Sunday, March 12, 2006

Success = failure?

I didn't wake up until about 10:30 today, so despite my change of heart that maybe I would pick Tammy up, that made it too late for getting her to church so I made myself a hot breakfast instead, followed by more housework and laundry. About 3:30 I had a new plan, I would go to the gym, then grab Tammy and take her for a visit to our friends Yas and Anne's place. Once I got to the gym though, I felt kinda bad about the abbreviated workout I did on Friday and thought I would do it up right. I started on the bike as usual but did my cardio routine instead of the usual short warmup, then the weights, then headed out for my first jog of the year. I took it cautiously and just did sets of 2 minutes jog, 3 minutes walk, and thought I'd do the short loop up Albert, along Bearinger and down the trail at Westmount back to Columbia. It turns out that when that much of each set is walking, the loop is anything but short. It was a 55 minute jog! By the time I got showered it was 6:00 and the gym was closing, and I thought I should head home first to have another meal before seeing Tam. Of course by the time I got home and had some dinner, it was 7:30 and that meant I wouldn't be getting to the home until 8:00 -- too late to get Tam out anyplace. On top of that, I am wiped out! It's been 2.5 hours since my workout and it still feels like my limbs are humming whenever I'm at rest. So I did it, I went the whole weekend without seeing Tammy. Back in the fall having a weekend to myself felt liberating, today it just feels like failure. I went nowhere, I did nothing... why couldn't I have made some time for her? Sigh.

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Saturday, March 11, 2006


So wednesday night was another support group meeting and I phoned the home during the day to let them know that I'd be picking Tammy up around 6:30 or so. When I got there she was dressed and ready to go, which was good, but I had to change her first which took extra time. After that I was having trouble getting her to cooperate with transferring to the chair and started to lose patience, when she told me that she was tired because they had never fed her dinner. I went down the hall to check with the nurse, who made some inquiries and found out that yes, they hadn't fed her. Apparently the evening staff were told that I was taking her to dinner. This really pisses me off because they did the same thing to us on Valentine's Day. At no point when I'd called ahead, either time, did I say that I was taking her to dinner. In fact on wednesday night, I specifically said that I was taking her to the support group. It's not like I can even take her to a restaurant anymore so what the hell were they thinking?

Anyways, she was so wiped out that I could barely transfer her into the chair and get her coat on, and I asked her if I should put her back in bed and head to group alone, or take her home and feed her. She couldn't even get an answer out, and after repeating the question several times and getting more and more frustrated, she finally managed to say "I'm hungry" again. Well I couldn't just leave her there after that. It took some doing, but I got her loaded into the car and home for some soup (the easiest thing to feed her when she's that wiped out).

I was hoping that maybe we could still make it to group for the end of the meeting, since Tammy hasn't been since November and really enjoys it. December was the christmas dinner, then she missed January and February due to the infection. It was not to be though, I had to change her again when the soup was ready, and then again when we were ready to leave. Group was over when I finally got her back into the car, so we just went back to the nursing home where I got her ready for bed, changed her again and tucked her in. After that I was completely wiped out.

I'm glad I spent the evening with her instead of leaving her alone, but after all that I'm not sure if I'm going to see her this weekend. I spent the day today catching up on housework (I finally fixed the vacuum and vanquished the months-old layer of cat hair and dust bunnies that was bumming me out), reading (back up to date on magazines now too), and processing the mail pile (more fucking bills, yay!) Getting all that stuff caught up on energized me a bit, but I still feel too wiped out to see her tomorrow.

I think it's more mental now than physical. I was out with some friends last night and ended up dropping them off at Roxxanne's, the local strip club. A year ago I was there A LOT and got to know a bunch of the girls, but in the last six months or so it's all seemed rather pointless and I've stopped going. I couldn't believe my friend Matt though, he's got the hots for a waitress there and knows she has a boyfriend, but he played it so cool it was just unbelievable. On our way out he stopped to say goodbye to her, and she said "My boyfriend's gonna be here soon." He just laughed, pulled her close and lifted her skirt; and she totally ate it up. I've got a strong feeling that her boyfriend won't be, for long, or at the very least that she's going to cheat on him with Matt. A while ago I'd have scratched my head at that and probably would have been pissed off at Matt, now I think it's just nature at work.

