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The Setting Rays of the Sun

I can no longer trick myself into believing it is late fall; it definitely is starting to look like winter, the sun setting at around quarter-to-five. It makes the nights seem infinitely long, when I wake up to another gloomy, overcast afternoon, and see only a few hours of weak sunshine.The brilliant-sticky-cerulean-sky summer days, falling leaves, the neutral winter palette; the seasons change subtly here. One day you look outside and realize that the Earth has been rotating all this time and you never felt a shift beneath your feet. The shift is plainly visible in the vegetation and temperature.

I had such a wonderful time today with my dear friends’ Laura (same names!). We went to a new gluten-free (and a few vegan things) bakery called Origin’s. Most bakery’s that have token vegan options involve the “chocolate brownie/cake” in some form. I have developed a new appreciation for this delicacy, and had an amazing gluten-free vegan chocolate cupcake which was super yummy. We sat and giggled (we do a lot of that…) and swapped stories and news. There is nothing that wonderful friends can do for sick people…a miracle for sure. My ribs ache like I have been pummeled in the kidneys and sliced open between the ribs…I throb as though real blood were leaking from a wound. I can point to the spot with my finger. Agony. Its amazing what a little babesia will do for you…small, unobtrusive, then WHAM.

Had my needle expertly changed today. It pinches when I wiggle my shoulders…it feels like hands have been in my chest when I tighten the surrounding muscles, usually as a result of the pain elsewhere. Its a bad circle of events. I can’t quite shake the smell of chlorhexadine wipes from my blouse, nor the tang of nitrile gloves.

Picture this…

Speaking of gloves, I knit a pretty blue ambidextrous pair, and am currently working on a hat. I feel very professional with my four needles zipping around in a calm motion. I think my Gramma would be proud–> I learned from the best.

…All together now!

Cake cake cake!

Well, it was a considerable amount of work, but the carrot cake is currently cooling, and the kitchen is in complete chaos. I think we dirtied ever spoon and measuring cup we posses, plus a pot, several cans, a blender and many bowls. Wow. An all time record, I think.

Personally, I don’t believe in this nonsense about cooling a cake before you eat it. I mean, it is best straight from the pan, right? Gotta save this cake for ma birthday, though. Alas, it is a circular cake, which means you can’t even cut off one end without anyone noticing, like you can a rectangular cake! I ate some of the batter (don’t worry, it’s vegan), which was super spiced and delicious, but its not the same. I ate some of the hot frosting too (coconut cream!), and licked out all the bowls and spoons, so I think I have a pretty decent idea of what it will all taste like. Once the flavors settle I think it will be magnificent.

I have been busily searching for a recipe online that looked like it contained normal ingredients, low in sugars, and vegan. It was not easy, and it make me super hungry looking at all the pictures.

Today I also made the Phad Thai sauce required for tomorrows dinner. I “measure” with my nose, because I know how it should smell and how it should end up texture wise. A combination of (organic) ketchup, soya sauce, lime juice, corn starch, tamarind juices, and thai chillies. Fish sauce is usually a phad thai staple, but I used a little more soy sauce to cover that. Boy I just can’t wait to try it!
I am exhausted from all that hard work (Mum did all the real work, I just sort of supervised), and am ready to rest, contented that it will all taste delicious!

Get Lighted

A late-afternoon trip to the Butchart gardens today. We are certainly getting enough use out of those passes. Driving into the gardens, we watched happily as busloads of tourist started heading the other direction. As locals, we cheer the end of the season too, when the last cruise ship departs and the price of ice cream drops in the tourist district.

The light was just so- deepening the colors with moody undertones. Usually shooting in near half-light is bothersome, because pictures turn out under exposed, but I was lucky, and the last rays of the sun ended up casting an other-worldly glow through the thin petals, exposing the veins beautifully. Only a few people were left in the Rose Garden, which exposes some of the gardens less-noticed treasures; the sound of a light breeze through a tangle of leaves, a distant fountain, the restless shifting of unseen birds hidden amongst blossoms. I have trouble hearing sometimes, what with all the buzzing and white-noise filling my ears, so these are sounds are refreshingly tranquil. The sounds of flowers are soul cleansing, but sometimes I feel like there is a sound to sun-dappled flowers.


A rehearsal kind of takes the fun out of all the chaos of the real thing, but I still feel certain that at Wednesday night’s graduation, it will still be pretty crazy backstage.

