The pager rang when I was just finishing the muffin. I took the coffee with me and returned to the chemo reception, where a nurse Joy had brought my Dexamethasone. Now I had all the pills needed as I took chemo, but I waited another 20 minutes before they were ready for me. It was nurse Joy again and she was very efficient administering my chemo drugs. It was raining lightly when I arrived back at Kipling. I drove to our Shell station for a fill-up, and then on to the LCBO to buy 4 wine boxes, and 8 assorted craft beers manufactured in Ontario. Then I went to Renforth pharmacy for the Senokot laxative ordered by Dr Banerjee and the Dexamethasone ordered by Dr Lucy. Finally I got my hair cut by Sendi. I told her I was looking to buy some very light hair styling gel, and she said she had something I would like, and used it as she finished my haircut. I bought a bottle of it: Designline Volumizing Styler. This cheered me up. It is curious that on the day I ended up with three differenet laxatives, I needed none of them; I had two healthy bowel movements instead.

Thu Jun 29

I drove L-A to Sunnybrook hospital for an appointment with her Lymphedema specialist. While she was inside I parked on my favourite sidestreet, and bought a couple of subsize Monster energy drinks. I had finished one of them by the time L-A called to say she was ready. We got on our way home. The alarm rang on my phone and it was the noon call to remind me to take my meds. The only liquid I had was in the second Monster, but I couldn't reach it without getting out of the car. We drove on to Glendale cemetery. We remembered that Carol's plot had been opposite the crematorium so we parked and I went searching for the plaque, basically walking straight back from the crematorium, less hopeful with every step - until - there it was! I walked back to the car and drove L-A to a closer place for her to walk from. When she was installed in her red chair beside the grave, she said this wasn't the location we had been shown before by Shazad; he must have been confused that day. Not very professional. L-A was benefitting by spending this time beside her mother's grave for the first time. I took a few photos and we left. Before driving home I opened up the second Monster and my pills and swallowed them. By the time we were home I was ready for anything. I got our lunches, then did some computer work. At about 5 I went shopping, first picking up some vegetables and fruit from NoFrills, and then going to the LCBO to replenish our boxed wine stocks. For tonight's connect group Zoom I was somewhat more awake and appreciative than usual. After that we watched Fauda, and afterwards I asked ChatGPT if the music was by Sigur Ros (no it wasn't, though Chst GPT replied a second time and said it could have made a mistate. I listened to the whole of Gilad Benamram's music for Fauda, and the track that sounds very like Sigur Ros is omitted from it!) L-A went to bed, but I still had energy from the 2 Monsters, so I brought this journal up to date as I compared McCartney III with McCartney III Imagined. I had thought the former somewhat plodding last year, but 'Imagined' is something else, augmented by the talents of some of today's finest music producers. I finally retired about 11:30, only to encounter Steve leaving the bathroom, so I did what Allison wanted and put on a second diaper.

Wed Jun 28

It seemed a long time since I last went for my 3-weekly visit to PMH, but today was the day, and my first appointment was for a blood draw, and they were backed up like I'd never seen before. So I was in a bit of a rush for my Tim Hortons sausage English muffin. The oncology department didn't keep me waiting long, and I saw a Dr Lucy Coalte (?). She was willing to prescribe the Luctolose Suspense, plus more Olanzapine nausea pills, and Dexamethasone. She mentioned that Odansetron could cause severe constipation. Back home I checked the blood test results but found they hadn't tested for Ferritin this time, the one which last time round my result was seriously high. I left a message for Dr Bradbury's department questioning why they wouldn't have tested for Ferritin this time. The phone rang and it was a nurse from Palliative Care who took me through all my pain meds in preparation for my scheduled palliative care virtual meeting. When I said I was getting Luctolose Suspense, she strongly preferred Senokot, saying it was less explosive when it went to work. I should continue with Clearlax on a daily basis, but just use Senokot if I ran into problems, eg no result after several days. She also commented that all walk-in clinics only prescribe Tylenol as a painkiller, but that the palliative care department could certainly prescribe Tramacet if it was suitable. This was getting interesting! I mentioned Ferratin and she said the test had to be ordered specially every time. So it wasn't an error, but it puts paid to my plan for comparing Ferramax and Bis-Glycinate. Dr Banerjee called me briefly and said he would raise a prescription for Senokot.

Tue Jun 27

After he'd finished eating his breakfast, I shaved Steve's face and neck with the smaller of the two electric shavers. When it was done he looked better than he has since his recent recent hospitalisation 18 May when it had grown for a week. L-A had heard several days ago that Bob Carson had died. I had Beth's number on my phone, from way back, and she picked up - in Chillawack, where she and Bob had been staying with their daughter. We had a really good chat, which lifted both of us up. She and Bob had been Christians for 50 years. Bethel Pentecostal church in Ottawa had been a big part of their lives for 25 (?) years, and Bob's funeral would be held there on 7 July at 1 pm. We talked about some of the events the three of us had participated in, starting with Alpha of course. There'll be a lot of people at the funeral, at least one coming from Europe.

Mon Jun 26

I picked two stalks of rhubarb from the garden and cooked them up for our breakfast. They were lovely. But by the time L-A was having breakfast I was hungry again and had my regular favourite: cornflakes with hot milk. I was meeting Carl Wake at Tim Hortons on Dundas West at 2, and I managed to get there 10 minutes before him. We hugged. I got us both medium hot chocolates. Carl and I go back to 2001, when I started volunteering in Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre. He was the prison chaplain there. He had always encouraged me and showed interest in my Christian activities. I was a financial advisor with Investors Group, and he and his family members became my clients, from his mother to his children. I wrote a tune to a poem Peter had written, after visiting some inmates, What is the difference between this man and me? Sometimes we'd hold business meetings in the Tim Hortons near the prison, so today had extra meaning for us. I brought him up to date with our situation, and he told me about his. I sent out my letter to my siblings. It needed extra thought. My relationship with Maureen had been strained somewhat following Phil's death, and that was the last thing I wanted, so this letter was important for building bridges.

Sun Jun 25

I checked out the vacuum cleaner since Tara had mentioned one of the pipes was stuffed with carpet dirt, but all was well, so I suspect she had cleared it out. I vacuumed. Mindful of last Sunday I drove to church up Martin Grove, turning left onto Dixon Road, the way I have often come home. It must be the quickest way to church, and avoids freeways. I wasn't feeling well. There was extra dizziness and lack of balance even as I walked to my seat. Someone familiar seemed to be in the next row ahead. I didn't know if this was a tend or a blip; let's hope a blip. Steve Long preached on titheing. I had remembered my noon pills so by the time I was home I was a little better. L-A slept in the afternoon, so she abandoned her original plans for dinner and asked me to bring up an M&Ms lasangna. Mid evening Steve joined us in the living room and lay on the couch as we watched Testament on her iPad. He was well away by the time it finished, but I needed to get him back to bed with dry clothes. I woke him and watched anxiously as he returned to his room with the walker. Once there I took off his trousers and the very wet diaper, and then put a new diaper on him, all as he stood precariously. But we made it between us and soon he was in bed and dry, set for the night.

Sat Jun 24

James phoned about 9:30 - 6:30 in Las Vegas - from his motorbike! He was riding round Red Rock Canyon (which we enjoyed when we visited them). His BMW bike had been out of commission while Sagan was growing from baby to girl. James wanted to avoid unnecessary risks. But when the time came to possibly sell the bike, he just couldn't go through with it, and instead spent a few days restoring it to 'as new' condition, and this was his first ride. He had the drone with him and planned to take some video with it as he rode. When I took Steve through his exercises around noon, I saw a definite improvement in his strength, and also in his ability to comprehend what he was being asked to do. James had already sent me his new film, Dronebiking. He'd edited it and added music already. It's special; just needs more shots from the drone of him biking. I finally got to process some medical expenses for the tax return. I felt extra weak all day so wasn't very productive. At 4 I decided to take my own advice below and was woken at 5 by my alarm to remember to take my meds, and was still dozing 20 minutes later when there was a loud bang from Steve's room. I got up fast and remember noticing I was feeling better than earlier in the day. The bang was definitely a case of bone on wood; I just wasn't sure which bone. He said he was trying to get his warm jacket from the back of a chair. I suspect he wasn't using a walking stick or the walker - they were not in the vicinity. As I eased him from where he had fallen to a better position I saw a bloodstain on his pillow case. The blood was coming from his elbow. So I treated it in the same way a PMH nurse would have treated me after a failed injection attempt: with gauze and skin plaster. And I had both readily at hand. Before getting him back on the bed I removed his soiled trousers and diaper and replaced the latter. Soon after that he was comfortably sleeping on a dry bed, as I went to see what L-A had on the dinner menu.

Fri Jun 23    Med

If you are reading this for the first time you might want to know how am I feeling on a daily basis at this stage of mesothelioma cancer. In reading my answer, bear in mind that how I feel is a combination of how the cancer makes me feel, and how chemotherapy makes me feel, and how the drugs I take around the time of chemo infusions make me feel. Those drugs are intended to reduce the side effects of chemo. How I am feeling is a combinantion of how I feel physically, and how I feel mentally. I have been using my own personal 'wellbeing index,' a number between 0 and 10 as a measure of wellness. Wellness describes the extent that I want to get on with useful work (eg my tax return, or a number of other projects that are currently held up so that I'll devote more time to the tax return). Before cancer was diagnosed, I would take one 'Overdrive' vitamin and mineral supplement a day and feel on a different level. After cancer was diagnosed, Overdrive has not been sufficient to bring my wellness index above 5. Instead, a lack of pain (for which I take Tylenol), or iron supplementation, will raise my wellness index, and I can then operate very well at physically-oriented or mentally-oriented tasks. Usually I feel good first thing in the morning because I take Tylenol, Bis-Glycinate (for iron) at 6:30 am, so they are working well for me by 8. But as the day progresses, whenever I am standing, a combination of dizziness, lack of balance, weakness and sometimes nausea make whatever I am trying to do more difficult. Getting up from a sitting position is something I sometimes put off for several minutes. Walking upstairs is a slow process. On my way to the hospital on the subway I have learned where the up scalators and elevators are. Nausea can be dealt with by taking a nausea pill (eg Olanzapine). But even without nausea, my wellness factor falls below 3. I don't feel any of these conditions if I am driving, including over long distances, which is a blessing, and certainly not if I'm resting on a bed (or asleep). I take more Tylenol at noon and 5 pm. If I forget I soon get very weak. One particular side effect of the drugs (chemo or anti-chemo or my regular Tyenol etc) is constipation. I have learned to take 'Clearlax' every couple of days as a preventative measure otherwise my bowel will get blocked and life is very hard for a few hours until two or more doses of Clearlax eventually soften the stool and allow me to have a bowell movement. This is easily the most umpleasant of the side effects. I have also suffered for many months from my taste buds being deceived, and finding something tastes different from the way I remember it. By now I have developed some knowledge of what foods to avoid, but even that is not the answer, because the taste buds are changing. I am generally good with savoury foods, but less so with sweet foods and candy. Each day I have pain in my right leg, referred from a damaged lower back vertebra, which was diagnosed in the early days in South Africa (2018). I was prescribed Tramacet and Celebrex which I took every day. These painkillers and anti-inflamatories took away the pain completely, and incidentally increasing my wellbeing, allowing me to operate on the mission field without limping for 4 years, TKOG. But when we arrived back in Canada, a walk-in clinic doctor refused to prescribe Tramacet and Celebrex, but only Tylenol. So today the pain is back for part of my day, such as when I haven't recently taken Tylenol. This is not related to the cancer, but it does affect my wellness. When I mentions above taking Tylenol, I actually have one Tylenol extra strength, and one Tylenol No 2. The No 2 contains codeine which contains an opiate which has a direct effect on my wellness factor, as I mentioned Overdrive did for many years, but is a natural vitamin/mineral product.

After breakfast I drove to Loblaws and bought a baguette, since we had all enjoyed the last one so much. Steve was eating the first cut from it with ginger marmalade when Christine arrived to give him his exercises. She insisted he finish it at his leisure and got into conversation with L-A. Here she is at work. In the afternoon I drove out seeking Yvan Baker's office, eventually finding it but with no entry and a notice saying he was at a constituency event.

Thu Jun 22

Bella sent L-A her money needs for the near future. Cathy needs another R7,000 for a second kidney operation on 3 July, but Bella has already used most of her her R25,000 total transfer-in from abroad quota for June, so we can't make more transfers till 1st July. So I sent Bella a schedule for three transfers to her acount on 1 July totalling R15,000. We are giving Bella a lot of money, but we both have no hesitation in doing this, and have the money available. We have come so far along this journey with her, and we aren't giving up. One of the requirements to claim a Canada Caregiver Allowance was that the patient not have net income above $25.195. I discovered this after keying in the rest of the relavent data. I sent Tara a message and she confirmed Steve's income was higher. I guess the taxman thinks that someone with more income should pay for his own care receiving. Paul McCartney was on the international news saying there would be one final Beatles release in the fall, in which John's voice had been radically cleaned up, using AI, from a home recording from the 70's. So I did some YouTube searching, and found a 'new' Beatles song with all 4 contributing, titled Now and Then. I really like it, but will it turn out to be the release promised by Paul for the fall? The bass playing by McCartney (?) sounds a little pedestrian, and Beatles songs never had pedestrian bass parts. We shall see.

Wed Jun 21

When I went into his room to give him a Tylenol and open his curtains, he said, "Would you have one of those chocolate bars?" An hour later he was eating bacon, egg and fried millett bread (the only bread without lectin which L-A is avoiding). As he finished his breakfast he slumped in his chair, noticed by L-A. I managed to get him to use the walker, but only as far as the green chair, where his legs gave out and he ended up on the floor. We left him resting there and after 45 minuted he got himself up. At elevenses I ate, and enjoyed, the last slice of Betty Crocker chocolate cake we had baked in 14 June, a week ago. Steve helped me eat it. I listened to a 'Stand Firm' podcast which examined the increasing stresses between orthodix Anglicanism (ACNA) and members of the Episcopal Church, or the Anglican Church of Canada, and ACNA, wishing to water down their theological differences, and be in communion. This shows itself in entries to seminaries.

Tue Jun 20

Before I gave him breakfast, I changed Steve's diaper and then brought him to the kitchen. We had real porridge. While he ate I changed his dirty (but only slightly damp) bedsheet and put a new pad on it. After breakast he had a dry bed and diaper as he waited for Allison. For lunch I had the contents of the doggy bag I had brought home from Red Lobster: crispy sprouts and roast potatoes. I spent some time in the afternoon figuring out how to claim the Canada Caregiver credit. Having done the data entry it didn't seem to increase the rebate, so I have more work to do on this. L-A took part in a Katie Sousa webinar on deliverance. James video-called and said that he had rebuilt Taid's piano accordion, and it was working fine. That's a tricky job, with all those buttons.

Mon Jun 19

I was woken by a bang from Steve's room shortly after midnight. Sure enough, he was lying on the floor, having fallen out of bed. I gave him a pillow for his head, rolled him onto his back, and ever pragmatic, told him I was going for a cup of tea while his legs recovered strength. Half an hour later I rolled him onto his front, got him to adopt a crawl position, and soon he was back on the bed. I woke with happy thoughts of going to Red Lobster again in celebration of our anniversary yesterday; last time was for my birthday 4 months ago. In the morning I went to Renforth IDA and ordered L-A's drug replacements. I wasn't feeling too good - dizziness and nausea. I fed Steve a half can of beef barley soup in his room. A few minutes later he called me. He had lost his teeth. I looked around but couldn't find them. Then he called me again - he had found them - in his mouth! We got on our way. We were both dressed better than normal. Our waitress was Laura, and after bringing a bottle of Reisling she helped us with a special aspect of this resturant - deciding what to eat from the marvelous menu. But there's a downside to that, you want everything! I was bad, selecting twice as many items as I should have. After my lobster bisque appetizer, Laura brought my main course on 3 dishes. L-A was far more sensible, picking tilapia and a skewer of scallops. After five minutes I knew I wouldn't get through it all, but I kept going. It was all delicious. And when I'd finished I asked for a desert based on two large brownies. Luckily L-A had one of them. By now I was feeling bloated, and this was was only held in check by the excellent coffee. Fifteen minutes later after paying a lot of money to Laura, I eased myself out of the restaurant and into the car. Steve was in the kitchen when we arrived. He'd microwaved the rest of the beef barley soup. All I wanted at that stage was my bed, and I greeted its warmth. L-A, the far more sensible one settled down in the green chair with her Kindle app. Come dinner time we neither of us wanted anything, and I cooked Steve a mushroom omelette. I returned to bed about an hour earlier than usual.

Sun Jun 18 - Our 24th anniversary

Steve was pretty damp by morning, but I wanted to know if his legs were working. So I cooked us a good breakfast and tempted him into the kitchen. He walked fine. He was still damp but he ate. When he was finished I put a dry shirt and diaper on him and returned him to his bed with a dry pad. My drive to church was interrupted by there being no access from Burnhamthorpe to the 427 North, and I spent 15 minutes finding an alternative, so I missed part of the worship. But I didn't miss a Father's Day gift of a free coffee, which was hot enough to still to be hot when I arrived home. I found L-A had returned to bed with a headache. Psw Shavon had visited Steve and made him comfy. I sipped my Misto while listening to the rest of a Spark program on the history of recorded sound, which included an interview with the curator of the Mixtape Museum in New York. Though the plumbers are coming at 9 am tomorrow, I decided to run one more cycle of the washing machine mainly because I felt it would be very unfair to subject the plumbers to the smell of the soiled clothes and pads as they worked. This time the water from the machine drained away slowly from the sinks. I listened to an amazing podcast sent me by Dave Kemp about infiltration and corruption by the CCP in Canada, wich I tweeted. I discovered that the blockage in the downstairs sinks had mysteriously disappeared, after using the plunger vigourously, so I called Mr Rooter and cancelled tomorrow's visit. I said I would be happy to pay any cancellation fee. XE Money Transfers told me they would be returning the money I had sent on a recent transfer, but didn't identify which transfer, so I asked them for more info. Hopefully it was a small amout I sent to my own FNB account. I asked Bella to confirm she received everything I have recently sent, providing her with a list. In the past she has been quick to inform us if a transfer was late. I am looking forward so much to Red Lobster tomorrow, to celebrate our anniversary, albeit a day late.

Sat Jun 17

I had a fitful and sweaty night, so I decided to get up after my 6:30 alarm and listen to Mike Regenstreif on CKCU's Saturday Morning from its start. He played Rod MacDonald! It all sounds so good and twice as enjoyable on the Sony WH-1000XM5s. I finally confirmed that the phones can be used wired (instead of Bluetooth) with the supplied cable, for exmple on an aeroplane, or if the battery is flat, though then the noise cancelling won't work. The Ace bagette I had so much enjoyed with some ginger marmalade yesterday was just as fresh this morning. It fitted in the toaster and it was just as good toasted. I managed to deal with the uFile issues (thanks to the uFile helpdesk) which had stopped it calculating a refund, and then processed our Staycation credit when we stayed in the Residence Inn in January 2022. Staycation earned us $400. I added in the British State pension to my income and was pleased to see that there was no significant reduction in my rebate. Now that we had no missionary income from Iris Canada, I was in a lower tax bracket. Steve preferred to have his lunch an dinner in his room today, mainly I think becuse he had no trousers on. After he'd eaten lunch I took the opportunity to shave him with the less agressive of the two electric shavers. He looked better for it. I wrote an email to Ian McCallum asking how he was getting on with the mesothelioma and bringing him up to date with my situation, and the fact that I was feeling better than I had for some time. When I went to bed that night I noticed Steve 'standing' at the end of his bed, and hanging onto it to save falling on the floor. He had walked towards the window to close the curtain (which I should have done earlier) and didn't get to it before all the strength in his right leg gave out. This has happened before, and the strength returns after half an hour or so, but this time he couldn't relax the leg. I held up some of his weight by positioning my knees under his butt and coaxed him slowly around the foot of the bed until he was able to fall onto the bed. He was able to wriggle up the bed to a position he could sleep in. The minor emergency was over, but was this a sign of things to come?

Fri Jun 16

We both missed my 7:30 alarm and were woken by Allison at the front door about 7:50. When she'd finished with Steve and I'd got up, I prepared Steve's and my sausage and egg breakfast which we both enjoyed. On my wellness index I was about 4 and dizzy, and there was no obvious reason for the drop from yesterday, though I had eaten chocolate cake during the night. When he was done I went to Loblaws and bought an Ace baguette, some brioché bread, Maman orange marmalade ($7.49!), and Robertsons ginger marmalade. As I returned, Christine was just finishing physio with Steve. I buttered him some baguette with ginger marmalade, and then did the same for me - twice. uFile replied to my help request, so I sent them another. Laurie-Ann is doing some serious internet research on the negative effects of lectin in one's diet, and on liver disease. If these challenges can be minimized with supplementation, she is likely to find the way. I went downstairs to move the washing into the drier and found both sinks full of water, drained from the washing machine. At first I hoped this was just a regular blockage which might be fixed with the toilet plunger, but it made no difference. Unless we could sort this out we can't wash clothes, a major issue with the volume of soiled clothes and bedclothes Steve generates. I am washing most days. So I called Mr Rooter, the plumber we have an account with. He would come within an hour. I then called the property taxes desk in the City of Ottawa. The tax bill of $2,634 seemed higher than in the past, and I wanted to make sure I was reading the online account correctly. I left my number instead of waiting on the phone. Just as the plumber knocked on the door, the phone rang, so I was unable to deal with it then. The plumber considered the ancient copper pipework and corrosion around it, and strongly recommended against even trying to unscrew the drain plug on the ubend. The double sink is made of concrete and would need to be broken up in the basement to be removed, and 2 men would be necessary to lift it from its preasent seating. In the end I agreed to more than $1,000 worth of work, to be done at 9am on Monday. I had told Steve earlier that the plumber was coming, but now I told him the cost. It was late when I finished washing up, so instead of our usual prayer session and Bible verses, I asked L-A to tell me about Jesus and what he means to her. She made him very appealing.

Thu Jun 15

I managed to find the amount of interest paid on our All-in-One, a figure hidden on the statements. Because of high interest rates it had risen from $2,822 to $4570 in 2022, but because the condo is rented out the full amount is tax deductible. When Carlos originally recommended we sell the condo before going to South Africa, I don't think he took into account the significant tax benefits we have enjoyed. The government certainly wants to encourage business. I still had a problem with the tax return however. It thinks I had employment income (T4) in 2022 and I didn't. I sent uFile a help request to handle this one. For lunch I had noodles and cake. I have really enjoyed the noodles L-A ordered recently as an alternative to soup. Dave Atkins has sent me links about the current swell of online information about transgenderism, so I sent him the recent podcast from Stand Firm, making the strongest of cases from an orthodox Christian standpoint. After lunch, without feeling the need for a rest, and feeling at least 7 on my wellness index, I tackled a job I had known would have to be done, and its time had come. I extracted all our medical expenses for 2022 from our paper files. It took about an hour, as I refiled the 2023 expenses. After dinner we watched the final episode of The Girl from Oslo which had kept us in suspense this past week.

Wed Jun 14

Chicken boerewors and scrambled egg, followed by fresh garden rhubarb and honey on toast made a perfect breakfast. Allison commented on the improvement in Steve's mobility, which must be from the physiotherapy. I never imagined it could help in such a short time. After lunch I took Steve (and myself) through 6 of his physio exercises. He managed well, but I found them quite hard! L-A made the icing/filling for the chocolate cake, using up several of her mother's ingredients still in the cupboards. I had no idea there is so much butter in icing. I had poured the cake mix into two baking pans, and was able to get them out without breaking to form the top and bottom of the cake. I spread some of the filling on the bottom part of the cake. I then put the top on and iced the top and sides. Steve was our very willing taster and he pronounced it good. I had 2 slices and L-A had half a slice. Why so much detail on this? It was the first cake I ever remember baking, though I may have done so during my walk along the Pyrennees in 1960 with Phil. Steve and I had chocolate cake for dessert.

Tue Jun 13    Med

I figured out why I wasn't able to get to the Solutions Banking site when I remembered that the National Bank had bought out Solutions Banking. So I googled Solutions Banking, and some distance down the list found the new site: 3 line URL . Amazing! It remembered my password so I was able to log in. Maybe I missed an announcement from IG, or maybe there are lots of clients right now searching. Christine came at about 11 to give Steve his physiotherapy exercises. There were new ones, and he handled the session well. We received Phil's obituary from Maureen. L-A received a letter from Toronto General Hospital Liver Clinic - Dr Aliya Fatemah Gulamhusein - offering her a consulting appointment at 11 am on 13 December 2023. Let's pray she hasn't suffered further problems by then. This clinic has the finest specialists in the country, and just as with my original appointment with Dr De Perrot, we feel blessed to have achieved access. TKOG. Will we still be in Toronto in December? If not it would be worth driving here. Around midday I was feeling very tired, so I decided to sake a second Bis-Glycinate, and it helped. Only twice the recommended dose. After lunch I went to bed for a couple of hours and felt better, so much so that I decided to bake a cake: Betty Crocker chocolate cake. L-A offered to make the icing and confirmed we have the ingredients. With most of the data keyed into uFile for our rental income, and therefore only the medical expenses yet to be processed, I test-ran uFile which suggested we will have a healthy tax rebate. This was good news because I won't pay tax on late filing, and the rebate may just save redeeming from our TFSAs for monthly expenses. L-A slept in the afternoon, as she had in the morning. I am somewhat concerned about her need for so much sleep. I cooked chicken boerewors, scalloped potatoes and pees for supper and woke her when it was ready.

Mon Jun 12

Maureen told us how the memorial celebration for Phil on 9 June had gone. Excerpt: 'The memorial service was a perfect tribute to the man Phil was. A hundred people attended. We have the program and memorial card to send you. The photo tribute with his music is too big to send by email so Kale is going to work on another method. She is flying back to Toronto today.' I worked through about 5 of Steve's physiotherapy exercises with him. He co-operated fully. I made progress on the tax on our rental income, but was held up when I couldn't get into the Solutions Banking site. I was impeded by constipation, but finally I won the battle.

Sun Jun 11

I woke and went to the living room three times in the night, and on the final time responded to Gary Bielert's message of 9 June for news from us. I suspect the iron overdose was the reason for so little sleep without consequence. Church me, yes, L-A still asleep when I left. Murray and Ash off to Australia for 3 weeks with her parents. I gave her a hug as I wished her well. I had noodles for lunch; a welcome change from soup. Alpa posted a 'best of' the talks from the recent leadership conference at the Royal Albert Hall. I saved it and then with a lot of prayer and thought wrote a message to James to encourage him to actually listen to all of it with an open mind. We prayed again that evening. I posted a home made ad for LH Express 'Painting Stars.' I would love to see Lucas have more audience; his music has more than the quality needed, and Megan's voice is superb. James video-called from Las Vegas and although he was safe, the piano accordion had suffered damage, with some of the buttons imploding into the casing. Brian Wilkie made last week's service available and I used the message for today's GNiTM. I asked him please to send me some recent sermon audios.

Sat Jun 10

I went for a cup of tea, toasted raisin bread, and one of Steve's bananas about 2. I woke again about 3:30 feeling restless. Maybe my iron overdose was still at work. So ispent while updating the journal with the business of the last few days, and then swiffered the kitchen floor. I still had energy but decided to go back to bed. After three days going to PMH, it was relaxing just to be writing up my journal before getting breakfast for Steve and Laurie-Ann. I was still benefitting from my iron overdose! I'm in two minds about reporting it. 150% sounds high but I have already reduced the dose to the recommended 1/day. L-A has started in ernest on her Gundry (very low lectin) diet, and it already seems to be doing her good. James video-called me from Penny's house in Sheringham and the three of us had a good conversation. He mentioned that he was bringing back Taid's (Penny's father's) piano accordion, and putting my original Hofner President guitar up for auction. I had bought it during my second year at Cambridge, 1960.

Fri Jun 9    Med

Chemo day at PMH. I tried extra hard not to fall asleep at Christy or Spadina, and succeeded. I checked in on the 4th floor and collected my pager, then went back down to Tim Hortons for a Sausage English Muffin and coffee. Very nice. My taste buds were behaving. I arrived back upstairs half an hour later, and the pager ranger rang within a few minutes. Red 73. My nurse was the charming Michelle and I found my natural chatting mode somewhere in my brain was turned on high. So when she failed to find a good producing vein after two attempts (I have never experienced a problem having immunotherapy or chemo before), it was I providing her the sympathy, but she insisted on bringing in nurse Michael to do the job, which he did without difficulty. I imagine if she had failed a third time, she would have got more nervous, and some patients might have even sent in a comment. So there is probably a rule that says no more than 2 tries. Since I have lots of needles I have beome knowledgable about the challenges. The hardest to do have been hydrotherapy and blood transfusions, which use much finer gauge tubes and therefore take much longer than chemo. My chemo today was done in just over an hour. As it got into the second half I started even feeling stronger than I had at the beginning with a wellness factor of about 8. I felt almost as good before I was on any drugs and just taking Overdrive and Lifepak from NuSkin. Chemo has never given me side effects, and certainly not on the first day, so this was unusual. I went back to Tims for a warmed raisin tea biscuit, my current favourite. On the return subway journey while still on the first leg approaching St. George, I spotted a man fast asleep. Learning from my experience of yesterday I woke him. He fended me off but he must have heard something of what I said because when I got off, he followed me. He had mumbled he was going to Dundas West but I didn't know if that was a station on Line 1 as well as Line 2. It's a long street, like many in Toronto.
I had decided after a nudge - prayer - nudge - prayer sequence that unless Mella did not recommend it, for dishonesty, I would send Chantelle a single gift of R500. The first step was to have her recognised by Sikhona. I sent her on Messenger: ' You need to register yourself with Sikhona. Download the Sikhona app to your phone from the App Store. Register with Sikhona by uploading your ID and a Selfie (and any other information they need) Let me know how you get on. Once you are registered I may send you some money just once, not a regular amount, and I certainly can't afford to send school fees or a laptop.' On my way home I went to Renforth IDA, and picked up my Tylenol No. 2. I was grateful to Dr Banerjee's organization because I would have run out at the weekend. I re-checked the blood results from the tests done on Wednesday, prompted by wanting to get the spelling of Ferritin. I was shocked to see that with a standard range of between 30-250 ug/L I was registering 640 ug/L, 156% high. But that was not what Dr Faour had said on Wednesday. She must have mis-read it, telling me my iron was still low.
This was the day for Phil's private memorial celebration in Qualicum Beach, and we didn't know what time it was being held. We held our own memorial celebration, just the three of us if you include the Holy Spirit, and including communion. I'm so glad we did it.

Thu Jun 8    Med

I would have been in good time at the hospital, but I fell asleep on the subway and awoke 8 stops further east (Greenwood). The blood transfusion staff didn't seem bothered by my late arrival. The blood transfusion went according to plan, though a half hour before it was done I felt extra tired, the opposite of what I had expected. When it was complete, they disentangled me and I went to Tim Hortons. For the first time I decided to buy a gourmet meal from the automatic dispenser. I chose Chicken Alfredo. It wasn't quite as nice as I'd hoped for $13.50, but it was nice enough to finish. More important, a man sitting near if I had used the dispenser before, which I hadn't, but from that came a lovely conversation. He was an 81 year old missionary, Bruce Francisco, with a school in Myanmar he had run for decades, and a problem: no-one to take over from him. He had been coming to PMH for 20 years with (now) stage 4 prostate cancer. I was curious enough to ask if he was wearing a catheter. He wasn't. I got out Dr Banerjee's paperwork and saw that I had added that for replacement prescriptions I should have my pharmacy fax in their number and the drug required. So I called them and spoke to one of the ladies, who said she'd do it immediately.

Wed Jun 7    Med

I took paper and pen with me to the hospital and started writing a memoire about Phil on the subway. Dr Bradbury wasn't available so Dr Faour saw me. I told her I was now taking Bis-Glycinate 25 for iron, 3 pills a day instead of the recommended 1, and was feeling about the same as when I took Feramax 150. She had my blood results from this morning and said there was a reading for Ferritin, showing I was still low on iron. Dr Faour asked me if I thought more hydration therapy might help - 'No' - and then asked if another blood transfusion might - 'Yes'. I had told her I was feeling better than I had for a week, but she was looking at the blood test I had had a little earlier. She actually arranged the transfusion almost immediately after I had had the extra blood test needed. Unfortunately the blood test had revealed a potential incompatibility with the donor's blood, and needed two senior sign-offs to proceed. This took a long time and it wasn't till after 5 pm that the blood was ready. At that point I decided to return home and come back tomorrow, mainly becaude it would allow me to get the family dinner ready at the normal time. The dinner was Pizza Nova, which I bought on my way. But what going home now also meant was that I would have time to type up the draft memoire about Phil and send it to Maureen. The memoire I had drafted was more detailed about our life as children, and more glossed over when it reached our marriages.

Tue Jun 6

We heard today in an email from Maureen that Phil had died June 4. It was expected but no less capable of making me look back over our two lives, and I found I knew very little detail about his. We had operated separately. Maureen said that they would have a memorial celebration this Friday, so that those who had been around him the past week could then return to jobs/school. I emailed her to say I would like to attend the memorial celebration, but she replied, 'Thank you for your thoughts and considering coming for the memorial. Thank you also for understanding that this would cause negative emotions that neither myself or the girls could manage during this already emotional time. Therefore, we would prefer that you do not attend. However, if you would like to send a message to be read out at the memorial we can do that.' That Lynn and Lisa would still be hurting after more than 30 years (since I married their mother) made me feel very sad. It didn't have to have been like that. Hurting someone and being hurt by them are well dealt with in the Bible, and I was sure of the forgiveness I had received when I had confessed my sin, and had stopped worrying about it. But they had fended me off with a passion.