I started getting these Double Your Dating newsletters about a year and a half ago. They seemed like spam, but they were the longest most well written spam I've ever seen and I haven't unsubscribed from them (in fact they're legit enough that I suspect a friend signed me up as a favour). Anyways, they talk a lot about confidence, attitude, practice (even Gretzky wouldn't be Gretzky without it), and the fact that attraction is not a logical choice. Last night I saw proof of that in action and it was inspiring.

Also depressing. I love Tam and I'm staying with her to the end, but there is almost nothing of a relationship left between us. I feel completely alone, even when I'm with her, and it's probably at the root of my insomnia. I just wish that I could do something about it. I've never been good at meeting women, for the most part I've been so convinced of failure that I didn't even bother to try (a self-fulfilling prophecy if ever there was one). If Tam hadn't asked me out, I'd probably still be single. Anyways, I don't want to go back to being that guy when she's gone, and reading those newsletters and hanging out with a guy like Matt are part of that, but I'm getting really sick of waiting and waiting. Someone at work revealed to me that they're expecting another child, and while I was happy for them it just made me feel sick, like "When's my turn?" I'm getting older and older and older and I'm just completely stuck in limbo. I've thought about dating somebody else, even been attracted to a person or two that had possibilities, but when it was time to make my move I hesitated, and lost. I don't know. What the hell's the answer to this? Your significant other is the one that you're supposed to confide in, to gain strength from. I can't do that here, and I just don't know how much longer I can take it without going completely nuts. Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck.

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Wednesday, March 08, 2006


I'd been into the house music scene for all of about a month last year when I went to Miami on business. Everyone I asked for a club recommendation said "CLUB SPACE!!!!!!!" so on Friday night I showed up there and it was $60 cover! Obscene but I figured what the hell, you only live once. I turned the corner and this line of 'colourful men' took my ticket, handed me a bag of condoms and lube and said "You'd better watth yoursthelf in there tonight, I hear the bathrooms are slippery!"


Yep, it was Men in Uniform night for Winter Party and straight dude had just bought himself into a gay rave! You know what though? My cash was gone and the music rocked so I partied my ass off anways... I even had a posse of cute little twinks from Alabama do some hunting for me, "We've gotta hook up the old guy or he'll get tired and go home!" Too funny.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Glimpse of the future

I got a call from a friend on thursday night that she'd be in town friday and in need of a shoulder, her grandfather was terminally ill and they'd be pulling the plug. I can't imagine how you deal with a thing like that so my answer was 'of course'. Things went 'as planned' friday evening and I drove her back to Toronto in the wee hours of the morning. We talked during the drive; which mainly means that I listened, nodded occasionally and tried to say 'supportive things' in response to rhetorical questions.

She didn't expect to be in the room when he died but he held on for a few hours and she ended up being one of the few strong ones in the family who was there throughout the ordeal. She was holding his hand when he literally took his last breath, and on the drive back to TO she was clearly struggling to determine if that was a good thing or a bad thing; right or wrong. I think it was a good thing and that subconsciously she must have wanted to be there; we discussed it at length but I don't think she's convinced. The funeral's today and she's back in town, I hope she gives me a call tonight just to let me know how she's doing. (I don't want to call her since she'll no doubt be with family all day.)

