Archive for July, 2010|Monthly archive page

Testing Out the New Blowers

In Uncategorized on July 23, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Our back steps....but it looks like the old quarter of New Orleans in this photo!

It needs to be said that I do not regularly play trumpet outdoors. This was a rare thing, and I am laughing because after just a few short strains a (drunken sounding) neighboring voice said, “Oh, make it stop!”  This is why I am laughing. (And I thought I was my own worst critic!!!)   I made a few more comical attempts at high C and then took it indoors, where it needs to stay for, oh, I’m not sure…. forEVER maybe?! This is not easy I think because of my wimpy lips (nothing to do with lung power folks).   Week to week improvement is slowly happening. I will not quit my “night-job” though…

Also, those of you who have followed the blog since the start may remember Tom describing my first good laugh with “the new blowers”: I had been drinking pop and eating pizza (healing foods if ever…) Anyhow, this culinary activity caused me to belch quite loudly. My laughter in response to that was the first really full laugh I’d had in years. After that it took the better part of a year for my laugh to truly become “mine” again.  At first after surgery it was still a curious thing: getting used to all the air was interesting and it didn’t always feel or sound like “my laugh”.  I  think now though it’s really “mine” again.  Anyhow, during those first two weeks recovering at the hospital, Tom would bring me DVDs to watch of one of our favorite British sitcoms (aka “Britcoms”) called The Mighty Boosh. Watching this program stoned on pain killers was a tripy and oftentimes fitting experience, and it was in these watching sessions that I had some more of those first laughs withe the new lungs. All this to tell you that I had the chance to meet one of the stars of The Mighty Boosh, Noel Fielding,  after his excellent stand-up comedy act in Toronto’s Just For Laughs Festival.  He was super charming and nice, and I told him his comedy had been among the first things to make me laugh after my transplant. He was amazed, and signed the back of my ticket. I think it’s wild, so I’m blogging it!

Noel Fielding of the Mighty Boosh signs my ticket!

A L’été!

In Uncategorized on July 20, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Hi Gang!  These months bring with them the summer issue of Whole Note music magazine, distributed here in music stores, libraries, concert halls, nightclubs, and who is on the cover?!  In this delightful article written by Ori Dagan, we talk not only about music, but about my transplant surgery.  I am really excited at this exposure since it’s a) the cover so more people will pick it up, and b) I consider music makers and listeners a very socially aware group, so with luck it will mean consents will get signed. I just heard about another brave and wonderful woman passing before transplant lungs could become available. This makes me so sad and keeps me determined to spread the word. (Live outside Ontario? Read the story on-line here.)

With a smoked meat sandwich.... CHEVAL BLANC beer on a hot day!

In other news, Tom & I flew the delightful Porter Air down to Quebec City for a few days.  The decision not to rent a car was a good one: the weather was fantastic, I took my runners and we walked probably 6 miles a day, up hills and stairs (85 of them in one go!).  We ate and ate and ate, and saw Cirque de Soleil, and drank “Cheval Blanc” beer, and went to concerts and ate some more. (Good textures in the QC food, & though I still can’t taste too much I still enjoyed it all!)  Looking at the architecture in the Old Ville, and hearing Tom order in French, eating french pastries for breakfast… well, it was like a mini European vacation!


In Uncategorized on July 8, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Henry, several summers ago poolside

I’ve had lots of people asking me  how I am doing in this forty + degree heat/smog in Toronto.  The answer seems to be that I am doing as well as a wimpy redheaded lass would be expected to do! That is, slightly drooping in the heat — tired from the air quality, but not — REPEAT– not winded, wheezing or coughing. It’s the strangest thing. And the bestest thing.

Oh, I still try and limit my outdoor times, but I’m still active. I wait until the oppressive part of the day is done and then around dusk I get all frisky:  I’ve been hearing & making lots of live music and taking dog for evening stretches with his new summer haircut. Gypsy had one very brief ride, but I cut it short mainly because I worried it was too hot for HER.

Plus, the best thing of all, FROLIC in the parental’s pool! I mean really frolic. How great to be bobbing around the pool, laughing and playing. Honestly, it was so much fun and I’m soooo grateful!

