The Fall.... Moving to Quebec, Finally

March 12, 2016

I’ve been pondering what title to give this short update. Greetings from Humpty and Dumpty remains a relevant favourite. The 'factual title' for the post has to be "The Fall". And, from that the observation that we have finally moved to Quebec given our (unexpectedly rapid and widening) embrace of the health care system here after years of resistance, retaining our Ontario physician and the untested view that care in Ontario was superior. We've been impressed and relieved by the high quality, rapid care we've both received.  


And it is indeed in the plural sense of both of us, after an awful twist of fate last Sunday when we were on our final errands run before my first chemo on Monday. Angie fell hard on a sloped, icy and un-sanded driveway of a dog kennel in Aylmer where she was taking a small, stray dog we’d (safely) scooped up from the busy road nearby. She fell backwards directly onto her left shoulder. She knew immediately that she’d injured herself badly. She was taken in significant pain by ambulance to Hull Hospital which has a team of orthopedic surgeons (including the son-in-law of friends who were at the open house. A comfortingly small world after all). After draughts of pain killers, x-rays and a CT-Scan showed that she had multiple fractures of her humerus bone as it connects to her shoulder assemblage (admittedly not a precise medical definition). 


Surgery followed the next day to screw together the bones to a plate. She was in theatre as I was receiving my first chemo infusion at the other local hospital, in Gatineau. We were both supported immediately and throughout the short-term crisis by loving friends who stayed overnight, drove, made meals, kept company, kept in touch. 



Angie returned home on Wednesday after three nights in the hospital. Her shoulder is in a sling and is to be kept immobile for two months before moving to physiotherapy and whatever else may be required. She is being a trooper of course, but she is clearly in discomfort and pain. The local health nurse is coming in every two days to change her dressing (which covers a very neat but dramatic incision). Staples out in two weeks. Follow up with the surgeon then as well.


My chemotherapy infusion went smoothly, thank god, after a couple of failed efforts at inserting the IV gave me an excuse for a little cry. It was just what I needed. I’m relieved that I haven’t experiencing any ill-effects from the treatment. Good drugs (steroids). No nausea. Good appetite. That said, I’ve been tired. Angie and I have been having companionable little sleeps.


However we were able to have a quiet dinner on Thursday to celebrate Angie’s birthday – hearthstone chicken and sides made and delivered by Jennifer of wonderful Les Fougeres.


We feel a little shell shocked to tell you the truth as the various unplanned limitations and required adaptations begin to sink in. Various tips received so far have already been very helpful: slow down, accept all help available, no guilt, remember that this too shall pass and “no sorry’s”. Adding pecificity to the concepts of kindness and self-compassion.


PS. I managed to get the dog back home, safe and sound.










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On January 22, 2016 I went for a mammogram, to confirm that a lump in my right breast was a cyst. It was. And it saved my life. Because I was overdue for my breast screening, imaging was also done on my left breast  The mammogram and ultrasound came back “highly suspicious” for breast cancer...

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