I didn't let it in at the time and went on about the rest of my weekend. Tammy and I went to church on sunday, then she was home with me for the day. When I started getting her ready to go back around 7:00 p.m. she put up a huge fuss about it being so early, which turned into an argument, which turned into us not talking to each other while I forcibly got her dressed and loaded into the car with only one sleave of her winter jacket on. By the time we actually got to the nursing home it was 8:15 and they were going to give her her shower. I went out to the car to fetch the feed pump, only to realize that it got left at home due to the argument. By the time I returned to the nursing home with the pump it was after 9:00 and it turned out that Tammy didn't get her shower because they'd already started snacks when we got there, and after that there wasn't enough time left before shift change for them to give her a proper one, and after handoff it would be too late. (See wife, there's reasons I try to get you back to the home when I do!) Of course I wouldn't get to start my dinner until almost 10:00, so it was a shoe-in that I ended up eating some crap from a fast food joint for supper, again. (KFC)

After dinner I thought a lot of black thoughts about how I just can't wait until all this is over, which lead me back to my friend's experience, and how Tammy's end will go. Will I be there? Will I be like my friend's aunt and have just stepped out of the room for a break? Will it be unexpected and I'll be at home, or at work, or god forbid at a club whooping it up? Will I be able to live with myself if I miss it? I hope I don't miss it; nobody should ever die alone. I love you hon.

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Friday, March 03, 2006

Tammy's comfort zone

So today we took delivery of Tammy's new chair. This has been a long time coming; if you recall we first started looking into it back in November. So now I am $2493.50 poorer while Tammy is about $2493.50 happier. There's such balance in nature. (Fuck nature!)

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Mobile crime scene

Well I was ready to leave for work this morning with no idea who my ride would be, so I called the police back to see if I could use my car. The desk guy kinda laughed and said that if they hadn't followed up by now, they weren't going to. So I drove my car into work... other than the steering wheel making funny noises from vinyl rubbing against out-of-shape vinyl it's fine, though while driving on the expressway I had this sudden mental image of the airbag deploying.

Just in case an officer does follow up, I'm leaving the trunk completely alone. I checked it yesterday using just the force of the key in the keyhole to open and close it to avoid touching anything, and the thieves ransacked the trunk too. My socket set was opened up and the stack of service receipts in the dealer folder dumped out, I guess they were looking for a spare key to steal it with. I figure the cops could get prints off of some of that stuff if they cared enough to bother.

I also noticed last night that the passenger side lock cylinder was also popped in, so if I locked my door by force of habit when I parked at work this morning, well, I'm locked out. I can always get in through the trunk if I did that, but then bye bye crime scene. Ah well, I highly doubt that the cops will be getting back to me.

As for damages, insurance will cover it so it's paid for on my own dime amortized over several years worth of rate increases; rather than on my own dime; so that's good. Oh wait...

Update: Yep, I locked myself out when I parked at work today; had to go in through the damned trunk. Watch me get charged with stealing now...

Thursday, March 02, 2006


I left for work at 9:05 today (not quite my ideal but a half hour closer to it) and as I approached my car I noticed that the key cylinder was punched in. Again. The fourth time in its ten year life. Opening up the unlocked door I found bits of my steering column lying on the floor -- this wasn't just a break in, somebody had actually tried to take it! I quickly checked my inside pocket for the faceplate of my stereo and then panic hit me; I'd forgotten to take it in with me last night. So I sat in the car and noticed that the stereo was still there and checked the glovebox. It was ransacked but there was the stereo faceplate, so I'd at least remembered to remove it from sight. (So then why didn't they steal my stereo?)

My brain started slowing down a bit and I called the police to file a report. When I gave my address it's obvious that they know my building (it's 18 stories and has it's own postal code) because they ask my unit number and if I'm parked in the underground or not. I tell them that yes I am and give them the other details, then they ask if I've reviewed the camera footage with the supers yet. I haven't, so they give me an incident number and tell me to call back to let them know if there was any evidence on the tape. We just got new supers yesterday, and when I talk to them they tell me that they don't think the cameras are recorded because there's no tape in the VCR, and they were given no instructions regarding it from the previous supers. Fuck! I know they used to record the cameras because I reviewed the tape three years ago when my car was broken into -- it really pisses me off that they don't do it now. (But what should I expect from the people that wouldn't clean the carpet their servicemen messed up, and then had the nerve to complain to me about it?)