Miracles Happen!

In Uncategorized on July 6, 2010 at 9:17 pm

Yesterday I stopped by the day unit to get some blood drawn, and get my lung function updated.  It was just a touch higher than it has been in a couple of months… perhaps my trumpet playing is helping? (As of yet I can only play the first three notes of row-row-row your boat, but tom is already a bebop player….)

Anyhow, I digress. While I was on the 7th floor (which doubles as the transplant day-unit, but also the holding pen for transplant patients while they await surgery) I walked into the hallway to see none other than a fellow CFer on a stretcher about to be  wheeled to surgery for her transplant!   There she was looking so hopeful and excited, smiling bravely and waving hello. Oh. My. Gosh. It gave me goosebumps. I wished her luck & said some clumsy words of encouragement. I was worried I’d said something goofy, but I found out that her family took it as a good sign to see somebody like me standing there looking so healthy… as a sign of the future perhaps?! Seeing them all there at her bedside brought back a flood of memories and feelings to me.

Accidentally walking into this wonderfully exciting super charged moment reminded me all over again that MIRACLES DO HAPPEN and that lives can be changed for the positive out of tragedy.  Please PLEASE spread the word about organ donation and sign your consent if you haven’t already.

Happy Canada D-Eh!

In Uncategorized on July 3, 2010 at 4:15 am

Watching Fireworks in Waterfront Park, Toronto

Yesterday was Canada day.  After a lovely afternoon horse ride, a couple beers with friends, and a steak dinner, for the first time since I moved to Toronto Tom and I popped on bikes and cycled down to the park to watch the Ontario Place fireworks. The same park it used to take me a half tank of oxygen to walk across, Last night as I sat there combing the night sky for the first fireworks to begin, I recalled a day pre surgery when I came down with our dog Henry in my car. I’d used a fair amount of my tank to get from the car to the lakefront. I’d sat down under a tree to rest up for the walk back to the car but when I got back to the car I realized I had left my sunglasses under the tree I’d rested under. I hadn’t enough oxygen left to go back and retrieve the shades. I telephoned  Tom who came down and rescued my shades & my self esteem. It was a sad but determined  excercise for him in patient frustration at our situation. That was the summer before my transplant came. And last night I strode across the park, and lay down on a damp blanket flat on my back to adore the fireworks (as someone in the crowd joked, “everyone loves a good bang!”)… As I watched I quietly thanked my”lucky stars” for this gift. To be a “normal” Canadian watching the fireworks. Not coughing at the damp and cooling night air, not spitting up blood because I had  dared to lie flat on my back. Not like before. So I am grateful. To be Canadian. To be her citizen and benefit from our health-care system. To be alive and ooing and ahing at the fireworks display. To be riding my bike uphill on the way home, smiling.

Today was another beautiful ride in the wilds of Burlington.  I got bitten by three mosquitos which musn’t happen again as the immuno compromised body cannot fight off things like West Nile.  It’s long sleeves or lots of Deep Woods Off in my future! Sounds silly, but honestly, we are given a run-down on the new “hazards of life”, living in a transplant body, and believe it or not it is a risk.  I also have to wear sunscreen every single day of the year because we’re at greater risk of developing Cancers, and a fare haired gal like me? Primo Candidate for skin cancers.

On the topic of medical oddities… would you believe that my thirty two year old “maiden” mare is –how else to put this– lactating?  While grazing her the other day I noticed she was dripping milk. MILK! The vet says it’s likely hormones being affected by her reliance on medications that treat her symptoms of COPD (in horse-speak, “heaves”) .  It’s not sinister the vet thinks, and I’m jokingly calling her “big mama”.  She’s one perky wonderful pony though.  A very wonderful pony.  Speaking of wonderful ponies, I just watched a great documentary film called HORSE BOY, the story of an autistic boy who rides horses and finds relief of his symptoms when he takes a mountain trek to Mongolia, of all places.  A great  film about the determined human spirit, the unconditional love parents have for their troubled children, and of taking chances that pay off.