Weak in the Knees

Get off the elevator, turn right. The door is in the corner. Turn the handle and open it. Walk into that waiting room. 

Or just stand in front of the door, looking at the list of names. Trying to breath and compose yourself. That’s ok too. Tell the receptionist why you are there. Try not to think about all the other times. Sit in the waiting room.

*Would you mind if I pretended we were somewhere else
Doin’ something we wanted to?

Sit in the waiting room for over an hour. Telling myself I had been the emergency. I had been the woman they called over from the hospital for. The woman that made that doctor fly out his office door, leaving other, healthy women, waiting.

He came in, asked me some questions. He called me by my name but didn’t recognize me. My hair is longer, a different colour. I am slimmer. I dress better.

He talked to me while he read my chart. I waited for the moment. When he got far enough down the chart. You can’t deliver all that many babies that die half an hour after birth. You can’t have all that many pre-eclamptic women heading towards congestive heart failure. You can’t have all that many habitual aborters.

Sit on the bed, in your paper gown, with a sheet over your legs. It’s been so long that you forgot to bring socks. Wait for the look. It’s coming. 

Slide down the bed. It’s called the lithotomy position. Put your feet in the stirrups. Stare at the ceiling. 

Would you mind if I pretended I was someone else
With courage in love and war?

The last time I saw him was in emergency. They called him over yet again. They used to do that. They would send me to whatever ob/gyn was on call in emerg, and that doctor would pull up my chart, and then they would say “let’s just get Mayo over here, shall we?” The last time, the time I was 9 weeks along, he came in and told me that there was no medical reason for a d&c, but he had OR time and this could be all over in 20 minutes. He put his hand on mine and waited.

Para 5. Gravida 0.

I used to think that’s what I was
But now this lyin’ hurts too much
And I don’t know what for.

We tell ourselves we can do anything for a short period of time. I stood on the verge, I called forth life and it left me every time.

And I did this for almost 3 years.

It’s just a bit of time. You can do anything for a bit of time.  

I’m weak in the knees for you
But I’ll stand if you want me to
My legs are strong and I move on
But honey I’m weak in the knees…

*Serena Ryder, Weak in the Knees, If Your Memory Serves You Well, 2006

Posted in Baby Loss | Leave a comment

And we should be fixed

To be clear . . . .

When I rule the world every server console will look exactly the same. Always.

Now – does someone want to leave me a test comment?

Posted in Feats of Wonder | Leave a comment

Getting Badly Spammed

Trying to fix it. I’ve turned off comments in the interim.

Posted in Evil Corporations | 3 Comments


Our foot of snow from last weekend is mostly melted. The sun rises earlier and earlier, as we head towards the equinox. I’m typing this at the office and the sun is absolutely pouring in my office windows.

I met with the psychologist on Wednesday. On Tuesday I did a quick call with the Occupational Therapist to review the rehab stuff I did in Jan and Feb. Last week was the neurologist.

In the middle of January, I didn’t know what was wrong. I honestly didn’t. I knew that I was overwhelmed, crippled really. I couldn’t point to a single thing that was really wrong, other than everything. I showed up at the psychologist’s office and all I had to say was “I’m broken. I can’t live like this”. It’s a terrifying thing to say “I have no answers. I don’t even have good questions.”

The quick call with the OT – I looked at the goals I set and realized that I had achieved them. I met with the psychologist, and I thought about how much better I had gotten at self care. It’s not even thought. I could point to things – it was a quiet at work and I was tired, so I left early. I went to go buy a dress and when I tried on the smaller size and could hear my mother’s voice in my head telling me I looked “too curvy”, I could tell that voice to shut up/

I’ve said no, a lot. No, I’m not doing that, no, I’m not going to let you treat me that way. No, that’s not what I need.

It’s better now. I’m better now.

Posted in Learning Life | Leave a comment

They first make mad

I like to think of myself as a clever person. I like to think that, having knit off and on for most of my life, I’m a bit good at it. I like to think that I’m adept at the whole knitting thing. I like to think, when I make mistakes in knitting that I make interesting mistakes.

I have been knitting a baby sweater. It’s sort of from a pattern, but I’m not using the same wool, the same needles and I had no hope of reaching gauge, which is a tricksy and random sort of thing anyway. I had done some math and I had measured things, and I have to say the back was exactly right.

I was 8 rows left on the front of the sweater, which meant that I was in the home stretch. I was a bit concerned about the amount of the contrast wool I had left, but I figured if I knit really, really quickly the ball wouldn’t notice that it was running out I would be able to scrape past the binding off with a few inches to spare.

That was probably the issue there, you know. I was so worried about running out of wool (and having to run to the store and match dye lots for 2 meters) that I failed to notice the other, larger problem.

Which was a larger problem. Literally a larger problem.

The front of the sweater – the one that I had 8 rows to knit on? It was fully 2 inches larger than the back.

Those the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad.

Posted in Knitting | 3 Comments

Blah Tuesday

  • It snowed almost a foot on the weekend. This after the snow was almost gone.
  • It snowed some more last night.
  • Since Thursday we have had about 4 hours of sunlight.
  • I really do hate this time in spring.
Posted in Salmagundi: A collection of various things | Leave a comment

Moonlight on Oceans – Redux

My life has been so much like the rocks on the beach, almost drowning as the ocean washes over me each time. It has been an exhausting struggle to put one foot in front of the other. Tonight, I stood above the ocean, and saw the waves not just wash over the rocks, but play and dance on the shore as well. I saw the beauty of the moon on the water, and the size of the ocean, and realized that I am not the only rock on the shore, and the ocean is much bigger, and much more beautiful than I ever realized. I looked at the stars above me, and realized that I am surrounded by a million tiny points of light. I understood a bit, that a human heart, a mother’s heart is so much larger and deeper than I will ever know, and it heals in ways I do not fully understand. Joy is so much more than sorrow. – March 21, 2008

So I wrote on Gabe’s due date 7 years ago after staring at the ocean below the Hearst Castle in California.