The supers then volunteered some extra info, apparently another car was actually stolen last night! So here I am sitting at work without a car, having bummed a lift off a friend, because it's possible that the police may actually want to dust my car for prints due to the other theft. An officer is going to call me back about that, but it's been four hours now and I haven't heard from them yet. Sigh.

And I was supposed to be driving friends up to Keswick tonight...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006


Yes, I haven't written much about how Tammy's been doing lately. I keep thinking that I will but as time distances me from the various events they'll only become tougher and tougher to write about. Part of that is because I've joined a gym. I'm sick of being an insomniac who struggles to wander into work at 10:00 a.m., then leaves at the end of the day without any real feeling of accomplishment despite what I may or may not have actually done during the day. I can't change many of the circumstances that surround me but I can change myself. My hope is that going to the gym will energize me during the days and let me sleep for real at nights. The first four weeks have yet to accomplish that, though I am feeling somewhat better about myself. I've gained weight (fuck!) but I'm hoping that's just muscle and that it will help me lose weight in the long run. (Dumb facts: 1 lb of fat burns 3 calories a day, 1 lb of muscle burns 50-70 calories a day.) Last night something truly weird happened. I went to bed before 11:00, woke up at 7:00 this morning and made it into work for 9:00. Yes, I know! Really!

What else... Tam's infection is gone. Oh wait, I covered that. But where I left it was that I tried to have her home overnight and it just didn't work out. The following weekend I went for daytime only. I agonized a bit over picking her up (there's always a huge sense of dread these days) and didn't manage to do so until about 11:00 a.m., but had her home and we watched something-or-other on tv and things were relatively okay. She still had the catheter but it didn't seem to be working, then by 3 or 4 in the afternoon it was clear that it flat out wasn't. She was 'bypassing' (use your imagination) and in a considerable amount of pain. I took her back to the nursing home and we informed the staff who promised to look into it right away, but when you've got 1 nurse in a wing of about 30 patients, right away is a relative term. I think it took a half hour or more for them to get to her, and instead of removing the catheter all they did was attempt to unblock it, which seemed to succeed at first but they wanted to observe her for a few hours after that to be sure. I stayed with her for that time and after the initial volume that filled the collection bag there wasn't anything else. I left her around 10 or 11 as they were beginning to change the catheter. About bloody time.

I was completely drained and didn't go back to see her until wednesday night. She still had a catheter, but the rash that had been clearing well on sunday was worse again and it seemed obvious to me that the catheter was still blocking, and that she was bypassing. My theory is that when you have a catheter, they assume that briefs don't need changing except for the occasional #2. If that catheter is blocking and you're bypassing a lot, then suddenly your skin is in near continuous contact with, well, you know. I think that the catheter was fine when she was bedridden with C. Difficile, but once she was up and around in her chair again there was way too much tugging on that stupid little tube for it to work properly. I told them this and the next time I saw her the catheter was gone, though unfortunately the rash has not healed up one bit since. It seems that having that tube in there for so long has destroyed any remnant of muscular control that she still had. Up to the point where she got the feeding tube, she'd pee about as much and as often as any of the rest of us, she just didn't know it until it was too late (hence the briefs). Now she pretty much trickles all the time. When I have her at home I can change her once an hour, and that plus the construction of the brief would probably be enough to keep her comfy, but at the nursing home she just doesn't get changed often enough. She can't push the call bell so it's up to them to check on her regularly, and now that needs to be a lot more regularly than it was. I think the solution is for them to change her on a schedule instead of 'as necessary', and I've been meaning to call the director of care about this for at least the last two weeks now, but that means calling between 9 and 5 when my brain just never thinks about such things. Typing this now just prompted me to set a reminder on my Treo to nag me about this tomorrow -- hopefully that will do the trick.