Mon Jun 5

Although Steve came to the kitchen for breakfast, even before he had finished he was dropping off to sleep and I was continually waking him. This is new. In the past, once he is eating he stayed awake. I listened to CBC Music's morning show of popular releases and was impressed compared with independent stations. I listened to Shadow Kingdom, Bob Dylan's current album of reimagined songs from the first half of his career. For an 80+ year old, his voice is in great shape. This is the soundtrack of a film made by Israeli Alma Har'el. I actually listened to the complete album twice, very unusual for me. While listening, finally found where T5008 data goes in uFile. Started keying in 9 T5008s, and had done them all by late afternoon. Laurie-Ann reminded me that she hadn't received her 'vote by mail' package for the mayoral election, though I had sent off the two applications and received mine. So I started searching my back emails (L-A had forwarded the original notice to me) and was getting despondent. After quite a while she took a phone call from the city saying they had her application but it didn't include her home address. I must have failed to list it. She gave them our address and they'll send the application. Phew! and TKOG. We watched the final episode of High Water, a Polish production based on real flood events.

Sun Jun 4

I got to church, but L-A didn't, which was good since a PSW who has never been before, Shavon, arrived just as I was leaving. I went to the normal area I use when L-A isn't with me, and then moved a couple of rows nearer the stage. After settling in I looked to my left to see Bob and Catherine within stretching distance! We haven't received any further updates on Phil, but I have decided to attend the funeral. I would fly to Victoria International Airport and rent a car. On the tax return front I have printed out all T-Slips and keyed in the data from half of them. In not too long I'll have reached the medical expenses. John and Kennedy arrived without warning. John mounted Steve's TV on a pole mounted on his table; much better than the previous arrangement. Then he took out the mattress and box spring and left them on the curb for Wednesday garbage pickup. Steve came into the kitchen for all three meals today.

Sat Jun 3

Steve and I are getting better at minimising the soaking of his bedclothes and his day clothes. He is allowing me to change his 2 diapers in the evening, so that by morning they have contained the situation. The day was routine, including progress on the tax return, listening to Saturday Morning on CKCU, watering the little tree. Christine, from 'Closing the Gap' (437-253-3857), an associate of Humail Jamil, physioteherapist, called to arrange a visit 6 June to start Steve on the exercises he had described.

Fri Jun 2    Med

Sadly, Steve and his bedclothes weren't still dry when he got up this morning, so I'll be keeping the washer/drier busy. He had cooked breakfast in the kitchen, but by the time he finished he was very tired and I was lucky or favoured to get him on to the bed.
I haven't talked about this much in the journal but it is a constant in my life at the moment - constipation is a side effect of the drugs I'm on, and left to its own I would soon get a blockage like the one that led me to the hospital emergency and perhaps have a catheter fitted, as happened 25 February. So every 2 or 3 days I take Clearlax, a fairly gentle laxative and stool softener, and that keeps me 'irregular.' Steve is having a very tired day today. He's keeping to his bed with visits to the bathroom. Around 9 pm when I asked if I could change his diaper, I found that it was dry, so no point in changing it.

Thu Jun 1

I listened to part of a Rick Beato video where he analysed the appeal of Radiohead, who he had regarded highly since the 1990's. I was two drgrees under today for some reason, so listening to Radiohead was something I could do, resting on the couch, and I began to appreciate them. It's exciting to find a new (old) band you like and then get into them. I sent R1,300 to Bella to pay for counselling (see yesterday's journal), and suggested she request a Christian councellor from the university. We had dinner at lunch time, after which a physiotherpist, Humail Jamil, came to see Steve. He tested Steve's mobility and then went through a series of leg and foot movements, which Steve managed quite well. A nurse called Christine will be coming twice a week to continue the exercises. Humail asked Steve to sign a form to set this in motion, and Steve blankly refused, complaining about 'you people' who tell us what we have to do. I asked Steve which people were 'you people,' and I think what he was trying to express was anyone with a white coat. Anyway, Laurie-Ann intervened and persuaded Steve he should sign, since there was no charge for the service. In Steve's defence, Humail has a slightly authoritive way of speaking to a patient. For the first time since the pandemic, tonight's connect group was partly held in Bob and Catharine's home off Bathurst, and partly on line. It took us an hour. Rodel was there already. Bonnie and Diane were on line. I didn't expect the sound to work as well as it did. I can't speak for the onliners, but in Bob's living room we had a good setup for discussion and prayer. In fact we all enjoyed it so much there were suggestions we do it more frequently. We left for home about 9:45, and it wasn't nice driving, battling with cyclists, which changed my feelings about doing this more often. Steve was in good shape at home, having not even soaked his diapers, but I changed them anyway, and put on a clean pair of pyjama trousers.

Wed May 31

Steve had a good day, taking himself regularly to the bathroom, and although he rearraged his bedding often, it was still dry when Allison came next morning. I actually got on with the tax return in the morning. There was a question that was challenging me 'did you have no income in 2022?' It all depended on whether they were just talking about employment income or including interest and rental income etc. So I put the question to ChatGPT, which responded comprehensively and quite definitely that income included all forms of income. I had a Microsoft Teams meeting with staff from Princess Margaret Hospital who were involved with It was a relatively new application and PMH had advertised for feedback from users. I had commented a couple of months ago that the app had some shortcomings. Then I heard from them a few days ago that they would like to ask me about my concerns. During the interview it transpired that I was their first interviewee, which suggests that either they didn't have much response to their appeal, or the app wasn't being used as much as had been hoped. I went over my concerns. In some parts of the application the multichoice questions were only able to accept one answer; too restrictive. My other main issue was that the right hand slider in a particular area would only reveal about 5 of 25 options, and the only way down the page was to use the down arrows. They seemed extremely grateful for my input. The system is currently only in use to two clinics, but the plan is to extend it to all cinics. I saw a very recent post from Bella on her Facebook: 'But I really can't be strong anymore, I am at breaking point.' I responded and asked for details so we could help in any way. It turned out she was grieving her late brother. Her teacher had recommended she make use of the university's counselling service, which would cost R1,300 for a year.

Tue May 30    Med

Shortly after midnight L-A woke me to say that Steve was in trouble. I found him in a tangle with the sheets and blanket, and pretty soaked. One of the diapers had burst and there was a mush of diaper material under his bum. I removed both diapers. I helped him use the teapot. Then I dried him and put on a clean diaper and a fresh shirt. I removed the soaked bed linen. When he was back horizontal, I took the soaked bedclothes down to the wash, and went back to bed. I must have gone down to the washing machine again and moved the bed linen to the dryer, since in the morning when I went down I had clean dry linen. I moved him to sit on the walker while I got busy with his bed. I washed his matress with water/vinegar mixture, and cleaned the floor with the swiffer. I finished drying the matress with a towel, and then replaced the newly washed undersheet and sheet that had come with the bed. I put a waterproof square on the sheets, and then moved him to lie on the bed. He was hungry so I brought his Cheerios into the bedroom for him. Allison arrived about half an hour later and did the stuff I hadn't done. Then I fed him a cooked breakfast. At 11 I had an appointment at Eringate Clinic for my monthly B12 shot, and on my way home I spoke to Nadia at Renforth Pharmacy. She wanted to know if I would be OK paying $60 for the medication prescribed for L-A by Dr Makar for the spots on her legs, and I agreed. The medication will be another 2 days coming. I went home to hear a shout from Laurie-Ann that Steve was in trouble. I went to the bathroom to see shit all over the place. It almost looked like it had been deliberately spread on the bathroom floor, but worse, outside the bathroom door there were more deposits on the carpet including a large turd. The author of the destruction stood in the bathroom poised to spread it further - his idea of a cleanup. I persuaded him to exit the bathroom carefully, and then walk towards his bed. I cleaned shit off his hands, leg and feet before having him lie on the bed. I went to the basement and brought up the mop and metal pan. adding hot water to the pan. I mopped the bathroom floor and it surprisingly all came up. I lifted the deposits from the carpet with a kitchen knife and put them onto a small towel which was already contaminated. Then I rubbed and scrubbed the 7 or 8 patches on the carpet with a new pot scrubber, cleaning it regularly in the pan from the mop. Again I was surprised how easy it was the clean the carpet. But the thing that surprised me most was that throughout the exercise I had not smelt any bad smell, while L-A smelt it from the other end of the house. In fact whenever I have cleaned up Steve's mess there was never (for me) a smell of shit. While my taste and smell sensors have been behaving strangely for months, I believe this to be a TKOG, and am very grateful. Steve was as good as gold for the rest of the day, perhaps to show that his performance earlier was the exception rather than the rule.

Mon May 29

Steve had a good night and only needed to pee when fortuitously Allison was coming in the door. When she had completed her work with him he said he was ready to walk to the kitchen for breakfast, a first since his hospital stay. We went to Dr Silver's offices, and found the one free parking slot for disabled people was available. She went in and I stayed in the car. Afterwards we went to Starbucks. When we got home, I progressed the shaving of Steve. Then I helped him pee into the teapot. Next I put her red chair on the porch now the weather is generally warm. Then I brought in the blue urinal from the trunk of the car and will see if it works any better for Steve than the teapot. Mella told us that she had been approached by Chantelle for support with her mailbox club. In addition to a verbal response I gave her coordinates for Gerhart Strydom. It would be mighty fine if Chantelle is supported sufficiently for weekly mailbox clubs. We watched a really excellent movie, Official Secrets, which suggests the Iraq war might have been stopped were it not for lies in high places hiding behind the Official Secrets act. Last thing at night I debated with myself whether to raise Steve's bed guard so he couldn't fall out, or leave it down so he could get to the bathroom. Today he had shown himself capable of going to the bathroom and returning to bed. I decided to raise the bed guard.

Sun May 28

Shortly after I gave Steve his two Tylenol, he said he needed to pee, so I helped him with the teapot. Ideally he would be able to hold it in a little longer until his legs would be less painful. I didn't attend church in the flesh, feeling strangely unsettled. In the afternoon I sent Bella her next transfer from XE, and then sent Elizabeth Gliem $US160 for Rui Vasco. This is a lot of money and I made it clear it wasn't the start of a regular support plan. Added to the $US 20 I had sent yesterday, it is the equivalent of 11,385 Mozambican Mets. In the past he had difficulty finding a friend with a bank account or Paypal who wouldn't cream off a portion of any funds I sent Rui. We were surprized and pleased when Steve joined us under his own steam just as we turned on a movie. His mobility seems to be increasing daily.

Sat May 27

I got up at my 7:30 alarm. Steve hadn't moved in the night. I gave him 2 Tylenols instead of the one he has been having, and then left him for them to take effect. About 8:15 a new PSW, Beverly, arrived and I started by giving her the recent background. When she go to work to move him to where she could wash him on the bed, it was clear he was a lot more mobile than he had been at midnight. Also, he wasn't as wet as previous mornings; the double diapers had been effective. When she was done he walked into the living room with his walker and I sat him on the couch and got him cereal, toast and coffee. He fell asleep holding the coffee and some of it soaked his shirt and the couch. I fed L-A her breakfast; she was up early because of a lady's tea party at church. All this time I was aware John could turn up to assemble the hospital bed, and I was grateful Beverly had come early. Steve decided he wanted to return to bed, and then I took L-A to CTF. I picked her up about 1 pm and she had had a great time with the ladies; scones, hot drinks and a talk from Lilian Brown. As we got home we saw that John and family had arrived, and he was already engaged in assembling the hospital bed. Tara had got Steve out of bed and into the kitchen and given him a snack, and I gave him soup. Kennedy was her dad's constant companion with the construction, probably learning a bunch of engineering common sense. L-A had eaten with the ladies, so I had some lunch. As John (and Kennedy) worked on with the bed, Tara entertained us with political understories. It took them till about 4 pm when Kennedy came out to tell me it was ready for my training course. Then took place the best conversation I've had with John in a long while, possibly ever, which I'm grateful for, as he demonstrated the pump which keeps the air bed at the right pressure, and the controller which will allow me and the PSWs to raise and lower the bed, or just the head or foot of the bed for maximum comfort. It was far better than I had expected and had every indication of being brand new. As I write this, Steve hasn't seen it yet, and I am trying to devise a way to capture the moment. He is not one to express surprise or wonder, but this might at least elicit a smile. Assembling the bed was no small feat, and demonstrates one more of John's many talents. John plans to return before next garbage day to put the old bed out on the street for collection by the city. When John and Tara had left in their cars, L-A and I went for a sleep, from which I have just arisen, feeling energised again. When Steve did see the bed for the first time it was somewhat underwhelming with no surprise or reaction, but he smiled for the camera, which is better than nothing. When he was settled on it, and I had demonstrated some of its capabilities, I celebrated with a Bushmills. Rui Vasco has been begging me for a week for money to pay his kids medical bills, and gave me the name of an Iris Missionary, Elizabeth Gliem, with a Paypal account. I sent $US20 to Elisabeth, and then emailed her. She was full of praise for Rui. who is a security guard for her. The $20 got through.

Fri May 26    Med

I felt very good today on the wellness index: (7). Maybe the benefits of the hydration therapy have really made themselves felt. The extraordinary thing is that today my taste buds are behaving, I am ready to tackle tasks I have been avoiding, I enjoy music more, including music I previously didn't particuarly choose to listen to, my appetite is great, I love my wife more (if that's possible), and I am more skilled at getting her father Steve off the floor when he falls. I was able to get Steve back on his bed when he had fallen half way through his door. I finally responded to the FICA organization in South Africa who basically froze my FNB account while they investigated me for money laundering. or something of that nature. They sent me forms to complete on 19 May, and today I completed the forms and sent them back by email. I told them I expect a pretty huge apology when they find their accusations were groundless. Readers of this journal will know that I circumvented the problem by sending money direct to Bella's account, and this will be our method going forward. After feeding Steve his lunch, I asked him to sign cheques totalling $676 for his recent ambulance ride and food. I am concerned that eventually he won't be able to sign his name, but today he managed it. I continued my current correspondence with John and Tara by saying I sensed we were making progress with Steve, and that having him readmitted to hospital could make things worse, since what he needs now is more strength in his legs. This afternoon he actually got up and went into the bathroom to pee, and returned to bed, for the first time since hospital. We watched the final episode of Series 1 of The Diplomat on Netflix; this show is terrific once you get your head around all diplomats and senior politicians communicating like sailors with F-bombs. About 11:30 L-A woke me to say Steve was on the floor. He had been trying to return to his room but couldn't make it past his door. With difficulty I pulled and guided him towards his bed but his legs and arms were useless. Eventually I got him onto the bed with his legs on the walker, a stable position. This episode was very worrisome since I felt he had been making progress. Then the idea came to my mind (TKOG) that such apparent paralysis could also present itself through a lack of painkillers. He was only taking one Tylenol Extra Strength first thing in the morning and that was it. I am taking 6 Tylenols a day and if I miss one I notice it. How foolish to have him taken to hospital for the want of over-the-counter painkillers.

Thu May 25    Med

Mid morning I wrote this report to Tara: ' Yesterday afternoon he showed signs of losing strength in his legs. Sometimes this can be countered with Tylenol, but it seemed less effective. When he can't get himself to the toilet, there is big increase in urine-soaked clothes and bed linen. Last evening I got him onto the bed with some difficulty and he slept through most of the night. But around 6:15 am I suspect he tried to get out of bed, and when I saw him at 6:30 he was kneeling before the bed and his bedclothes were absolutely soaked. I waited for Allison's opinion when she came about 8:30. She cleaned him up in the bed. But if she can't get him for a proper shower we have a problem. If he doesn't improve the next steps would either be to call an ambulance, or get him to long-term care. I am not sure of details of your plans for long term care, or if he is on a waiting list or how long before he could move in there. If he does improve and is able to continue at home, Allison is adamant that the new hospital bed is urgent, with his decreased mobility. If John can't do that maybe we should call in a handyman. But John said he had put part of the bed downstairs, and I can't find it. We propose calling an ambulance tomorrow Friday, depending on the next 18 hours. The loss of strength came on quite fast yesterday, and should be confirmed (or not) by then. He has taken a few falls recently and is getting pain in one of his arms that is quite severe and adds to the difficulty of getting him up off the floor, which normally I am able to do. Despite his difficulties he has been fully co-operative and shown no anti-social behaviour! Bless him.'
I started the day with a wellness factor of about 6, perhaps good effects of the hydration. Shortly after my breakfast I felt the pangs of constipation and for the next couple of hours was in great discomfort, and unable to do anything useful. I had taken Clearlax in the night but should have taken it yesterday morning. Today I had a second dose, and eventually it had the desired effect. By late afternoon Steve really needed a dry diaper, so having turned down a second PSW visit, I did it. It wasn't too hard. I took Steve breakfast, lunch and dinner in bed on the table John had brought. The best thing that happened today was that Dr Makar called Laurie-Ann in response to the email we had sent her on 22 May about L-A's spots on her legs, with a photo, and prescribed a cream. We have never had a doctor before who would communicate by email to the extent of making a prescription. What a difference a pandemic makes. From 2 - 4:30 pm we watched the online version of Alpha's Leadership Conference 23 filmed at the Albert Hall, finding it inspiring, motivating and full of wonderful teaching around the theme of Christian leadership. The impressive speakers included Anthony Tan and Danielle Strickland.

Wed May 24    Med

The hydration had caused me to pee a lot the last three nights, and last night I ran into Steve in the bathroom twice. He was trying to pee, and having difficulty. I now don't think this is the same prostate problem as I am having, because he has no problem soaking his clothes and bed linnen with urine. He had a very wet diaper on, but not enough strength in his legs to change it. So I decided to get him back in bed, despite the damp, and hopefully recover some energy by the morning. Allison came quite early, before I had given him his morning Tylenol, and she also had difficulty getting him to move around, but she did clean him up and dry him out in the bed. For this reason I served him (cooked) breakfast in bed, and then encouraged him to stay there for a while, recovering energy. I had a follow-up appointment with Dr John Morrell who had got my prostate sorted out. He checked my urine, then carried out an ultrasound on my bladder, and presumably all was well. He said I should continue on two Flowmax a day, and return to Dutasteride, for the long term. No side effects other than in some people a loss of sexual performance. I took the liberty to ask him about Steve, and he cautiously offerred that putting him on the same dosage as I with both drugs could be beneficial, and that it was not unknown for a patient with incontinence also to have difficulty peeing. He said he'd like to see me again late in the year, and I booked 6 Dec at 11:15 with Sylvana. I called Ruth, the co-ordinator at CBI, which supplies the PSWs, and told her that despite the hospital's recommendation, we didn't think having two PSW visits a day was warranted. He didn't need two showers. I bribed Steve to come into the kitchen for lunch with the promise of some chocolate cake I had bought this morning at Loblaws. He came, unsteadily, ate lunch and loved the cake. He slept the rest of the afternoon, but was able to join us in the kitchen for the last of the cacciatore, and then returned to bed.

Tue May 23    Med

I woke with We on my mind, and when I was dressed turned on my computer was relieved to see Maureen had just sent out a message: Hi Neesa, Dianne and Tony, Phil is making slow but good progress. The C Difficile infection seems to be under control. He is still very weak and unable to walk on his own. The collarbone is still painful. He tires easily. The doctors are aiming for him to be transferred to the Rehabilitation section soon. He would be there for about 2 weeks, possibly more. He is enjoying a visit from Lynn and Lisa today. I wrote them a status report, but my motivation was to express relief for Phil and Maureen. Laurie-Ann went by Uber to a dental cleaning for 3 pm because that was the time my third and final hydration was due to start. Today's nurse, Maria, arrived about 2:40 and soon had me up ship-shape, showed me how to un-hook myself and answered my questions well. Soon the pump was pumping and I was receiving, and she'd gone. I was able to use the computer easily enough while hooked up, and discovered a series of early Frank Sinatra compilations on Spotify: The Columbia Years. This was very similar to Sinatra Plus, which I had bought in ~1964 for the HMS Collingwood record library (along with Beatles For Sale). That is my favourite Sinatra era, but somehow the recording I had on Tape A4 had not survived the great digitisation. It'll be back there soon, together with Ketty Lester - Love Letters. As a relaxation therapy to compensate for caregiving and other duties, I love doing this, particularly when the house is quiet. I also added a resource: 'A guide for parents on how to introduce Christianity to their children' to the 'Other links' page on the Good News Christian Ministries site. It was sent me by a lady called, but my initial response to her about the article was somewhat critical: I said, 'I would like to comment on the reasons given for introducing Christianity to children. You are missing the #1 reason: Christianity is the history of the universe, the plan unveiled by God for his creation, and the sacrifice of the life of Jesus in atonement for sin, without which we can never hope for everlasting life as promised in the Bible. Our time on earth is just the introduction to life eternal. (or words to that effect. The way it reads at present is a list of philosophical principles, that could apply to many religions or even atheism). I had some difficulty editing the GNCM page until I remembered it was a Weebly project, and I was then able to figure out how to edit it. The hydration pump stopped about 6:45, and I carefully disconnected my arm from the very thin plastic tube that had been in my vein three days. Now I was free, and able to heat up dinner without encumbrances.

Mon May 22

A small miracle when I got up and brought Steve his morning pill (Tylenol): there were small leaves on the little tree outside his window. I had almost given up on it. All that work getting hoses and watering it had paid off, with a little help from the Creator. While on a high I emailed Dr. Makar with a photo of Laurie-Ann's leg spots and asked if she could help, mentioning that for L-A to come into the surgery and get up on one of her beds for examination could well be impossible. I also authoriized her to find us a private specialist who could advise on L-A's fatty liver disease. I wasn't really confident of a response since doctors don't generally like email.
My fear that I might rip the insertion kit out of my arm in the night proved unfounded. L-A didn't wake me at my 6:30 alarm and instead at 7:30 my phone rang. Fortuitously it hadn't needed charging last light and was on my bedside table. It was Fatima, my nurse for today on hydration. She asked when would be good times for me, and I said 9:30 or 2. She had other people to fit in and wasn't sure if she could make it for those times. I got up, and as I left the bathroom, Shirley, Steve's PSW for today arrived. That worked out well because I had his (not cooked) breakfast ready by the time she finished. Fatima arrived as he finished breakfast. She looked at the pump with its display and immediately realised something that Loveline hadn't explained: the hydration following the one which ended at 7 last night couldn't begin before 3 pm today. There had to be a certain interval between hydrations. There was now a choice needed. She could turn off the pump and instruct me how to turn it on for 3, or she could leave it on and all I would have to do before 3 was loosen a plastic clip so the fluid could flow. When she then said I would need to key in a code if we went with choice 1, I opted for choice 2 to reduce the chance of anything going wrong. But it meant I would carry the pump around with me for the next 7 hours. It would be a different kind of day. Bella responded to my request for her financial needs over the next 6 weeks in addition to her weekly allowances: July's rent, various school stuff, and a practical exercise where she would teach stuff she had learned to a live audience. I told her that it was inneficient to send small amounts, and I would rather send amounts between R4,000 and R5,000. Then I sent her R4,260 ($310) listing what it should cover, which included 6 allowances. This system can work well for both of us if Bella is as well organized as I believe her to be. I managed to feed the three of us lunch carrying around the bag. The pump was due to switch itself on about 3 pm, and at 2 minutes to 3 I loosened the plastic clip to allow the fluid through the pipes into my vein. The pump started, but I couldn't be sure the fluid was actually entering the arm. I was too influenced by the behavious of small bubbles in the pipework, which were leaving the pump, but didn't appear to be reaching the vein. So after half an hour in my ultra caution, I phoned Home Services, who managed to get Fatima to call me back. She asked if the top left indicator on the pump screen were counting down, which it was, which told her that all was well. I now think the bubbles were being absorbed into the fluid under the pressure of the pump. All was well, as was clearly demonstrated an hour later when I checked the bottle and it was almost half empty. Meantime, Laurie-Ann had handled almost all the preparation of our evening meal which I would normally have been available to her for fetching and carrying, etc. The hydration pump stopped at 7, and I naively thought our problems were over. But firstly, I couldn't unscrew the connector for the plastic tube to the insertion kit in my arm, and secondly the pump started beeping and I couldn't stop it! Should I seek help from Home Care, or should we have dinner? We did the latter, enjoying cacciatore from the dutch oven while I had the beeping pump and bag over my shoulder. When I finished mine, I phoned Home Care and told them of our predicament and they said they would have Fatima call me back. I wasn't too confident this would happen at 8:30 on Victoria Day, and continued trying to solve the problem myself. The connector for the plastic tube wasn't giving up, but when I tried the other end of the connector, it came apart, allowing me freedom to move around without the bag. This was important because I would be able to sleep tonight. As for the everlasting beep, I decided to just let it continue in the living room while we slept in the bedroom, and did the washing up before retiring. About 10 pm Home Care rang. I gave them the good news that I was no more tethered to the bag, and they told me how to switch off the unit. No more beeps!

Sun May 21

I didn't finish admin work till 12:30, 2 hours after L-A retired. I slept till about 2, then felt like a cup of tea. I added raisin bread with blackcurrent jam, and almost as an afterthought, a tot of the Glenlivet that had awaited us when we returned from Collingwood. As I went to sit on the couch I glanced at my package of chats with Jesus, and instantly, like a message back from him, the idea came to my mind to send a message to John and Tara thanking them for the Glenlivet. What I really wanted was to begin a dialogue with him, however brief, to mend fences. Maybe that will come. Around 3:30 I returned to bed and my 6:30 alarm for meds. So I didn't get much sleep last night but my wellness remained around 5/10, and at 7:30 I got up and dressed. I gave Steve his morning pill, but then he decided to get up. and fell with a bang on his floor - a bang I heard from the kitchen. I was able to guide him to get back on the bed, and then to help him change his soaked trousers and diaper. I prepared a cooked breakfast for Steve and me, and L-A's usual. L-A decided she wasn't coming to church because we didn't know when the PSW was coming, but I went to see Marc Dupont again. I got home in good time to serve Steve and L-A their lunch, and clear up, before Loveline arrived to set up my hydration. She had only two insertion kits and her plan, if she failed with both of them, was to send me off to emergency at Etobicoke General Hospital and have them do the insertion. I refused, not wishing to wait several hours as a non-urgent patient, and said we should instead delay the hydration until she had enough insertion kits. Anyway, it turned out that she had been praying, as I had, that all would be well. I had arranged her a power supply so I could be on the couch with her in front of me on a chair, and whether this was the reason, or the prayer, she managed it first time. She was so relieved. Soon she had me all connected up. Without an overhead contraption to hang the saline from, the kit included a pump to force the saline into my vein. It turned out the pump had fully charged batteries in it, so the power source wasn't necessary, and I was able to get around, for example, to type this. We watched an episode of 'Diplomat.' While all this was going on, Joko (?), a Nigerian PSW who hadn't been here before, turned up and I briefed her from the couch about Steve, and she managed OK. Also Tara and Kennedy turned up, mainly to collect Kennedy's iPad, and we three had a good chat. She mentioned that John had had a good laugh from my 3 am. message, which wasn't my intention for it at all. L-A asked when he might be able to set up Steve's hospital bed, and she said possibly next weekend. Let's hope so. The pump stopped about 7, signalling the end of hydration. It had made me quite tired. I was able to disconnect myself and place a sleeve over the insertion kit so it wouldn't snag. Four hours of hydration creates challenges, but I had managed them by being careful. Now I needed to serve up the dinner, and my main problem was fatigue from the hydration. I had looked forward to the second half of my Yorkshire pudding and roast beef, and it was just as good as I hoped. But I didn't have room for it all so I now have lunch for tomorrow. I went to bed quite early.

Sat May 20    Med

Bella messaged to say that her money had come through. This was, and is, huge, because from now on we will be able to send her cash direct to her account, as as I now know, within a day if I pay a $10 fee to use my mastercard. So I sent her a further R1,010 to cover the balance of her rent and the allowance that had been due on 18th. Nothing could dent my day now, and amoung other tasks I would get on with proving my FNB account was not being used for money laundering.
I sent an early message to Tara:
'Hi Tara Your dad slept through the night, which was a pleasant surprise. It's now 10 am. L-A is in touch with the psw organization and we expect them today at least once. He's not quite ready to stand on his own with the walker, but I think that will come during the morning. Meantime his green hospital diaper is there for him and I can't smell any No. 2. Laurie-Ann wisely had the ambulance bring him home with a couple of Pakistani drivers who did way more than I could have done at 9:30 pm (and after chemo that day). It would have been impossible for him to walk from the driveway up the steps to the house with just my help. She paid the $175 on her card and I'll get a cheque from him for it. When they had gone and he was lying on his bed and I asked if there was anything he would like, he asked for an OhHenry, and enjoyed it. He has communicated normally during this time and this morning. My relationship with him is very good. Yesterday his hospital doctor Dr Bell called me. (see 18 May Journal)
So he's not on his deathbed, but may be near to going to a nursing home. I think his problem at the moment with standing and walking is he hasn't done much of it this past week in hospital, and I believe I'll have him moving around today with walker or walking stick, and I will let you know. If he can manage these things, we can get back to the status quo here, and are happy to do that. I have been watering the little tree and the hydrangea.'
Listened to Canadian Spaces, which mentioned a local band CA & Sonny doing a tribute to local musician and promoter Howie Hooper, who died 2 years ago. Before he died of cancer, he recorded some songs on Soundcloud, which I checked out. He reminded me of William Hawkins (ie my favourite sub-genre of folk music). I have made a recording of the songs on Soundcloud, which is called Howie Hooper's last act. Most are in excellent sound quality, though some were recorded on his phone in mono with poor stereo image.
We had heard from Allison who will be here around 2 for Steve. She was, and when she tried to get him on his feet to walk to the bathroom he miraculously stood up and did so like the last time he had done it. She soon had him shipshape and clean. He had slept a long time today without mishap beyond a soaked geen hospital doaper - and that was by design. He has been as good as gold, communicating and cooperating. Before supper I shaved off most of his beard and will remove the rest and the moustache when time permits. He enjoyed the process, and was rewarded with delivery cottage pie which he finished with gusto. I am very grateful for his progress today. I am having intravenous hydration 4 hours a day for the next 3 days with a nurse coming to the house. This is in association with chemo.  She came today but failed to find the right vein after 4 attempts by when she'd run out of insertion kits. No blood was flowing, but my ticker was still tocking so she rightfully realized the problem was at her end.  I felt very badly for her but after hearing that it was a four-hour stint I was quite happy about it all;  it didn't interrupt our dinner.   I have felt good today - quite high on a wellness index, with an appetite. So although it's been busy I have enjoyed it. And I did get $94 back from Shoppers for Feramax now that I am comfortable with CanPrev Bis-Glycinate 25. There's a story there. I first took the Feramax back to George at Renforth IDA and asked them for my money back, and even though the slip was clearly a Shoppers slip, they paid up! Maybe I am such a good customer. Anyway I gave them the $94, and collected same from Shoppers 10 minutes later.

Fri May 19    Med   4th chemo infusion.

Wellness about 4/10 as I got up, not expecting any appointments today, and thinking we would have Steve home sometime tomorrow, or even after the long weekend. After breakfast I went shopping and the hospital started calling L-A. They were ready for him to come home today, but not till 9:30 pm! PMH Chemo unit called me and said they'd expected me for chemo at 9 am. I later checked the PMH portal again and a 'changed appointment' notice was sent out at 10:51 this morning giving me a 9:00 appointment! It also stated it was an appointment change, but didn't state the day of the original appointment (9 June). This is an improvement I would like to see in the portal, and I think I have even suggested it. So I got in the car, on my way to the hospital, getting there about noon, and being called for chemo by about 1:15, which was good because at noon I had taken the anti-side-effect meds I had needed one hour before chemo. While in the chair I checked my text messages, L-A confirming Steve would be brought home by ambulance, so I was off the hook. On the way home I bought from Loblaws various salad dishes for our dinner, some which were rather definitely 'me;' Melton Moybray pork pies, and chicken vindaloo portions. I went to church for a special service featuring Marc Dupont, who we had last seen at Citychurch, Ottawa in ~2002. He did not disappoint. He covered off quite well the reasons why many prophets got things wrong over Y2K, and then with the pandemic. At the end I went with many others to the front to be prayed for to re-invigorate my spiritual passion. When he called individuals with certain medical conditions for prayer, I hoped he might say there was someone with mesothelioma, but I was not to be favoured. Laurie-Ann had indeed wisely had the ambulance bring Steve home, with a couple of Pakistani drivers who did way more than I could have done at 9:30 pm (and after chemo that day). It would have been impossible for him to walk from the driveway up the steps to the house with just my help. She paid the $175 on her card and I'll get a cheque from him for it. When they had gone and he was lying on his bed and I asked if there was anything he would like, he asked for an OhHenry, and enjoyed it. He has communicated normally during this time and this morning. My relationship with him is very good. We enjoyed the salad dinner, except the pork pies were disappointing. Steve slept through it all.

Thu May 18    Med

Bath day, and I didn't rush. I got dressed and went into the living room and sat down and waited for some level of wellbeing to invade my body, like yesterday. I didn't feel like breakfast, and when I had a clementine it had no taste. I got onto the computer and worked on yesterday's journal, and that gave me a little wellbeing. I called Solutions Banking, and queried my Mastercard balance of $2267.26, but the agent convinced me that all was well. I paid. I had used mastercard as the source of $359.46 (R5,000) sent to Bella by XE, which will soon be on its way back to me. I checked PayPal and my bank statement and am confident M-A's loan of $US 6250 has gone through. Bella messaged L-A to say the had downloaded the Sikhona app and registered on Sikhona. With everything therefore in place for a repeat of the earlier wire transfer, I went to XE and attempted the transfer to Bella, but near the end when they presented me with a French 2-stage verification requirement on my mastercard, I lost the screen which required the verification numbers. Dr Bell called from the Trillium Hospital and gave me a pretty full report of Steve's condition, all good news. Yes, he has advanced dementia. He had a urine infection which has been treated successfully with an anti-biotic. She doesn't think he has ever had a seizure. All other tests they ran have proved negative. His geriatrician there is Dr. Joshi Cura, and his social worker is Amina. It is she who can bring in hospice care when it becomes necessary, which is not yet. In the afternoon I slept till woken by the 5pm meds alarm, and my wellbeing index was about 4, having been 2 earlier in the day. We both had tea. I tried again to send Bella's transfer, and perhaps being at a higher wellbeing index, it all went through including the French verification of Mastercard. We watched 'Diplomat' before supper so as not to conflict with connect group. Connect Group was good, including an ex-Ukrainian missionary to Turkey, Dimitri.

