Palliative Perks 2.0

1. Food. You have no idea how much food cooked by others changes my life.  The mundane day-to-day food that I make is good (I think), and the Mexican food that my new housemates make is fine when it doesn’t contain an overdose of salt … but its so very nice to mix it up and have a bit more time to do other things with my Dad.

2. Hugs. There is something about a hug that makes everything ok.  It creates a connection between people and reinvigorates the soul. As long as you’re not a weirdo stranger, I’ve grown very fond of the hugs I am given.

3. Happy thoughts and support. My friends from all over the world send me happy messages and thoughts every day.  I don’t always have time to reply right away, but I always read (and re-read) the messages.  They keep me going. Because its hard not to feel like I’m in a bubble right now, and my friends remind me that there is life beyond this.

4. Funny nurses. Sometimes they tell you about the time they treated crack-addicts.  Other times they give you breathing exercises, or bring you popsicles in the hospital.

5. Universal health care. As much as we bitch about our health care system, I’ve never been more grateful for it.  Because I haven’t had to pay for the wheelchair we have, or the bath bench.  I don’t pay $300 for the weekly prescriptions of hydromorphone my Dad gets.  And the community nurse that comes to our house once a week doesn’t leave me an invoice, but instead arranges for other health care workers like physiotherapists and dieticians to come over and assess my father. This is amazing, and even though the system has faults, I hope other people see the good in it.

6. Home visits from the doctor. Does this even happen anymore?  Our family doctor came over last week to check on my Dad.  It was surprising.  She wrote prescriptions on the spot and did a physical.  Wow.

7. Friends who listen to your venting. This. Keeps. Me.  Sane. Because I feel like I live in a latin Telenovela with multiple layers of crazy goin’ on.  So when my friends offer a listening ear, give me advice on how to deal with things, or just tell me that I need to calm down, it helps.  A lot.

8. Help. It doesn’t matter how.  C&D dropped off scarves, toques, and fleece layers for the Mexicans.  R. comes over every week to chat & joke with my Dad and give him different company.  The pharmacist gives advice on which decongestant to use in combination with gemcitabine chemotherapy.  That weirdo in shorts holds the door for me at Shoppers at 11:30pm.  My friend F. bought me a Spanish-English dictionary because the Mexicans don’t want to use the laptop. My amazing work friends sought tapioca pearls in Vancouver because they doesn’t exist in podunk Kamloops.  It doesn’t really matter how the help manifests itself, it makes every day just a bit more bearable.

Second summary: I tend to deal with tough situations with sarcasm, and my previous post reflects that.  But people are showing me and my family a lot of kindness, and it really does make my little life so much better. I am grateful, and I hope no jokes or humour undermine how much my heart is thankful.


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