Peter Shares A Lois Update

This week’s column is going to be a little unusual, in that I will not be sharing any music. I suggest that you go through some older columns of mine or Pat Blythe’s or Frank Gutch Jr, for example, and you will find great music to listen to. There is a lot of amazing music being made all the time, and it’s not on mainstream radio. That doesn’t mean that it’s not worth seeking out and listening to! Check out “Ivory Hours” or “James Blonde” or “Vajra” or “Hotel Mira” or “Jailbirds”, to name just a few!(Your ears will thank you.)

The last two weeks have been extremely difficult for me. My dear Lois retired in May 2015, but has had some health issues to deal with since, including a heart attack and a hysterectomy. Recently she has been experiencing pain in her abdomen and we were told that her cancer has returned. They have been treating her with medication. On March 20th, she went to Emergency at Toronto General Hospital complaining of abdominal pain. We arrived at 2110 a). She was admitted to hospital the next day. She stayed at TGH until Friday, March 29th, when she was transferred to the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, where she remains.

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of strenuous and exhausting activity for me, as I have been pinballing between my place, her place and the hospital (s). Time has flown, stood still, gone off on a tangent and Life has generally not been what I expected when I signed on. I want to focus on one day in this period, March 30th, 2019, to illustrate the tragi-comedic side of this whole situation.

I should note here that Lois is facing her fears and uncertain future with a calmness, grace and gravitas

which makes me ashamed to admit when I get tired.

I woke up on the 30th at about 1100 b). CoCo, Lois’ cat, needed food which would have to be purchased at a veterinarian’s. I checked online and saw that CoCo’s vet office closed at noon. No way I could get there in time, however, Reg’s vet was open until 1700, so I devised “a cunning plan”. I called CoCo’s vet and asked what she eats. Of course the name of the food was long and hard to remember, and I had nothing to write it down with c). but I remembered enough to be able to then call Reg’s vet to enquire as to the availability and price of CoCo’s food. The young girl I spoke to asked me my name and I gave it. She looked up my file and said that Reg didn’t eat that kind of food. I replied “It’s for my girlfriend’s cat. My girlfriend is in the hosp..” and then I broke down and cried on the phone.

If she was fazed by this unusual reaction, she didn’t show it, but said the food was available and gave me the price. So out the door I went, with some assorted goods and chattels. It was raining as I trudged to the bus stop. Eventually the Runnymede bus arrived, I boarded it, got off at Dundas St, hit the ATM and plodded to Jane Street through the rain. I got to the bus stop, but as none of the Hollies were around, I had to stand in the rain. The bus finally deigned to appear, I got on and rode to Annette St, where I got off and limped the 300 metres to the animal hospital through the rain.

Upon enquiring at the desk, I was informed by the person on duty that she was not sure if they had that particular food in stock. Beginning to feel somewhat akin to Michael Douglas’ character in “Falling Down”, I leaned over and spoke in a very low voice. “I called here less than an hour ago and was told that it is in stock. I am here to buy it and I am not in a very good mood right now.” The food was produced, money exchanged hands d)  and I felt badly, so I apologized to the young girl, explaining that I was sorry that I had sounded harsh, but that my girlfriend has cancer and is hospitalized. She chirped “Have a nice day!” As I turned to leave, one of those yappy little dogs started to growl at me. I briefly considered growling back at the beast, ala Curly the Stooge, but thought it better to exit the crowded waiting room pronto e).

Back out into the rain I went, and trekked to the bus stop. In due course I was on the subway. I stopped at Bay Station, bought some beer and stumbled to Lois’, where I dropped off the bags and the book and fed CoCo. Now the subway which I would normally take to the hospital was closed, but there were shuttle busses available. I decided instead to take the Yonge line to College Station, from whence I could take the streetcar to University Avenue and walk down to my destination. I got to Yonge and saw that the next train was due in 6 minutes. I went into the washroom, did what one does in the washroom came out and the sign still said 6 minutes. Furious, I took the subway back to St George Station and prepared to throw myself on the mercy of the shuttle bus people.

In the end I did get to the hospital. One of Lois’ friends was there, but she left after about an hour. Lois and I had a good talk. She decided after some time that she wanted a chocolate bar. My baby wants a chocolate bar? My baby gets a chocolate bar! So off I went into the rain.

The only problem was that due to the late hour, all of the surrounding hospitals’ gift shops were closed. I walked up to College Street and as far west as Duncan St, passed lots of bars and fast food joints, but no convenience stores f). I walked east as far as Gerrard St and Bay St before finally finding a 24 hour grocery store and accomplishing my goal.

I returned to Lois’ room with the prize. She asked me where I’d been. When I told her, she said that I should have forgotten about it and just gone back to her room. I asked if she didn’t think she was worth a little extra effort and when she said no, I said that I had a vote in this situation too. She expressed her fear that I might get tired of running around for her, and she wondered aloud what she would ever do without me. I told her that I would never turn my back on her because I value our relationship. Her mind at ease, she put the treasure away and we talked for some time, just enjoying each other’s company.

At length,I had to leave, to go to her place, so after a fond goodbye, out I went back into the rain. A shuttle bus pulled away just as I got to the stop, but I wasn’t worried, as I could see another one coming north. There was a semi parked in the curb lane just before the stop which obscured my vision, so when I was able to see the bus up close, I was also able to see that its destination board proudly proclaimed “Sorry…out of service”.

After a while another bus did finally materialize. (Did I mention that it was raining?) I entered Lois’ apartment at last, looked at the bag of laundry and looked at my bag of beer. I had absolutely nothing left in the tank, nothing physically, emotionally, intellectually or spiritually.  An executive decision was required, and it was duly made. I decided to defer the laundry until a later time g).

I drank beer, watched the Raptors handle the Chicago Bulls with ease, and, to my delight, witnessed the sad sack Ottawa Senators beat the Maple Leafs. “…And so to bed…”

As I’ve previously said, tell that special someone that they are special to you, and show them by your actions. I have been spending as much time as I can with Lois and keeping people updated on Facebook. And you, you people of Facebook have been tremendous. We appreciate your good wishes and kind thoughts.

Yesterday I was helping her out in a very intimate situation. She looked somewhat abashed to be seen needing help with this situation, so I said earnestly “I have never loved you as much as I do right now!” Later on, at the cancer doctor’s, she said that she had really appreciated my saying that to her.

My dear Lois, whatever hand Life deals you, you will not have to play it alone! I promise you that.

See you soon

  1. a) 9:10 P.M.
  2. b) One bright side of this is that I now have no trouble getting to sleep.
  3. c) The downside of retirement is that I now have to buy my own pens.
  4. d) A bag of food each for Reg and CoCo costs $150 combined.
  5. e) Based on the fact that my clothes were sodden, my wet white hair and beard made me appear to be channelling an Old Testament prophet , I had a woman’s purse over my shoulder and was carrying both a bag of cat food and a green garbage bag full of dirty laundry. Discretion IS the better part of valour sometimes, although the You tube video might have been funny.
  6. f) Darrell Vickers, I would even have settled for “Kim’s Convenience 😉.
  7. g) In the interests of journalistic transparency, the exact phrase I used was “F&$k it, I’m having beer!” (Note the careful wording so as not to limit my potential intake!)


2 Responses to “Peter Shares A Lois Update”

  1. been there, Peter… and I know what a stress and strain that level of ‘taking care of business’ is… Remember to take care of yourself as well .. you don’t want to wind up in the bed next to her from exhaustion! 😉

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