Wed May 17    Med

Messages from both XE Money Transfer and Sikhona confirmed the that the money I had sent to Bella's Capitec account was being sent back (a) because Sikhona was using her old email address, and (b) Bella hadn't registered on Sikhona. I went to PMH for blood collection, followed by a meeting with Dr Faour. I was happy to tell her I was feeling better than for the last few days, but wasn't sure if it was from the iron supplementation, or any other possible change. She had seen the report from Dr Kujawa, and we all agreed that getting back to chemo should be the next thing on my agenda. She was concerned I wasn't drinking enough water (I'm not) and said she would arrange for a nurse to visit for a few days after the chemo to give me hydration. As I left the clinic, I could hear jazz. It was the Wednesday concert, so I went and listened for about 45 minutes to some enjoyable tunes from a trio with piano, bass and guitar. I went home the same way I had come, using the elevator at Queen's Park station rather than the less reliable escalator. I hadn't felt like eating at the hospital, and arrived back at Kipling feeling a little hungry, but not wanting to eat anything - except pizza. There was still some left from last night, but not enough so I bought a couple of slices from Pizza Nova, which, added to what we had made a good lunch for us both. Before re-sending money to Bella, I wanted to make sure we had all our ducks in a row. L-A asked for her phone number and that was different from what I had used when I set her up as a recipient of money on XE. I resent my message to her asking her to register on Sikhona, and also asking her to confirm with Capitec that her bank account is in good order, because I cannot send to it from my FNB account. The fact that Steve wasn't around didn't stop L-A making a nourishing and filling chicken dish for dinner. So far I have never lost my appetite for her dinners. After supper I took her to the church to join a well-attended talk on discernment by April Stevenson, who L-A knew from her past. In her absence I got some good computer work done, including editing Bella's details as a recipient of XE funds. I went to pick her up about 9:15, still feeling pretty good as I had all day.

Tue May 16    Med

I emailed Bella asking her to download the Sikhona app onto her phone and then register. Dr Kujawa called me on a Teams link. I hadn't realised that she was part of the Race Clinic, which specialises in pleural effusions. Dr Bradbury had asked her to advise on whether my recent chest X-Rays suggested another drainage would be beneficial. She didn't, even if she were successful in sucking out any significant fluid. She thought it more important to get back on chemo. I visited Steve again in the Trillium hosital. I had dreamed last night about how I would bring him home, and as I walked in today I saw the answer: a bunch of wheel chairs that live near the entrance across the road from the car park. He was in the same good spirits as on Saturday, and we had friendly and easy conversation. I showed him a short video L-A had made on my phone, which went down well. I told him I had phoned his nurse, and that his doctor, Dr Bell, would call me back. He didn't remember much about a fall her had had; there was a notice on his board about an X-Ray post fall, so one assumed there were no ill effects. Some of my day was spent on the income tax return, and I realized I hadn't received any tax slips, so I messaged Carlos, who told me I can get them myself from the 'Tax Centre.'

Mon May 15    Med

I weigh 130 Lb, or 59 Kg today. Pretty steady for more than a month. I called Canadian Tire and apologized for forgetting my appointment yesterday. They said I could bring in the car any time today! So, much relieved, I got our breakfasts. I have plenty to do here and I didn't fancy spending several hours in their waiting room, so once the car was booked in I called Beck Taxis, and they brought me home for ~$20. When we went on holiday I took a stack of paperwork I was vaguely working on, but of course didn't get round to any of it so it came back with us, the only differences being it was all now in one one pile. Today I was determined to go through it, throw some out, and leave the rest in a more accessible state. I also went through emails, including this from Maureen:
'The medical saga continues for Phil. He has not been well for a few months as he told you. Unfortunately on May 3 he fell hard on a sidewalk and broke his collarbone. He has been in hospital for 10 days. He has C Difficile colitis, an inflamed colon caused by infection. He’s on an oral antibiotic for 14 days. Once he is medically stable they will focus on physiotherapy and transfer him to the Rehabilitation floor. Prior to the fall he was having a lot of difficulty walking. We thought it was because of his groin infection and sore skin. But he must have had C Difficile as well. He had been through many tests the week before but it took time to get the results. His shoulder is very painful still. He can’t stand or walk yet and has his left arm in a sling. He’s on an air bed which helps his comfort level. He’s very tired and not eating well. He was confused the first few days but the delirium has improved a lot.'
This is the worst medical news I have ever heard about my brother and I am extremely concerned. I replied to Maureen enquiring whether he was well enough to receive a phone call, and she said the C Difficile is so infectious they won't let him use a phone. I sent the second half of the second loan to M-A, and for once PayPal seemed to have behaved. I took an extra Bis-Glycinate 25 with my 5pm medications, making it 300% of the suggested daily dose, and I have felt extra energy this evening.

Sun May 14    Med

Since our holiday, I have felt weak and lacking in desire to get tasks completed. Today I returned to CanPrev Iron - Bis-Glycinate 25. I survived the day but it's hard to tell if that was the reason. We still have the blue suitcase on the couch waiting to be completely emptied. Finding places to put the contents of the two cases and the Metro boxes has been a mental struggle. I didn't attend church this morning because of feeling like this. Behind everything is the spectre of our income tax. M-A has commented that we urgently need to contact a hospice for help because he could go downhill fast at any time. But we haven't really liaised with Tara since we returned. Today Tara confirmed that we sould do this, but she didn't have the name of the gereatrician who had called her, so I will take the helm on this one.

Sat May 13

At my breakfast, having just put boiling water on the coffee in the filter, I carelessly turned round without checking the proximity of the coffee to my left hand, and the coffee went flying, much hitting the back of my hand. I yelled in pain, getting some relief from cold water. L-A brought me some aloe vera ointment, which I put on the hand. It probably helped with long term healing, but for a few hours I was in significant pain. In the afternoon I visited Steve in the Trillium Health Partners Mississauga Hospital. He looked calm and well as I entered his room. He was clearly being looked after well, and there was no suggestion that he was desperate to come home. His vascular dementia is between levels 5 and 6, 7 being the maximum when full time care from specialists will be essential. I had brought him a bag of clothes and shoes. We spent about 30 minutes together in logical conversation.

Fri May 12

The return trip home was no less hard work for me than our arrival a week before. I managed to get our two suitcases and Metro boxes through the tortuous doors of Club Cranberry by about 10:30 am. After dropping off our keys, we bought two cranberry lemon scones from a very attractive nearby bakery, and then got on our way. We decided to detour to the Millenium Park, containing the Port of Collingwood, and the former shipyard which had played a part in both world wars constructing naval vessels both for the RCN and the RN, and back at least as far as 1840. We think we even spotted the dry dock, one of the only relics left as it was when the rest of the shipyard was ploughed over. We searched for a restaurant on our way home, but didn't find one until IHOP in Brampton. We were finally home by 4.

Thu May 11

I got up early so as to increase my chance of communicating with FNB in South Africa before their closing time. I had problems reaching them on Skype on my computer even though their number had rung yesterday. With help from L-A I was able to Skype them from her computer, but after about 10 minutes the call timed out. It was clear we should investigate alternative methods of getting money to Bella. I think it was L-A who suggested we use an XE Money Transfer direct to her bank account (instead of via my FNB account). So I added her details as a recipient and sent R5,000. Very soon we had feedback from XE to say that as a new receiver of cash from abroad, she should expect contact from Sikhoma, We drove out to Sunset Point Park and parked near the beach, walking to the shore line. L-A wore her new yellow sweater for the first time. She had her red chair and I had the canvas chair we had bought for Mozambique. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon. There were three kids from a family enjoying themselves on the rocks. Driving back into town we visited the old railway station which had been turned into a museum. We went on to Starbucks for coffee and light eats, and then on to the Galaxy cinema to see Are you there God, it's me, Margaret?.

Wed May 10

I got up to a shock in the form of an email from Sikhona in SA to say that they had placed a hold on my recent R5,000 transfer from Simplii because they had received a notification from FNB to say that my account there is not FICA compliant. I immediately replied to Sikhona expressing great surprize that my account would suddenly become non-compliant, and explaining that we use the account purely to support Bella with her university fees, rent, and medical bills. I prayed they might take pity on us once they saw some details of Bella's situation. They replied an hour later, in a more conciliatry tone, but I still have to contact FNB. I called them and it rang, but I suspect the agents had all gone home. Unless we get this sorted, Bella won't be able to pay her June rent. Steve was having another bad day, peeing freely, and according to Allison, dragging his leg so she was unable to get him into the shower. We decided to have a quiet day in the unit, and L-A went for a few hours sleep. I had soup at lunch time. In the afternoon I relaxed on the balcony listening to Steely Dan and the Beatles, and getting soup for L-A about 4 pm. At 7 we cooked paella. At about 8:30 I received the second shock phone call of the day: a nurse from the Trillium hospital wanted to ask about Steve's condition before he was brought in by ambulance. We knew nothing of this development, and she had my number as caregiver. We gave her Tara's number. It turned out she had left him in the during room while she went downstairs for a Zoom call, and he had had a TIA, and when she went upstairs he was slumped over his chair and non-responsive. Se called the ambulance. The situation by evening was that his brain scan was normal but his heartbeat wasn't. He is likely to stay in overnight. In fact her stayed several nights in the cardiac unit.

Tue May 9    Med

I got up at a reasonable time, had breakfast, and took my new iron pills. L-A had an appointment for a facial in a beauty parlour called Pamper Me Spa, and while she was in I walked, somewhat shakily, to Rexall to buy more Tylenol Extra Strength. I took a photo of a mural of a ship, almost certainly built in Collingwood, where warships had been built at least as far back as 1841. L-A looked very fine after her facial, and we went for lunch at The Huron Club. I had lamb shank and she had Thai curry salmon. My appetite is very poor, so if I see something that I might really like - such as lamb shank - I go for it. When we got home I took a rest. I had felt pretty weak all day. John Whelan and Rick Beato (among others) have been discussing AI generated music, and I found a playlist on Spotify by that title. John has posted some Beatles examples on The News on the Ottawa Beatles Site. After sampling the Spotify playlist of unfamiliar tunes, I thought the Paul McCartney numbers were the best I have yet heard, particularly 'Midnight Caller,' so I downloaded them in case they are deleted.

Mon May 8    Med

I had my meds at 6:30, and by 7:15 had more of an urge to get up than to stay in bed. But when I did I was hit by a wave of fatigue. My gut told me I was very low on iron, since I'd stopped taking Feramax 2 days before, replacing it with Pharmanex Iron. I still have two Feramax capsules which I am keeping for the return journey. What I need now is some chelated iron to give me a similar result to Feramax, which is not chelated. I know there are products out there, from checking Amazon. So I called a local health store, which had no chelated iron. L-A heard the call and - much to my surprize - said she had some CanPrev Iron - Bis-Glycinate 25. The ingredient is Ferrous bis-glycinate chelate. The dose is one capsule per day, so I took two. I think I started feeling the effect within an hour, and for the rest of the day I felt as I would have done on Feramax. Success?! We drove east to Thornbury, and to the cider factory. Interestingly they also make craft beer and wine. We examined our options for tasting; L-A chose cider and I chose beer, and we both found examples we really liked. So after the tasting we went into the 'General Store' and picked up what we wanted to buy. Next stop was the Corner Cafe, just up the street, but it turned out to be closed on Mondays, so we walked a little further to the Ashanti coffee outlet - coffee from Zimbabwe, and one of only two outlets in Canada. We each had coffees and shared a large scone, and brought home with us a large bag of medium ground coffee. Across the street I found a postcard with local interest to send to Kennedy. It was lunchtime so we drove a short distance to The Mill restaurant, a delightful place, and great food. I had baked brie with various sauces, and L-A had fish tacos. We drove back to Collingwood. I had addresses for three electronic stores, but the first two no longer existed. But The Source had what I was looking for: a replacement audio cable which might allow us to listen to the Leak speaker. Next stop: home, and a rest. When I got up I checked out the audio cable, and was thrilled when I heard music. My diagnosis of the problem had been based on the most likely culprit. For dinner we had haddock and vegetables.

Sun May 7

We both deliberately slept in till 9, though I had woken several times in the early morning. We had porridge for breakfast. I posted today's 'Good News in the Morning,' featuring Brent Russett's return, and updated the site accordingly. Then I emailed the remnant of GNiTM preachers and ex-board members to tell them Brent was back. We tuned in to Catch the Fire for the 11:15 service on separate devices since I had forgotten to bring an HDMI cable, and even if I hadn't it would have been tricky plugging it in to the TV. After lunching on the rest of last night's curry, I drove to Metro to pick up the order L-A had made. It was pouring with rain there and I hadn't brought a coat, but I picked up our order without difficulty and added a couple of other items. I used a house trolly to get the boxes, and our two water bottles, up to our room. We were both tired and slept in the afternoon, not waking till 7. I managed to persuade L-A not to start cooking a fish dinner at that time. I certainly wouldn't have been able to do it justice, so I was relieved when she said she just needed tea, toast and berries. I checked my email till 9:30, gratified to see several warm messages welcoming Brent Russett's return, and retired at 10. I wanted to get back into a similar daily routine as we had at Alanmeade, and set my first alarm for 6:30 for meds.

Sat May 6

I awoke a few times with the idea in my head to watch some of King Charles III's coronation live. But it wasn't till 9 am that I actually got out of bed and turned on CBC, to hear the host say this was a good time for Canadians to be tuning in. This was shortly before the appearance of Charles and Camilla plus families and pages on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, and the fly past, all of which I watched live. L-A also found an excellent photo gallery of the key events assembled by the Washington Post. I was feeling far better than yesterday, and not at all rushed. We had a very leisurely breakfast while making a list of food items we would be needing, which I'll pick up tomorrow from Metro. This morning I went to Starbucks for coffees and sweet treats, and found they were very close to the Coriander, so I popped in and thanked Mahommad, which pleased him greatly. Laurie-Ann sunbathed on the balcony for a while, but the view wasn't the sand and sea one hopes for. Major renovations are in progress at this resort. I installed the two computers, but when I tried to play audio through the Leak speaker, there was silence. I figured out that the weak link in the system was the cable from the computer audio output to the Pyle amplifier. I have discovered through experience that plugs, sockets and cables can be more unreliable than active devices like amplifiers. I continued with the unpacking, though it tired me greatly so I also slept quite a lot. My lunch was the rest of the lamb pasanda, and L-A's was boiled eggs and naan, because she had other plans for her chicken tikka. Steve had continued to cause trouble for Tara, waking up this morning naked, with pee all over the floor. He is not a happy man. We hope and pray this is just a short episode. In early evening we received excellent news from Bella. She had gone to Capitec Bank and they had admitted being at fault in not paying her the three transfers I had made recently. They blamed it on load shedding, but I don't buy that; they still should have told her what was going on instead of putting us all though major worry. I dictated a message to her suggesting she demand the R2,750 in additional rent her landlord had charged, and she should threaten to switch to another bank if Capitec refused. I said we would pay any regular bank charges arising from a different bank, and recommended FNB. L-A sauteed vegetables and added chicken breasts, and finally added the remains of her chicken tikka massala to make a hearty dinner, of which I only had a small portion. One of the nicer aspects of being here is that we have a dishwasher, so that's where the dishes and glasses etc. went after dinner. We spent some time finding a TV channel of interest, settling on a documentary of the stories behind the USA's modern wonders of the world: The Empire State Building, Mount Rushmore, The Golden Gate Bridge, etc. We had what was for me a late night, about 11.

Fri May 5

I was wakened by l-A coming to bed shortly after midnight, and telling me Steve was on the floor in his bedroom. I went in to find him parallel with the bed and his head up against the wall. This is the first time in some months. He said he'd been there for a couple of hours and even fallen asleep for part of it. I put his pillow under his head, pulled him a foot away from the wall with his feet, and then had him roll over onto his front. From there he was able to bring up his knees so that he was in a crawling position, and from that he brought up his right leg and stood on it, holding onto the bed. It was then a simple matter first to sit on the bed and then lie on it. He had done all the 'heavy lifting' and I had done the direction, which was good because I can't lift him. The whole routine took less thn 5 minutes. In the morning I gave us a simple breakfast, and gave L-A her regular breakfast, and then we both got on with the business of working through our lists of what needed to be bought to the pile on the couch of what we would need to take on holiday. This worked until we realised L-A's list was on her phone, and she wasn't carrying anything anywhere. So I managed to persuade her to write her list on paper. Steve knew something was up so placed himself in the middle of the action. Tara arrived mid morning; she had a day's working from home to get through which she did from downstairs. I had told the resort in Collingwood we expected to arrive by 5. We finally got on our way around 3:30. By now I had got two very heavy suitcases into the car, plus 5 Metro boxes of food and kitchen stuff. Sadly. due to miss-communication, this didn't include coffee, milk or sugar. The drive was north up Airport Road, and it seemed a long time before we saw green fields. L-A had travelled the route in her youth many times, so we didn't turn on the GPS, which was a mistake because I had no idea of our progress. L-A was texting with Tara who said that Steve had behaved badly at dinner time, mouthing air instead of his food. This worried us since Tara could say enough is enough and start the preparations for a nursing home, something we don't believe is anything like imminent. We did everually arrive in Collingwood and at the timeshare, for which the GPS was essential. The reception / management representative Kevin was a cheerful character, and knowledgable. When I told him he still had Annmarie's name down as my spouse, he knew this could cause a snag. I had accepted an offer of $150 towards a meal at a really good fish restaurant, as a 'reward for answering check-in questions.' I should have known after decades of timesharing that apparent gifts are not what they seem, but inducements to buy additional units during a sales evening; the last thing we needed. But with me married to a different woman, this was never going to work when they asked to see IDs. So he cancelled the welcome event and the fish meal. The reason I had never had Annmarie's name taken off the RCI files was she was still timesharing in her own name and wanted to keep the privilege. I now had the key to Unit 173 in Club Cranberry, and a rough idea of how to get there. L-A stayed in the car looking for restaurants on the GPS while I sought out the room, and a trolly get our stuff there. With my directions she went in with the walker and I loaded the trolly. By now we were hungry, and I was very tired, and she had found a couple of contenders for our dinner dollars. I liked the idea of the Coriander Indian restaurant, though when we got there we saw the full name was Coriander to go. I really wanted a sit down experience, but decided to go in and check out the menu, which was not what I expected for a take-out joint. I found Lamb Pasanda, one of my favourites! I selected Chicken Tikka Masala for L-A because it contained no milk. The food was not cheap, and would take 20 minutes to prepare, both signs of something special. We chatted in the car for 15 minutes, and then I returned to collect the food from Mahommad, for that was his name. Back at the unit, I brought in the blue case which has wheels as L-A brought the food upstairs on her walker. I laid the table and we got to work. My Pasanda was beyound delicious; chunks of succulant lamb in a heavenly sauce and lots of it. L-A was also very happy with her Tikka. We both had sufficient to keep half for tomorrow. Now we had food in our bellies I had just enough energy to go downstairs one more time for the second case. I took the walker in case it would carry the case. It just did, and got me to the space between the outer and inner doors - but no further. I coudn't get my door key to operate the switch unit to open the inner doors. Neither could I call reception; the call needed an area code! So after 10 minutes I called L-A and told her I was trapped. Further, I had the walker and her walking stick was in the car. So she did something that would have been impossible 3 months ago before she lost a stack of weight - she walked unaided down to the door (with my heart in my mouth and my mouth praying hard) and opened it from the inside. Then she walked back up with the walker carrying the suitcase. I had just enough energy left to open up a few cases and retrieve our night clothes. Which was when I couldn't discover how to switch on the bedroom lights. I was way past sorting out engineering problems by now, so I worked in the near dark, throwing off the surplus pillows that Canadians love, and laying my clothes on them. It wasn't long before I was deeply asleep, leaving my sweetheart to do the things she does when I've gone to bed. How my elderly, emaciated body had managed the chores of the day, from packing to driving, to unpacking and installing ourselves in the hotel room is still a mystery, unless you take prayer into account. TKOG.

Thu May 4

I planned Steve's breakfast to avoid leaving bacon in the fridge when we leave on holiday. He actually came in to the kitchen unasked shortly after I gave him his morning Tylenol, so I gave him cereal and started cooking his bacon and egs. Just as I finished, Allison arrived, but no problem, I kept it in the oven for him. No ads continually interrupting my stream of thought when Googling! I decided to keep Edge in place because of the links I had created on it over time, but will go back to Google for new work and banking. For lunch I finished the liver, bacon and beans. I made a vegetable omelette for L-A, and Steve had his regular soup. Quite a lunch. Then in the afternoon, Total AV were in my face suggesting we must buy their anti-virus protection, also for $CAD 29. Again, I felt this could very usefully replace Norton, for the next year, and then we would cancel before their standard prices cut in. So I bought it and installed it. Comments on social media suggest that the Trustpilot products work, but replace the slew of (pop up) ads with their own ads. We had connect group in the evening. The subject of King Charles' coronation on Saturday came up, and the various controversies surrounding it in Christian circles. I briefly mentioned the huge events of last weekend in Kigali, and said that 85% of the world's Anglicans decided to separate themselves from the oversite of a man who apparently will make the coronation an inter-faith event. I left the group early so that we'll be better prepared tomorrow to do the final packing and get on our way.

Wed May 3

I had to be at the blood collection department in PMH by 8:15, and by getting up at 6:15 I was able to get Steve fed, and L-A partially fed. As I came out of Queen's Park station, I was confronted by both escalators out of service, and had to walk up 2 1/2 flights of staits, and was very exhausted when I reached ground level. I gave my blood, and had my X-Ray taken, and since she was alone the operator allowed me to see the image, which suggested to my untrained eye that there was less fluid in there than at the previous X-Ray (see 25 January). When Dr. Bradbury's associate came to check my vitals, I mentioned the unserviceable escalators at the subway station, and she had also experienced them, and told me there was an elevator at the station. Dr Bradbury had also seen the X-Ray and suggested I should see one of the specialists in the Race Clinic (dedicated to pleural effusions), with a view to further drainage. I told her about our holiday next week and she said she'd organize it for the following week. She also postponed this Friday's chemo, which could conflict with the Race clinic's measurements, and said that it would be a bad idea to have chemeo just before going on holiday, since if I picked up any infections with the lower immunity, I could end up in the local hospital. This was good news for me, not having chemo just before driving to Collingwood, so Friday will be less of a rush. Late afternoon I returned to Paypal and found an answer to my query about difficulty transferring money to Paypal from my bank. They suggested using a different browser, and deleting all cookies on the browser. I didn't know how to delete the cookies but I selected Chrome instead of Edge and repeated my Paypal request to fetch $4,450 from Simplii. As soon as I was using Chrome I started seeing multiple ads, including Total Ad Blocker from Trustpilot. I am familiar with Trustpilot, and they were offering their ad blocker for $CAD 29. I would need to block lots of ads if I were to start using Chrome as my browser, so I agreed to buy Total Ad Blocker. They tried to get me to buy additional software but I declined, so the final price was $29.

Tue May 2

Yesterday was the meant to be the final day when I would use Norton anti-virus. I had instructed it not to renew my subscription before the year of protection was up, since there would have been far higher fees in year 2. However, they had deluged me with messages reducing my fee for year 2 to $54. Then first thing today I got a message extending my protection, free, for 60 days. And this was a message I could reply to. My reply went: ' I thank you for the additional 60 days. However, it is only fair if I explain why I wanted to stop the service. It wasn't because of the cost. It was because of the continual stream of notifications and pop ups that Norton generates. Whenever I wanted to concentrate on my work, Norton wanted me to scan a disk, or buy additional add-ons to Norton. I expect anti virus software to quietly operate in the background while leaving me to use my computer uninterrupted. That's how Windows Defender seems to work. Is it possible for me to turn off notifications for the next 60 days?' We have had a fruit pie in the freezer for a while, and for the last 5 days I have forgotten to take it out and cook it in the oven for 50 minutes, and then let it cool before eating ot reheating. But today, L-A reminded me right after lunch, and I did it immediately. So we'll have pie for dessert tonight - which Steve and I did. L-A and I watched the final episode of Around the World in 80 Days, which had kept is in suspense for a week.

Mon May 1

Again, felt marginally better than yesterday when I got up and served Crispix for Steve and me. Maybe the Codeine takes a few days to reach the brain. Still no sign of cash transferred to Paypal from Simplii for the second part of M-A's loan, so I sent the request again. I am very frustrated with PayPal, and for future money transfers I will investigate XE Money Transfers, which has served me faithfully for years. I took L-A to her appointment with Dr Silver, and the one free parking spot for disabled people was actually available. I tried to find out how to get into a 'help' dialogue with Paypal, but failed. I have had such dialogues in the past. L-A went to bed after lunch, asking me to call her if Canada Post showed up because she thought there could be duty to pay on a sweater she had ordered. They did arrive (without attracting my attention) and left the sweater in the mail box, so I saw no need to wake her. At 3:30 I took Steve for an appointment with Dr Silver. As we approached the medical building, I prayed that the one free parking slot might be available. I was astonished to see a white car move out of the slot just before we arrived. TKOG. Since it was raining, this made it consideraly easier to get Steve into the building than if we had parked elsewhere. As I relayed the story to Dr Silver while he chamfered up Steve's toenails, he seriously suggested I should rush to buy a lottery ticket while my luck was in. I told him I didn't buy lottery tickets and didn't believe in his kind of luck. After the treatment we picked up Pizza Nova on the way home.

Sun Apr 30    Med

Although on rising I felt marginally better than yesterday, I still wasn't ready to attend CTF. So we watched the livestream and found it excellent. I shared it to Facebook. I printed Dave Atkins' letter to Premier Ford and Minister of Education Lecce, and will mail the letters on Monday. I drove to Cloverdale to buy more swiffer pads, and while there bought some Kelloggs Crispix cereal in Metro, which Dave Kemp had introduced me to a week ago. Can't find the GAFCON speeches anywhere I would expect, so I searched YouTube and found this: Recordings of the GAFCON Livestream at Kigali I can think of a few reasons why the GAFCON authorities might not want to leave official versions on line after the initial livestreaming. A confusing thing about living with cancer is that if you get aches, pain, discomfort of any kind, or a loss of appetite, or other problems, you (a) don't know whether these are from the cancer, or from chemo, or if they are independent of it, and (b) if they get extra bad, such as severe breathing difficulty after exerting yourself, maybe death is not far away. How do you know? You have no prior experience in the matter. You certainly don't want to relate all such issues and thoughts to your nearest and dearest, which would only distress them unduly.

Sat Apr 29    Med

I forgot to set my alarm so woke up 2 hours late having not taken meds at 6. I wish I could say I felt invigorated by the lie-in. Luckily Allison wasn't coming till lunch time. Steve and I breakfasted on real porridge, enjoying Pat Moore's stint on Saturday Morning on CKCU. For lunch, a real experiment: pork liver, bacon and fried tomatoes. I enjoyed it, and Steve ate it, though he volunteered he preferred soup. I slept in the afternoon, still extremely fatigued. I took the dead daffodils to the side garden and planted the bulbs for next year (will we still be here?) The hydrangea had outlasted them. Dave Atkins had sent me a form letter to send on to Premier Ford and Minister of Education Stephen Lecce. Children as young as 5 are now being taught in primary school about multiple genders to appease the LGBT community, and I don't like it any more than Dave does.

Fri Apr 28    Med

I got dressed in the trousers I had found in the garage yesterday, and they are a perfect fit at my current weight. I cannot explain where they came from. I haven't shopped for clothes in years. TKOG. After breakfast I asked Steve to sign a $300 cheque for his recent food expenses, and noticed that his signature had become somewhat simpler. I searched the suitcases in the bedroom, and soon found L-A's bathing costume. I also found other clothes that we should take to Collingwood. While I was on the point of calling Dr Banerjee's office again, my phone rang and it was Nadia from Renforth Pharmacy to say they had my Tylenol No. 2! I was so happy. I imagined that after several days without the drug and feeling pretty low, I would soon be back to normal, with the wish to get on with things (including the tax return). I drove to the CIBC ATM to deposit Steve's cheque, and then to the pharmacy for my pills. I think I noticed an improvement in my state about a hour later, but it wasn't any major change. Hmm.

Thu Apr 27    Med

At 3 am I woke and went for a pee. On my way out of the bathroom I decided to have tea and a snack, just as Steve emerged from his room, so I invited him to join me. He accepted but preferred coffee. I made the drinks, and toasted raisin bread, and we ate and drank at the dinner table. I realised this was an opportunity, and mentioned that I had been to a friend's funeral on Saturday, but I wasn't concerned for her because she had long ago accepted Jesus into her life. I mentioned that I have been to many funerals where that was not the case, and I felt really bad for the people who had died. I expanded on this theme and I think Steve got the message. He made a few cryptic comments which I feel added up to the fact that he wasn't telling how he felt about the matter, since it was private to him. We both returned to our beds. I skipped my normal shampooing during my bath this morning, having given my hair a good workout last Sunday night. While in the bath I was reminded my legs and feet were not in good shape from lymphedema - if indeed that was the problem. I had been told it was a chemo side effect, but I hadn't had chemo in weeks and it was getting worse. I felt generally ill and lacking in motivation during the morning, and this may have been caused by running out of Tylenol No. 2. I updated a link on the home page. In previous years Bruce Newman would have reminded me each January to add the new year to the Good News in the Morning Podcasts button. I approached the task with some trepidation, and was greatly pleased with myself when I completed the update. I was feeling pretty useless after lunch, so I took my noon meds, and a Stilpane that L-A thought would help, and went to bed until 5 pm. I awoke feeling marginally better. Today has been a foretaste of the way I could feel in the future as my body gradually closes down. No fun. Evelina returned my call from Dr Bradbury's office to say thay had passed on the Tylenol No. 2 prescription request to Dr Banerjee, as my palliative care provider, and that included all pain meds. I should have remembered this. The prescription had still not been received at Renforth IDA by 5:15 so I left a message for Natalie Silva, Dr Subrata Banerjee's administrative assistant, asking that she call me if there were any problems at all in sending out the prescription, and saying that it was urgent. L-A wants to to take her bathing constume to Collingwood on our approaching holiday, and asked if I could find it. I went to the garage and in the first trunk I found a pair of new light brown trousers that I hadn't noticed before (I didn't find the bathing costume), I brought them into the house.

Wed Apr 26

I drove out to collect my repaired shoes, and to buy household goods and food. I can't remember a shopping trip making me so tired. I am still waiting for more Tylenol No. 2. I listened to the 3rd, 4th and 5th podcasts from Stand Firm which has been on location with their podcast team during GAFCON. I learned so much. They discussed the Kigali Commitment, sexual sin, and the apostacy of Canterbury. Surely Kigali will lead to the combining of GAFCON and the Global South, representing 85% of the world's Christians, and complete separation from the Church of England. Bella said she was still waiting for R3,500 we had promised for her rent. There is a discrepancy between what the FNB transactions show, and my givings spreadsheet, so rather than hold her in suspense I sent her R3,500, a little less than the current FNB balance. This will reach her before month end, enabling her to pay her rent. I set up a new transfer to FNB from Simplii. I paid my Solutions Banking Mastercard, and my new President's Choice Financial Mastercard. I left a message for Dr Bradbury's assistant Evelina asking if she had received the fax from Renforth IDA requesting authorization for them to give me more Tylenol No. 2.

Tue Apr 25

I woke about 2 am, a perfect time to set up the second batch of audio files. Also an excellent time for a cup of tea and a cup cake. In the morning I transferred the final batch of files, mainly videos. I needed some more Efudex for the basal cell carcinomas that continued to sprout on the backs of my hands. I called the clinic as soon as they opened and asked for a short meeting with Dr Makar, as well as my B12 shots. They said to come at 11:50. My computer was still busy transferring the video files to the new backup USB disk, so we watched Big Music on CBC Gem, about the chaotic happenings in the music industry over the years, leading to the present situation where all music was free to stream, but artists were paid so little.

Mon Apr 24

A key activity today was completing my journal for the Carleton Place visit. Other things done were checking my voicemail where Dr Bradbury's assistant, Evelina had left her fax number, and then calling Nadia at Renforth IDA and giving her the number so she would be able to get me some more Tylenol No 2. I read The Kigali Commitment. Wow! I sense this is the most important statement to come out of Anglicanism in years. Words are not minced. Canterbury is castigated. I recommend any Christian to read it. On the return drive from Carleton Place I had considered that I'd been living dangerously ever since the red disk had failed on 8 April, more than 2 weeks ago. If the back-up black disk had failed during this time, we would have lost our complete music collection. As it was there were some files lost (?) on the red disk, such as the GNiTM archive after September 2021 to the end of 2022. True, these did still exist on line, and I could download them - but I was unlikely to do that in the near future. The bottom line: it was urgent, urgent, urgent to back up the back-up black disk on to the new disk from Best Buy. Then we would have the complete music collection less a few new items added while in South Africa. I would also have to re-edit the digitized cassettes, B tapes, and LPs, but this could be done over time. So tonight I made a start, setting up the first third of the files for transfer before I went to bed, and being very relieved when the transfers started.

Sun Apr 23

I slept well, and despite having no alarm clock and the Blackberry being on charge in the bathroom, I woke up about 6:20 and took my meds. When I was back in the bathroom washing, I found a small tube of very old hair gel from South Africa. I foolishly put some on my hair, and it was like glue, though it did hold my hair in place. By 9 I was packed and had breakfast with Dave. About 9:40 he drove me to Eternal Hope where about 2 were gathered. Some knew (of) me and introduced themselves, including Caroline Pollock who had supported our mission. Devin Hunt was still in Rwanda, and I was pleased that Alan Mills, who officiated, spoke about Gafcon 4, a significant event for Christianity. He had brought with him printed copies of The Kigali Commitment, summarising trends and decisions from the conference. When the service started there were about 7 gathered plus volunteers. This was my third successive Sunday in an ANiC church. Dave was sad about how the congregation had dwindled since he had retired as pastor, and shared that a reason was an over involvement in liturgy and history, which might not be attractive to a local resident checking out the church, with no knowledge of ANiC. I would have thought that the prime source of new members would be the congregation of St James' Anglican Church, where the funeral was yesterday. After the service we gathered downstairs for tea/coffee and date slices or cookies. When the date slices were finished, Dave drove me back to his home, where we said our goodbyes, and I got into the car and drove west. My first stop was at Rams Esso, near Sharbot Lake, where I gassed up, used their toilet to good effect, and bought two small blueberry pies. The pies sustained me for the whole journey. I continued on for a couple of hours till the Trenton En Route, mainly to text L-A. After that the 401 was soon into Toronto, and I left it at Islington, arriving home by 6. I was well pleased with my body, which had exhibited no side effects of either Mesothelioma or chemotherapy, and also pleased with my eyes, which had given me no problems focussing on the road. I wasn't so pleased with the sticky hair gel. L-A noticed it as soon as she saw me. So I got to work with my Nu Skin Renu volumising shampoo, and was quite relieved when after two applications I had got the horrid sticky stuff out. I completed the good work that L-A had started with the salmon dinner. After dinner we watched the final episode of 'A Spy among Friends,' Kim Philby's story up to his exit to Russia, after which there was no further story to be told. I am interested that, like me, he enjoyed marmalade.

