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I fell off the wagon at G on the A to Z blog challenge. So here it is G... I am GRATEFUL this Easter Sunday for the decicion that my God guided me to. Here is My Easter Story
I guess you could say that today is the anniversary of the first day of the rest of my life... It was on Easter Sunday, April 16, 2006 that when I woke up to a beautiful sunny Sunday morning, I was in a quandary as to whether I should go to church or take my first bicycle ride around the country lanes. Should I go to church and then ride in the afternoon or miss church and dress like a Tour d' France rider and hit the back roads around Armstrong! Well after considerable thought, I decided that being Easter I really should go to church...The decision having been made, I walked to church, had coffee and socialized with my friends in the church foyer, and all in all, I felt really good.... When it came time for the service to begin I was sat in the sanctuary with my friends. Pastor Bruce stepped up to open the service and everyone stood up... Except for me!. As I sat there, the steel band began to tighten around my chest and first, my left arm and then my right arm began to go numb followed by the icy cold sweating sensation. My friend Bryan asked if I was okay. Without hesitation, I replied NO! The ambulance was called and within 30 minutes, I was in Emergency at Vernon Hospital 20+ Km down the highway. and not too long after that I was transferred to ICU. --- I was blessed that morning, because in the congregation was a paramedic who was in town visiting with his mom and also a couple of nurses. So all of the right steps were taken to ensure my survival. And survive I did from that heart attack, so that eleven years later to the day, I am able to write the story of that what could have been a fateful day. Oh yes! the outcome could have been a whole lot different had I done what in all honesty I would have preferred to do on that sunny Sunday morning, which was to ride my bike. God works in mysterious ways and I am certain that on the Joyous Day of celebration we call Easter that our God arose from the dead after the Crucifixion He guided my actions as to what I Should do that morning. Had I not listened to that small voice in the back of my conscious mind I could quite possibly still have had that ambulance ride, but not until someone found my lifeless body in a ditch or by the side of the road... I look back on that day and don't think "How lucky I was to have gone to church that morning". I Know that God worked His way in my mind and Blessed me because I did His will... We sang the song "Power in the Blood" this morning. I truly believe that song tells it exactly as it is... Praise the Lord and to all of my friends and family I wish you the Happiest of all Easters on this sunny Sunday.
FAREWELL FELINE FRIEND
Sunday, August 30, 2015
It was on August 25, 1999 that C154 was given into my care at Vernon SPCA. One of God's little creations. A long haired, grey, tabby and white kitten. I n the sixteen years since that day, Toby as he forever became known was a constant presence in my life...
Through all of the ups and downs of a rocky marriage and an even more acrimonious divorce, Toby was there. When I was feeling down I was comforted by his motor bike loud purr, his head butts and the weaving in and out between my legs... And when I was feeling on top of the world, Toby would celebrate with me and treat me to those same signs of feline affection. He knew what I needed and when I needed it.
As a young cat Toby was never a settler... Not a lap cat and never became one... Always an independent spirit. I'm sure he was a cross somewhere between a bobcat and an alleycat, although he did mellow with age. Throughout his sixteen years, he easily accepted the three dogs I brought into His home. Whereas at age three he was introduced to Chai, a little three years old yellow and white female cat. It was close to a month before I could even think of leaving them in the same room together while I was out. All throughout Chai's life which was cut short at ten years of age due to kidney failure, the closest they came was tolerance... Roxy was his next female companion. She came into his life as a six weeks old kitten and had old Toby tamed in four days. They bonded from the word go... Then when Toby was fifteen I took in a two years old stray... Beau D'Oronge... Oronge was just happy to have found a home and Toby accepted the situation, so all was peace in the cabin.
This has been a short biography of Toby. My first feline companion after moving to Canada... Sadly for me, Toby crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on Saturday August 29, 2015... The Good Lord gaveth and sixteen years and four days later He came and took Toby back home.
'E' is the follow up to my Easter Sunday, 2006 rush trip to the hospital after I suffered a heart attack in church. The paramedics had delivered me to the ER. The doctors and nurses had made sure I had all the clot-busters and whatever else needed to be pumped into me keep my ticker ticking, and transferred me to the Intensive Cardiac Unit.
For the next few days my life was all rest and relaxation interrupted by regular ECG's and more needles were stuck into my abdomen than ever was into granny's pin cushion... Contrary to popular belief, the hospital food, albeit bland was pretty palatable... For nine days, I was in residence in the ICU, For the most part feeling like an imposter, I felt so well. I was encouraged to walk around the unit and was allowed to use the kitchen to make toast and coffee whenever I felt peckish. --- Did I say I had a very healthy appetite? --- Visitors came and went and still they kept me in the ICU.
After eight days, I was trucked down the highway in an ambulance to Kelowna Hospital so they could perform an angiogram on me. Later in the day, I was returned to Vernon and my home in the ICU.
The very next day I was informed that I would have to go down to Vancouver for an angioplasty... To have stents inserted in my heart to open up the blockages... When they could arrange for the air ambulance. The bad news was they needed my bed in ICU and I would be moved upstairs to a medical ward until transport was arranged
I was not upstairs for very long before I discovered why I had been held in ICU for so long... Upstairs was on virtual lockdown due to a bad outbreak of Norwalk Virus. And only a couple of rooms were clear of the infection... No points for guessing who got to share a room with three other patients who already had the virus.
