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Go Canada!

Go Canada!

The trolley trundled down the long passage to the operating theatre. It swished over the smooth polished floor like a ski lift gliding up a hill. An idea too painful to entertain at this stage! The team were all scrubbed up and eagerly awaiting their next case. I use the word ‘team’ and ‘eagerly’ as this hospital was a teaching facility, so there were a few ‘newly qualified’ who assisted the resident specialist. A large marker pen was suddenly pulled out of nowhere. I thought this to be a strange addition to the operating paraphernalia. My right side was duly marked with a big arrow pointing to the ‘right.’ Well that should avoid any confusion! I checked this as all I needed was for them to mess up my good old leftie as well. Then they gave me a quick injection into my stomach…..something about taking precautions. I could just imagine the quick run down that was given.  Middle aged…..skiing accident….badly broken arm…..otherwise a healthy specimen.

It had been 3 weeks since my fall and I felt like I was no closer to being ‘whole’ again. One has to wait to see a specialist here in Canada which is understandable so one has to draw on one’s patience. The little fragments of broken bone had been giving me jip and I was so glad that this procedure would scrape the little offenders out. All was left to do was strut my arm with a metal plate and sew me back up. A piece of cake, really! I felt like a young tree getting ready for spring!

The menagerie of faces surrounded me as I resurfaced. All had gone well. Good….now can I go home? But I still had a way to go. The ‘said arm’ was not ready yet as it still lay frozen and limp across my chest. I was told that it had to wake up properly and was warned that the process was quite painful. The doctor decided to keep me in overnight and prescribed strong intravenous pain medication.  I took what they gave me and proceeded to vomit for the next 24 hours. The night nurse was an unfriendly soul and did not take kindly to me needing her attention and the bucket that she brought me every couple of hours. Anyway once the day staff came on there was a different approach. I could not wait to get home and have just weathered the discomfort and pain without the aid of the foul chemicals.

I slept for 2 days solid and am now feeling chipper again. The television is on, laundry is being done, the stove is on the go and Josh has had a walk. I think my men folk enjoyed the peace and quiet when I was man down! They ate fast food for 3 days solid! Anyway I am certainly glad to be home.

One of the disadvantages of a recently acquired ‘fat arm’ is that none of my clothes fit me. Philip’s cupboard has been raided and my one and only ensemble consists of a Canadian hockey shirt. I have added to the mix a pair of Canadian socks and the matching mittens when I go out in the cold.

Go Canada!

 

I like this version too with Sarah Mclachlan and Santana……

Patience is my lesson here!

Patience is my lesson here!

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All geared up and ready to go!

All geared up and ready to go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The amazing ski patrol.

The amazing ski patrol.

 

 

 

 

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPC2Fp7IT7o

 

The air was crisp and the white snow- covered hills beckoned. It was a fairyland out there! This was our second winter in Canada and I prepared myself for another round of skiing. I had been suitably decked out with all the right gear which included my recent thermals and a helmet. I could not persuade the men in the family to omit this piece of equipment. It pressed my ears and felt like a potty perched on my head.  My snug fur hat would have been my first choice! I felt the excitement rise as I penguin walked out of the club house. With my skis nonchalantly perched on my shoulder, I made my way to the beginner’s slopes.  I certainly had no illusion of my prowess on skis.

There was a flutter of panic as I realized I would have to master the ski lift before I could test my skiing skills. Leaning forward, bending my knees and the stopping method of ‘pizza slice’ was all that I had run through to refresh my mind. I had forgotten about the fact that I would first have to get up the hill! My son kindly accompanied me and explained the process of ‘alighting from the lift.’ Remember to push off from the seat! The first attempt was a snow plough of my head into the snow. The second try involved me falling backwards on my rear.  Fortunately the snow was fluffy and soft. I was not having much success with this jolly ski lift! I must add that I did manage to recall some of the skiing maneuvers from the previous year. I gingerly applied these skills and made my way down the slope. So I had at least accomplished the first hurdle. I could still remember how to ski! The ski lift swung around the corner…..third time lucky! We jumped on and made our way up. My heart thumped as I ran through all the tips that I needed to follow. What was the worst that could happen?