Sat Apr 22    Med

I got up early, feeling eager to get on my way to Carleton Place for Jennifer's funeral. Steve and Laurie-Ann also got up early since they were keen for breakfast before my departure at 8. I joined the 401 at Islington Ave to find relatively light traffic and drove for an hour or so to the first En Route, where I gassed up, and bought a Starbucks breakfast wrap and coffee. That would be my only stop on the outward trip, not counting a text stop when I reached HWY 7. The GPS served me well, arriving at St James' Anglican 5 minutes before the service started, and during those minutes Ray Brule had come up and greeted me. I hadn't been in an Anglican Church of Canada in years, but hadn't missed it. I had an irreverant thought - wishing Henry and Jennifer had joined ANiC. Henry gave the first part of his eulogy, but as soon as he got to the point of their blossoming spiritual relationship, broke down completely and walked back to his seat. It was the most moving moment for me. After the service I went to the church hall where many refresments were laid out. Henry and I greeted each other and chatted, and he was clearly very happy that I'd come. I congratulated him on organizing such a smooth-running event, but hinted that despite his calm manner since Jennifer's death, he was likely not so calm inside, which he didn't dispute. The only way to get a hot drink was to sit at a table, which I did, meeting two of Jennifer's technical writer colleagues from Northern Telecom. Dave called me and I confirmed I would be at his house within an hour. I had a further chat with Ray, and a little with Lorna before leaving. I drove to Dave's and let myself in via the door pad, with L-A's help, since I had left the number at home. I relaxed for a while with a book about Elon Musk. When Dave returned we started a conversation which lasted the full time I was in his company. We went out to dinner at Maximilian's in Perth (my treat) and had Jagerschnitzels (with the mushroom sauce) and closed the place. Back home we agreed to differ over vacc vs anti-vacc, but agreed over everything else, sharing the names of resources the other wasn't using. Not too late we went to bed, and I certainly slept well.

Fri Apr 21    Med

I was about to archive my St Chad bulletin from last Sunday, and noticed it included the link to the 4th Gafcon conference in Kigali, Rwanda. One of the first things I saw was the list of delegates from Canada, which included George Sinclair and Devin Hunt! I posted information on the conference to Facebook, and noticed there was a daily podcast from Kigali on Spotify. I immediately listened to the reports from days 1 and 2, bringing me more up to date with all things Gafcon. The first podcast recommended The St. Andrew's Day Statement on homosexuality, the result of a study in 1995 caled for by the Church of England. I posted Gafcon's main page to Facebook. After lunch I took two of Steve's meds to Shoppers and ordered repeats (if they manage successfully to communicate with Dr. Judah), and then took my Tylenol No. 2 to Renforth Pharmacy, agreeing to provide a fax no. for Dr Bradbury so she can OK more Tylenol No. 2. I worked on the list of things I mustn't forget to take to Carleton Place tomorrow. I think I am feeling the benefit of the blood transfusion yesterday, if I compare my morning today with recent mornings when I have felt unwell. I wonder who it is, probably from the GTA, who gave several units of blood of his/her blood, and maybe wondered who would end up with it. I was considering where would I spend Saturday night after the funeral, and L-A reminded me that Dave Kemp would be happy for me to stay, so I called him, and he was. We have promised each other catch-up time for the past year+. He suggested we both attend Eternal Hope on Sunday morning. I went to Best Buy and was unexpectedly delighted that they refunded me all the $338.99 I had paid them to recover the data from the red disk. Then I bought a phone charger plug for the cigar lighter in the car to make sure I won't be caught out on my drive to Carleton Place on Saturday for the funeral. James had recommended that to replace the Red disk I buy a solid-state back-up drive, and I had checked them out on Amazon and Best Buy online sites, finding none for less than $200, in store at Best Buy the sales assistant offered a 2TB non-solid-state drive on sale for $75. I felt that since I would be maintaining the new disk and the black disk as close duplicates, the overall security would be good even though they were both non-solid-state. So I paid my $75. At 7:30 we had the first of our new Thursday Night connect group meetings. This was triggered by the cooking class last night, when it turned out Thursday was preferable to Wednesday for most.

Thu Apr 20    Med

I left home at 8:45 and arrived at PMH early for my blood draw. There was still an hour before I would see Dr Bradbury so I had a second breakfast at Tim Hortons. I wasn't feeling any better than the last few days and I was very keen to see if the promised blood transfusion would change that. Dr Bradbury didn't keep me waiting. She wanted to know all details of how I had been feeling recently, so I told her I have felt sick and ill and unmotivated for anything other than resting on the couch or in bed. I reminded her that on 3 April I had nearly had a transfusion, and I really wanted to get to it now that the original concerns had been resolved. She felt that my body could have been over-stressed by chemo; my third one was on 14 March. She said people normally have 6 or 7 before taking a break, but she felt I should take a break now. I quizzed her on my prognosis; what could I expect after chemo? Would it just be a question of monitoring with CT scans and hoping for a contraction of the tumour? My impression from her answers was that there weren't any other options for me, although she didn't say as much. She said she would see what could be done to get the transfusion asap, so I was very pleased as I prepared to leave when nurse Jennifer said she was going to see if I could have it right then! 20 minutes later it was set up and I was on my way back to the Oncology Day Clinic on the main floor, where I was greeted by a charming and very competetant nurse called Sarah who set up the feed into my arm. She explained this was more tricky than chemo, since the viscosity of blood meant she not only had to find a vein to open up, but one that could take a longer flow of the thicker liquid. Because my transfusion had been arranged at short notice, it then took nearly 2 hours to get the exact match of donor blood from the blood bank. She brought me an awful egg sandwich (I only ate half; it had been in a freezer and was soggy) and orange juice, and I settled down to wait. I texted L-A recommending that if I were not back by 6:15, she call an Uber, and I would meet her at the Spice Trader HQ. I also reminded her that my phone would be out of power by then. Eventually the unit of my benefactor's blood arrived and was soon trickling into my left arm. About 5:45 I moved with the donor kit up two flights since Sarah and the rest of the downstairs crew went home at 6. By 6:30 I was done and disconnected. I set out for home. I needed to go home before going to Spice Trader for our cooking class mainly to take the meds I had missed all day, but also to look in on Steve. I was finally ready by 8:15, and the cooking course would be over by 8:30. The GPS took me to the 427 down to the Gardiner and eventually North through a busy nest of streets with streetcars, and it was all a test of my driving skills. But eventually I found 877 Queen St. W. and went in to find L-A and Allison, the co-owner with her husband. All had gone well. We drove home.

Wed Apr 19

I think my eyes are improving. The magnifying glass is not being brought out nearly so frequently, and the norm on my computer is to be able to see a whole paragraph of text clearly. Perhaps the conjunctivitis is retreating.

Tue Apr 18    Med

I am still not feeling well - if anything I'm worse than yesterday. This is proving to be the main reason against going to Jennifer's funeral. Throughout my chemotherapy, my body has behaved generally as normal, but that has changed. All I want to do is doze in a chair or sleep in a bed. L-A looked up the inter-city bus schedules and found they don't go via Carleton Place. Driving the car is not hard for me though I haven't driven long distance since collecting our suitcases from Sydney and Christine Jenkins many months ago.

Mon Apr 17    Med

I am not feeling well. 'Flu symptoms except fever. The big challenge is Jennifer's funeral on Friday. Should I try and make it or would that be foolhardy. I went for a haircut at First Choice. My hairdresser was Sendi. She told me her boyfriend, Jim, of 17 years was being treated for brain cancer; chemo on the 17th floor of PMH. I recommended marriage, and prayed for him before leaving and I believe it meant a lot to her. I drove to Loblaws for Bonne Maman marmalade, and then remembered Steve's watch, so drove back to Cloverdate where the watchmaker at Silver Time did the job in less than 2 minutes, the same as he had a few months back. I went on line for Via Rail info about their line to Smiths Falls, showing that everything would have to on time for me not to be late, and cost ~$500 if I stayed the night. L-A was ill again in the afternoon, going to bed till dinner time. We had the last of the turkey soup, and beans on toast for me, followed by warm rice pudding for Steve and me. This is not the quality of meal we normally serve Steve, and I apologised to him, saying that we were both ill, and had to make some simplifications.

Sun Apr 16

We neither of us felt up to CTF, except online, where Gordon Harris preached well on living clean lives. In the afternoon I felt a tug from St Chad, so joined their service. The sermon was by Steven, who told me he preaches there about once a month. On the way home I picked up pizza for us all.

Sat Apr 15

Feeling marginally better than yesterday, I actually worked on our tax return in the afternoon. I was still generally unwell and dizzy, with not much of an appetite, and still problems with my taste buds. I washed the sheets and pillowcases on our bed. Every so often I really needed to relax on the couch. We watched The Fabelmans in the evening, about Stephen Spielberg's childhood, showing how from an early age he had a propensity for making movies. I could certainly relate to that, though my movies were all historical family events, mainly holidays. I also filmed my model trains. I forgot to post Good News in the Morning; this is getting to be chronic.

Fri Apr 14    Med

I felt ill all day. Weak, breathless, no energy to get things done. We needed breakfast food and 7-grain bread, and I had another reason to go shopping and earn Optimum points. So, feeling it was the last thing I wanted to do, I drove to Loblaws near mid-day, setting down every step with care as I walked into the store so that I would not fall. They had two sliced 7-grain loaves, just what I needed, and I wondered if I was their only customer. After finding breakfast sausage I went to the self check-out. and earned 4156 Optimum points. That should have made my total to-date 107,356, but on the Optimum site I have 106,580. Where are the missing points? And do I have the energy and skill to find out. However, it does appear that the Optimum account is linked to Loblaws. L-A had cooked turkey wild rice soup, and it contained a large volume of nutricious turkey stock. We had some for lunch. I also drank a Monster, and ate my noon medications. After lunch I had a couple of hours sleep, but it didn't raise me out of the physical blues. We had our Bible reading, communion, and prayer session in the afternoon. L-A had procured a box of communion elements which we have been using daily for about a week. L-A had prepared turkey curry (everything's turkey this week) and though I only fancied a small helping (of anything), this was really good. We watched the final episode of 'Transatlantic,' happenings from around my birthdate when some brave Americans including Varian Fry and French patriots smuggled Jews and British servicemen on the run out of France and over the Pyrenees to Spain.

Thu Apr 13

Bath and toenail clipping day, after which I ventured into Steve's room. He was wet and so was his bedding. In his subconscious the decision to continue peeing in his diaper had again triumphed over the teapot or the bathroom. I tried to get him to stand and it was really painful for him. By the time Allison joined us at least he had on a dry diaper. As she bathed him, I took off the wet bedding, replacing some with what I had washed and dried yesterday. She was very careful, fully aware that he could fall. I prepared his cereal and she brought him into the kitchen when she was done, and he ate a standard (uncooked) breakfast. He was co-operative. I suggested that he not go and lie down afterwards, but give his muscles some activity by walking round the house with his walker and sitting in the living room, but he ignored the suggestion and went to sleep in his room. I reorganized my recent do lists into one. I called Dr Melnick's office and told his assistant I wouldn't be coming for an appointment on 11 July, having been able to get into Toronto Western. I checked the FNB account and saw that the second R5,000 transfer had arrived, so I send Bella a further R3,500 to pay for her grandfather's funeral. I am glad we solved what was an awful responsibility that had fallen on her shoulders. We had agreed after Red Lobster that we should lunch one day at The Mandarin, and I suggested to L-A that today was the day. My stomach was telling me it needed a work-out with a completely different style of food from normal. I knew that it was accepting of Chinese. So I served Steve his uneaten lunch from yesterday, and soon we were on our way to the Mandarin, where I had never been before. The temperature was an unseasonal 30° which added to the pleasure of the day out. It was a similar concept to Kanata's Panda Garden, with a more varied choice. I had worried that after the (sweet sour) soup I would have already lost my appetite for more, but I hadn't. I went on to two main courses and two desserts. The dessert plates in particular were quite small. The bill was $87, just over half as much as Red Lobster; no complaints there. I definitely over-ate but not to an extent that it made me ill. L-A was able to meet her more stringent demands, but she found no sorbet. I hope there'll be sorbet in Heaven or there may be a problem.

Wed Apr 12

During the early morning hours I heard the odd noise from Steve. At 6 I got up for a pee and couldn't find him. I looked out the front door, and there he was, pushing his walker up the porch steps, and doing quite well at it. I decided to leave him at it until I was dressed, by when he was coming in the front door. I have to give him credit for such a manoeuvre, though I don't know what he was doing when he was down the steps. Perhaps he had walked down to the road. During the night L-A had persuaded him to take out his dentures, and this morning I felt like a good breakfast, so I cooked us bacon, egg, fried bread, fried tomato, and baked beans. Slava arrived in the middle of it, so it went back in the oven for a while. I was still feeling weak and with an upset stomach, which persisted throughout the day. For the first time Steve didn't want to get up for lunch, and by 5 pm had still not come into the kitchen. I took a nap after lunch which made me feel a little better. Before cooking the spaghetti for dinner I asked Steve if her wanted dinner; he did. When it was ready he ate all of his large portion. While he was eating his pumpkin pie, I cleared wet bedding from his room and replaced with dry. I carefully got him back to his room. His pants were totally soaked, and he was in a semi-TIA state so it was hard to get his pants and diaper off, but we made it. It was even harder to get dry ones on; he wasn't able to help without strength in his legs. So we abandoned getting him to stand, and I left him lying on the bed with the clean pants loose.

Tue Apr 11    Med

I went to the Geek Squad in Best Buy with the red disk. They did some tests that convinced them it was worth sending the disk to the specialist firm that they use for disk data recovery. I paid $338.99 and received a contract. A negative that was mentioned was that sometimes only ~70% of the files can be recovered. So if they require more money from me to move to the next tier, I will probably decline, and just manage with the back up disk. M-A and Field had bought a trailer that would be used as Field moved from one house he had renovated to the next, and would also bring M-A's goods from Tennessee to wherever she would be living in the future, and then act as storage space for her. They had paid $US 6,250 and M-A had asked if we would lend her the money until her house is sold. At present this seems quite hopeful since Will's son Jessie wants to buy it and his grandmother would pay (cash) for it. I agreed to this, and transferred $CAD 8,900 to Paypal. This was made easier because Carlos had failed to invest $12,000 into L-A's TFSA, his mind being more focussed on a honeymoon in Colombia with his new wife Chantal. So we cancelled the investment for the present. I put out the garbage, and wrapped more duct tape around the garden hose. Such tasks, requiring walking, tire me more than they did a few weeks ago, even though I am on full dose Vitamin C. Add to that, my stomach seems a little upset. During dinner, Steve asked for a teaspoon, and ate the whole of his root vegetable stew with turkey with it, which goes into the category of bizarre behaviour. At the end of dinner when I asked him for his dentures, he point-blank refused, at which I reminded him that unless he still had his teeth, I wouldn't cook his breakfast. His evening consisted of walking round the house with his walker, and giving L-A a hard time, as he babbled on with reminiscences from working on the railway. He was experiencing a 1 or 2 day period, which we've seen before, when he couldn't settle down, and all that could be done was to wait it out till he returned to normal.

Mon Apr 10

There was a ring at the door mid morning. Our visitor was Sally Jo Martin from Humber Valley United Church with daffodils for Steve. I invited her in so she could see him sleeping but didn't wake him. We had a very peasnat conversation with her, and introduced her to L-A's colouring books, and gave her a memory stick for their Sunday school. L-A offered to speak to their Day Timers group which her mother had been a member of. I slept in the afternoon, feeling better afterwards. I repaired more leaks in the garden hoses. We heard that one of Bella's brothers, Mikayle, died of TB today. What a sad life, and how tough on Bella as she is already burying her grandfather. The saving grace is that her brother is covered by the family funeral cover. For dinner we had part 2 of the turkey; much enjoyed. There's plenty more where that came from which L-A will use in a variety of recipes, and by the time we have finished, it will have been cheap meals.

Sun Apr 9 - Easter

I had my third daily dose of ClearLax at breakfast, and two hours later it had the desired effect (I am sure you needed to know this). I went to CTF, parking in the over 75s, and it was pretty full. There was some, but not a lot of Easter content. The visiting preacher was Kyle Philippi, a disciple commissioned to share the gospel around the world. I sat next to a black man called Philemon. I got home fairly fast to help with lunch and getting the turkey started in the oven. We opened our Easter bunnies and Steve ate all of his. At 2:30 I left for St. Chad, a small ANiC church worshipping in Kingsway Baptist, where L-A had gone for a decade in the 80's. I had read somewhere that the service started at 3, but there was no-one there, so I called the rector, Barbara Richardson, who told me it was 4:30 but lasted less than an hour, so I decided to stick around. There were about 15 in the congregation. One of the lessons was from Psalm 118, and when verse 17 was read I was startled, for Laurie-Ann had said the exact words in prayer for me many times: 'I shall not die, but live' (KJV). My presence there suddenly had even more meaning. Barbara preached an Easter sermon, and we had communion with dry white wine. After the service I joined a few of the congregation for hot brown drinks (Turtles hot chocolate for me), and conversation. I sat next to Mary. One thing was clear to me: everyone there was serious about why they were there. They made me welcome. I got home at 6 and steamed some green beans. The turkey was ready by then, as were multiple roast vegetables in the oven. We started eating about 6:45 and it was good. Steve and I ate the two massive legs. This was a large bird. After dinner there was a big job waiting for me: clearing; dishwashing; carving the rest of the turkey so it would go in the fridge. I was done by 9:45 so went to bed after a long time on my feet and 2-churching it during the day.

Sat Apr 8

As I gave Steve his morning Tylenol, he asked when breakfast would be coming, and then said, "I've never been so hungry." As he ate his Cheerios, he complained he couldn't chew them. He had only put in his upper teeth. He had no idea why he hadn't added the lower teeth. He then ate a large breakfast. I wasn't in a great hurry to test out the red disk on my computer, in case it didn't work. So I concentrated on breakfast, Laurie-Ann's MLD and this journal. But once I had no more excuses, I plugged the red disk into my main computer, and it appeared to be working fine! I was very relieved. So this was one of those situations where Microsoft had anticipated the problem, caused by one or more failures of a memory location on the disk, and their scan ensured that the memory location was by-passed. The message to me was clear: I need to complete the editing of the audio files asap and then transfer the complete contents to the music collection back up disk, which hasn't been used nearly as much and should be in a better state. The other message to me is can I rely on the disk remaining fixed, or is it on the way out? I went to Loblaws to buy bread, buying an 'Amazing Grains' loaf and a whole-wheat ciabatta. While I was out, John arrived with the various parts of Steve's new hospital bed, which will allow him to be raised or lowered, and prevent his falling out. Not sure when he might be back to assemble it; he didn't tell L-A. Bella's situation is putting her under extreme stress. Somehow she has become the point person for her grandfather's (Cathy's ex husband's) funeral. She has a quote for R8,000 and no money, and the funeral has already been delayed a week. The response from the pastor engaged to do the funeral was "You should have had funds available before engaging on the arrangements." My brainstorming is not necessarily acceptable to Bella, but here are some ideas as I get them:

  • Speak to the coffin provider and see if she really has the cheapest option;
  • Speak to her own church pastor where she volunteered for years to see if he could provide a funeral on credit. If so we would pay the full amount once we have a list of what makes up the full amount, and none of it is for food for guests. He would have to wait for the money until it arrives from Canada;
  • No refreshments, unless someone offers to pay for them and bring them (and we will not pay for them);
  • Find out if there is anyone planning to come to the funeral, and tell them there will be no refreshments unless someone offers to bring them.
  • If all the above fail to yield results, speak again to the city, and tell them the body will be left in the street unless they pick it up and bury it.
The red disk failed again, and this is a clear message that our only option is to pay the Geek Squad in Best Buy (or similar organization) to extract the data from the broken disk, if that is possible. I will do it on Tuesday after the holiday. We'll probably need another 2TB disk, and they can provide. L-A had a snooze on the green chair, and I did some more thinking about Bella. It became clear to me that there is only one answer: that we pay for the full funeral, but it must be delayed until I can get the money to her, about 17th April or later. I messaged Bella with what we are willing to do, and adding that we cannot be responsible for her families funerals, and she replied, very relieved, immediately, saying that she would delay the burial 2 weeks with the forensic department. She added that Cathy has funeral cover. That was a relief. I sent an overlapping XE Money Transfer of another R5,000 to FNB. With these challenges, I am ready to say that for most of the time I can now read my computer screen clearly, and that is far more important than drawing down a little on our MoD nest egg.

Good Friday Apr 7

Compared with the last four days, this promised to be relaxing. I noticed that there were times when I could read the computer screen text clearly, and other times when it was blurred. Is it possible that the laser surgery had worked after all? In the last few days I have seen a recurrence of the conjunctivitis that I had a few months ago. Maybe it is spreading a film of fluid on my eyes. It clears when I blink. It was a sunny day, so I made improvements to the garden hoses used for watering the little tree on the lawn outside Steve's room. The new hose I had bought on 31 March was a larger gauge than the one it was replacing, so when water flowing through it under pressure reached the connection between the larger and the smaller, the pressure increased enough to cause a leak. So this morning I switched the two hoses, moving the new one onto the lawn, and the old one into the back yard. This solved that problem, and had an additional benefit - I could immediately see leaks from the back door. I wrapped duct tape round them which reduced the leaks to a level which wouldn't matter if the water was only running for 10 minutes. I searched around for any live stream ANIC Good Friday services, and the only one I found was Church of the Messiah with a children's service. But in the YouTube teasers I found (and listened to) an interview with Eric Clapton about the late Jeff Beck and then a full album by Jeff and Johnny Depp. I knew the brilliant single 'Isolation' from the album which John Whelan had posted on the Ottawa Beatles Site. So I listened to the complete album, and it's marvellous. But when I transferred the ARW file to the red disk something went wrong with the disk and I was unable to access it, or scan it for errors. This was serious. We have a back-up of the red disk, but that excludes all new material discovered since we went to South Africa. I tried almost every trick I could think of to isolate the problem, and confirmed that it definitely was the disk causing the problem. To take my mind off it, I edited the Beck/Depp album, discovering it is called 18. For dinner dessert we had the Beigli - both types - I had bought at Blue Danube, and it was excellent. After dinner I tried one more trick, plugging the red disk into Pink Dell, which still uses Windows 7, and I admit it, offering a brief prayer to the God of technology. The initial indication was promising. The system came up with a banner suggesting a scan to repair disk errors. I agreed, and thank God the scan started. It's a 2 TB disk so it was going to take all night to scan.

Thu Apr 6 - Med - 36th anniversary of my arrival in Canada (1987)

Serious constipation for first part ofthe day, despite two doses of Clearlax. I did manage to clear it just as I heard from PMH that they need another blood draw, and I said I would make it for noon. So for the 4th time this week I was off to PMH, but just for the blood draw before coming back to Kipling station. I set up the GPS to take me to the Blue Danube Sausage House for Beigli and Hungarian Paprika, then via Loblaws to home. 3pm: we joined in The Cry zoom with Faytene Grasseschi, and senior leaders across Canada including John Arnott. Sadly, Laurie-Ann felt tired and ill before we got to the mass communion, and went to bed. The two of us had it together later in the day. About 4 my phone range and it was Dr Bradbury with the exceedingly good news that Hermolytic anaemia did not appear to be a problem, based on my blood test from the morning. So it is now OK to proceed with both chemo and the transfusion, and these will happen next week based on resource availability. How kind of her to call personally on Maundy Thursday to avoid my worrying over the Easter weekend. We watched the final episode of Season 3 of The Chosen, and look forward very much to Season 4 which is in production. By the time I had finished washing up I was dog tired and totally ready for bed.

Wed Apr 5    Med

This was an extraordinary day. On my way to PMH for chemo, all passengers were ordered off the subway at Keele station for an apparent medical incident up the line. I joined hundreds of passengers supposedly on their way to shuttle buses some distance away, none knowing for sure where they were or where they would take us, many with far greater plans messed up than I. Eventually a bus stopped right in front of me and by now I had heard on strangers' phone conversations that we were probably going to Ossington station, 4 stops up the line. The road was pretty jammed, but we eventually got there. I would be nearly an hour late for my chemo appointment, and getting to Toronto Western Hospital for my eye appointment with Dr Mandelcorn was vital. When I reported to blood collection, they were waiting with a message that I go to the thoracic clinic to see Penny Bradbury. What she had to tell me was a bit of a shock, namely that there could be traces of Hermolytic anaemia in my blood. Until they were sure, she was postponing both the blood transfusion and chemo. I thought she said I should have another blood collection as I left, but when I checked in there they were not expecting me. As I left the building I saw a Beck taxi in the taxi rank on University Avenue. I asked if he could take me to TWH, not a long way, which would definitely get me there in time, and also avoid any continuation of the mess on the subway earlier. I was there with 10 minutes to spare for a coffee and old fashioned before reporting to Maria on the 6th floor. As I sat in the waiting room and received eye drops, I noticed that my left eye was as strong as my right! I was called in by a nurse called Sarah for a series of tests with their superb machines. I was reminded of Steve during a visit to the washroom. I didn't wait too long before Dr Mandelcorn came in and continued checking me out. He also commented that my left eye was indeed as strong as my right. I mentioned that through my excellent new magnifying glass I had perfect focus on small computer text. He didn't appear too worried about anything on his screens and said that he might be able to clear the blurred vision by zapping specific parts of my right eye with his laser. He then said he could do it right now! So in another room across the corridor I had instant laser eye surgery, which didn't hurt at all. I left with a follow up on 11 July on their calendar. I very seldom ride the streetcar but on my way back to Bathurst station discovered why people don't just ride free.

Tue Apr 4    Med

We all got up an hour early so that I would be able to get to PMH by 9am. Steve and I had a hearty breakfast of bacon and eggs. I was able to serve breakfast to L-A before I left. With the thought of 2 - 3 hours in the chair, I took my headphones in a plastic bad. I had to ask two people on the PMH main floor where was the Day Oncology clinic, and when I got there, there was finally a sign(!) I hadn't been there long when my phone rang and it was (Dr) Adibi saying that due to antibodies developed in my blood from immunotherapy, he wasn't comfortable with my having a transfusion today. He came down to the Day Oncology clinic when he was sure and explained it in person, saying we should be able to re-schedule later this week or next week. I was disappointed because I wanted to feel better as soon as possible. He wanted yet more samples of my blood to work on, but persuaded Amyia, the transfusion nurse assigned to me (from Eritrea) to draw the blood to save me standing in line in the blood collection department. Soon I was on my way home, but seeking some kind of psychological compemsation for the hiccough, drove to Global Cheese, intending to buy more of their Fromager d'Affinois Bleu. I asked about Epoisses, and they had some and raved about it. $29. Should I? I bought, forsaking the d'Affinois Bleu. At home I couldn't wait to taste it and found it very agreeable on a cracker.

Mon Apr 3    Med

Today was a rare time when our appointments clashed. I drove L-A to Dr Silver's office, and then went home via Loblawa where I bought batteries for the magnifying glass, raisin bread and bacon. Half an hour later I was on my way to PMH, and she had finished her chiropody, and had walked with her cane to the nearby Starbucks. After her coffee etc. she called an Uber, which brought her home. I fell asleep on the subway and had to return two stops, but the extra 15 minutes wasn't a problem, and soon my blood had been collected. It then took me 90 minutes waiting to see one of Dr Bradbury's associates, new to me, who later told me I could call him Adibi. The good part of this was that for the first time my low haemoglobin was mentioned, as it had been by Dr. Makar a few weeks ago. His recommendation was a blood transfusion (rather than shots). He also told me that my sore legs were a side effect of chemo. I needed to go for another blood test to be certain I would heve a match with the donor's blood. So I was somewhat later than expected leaving the hospital, and for the first time in months felt like patronising the hot dog vendor. I gave my loony change to a Muslim woman begging in Queen's Park Station, and also bought a Red Bull, so I soon felt somewhat better than I had all day, and certainly well enough to assist L-A with serving up pork tenderloin. Nurse Jennifer called to confirm my blood transfusion appointment would be at 9 am the next day, and this also came up on the patient portal, so I was able to confirm in good time.

Sun Apr 2

My weight was up to 128 Lb. Steve should have birthdays more often. We both went to church, for the first time in weeks, and on the way home picked up L-A's prescriptions, which Dr Makar had kindly signed off on without seeing her. We both rested in the afternoon, though my fatigue was less than the previous day.

Sat Apr l    Med

Tara stayed till mid afternoon. I was seriously fatigued, peaking mid afternoon. and as bad as any previous example. I didn't feel like serious work (eg tax return) so spent time finishing C21 S2, the tape that went missing, by transferring McCartney (1) from Spotify to the red disk. Steve had some more birthday cake for elevenses. After lunch I was still weary, so had an hour on my bed. Then I drove to Renforth Pharmacy, but they were closed, so L-A must wait a little longer for her prescriptions. An hour before supper, Steve asked for another slice of birthday cake, and I gave it to him. For dinner we had the remainder of the turkey breast with new roast and steamed vegetables. While the plates with cold meat and stuffing were on the counter, Steve came into the kitchen, clearly very hungry. I asked him if he was so hungry that he wanted to eat the cold food before it was cooked and vegetables added, and he said yes, so I served it to him. I then continued with the cooking, and soon we were all eating, we with hot food and he with a plate of cold and a plate of hot food, both of which he continued to devour. When it was almost all done, he got up and walked to his bedroom. After 15 minutes I went to see he was OK, and he said he didn't want any more dinner, or any cake. We watched the news, and The Chosen, and he then returned to the living room. L-A asked how he was feeling, and he said 'lost.' She then suggested we pray for him. I asked his permission, and he ageed. So the two of us said some short prayers after annointing his forhead with oil, and my laying a hand on his shoulder.

Fri Mar 31 - Steve's 94th birthday

My weight was back up to 123 Lb, the high of recent months. Maybe it will burst through to 124 Lb this time. My chest and torso do seem marginally less wrinkled. It was a rainy day as I drove out to collect Steve's birthday cake. A year ago we had bought him a German chocolate cake for his birthday which was the best cake I have tasted from Loblaws. Loblaws no longer offer it, but research by L-A revealed that German chocolate cake was sold by the Lloyd Manor Metro, so we ordered one, and this morning I collected it. I then drove towards Home Depot, and on the way bought a hydrangea at Loblaws to brighten up the living room. Home Depot proved more rewarding than had Lowe's and I soon found a coil of standard garden hose. Back home, L-A was well into preparing tonight's turkey dinner, Steve's favourite meat. Steve meanwhile was sleeping on his bad, his main occupation, birthday or not. After lunch L-A got right down to the preparation of dinner, calling me in when needed. We eventually ate at about 6:45. The food looked delicious and indeed it was. Our objective was to make Steve feel special on his birthday. However, it was when I placed his birthday cake in front of him, and we all ate our first slices that he really became enthusiastic, running to three slices! L-A and I had two, and it really was excellent chocolate cake, about which I am not ignorant! I had completed the washing up, and was about to discuss with L-A how we would spent the remaining part of the evening, when there came a ring at the door. I wondered if Ted had seen that our garage door was open, but no, it was Kennedy, come with her mom to wish her granddad a happy birthday. Tara brought a bottle of single malt whiskey as a gift to Steve from John. Later in the evening, Steve appeared in the kitchen, and sheepishly asked for another slice of his birthday cake, which of course I gave him.

Thu Mar 30

In my night chat with Jesus, he answered my burning question about how best to reach S and J by referring me to last night's episode of The Chosen, 2 by 2, and I added it to my current night journal. TKOG. I went shopping round 12:30, first to Loblaws to quiz PC Financial about linking to my Optimum card, and then to the bakery for two 7-grain loaves. I then went on to Lowe's, and thought I'd found a bargain with 'Smart Soaker,' at half the price of regualr hose. But when I got it home I found it was pierced with thousands of holes to soak a flowerbed. We decided to keep it for the rhubarb patch.

Wed Mar 29

I was one under par till after lunch, as if I had not taken my Tylenol No 2 with its codeine (with its opiods). I was lacking motivation for actually doing things. So I dealt with email and background tasks. The weather was alternately snowstorm and sunshine, giving me yet another excuse not to go out to challenge PC Financial about how to link my Optimum card to my Mastercard, and buy garden hose from Lowe's. Eric emailed back saying it would be OK for me to arrive a little later to see Dr Mandelcorn next Wednesday - a burden lifted. The two magnifying devices arrived from Amazon, and both turned out to be helpful, which I hadn't expected, and I was using them immediately. The Fresnel sheet was ideal for reading the computer screen. The Chosen episode, 2 by 2, was extra powerful, including Matthew making peace with his father after the sermon on the mount, and showing how the very unprepared 12 viewed their upcoming first mission to villages and towns. It also included little James asking why Jesus hadn't healed him before sending him out to heal others.

Tue Mar 28

It turned out that the Staples selection I found yesterday was US only. That started me on a new search, and I ended up buying two products (delivery tomorrow) - one a triple lens magnifier and the other a Fresnel sheet which I suspect will be better for reading the computer screen. Not one of the many products I looked at were advertised for reading computer screens. I went for my monthly B12 shot at Eringate, and then on to Loblaws where the cheese lady was actually in. I asked about Epoisses, and she confirmed they didn't stock it, but suggested Portneuf 'La Sauvagine' soft surface ripened cheese, which turned out to be very pleasant, particularly on a digestive biscuit. 'Thrive for Good' sent L-A basil seeds as a thank you, and I planted some of them in the side garden near the garbage bins. We'll see if anything comes up after a couple of weeks, but it may be too cold for germination. Continuing with my list of 20 actions referred to on yesterday's journal, I spent an inordinate amount of time trying to correctly link my new PC Mastercard to my PC Optimum account, and failed. There are 100,000 points at stake here,andas far as I can tell no human help at PCF.

