Monday, January 20, 2014

Just the way I feel right now

Bill is still in hospital.  Since the day of his surgery (January 9th) I have spent the hours between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. sleeping on a chair in his room, and still I miss him.  His sister, Phyllis, arrives at 9:00 a.m. and stays with him until I return.  She greets me with a smile when I arrive in the late afternoon and she greets the two of us with a smile when she returns in the mornings.  She has been a rock and I will forever remember this time as one that has brought us closer.  My sister, Sherrill, has been a rock as well.  She is far away in Ottawa but she has texted and emailed so frequently, our conversations are as close to "in person" as any could be.  I will forever remember this time as one that not only clinched the sister bond, but the friendship one as well.  In my "off" time, I'm supposed to be resting, sleeping, rejuvenating.  I do that but mostly I wander aimlessly, taking photos, yearning to have Bill and our carefree life back.  The surgery went well, but hospital-life has taken a toll.  I think he's coming back to me but sometimes, there have been doubts.  Doubts that this has changed us.  I have been as frightened as I can ever remember though I haven't given up hope.  I know that if the old life is not to be, the new one will have a different and perhaps even richer texture to it.  This post reflects my need to record the past couple of weeks.  I share it with Our World Tuesday, where you can be tantalized by glimpses into the lives of people from around the world.  If you have even a few extra minutes in your day, it would be well worth your time to stop by for a visit.

The owner of Bean Around the World in Yaletown makes a latte under my watchful eye.  The day before New Year's Eve, he said as we were leaving, "See you next year."      
He shared with us that he will be going home for Chinese New Year's for the first time in 12 years.  Gung Hay Fat Choy to him and to all of those who celebrate.  (This photo shows the display at Urban Fare grocery store, also in Yaletown.)
I'm not sure what this is, but it's on the ceiling of the same grocery store and I love the way it picks up reflections and seems to reflect a time before Yaletown became (and I say this with true fondness) Yuppy Town.
 Here's a close-up of the dragon.
  But, back to those magnificent lattes made with such care.
Delicious works of art.
We walked along the False Creek walkway a couple of days before the surgery, and knew the boats would soon shed their Christmas lights.
We also walked to Gastown to see The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.  It was probably illegal that I snapped this shot from our seats.  Something about..
riding those rolling hills that made me feel I must surely be tagging along right behind Walter. 
The Vancouver Police have a Mounted Unit and every once in a while, I happen to catch sight of them riding through the streets and parks around me.  This was the day before Bill's surgery and the first time we had ever seen them in David Lam Park (across from our apartment).  In the Chinese calendar, 2014 will be the year of the horse.
The morning of Bill's surgery as we prepared to walk up to the hospital, Black Jack took a moment to tell him she loves him and will miss him.
Then she took advantage of the moment to check for leftovers on the table.
Bill felt very well the day after the surgery and was highly amused by that sign at the lower right of the photo.
Here, he almost runs through the halls.
A few days later, he was feeling less well, but he walked to the lounge with me.  As I tried to catch the street lights below, I realized our reflections were quite clear.  I loved that Bill's sense of humour emerged.  You will have to look very closely to see the joke.
I guess you could say I have a love-hate relationship with St. Paul's.  I love the honest, hardworking people who truly want the best for their patients. 
I hate that one seems to enter a maze of death-defying traps, no matter how well-intentioned the caretakers are.  Okay, perhaps a slight exaggeration, but let's just say, should I become ill, I will do everything possible to "fix" myself on my own.  No hospitals for me unless it is to put together broken pieces (I can't forget that I am alive because of the surgery after my bike accident).  I hope that doesn't sound bitter.  I appreciate the nurses, doctors, residents, students, housekeeping people and security people.  They take their lives in their hands every day when they go to work.  But, I hate the system. 
Some of the photos from my wanderings:
I think these are American Wigeons.
They have beautiful wing patterns.
No idea what this is but loved the way the red stood out and yet blended as well.
Looking through the girders of The Granville Bridge to a mural on a building.
From Bill's hospital room.  Sadly, he was unable to enjoy it.  I will show it to him one day.
I love "my" crows..
in David Lam Park.
This juvenile on the right is demanding to be fed.  S/he made me think of an article I read recently: "What Really Happens When We Give Kids Everything They Want."  I come back to the old pendulum.  It keeps swinging from one extreme to the other.  A quote attributed to Oscar Wilde comes to mind: "Everything in moderation, including moderation."
Reflections in False Creek,
a seagull..
that approached close enough for my small lens to capture,
a talented fellow..
with serious goals..
and enormous concentration..
and focus..
and willingness to try many times..
before gathering himself for yet another attempt were among the sights I wished I could share with Bill.
I stopped at the cafe in Harrison Galleries and drank a latte through a huge lump in my throat, but loved that this is a place where one can sit quietly amidst art.
I walked home and saw more art..
around me.
Funny how that gallery continues to draw me, even without Bill.  In a way, I feel closer to him there..
than I do at the hospital.
I guess I want to deny "sickness" the pleasure it takes from us.
I will not let you be a "sick puppy" Bill.  We will shed the image together in favour of tangled lines and humorous shapes..
and clamourous music..
and we will look down the road..
to former haunts..
and new explorations.
Thanks for letting me vent, everyone!  To TexWis, Penelope, Jean, Daniel, Jim, Ron, Raven, Bev, Chris, Leslie, Fun60, Sherrill, Phyllis and all the others who have been so kind in letting me know you hear me and send us your best, my heartfelt thanks.  And now, take a minute to check out Our World Tuesday!  Have a good week, everyone! 


