280. I almost blew it.

280. I almost blew it.

For the past 278 consecutive Saturdays I have managed to churn out a blog without skipping a beat.

I have been aiming for the magic number 300 at which point I was going to decide where I should take up some other hobby such as sausage making.

The point of pride to me has been the unbroken chain and on those few occasions when I have had the idea of taking a break or quitting, the thought of breaking that chain and not being able to fix it has kept me going,

I could have taken a few weeks off after #247 and numbered the next one #248, It would have been my 248th blog but not my 248th consecutive blog.

And I came so close to blowing it today. It is now approximately 7:45 PM as I’m writing this and had anyone suggested to me just a few days ago that I would be in the place I am, I would assume them to be quite insane,

Last Saturday Gimalle and I had hardwood flooring installed in the bedrooms of our condo and went to bed extremely pleased with the new look.

I woke up Sunday morning and felt, for the first time in at least 25 years, that I had a bout of flu, I decided to spend the day admiring the flooring from the horizontal position my bed.

When Monday morning rolled around I felt even worse and spent the day – I can’t remember the last time I had stay home from work – feeling quite sorry for myself.

By Wednesday evening, as this wasn’t getting any better, and as my family doctor was away, I called Alberta Health Link where a delightful lady spent more than an hour on the phone with me asking a series of questions and then letting me know that my family doctor was part of a health network and that I would be contacted from within that network within one hour.

Less than an hour later I received a call from a clinic close by where we live asking me to attend their offices within 30 minutes.

Gimalle drove me over to the clinic where I was seen immediately by a young doctor who took a detailed history and came back and told me he felt that I needed urgent blood culture work and an echocardiogram.

The next morning Gimalle called me by 8:30 from her office to say she’d booked an appointment for a blood culture some 30 minutes later and was on her way to get me.

While were we were in the car she informed me the echocardiogram was scheduled for 8 AM the following morning.

The folks at Calgary Lab Services were, as always, fast, professional and courteous which meant I was back in bed “fully cultured” by 10 AM.

Yesterday Gimalle drove me to the Imaging centre for an ultra-sound. The technician was comforting, knowledgeable and friendly and also suggested I have a chest x-ray seeing as how I was already there.

Then the radiologist explained to me that I needed to go to the nearest hospital as soon as I could possibly get there and explain that I needed to be seen by a Thoracic Surgeon

I asked him to re-explain everything to Gimalle as by Friday morning I had become quite confused and was having trouble tying my shoelaces or understanding simple instructions.

Gimalle drove me over to Foothills Hospital where we handed the triage nurse the package given to us by diagnostic centre and were asked to wait in the waiting room.

Within five minutes my name was called and I was admitted into emergency where a team of people descended upon me further adding to my confusion. Gimalle appeared to be calmly quarterbacking the whole operation while I just participated uncomprehendingly.

Nineteen years ago, December 14, 1995, tomorrow is exactly 19 years ago, I had lung surgery to remove a growth – a bullae – which had given me a new lease on life. Approximately seven years later that same growth and record and I have lived for 12 years since then completely symptom-free.

Until this week.

What I had thought to be a bout of flu turned out to be a particularly nasty infection inside the growth inside my lung and, when pneumonia gets added, bad things happen.

They are going to treat me with powerful doses of antibiotics and if that doesn’t do the trick, lung surgery remains an options.

I tell the story not to invoke sympathy. Those who follow my blog know my viewpoint on “it is what is.” This an infection and how I am affected by it says nothing of the infection but is all about me.

Instead I write this to once again state how truly blessed we are to live in this wonderful country called Canada and this province called Alberta.

From that first call on Wednesday through visits to the diagnostic clinic and the amazing teamwork and customer service that I am experiencing right now after spending all day in emergency waiting for a bed through to finally the amazing attention to detail caring shown by the people in the unit I have been where I placed in an isolation ward which no one can come into without wearing a mask.

As the nature of the infection is unknown, I am also being tested for HIV and Tuberculosis.

As a result of this I am in an isolation unit – kind of like solitary confinement for hospitals,

I am not writing this to elicit sympathy – it is what it is, is a strong part of my belief system – this is an infection and how it affects me has nothing to do with the infection and everything to do with me.

Instead I write this to remind us how really blessed we are to live in this wonderful country called Canada and this amazing province called Alberta.

From that first phone call on Wednesday through to the hourly nursing staff visits I am enjoying now, the professionalism, attention to detail and level of care exceeds any reasonable level of expectation.

My treatment is costing tens of thousands of dollars and when I to go there will be no bill in the mail.

I have shared in the past my frustration of people who criticize our system and whine about things like the cost of parking in hospital lots but after having listened to the lady in the
ER bed next to mine screaming through her cancer caused pain, then listening to her expressing gratitude to the nursing staff for their dedicated caring and having experienced (still experiencing) what can only be world-class health at its finest makes me proud to live in a country where such service is an inalienable right although, sadly, whining appears to be an inalienable right too

I was moved to my isolation cell around 10:30PM just in time to watch a news clip showing some politician criticising the Health System for something of other.

I will never stay quiet when I hear our health system attacked, regardless of which political party is in power.

The have the best.

Therefore we should be the most grateful.


Till we read again.

P.S. My book Life Sinks or Soars – the Choice is Yours is still selling well. Please visit us at www.lifesinksorsoars.com and let me know what you think.

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2 thoughts on “280. I almost blew it.”

  1. Hang in there Rael and thank you for your words. I have witnessed many other countries health care systems or lack of and being a nurse I often want to remind patients of how grateful we should be. I know your health will only improve with these grateful thoughts. Take care and thank you for another reminder.


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