The practice was a 2 hour ordeal today at UVic was very tiring. I had to move around quite a bit, which was difficult. The auditorium isn’t terribly accessible, by modern standards, with very steeply sloping ramps, and tons of heavy doors, and a few stairs in odd places. We had to walk outside all the way around the building to reach a ramp to the top!

I started a new drug a week ago and have been feeling really awful; IV Doxycycline. The IV ball looks the size of a DD cup, and has 400mg’s of drug. Eww.  My knees look perfectly normal, but from the way they feel they aught to be ballooned right out and be stuck with thick quilting pins. My bones feel they are a harbor for earthquake shock-waves to roll in.

Beautiful Butchart

No matter how long you live in a place, doing ‘tourist’ things is always fun! Butchart Gardens is acres and acres of greenery pruned to perfection by the +100 gardeners. It used to be a private estate, and part of it was a quarry, but it was turned into the ‘Sunken Gardens’. Even though it is quite far away, busloads of tourist come to see this attraction. Its peaceful…flowers wherever you look, blooming wildly in the springtime.

The gardens are quite hilly, and mostly accessible, although some of the steep inclines could not be called ‘ramps’. I love taking pictures. I stop more often than we walk, spending time just to breathe in the perfume of thousands of blooms and the smell of dirt. Its wonderfully peaceful. When the roses are in full bloom, it is magical and smells like you walked into a perfume factory. Its insane.

Thanks to SIDES (distance education), I have a pass to go to Butchart, so I can go for an hour and then come back another day! Always nice…can’t wait to go again!

Tea Parties!

The most fun and relaxed performance of the year is by far the Oak Bay Tea Party. It is a Victoria tradition: by the real sandy Willows Beach, rides are trucked in, lemonade is squeezed, and people with fried chicken and donuts in bikini’s crisscross in front of the stage, small children holding streamers and tickets.

Set Up…

We usually pick our favorite songs to sing, and have a blast, with no pressure on us at all, and the crowd is mostly of strangers who are half-paying attention! Its a festival, almost! It is also the last choir concert of the year!! Actually, it was my last GNS choir concert…ever.

3 Jazz Band boys doing the proper tourist thing: running into the freezing ocean!!!

It feels weird not to have choir anymore…it was such a huge part of my life. It was my great big tie to my old world, my tie to school and friends. Not like I don’t visit my school without that, or see my friends, but its nice to sing with everyone. It is like we are all speaking and responding, saying “Ahh, so this is what it’s all about. I see.” It was a reason to get up in the morning three days a week, something to focus on and strive for. How strange. I love getting older, but sometimes it feels like the void of things we are leaving behind is too great, and I will fall deep into its depths before I realize I have slipped and fell at all.

“April in Paris. That’s where I wanna be…”

It was such a blustery day today, that one would almost feel it was possible to be blown over.

I also am getting sick. Regular sick, for a change. My throat feels like a crazed feline has been using my larynx as a scratching post all day now. To be honest, I find the common cold extremely irksome, even with everything I’ve been through. We can send people to the moon, know whats in the center of the Earth, and yet the common cold defeats us. Typical. 

Choir this morning, but since we’re quite and thoroughly out-of-the-loop, the time had changed for 45 minutes later. Such is life though. I sat through the boys sectional in a daze that only a handful of pills and a sleep hangover can. But of course it was awesome to see everyone. Seeing them is sort of like stepping into a color movie from an old black-and-white silent film. Jarring, but in an OMG kind of way, if you follow me.

Lisa came with me to LifeLabs (gag. donation time. I feel like a good Samaritan. pity they can’t use the leftover blood). and then we whipped around the mall for awhile. I was feeling pretty shitty for the rest of the afternoon though. I’ve been having a barrel of laughs doing pretty much nothing.

I have some awesome news. First, please get a happy little image of me doing a complete victory dance with a little chant of ‘ra ra ra’, to go along with it. Apparently, I have finished all the ‘Provincially Mandated Thingies’ that I have to do for Math 11, so I am finished with that. Seriously, I can finally appreciate doing all that extra, annoying, hard work at GNS. Finally, some short-term pay-off. Not that I don’t like math. Because, really, I do. But only the math you can’t actually use (trig, calc, graph things!, geometry/angles). I’ll be sure to take more useless math as an adult grad, so no worries.

So now just history. That doesn’t seem to bad really. I’ve looked over the course work, but there are so much words that I can’t really think about and it makes my head hurt a little. I am going to meet with my teacher tomorrow, so that should be good. I’m just a little off the beaten track here. My Canadian history isn’t as good as it should be, but I’m moderately clear on WW 1 and 2.