Man, so many more weekends of Tamness to catch everybody up on. The following weekend we did a saturday day, and other than having to change Tam a lot more than I'm used to, we had a great day. Probably the best day I've had with Tam in the last year. She wanted to see Eight Below that night but it wasn't open yet so we saw Brokeback Mountain instead. A good movie, a really good movie; yet somehow didn't seem to be as good as all the hype it's gotten. I just didn't see the love between those two guys until the very end of the movie. They were hugging, having sex, and engaging in angst-ridden dialog but it just didn't ring true with me. Either the actors didn't pull it off or I'm just too straight to appreciate what was there. Although I have a number of gay friends I've never seen any of them in relationship mode, maybe that was it. Regardless; at the end of the movie even I felt the love and it was hugely moving. Good flick.

Valentine's day went well. I brought flowers to the nursing home and we had to hunt a bit for a vase (a lot of stuff disappeared for disinfection while she was in isolation, and unlabelled items didn't always make it back), but by 7:30 we were heading home for a visit. While in the car Tammy complained of being hungry -- apparently my message to the day staff that I was taking Tam home for Valentine's after supper was translated to the evening staff as my taking her home for supper, and they hadn't fed her. At 8:00 we were home and I was changing her (which included a funniest home videos moment, so then I was changing the bedding), at 8:30 I started dinner, at 9:00 I started to feed her, at 9:45 I was changing her again, at 10:30 we arrived back at the nursing home, and finally at 11:00 I was heading back home. Despite all that, in the end it was a great day and I didn't much care (yet apparently still remember).

That thursday we had another significant event as Tammy was finally baptized into the Catholic church. My feelings on that are mixed, but it was a good day. A private service was held in the nursing home chapel at 2:00, followed by mass at 2:30 at which Tammy also celebrated her first communion. (Not her actual first because the lay ministers that bring communion to the nursing home have given it to her previously, not knowing that she wasn't a Catholic; but certainly her symbolic first.) I don't believe in religion but something rather amazing did happen at her first communion. These days it's extremely difficult for Tammy to communicate, she's typically very quiet and speaks in halting sentences that are increasingly impossible to comprehend. Even if you ask Tammy to repeat something, she'll repeat it exactly the same un-intelligible way the second and third times around, leaving you no better off. When it came time to say the Our Father during the communion celebration though, Tammy recited it loudly and clearly, every single word. I know that she's prayed a lot with my mom in the last several months and that's probably why, but still, I couldn't keep from tearing up.

That weekend we did sunday at home again and saw Eight Below before heading back. Another good flick, though afterwards I read the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and most critics didn't seem to like it as much as I did. I think March of the Penguins ruined them for it; a few even complained that Disney threw it out there to capitalize on MotP fame. (I don't know about that, I suspect Eight Below was filming before anyone knew what a hit MotP would be.) I do have to agree with them about the lead actor though, he just didn't sell the emotion to me. Fortunately the nature scenes more than made up for Paul Walker's shortcomings. Anyways, yeah, that made two normal happy weekends with Tam in a row. I hate to say it because it underscores yet another loss, but I think that having her at home just for daytimes has really become key to having quality time with Tam again.

This past weekend we headed to a concert at the church on saturday night, but apparently when the St. Mark's parish bulletin says there will be a "Benefit Concert for the Sacred Heart Conference in the church hall", they mean the church hall at Sacred Heart, not the one at St. Mark's. I really think they could have worded that better because we weren't the only ones who showed up to the wrong place. Anyways... when we missed it Tam said that she wanted to go to church on sunday morning, so I tucked her back in at the nursing home and we made it to church the next day. It meant that I had to be responsible and not see three extended Deko-ze birthday sets in a row (I'd done Footwork on friday night and had hoped to do the Gallery@Guv on saturday night followed by Comfort Zone sunday morning), but that saved me a lot of money and we had a great visit at mom & dad's after church as well.

Now finally, the tiles. They haven't arrived yet so my Tiling with Bonnie plan didn't work out on saturday morning, but that's probably just as well because I didn't get back from Footwork until 7:30 a.m. and I slept most of the day before heading to the abortive concert attempt with Tam. I called Home Depot today (shit, yesterday now) and was told that they should, should, be arriving today. We'll see.

So that's it -- you're updated. And I will once again be late for work tomorrow. Today.

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