Mon Mar 27

I had gone to bed last night with a list of 16 rather urgent things to do today, and by 9 pm had done 10 of them, including replacing missing photos on Flickr, sending R5K to FNB, uploading GNITM (a day and a half late), paying my Mastercard, sending Bella R1,000 for Cathy's operation, and making some progress finding a more powerful magnifying glass than the one I've been using the past few months. This last is interesting. There is a fine range of magnifying glasses on the Staples online store. but my local Staples had only about 4 of them, none strong enough for my eyes. The lady understood that customers would be unlikely to buy on line without trying it out. Her solution: order online and return the unsatisfactory ones to any store. This isn't so crazy as it sounded at first. L-A fell asleep for a couple of hours in the green chair after dinner, and I didn't have the heart to wake her for The Chosen and our Bible study. I was unable to change the time of my chemo appointment next day using the help line, but needed to call the chemo reception direct. This I did, only to hear they were fully booked - no changes from Tuesday to Thursday.

Sun Mar 26

I was keen to go to CTF again and now there was no impediment. I arrived in time for the healing room, between the two services, in fact early enough to hear the tail end of Murray's sermon. When we were dismissed I went into the healing room, and was allocated to a man called Ben. He listened to my blessings (no catheter) and medical challenges, and also heard about L-A's fatty liver disease, and then prayed most sincerely for us. I was comforted though when he asked if I was feeling any different, I confessed I wasn't. There was some time before the second service would start, so I went to Atwel's for coffee and a very nice oatmeal cookie. Ash kicked off the service and soon we were into worship. The second song was led by Rachel Broadway, whom we really like. I was feeling stronger than in the past and decided to accept the invitation to go up to the front. It was still a little blury for me, but I knew it would be more powerful from there, and it was. After a few songs I returned to my seat and looked forward to Murray's message, which included an exhortation to all the older members of the congregagtion to do their part to pass on the goof news of the Gospel and related matters of our faith to the next generation. It had been a good service and perhaps I was a little over-confident as I backed the car out from its row. There wasn't much room amd I vaguely felt the car touch another car very lightly. When I got home I examined the rear bumper and saw scratch marks. So I had touched the other car. When I got inside I emailed the church to own up, with my details, and said that if the owner of the other car contacted them to report the incident, they should put him/her onto me. Bella messaged L-A with the bad news that (her grandmother who raised her) Cathy was in Tygerberg hospital for an operation on her cellulite-ridden legs. The cost to her would be R2,500, and she had R1,500 in savings. Would we provide the balance? In the evening we rented Top Gun Maverick from Prime Video and watche on our big screen. A remarkable achievement by Mr Cruise - it has been said by one critic that it has saved the Hollywood movie industry, which lurches from failures to failures to profitable movies.

Sar Mar 25

My night was good! I wanted to pee about 5 times, and I did pee, maybe not like a stallion, but pee nevertheless. So so far so good for my prostate. While researching duophonic recordingsm CBGChat introduced me to the band Parquet Courts, suggesting they used the technique on some tracks on their album Wide Awake. I really like the album and added it to our Alt Rock selection on the red disk, but can't say I identified any duophony on it. Tara and Kennedy arrived midday and picked up Steve's tax return summaries for 2020 and 2021. I went out in the afternoon to bank a food cheque from Steve, mail M=A's birthday present - a giving key, and collect my prescriptions from Dr Morrell, which were Flowmax and Dutasteride. It was a little like a birthday celebration (for Steve) going on when I got back, samplings of Hungarian wine and Thornbury cider. Tara told us that John had met Preident Biden yesterday in his capacity as deputy chief of staff to Pierre Poilivre. Tara and Kennedy stayed the night. L-A and I watched our regular edition of The Chosen, and then a special edition titled The Messengers, focussed on the two Marys, suggesting how the Magnficat may finally have seen the light of day via Luke after Jesus' mother decided not to hold the special prayer just in her heart. It was a very moving and powerful piece.

Fri Mar 24

During the night, with my tea and snack, I had asked Jesus a question: Lord, how should we handle mass suffering, such as the earthquakes in Turkey? I feel so inadequate, compared with praying for a sick friend. Jesus answered: "My love is never stretched nor reduced, when shared with thousands, or millions. If they have never heard the Gospel, that is the same for me as it would be if a single unreached pagan dies. I brought them into this dangerous world, and there is a special route to eternity for them, in the seconds before they die. How else could it be? Your prayers therefore should be asking that in the moments before death, and I reveal a glorious future to them, they should accept me as their saviour. Some will, some won't, but that is not your responsibility.
I felt unusually well after waking, and not focussed on the cystoscopy this afternoon. L-A had some excellent news: she had lost another 10 Lb; that's a total of 45 Lb, suggesting that she hasn't (yet) plateaued I arrived at the Ambulatory Procedure Unit in Etobicoke General about 12:30 and was given blue smocks to put on. I wasn't kept waiting long before a nurse called Paramenter (?) led me in to the theatre, and after asking me to lie on the bed, expertly removed the catheter. There was a large screen TV easy for me to view. Soon Dr Morrell arrived. and told me he was going to look into my bladder and I could watch the movie on the screen. I knew from L-A that the camera was extremely small, and it took him just a few seconds to have the probe with the camera up my penis and into my bladder. The pain was about 4/10 just for those seconds, and then we were swiming in the bladder and taking a look at the prostate, a red area. He seemed to satisfied and removed the camera, and told me that there was nothing in there that concerned him. He asked if I felt I needed a pee, and I did. I got off the bed and went to a special toilet, and pee'd normally. It was a good feeling. At this stage I was expecting that a new cathether would be fitted, but no! He said I should take 2 Flomax capsules a day, changing the times to whatever allowed me to max the flow. He would also prescribe a second pill and send it to the pharmacy. I wouldn't be needing a catheter (yippee!) and the pills should keep the prostate from causing further problems. The big test will be at night when in the past peeing has been much harder than during the day. If the plan didn't work out, a prostate operation might be needed. I was elated. This was not what I had expected at all. But it was very OK with me. I thanked him and Paramenter very warmly and returned to the changing rooms, and then to the car. I hadn't had lunch, and there is a burrito take-away near the hospital, so I had one. James has one on his way to work every day, which would be far too much for me, but I quite liked it.

Thu Mar 23

I took Steve to Cloverdale. First stop, a haircut with Ben. We arrived just as he finished his previous client. I went across the corridor and bought 3 wine boxes and cider. I also got cash at the checkout so I could pay for the haircut. I arrived just as they finished. It was too early for our next appointment so we waited on nearby seats. 10 minutes before the next appointment at H & R Block Steve needed to go to the toilet, so we got walking, he with L-A's walker. We got to H & R Block at 5 past 2 and told the receptionist we needed printouts of Steve's last 2 returns. He found an available agent who didn't need to speak to Steve, but just to know his S.I.N, and see his ID. Soon we had the printouts. Next stop: Pearl Vision, very close. I bought him a new frame for the glasses he had bought there, and recently broken by wearing them in bed. The deal was that he could buy new glasses only if he didn't wear them in bed. The lady explained that she had no unbreakable frames, and the only frame she had that would fit his lenses was the identical one to the original pair. She fitted the new frame, and charged $105. Back home I had a cup of tea and malva pudding - exquisite! I had more as dessert after our lasanga dinner - just as exquisite! The idea of having a tube with a camera inserted up my penis and into my bladder tomorrow, cystoscopy, did not appeal to me at all. I had prayed for strength in this - not to freak out at the thought - and I believe my prayers and those of close friends were being answered.

Wed Mar 22

In the mail this morning were my new driver's licence, and my new PC Mastercard. I had great difficulty activating my card on line, which turned out to be a couple of check boxes I just couldn't see. I was able to activate it by calling in. I then set up an online account, which triggered me to set up an online account with PC Optimum, and link the two. The 10,000 points that came with the Mastercard should now transfer to Optimum, but if they don't within a day or so, I should query with Optimum, and make sure that the online account is for the Optimum card, since the account set-up process didn't ask for the number on my card. The hassle now involved in setting up these accounts is concerning. In the never-ending battle to stay ahead of the bad guys, banks have brought in ever more complex procedures. For example, both these accounts now required 10 character passwords, wheras in the past 9 characters has been enough for all passwords. I cancelled the renewal of my Norton subscription on 1 May. They then offered me a reduced renewal contract of $129, but I still cancelled. I have become aggravated by the continual stream of notifications, offers and pop-ups. Windows Security is operational on my machine and I suspect it will protect us sufficiently. I called Eringate Clinic about L-A's appointment to see a specialist on fatty liver disease. V said that they had just heard from a specialist who was unavailable, so they were contacting another. Mid afternoon I called Henry and we had a short but valuable chat. I think he is being protected by busy-ness as he makes preparations. The funeral will be at St James' Anglican Church, Carleton Place at 1pm on Sat April 22.

Tue Mar 21

It turned out that the next occupant of Neesa's acommodation has mended her computer. Such acquaintabces are valuable. I spent the morning adding the 'Kenosis at Bethesda' tracks to the new Facebook Group for people's memories. In the afternoon I attacked my email, including completing a survey of how I had found the process of claiming the mesothelioma grant from Veterans UK. We had a roast chicken for dinner which I enjoyed greatly. Afte dinner, Laurie-Ann again went to bed for the second successive night. This is not like her and I am concerned.

Mon Mar 20

Steve had broken his glasses frame in the night, probably from wearing the glasses in bed and rolling over. Late moring I went shopping and two optometrists told me they couldn't be repaired other than by buying a new frame. Our 500 grams of Calcium Ascorbate arrived from Amazon. While waiting for it I ony took about 3 grams a day, but I have decided to return to the full 8 grams a day, since its efficacy in reducing tiredmess and fatigue had been remarkable, but was less remarkable on the lower dose. Mid afternoon I had my scheduled call from Dr Banajee's office (paliative care) and a nurse called vanessa wanted to know how I am doing, and the medications I am on. She seemed to think I am fine under the circumstances, but emphasised that if that changed I could call them. I didin't bother her with the pain in my fingers which is always part of the Canadian winter for me, with cuts that don't heal, and sore areas at the tips of the fingers that are right now hurting as I type. Here are some comments on our situation sent to my siblings in answer to a message from Neesa:

On Mon, 20 Mar 2023 at 14:15, Tony Copple wrote:
Dear Neesa
Sounds like your laptop is sicker than I am.  (Please let me know more details of what is wrong with it).  The PSW who just came in to give Steve a shower told me she had not seen a chemo patient handle it as well as I do,  She says I am very strong.  Actually I think the key factor is the anti-side-effect pills I take at the time and around the time of the infusion.(Aprepitant, Odansetron, Dexamethasone, Folic Acid).  My hair is not falling out with this particular chemo,  Much less pleasant than the cancer are the catheter because of  my enlarged prostate, and my eyes getting dimmer. My magnifying glass gets me through. I have been able to get an appointment with the eminent eye surgeon (Effrem Mandelcorn) on 5 April who worked on my left eye a year ago, but it is my right eye that is weak now.   My urologist is doing tests to see if I am eligible for prostate surgery.  Laurie-Ann is in a much worse physical state than I with her arthritic knees. But she has lost 35 Lb on her current diet which has improved her situation,   No sign of a return of her cancer.   Her father seems stable. My cooking skills are improving.  L-A and I are enjoying an exceptional series called 'The Chosen'. available for mobile devices from App stores)   
Love to all = Tony

      On Mon, 20 Mar 2023 at 08:46, Neesa Copple wrote:
Hi Everyone,
My laptop is broken so I can't easily access or send  emails at the moment, just occasional trips to the library.  Doesn't look as if I've missed anything... wondering how you are Tony, and haven't got time to check your journal unfortunately as only have half an hour on the library computer.  Also wondering  how Maureen is?
with love to all
Neesa xx

Sun Mar 19

I successfully uploaded today's Good News in the Morning, with George Sinclair. After online church, I completed the transfer of programs to the archive on the red disc. Jennifer Bullman died of heart attacks about 11 am. Total shock. I am considering attending the funeral, going by train, but Christ Church Ashton will surely be full. Bella told us her Mobicel Blink phone was dying. We had bought it for her 2 years ago. L-A suggested she look for a new iPhone 7, the same as hers which has proved itself. Bella checked around and found one for R1,150 ($CAD 85). L-A's had cost $150. We will send her the money. I made a start on our tax return, figuring out our Netfile Access Codes for tax year 2022. Around 11:30 pm I woke up to empty the catheter bag. I was sleepy and not concentrating hard enough. There is a green plastic stopper that is removed to empty the bag, and I empty it into a plastic soup container. Tonight I didn't point the stopper in the right direction, and some urine flowed onto the floor. It wasn't a big job to clean up.

Sat Mar 18    Med

CKCU put out a staff and listener survey, and I selected 'Saturday Morning' as (currently) my favourite program. Breakfast: cheese ommelette for L-A, and scrambled egg for me on some nice 7-grain bread baked in Loblaws for me. Jakob Dylan on Spotify. A pleasant Saturday morning. We heard via Facebook that Jennifer Bulman was in the Queensway Carleton Hospital with multiple cardiac events. Very worrisome. Much prayer coming her way = may she be well enough to be comforted by it. I took a shower, my first since our quarantine hotel in January 2022, since I have found baths simpler at Alanmeade. I had been concerned that the velcro straps would undo in the water, but they didn't. The whole process was less complex than I'd expected. L-A was feeling nauseus and rested in bed late morning. Ever since we arrived here, Steve has been a slave to his TV set. often on 24/7, mainly for background noise. Several times in recent weeks he had knocked it over, and its cables had come out. I had re-set it up for him. Today however the set had been rather neatly laid on its back on the TV table, there since yesterday, and with no indication from him that he wanted to watch it. Possibly he has actually lost interest in having it on. I'll leave it there for a few days and see. I had had quite a restful day, with dizziness and nausea earlier, listening for a while to Bach fugues on Spotify, and then Arcade Fire on th red disc. Mid afternoon I prepared to produce Good News in the Morning. Last week I had downloaded NCH 'Mixpad' and used it successfully. Today they were demanding $Aus 99 for th paid version. Going back to Adobe Audition was a lot more; their free version appeared to be no longer available. So I decided to try Audacity, which is always free. It was quite a stretch getting to know it, but by the end of today I had successfully created a mixdown. I'll complete the upload tomorrow.

Fri Mar 17    Med

The day I hadn't been looking forward to: my third catheter insertion. I delayed my departure to EGH because of early mornig constipation, going in about 11:30. Surprisingly I was ushered in immediately to the triage nurse. I was in no pain and explained I was requesting a catheter change, partly wondering if she would send me elswhere. Soon I was in the inner waiting room, and didn't wait long there before seeing a doctor (with a medical student).. He asked a few questions before OKing the procedures. It wasn't long before a nurse came in and said she would be replacing the catheter. She was in her 20s and seemed experienced and knowledgable. There was almost no pain from removing the catheter. Preparing for inserting the new one she mentioned there was evidence of dried matter around my penis, and I said I hadn't been showering. She recommended it and said the catheter would survive. Her name is Jen. She applied some numbing cream to my penis, something I don't think my previous nurses had done. The insertion was the least painful of all three, helped by the fact that I was actually able to relax a bit, thanks to the cream. Soon I was strapped into the new catheter, and able to go home. On the way I called L-A and said I was craving a pizza nova. and she asked me to bring some for all of us. It was a large, with chicken, spinage, green pepper and sun-dried tomato, the best selection yet to my taste. Cathy asked if we would officiate at Pat Codner's 'memorial' service.

Thu Mar 16    Med

I woke at 6, feeling fresh, and got a cup of tea. After giving Steve his morning pill (Tylenol) I keyed in recent grocery orders to the tracking spreadsheet, and then updated this journal. I had experienced a high level of wellbeing recently, and that received a boost when I realised I hadn't needed the magnifying glass to read my screen. Maybe the VisiFree and VisiDefend were kicking in! L-A says she is seeing better from them. If confirmed as the days pass, this would be wonderful. I went to Kipling Heights Diagnostic Centre for an ultrasound and transrectal, performed by a very good female nurse who took a ton of scans. When I asked her at the end if she thought I would probably qualify for a prostate operation, she hinted I would. The National Bank is not far from there so I drove over and changed my Mastercard PIN. Recently this new M/C wouldn't tap, and I couldn't remember the PIN. I tested the new PIN buying AAA batteries for my trusty bedside torch and it worked.

Wed Mar 15    Med

My weight was up to 123 Lb again for the first tim since 10 Feb. My eyes still need the magnifying glass to read much of this screen I am typing on to, and the next 10 days for my prostate has unanswered questions and urologist Dr Morrell is away. I have drafted the questions on a list in case I can get answers elsewhere, such as Dr Makar or (tel 811). Now being morning, when I solve problems better, I tested that the audio cable from the lap-top to the Pyle amplifier was good by playing from the Blackberry. Then I went to the sound setting on the lap-top and found that the master volume was very low. Volume sliders on laptops have a mind of their own. I turned it up, plugged the cable going to the Pyle back into the lap-top, and bingo, I was listening to Q107. However, I was still not able to use BlueTooth from the laptop to the Pyle, though it has worked in the past. Late morning we drove to Florence Meats for SA delicacies, like South African fudge, Malva Pudding, nougat, Appletiser, fruit cake (!), Boerewors (many types), samosas, Mrs Balls sauce, lamb sausage and Woolworths Cape Malay curry. For lunch we added samosas and Mrs Balls to eat with pea soup; much enjoyed by all, and Steve and I had a piece of fudge. Bella needs more dental work - two extractions and copies of the missing teeth added to her plate; we arranged an XE Money Trandfer to pay for this. I worked through my email backlog for the afternoon, listening to Q107 with the excellent Fred Kennedy (Fearless Fred). For dinner we had lots more of the Biryani from yesterday, and large slices of apple maple cranbury pie. Yet within an hour Steve was looking for more ... anything (his word). So we all had toasted raisin bread, and that seemed to satisfy. I really sympathise with him, feeling hungry almost all of the time. At my normal bedtime of 10 pm I still felt energetic so I returned to the computer. L-A retired about 11. Something (or Someone) reminded me I hadn't taken the suppository 'Dulcelax' earlier in the evening in preparation for the ultrasound at Kipling Heights Diagnostic Imaging tomorrow. I found the pill and got to it after 11. It was nearly midnight before I figured our how I could most easily insert it. The instructions said to lie on my side in bed, but L-A was sleeping, and I felt it would be easy enough standing in the bathroom. It was. but though the instruction said it would take less than half an hour, it was two hours including a cup of tea (but no food) before I got action.

Tue Mar 14    Med - 3rd chemo infusion

My infusion was set for 9:30 so I got up early to give bacon and egg breakfast to Steve and me, and her normal Cheerios to L-A. When I arrived at the chemo reception, I asked if it might be possible for them to find me an Aprepant capsule to be taken before the infusion. A pharmacist attached to the chemo department worked really hard on this, and switched the previous prescription to the hospital pharmacy. She then got Dr Bradbury's permission to give me one pill before the infusion. Agmad was my (male) nurse at Purple 2, and I was able to assure him I had taken my chemo meds. On my way home from Kipling Station, I bought expensive cup cakes from BakeSale at Six-Points, and felt an urge for, and gave in, to 2 slices of spinach pizza from Pizza Nova, Much of my afternoon was spent trying to play sound from my lap-top to the Leak speaker, either direct by wire, or via Blue Tooth, and failed, but I will overcome.

Mon Mar 13    Med, most dictated to L-A; final section written by her.

My weight was unexpectedly up to 120 Lb (including the catheter). I didn’t have an appointment with Canadian Tire but after breakfast, I drove there anyway and they were able to take the car immediately to fit a new battery and fix a couple of problems with lights. I relaxed in their waiting room for about an hour and a half, before picking up the car, and I went to the Renforth IDA to see if the prescription for the chemo meds had been sent by the hospital – they had not. I came home to see the unusual sight of Laurie-Ann and Steve sitting together watching her AIR iPad, and the subject of their concentration was the short movie The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, which had been awarded an Oscar last night. It seemed to capture his attention. When the movie was done, L-A watched a documentary, 'Behind Charlie Mackesy,' and I had time to see about half of it with her, before preparing lunch. I’m looking forward to seeing the other half, before she turns off the free Apple TV trial. Charlie is unique, and we have known of his work through Alpha for years. L-A’s dietician Tracey called her and she was delighted that L-A had lost 33 pounds. She advised L-A to count the MCT Wellness oil that she was using as a supplement as part of her 6-8 tsps of oil per day, but was otherwise hopeful to continue and chat again in another month.

After lunch, I went to PMH for blood work, followed by a meeting with Dr. Penny Bradbury. She was quite excited when she came in, telling me that the last CT scan had shown that the tumour was definitely shrinking! This excited me too! This is the first sign that we have had of positive results since the beginning of treatment last summer. I told her that the severe fatigue and tiredness after walking upstairs had disappeared, and that I had been taking high dose Vitamin C, which appeared to have been beneficial in this regard. She said, they didn’t normally recommend higher doses than normal, but did not try and suggest that I shouldn’t be taking it. She did suggest that the shrinking of the tumour could also have the same effect. I told her about my unrelated problems with my prostate and my eyesight. She said that there is some evidence of a side effect of chemotherapy being a weakening of vision. She was very pleased to hear that I would be seeing Dr. Mandelcorn on 5 th April. She was concerned about the fact that I was now needing a catheter, but not because it was related to the cancer. Soon, I was on my way home, arriving in time to warm up the vegetarian supper. But first, I stopped at Renforth IDA for my pre-chemo meds, and found that they had most of my meds, except for an important one that I am to take one hour before my infusion. I also found that L-A had started drawing again, with a drawing of Western Cape fire lilies. These unique flowers grow after there has been a wildflower in the “veld” – and the fire germinates the seeds, which grow quickly into red lilies. A teacher of L-A’s in South Africa used them as an illustration of how we can rebuild our lives after loss, trauma and change.

After dinner, we had no problem dismissing Steve to be on his own, and we settled in to watch first the rest of “Behind Charlie Mackesy.” It was heartwarming and incredibly kind in the depiction of Charlie’s story when turning his book into a film. Charlie’s very last line “An act of kindness can save a life” stuck in our hearts as we listened to the beautiful music score and watched the credits. This was followed by a chapter of The Chosen, which included the healing of a leper, the continued reaction from other miracles and teaching sessions, and the healing of the paralytic who was lowered down from the roof, in view of the crowd watching through the windows, doors and from the roof across the street. Differing reactions deepened the sense of urgency after the miracle, since Jesus referred to who he actually was. But Nicodemus stood in wonder. I found my eyes were filled with tears. L-A felt excitement and laughed at Matthew’s lost sense of wanting more, and the child disciples’ delight on what was going on. Surely the Lord’s kindness brings us to repentance. Afterwards, I had L-A read what I wrote when journaling with Holy Spirit. I had a sense of conviction, and yet L-A read and spiritually explained what the Lord wanted to do, to turn me from a non-frazzled Martha who serves as a way to show love, to my heart being expanded supernaturally to love my neighbour, family and more deeply, my spouse.

Sun Mar 12

We watched CTF on our separate machines; Steve Long preached on belonging. I was building up a pile of papers with actions beside my computer, and I dealt with some of them. I called Penny Bradbury's assistant to say that to have my chemo meds by my infusion on Tuesday, I would need the prescriptions faxed to Renforth IDA tomorrow morning. i had left a message on about this without response. According to a message by Sylvana on Dr Morrell's phone number, they will be away all next week. No point therefore to seeing if the transrectal exam that was done on 9 Jan would have saved needing the new one ordered by Dr Morrell, or contacting Sylvana to see who I should expect to replace the catheter on Friday. I am plagued by oncologists taking vacations!

Sat Mar 11    Med

Exactly twenty five years ago, a stranger, Laurie-Ann Zachar, had responded to my Moderator webpage, and introduced herself by email, saying that it was helping her with an apologetics essay at Tyndale Seminary. The power of an email! I started to take the Ciprofloxacin morning and night prescribed by the ER doctor, which came with 2 pages of warnings and side effects. such as 'Some of these effects may not go away, and may lead to disability or death.' I went shopping primarily for toilet paper. We can use a roll a day, and I used one all on my own on the nights trying to pee - we were down to our last roll. I also wanted blackcurrent jam, but settled for cherry jam in Loblaws. I called L-A from Loblaws to see if it would mess her up preparing supper if I were to go on to The Bay and buy her a new watch strap. She said she could manage. Thank goodness the watch repair booth in The Bay was still open when I got there, and the strap he put on for me was actually slightly longer than the broken one. By the time I was home, dinner was ready to eat through no effort of mine. After dinner, we cuddled up for The Chosen, which I enjoy more and more with every episode.

Fri Mar 10    Med, dictated to L-A

The day started off slightly better than yesterday, in that I slept until 3 am. From then on, it was worse. The pee just wouldn’t come! I was encouraged however by what the Shopper’s Drug Mart pharmacist had told me about the hormone ADH, which regulates the urinary system, turning it down during the night. So I hoped that it would be much easier to pee by breakfast time. It was only slightly easier, so maybe the ADH loses track after 24 hours. I realized that I would have to go to ER this morning, but I still delayed it, just in case I started to pee better. L-A ordered an Uber and it arrived at 11:45 am. Again, I was fast-tracked, and was in significant pain. I had had the good sense to put on one of Steve’s diapers. Quite soon I saw a doctor who realized my predicament and I found myself lying on a bed with a nurse, Thelma, looking after me. She was better at inserting catheters than the gentleman who did it two weeks before. A minute or so later, all the pain had gone. At my request she cut off the diaper, replacing it with a green hospital issue. I remained there for some time while they analyzed a urine sample, and the doctor returned and gave me a prescription for Ciprofloxan, since the urine had become cloudy, possibly due to the two weeks that the first catheter had been in. After a free hospital tuna sandwich, I left the emergency area, called a City Taxi, and was soon on my way, coincidentally with the same driver who had brought me home two weeks ago. Without the pain, I felt great, as I walked in through the door, to discover that L-A had put away nearly all the Metro and M+M groceries that had arrived in my absence. It crossed my mind, that it was very providential for me that in the past six weeks, she had lost weight and was able to do these things. She told me that Steve had been agitated throughout the day. L-A had bribed him with many treats just to stay in the house, since he kept trying to leave to go to “work” – the same work that he retired from in 1989. This continued with at one point late at night, my having to persuade him not to push his walker down the stairs, in extension of one of his many dreams. At another point a little later, I heard the front door slam and found that he was on the porch, picking up little bits of stuff from the snowy porch floor. I decided not to call him back immediately, because it was pretty cold, and I watched him as he came back inside after ten minutes.

Thu Mar 9    Med, dictated to L-A

From midnight to about 6:30, I managed a little pee about every 15 minutes. Sometimes it took a while. I wondered if I would have to drive to the ER, and have another catheter put in. But the reason that I didn’t do this was that it was only at nighttime that I had the problem. So if I could last out until the morning, I would have more opportunities to find other solutions. The strange thing is that I didn’t feel all that tired, and at 7:30, started preparing breakfast. From then on, I felt better and better. At 11, I drove to the IDA, and picked up the ointment for my conjunctivitis and another pineapple. The ointment is Tobradex, and I applied it with a q-tip when I got home. I think I was a bit enthusiastic, and some of the ointment found its way into my eyes, blurring my vision. I had a short rest in the afternoon, more to see whether that would cause a problem with the prostate, but it didn’t.

As we were preparing dinner, a pharmacist from Shoppers Drug Mart called to confirm the inventory for Steve’s medications. When we got to Tamsolsin (FloMax), this triggered a side conversation, and I mentioned to him the fact that my problem was only an issue at night time. He said this was because a hormone called ADH, which the body makes, is produced in lower quantities at night. I asked him if there were any drugs to trick the ADH, and he said, “yes, there were.” I took the opportunity to ask him about tobradex, and whether my blurred eyesight would correct itself, and he suggested washing the eyes with sterilized water. (This was only partially helpful.) I thanked him and dialed the number for Dr. Morrell’s surgery. I started by apologizing for this communication, and then I said that I had not slept last night, but today had been fine. I said that I didn’t fancy another night or two nights without sleep, and what did he think of the ADH theory, and if there was a prescription drug that would help, please would he write a prescription. I think the surgery was closed by then, so I’m faced with another tough night…

Wed Mar 8    Med

Both my eyes were stuck closed at one stage during the night, but the gauze and warm water freed them up enough for my midnight snack, which was tea and a raisin and cranberry scone, baked yesterday. After giving Steve his morning Tylenol I went downstairs and folded a large batch of clothes, Steve's and ours, brought them up and put them away. For breakfast I gave Steve a poached egg and a scone with a little honey. I dodn't want him to feel too bad about trying to raid the tin last night. James emailed a link to a video of Sagan ski-ing recently at Eagle Point, Utah. Very good ski film of a remarkable young ski-er. My appointment with urologist Dr. John Morell was at 1:40. I brought him up to date, and he said he could take the catheter out immediately, or after a few days being back on Flomax. I also asked him about a prostate operation, and he said he would need to test my eligibility with a couple of procedures. I opted to have the catherter removed immediately, possibly the wrong choice as things turned out, but I wanted to be free of it as soon as possible. It was not the painful experience I was expecting, but it was a surprise as he pulled a couple of feet of white tubing out of it, with only minor discomfort. I asked him about prostate surgery, and he said two tests were necessary to see if I would be a candidate: an ultrasound and a transrectal examination, and a bladder biopsy. I picked up the requisitions for both from Sylvana before I left. We were done. His receptionist Sylvana gave me an appointment for an ultrasound + transrectal, and a cystoscopy at the hospital. I went home for tea and a scone, and then out again to see Dr Makar about the conjunctivitis. She looked at my eyes with a special light, and prescribed an ointment. Unfortunately Renforth IDA was unable to fill Dr Makar's prescription till tomorrow. Back home it wasn't long before I needed a pee, and did so with normal flow. I had a couple more during the evening, and went to bed. But before midnight I got up and wasn't able to pee normally, but with a much reduced flow. I decided to take a Flomax daily.

Tue Mar 7    Med

My left eye was stuck shut when I awoke, but responded to the gauze and warm water treatmnt. I called Dr Elias' office at 8:05 and left a message for the secretary, just asking confirmation that they had my consultation referal. About 9:30 I received a call from urologist Dr John Morrell's office in the same complex as Dr Elias, giving me an appointment tomorrow at 1:40. According to the lady who rang, Dr Kessie had sent the original consultation referral form to the wrong urologist. This error had put me back at least a week, increasing the possibility of infection. I called V in Dr Makar's office and asked for an appointment for my conjuntivitis, and also her email address to send her the diet that l-A lost 33 Lbs in 6 weeks on. Here's the regimen she is using:

A lot less red meat - just occasionally. If have, it must be very lean
Fish, chicken, turkey most days
Vegetarian twice a week
At meals, have vegetables fill half the plate
Snack on veggies and fruit
Snack on walnuts 6 a serving, almonds ok
Limit pasta, potatoes etc
No baked goods (cakes, pies, sweets)
No chips, ice cream, added sugar
Limit bread
Choose to drink less (toggle wine with meals to twice a week and drink water the other days)
Drink more water and herbal tea
Move around the house more, walking to one end to the other, up and down stairs.

I took L-A to the post office in Shoppers, since the notice said the addressee must collect, but postal services were closed due to illness till 4:30. So we went to The Bay in Sherway Gardens to replace her broken watch strap with a larger one. L-A showed me the way to The Bay's main entrace and adjacent parking. They had no larger ones, and I hadn't brought my phone to ask L-A if I should buy the standard size, so I didn't. Back home I felt like scones, so I made the second batch, raisin and cranberry. Very nice. L-A had a bite, and Steve asked for one a little later. I called the post office after 4:30, and confirmed that I could pick up the goods, and I did. The goods were supplements: Visafree, and Visidefend, good for eyes, and not cheap, so should be good. After a huge supper of pork roast, during which Steve agreed to go halves on the cost of the car battery, I caught him with his fingers in the tin which held the scones, but I was there in time. Of course I should have buttered a scone for him, but I can be greedy and wanted more for myself.

Mon Mar 6

I slept well till the 7:30 alarm, and my left eye was not stuck closed like yesterday. Maybe the conjuctivitis was on the mend. There was a full bag to empty but no discomfort. I called Dr Elias' office at 8 and they still had their holiday message up. After checking Google Maps and seeig they were actually open, I called again at 8:05, and got through to the secretary. She told me there were 200 faxes waiting for a response from Dr Elias, and he would be working through them and responding to the patients. I said I was an urgent case with a catheter in since 25 February, and in chemotherapy, and thanked her for being there. I had a couple of computing challenges around 10 am: Foobar had failed and I needed to reload the executive file. A music file had disappeared. I took L-A to a foot appointment with Dr Silver. Many of the normal parking slots were unuseable because of uncleared snow, so I parked in the lot behind the building, but didn't pay because I would be staying in the car. In fact I stayed more than an hour, with the key in the ignition, listening to the radio, and doing thought experiments on my computer problems. When I got L-A's message to say she was ready, the car wouldn't start. Same old problem; the radio appeared to have partially drained the battery. She got in and I called CAA, who were there 23 minutes later and gave me a boost. We need to buy a new battery. We had a Starbucks date on the way home. After lunch I solved the two computer issues fairly easily. I worked on the laborious process of transferring Love Song's album track by track to the red disk. New scissors - 2 really good pairs - titanium coated - arrived via Amazon. We had ordered them partly because we had lost the blue scissors, and partly because the blue scissors were getting blunt. When I put one of the new scissors into the drawer, there were the blue scissors, hiding in plain sight, and missing for a week! L-A prepared a large pork roast for dinner, searing it in the Dutch oven. Dinner was a delight, my favourite meat and lots of great vegetables. There had been no call from Dr Elias.