The lift approached the icy landing and I braced myself. I duly pushed off but as my skis touched the landing, I slipped. My tall ungainly frame flew and my right arm cart wheeled round to break my fall. There are few disadvantages to being tall and this was one of them! My arm did not reach the ground but collided with the ski lift instead. I just lay there for a second or two. I knew I had broken my arm as I could feel it…… the numbness and then a warm surge. I had seen enough broken bones in my years as a teacher and one look at the disfigured limb confirmed my suspicion.

The ski patrol strapped me into a toboggan and raced me off the slope. It was a wonderful swift ride with these experienced skiers. They made it look so easy! As I watched them pull me along, I knew what my next snow adventure would be……dog sledding. Yes, I fancied racing through the snow on the back of a sleigh. But that would have to wait……

There is something very humbling about learning to ski. You become childlike again with the lack of confidence and the reliance on others to share their skills with you. Unfortunately I will have to wait for next winter to pick up where I left off. In the mean time I have other lessons to learn…..to accept and enjoy the help given to me by my patient family and friends. My right arm is ‘resting’ in a sling while it heals.  My amateur left arm is having its moment of fame and is the hero of my day!

 

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Urno088IAo

 

I dreamt of Alaska so far away……..

 

I dreamt so much as a child. These wild and wooly dreams were often escapades into a fantasy land. I think Enid Blyton played a huge part in the content material. The Faraway Tree was by far the firm favourite. As I recall…… you clambered to the top of the tree and with each visit, a different land appeared. Imagination took me to some of these exotic destinations which later became part of my Buckett List. The list was largely in my head, as I had no idea what a Buckett list was.  I was surely too young to have one anyway! Although at that age, it was probably just the sense of adventure that conjured up these vivid thoughts of visiting far away places. On one such nocturnal journey, I visited the beautiful Alaska.

 We flew into Anchorage and all that I had dreamt about became a reality. The melting snow cascaded down the sharply chiseled mountains that surrounded the city. The ice -blue tinges shone through   glaciers as they groaned down the mountain face. They were forever on the move, melting and freezing as they were subjected to the elements. I stood at the bottom of this ancient mass of ice and felt very small in the grand scheme of things……. Then a ski lift took me up to the top of a mountain and I surveyed the world from above. The thread of trees wove their green path through the expanse of white snow. The silence was broken by the call of a bald eagle. It swooped overhead on the lookout for the ‘catch of the day’. This mighty bird had impeccable taste and found the local salmon to be most agreeable to the palette.

The fresh seafood crumbled open under the drizzle of warm lemon butter. We sampled the most delectable morsels from the sea and my favourite …. the white Halibut cheeks. Can you believe that these fish weigh up to 160 kilograms? No wonder that the ‘piece de resistance’ is the plump rosy cheeks! We were also treated to crab legs…..bright orange muscular ones. They appeared to have trained for a half marathon! Then there was the king salmon, served on a cedar strip with brightly coloured garden vegetables. The fresh pine aroma permeated through this delectable flesh. Both unusual and delicious!

It was time to visit these Piscean beauties on their home turf and we flew up north over rough terrain to a small fishing village. One out of 5 Alaskans can fly a plane and it is a necessary mode of transport in a country that has many rivers and over 3 million lakes!  So the salmon was duly caught, weighed and released. It was a beauty and it glistened silver in the afternoon sun. It swam off to drop its eggs and to surrender to the circle of life.

It was time for us to get back to our lives in Toronto.

 

Live every day like the first or the last one, with nothing to lose and heaven to gain.

 

Here’s to Alaska…..

Here’s to the people.

Here’s to the wild.

Here’s to the free

 

Up close to a glacier.

The closest I got to a moose!

 

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