Jamaica, Hawaii, Florida, California, Vancouver, Victoria, Tofino, Calais and Dover. 

All of the places in the world I have looked for truth between sea foam and sea sand and all of the ways the ocean has called to me; reminding me that I am small and it is great. All of the times that I have stood on beaches and been almost capsized. Arisen, sputtering, drenched in salt water, barely able to stand.

This is the way of grieving – we remember who we were and try and figure out who we are becoming. I thought, after the sudden break that was Gabriel here and not, that there would come a time when grief would leave me be. It would do the work of trying and tempering me, leaving me fully formed.

The ocean does not know it is the ocean. It does not know it is full of life, it does not need to know the way of tides. It simply is. It has no master plan and relies on the inexorability of time and mass and volume. Ocean will wear down rock, I have seen it.

And the sun will leave a crimson trail as it sets. Sometimes, as it passes the horizon, there shall be a green flash. The moon shall ride, leaving a trail of white across still water.

And the waves will dance and play.

And the waves will dance and play.

Posted in Baby Loss, Learning Life | Leave a comment

MS Update

Well, it’s been about a year since my diagnosis, and that means it’s time for another thrilling visit to the Neurologist. It’s like going to Winnipeg – cold, a bit dreary, with spurts of activity and some very nice people. (And hopefully no food poisoning). 
The Good: 
  • Generally speaking I am doing extraordinarily well. 
  • The neurologist ran through the standard neurology work up and he’s also very pleased with how I’m doing. 
  • My hair has stopped falling out.
The Challenges: 
The drug I am on (Tysabri) is an extremely effective and powerful drug, but not without risk. 
  • The drugs make me pretty sick. 
  • The fatigue is still a thing. Working less, having naps and structuring my time helps. I’ve had to say no to a lot of things I used to say yes to, and that has been very hard on relationships and my self-esteem. 
  • I tested positive for a virus called JC. In some rare cases, on Tysabri, you can develop a fatal complication called PML (Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy). If you have JCV, you can get PML. For now my viral load is very low, but I will have to be closely monitored. 
  • If my viral load gets too high, they will have to pull me off the Tysabri. This is not a great outcome, because if you remember from last August, my disease is quite a bit more aggressive and I have a lot more lesions than anyone is comfortable with. The tysabri seems to be doing a great job of holding things in check and allowing me to get on with my life. There aren’t any other drugs out there that do this as well as Tysabri. 
  • The magazine’s at the neurologists are still out of date. In fact, they are even more out of date than they were last August! 
The Next Steps: 
  • Another MRI with contrast (so an hour in the machine).
  • Regular tests to make sure that my JCV load doesn’t get too high. 
  • Keep on with the Tysabri until I can’t. That day will come, but we hope not for another few years. 
  • Reminding all of you that might be inclined to google PML – yes, it’s a rotten thing, but the incidence is rare and I’m being very closely watched! I know from experience, this is not the disease to google at 3 am when you can’t sleep! 
  • Another MS Walk on Sunday May 24, organized by Travis. If you want to walk with us, register with Team Spitters. If you want to donate, here’s the link. If you have donated, thanks very much!
Posted in MS Gets on Your Nerves | 1 Comment

This Is

I was sitting in my therapist’s office a week last Wednesday and I told her that I have been grumpy.

Not mean, not vicious, just, well, cranky.

Go too slow in traffic? I’m the one behind the wheel cursing at you. Bad service at a restaurant? I’m glaring and not tipping. I’m a bit too quick with the sharp reply.

I miss my son more. The recent birth of a baby threw me. My nephew showing me his baby album left me with a lump in my throat.

I am quieter. A bit more sensitive. It’s easier to hurt me. I seem to grit my teeth a bit more and try and smile. It’s a bit harder to look on the sunny side of things.

I told the therapist it was concerning me. I’m not normally grumpy. I’m actually pretty happy, if I take the events of this year away. I’m pretty optimistic. I will always miss my son, but I get through most of my days without incident.

Lately I feel weighed down.

I had a dream last Saturday while napping. I was in a castle, my mother, Mr. Spit all of my nieces and nephews in one room. I turned a corner and found a magical place. I came flying back, tugging on my mother’s arm, told her that she had to come and see. We stood on a draw bridge, watching flags in the breeze, sunshine and the ocean in the distance. For a moment, she was really there again.

The weight in my life has a name.


I miss her still.

Posted in The language of families | 2 Comments

Got Something

I finished a project yesterday. This was the Winnipeg project. The one that made me tear my hair out, gave me food poisoning, bad hotels, rotten meals and heartburn.

This was one of the projects where there was no connection with the client. I finished up, they said “thanks” and I said “yep” and we both went our separate ways. It’s not that I did a bad job. We delivered what we said we would. No one was unhappy.

It was kind of a “got nothing project”.

There was something though.

The ability to walk into a colleague’s office after the final presentation, tell her I was done and get the biggest hug good-bye.

In the midst of my questioning my ability to care for others, as I think that I am maybe a terrible friend, I realized  . . .

That’s not nothing.

Posted in Flying with Warthog Air | 1 Comment