Sun Mar 5    Med

As part of my after-midnight tea and snack, I again imagined I was chatting to Jesus, opposite me on the couch. Here's our conversation.
Dear Lord, I have an ethical question about my future life. You are ethics personified - you designed them. I have no wish for ending up in my 90s, receiving care in a home or from an unfortunate relative. Better the Meso kill me in my 80s. Is this wrong? Jesus answered: I am the author of life, and you destroy it at your peril. But I love you, and know what is best for you. Please trust me to handle this issue as I have many others in your life. Don't concern yourself or worry about it.

After another good night's sleep, I emerged with my left eye shut from the conjunctivitis. I was able to open it with gauze swabs and warm water. However I should see if Shoppers can prescribe something. It wasn't when I walked to the bathroom, but when I was returning to our bedroom that I saw Steve was on the floor, sitting awkwardly. I got his pillow, and had him lie on his back on the floor to recover energy, while I dressed. Then I had him roll onto his front, get up into a crawl position, and then stand up. His trowsers were soaked, so I helped him get them off. He wasn't wearing a diaper, so I got one on him, and then he lay down on the bed. He was grateful for my help. I swiffed the floor. Allison arrived 15 minutes later. I am glad that she wasn't met with the mess I had had with him 40 minutes before. We joined the online congregation for CTF. L-A decided to go to bed in the early afternoon, missing lunch, unusual for her. After lunch I put on my trowsers (I often stay in my PJs for a while because of the catheter), and drove to Shoppers to try out the much advertised 'Get basic prescriptions from your pharmacist instead of bothering your doctor.' The pharmacist did have conjunctivitis drugs, and started reading a long list of conflics and side effests. When I mentioned that I was in chemotherapy, which I suggested might have stressed my immune system, he immediately said I should see my doctor for a prescription. Back home I wiped my eyes with a gauze swab, and it was when I was doing so, I realized that though my eye was sore, I was no longer having to sit down on a chair after every time I exerted myself. I had more energy. What have I been doing differently? The most significant thing was taking high dose Vitamin C in my water, but surely it was too soon for that to have impacted my energy level, though L-A thought it possible. Maybe it was the power of the prayers of many, but those had been continuous for a lot longer. Watever the reason, TKoG. L-A ordered a 500 gm bottle of Vitamin C from Amazon at a sale price of $50. She also ordered scissors to replace the blue scissors which had gone missing about 3 weeks ago. They had been given to us by Fairbairn Pharmacy in Worcester, and served us well. Our new TV series was to be 'The Chosen,' which L-A had already seen and loved, and tonight introduced me to S1 E1.

Sat Mar 4    Med

During my after-midnight tea break when I imagine a chat with Jesus seated on the white couch, I documented our conversation for the first time. When I read it to L-A later in the afternoon, it made good sense. My best night for months - only woke once. Didn't wake up early. Steve said he was very hungry so I gave him cereal and a boiled egg and nice bread toasted with strawberry jam on. One he was happy I bundled up and went to try and clear some snow so Alison could get in. The snow was the vry heavy type, and after making a cutting for a few meters my body told me not to continue. Allison called to say she wouldn't be able to get to us because of the snow. My appointment with Dr Makar was 11:20, and our snow clearing contractors arrived with their machines about 10:30! But I was in additional trouble - couldn't find either set of car keys. L-A found the keys that had been Steve's in one of the dresser drawers where I had put them for security. There was a ding at the door, and it was one of the contractors who had found my set of keys lying in the snow near the garage door. TKoG. They must have fallen out of a pocket when I went out earlier. So now I was able to drive out to Eringate Clinic, a dangerous trip because traffic lights were hidden behind small snow drifts. I was calm but concerned when Dr Makar came in to see me. Maybe it would be just a quick removal of the catheter. But no - she needed to hear the full story. She didn't have the ultrasound from the hospital and so she didn't know the state of my prostate other than by Dr Kessie's report. She (like Rob Burr) was concerned for infection. It didn't seem as if that had set in yet, but it could do so at any time. So in the end, she recommended calling Dr Elias' office on 6 March telling him I was in chemo, and attempt to get an early appointment. This made sense to me, and I thanked her for calling me in. I told her about Laurie-Ann's 33 Lb weight loss, and she asked for a copy of the diet to give to her patients. Today was Chantelle's birthday, and I felt a strong tug to support her. So I sent her R400. I have noticed increasing discomfort around my left eye from something like conjunctivitis, but it has manifested itself partly as a scab on my lower eyelid. In the afternoon I again attempted to download a paid-for album (Love Song 50th Anniversary) to my PC, using all the advice Google was offering, and came to the conclusion that the only way nowadays was to join Apple Music for $10 pm). 5 years ago I downloaded a bunch of albums, now on the red disc without any cost. So I continued the process song-by-song, the slow way, dropping the individual .mp3s into a folder on the red disk (Movies and Musicals subdirectory). What I won't have is track data, but for listening it will be identical to the original CD. While I was copying the album, I made scones from a packet. It was simple to do, and the result was as good as store-bought scones. I will enjoy these after midnight. After dinner we watched the final episode available on our streaming services of S2 of Slow Horses, a good British spy drama.

Fri Mar 3

I woke sleepless about 6, and decided to turn insomnia into use on the computer, researching the band Love Song which was hugely influential in the early seventies in spreading the new Christian music. With L-A's help (later in the morning) I found their Wikipedia page and their listing on Spotify, which told me they had a 50 year anniversary album released in 2022. I listened to it and loved it. What blew me away was the stereo harmony singing, the general production quality, and the guitar skills of at least two of them. L-A had found the album on iTunes, so I fired up iTunes on my computer and bought it. I want the album on the red disk rather than just in the iTunes library, but I have forgotten how to download an album from iTunes. Ehe latest R5,000 has still not reached the FNB account to allow Bella to pay for her most recent operation, so in case I had miscalculated and failed to send it, I sent another R5,000. In the afternoon I tackled the Adobe Audition problem by searching for alternative free software, and found it in NCH Mixpad Multi-track Recording Software. I was able to figure out how to use it the first time I tried. TKoG. So I was then able to complete the production of last Sunday's program, and upload it. A winter storm was forecast for tonight and it blew in about 7pm. It was the worst storm of the year so far, but we were snug in the warmth of Steve's house.

Thu Mar 2    Med

I called Dr Rami Elias' office, but clearly he is away and the office closed till 6 March. So I called Etobicoke General, but because Dr Kessie is in the energency department he doesn't have an assistant or office and I can't leave a message, so they advised me to call my Dr and ask for a referral to another urologist. So I did that, leaving a message for Dr Makar. I adjusted the velcro straps so that the bag doesn't pull down on me, washing the area. I sent M-A a signed copy of the contract for her loan. I had emailed Carlos 2 days ago asking how the changes to the AiO debt would be made, and he had sent me back an action plan for me, which I hadn't seen before! It required me to call Solutions Banking and instruct them. So I did theis today, completing the investment of the major part of the MoD money. We went to the cinema for the first time in years, to see the movie Jesus Revolution. We both enjoyed it greatly, particularly in view of the origin of Catch the Fire church in the Vinyard, which was birthed in the Jesus Movement. In fact the Jesus people have gone on to alter the face of Christian worship over the last 50 years. The attitudes and concepts portrayed in the film don't seem to me out of date at all; on the contrary I feel spiritually comfortable with all of it. The band 'Love Song' was a big part of the Jesus movement, and is acted in the film. Heres the Wikipedia page of the very influential original band.

Wed Mar 1    Med

After breakfast I called Dr Rami Elias' office as advised by Dr Kessie at Etobicoke General Hosptal, to hear an automated message that the office was closed till 2 March, please call back on 6 March. The prospect of waiting possibly some time beyond 6 March to have the catheter removed depressed me. However, since the ambiguous message on their answering system suggested that something would be hapening there from 2 March, I decided to wait till then, and call again, rather than try and reach Dr Kelsie today. Rob Burr went through similar problems in about 2015, and in a message said 'You will want to replace that Foley catheter with an intermittent catheter as soon as possible to prevent infection. I've had experience with this and the intermittent catheters will work fine until you're able to look after the prostate problem.' I assume looking after the problem means surgery. I had another go at getting the sound working on the DVD set-up, but failed. So I switched to plan B, the Phillips portable. The only challenge was finding a power supply close enough to the green chair. That solved, L-A was in business. I have reached the stage with my eyes that I need the magnifying glass for about half my computing activity, and for checking everything. Through the magnifying glass I see the text clearly, suggesting to me that the right prescription lens would work. It's worrying how fast the vision is deteriorating. On the bright side, I received a reply from Eric Manalang saying he had forwarded my message to Dr Mandelcorn. Despite the difficulty with seeing, I spent a fair amount of time on the computer today dealing with issues. While doing so I listened with great pleasure to the whole of Tape C45 S2, which begins with the Mahavishnu Orchestra (Birds of fire) from 1974, which I had never really got into before. Today, it seemed like just excellent rock-jaz fusion. My tastes have progressed, and as I have said before, my general appreciation of all music, new and particularly old, continues to increase. The headphones definitely play a part in this. We had our prayer and Bible study in the afternoon when I am relatively fresh and receptive. This was good because after dinner L-A asked me to wash and moisturise her legs and feet, which I have done every few weeks.

Tue Feb 28

I slept quite well, thanks to the catheter, though it still has to be emptied 4 or 5 times a day. Mid morning I drove to Eringate Clinic, where V gave me my monthly B12 shot. Even though PMH had also prescribed B12 shots, she agreed that what I was getting already covered the dosage. I went to Renforth IDA, who have not yet received a request from PMH to supply me more Tylenol #2. I asked if they had any RestoroLAX, They didn't but sold me an alternative, Clearlax, in a large bottle. I am not going to risk getting constipated again. My computer activity in the morning was getting recent photos off our phones, and uploading to Flickr, and then linking some of them to the journal. L-A has lost 33 Lb on her dietition's advice since January and we are both impressed and happy about it. I am steady at 115 Lbs. I asked Randa Malaty via Messenger if she might be able to find us new tenants for May. She now works for Property Pros Realty. Dr Rami Elias, urologist, didn't call me today so I will call him tomorrow morning. L-A has bought a couple of DVDs she would dearly like to watch. I brought in the DVD player from a suitcase in the garage and set about trying to play it through our TV screen. I was quite encouraged at first, since I got a disk playing on the screen, though without sound. And the sound proved elusive. The DVD player was from a different generation.

Mon Feb 27

As I prepared the breakfast table, Steve's false teeth were missing. He had been into the kitchen in the night and taken them. I challenged him when he came for brekfast, but he had mo memory of doing it. I gave him a fairly full breakfast, thugh not cooked. I asked him to sign a cheque to pay for the new lamp and shades in the living room. I was worried that the price, $371 would concern him, but it didn't. As he left the kitchen, he spotted an open loaf of bread on the counter, and ate a slice of it, dry. That's how hungry he was. One of the cheeses I had bought at Global Cheese last Friday is called Fromager d'Affinois Bleu - mild and creamy blue cheese, which the gentleman there told me was the closest to the unavailable Blue Bresse, my favourite cheese. This morning I had some on a cracker and he was right. Very nice. I sent a message to at PMH asking if chemo side effects ever included weakening vision. They called me back mid morning and said they had not seen instances of chemo causing dim vision. Sikhoma left me a voicemail in response to my emailing them about how to override the per-tramsfer and per month transfers of cash into SA. They needed our FNB account number. I called Toronto Western Hospital and left a voicemail for Eric Manalang. Later I found I still had his email, so sent a more detailed request, asking for an appointment with Dr Mandelcorn. Mid afternoon I went to Loblaws, and the CIBC ATM to bank Steve's cheque for the lights, and the $300 payment from Loblaws' insurance for my tripping over their carpet. It was the beginning of a storm and I was very relieved to get home safely, looking forward to a spagetti bolognaise dinner and the warmth of being inside and an evening with my sweetheart. I received the following email from Liam Murta: I have been asked by the lady across the hall if I would like to rent her unit as Ann Carol will be moving out. She is slated to move out May 2nd I believe so I was hoping I could be in this unit until Ann moves out, then I can move across the hall before your return.?I will get a solid date from them but was hoping that, that would work out and be okay? Hmmm.

Sun Feb 26    Med

I wasn’t up to church because of the new appendage hanging from my manliness, so we watched an excellent CTF service on line, I with headphones on the couch and L-A with ear buds on the green chair. I took out the garbage, carefully, in view of the catheter, and buoyed by success brought in the small ladder ftom the garage and replaced the burned out bulbs in the kitchen light with the LED from Living Lighting. My dimness of vision had made this urgent. In the afternoon I had my appointment at Cloverdale Eyecare, to diagnose why I was seeing blurred and double. I got there in good time and was soon with the same optometrist who had given me a simplified test a month ago, which showed that my prescription hadn’t changed since I bought my glasses from them in March 2022. He went through similar tests, which showed the prescriptions for both eyes still hadn’t changed. What had changed was the strength of the vision in my right eye, which had been normal throughout my eyer surgery. The vision was significantly weaker since the test a month ago, So this came out of his area of expertise and he said he would refer me to a retina specialist. That wouldn’t happen for a couple of months, and who knows how the eye would be by then? I asked him if he thought it could be a side effect of chemo and he didn’t know. His tests today were all done under OHIP, so no charge to me, the only good news of the afternoon. The implications of this are not something I want to dwell on yet. What I plan for tomorrow is to contact PMH and see if dimming of eyes is known as a chemo side effect, and if not contact Toronto Westerh Hospital, refer to my eye surgery there last year, and see if they would fast-track me for examination and possible treatment. Last thing at night after washing up, I did an experiment with Steve's teeth, not hiding them for the night after I had cleaned them.

Sat Feb 25    Med

My night was not good, and was unlikely to improve. I spent time on the white couch, trying to snatch some shuteye. I decied to put on one of Steve's diapers, which was a safety measure, and more comfortable. As Saturday morning dawned, I wodered if my problems would lessen in the day time, and they didn't. I realied I needed to go to Energency in Etobicoke General. I had cornflakes with hot milk like yesterday, since I wouldn't eat again for a while. Steve and L-A were still asleep, and I figured I should give them breakfast before they I left. I had done the washing up during th night. Around 8:30 I gave Steve his cereal, and went to speak to L-A. When I said I was thinking of calling an ambulance, she suggested an Uber - somewhat cheaper, and easier to organize. She got up for her breakfast. I packed a bag in case of an overnight stay. She called Uber, and so I got to the hospital. There weren't many people lined up yet to see a doctor, and I told my story to the nurse who took the key details. Mine must have impressed her because I was very soon with Doctor Kessie, who said I would have an ultrasound, receive a catheter, and an introduction to a urologist. After being back in the waitimg room a short time, I was called. I must have been urgent. Another doctor gave me an MRI, a little painful as he pressed on my prostate, and then it was catheter time. I had previously had one for my hip replacement, and I don't remember it hurt when it was put in, but maybe I was still sedated. This time it did hurt and I clenched my arms and legs, preventing him from putting it in. I said, "How about an anaesthetic," and he said it would make no difference. Then he decided he should use a smaller gauge catheter, and he did give me in quick succession two anaesthetic shots right into the top of the penis. They weren't pleasant but this catheter now was able to be screwed in without my clenching up. Next step, to fix the tube and urine bag held in place with velcro straps, and it was done. Then I was back in the waiting room, for quite a while since I was no longer urgent. Eventually I saw the first doctor again who gave me an introduction to a urologist, and said he should call me by Tuesday, and if he didn't, I should call him on Wednesday. The plan was that he would take out the catheter. I reminded the doctor that I had also painfully stretched my rectum during constipation, and he gave me a prescription to help. I slowly got on my way. My cell phone was now flat, but the hospital reception pointed me to a phone for calling City Taxis. As I walked to the taxi a few minutes later the urine bag was hanging heavy, and I supported the diaper and tube as I got into the cab. At home my first move was to the bathroom, where I saw that the urine bag was already full (which had made the tube pull down on my penis). I was disappointed with the velcro straps, which were inadequate for my thin legs. I remembered a small roll of sticky tape in a kitchen drawer, and I was able to add support to the tube. L-A had made some special cauliflower soup, and I enjoyed it with toast. I was slow moving around the house, but still somewhat capable. Unexpectedly, Tara, Kennedy and Wilfred their neighbour's dog arrived, and would stay the night, Tara eager to do the washing up, vacuuming, and reorganize the kitchen.

Fri Feb 24    Med

After a very bad prostate night (I was probably a day late taking a Flomax), about 6am I decided to try and change my state by having comfort food, namely corn flakes with hot milk. It seemed to work because I then slept till 7:30, and got up. Steve and I had sausage and scrambled eggs for breakfast. I wasn't feeling well. I had problems with my computer on start-up, but after a few minutes they resolved themselves and the machine ran at normal speed, in time a our Zoom call with Karen Bergenstein. It was a pleasant discourse. She told us of how St. Peter's and St. Paul's was managing in the aftermath of its senior pastor Brent Stiller's sudden death. I recalculated the amount of Vitamin C powder to add to a 4L bottle in order to take 8 Grams per day, and put it in the bottle. One result will be I'll be drinking much more water in the process. I put half as much into Laurie-Ann's next bottle - the maintenance amount according to Richard. I unfriended some of my 1,000 Facebook friends. We decided to transfer another R5,000 to FNB even though the previous R5,000 hadn't yet arrived, and this new transfer would probably take us over our monthly limit, and not be released yill 1 March. I drove to Global Cheese on Norseman and bought us some special cheeses. Then on to Living Lighting when I was well served and purchased a much needed lampshade for the antique standard lamp in the living room, and a new standard lamp for the other end of the living room which had always been so dim, and a LED for the kitchen to replace two incandescents that had failed simultaneously a few days ago. I was lucky - not only did Steve and L-A like the lamp and shades, the new lamp just fitted between the couch and the wall. Both lamps looked great, and when it was darker the LED's shone well. We had an early dinner so that I could get to PMH for a CT Scan by 7:45. The scan went according to plan. On my way home however constipation broke out and it was a very uncomfortabel ride on the subway. Chemo can cause both constipation though the formet bay have been exaccerbated by eating white bread for a week. I got home safely and got straight onto the toilet, but nothing came from some serious straining at stool. L-A brought me some RestoroLAX, and I just sat there hoping it would hurry up. It didn't in the next half hour, and peeing became increasingly sparse. When I tried to pee, small amounts of shit came out of my bum. So I had another dose of RestoroLAX. About 45 minutes later, results came, with relief, but it didn't help the peeing problem. It was like that for the whole night and I had very little sleep. I rested on the white couch after peeing the few drops which came out every 20 minutes or so,

Thu Feb 23    Med

I decided to post the 10 year Dartmouth Reunion page for the Reunion Book that Bryan Barrett has so well designed. Although the book in printed form won't be available till later in the year, I felt it appropriate to be on-line earlier for my friends who are not naval colleagues. I do look forward to reading the stories from my dwindling numbers of shipmates. Quite a few have died in the past year, including Rob Walmsley. friend, and an admiral. Previous pages are available here. I listened to United Pursuit's album, Simple Gospel (Live). Brock Hunan is the co-leader of this excellent collective. He is Heidi Baker's son-in-law and he was with us in Mozambique and sang some of his songs. It was afternoon when the first chemo side effect cut in: brain fog. I just couldn't do a simple calculation: how much Vitamin C to add to a 4L water bottle so as to get 10 grams a day. So I went to bed. After resting I was able to figure out the dose, though lingering doubts remain after also calculating the annual cost. I noticed that the basal cell carcinoma (skin cancer) on my forehead has almost faded completely after treatment with Efudix, and several newer ones on my left hand have disappeared without treatment.

Wed Feb 22    Med

Here are things that got done or happened today, in chronological disorder: Richard confirmed he's taking 8 grams of calcium ascorbate daily, and recommended I do likewise. I asked him how much should L-A take as a recovering (?) breast cancer patient. At 10 we had a most engaging video call with Fred Onyango and his wife Joy in Nairobi. Fred had been the local Alpha representative on our mission to Migori in 2005, and we had stayed in touch. He has two children, Bradley (8) and Belishia, 2. Bradley has had severe medical issues (autism?) and they had taken him to India for treatment. He is doing better now and spoke with us on the call. Fred has achieved so much in Christian-inspired activities, including feeding many starving people. Tomorrow he was going to Rwanda to introduce pastors to Alpha. I said I would try and get/send him the Alpha videos. We finally transmitted our Docusign signatures to Carlos successfully so that he can make the changes to our portfolios as a result of the MoD grant. There had been a problem with our phone numbers on the AiO profiles, so verification of ID wasn't working. But also I suspect Carlos is on a learning curve with this. It should bring down our indebtedness on the AiO which has been at the max $155K for years. I emailed Sikhona to find out how I can bring in more money per transfer to FNB. We received a cheque for $300 and vouchers for $200 from Loblaws for my tripping over their mat on on February 2, and agreeing not to sue them. My several scars on my upper lip have gone after 3 weeks. I corrected a couple of errors in music on the red disk. On one of yhese, half of a track was missing from the recording made from our CD, so I replaced it with the same track from Spotify. Bella has large medical and school bills to pay. Up to now we have kept to Sikhoma's absurdly low limits for bringing small amounts of money into South Aftica, so I emailed them asking how we get round those limits. I am now needing to use a magnifying glass to read some parts of my computer screen, but the eyes get sore after half an hour, so I only use the glass when really necessary. I am looking forward to seeing the optometrist on Sunday so that something might br done.

Tue Feb 21    Med: second chemo infusion

I have recently got up for tea and something twice in a night. Early this morning I was feeling hot and couldn't sleep, so got up for a second cup of tea. On the way I checked the thermostat. 87° - no wonder the house felt hot. I turned it to 72° (22° Celcius). After drinking my tea and a yoghurt, and not feeling like sleeping, I spent time on the computer attempting to add podcast101 to the source code of the CWCR ( page so people could directly access the interview. I did it to an offline version. My brain was in good form, and I had figured out the code, but in the end chickened out when I remembered I would have to upload the modified program, and being on my computer rather than L-A's it was conceivable I might lose or damage the original file. I did post to my Facebook but just referred to the podcast page and suggested scrolling down to Podcast 101. It was a rush at breakfast because I had to leave for PMH by 8. I felt so well that in the station carpark I parked at the back and walked. I had Theresa as my chemo nurse. She gave me some Odansetron pills even though the schedule I had didn't require it on the day of treatment, just the day before. I asked her if my wakefulness in the night might have been caused by pills, and she identified Aprepritant as the culprit. Maybe why I get an allowance of only three at a time in case I might be tempted to use as wake up pills. I was done by 11:30, with an appetite, and wanted to redeem Swiss Chalet for the home delivery version we had 18 December. I had it with chips. It was just fine, though instead of finishing the chips I had a lemon meringue pie. So I didn't need lunch when I got home. On the way there I dropped off my letter to Dr. Lindholm, asking for the disk back of L=A's knee MRI. and then posted Steve's medical receipts, those that were filed here, including $800 for glasses) and a T4, to Tara.

Mon Feb 20

Steve spent a lot of time out of his bedroom during the night, and when I came into the living room he was sitting on the new couch, fast asleep. I hadn't the heart to rouse him for his morning pain pill (Tylenol Extra Strength). On this last day before Chemo, while I was feeling pretty good, I chose several tasks that I might just not feel like doing after tomorrow. The most fun and time consuming was adding our recent CKCU interview with each other as Podcast 101 on The Worcester Reports page. Carlos has tried multiple times to send me a message that would allow me return a Docusign message to him allowing him to complete certain forms without seeing us personally. The problem was ID verification, which seemed to have previous phone numbers. So I checked the profiles for the two of us. These were set up by Carlos' assistant, and she had made several typos. I updated them. Maybe Carlos' messages will work now. and he'll be able to cpmplete the transfers of MoD money to the All-in-One.

Sun Feb 19

Today was the Sunday I would have most energy in the 3-week chemo cycle, and I was determined to go to church, which I did. Murray did an expose of a familiar passage from Ephesians, drawing out a wealth of meaning that was new to me. Walking to and from the parking lot took a lot of my scarce energy. I Swiffed, and it was good. Yes, after an afternoon rest I had the energy to check out the Swiffer that I bought 9 February at Allison's suggestion. Took me a while to unfold a heavy duty wet cloth, but then I swiffed the kitchen with it, followed by our bedroom, the bathroom, snf Steve's room with another. Sure beats sweeping and mopping, and the 2 hours that took to dry. I reviwed our givings to CTF and set them to $80 monthly, with half going to tithes and offerings and half to the Rexdale outreach. I reviewed a letter from Co-operators insurance stating that our new homeowners premiun beginning in March would ne $45.09. Bella told us about near future hospital bills, one of which will take us over our monthly limit, so she will have to wait till March, and argue her case with the hospital.

Sat Feb 18

The most important thing done today was to complete my submission for the RN Reunion book with a selection of photos, and send it to Bryan Barrett. It took a lot longer than expected, and I didn't finish till around 9. It focussed on 4 aspects of th last 10 years: (1) visits to Oxford, Wellington and Colonial Williamsburg; (2) Mum's funeral; (3) Missionary school in Mozambique; (4) Long term mission in South Africa. I finally figured out how to sort my downloads so the the most recent were listed first. This is how it was for years till something caused them to be listed randomly. We paid L-A's visa; more than $1,800 for the month, but no interest will be charged - this time or in future. .

Fri Feb 17

First thing I did was list key things I wanted to get done today. Here are the ones I made good progress with or completed. I went to the IDA and collected the meds I'll need for offsetting the side effects of chemo next Tuesday. There were more than I expected but they won't be wasted. Then I went on to Walmart and bought myself a water bottle for getting my daily dose of calcium ascorbate (Vitamin C). I needed a bottle that was easy to replenish, and easy to drink from. Not all of them are! I think I found something suitable. Back home I calculated how much calcium ascorbate to add to a 4L water bottle. Richard used Linus Pauling's measurements, 10 tomes the dose recommened on the bottle. I have been wondering if I was turning the headphones on and off with the right switch, which is quite small. I checked the manual, and I am doing it correctly. I finished all the text I need for the reunion book. I had 685 words. They only wanted 500 wordes to keep each story to one page, so I removed some sentences and one paragraph. I will, however, use the longer version to go on my website. I edited the digitized version of tape D3, S2, where some jazz I didn't like much had crept in and didn't fit in the space available. Finally I responded to Carlos' requests for me to complete a 'Digisign' digital signature so the changes could be made to our portfolio. It's still not right. I was pleased to have got these things done - gave me a warm feeling - even though the last segment replaced our 1 hour of TV watching for the evening.

Thu Feb 16

We arrived at Red Lobster at 1:30 for my birthday lunch, postponed from yesterday. We were welcomed by our excellent waitress, Natasha. and settled down with the rich menu. For me however there was only one item - the full lobster. L-A chose tilapia with lobster topping. Their house reisling was half price a bottle, so we went for it and weren't disappointed. We were both feeling good and expectant. Natasha brought us the complete unprepared still alive lobster for our inspection! She didn't keep us too long for the prepared version, and the tilapia. We had both chosen crispy sprouts and mashed potatoes as accompanying vegetables. As aficionardos will know, you don't get a lot of meat on a lobster, but my 1 1/2 pounder was large and well endowed. The taste was as I had hoped and expected - delicious. We both got to the eating part and it was a real pleasure - just what a birthday lunch should be. When we were done, I had an apple pastry, which Natasha didn't charge for as a birthday treat, on a plate with 'Happy Birthday' in chocolate writing. We drove home via Staples for a printer cartridge, Starbucks for a coffee, and Loblaws for a birthday cake. I ordered vanilla Appeal and shampoo from Nu Skin, though it occured to me that for a while I won't need the shampoo, since I'll be bald from the chemo. After a lighter than normal dinner (but with birthday cake for dessert), we watched a live online performance from her home by Dar Williams, one of our favourite singers.

Wed Feb 15 - my 82nd birthday

I got up a little early so as to handle the breakfasts before I needed to leave for PMH. Steve and I had quite nice fried sausage and egg. I left at 9 feeling a little weaker than usual. The blood test and X-Ray went as per normal. I waited nearly 2 hours in the thoracic clinic before seeing Dr Faour. They were worried that my weight had fallen 7 Lb since my last visit here, and I added that that was after some months of stable weight. I should weigh myself daily and report any serious changes. I will also get back on Appeal. I need to eat more calories, including ice cream (her words). I was still feeling weak as I walked to the Tim Hortons near Queen's Park station and ordered chili. Then I ordered a chocolate fudge muffin and coffee. I arrived home looking forward to an hour in bed, but what I saw when I opened the front door around 2:30 was Steve lying on his floor. He said he'd been there an hour and couldn't get up. It became clear that he had no strength in his legs, exactly what happens after a TIA. I got him to lie on his back with a pillow for his head and just rest till the strength returned. He asked for chocolate for energy, and I got him an OhHenry. Half an hour later he had actually stayed there, so I had him roll over onto his front and then on to his knees, then to grab the walker and get up on his legs. Soon he was lying on the bed. The plan had worked! TKoG. I continued weak for the rest of the day but was able to help L-A with the dinner. After washing up and some computer work, I went to bed without our daily prayer and Bible study. A whole bunch of people had wished me happy birthday on Facebook during the day, bless them.

Tue Feb 14

About 3am I got up restless and went to the kitchen and had a small rice pudding. It was very difficult to swallow, although it eventually went down my throat. I wouldn't mention this except 2 days ago I had a similar experience with a yoghurt, also after midnight. Is this a chemo side effect? During the day I have been eating well and lots with no problem. I decided to use a version of my recent sibling newsletter to update friends who maybe wonder what is going on with us. I sent the first one to Cindy and we'll see how she reacts, and then send some more. I successfully sent the final part of our loan to M-A. The problem had been too many 'high value' attempts, even if they didn't succeed, but after 72 hours you can try again. Laurie-Ann was extremely sore, and for the first time needed Steve's walker to get from the bedroom to the living room, and then into the kitchen. I really felt for her. At 11 was the Teams call from Carlos and Tyler from IG. Tyler had clearly done his homework on the Living Plan (successor to PFP). The first thing he proposed, that I hadn't thought of, was to use up all my TFSA space. He then suggested a new line of credit in the AiO with enough to pay off the loan for the smaller of my two current credit lines. We did an analysis and I was (still) found to be moderate aggressive. It was a comprehensive review and should stand us in good stead. UHN tried to call me twice during the call; happily they also called after it. They had realised (as I had) that I had been given an infusion before instead of after the blood test and X-Ray next week. To correct this error they want me in tomorrow for blood, X-Ray and Bradbury, which I had already seen on the portal. My birthday lunch at Red Lobster will therefore be on Thursday. Dr Bradbury will give me prescriptions for taking around the time of the infusion, as I did the first time. After lunch, we had our daily prayer and Bible study session before L-A went to bed for the afternoon, the edge taken off her pain with pills, but still needing the walker to get to the bedroom. Luckily Steve didn't challenge her use of his walker (her's is in the car trunk). I spent the afternoon on my email backlog, and actions arising, before preparing supper while listening to worship music and jazz on the headphones. Reading the computer screen is now getting more difficult for me due to my double vision, so L-A suggested increasing my font size. On Windows 19 I was only able to find a setting to increase my everything size, which I did from 100 to 150. This makes some things more difficult, and we'll see if I need to go back to 100 and use a magnifying glass more often.

Mon Feb 13

Steve had pulled all his bed linen and blankets off his bed in the night. The nearest explanation I got to any form of reality was that they needed washing, but they didn't. My weight had fallen to 115 Lb, the Lowe'st ever, after being at ~123 for weeks. It was strange because I felt better than on sme days. Had a great call with Dave Kemp, who recommended the Epoch Times, and unrecommended the World Economic Forum. He has to be a rare close friend. Not treated well by the church he founded when he retired - so sad. Went to Service Ontario to arrange for my new driver's licence. My Mastercard worked on the fouth try after the lady wiped it with a cloth. Since the tap capability had failed I need to get a new card. While in Cloverdale I also bought breakfast sausages and cider. I found myself outside Cloverdate Dental and booked myself another appointment (26 Feb at 4) to address my double vision, which seems to be getting worse. I finally decided to fix the stove. Several weeks ago the microswitch that turned on the internal light got stuck in the 'on' position, and the light was running 24/7. The waste of power was finally bugging me more than the disadvantage of not easily seeing inside the oven. I couldn't get the bulb out; it was (always) too hot. So in the basement I pulled the circuit breaker for the stove, and shortly after was able to remove the bulb. I then tried to cook lunch, forgetting the stove was off, so back down to the the basement to turn on the circuit breaker. Two tubes of Aquafresh toothpaste arrived at the front door ordered online. It's almost impossible to find Aquafresh in drugstores any more. Only Colgate and Crest, neither of which I like. Also from Amazon came a large bottle of Calcium Ascorbate crystals to add to our water, as recommended by Richard on Saturday. I photographed the signed full and final release form from SCM/Loblaws and emailed it to SCM. I tried to send an email to Dallas Wigston thanking him for his powerful singing at church yesterday, but his email was blocked. While doing these tasks I listened to and enjoyed a couple of Bethel albums. I moved Steve into the living room so I could make up his bed. I called MasterCard to report my damaged card and the whole thing was dealt with by robot voices. I will have a new card in 10 days, and my reference number is 40892. This is in line with a recent radio program I heard suggesting that companies are getting their customers to do increasing amounts of the work that the company used to do, but without their being compensated for it. The companies can therefore lay off staff and save money.

