Thursday, March 19, 2009

Appreciate the grey days too

It was a grey day, all day, yesterday, in North Vancouver. I found myself craving and searching for color, as I made my way home.  The first stop was on the Lions Gate.  Visibility was really limited, but this load of aggregate, hauled by a small boat, caught my attention.  My first thought was along the lines of, "Why would someone pay to haul a load of dirt by water?"  But, Bill pointed out that aggregate is quite a commodity.  He thought it was perhaps being hauled to Vancouver Island.  Then I remembered my father and his fascination with gravel pits. So, not a whole lot of color, but another take on the variety of waterway activity observed from bridges.

A close-up of the aggregate.
I stopped at the community garden at Cypress and 6th, thinking that I could use my flash to capture some flower colors.  In fact, it was looking particularly drab.  The few blooms to be seen were bedraggled and dismal.  Continuing along the bike route, the only color came from lights painstakingly draped over trees, bushes and a bench.  Not my sort of thing, but I wonder if the inhabitants of this house wanted to provide some cheer until the summer gardens blossom. Black Jack's nightly bully stick session is one of the many highlights of her day.  This particular stick was the longest one in the store, I think.  She did her best to find a position for optimal chewing.  Watching her carry it through the doorway from the kitchen to the dining room was quite amusing, but I was too slow getting my camera out to record the moment.  
This stick required several shifts of position.  Here, rarely used stand-up approach.
She finally dragged it to her versatile bed, the one she loves to toss around and drag through the house.  She has a couple of holes in it, strategically placed to brace her bully stick.  But this stick defied her normal control strategies.  
On a serious note, I've been thinking a lot about brain injuries, and reading way more than I ever wanted to know, after hearing the sad story about Natasha Richardson.  This is a rushed and somewhat disorganized account of my thoughts, but if one reader chooses to wear a helmet or becomes more aware of emergency brain injury care, then it will have served a purpose.  The story comes home to me very forcefully, after my own cycling accident and because Natasha's accident happened in an area I know well, having lived for ten years in the Laurentian mountains of Quebec.  I've both cycled and driven the route many times, that she would have taken, first from Mont Tremblant to the small hospital in Ste. Agathe des Monts, and then another hour's drive from Ste. Agathe to Montreal.  My thoughts run something along these lines: 1. How very sad!  My heart goes out to her family.  2. Many of the circumstances in our accidents were similar.  Both Natasha and I would have had a perfect 15 GCS score, meaning that we were both initially verbal, with eyes fully open, and motor skills functioning normally.  People need to be educated about this, even hospital staff.  In my case, the doctor who put the cast on my hand missed some signs.  I remember asking him if I could take some Advil, since I had a slight headache.  He said, "Sure."  Advil is a blood thinner - huge mistake, albeit an innocent one on the part of a very nice fellow.  I'm still not allowed to take Advil or Aspirin, and won't be, for at least another six months.  3. I was wearing a helmet;  Natasha wasn't.  I can't help but feel that could have made the difference.  4. Call it fate or call it luck, or as one teacher at school said, "God wanted you around for a while longer.  There are certainly some wonderings along the lines of, "Why was I spared and the mother of two teens not?" My hematoma was subdural; hers was epidural, and therefore more time sensitive.  I was close to the hospital when the headache hit, and the  neurologist on call that night was very experienced and highly skilled.  She had to be driven a long way.  And, they stopped at a small hospital en-route, where the only option was to transfer her to Montreal.  Why did they stop?  Why didn't they fly her?   So, please, anyone reading this who is ever involved in, or ever knows someone with even a slight head injury, better a trip to the hospital, and better to annoy medical personnel with extra caution, than to suffer Natasha's fate. 5. I am thankful for the extra moments granted to me, for friends and family and animals and nature, and for grey days too. 


  1. More commentary later, but have you seen this site?

    Just came across it at Carole's blog ( and thought immediately of you.

  2. I'm still at school, but have just had a quick look, and that's an amazing site, dp. Thank you! Will check out Carole's blog, as well, when I get home. The coming week will be crazy busy (school trip) but once that's over, I can't wait to spend some time exploring both sites.

  3. More commentary: bully sticks are made out of bull' bits, aren't they? If so, that must have been some bull!

    Have fun on your trip.

  4. Yes, dp, that thought did occur to me:) I LOVE Carole's blog! Thanks!

  5. This is a very nice essay on why we need to appreciate every day and to tell other people we love them. I am so grateful that your accident was so well handled and that you have recovered so remarkably. I send you hugs on the internet! Love, Phyllis

  6. Well-put sentiments about head injuries Carol. It is sad that it takes an accident to make people think more carefully about taking precautions and it is so wise of you to speak out about our own expereinces with the aim to help others. You are very lucky to have recovered so well; as was Mia when she plummetted out of her high chair at eight months and was hospitalized after a seizure. We all wear helmets in this house now (except Rob)but I was so surprised to see how many people weren't when I took Lucas skiing at Mount Baker last week. I actually don't know if we saw another helmet the whole day. :(

    Enjoy the springy weekend!

  7. Thanks, Phyllis, for those hugs, and I send some right back to you.

    Wow, Cristina, that must have been a horribly frightening experience for you. I'm so glad Mia made a full recovery, and very glad you and the kids wear helmets. I'm a bit surprised you didn't see more people wearing them at Mt. Baker, but now that I think of it, our school kids don't wear helmets when they take their lessons at Whistler. I wonder if Natasha Richardson's story will bring a change in ski hill policies.