I survived virus free for 48 hours before being moved to a clean room. From there, I watched the hospital world go around for another five days... Vancouver General were not taking any patients from Vernon until they had been clear of an infected area for 96 hours. Early on the morning of May 3rd, I was trucked down to Vancouver by road ambulance. The air variety was not available... Before leaving Vernon I was told the plan was for me to travel down then on the next day the procedure would be done and on the third day I would be discharged... On that understanding, I arranged a ride back to Armstrong on the third day... Sometimes things don't quite go to plan as anyone following this series of blogs may have noticed...
Anyway! We arrived at Vancouver General at 3:30 p.m. I was checked in and almost immediately was wheeled through to the pre-op area to be prepped for the angioplasty. A little after 4:30 p.m. I was on the table with the surgeon explaining what he was going to do... Just a bit disappointed, I was angled just wrong so I could not quite see the screen and what was happening... Whatever! The procedure was soon done and by 6:00 p.m. I was back in the room where I first started. Job Done! - Not quite! I had to lie flat on my back with my right leg clamped to the bed at the groin for 12 hours. All the while, I had to drink lots of fluids. What goes in must come out. And taking a bathroom break while in horizontal mode is not a lot of fun. - Oh the joys of being in hospital. - I did survive the night and at 8:00 a.m. The doctor did his rounds, unclamped me and pronounced me fit to go home after breakfast.
My ride having been arranged for the following day did sort of leave me in a little bit of a bind. I asked and was given the use of a phone so as to call my friends in Armstrong who were due to come and take me home... On hearing me tell the nurse where I was going, a ladies voice came from the other side of the curtain which separated our beds, said "You can come home with us, We live in Enderby." - Enderby is the next town up the highway about 15km from Armstrong... And that is the way I travelled back home after contacting my friends and saving them the 5+ hours drive to Vancouver and likewise back home... Another instance of the good Lord working in mysterious ways.
DELAYS & DIVERSIONS
This episode for the letter 'D' takes us back to 1998. It was in October, the exact date is lost in the mists of memory. It was to be my first visit to Canada. I had earlier in the year, met an email friend in Deal, my home town. The lady was Canadian and after a week when she moved on to meet other friends in different parts of England and also spent some time in Belgium and Holland before returning home to Canada, I received an invitation to visit with her in Canada. An offer I happily accepted and arranged for my 3 weeks summer leave to be in mid - October. We continued to exchange emails on a very regular basis through the following months... I booked my flights well in advance and managed to get a good deal on price, and so was all set for the great adventure. Little knowing the runaround or should I say fly around I was soon to embark on.
The day of departure arrived and my neighbour, Sean drove me to Heathrow airport. My trip to Canada was to be London - Amsterdam - Vancouver. A little over 12 hours… All went to plan on the flight to Amsterdam. There was only a short delay before boarding the leg of the flight to Vancouver. We then sat and sat and sat some more on the tarmac with little to no information as to what was causing the delay. After an hour and a half we were served a meal and then returned to the terminal where we were told that the plane was suffering from computer problems and could not take off. And also that they did not have another plane they could call into service so we could continue our flight to Vancouver… I must admit the airlines' ground crew were in an unenviable position. How they managed to keep their cool, well the Good Lord only knows... As they found seats for families and more fortunate as it turned out singles like myself on various other airlines through the night and into the following day. Some families were split up, placed on different flights with changes at various U.S. airports… Mother and kid going one way and father and kid going another. One half maybe going through St Louis and the other via Chicago it must have been a nightmare for them getting back together in Vancouver… For my own onward journey I had a five hour wait, some of which I spent in a plush room at the Amsterdam Airport Sheraton courtesy of the airline… the bed was big enough to land a 747 on, but which if I had closed my eyes on it I would have crashed out for a week… before flying to Frankfurt on a different carrier who would then I was told fly me to San Francisco where yet another airline would whiz me through the last leg to Vancouver.
Before leaving Amsterdam, I was able to make contact with a relative of the lady who was to meet me at YVR and let her know that I was going to be very, very late and would call again from Frankfurt with as best an ETA as I was able to get… It was good that I did as there was hardly enough time to catch a breath in San Francisco. After reclaiming my baggage, going through US customs and then finding where to check it back in for the flight to Vancouver, I must say San Francisco doesn't have the most user friendly airport I have ever passed through. Very little signage and staff seemed to be very thin on the ground to get directions to where I needed to go. It seemed like I was at a half gallop from the time I left one plane and boarded the next…
If my memory still serves me right, my original 12 and a bit hours flight took close to 25 hours by the time I cleared immigration and customs in Vancouver to be met by the Canadian Lady who would in a few short months become my wife.
(I have not named airlines because I believe that apart from the lack of info while we sat on the tarmac in Amsterdam, the staff did their best to make a bad situation as painless as possible.)