The Interview

A student from the Island Medical program actually came to my house today for an interview! He was a really friendly first year student and the goal of the interview was essentially to learn that there is more to the patient than just symptoms and a diagnosis (I think).

If I could remember just how many times I have recited my medical history, I would be sick of it by now. Small blessings. I have gotten really good at it, it’s like a monologue I wrote, and have been practicing for years. We went through all that stuff again, but this guy was so…human and relaxed, I suppose, no white coat…and un-doctorly that I found it really easy. Being in a doctor office makes me so anxious and I find it difficult to breath surrounded by all those surgically white walls and people in scrubs and white coats and forms and hand sanitizer. Even thinking about it makes me breath faster. But anyways, it made a nice change being in the comfort of my home talking about all the terrible things that have happened. I don’t know what they do to students, but by the time they have become doctors, they seem a hell of a lot more heartless.

He was very interested in the controversy of Lyme disease, which is another well exhausted topic in this house. It is very difficult, even for us, to describe why doctors do not want to help us, or are unable to help us. It sounds like the most wacked out conspiracy ever.

I would encourage all Lyme ‘victims’  who are able, to check with their local universities/medical school and see if they do not have a volunteering program. It is amazingly rewarding helping these hardworking students, and it helps spread the word about Lyme disease to next generations doctors!!

More Students

Today we went to VGH (Victoria General Hospital) to be a guinea pig for the med students working at the Island Medical Program. It was pretty cool, actually. I mean, if there was no exam part necessary I could have enjoyed it a lot more, but…

There are only three medical students to a “guinea pig” – yah, thats how small our med program is! A grad class could be under 30 people! We went through history (when did you get sick, progression of symptoms…yadayadayada) with a special focus of ‘mental  status’. I feel a little crazy just saying those words! They asked a bunch of weird questions, to test different parts of my memory. It was alright, only I felt a little stupid when I couldn’t answer the questions. They also did a physical exam on me, which was, like, my leastest favorite thing ever.

I’m not sure if you have ever had a med student examining you, but let me tell you, count your lucky stars if you don’t get one who is vicious with the hammer. I had this one med student who took the words ‘hammer’ a little too seriously for a round rubber-edged disc on a bendy stick, and proceeded to use it as such.

But not today. Today they were all pretty decent with a hammer, and relatively good aim (ha). No bruises at any rate, so job well done! They also test muscle tone and the “poky-vs-soft” test (no idea what its called…but you get the idea). Anyways, I am so unbelievable zonked after that. I’m ready to hibernate!


Yesterday was not one of those days that, if I could remember it, I would look back with a warm/fuzzy feeling in my stomach. But I believe my patience and display of stoic behaviour (and diplomacy) could be looked back on fondly someday. When I learn how to change the damn needle myself, I will be able to laugh at this, certainly!

The day started out as one generally does, with sun rise over the cotton ball sky and all that sort of thing. General, when a smiling nurse enters the building while one is eating breakfast, quite frankly, one completely looses their appetite and thinks “what a jolly good way to start the day”, but perhaps with a few more choice words. 
The lady was very nice. A golf clap for being nice, definitely, and 2 gold stars for trying. I am afraid that is the end of the accolades. 
I recognize that a ‘Huber’ needle is rather tricky, but we figured that a nurse could handle taking it out. Well…well, not quite.  She certainly tried hard enough, which was un petiet peut uncomfortable, but what can one say? We (well she did all the work) to get the damn needle out, and then back in again for an hour. We had to call two different doctors in the USA in order to walk her through how to get it out, and back in. Grr. Eventually (apparently) I politely asked if there was someone on her team who would be able to do this. I tried not to be mean, but by this point I was very put out by all the pinching of my the tender, recently placed catheter. I was very annoyed that we had to go to ER in order to get the needle taken out, which is actually a very easy thing. We had to go through the whole ER thing, and FINALLY they did put in a new needle in, a procedure that took perhaps a minute, but was all day coming. I was feeling particularly bad on that day too, which didn’t help matters. 
Well its in. Needle numero dos. I like it as much as the first, maybe more *rolls eyes*. 
Honestly, it isn’t that bad. Or painful really. The idea of having a needle in my chest revolts me so much. I would love disassociate/disown the right side of my chest, but such things have technical problems. 

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