Sun Feb 12

I was dead worried about the Group Education Session to renew my driver's licence at 1:30. My eyes were not good. With the help of our new GPS I got to the testing centre in North York early, after about 25 minutes drive. There were about 40 people in our session. We would first have an eye test, and then another test which turned out to be an Alzheimer's test. Because of the seat I had chosen, I was thw first up for the eye test. I was taken to a desk with a vision-testing machine. The first part of the test was to read letters on the fourth line down. As soon as I looked at the lines I knew I was in trouble. I have had my eyes tested by similar means numbers of times in the last couple of years. I was asked to read the 7 letter, and had to guess half of them. She said, OK, read the third line, which I was able to do. Back to the fourth line. Different guesses. I'm thinking about the consequenses to our little family should I fail, and was scared. Would we get taxis and Ubers everywhere? How would I get our stuff back to Ottawa? If I got it right it would last 2 years without worrying about this again. Then she said that I just had the last three letters to go, which were easier. She said I'd got them right. It's hard to believe I had got all seven letters right unless she wasn't interpreting what I was. Maybe only 5 out of 7 correct answers were needed. Maybe the prayers of friends persuaded her to give me the benefit of the considerable doubt. However, I was onto a second test of peripheral vision, with lights flashing to right and left, which was easy for me. I had passed the eye test! While all the others were being tested I conversed with a most engaging man called Walter who had made signs along Canadian roads and in the Toronto airport, and whose brother was a natural engineering genius who assisted the aviation industry when they had apparently insoluble problems. After the eye tests were done, we were all given a sheet of paper and asked to draw a clock with the time set at 10 past 11, something that apparently Alzheimer's and dementia patients cannot do. An interesting aspect of this story is that my left eye seems to be improving. It certainly brings in necessary light, and its focus is getting sharper. I suspect my problem is that the two eyes are not yet pointing in the same direction, which might be correctible, or might correct itself. I had texted the news to L-A who had already told Bella and M-A, prayer warriors, by the time I got home. I was there in time to get us a late lunch. Steve had a difficult day, insisting he could play with L-A's Air connectors and sockets, walking around the house continually, and after dinner coming into the kitchen and trying to make himself a cup of coffee with tea leaves, and breaking one of our four glass dishes. He just couldn't lie down and sleep.

Sat Feb 11

I sent R3300 to Bella as the last stage in fixing her cash flow problem (see 6 Feb). L-A had suggested to her that she use the money we had sent for her new glasses, and this she had done. Now we were sending the money so she could get the new glasses. Her rent is R5500 per month, and if she rented for the rest of the school year, that would amount to $3,696, a hefty sum for us to fund. She will get her name down to get back into residence, and that would significantly reduce this figure. James called, as he does most days, and showed me video from the drone he had bought Sagan for $80. I have been remiss in not mentioning James's faithful calls more often, just because they are such a regular part of my life. He normally (video) calls when driving to work in his self-drive Tesla, and we have amazing conversations about politics, world events, the human condition, music, any number of subjects, and I learn a lot from this wise man. He is currently seeking an ideal job in US for when he retires this year from the RAF, and has now obtained his green card. His experience with drones is pretty rare, and in demand. I love the calls and I love our relationship. Often Kathy and Sagan are also in the car. I called Richard Bendall, and he persuaded me that at the present state of my illness I need to get back on OGF, and also high dose vitamin C Calcium Ascorbate crystals. I had consumed 6 bottles recently, but stopped when our finances were tight and the MoD money hadn't yet arrived. I watched a startling video by Jack Hibbs recommended by Dave Kemp showing how dangerous a state the world is in from China's intentions.

Fri Feb 10    Med

For the first time since chemo 11 days ago (31 Jan) I felt normal when I got up. No nausea, no dizziness, and it was great, though it didn't last. I wanted to get on with the RN Reunion Book, but decided that first I would go through the papers within arm's length to make sure I was aware of things I must do but had put on one side. The first item to come up was my driver's licence application, so that was urgent. I also emailed our lawyer (whom I've never met) to look at our wills and PoAs and replace the names of people there who were no longer appropriate, like John Kebe. The driver's licence required me to take a Group Education Session before my birthday (the renewal date). I phoned the number and was able to join a session on Sunday at 1:30 in North York. I worry now because of my eyes which still seem out of focus and blury, despite the recent eye test. Carlos got back to me with the date - 14 Feb - for a Teams meeting to discuss investment strategy for the MoD money. Late afternoon Laurie-Ann received a message from Cathy that Pat Codner was fading. I decided I would go to the hospital to be with her for a while. We didn't know which hospital, so I called several, but none had her as a patient. I called Cathy to hear that her real name was Patricia Morgan - she had never changed it after her first husband. It was Toronto General ICU on the 10th floor, room 133, and she, Brian and Aunt Nancy were all there. So I went there my regular way via the subway, and had no difficulty in finding them. I seemed to have extra strength. I had to wear protective clothing with a plastic mask in addition to a regular mask. There could only be three visitors, so Brian came out as I went in. Patsy by then was not receiving any undue methods to bring her round because they hadn't worked. She was breathing through her very open mouth (or was it through one of the tubes?) and didn't appear to have difficulty doing so. I took her hand and prayed for her, asking God to numb any pain and take her gently. Then the three of us talked as we watched the numbers on the monitor screen. Cathy went out for a while and I had a really good chat with Nancy, answering some financial questions relating to Fred. Brian returned about 7:15. We all held hands round the bed and I prayed for Pat. Brian offered to drive me to Kipling station, saying it was on their way home, so I got to see where the TGH parking was, and had a much more comfortable ride than the TTC. On my way home from Kipling I bought some pizza, and it turned out to be very delicious. I was still benefitting from the 'extra strength' and didn't go to bed till 11.
Patricia Morgan (Codner) died at 11pm that night, peacefully.

Thu Feb 9    Med

When I went into the living room after getting up, Steve was sitting on the couch, swigging from L-A's oat milk half and half. This won't please her. He had been in the kitchen foraging in the fridge, and eaten bread, but actually put butter on it. I kidded him that he had already had his breakfast. I tested out the headphones paired to my Blackberry, where I have a lot of music, most loaded in South Africa. The sound quality was identical to the original on the red disk when listening to Goodluck, a good test. So this would work for me if I was waiting for L-A at Sunnybrook, for example. But not when actually driving, because the noise cancelling facility would stop me heating external driving sounds, like car horns. I called Carlos (our financial planner at Investors Group) and asked his help in deciding how much of our nest egg go to equity growth, and how much to paying down our debt, which was costing us more with the higher interest rates. He will consult with Tyler, his associate who has helped us before. L-A was better than yesterday, able to spend the morning in the green chair. She had experienced what she thought could be the beginning of a period, but she checked out the huge list of side effects of zoledronic acid on the Mayo Clinic site, and they included blood in the urine, as well as almost all of the recent problems she had been having. She wanted to check her temperature, but couldn't find the thermometer. I had used it recently and was pretty sure it was somewhere on top of the stereo, which proved to be the case. Her temperature was OK, but the process reminded me that I was meant to check mine daily, a fever being serious news, so I checked it and it was 97.5°. Preparing lunch I felt desperately tired, so when it was done I headed to the bedroom for a rest, and L-A joined me. I went shopping in the afternoon, mainly to buy a Swiffer that Allison had requested, but I stopped off at Loblaws and bought some chocolate cake for my night refreshment, some Paczki donuts, and maple syrup. I thought the donuts might assuage Steve's increasing hunger, and also wondered if they would be like the doughnuts I remember from England. They weren't. Around 5 Steve wanted food and I gave him half of one of them (they are large). At about 6 he came looking for the other half, and I gave it to him even though dinner would be an hour later. Dinner was chicken pot pie, and I served large portions, and then he had strawberry and rhubarb pie and ice cream, also a large portion. After both courses he spent some time meticulously scraping the plate almost clean. It was about half an hour after dinner that he came to the kitchen looking desperate, and when I asked him what he wanted, he said in a pathetic voice, "I want my dignity back." I believe he knows his forever hunger is unusual and he should be able to overcome it, but he doesn't know how, and neither do we. By now I had taken his teeth for the night, so I gave him a coffee crisp, and asked if that would restore his dignity, and he said it would, and walked slowly to his room, slowly because he had already started the coffee crisp while walking; couldn't wait till he got to his room. We watched the fourth and final episode of 'Madof,' which made me feel so fortunate to have worked for an honest financial company like Investors Group, whose CEO Murray Taylor for much of my time there was a Christian, married to a missionary.

Wed Feb 8    Med

When I went to Laurie-Ann, after feeding Steve his breakfast, she could hardly move. She had bone/muscle pain in many parts of her body, side effects of yesterday's infusion. She asked me for a Stilpane. I suggested she remain in bed, possibly all day, but at least for the time being. For me it was a day to relax after the last two days. I had plenty of tasks to get on with on the computer, not least dealing with email. Sony reminded me of where the online manual is with full detailed information on the headphones, and I continued learning more about them. To get L-A to the living room before lunch, she used Steve's walker (her's being in the car trunk). She had Knorr chicken noodle soup, while Steve and I shared the rest of the pork roast, which was very delicious still. By the evening L-A was able to get around without the walker after some pretty heavy painkillers during the day. She had the rest of the Knorr chicken noodle, while we had M&M beef stew and veg. After dinner it was time for CTF connect group, but L-A wasn't up to joining in fully. So she watched on her phone. She still got plenty of prayer. Early in the discussion we were looking at praying for financial provision. Near the end of the program, I testified how after much prayer (including from this group) we had received a totally unexpected payout from the British Ministry of Defence which arrived just in tme to allow our current support of a widow and an orphan (M-A and Bella), and pay off our credit cards. God does answer financial prayer, and I wanted one of those in the group particularly to hear this.

Tue Feb 7    Med

We got up even earlier than yesterday (my alarm was set for 6:45) and fitted in breakfast where Steve needed to be done and out of the kitchen before we left. We were off to Sunnybrook by 7:45. The traffic wasn't too bad and we arrived in good time for L-A to report for blood tests, followed by an infusion of zoledronic acid which would would reduce the chance of her cancer (if it resurged) spreading to her bones. Meantime, I returned home so Steve wouldn't be alone too long. I needed gas and I needed a toilet. The gas lasted till our normal Esso station, but we got home just as Allison arrived. No toilet for me for another 25 minutes or so. Eventually the bathroom was clear. I have medium strength diarrhea as a side effect of chemo. L-A called a little later to say all was well at her end. We had expected she wouldn't be ready for pick up till some time later, but her infusion only took 18 minutes and there had been no other delays. So I drove back and picked her up. One of her worries had been that they would find a vein for the needle, as happened in South Africa, resulting in her needing a port implant. But the nurse here had found a vein in her hand easily enough. She was in good spirits as we drove home. After all the driving I was only too glad to get into bed for 90 minutes or so in the afternoon, and L-A joined me. I had looked forward all day to our dinner tonight, pork roast. I served large portions to all, paricularly the always hungry Steve. It was delicious with great roast and steamed vegetables. When he had almost finished, I asked Steve if it had filled him, or was he still hungry. He said he could eat half of another similar dinner. After he had had a large portion of bluebelly pie and ice cream it was time to take his teeth out. There were still some remnants of the pork in his denture. He sought out evey morsel! I worry that he has a medical condition that prevents him knowing he is full, but from the doctor's point of view, a good appetite is good news.

Mon Feb 6    Med

After getting up early, welcoming Allison about 8:30, Steve and I drove to Dr Judah's for 9:30. He wanted to review Steve's status after the fall and bruised face and the accompanying bizarre activities (see 28 January). He said he wanted Steve checked out for possible complications that might have given rise to his behaviour. He suggested I take him to the hospital today. I said "Should I call an anbulance? He said "Yes, but he could also call one from there." I said "No, I must go home to pack a bag for him." Actually my real nead was to have something to eat. So we went home. After some cornflakes and bread I called 911 for the first time in my life. The paramedics arrived in about 20 minutes. When I described Steve's situation, having a TIA and then falling on the floor, one of them challenged me as to how I knew it was a TIA if I wasn't a doctor. The other one said that doctors are far too ready to call ambulances, just to reduce their personal liability. I inferred I should be taking Steve in my car, and if he fell on the way in or out, then I should call an ambulance. I was apologetic because it appeared we were on our way to Etobicoke General. He was put in room 1938, and someone got me a chair. The rest of the day was as expected: a lot of waiting, vitals taken periodically, and feeling hungry. Around 2:30 I asked if I could get him some food, but needed to be sure he was allowed ahead of tests which a Dr Becker had said would be done. The result was they brought him a sandwich and juice. While he was eating I found the cafetaria and had a burgher. When I returned he said he had had the tests, which included a brain scan. I wasn't sure he understood me, but a nurse confirmed it. Eventualy another doctor came by and said that the tests showed his brain was normal, and there were no concerning results from the other tests. This was a relief. We were able to go home. L-A and I had been texting throughout, with her updating Tara, and she had suggested I brought home a chicken pizza. So we returned via Pizza Nova, arriving home at 6 and quite ready to devour it, without having to cook and wash up. During the day, Bella had messaged L-A: 'I'm sitting with a problem right now. The aunty which helped me with accommodation her son is coming back home now. He was living with his wife but they are getting a divorce now because of personal reasons.Now he is coming back tomorrow and I'm staying in his room at the moment. The aunty now suggested that I should rent an student apartment and i have been looking for a cheap one the whole day but I just don't get one for a small amount. The cheapest one is R5,500 . And her son is coming back tomorrow.' Normally we can solve her problems with money, but this time the timeframes were to tight to get it to her.

Sun Feb 5 c

For the first time in three weeks I didn't get up in the night for tea and cake, a combination of the effects of a quieter prostate night and sleeping better under the big duvet. I had given the last piece of chocolate cake to Steve yesterday. I wasn't ready to return to church physically. L-A and I watched / listened to a remarkable service from Catch the Fire church. Different format from usual since this capped off the 6 days of prayer for our city, which we had also watched on line. Murray and Ash introducted us to a whole new level of worship and adoration of our great and powerful God. It cannot be possible for them to do this without a continual downpouring of ideas, inspiration, concepts and words from God himself. And they did it twice in the morning. For the first time I listened to the service, in almost perfect sound on headphones, sitting on the couch, and even when I was getting L-A her breakfast in the kitchen. In the afternoon I went for an eye test at Cloverdale Eyecare. I had felt my eyes weren't focussing as well as they had. It might be possible for chemo to have caused this, or even my trip in Loblaws. But it turned out that my sight was as good as it had been when I bought my glasses nearly 6 months ago, based on reading text with each eye. In fact the optitian was surprised how well I was doing. So I decided not to have a full eye exam, which wouldn't have been covered by OHIP, and went on my way rejoicing. I had another helpful session with Sony customer service. Christopher explained how the system decides whether to turn on DSEE, based on the quality of sound coming through, and activates DSEE if necessary. He also told be how to keep the headphones playing if I take them off my head. The default is that they stop, but I prefer them to continue because I will normally be back soon.

Sat Feb 4    Med

I was feeling a little better than yesterday, but that doesn't mean I was good. At breakfast, Steve said he had found one of his pills on the table, and had taken it. He then wouldn't take the regular four in case he overdosed. I judged the worry of overdose to him was more serious than insisting on the pills. After breakfast was done I continued with the headphones setup. First I paired the headphones with the iPhone. Soon I was downloading the latest software to the Sony Headphones Connect app, which took a while. But once the app was running, I couldn't find the DSEE or noise cancellation software on the app. Had I searched harder I would have found it, but having had good support on the customer service chat line, I clicked on that, reaching Alexander, who rapidly told me where to find them. It was all quite logical. Soon I had turned on both of them. At that point I just wanted to hear some of my music through the headphones. So I paired the headphones with the computer. It would have remembered the new settings. The music sounded very good, as I sampled some of my favourites. I was happy! There are a few more options to explore on the app. But the phones are working, and that's what I needed to know today. I felt pretty dizzy as I prepared supper, so was extra careful not to fall, which could have been a disaster. After dinner we had planned to watch CTF on the final, and pre-recorded session on praying for our city, but it didn't come on, at least not at the advertized time. I fully charged the headphones overnight using a Blackberry charger, rather than just pluggin into a computer USB port.

Fri Feb 3    Med

This was the first day I really felt the effect of the chemo. As I made breakfast I was intensely tired. Although I could do things with extra determination, I just wanted to lie down. I had to plan the time of the call to the CAA. What I actually did after serving breakfast was to go back to bed for 90 minutes, and it helped. After coffee and a tartlet, I called the CAA, to hear they would be here in 23 minutes. In fact it was sooner. The serviceman came into the garage with his booster/battery checker. The battery checked out, and then when he asked me to start the car, it started on the first twist of the key. It appeared that I had left an indicator light on (or some other lights). So that was a relief, and I thanked him for his (free) service. There was half an hour before our regular lunch time. The first 5 minutes were spent pairing the headphones to my computer, something I had worried about, but everything worked instantly. I listened to some music (actually The Passion of the Christ from the Classical Gonk archive), and it sounded good. I walked across the room and sat on the couch and it still sounded good. At this point I haven't checked out the DSEE Extractive Audio Upscaling system, and don't know if it is always 'on,' or maybe it hasn't been on at all. Ditto the noise cancelling system. Time for lunch. After lunch I was feeling better than after breakfast so I continued studying the on line manual. Soon it became apparent that there was a lot more potential with the headphones than had so far been revealed. One interesting thing was that the outside of the right headphone was actually a touch-sensitive area where I could raise or lower the volume with my finger, and other other things I could do on the touch area once I had enabled them on the app. We had the app on L-A's iPhone and lots of instructions about what I could do with it, but I had two questions that weren't answered in the manual. Firstly, did I need to pair the headphones with the iPhone as I made the settings on the app. Secondly, would the headphones remember the settings? The most important settings were activating the noise cancelling system, and activating the DSEE Extractive Audio Upscaling system, the reason I had chosen these paricular headphones. I needed to speak to someone at Sony. The young man in Best Buy had given me wrong information, saying that the headphones were fully useable without the app. Well I guess it is partly useable, but someone might own the headphones for years, and miss many of the key capabilities. So I Googled 'Sony Headphones customer service,' and soon found a chat line, where I was first in line to speak to Gilberto. He immediately answered both my questions in the affirmative. It looked like I would have fun tomorrow continuing the process. I was pretty happy with Sony at this stage. Before dinner we three sat on the two couches and just relaxed and chatted. Not something I have done enough of, and very good for me.

Thu Feb 2

In the night when I happened to get up, I found Steve in front of the microwave, trying to remember how to operate it, with an egg in his hand. He dropped the egg and albumen came out. He talked about coffee, so i made him some (decaf). He walked the egg back to his bedroom, and then back to the kitchen. After breakfast I checked that paying off my Mastercard in full had gone through, because Paypal was going to collect the money from it for the first transfer to M-A. It had gone through, and yesterday they had collected the money, so she could now use it with no worries. They'd cancelled the second transfer so I was working on replacing the transfer with another. Also this morning Sikhona had released R5,000 into my FNB account. Bella had told us she needs new glasses to replace those which we bought her about 2 years ago, for which the prescription was now inadequate so when she gets a quote we will send the money. This time they will need to be progressive, a lot more expensive. I updated the spreadsheet which is tracking all expenses we feel should come from the MoD compensation for Mesothelioma, which now included my new Sony headphones. I was feeling extra tired, unusual for the morning, so after feeding L-A I went to bed and slept soundly. At about 1:15 I had a call, which woke me, from Shane at SCM Insurance, 905-554-6127, on behalf of Loblaws. He asked me questions about the fall, 2 days ago. He wasn't aware that there might be CCTV coverage. At the end of the chat, to my great surprise, he offered me a $300 store voucher, and $200 in cash for my inconvenience! TKoG. He insisted there were no conditions, like promising not to take my claim further should my tooth loosen. I accepted the very kind offer. An hour later he called back, ostensibly to double check our post code. Then he said he would be sending a form to be signed by me. Again I asked would this form nullify any further financial liability by Loblaws, and he admitted it would. I said he sould send it, and I would consider whether to sign. I will at least wait a reasonable time to see if any medical complications seem to arise. At 5, the car wouldn't start when I was hoping to go on a small errand. It seemed like a flat battery, though not completely dead. Tomorrow I will call the CAA unless the battery somehow recovers. We finished watching 'Slow Horses' on Netflix.

Wed Feb 1

In the night Steve again moved his TV onto its back. I asked him who he thouht would fix it this time and he said "Tony." I told him I wouldn't, but later relented. I have gained a little weight. After being about 123 Lb for sometime I was at 127 Lb. Is this a trend? Probably a blip. He was civilised at breakfast. I was feeling no effects yet of the Chemo, but as I ate my cereal and read the instructions for which pre and post chemo meds I should take, noticed I had failed to take Aprepitant an hour before treatment. And that was the higher dose - 125 Mg. I decided to take it with lunch today. So far I have seen no ill-effests. Amanda called and we had a very pleasant chat. She sounded very well. After lunch I drove to Shoppers to order Steve more Tamsulosin, and check out Garmin on a short run. Garmin worked well, and any more changes to additional settings I'll get from the software now on my computer. James and I had a great call and he made a good suggestion regarding my fall yesterday - that I or one of the Loblaws medically trained staff shuld obtain/view any CCTV coverage. I called and got Matt, one of Carly's colleagues, who was helpful, took the details, and said he would see if he could find any relevant footage, and call me back.

Tues Jan 31    Med

I left home by 7:45 for my first Chemo. L-A also got up to support me but I was feeling good. I was in on time, and amazingly only waited 10 minutes before being called into the chemo room. It was less than an hour so I was ready to go home by 11. No side effects yet! I drove from Kipling to Loblaws to buy cake. As I entered the store a man tossed his used cart into the middle of the lobby and I turned to say something to him although I was in no danger. However it did distract me and I didn't notice one of their large carpets was not flat on the floor. My right foot caught on it and I fell prostrate on my face. I have no memory of actually falling, which would have been normal. I remember feeling my front tooth hit the tiled floor, and my nose must have done the same because members of small crowd that saw the incident said I had a cut there. It was certainly bleeding. One of them kindly called the staff medical people, who came with ice and gauze, which was soothing. I could feel that my lip had been damaged, possibly pierced, by my remaining and important front tooth. Another member of the crowd said he had seen the whole incident and the edge of the carpet had definitely been raised off the floor before I fell. The incident happened about 12:45. One of the medics suggested calling an ambulance, but I was pretty certain I didn't need that, and didn't want another day in Etobicoke General. I would see Dr Makar this afternoon with L-A, and she would advise me. At this stage my cut lip wasn't sore. Soon I was well enough to get up off the floor (with the help of L-A's cane) and go shopping. I bought tartlets and a slice each of chocolate cake and carrot cake for my midnight snacks. I walked to the car feeling fine and drove home. At home I thought my eye was focussing a little less well than normal, and my lip didn't look too good and was getting sorer, so I called Loblaws and spoke to the medic who had attended me (who turned out to be the store manager Carly), 416-695-8990. She had aready started an incident report and had my name. She said I should get myself checked out and then get back to her. either way. Now lets look more deeply at this incident. I fell from standing and landed on my nose and mouth and forehead. Bone should have cracked; teeth should have been knocked out. Concussion? My hip or other lower part of my body should have been bruised. Bruises could have come up on my face the next day; there was no sign of them. With the blood I might have been carried off unconscious to the hospital. In fact I didn't lose consciousness for a second after falling. It was as if I was lowered to the hard floor gently by forces unknown. Only one explanation comes to my mind of what those forces were: angels, watching me from before I tripped and taking instant action. TKOG. I drove home without a problem. I opened the box with the Garmin that had arrived several days ago. At last I had some time to familiarise myself with it. It was somwhat different from the one that was stolen 2 years ago in a Worcester parking lot. I left it uploading maps and things while we went to see Dr. Makar, who wanted to see L-A after her recent fatty liver blood test. She is sending her to a specialist. L-A has lost 8 lbs since starting on her now diet just a week or so ago, and losing weight and drinking more water are the best things she can do for her liver. I told Dr Maker about my fall, and amazigly she said I didn't need to alert the hospital, because it really was not a fall but a trip. A fall is when there is no apparent reason other than a symptom of the cancer. She looked at my lip, warned that it would be sore and swell up for a day or so, but needed no treatment. We both left feeling relieved. We had the third part of the Thai curry for dinner, and lots of it. Garmin had finished uploading, and seemed good, though I couldn't get it to display a map of a new journey to destination. Maybe I would have to be on my way for that to happen. I was able that the map that was on the device already at least covered Toronto and Ottawa. Quite a day.

Mon Jan 30

Early on we heard a bang and a curse and found Steve had fallen backwards into the bath. Initially I never thought he would get out of there without the fire brigade, but with a combination of my encouragement and his residual strength he managed to move himself to a standing position. A little later I saw him through the bathroom open door having a pee. He had no trousers on; just his diapers. The diapers were still fully on as he peed. He had just made room for his penis under the side of the diaper. No wonder he would likely pee on the floor, which indeed he had done. He watched as I mopped it up with kitchen roll. I had woken up with the idea that fried egs and fried bread and prosciutto would be nice for Steve and me and help him not be so hungry for the rest of the day. It was tight, since L-A had an appointment with Dr Silver at 11. Before he had even finished the breakfast we saw a TIA was coming on, and persuaded him to use the walker, and get safely to bed before we left. With snow on the pathways at the foot clinic, and no parking spaces left, L-A went in alone with the walker. She was less happy when she re-appeared having not been able to raise me on the phone (it apprears likely I fell asleep), but she found the car. I phoned Dr Judah's office and his assistant said he would call me back after 6. Then I called the Source to hear that the Sony WH_1000XM4 had been replaced by a newer model, the WH_1000XM5, and they would have no stock for at least two weeks. Laurie-Ann had listened to the call and established that Best Buy had units available. I called the Best Buy call centre which confirmed they had at least 5 of the new XM5s at our local store. So after lunch I drove there and there they were in all their glory. A young Indian man from Mumbai assisted me. His previous job had been a year with the Arsenal Football Club and he loved Arsenal. After I had made the purchase, discovering there was no customer service help available from Best Buy unless one bought a 2 or 3 year total replacement warranty. I decided that since I wanted no future hassles I would pay ~$145 for the 3-year package. I was quite pleased with the basic price, $500, so this seemed reasonable. I drove home with the precious goods, not knowing when I would have the spare time actually to try out the phones, but they were already giving me pleasure as I set the package next to the Garmin. For the rest of the day Steve gave us none of the hassles that he had yesterday. We listened on line to the first of a 6-day series of special prayer events.

Sun Jan 29    Med

The news from Paypal was not so good this morning: 'Tony, please be informed that you have made the payment using your bank ending with 00 not **48. On the second transaction I see that you have made the payment as eCheck. In this case you can contact your bank and get the eCheck cancelled and initate a new transaction using the correct funding source. For the first transaction please make sure you have sufficient funds on the account ending with **00 so that you won't face an NSF fee charged from your bank. ' As soon as we had watched CTF, I got on the phone to Simplii and asked them to transfer sufficient cash to the savings account, which they did immediately. As far as e-Check is concerned they hadn't heard of it. I then replied to Paypal accordingly asking what can be done about the second purchase. Some time before we lunched, Steve found and ate raw a bagel. He then asked if he could have an apple, but instead started on a second bagel. At lunch time I served him soup and half a toasted bagel with roast beef. Has his stomach no limits?! We are two invalids looking after someone who is rapidly losing his mind and hearing, while becoming more cantankerous. In the afternoon while L-A prepared a Thai chicken curry for dinner, I responded to the Vacant Unit Tax Property Occupancy Declaration. Failure to show that a domestic residence has been lying unoccupied can now incur severe financial penalties, and the VTUP declaration is the way owners of properties avoid those penalties. Once I had the roll number and access code for Poulin it was all fairly plain sailing. Once that task was completed I got down to a more pleasant one. I am going to buy a very high quality pair of headphones to really enjoy my music into the distant future. This is my one fun purchase following the award of the MoD compensation. I had decided on the Sony WH_1000XM4, with its unique (?) DSEE Extractive Audio Upscaling system. The reason I had delayed the purchase thus far was I couldn't demonstrate that the Blue Tooth system on my main computer was working, though we had used it extensively through the August (MR230) unit in Poulin. But since then I had even forgotten how to set it up, or there was a fault either on the computer Blue Tooth or the August. In recent weeks I had attempted to get it working into the Leak Mini-Sandwich speaker. If I couldn't fix it, I planned to take my computer into The Source and have them test out the Blue Tooth facility with any pair of headphones. Today was my final attempt to prove all was well with my computer (and the August). I fiddled and fiddled, and suddenly the sound of the source music went off, as it would if the destination device was properly paired. I switched my attention to the Pyle amplifier, and held down the mode button set to Blue Tooth for several seconds. Suddenly music was coming through! I would no longer have to take my computer into The Source to check its Blue Tooth was working. Steve's condition was going from bad to worse, fast. He didn't want to sleep, day or night. He was talking continually in loud gibberish, with occasional animal noises. He was belligerent when challenged. Overnight he ate 8 of my Folic Acid pills. He has never taken our medications before. He left taps running several times. He moved a box of my financial records from the dining room to his room, though he hadn't tamper with them. He moved a carton of Vegan yoghurt from the 'fridge to the oven, though did not turn on the oven. I resolved to call Dr Judah tomorrow.

Sat Jan 28    Med

I was not attentive to Steve as he finished his breakfast. I went to give L-A her MLD, and heard a bang. Steve had had TIA24 and fallen off his chair. It was with some difficulty that I got him sitting on his walker, but when I pulled it backwards out of the kitchen, the chair slipped forward and I was unable to hold the weight and felt the ligaments in my leg and back stretch - the same ones as caused all the trouble back in 2018. Suddenly I was a worse case than he. I managed to pull the walker from under him, and then he was able to crawl to the couch. I was only able to move without severe pain with the help of a stick or his walker. By now L-A had arrived, and gave me some Stilpane, and Voltaren for my leg and back. I managed to serve L-A our breakfasts. The 4th R5000 had still not reached FNB, so I sent Bella R14,010 and transfered another R5000 from Simplii. Hopefully the R14,010 will give her some credibility with the school authorities. Paypal had mysteriously set my preferred linked bank account to my Simplii savings account, which had no cash in it. I communicated with Paypal by text, and they actually replied quite soon: 'I have reviewed your PayPal account. I see that you have made payment of $5000 USD to “Mirjana Meeks” where PayPal has upfronted the funds to the merchant and we have attempted to take the funds from your bank ending with **00 which is under processing. Need not worry, our system will automatically deduct the funds from your bank at the earliest.' I called Simplii and they confirmed no money had been taken from my accounts. L-A was in conversation with M-A so I broke in and recommended M-A not withdraw any more of the $US 5,000 she had received until the problem was sorted out; she had already paid her Mastercard. XE Transfers forwarded a message from Sikhona, the South African watchdog that ensures limits on money transfers into the country, saying that I had exceeded my monthy limit, but not to worry, they would forward the overpayments on 1 February. So I stopped worrying; the problems had been partly beyond my control. Hobbling around making lunch was a nuisance but not painful, using L-A's walking stick. I managed to get downstairs and back up with the soup. I made a chart of which of my new medications needed to be taken when. In the process I found they had forgotten to put in the folic acid, which I should have started on yesterday. As L-A had a long nap in the green chair, I decided to ensure I could still drive, by going to get the folic acid and some spring onions. It wasn't hard, though I parked illegally for both.

Fri Jan 27    Med

I collected my 7 prescriptions of anti-chemo drugs from Renforth IDA. They are: folic acid 1 mg, ondansetron 8mg, aprepitant 125 mg, aprepitant 80 mg, dexamethasone 4mg, prochlorperazine 5mg (which I have taken for nausea for months). I phoned V at Eringate Pharmacy and asked her the dosage of my B12 shots. It is 1ML. This data I passed to Dr Bradbuty using

Thu Jan 26    Med

I was a little apprehensive as I tried again to send the money to M-A. Paypal behaved as it did yesterday, ending with the same error message to the effect that the transaction could not be made at this time. No explanation as to why, or error code. At this point, L-A made a suggestion she had made yesterday but I had ignored: to switch from one transaction to two transactions of $US 5,000. She has never been a financial planner and is not a Paypal expert, but I decided to humour her. It worked! I have since done some checking any not found any restrictions on the transfer amount till $US 60,000. Yet both transfers indicated success. This feels awfully like TKOG. A couple of hours later M-A had received notifications of the transfers, though not the money itself, which remained in our bank account. I began to feel a warm glow, even joy, from being able to help our friend. I checked the UHN Portal and found I have a chemo session next Tuesday at 8:45 am. I copied the 7 prescriptions and took them to Renforth IDA. They will be ready tomorrow afternoon. Among Steve's clothes I found a brand new pair of sweat pants and they fitted him, and even looked good.

Wed Jan 25    Med

I was ready for my X-Ray at PMH by 10:15. With the benedit of hindsight I am glad not to have been shown the result by the technician, but you can see it now. The left lung is almost completely obscured by pleural fluid that can't be drained. When the time came to see Penny Bradbury she didn't keep me waiting, and soon had the X-Ray image from this morning up on the screen. It was worse than I have ever seen it. She was surprized I wasn't having even more problems breathing. She said the time had come to switch from immunotherapy to chemotherapy, the only questions were whether it should be immediate, or after the next CT Scan on 24 February - or sooner if she could organize it. I was all for making the switch as soon as possible. Here's a segment from the Health Update that L-A would send out tomorrow: 'Tony's mesothelioma cancer situation has been monitored by Dr. Penny Bradbury and team. Tony is not a surgical candidate at this time. The tumour seemed to be shrinking a little in some spots, although this did not continue. His latest chest X-Ray shows very little of his left lung visible, unobscured by pleural fluid. His most recent CT scan shows a continuing increase in the size of the tumour, as it presses against the lung. Tony will start chemotherapy this coming Tues 31 January. Tony is hopeful with a good attitude. The need to switch to chemo is disappointing, but it really can shrink tumours. Otherwise, Tony has been managing, but he experiences breathlessness while doing anything involving moving his body. Driving does not cause breathlessness. He takes regular rests to accomplish needed tasks. He has a palliative team that advises on his painkillers, and currently have kept him on Tylenol # 2s, and our new GP Dr. Amany Makar has continued Tony’s B12 injections. Tony continues to have taste issues with all kinds of foods, which spoil his enjoyment in some meals, but not most dinners. However, he has not lost any more weight.' Dr Bradbury gave me 7 prescriptions for drugs to counter the side effects of chemo, with detailed instructions. When I left the hospital armed with sesame snaps and Skor the snow was falling as forecast for a big storm. I had left the car in a disabled spot right in front of the station entrance at Kipling, so I only had to deal with clearing the snow off the car. For dinner we enjoyed a pork tenderloin stew with peppers. I wrote a list of the many additional things that must be done over the next few days. We had a connect group meeting at 7:30. At one stage we were asked had we experienced the joy of the Lord recently. I told how the process of being able to halp M-A, allowing her to get to the next phase of her life, had given me joy. It is the same when one is being used by the Lord to fulfill someone's prayers. I tried to send the loan money to M-A by Paypal but ran into problems. It was late and I was probably not very efficient.