  1. *big sigh* i was so hoping everything would go well and there would be no complications and delays - and no worries for you. bless the sisters for giving you such great support. bless the birds and ducks and people and black jack that still give your photographs life. keep the faith, carol and bill.

  2. I pray you will more explorations with Bill and that it is a better one than before. I did not mind you venting at all--sometimes we just have to. Your pictures are lovely as always, the reflections are my favorite. The street with the mountains in the distance is gorgeous.

  3. It is my first time visiting you! I do hope that Bill gets better each day!!
    Thinking of you.

  4. Oh... to be able to wrap you in my arms for just a moment. I am so grateful to Phyllis. Stay strong and keep finding peaceful moments when and where you can.

  5. Hugs to both of you, and peppermint snuffles from Kate and Maddie. (Peppermints were a Christmas treat.)

  6. So sorry Bill is not doing so well. Continuing prayers for you both. You still have beauty in your soul as we can see in your fascinating photographs. Do remember to tell Bill we are praying for him.

  7. The hospital journey has not been easy for Bill but in spite of the downs, there are many ups and his surgeon is very optimistic that he will soon be going home and on his way to a more normal life. I am so happy that Carol and Bill are a real team and face all the problems with common sense, courage and humour. Thanks for the pictures, sensitive text and especially for your love of my brother! Phyllis

  8. I'm happy that Bill's surgery is over with but sad that he's having a hard time of it. I can tell how much you two love each other so hang in there. Lorne will be finished with his chemo the 3rd week of February and he can hardly wait to get back to work. We have set a wedding date (May 1) and are really looking forward to being "real" husband & wife. The future remains unknown but he promised me a long time ago that I would one day have his name if I wanted it. Once Bill is home and feeling really up to it, we should all 4 of us go for a coffee at one of your special places downtown. Sending hugs and prayers to you both. {{{Hugs}}}

  9. When next you see Bill please let him know that my Bill and I wish him a speedy and continued recovery and have him in our thoughts. Your dedication to his wellbeing has not diminished your ability to take a compelling photograph. I have yet to see crow eyes with such clarity as in your David Lam Park shots. I think the birds were posing for you. :)

  10. Even though we have never met I think of you both often. To find a soul mate, as you two have, is a rare and wonderful thing and something you cherish. I can hear your pain across from across the water and know you are going through some of the darkest times of your life but your photos show a glimmer of light at the end of this long tunnel. You are still rejoicing in the wonders of the world around you and I hope and pray that it won't be too long before Bill will be by your side again. It might not be the same as times gone by but his love for you will never change.

  11. Sorry to hear this, Carol. (Wished I had known of this before, but because of my move to wordpress I'm still looking up people who followed me on Blogspot.). Please it in perspective. To have Bill back on your side- and may it be soon - is more important than whether you 2 have changed. You both can adjust:):) I understand your fears - every normal person would have them! Wishing you a week that you can rebuild your hope that you as well as Bill will be okay.

  12. I am so sorry to hear of the complications after Bill's surgery and hope that this latter one is successful and all ends happily. When you are under stress, like you have been for such a long time now, it is necessary to be able to vent. My old Prof passed away last August after suffering from dementia for a number of years. No matter what happens, we just have to make adjustments and go on in the best way we can. Photography and blogging were one of my backstops during the last few years, especially bird photography that took a lot of concentration to the exclusion of all else. Wishing you the very best outcome and a ' get out of jail free' card from the hospital. I know how absolutely awful a protracted stay in one of those is.

  13. Carol and Bill......we were just wondering the other day how it was all going with you both. Now we know.
    Yes this is a setback and I can see that it is draining the you Carol. It is bound to. The system itself does this and add to that all the care you and your 'sisters' are providing to Bill.

    What a godsend the camera is Carol! You are able to escape for a while and see and experience life all around you. I know you know the benefit you are getting by continuing to take photos.

    A big hug to you and Blackjack and save one for Bill when he will better appreciate one.
    All our best.

  14. Keeping positive thoughts for you tucked safely in my heart, Carol and Bill.

  15. Hi Carol, it has been a while since I have seen you, no wonder. I hope Bill is improving.
    Love your pictures, especially the one of Black Jack in your shadow. Sending positive thoughts,

  16. i have been thinking of you. i just wanted to let you know i hope all is well.