CHOICES - A Pick Of Two
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
It was on Easter Sunday morning, 2006. April 16, a day I will always remember. The day dawned fine, the temperature comfortably warm with the promise of a nice sunny morning... I was in a quandary. What should I do? Would I dig my bike out of the closet and get some condition into my winter legs. Or would I go to church. At this point in time, I had only recently come to be a semi regular church goer. For the most part to please my adopted grand children... More on that subject in a later episode... My choice that morning proved to be the best one I could have made. I decided that I would ride my bike in the late afternoon before supper... Well! I walked the 3/4 mile to church where I drank coffee and fellowshipped with friends and adopted family. I was feeling good, both physically and mentally with no inkling of what was shortly to happen... A little before 10 a.m. I joined with everyone else in the sanctuary to await the Pastor to begin the service. When every one stood, I stayed sat knowing that all was not well. My left arm had begun to go numb from the shoulder, then the steel bands were tightening around my chest. At the same time the cold, cold sweat and my right arm coming out in sympathy with it's left partner... When asked if I was alright, my answer was a firm NO! ... Heart attack... As it happened that morning, there were two nurses and a paramedic in the congregation, so I did have immediate professional help as we waited for the ambulance to arrive, which it did within ten minutes of being called. In a little over thirty minutes I was safely in the emergency room of the hospital 14 miles away being pumped full of clot busters and whatever else they do in such situations... A few hours later I awoke somewhat confused in the Intensive Care Unit. The nurse told me that I had suffered a heart attack and the early diagnosis was that there was no serious damage to my heart that I had got the treatment necessary in good time... I can only imagine what might have been my fate had I chosen the other option and hit the back roads in my bicycle. Brown bread in a ditch more than likely and maybe found days later... That was nine years ago and I am still alive and kicking today and enjoying life... What I do know, is that my belief in the Almighty is a whole lot stronger now than it was on what could have been a very fateful day way back then.
That folks is my "C" and not a cat in sight... At some time there will be a sequel to this tale when a letter presents itself. My stay in hospital was not completely without incident.
#2 of the A-Z Challenge
BACK IN TIME TO BC
BC now feels like a lifetime ago although it is only 16 years in human time. BC being Before Canada… Back in those bygone days in England, I always thought that my life was okay. I worked at a job that for the most part, I enjoyed doing… A steward on the ferries which crossed between Dover and Calais… the pay was good and I was able to buy my own little house and live a comfortable if not extravagant lifestyle… I was between wives although I did have lady friends during the 25 years I spent working at sea. And that suited me just fine… My little house became a magnet for lost, stray and unwanted cats and kittens. I guess there were a few who knew me as the cat man of the village. My furry family at any time numbered between 6 and 10 felines. Cats as opposed to dogs were practical pets given as to how independent they are. I installed a cat flap in the back door so my little four legged family could come and go at their leisure due to the long and anti- social hours my shift patterns involved. The joy of living with so many cats was that I was always ensured of a welcoming committee when I walked through the door after a gruelling day or night on the English Channel. The sea may have been rough and the passengers a trial that I wouldn't wish on a crew from a rival company's ship… The welcome was always there. I know they wanted to be fed and fussed, but no matter what, those cats didn't nag, moan or complain because I was an hour late home from work… Been there done that and was not planning on an action replay… Along with the cats, I had my friends and family and various interests and hobbies away from work. So all in all my life was okay back in those seemingly long ago BC years before I came to live in Canada.
Could life be any better. Well there are or should be 24 more episodes of this challenge. If you can stand my writing, then time might just tell!
I have taken the challenge from Kath, aka storyboat to write a blog A-Z. So for better or worse here is my first effort.
Armstrong Fall Fair, or to give it it's real name these days… The Interior Provincial Exhibition (IPE)… is the second largest fair in the Province of British Columbia. Bested only by the PNE in Vancouver. The Fair is held in the City of Armstrong every Labour Day weekend and lasts for 5 days finishing on the Sunday night. And a fair is nothing without a Parade, and this Armstrong has on the Saturday morning with entries, not only local, but from far and wide up and down the Okanagan Valley. This year will be the 116th edition of the Fair which showcases all things agricultural and country oriented, along with a midway, trade stalls selling everything one never really wanted, but must have if the sellers are to be believed, a professional rodeo every evening and two music stages along with other entertainment shows around the fairgrounds… ie. Lumberjack, Iron Chef etc… The main music stage is set up at the food court where one is able to tickle ones palate with tasty treats from around the world. My own favourite must have bite is a Horse Blanket… a kind of deep fried dough dusted with powdered sugar… For me the Armstrong Fair for me is sitting in the food court enjoying a horse blanket or two, listening to a great variety of music and maybe fighting off a few unwanted wasps… The Fair is The Big Event in Armstrong which has a population of around 5000 and is surrounded by the agricultural Township of Spallumcheen which is home to another 5000 people. Last year, over 147,000 people passed through the gates of the fairgrounds over the 5 days of the Fair. Our little city was bursting at the seams… There are those who moan and complain at fair time, but to me, every town should have at least one attraction to bring in the visitors to boost the local economy and for Armstrong, The Fall Fair is that one Big attraction. Long May It Remain So!