Tue Jan 24    Med

I went back again to Eringate Clinic and Pharmacy. V knew what I was there for and she went and spoke to the pharmacy. Soon I was talking to them and they gave me the B12 prescription, only charging the $4:11 that Renforth would have charged. So now I know you aren't linked just to one Pharmacy to get the senior's discount. I took the B12 across to V and she gave me the injection. I dropped into Shoppers on the way home but they didn't have Steve's Trazodone yet. I queried it and discovered they had been assuming he was only having half a pill a day, whereas Dr Judah had authorized a full pill a month or so ago. We sorted it out by getting his receptionist and finally Dr Judah himself on the phone. Judah sent in a new prescription immediately, but it wouldn't be ready for an hour. I drove on to Loblaws to try and find cake or similar for snacking, ending up with 6 cranberry lemon muffins and 4 large slices of chocolate fudge cake, great for my after-midnight snacks. After lunch I solved the html problem of linking to a word doc on Sunday's journal by doing the key work on the Black Vista computer. The problem is that I am using Libre Office on my main computer, and it isn't perfect, particularly in incorporating non-HTML words or phrases in an HTML document. but saved me the major expense of MS Word when I upgraded to Windows 10. I had received a letter from UK Pensions saying that they were aware I had moved from South Africa to Canada, and was this permanent? I mailed the reply form.
We had known Mirjana (M-A) Meeks for well over a decade, enjoying her on-line courtship by Will Meeks from Tennessee, and attending their wedding in Ottawa in August 2012, I as Will's best man, and both of us as official witnesses. She had been a prayer partner for L-A throughout our mission to South Africa. Then in 2022 trajedy struck, as Will died from cancer on 17 January, the day we flew back from SA, just 9 1/2 years married, leaving M-A high and dry in Tennessee. Because of associations with Will's family, she needed to sell their house by April/May 2023. But her cash was close to exhausted and she was living hand to mouth in early 2023, with just a part-time job at Cracker Barrel. We had sent her $100 US around Christmas, but the bigger problem remained. Then our nest egg finally arrived in January from the MoD. From listening to one half of her regular video/prayer chats with L-A I realised we might be able to help her. It seemed she needed about $US 10,000 to be able to complete the sale of her house, and living expenses while this was done. Over the past few days I had found out more about her situation, and realized that what she needed was an interest-free loan, not a gift, and furthermore that was something we could supply without financial pain for us. This afternoon the three of us had a video chat and I proposed an interest free loan of $US 10,000 to be repaid from the proceeds of her house sale within 6 months. I said we would send the money quickly via Paypal.

Mon Jan 23    Med

I went to Eringate hopefully to collect my prescription for B12 shots, which Renforth IDA had sent over, but V was unsure of my wishes for it. I confirmed she should pass it to the Eringate pharmacy and I'll buy the drugs from them, thinking that this would not get me the ~free drugs benefit since it was a different pharmacy. But I had no choice with Lindholm being very rarely in his surgery. She said I should come back tomorrow. I helped L-A cook chicken thighs for dinner which were excellent. Dealing with Steve took extra patience, and at one point a raised voice on my part as he refused to leave the kitchen when L-A wanted to go to bed. His mental state is worsening.

Sun Jan 22 Family Conference 2023

Busy breakfast. I seemed to be rushing to clear the washing up, feed Steve and L-A and myself, vacuum, and be ready to leave for church by 10:45. As we entered the church I was pleasantly surprized when Murray called me Tony. He is now the head of a large network of churches world-wide in adition to this one, yet he knows the names of two of his least active members who have minimal roles. Ash brought the message: how big is your ask? In the gospels Jesus repeatedly encourages us to ask for anything we can imagine, and he will give it to us. At the end of her talk, anyone with a big ask in regard to their health and medical matters was invited to the front to pray for matters we had perhaps not thoughts ourselves worthy of in the past. So of course I went up, the realization coming to me that I am the perfect candidate, who hasn't believed in a complete cure for the cancer, even though many others have prayed for it. My ask has been far too small, but this is going to chnage. In my prayers for myself, and in my acceptance of prayers for me by friends I will expand my horizon to to a complete cure, allowing me to live out my natural life with Laurie-Ann. I will also pray for the cessation of the continual breathlessness and fatigue, symptoms of the cancer. Catherine, Bob and Paula joined us for a while, and L-A told them of her recent evangelistic chat with Steve, to which he still said "No." We came home via Renforth IDA where I belatedly submitted my dental prescriptions, but was pleased they were ready in 10 minutes. I was relieved Tara hadn't beaten us home for the family conference; I still had a lunch to prepare and other household things. She came earlier than I had expected, and John arrived in his car with Kennedy shortly after. I was really happy John was joining us, though he could only be with us an hour before he would be returning to Ottawa, where he volunteered that as (one of) Pierre Poilievre's senior staffers he had 800 people reporting to him. I had put out the agenda and the one pager on 'What to do when Steve dies in the first 7 days.' When we 4 were seated I suggested Tara lead the meeting and I would take minutes. As these things were agreed I became less stressed over the dynamics of the meeting. Everyone was co-operating. Tara started on the ajenda. Here are a few of the decisions that were made. We should investigate air tags for Steve's jackets; a few pairs of elastic topped trousers will be bought; We may need to engage professional sitters if we are out of the house more than 3 hours, but first we should see if Ted would consider providing the service to his old friend; Tara will cover for us when we go to Collingwood so we both gat a much needed holiday; Tara will get a date for a pre-planning meeting with Glendale; Steve's tax return will be done by John's mother's accountatnt in Pickering, which will lead neatly to the year-of-death paperwork; John will look into second hand hospital beds; To offset Steve's TV being knocked over we need a wall mount, and it is possible John has one; We can expect Warren Kinsella to let Tara have an immediate week off following Steve's death.
Before he left for Ottawa, we watched a touching father daughter chat as John and Kennedy relaxed together. Then John was gone, and Tara soon after. Around 5:30 L-A said she needed to go to bed, but hoped to get up and would eat her dinner then. The dinner was meatloaf leftovers to which I would add steamed potatoes, cauliflower and peas. I had sliced the cold meatloaf onto three plates. In the previous 2 hours Steve had asked me for food, and I given him strudel. Steve wandered into the kitchen and saw the meatloaf on the plates. He made to take the small slice on my plate. I offered him the larger slice on his own plate, and said he could eat it cold now, or wait 10 minutes to have his complete hot meal. He opted for the former and took the plate back to his room! I continued the final stage of cooking the vegetables in the steamer. After 5 minutes I went to his room and found him lying on the bed having eaten two thirds of his meatloaf with his fingers. I looked him in the eyes and asked if he would like to have the rest of his meal hot. He smiled at me and said yes. 5 minutes after that I called him into the kitchen and he ate up. When I asked him if he was still hungry he said "No." However, as he passed the counter, where L-A's meat loaf still lay, cold, he made to grab it, but stopped when I remonstrated with him.

Sat Jan 21    Med

I checked the times of my 3 medical meetings - two pharmacies and an off-OHIP dental surgeon. It turned out I should have had Renforth Pharmacy fax Eringate Pharmacy the original prescription for B12 shots. So they have now done that and I should get my shot on Monday. I turned up at 1pm at the surgery of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, Dr Santino Bambara, within the Cloverdale Dental Group. I mentioned that he had been brought in by Dr Ryan for the extraction because of the immunotherapy drugs I am on. He asked me what drugs they were, and I was surprised he didn't know, but suggested he ask Dr Ryan. He went out for a while, returning with the information and a warning that there were risks associated with the surgery. I said I had been told this and was prepared to accept the risks. Soon he was giving me local anaesthetics. He went out for 15 minutes for them to work, and then got to work. He brandished a handful of extraction pliers, but as he did the job I felt no pain. There were some strange sounds as parts of the tooth broke off. He was joking with his assistant most of the time which I felt comforting; it suggested things were going according to plan. Afer a while he announced it was all done, though I could feel there was something large still stuck in my mouth. He said it was a roll of gauze and should stay there half an hour. He gave me a prescription for Tylenol No 3 for pain, and Amoxicillin 500 MG for infection. I asked if I could eat when I took it out and he said yes. So I returned to the waiting room for the duration. I attempted to pay the bill, $566, but for some reason the credit card machine didn't like my PIN, but the receptionist asked me for the card and keyed in a bunch of numbers from it, and managed to make it work without the PIN! Half an hour later I was munching carefully on sweet sour pork and noodles from the takeaway. It was around then that the jaw started hurting. though nothing I couldn't handle. I should have taken the prescriptions to Renforth IDA on my way home, but I didn't. When I got home I should have read the other info he gave me for immediate wound care, but I didn't. I just wasn't feeling very efficient, and instead suggested to L-A that I didn't feel up to doing anything useful but could handle the next episode of 'Slow Horses.' on Apple TV.

Fri Jan 20

As on every day in the last week or so, my first action after dressing was to check the bank account. Even when the MoD finally sent the money, there was still a potentail problem with the National Bank network interpreting the bank codes I had provided, and sending to the right bank account. These had always been where I thought any difficulties would lie. So when I checked the bank account I really wasn't expecting anything different. Imagine my happiness therefore when I saw the full payout from my claim just sitting in the account, like it was the most normal thing in the world! I didn't rush into our bedroom to tell my sleeping wife. I thought I would let her know in a way she wouldn't be expecting. I copied her on thank-you emails to Kate Leach and Alan Pearson, and Ian McCallum, and waited till she would tell me the news. Which happened an hour or so later, and she whispered it since Steve was sleeping on the couch. In the morning I made a spreadsheet to track the progress of the fund, and ensure its use for legitimate purposes. The one who needs this money is L-A when I'm gone, and I will make every effort to ensure that happens. We had our regular lunch and Steve had a large plate of hearty soup and half a bagel with beef, which is normally quite sufficient for him. I was surprised to see him munching into an untoasted English muffin, which he finished. It was in a packet on the counter and he couldn't resist it! His previous meal, breakfast, had been baked beans on fried bread with a poached egg on top. Not much more than an hour later he was again foraging, so I offered him some very dry poppyseed loaf with a cup of tea. He ate all the poppyseed before taking some tea. In the evening we both paid off our credit cards completely - the balances that had acrued since we had paid them off with the non-registered funds from the AiO. My next step is to replace most of that same fund with the money from the MoD.

Thu Jan 19

Bath morning, followed by toenail cutting morning, using for the first time James' magnifying light. The magnifying capability was not a major bonus because I couldn't achieve a perfect focus with any of the 5 lenses, but the light was extremely helpful and I successfully cut all the toes. I was able to find the waste collection schedule for 2023 online and printed it. Unlikely as this sounds, it doesn't accurately follow 2022, calling for the recycling bin yesterday, which I'd what I put out. Although I took an anti-nausea pill at breakfast, by mid-day I had fairly severe stomach pains, reminiscent of indigestion. There were some old Rolaids in the bathroom cabinet, so I took one. Had to chew it and some of it ended up in the big hole in the tooth that will be extracted tomorrow. Nevertheless the pain had largely subsided by mid afternoon. Dr Silver's office called to say that my new orthotic was in. This was left foot only, where I had pain from the arch, and had taken it in on 3 January. I made a special trip to collect it. I called the contact number at Sony, leaving a message to say that I was very interested in the WH_1000XM4 headphones, but was concerned because the associated infomation on their site suggested that the DSEE extractive audio upscaling facility replaces Bluetooth, and I wondered how the headphones would receive a signal from the laptop.

Wed Jan 18

In the early hours, after getting up for a pee, I tried to sleep on my back, which a few months ago was most comfortable for me, but more recently I've been sleeping on my side. It was an effort to breathe while on my back. In my dozy state I felt that if I fell asleep, I might stop breathing. So I turned over onto my right side, and soon must have gone to sleep. I had forgotten about putting the garbage bins on the side of the road yesterday, so as soon as I was dressed this morning I put the compost bin by the road. The truck arrived at exactly the time I got it there, earning me a big grin from the driver. I then managed to put out the recycling bin instead of the garbage bin. We don't have this year's chart yet. So we are now out of sync. Not sure what I'll do about this. I asked ChatGPT about headphones with dynamic decompression, and the technology is available. They recommended a couple of models that use it: Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II, and Sony WH_1000XM4. I investigated both. The Bose seems to depend on additional external apps that run on an associated Apple device. Their manual and associated literature do not mention the process. Sony calls it DSEE extractive audio upscaling, and it replaces (?) the Bluetooth link with the source. It is available around half price from Amazon's refurbished catalogue. I need to have a chat with a tech specialist at Sony. My dizziness and breathlessness seem to be getting worse and I worry about getting to PMH next week. Tara acknowledged to L-A my message about the family conference. We had Ratatouille for dinner. James called while I was helping to make it and recommended the movie of the same name, so we enjoyed it after dinner.

Tue Jan 17

This from Veterans UK: 'Good morning Mr Copple I have been in touch with our finance dept. this morning and hopefully the payment will be with you very shortly. I do not work every day so last week a colleague had to validate your home address for banking purposes, so this having been done, finance confirmed the payment will be on its way to you in the next few days. If there are any issues we shall certainly be in touch immediately. Thank you for your patience - Kate Leach'
So that sounded like good news. Bella's money reached FNB so we sent her a stack of medical and school payments. Then I sent another R5,000 to FNB to be able to keep up the weekly allowance. Bella is going to need a R17,000 payment for school fees, but for this she may have to wait for our nest egg. I took L-A to a dental cleaning at Cloverdale in the afternoon. She was very tired when she got back. We had a simple dinner that didn't require her involvement. M-A called her after dinner. This was the first anniversary of Will's death. They talked for several hours, probably the longest call they had ever had. I updated my message to Tara with an agenda for our family conference on Sunday plus a 'Waht to do when Steve Dies' article.

Mon Jan 16

At breakfast I aked Steve if he would like some of his ashes scattered anywhere, and he was non-commital. They will probably go beside Carol's in the grave. L-A had two dental appointments with Dr Ryan to fit her third and fourth crown. I came home after dropping her for the first appointment, but in the afternoon I stayed out visiting the European bakery. I bought way too much and even ate some in the car while waiting for her. They had poppyseed roll but it was inferior to what we have bought in the past. Steve was very reserved all day, sleeping most of the time. I worked on 'What to do when somebody dies,' finding some useful material by, a Canadian cremation company. She was very tired by early evening and went to bed. I wrote an email to Kate Leach at Veterans UK:
'On 3 January you wrote: It does however take a little time to set up overseas payments since they go via our overseas service provider. As soon as we have confirmation that the account has been setup, we will let you know Really sorry to pester you, but has the account with your overseas service provider been set up yet? If not, are we talking weeks, or months?'

Sun Jan 15

Quite early I went into the garage with Steve's car keys (which he cannot use since he has no valid driver's licence). The car started instantly. The keys must have been designed to be resistant to water damage. I was impressed. At breakfast I asked Steve if he would prefer to be cremated of buried, and he opted for cremation. I didn't feel well enough to go to church this morning but I went anyway on the grounds that I would feel just the same at home. Murray preached on the Lord's Prayer, and I spoke to him afterwards, with wonder that he is able to handle preaching twice on a Sunday. When I got home, L-A told me Steve had been hallucinating about getting a job that paid time and a half, he had dressed himself in outside clothes, put on shoes, and now he just had to wait outside to be picked up. Had she not been there, that's what would have happened. At one time in the afternoon he found L-A's towel, drying after she washed her hair. He tried to spread it on the floor, but I took it from him and back to the bedroom. A few miutes later her referred to me as 'old sourpus.' I sent Lynn and birthday letter (tomorrow she would reply in very friendly fashion). I thanked Neesa for her card card for Christmas.

Sat Jan 14

I got my B12 shot from V in the Eringate Clinic. James and I had an excellent video conversation on world events as I watched him eat his breakfast, 2 fried eggs on toast and ham, getting amost as much pleasure as he did, but I can't any more. L-A had made an excellent carrot and parsnip soup for lunch. Late afternoon I was in the basement doing Steve's washing. As I removed the last few garments from the washer and put them in the drier, I heard a chinking sound. I looked down and had a real shock; my car keys were in the machine! Before even considering how they could have got there, I had visions of how we could survive the next few weeks without the car, as I obtained a new set of keys. It was a nightmare. Yet all my worst fears turned out groundless. I couldn't imagine how the keys got in there. None of my pants were in the wash, and I never keep the keys in pants pockets. I went upstairs to the bedroom to the place I always keep the keys - and they were there! The keys in the washer were a second set I dodn't know existed. Steve must have found them and put them in one of his pockets. I always go through his pockets before washing clothes but I must have missed them this time. I couldn't imagine the keys would have survived the wash. I went into the living room and pressed the 'where is the car?' key, and faintly from the basement I heard the three beeps on the horn! Tomorrw I would see if they would start the car.

Fri Jan 13

Snowfall overnight brought our contractors out this morning, and I managed to ask one of them please not to scatter salt over our porch steps, which then gets walked into the house. I called Cloverdale Eyecare, and asked about eyetests. It turned out my next free test would be in August, but cost $98 if I paid to have it now. Then the receptionist came up with a better plan, where I come in on Sunday and see the same optometrist who did the work on my glasses, all under OHIP. I spent a lot of time today on an end-of-year task on my journal; getting each year correctly to link to all the other years. It's a very finicky HTML problem, but I finally got it working. It became harder to do as I changed the name from African Journal to Journal. For dinner we had the 4th full meal based on the prime rib, the last two being stir fries where L-A had marinated the beef to soften it. It may be the last time we'll have a major beef meal, under L-A's new diet.

Thu Jan 12    Med

After Steve was fed, but before Laurie-Ann was, I drove to the nearest National Bank. After about 15 minutes the clerk gave me a yellow sticky with a temporary PIN, and directed me to one of their ATMs. I was to log on with the temporary PIN, and then key in my new PIN twice. It all worked. I then drew out $500 in cash from the Mastercard. Next I drove to the CIBC ATM on Rathbone and deposited the $500 in Simplii. At home Steve had been causing trouble with his wanderings and curiosity. In his mind, he's helping with household chores. I found him emerging from our bedroom with a bar of my chocolate, one which my taste buds could tolerate. It actually made me angry and I threw the remnants of the bar at him; not a good idea or good carer behaviour. However, by lunch he seemed to have forgotten the incident. I made an XE transfer from Simplii to FNB in Worcester of $R,500, about $400. This will be sufficient to cover Bella's immediate needs for hospital fees and university fees. She will get the money 3 days before we had previously told her based on waiting for Liam's rent. In the afternoon I opened up the main hose on the vacuum cleaner, found it was a third full of carpet dirt as I had suspected, removed the dirt with a bent wire coat hanger, and put the hose back in place. The vacuum cleaner then performed just fine. Made me happy. Steve continued to give us a hard time with his antics for the rest of the day. Here are some other strange things he has done recently. Foraging in the fridge at night and eating cold leftover roast potatoes; while sitting at the dinner table he'll pick up his pill bottles and examine them minutely, sometimes taking them out of the bottle, and then forget which pill basket they came fron: the morning one or the evening one; after a dinner when he had declined another helping, as he walked past the counter on his way to his room, taking an additional slice of pie and eating it with his fingers. This had nothing to do with whether he was still hungry, and everything to do with the pleasure of taking food that hadn't been offered to him. Taking his teapot (which he pees in and has developed scale) to the kitchen in the middle of the night and trying to remove the scale with one of our sharp kitchen knives; having long conversations on an imaginary phone with his former colleagues in CN; when frustrated with his TV because he can't remember how to change channel, pulling the whole TV over so that the power and HDMI cables come out. So far the TV has survived; refusing to take out his teeth after dinner, thus risking losing them during the night and not being able to eat solid food. His hearing seems to have reduced considerably over the past week making it necessary to repeat everything, as he makes wild guesses as to what had been said to him. His wasn't the only sense that was declining in the family. My eyesight was now making it harder even to read the computer screen. I would like to have another eye test and find out if anything is changing.

Wed Jan 11    Med

When I got up about 1:30 am for my midnight snack, Steve was soundly asleep on the white couch. I didn't disturb him as I made tea and sat on my favourite seat on the new couch. I slept more than an hour, and when I woke he had gone back to his room. I made a similar breakfast to yesterday's, but with baked beans added. Bella needs cash for her new term at university, but we are waiting for the 15th of the month when the $1,500 condo rent will come through. Even then it will take 10 days to reach her, jeopardising her standing as a student. The only answer is to redeem cash from a credit card, to give us some flexibility while we await the funds from the MoD. So it's urgent I do this. I drove to the CIBC ATM and tried redeeming cash using two ancient passwords from Allstream. Didn't work. I went on to M&M for a pick-up. Back home I called Solutions Banking and they said if I go to a National Bank they will change my PIN while I wait. There wasn't time to do this today. I got lunch for the family and then went to my appointment with Dr Makar. I was expecting bad news about the prostate because because most doctors only call you in when it's bad news. But it wasn't. The ultrasound and transrectal didn't show any worrying trends, and Dr Makar said we needn't take any action, but monitor it a year from now. We really like this doctor! She gave me a new prescription for Flomax and I went home via the IDA where they filled it. I noticed my letter for Lindholm was still on the floor where I left it. One of the pharmacists said he thought he would be in next week, and this week was working on the telephone. I looked up Flomax on line, and the article recommended taking the pill 30 minutes after the same meal each day. On the news tonight was that the book Harry and Meghan had been published today and become an instant bestseller. We decided to watch the Netflix documentary of the same title tonight.

Tue Jan 10    Med

I must have taken the Flomax at the wrong time, or without food. or some other transgression because I had a terrible night; at least 10 times to the toilet. Because I was so tired last night I set my alarm for an hour later, and appreciataed the lie-in. About 9:30 I served Steve with fried mushrooms, scrambled egg and toast, and I must say it was excellent, with no taste problems for me. Steve loved it. As he finished, Allison arrived. When she had finished washing him, he came back into the kitchen, although his breakfast was complete. I went shopping at about noon, to the pharmacies and to Metro. At Shoppers I bought three nutritional bars. At the IDA I ordered more Tylenol #2 to be obtained from Dr Banerjee. I stuck the Dear John letter for Lindholm under the screen that separated his area from the pharmacy. I was home in time to feed Steve and then take L-A to the Ontario Diagnostic Centre. I had told them when I booked it on the phone that it was for a pelvic ultrasound, but when the receptionist saw the requisition she saw it was nothing of the sort, but to check her liver. I had had my tests on my mind when I booked the appointment. Anyway, she was kind to us (TKOG) and said she would try and fit her in. We only waited about 15 minutes. On our way home we first stopped at a European bakery on North Queen. L-A had bought beigli there in the past, but they had never heard of it now. in compensation I bought three Ukrainian/European treats. Then on to Loblaws. I wanted fruit cake - but they had none! So I bought some alternatives for my midnight feasts. I also bought Yorkshire puddings to go with our beef. Back home we were relieved to see Steve sleeping on the couch, since we had left him eating his lunch. He had been foraging - most of the cereal boxes were scattered and there was a half-eaten English muffin on the counter. A Quest energy bar I had left on the Deacon's bench was missing. I was feeling stronger than this time yeterday, thank goodness.

Mon Jan 9    Med

I called the accounting department at Poulin and apologised that my condo fees last week had bounced. He hadn't noticed, but said he'd check and get back to me by email. This he did. I took Steve to the hairdresser's and we both had cuts from 2 stylists - Ben was on a day off. I had forgotten they don't accept credit cards but one of the stylists mentioned tha LCBO across the corridor gave cash-backs, so we ended up with a bottle of Italian Cavit Moscato, one of the few on their shelf that isn't Pino Grigio. My stylist was Hungarian but when she tried to talk with Steve they didn't connect. Steve's excuse was that he only spoke pigeon Hungarian. Both haircuts were acceptably good. In the afternoon I went to the Ontario Diagnostic Centre for an ultrasound on my abdomen, and a transrectal, ordered by Dr Makar. These are designed to check the status of my enlarged prostate. The transrectal deserved the technician's warning that this was going to hurt, as first he pushed two lunbricated fingers up my rectum, followed by a camera. I wasn't tempted to ask to see the pictures; will leave that to Amany Makar. Back home we worked on a large prime rib that would feed us for some time. I wasn't expecting too much, but come dinner time I was pleasantly surprised with the flavour and tenderness of the meat, which had been in the oven with a vegetable selection for several hours. After dinner however I felt really fatigued, and not much company for my sweetheart, as we studied Luke and prayed to our faithful Lord. I took one Flomax pill before closing my eyes; for the previous 2 nights Flowmax had given me way more rest and absense of trips to the toilet than usual.

Sun Jan 8

I completed a letter to Dr Lindholm thanking him for his medical services for most of the last year, but saying the time had come to move on to another clinic. My stated reason was that the new clinic had a full-time receptionist so we would be able to communicate with the doctor. I didn't list our other reasons for being dissatisfied. He was always too busy to talk. Trying to get more hot flash pills for L-A had proved an impossibility. He had introduced a new system which relied on text and video on the patient's phone. Trying to phone him or leave a message was close to impossible. He had made no progress with L-A's disability tax certificate, but had not communicated with us on it. L-A was well enough for us both to go to church. and it was a very special service. The complete management of the church welcomed Murray and Ash and celebrated how they had been chosen. Two of the readings were taken from the Passion translation. Oil was poured over Murray and Ash's heads (Ash used a towel before she spoke). There were many heartfelt prayers, that included Steve and Sandra as they become ambassadors, who will visit many of the 50 CTF churches in Europe, but will still be here a couple of Sundays every 6 weeks. I told Steve on the way out I had never witnessed such a service before, and encouraged him with brushing up on his European. There were sweet treats galore after the service and I collected a lemon coconut square and hot chocolate for me (both delicious), and nothing for L-A under her new abstinence routine. We had seen Bob and Catherine and Paula before the service. Switching to the end of the day we watched S4 E10 of Yellowstone on Prime Video. The later seasons switch to another streaming service. This is a magnificent production.

Sat Jan 7    Med

We went to our new doctor, Amany Makar, for a 'flu shot for L-A and a B12 shot for me, continuing the sequence interupted when I was late for Lindholm a month ago. 'V' is the name of the doctor's efficient assistant and she gave me the shot. Dr Makar had the results back from L-A's blood test on Thursday, and it showed all results normal except her liver. So now she has more tests. Back home after coffee and cake I got the short ladder from the garage and successfully inserted a LED bulb, 40 watts equivalent from 4 watts, and therefore a lot less heat generated. I had bought 2 bulbs, so I put the second one in the other kitchen light fitting. And no shocks this time! I suspect the first bulb blew because it overheated inside the small glass shade. Hopefully this won't happen again Next job was to stop the leak in the hose connection from the back was tap. I tried tightening it with a wrench without success. I did run the water for 15 minutes to water the little tree in the balmy weather. We have no other lengths of compatible hose so maybe I will buy some. A few days ago I had done the totalling on my 'giving' spreadsheet since our arrival in Canada, and found it to be $10,480, a significant part of which would have been Bella's expenses. Today L-A calculated the total we had spent on food for the three of us as $14,527. That includes Steve's food, which he reimburses us for. If he is using a third of the food, that leaves $9.733 spent on us. Since we buy quite a lot of food just for us, like L-A's non-dairy products, the amount we are spending on charity isn't far off from what we are spending on our food. We now have a date from Tara for a family conference, Sunday 22 January, when we will review with Tara (and John?) our first year of caregiving. I updated an agenda I had written a week ago, and got comments from L-A, before sending it to Tara.

Fri Jan 6    Med My 9th infusion

I needed to leave the house by 9:15 so breakfast was rushed, but it all worked out well enough. I arrived on time in the Chemo waiting room. Quite soon after receiving my pager I went down to Tim Hortons, and got a breakfast sandwich and coffee. The bacon and egg in the sandwich tasted normal, so what's happening differently at home? After an hour or so I struck up a conversation with the woman next to me and she was quite ready to chat. I asked her what she thought about the 5 days so far that the Republicans had failed to elect a speaker, since that item was on the TV news. Her reply was dismissive of politicians generally. After that we talked about many things. She was from Scotland and still had gaelic connections. She had fairly serious skin cancer, and had had two growths surgically removed from her legs. She came in by train from Barrie. Her name is Gillian with a hard G. I asked about her religion and it is Presbyterian. I asked if I could pray for her, which I did, and then she prayed for me, which I didn't expect. Shortly after that my pager went off, and I probably will never see her again, something we had just discussed. My nurse for the infusion was Carrie, and it took a couple of hours without incident. On the way out of the hospital I bought sesame snaps and two chocolate bars and ate most of them on the way to Kipling.

Thu Jan 5    Med

We had been given three requisitions for tests by Dr Makar, two for L-A; one for me. We went to the lab across from Etobicoke General Hospital, and Laurie-Ann got hers done. We went home via Renforth IDA and filled some presciptions for L-A, including the hot flashed medicine that had precipitated the problem that led to our switching from Dr Lindholm. After lunch I went to the lab on North Queen but found they work by appointment, so I made one for Monday at 2pm.

Wed Jan 4

My main concern with my 3 weekly visit to PMH today was getting there without physical mishap, but I made it, despite the rain, arriving for my blood draw on time. I had drunk a whole Monster before leaving home and that helped. Then quite a wait before my thoracic oncology appointment, but I'm used to that. First Dr Faour came in with a Spanish trainee, Carlos, and checked my vitals. I told her that for the past 2 - 3 weeks my breathlessness and fatigue and weakness had been twice as bad. She tested the strength in my arms and legs and asked a bunch of questions. She mentioned the possibility of thyroid issues and said she would check the latest blood results when she had them. According to the resuts I see on the UHN Patient Portal, the thyroid is not checked in my regular blood tests. Dr Faour then brought in Dr. Bradbury. My main quesion was abut the general rogression of the illness. Can I expect the deterioration I have seen to continue till I'm unable to move, or is it caused by separate activities and might it be dealt with. I don't think she knows the answer at this point, or whether the condition os caused by mesothelioma or by immunotherapy. She is concerned about my ability to cope as a caregiver in the future and said she would organize a social worker to advise me. We talked about our new Dr., Dr Makar, and I felt we should see how she shapes up. If she doesn't there is the Toronto Western Hospital Family Health Care Team to consider, and provide services like a GP. In all it was an excellent meeting. I got hoem in time to cook the rice for the stew L-A had prepared.

Tue Jan 3

First thing, I checked email and was delighted to read this from Norcross: 'Good morning and Happy New Year to you too We have had possible problems with emails today so you may have two from us with the same details, this being the second. It was to confirm that all the details we have sent to our finance department are correct so please do not worry. It does however take a little time to set up overseas payments since they go via our overseas service provider. As soon as we have confirmation that the account has been set up, we will let you know.
Many thanks, Kate Leach, Payments & Maintenance Team 2, Veterans UK'

Needless to say this message changed my state. I felt an immediate improvement in wellbeing. For the rest of the day I had extra energy and resilience. For breakfast I wanted to confirm what happened yesterday, so cooked up beans on fried bread in the wok, with the beans well fried, the way I have always loved them best. Same problem. Just didn't have the taste of Heinz original beans. Steve however ate them without hesitation. We all bundled into the car to see Dr Silver at 11. I used the 'time' facility on the parking machine, just booking us in for half an hour for $2.25, instead of $9. I suggested to Dr Silver that Steve not see him so often, since it is so hard for him just to get into the car, and in my view his toenails were not bad enough to warrant coming so often. I also asked him to adjust my left orthotic instep a little lower. At the checkout I booked Steve's next appointment for early April, 3 months ahead. At 4 we had our first appointment with Dr Amany Makar at her surgery within the Eringate pharmacy. Her receptionist was there full time. She started by getting basic details down, and I gave her the written summaries of our medical situations which we had prepared over the last few days. She took full account of these, asking us questions arising. She picked up on things like why no-one was monitoring my prostate and arranged a transrectal examination with a specialist. She was efficient and friendly, and gave us her time without rushing. At one point she asked who was our family doctor, and I answered, "You are." Laurie-Ann got the three prescriptions she needed, one of which had precipitatied the switch from Lindholm. We went to Renforth IDA on the way home and collected all three drugs. L-A had had a painful day, as if her strongest medications were insufficient for the task.

Mon Jan 2

Baked beans on toast has been a favourite comfort food of mine forever. For breakfast I subjected Steve to it and he liked it. For me it seemed tasteless. Maybe I'll fry the beans next time. L-A slept in till after 12, trying to get rid of the final manifestations of the virus, and before she went to sleep tonight I put Vicks on her chest, reminding me of the Avian Park girls, particularly Jamelia. I emailed K Leach at Veterans UK to be sure he would see mine of 28 December, and to ask if the money had already been sent. He is back from vacation tomorrow.

Sun Jan 1

I awoke feeling ready to go to church for the first time since 4 December. Not so L-A. When I arrived I spotted Catherine, and waved. She waved back. They have been in Prince George at the bedside of her brother-in law Lawrence for several weeks but came back last night. Today was history at Catch the Fire as Steve and Sandra officiated for the last time before becoming ambassadors, which will take them visiting the many CTF churches in Europe. The service ended with two fire tunnels, one at the front which I went through, and another at the back for youth. I found Bob and Catherine keeping the back tunnel up and whispered "Welcome back" to them before going home. I came home via the CIBC ATM and banked Steve's food cheque for $250. At home I paid the minimum on my MasterCard. Tomorrow we'll be billed the AiO interest but won't get too close to the overdraft limit. At lunch I asked Steve if he'd like a dessert and he said "Yes." I also had one - a rice pudding. Its taste was very different from what it always had been, and I persevered only to get the nutrition. The taste buds are going further downhill. We had finished our dinner that evening but were still seated at the table, when we both noticed that Steve looked as if he were falling a sleep. We weren't able to rouse him at first. It had all the hallmarks of a TIA coming on. We were able to get him standing and holding his walker, though his legs looked as though they could collapse any time. I guided the front of the walker, and he gingerly brought up the rear as we moved slowly towards his bedroom. I was very relieved when he got there and was lying on the bed, and we hadn't had to try and lift him off the floor.

Tony Copple
Copples in Western Cape