We left 100 Mile House later than we planned on June 1st, 2014, and stayed at Sicamous the first night at a lovely campsite.
Roger on cell at Sicamous. We had a lovely view from our port holes on TA TA.
The second night we stayed with my sister’s family in Canmore. Phil, my brother-in-law made a wonderful dinner with BBQ chicken and a special friend from Red Deer who now lives in Canmore named Joanie came over and brought us champagne for the trip.
Mary at Canmore with sister Liz and her daughter Claire and Roche in front of the Three Sisters mountains.
Things were going well until six days into our drive. We were crossing Canada pulling the TA TA on a 35-foot trailer. We were boat-camping (yes we have to climb up a ladder to get onboard) to St. Catharines, where Roger’s family live, and we had arrived at Pancake Bay, just outside of Sault St. Marie, right on Lake Superior.
Mary at Pancake Bay on Lake Superior, Ontario
This is the bad part and please skip it if you like
We had planned to take a day off after six long days of travelling, but we got a call at 8AM from my sister, in tears, about our Mom. She told me Mom had had another “spell” and it was bad. She was getting on a plane to Toronto later that day, from Calgary.
I called the Hastings Manor, where Mom is in long-term care on the Alzheimer’s ward to get an update and spoke to the nurse. She told me she “had authority to pronounce death,” and she felt death was imminent!
I asked the nurse to hold the phone to my Mom’s ear so I could speak to her. I told Mom I was coming and would be there soon. She could only groan in response.
I called my brother, John who lives in Oshawa, and some of our aunts and uncles to get the phone triage started and advised them about mom’s imminent death. Then Roger and I packed up the boat and truck and drove 14 hours to get to St. Catharines to drop off the boat and continue east to Belleville to get to Mom.
Within a short time my cousin, Frannie, who used to work on the Alzheimer’s ward, arrived at mom’s room in Belleville and she said ”she took over.”
She said she recognized the symptoms of a TIA. Mom had been unresponsive for two hours, but began responding. Shortly afterwards, Frannie got Mom some water and up to the bathroom and was feeding her some yogurt, when I called next!
What a relief!
Mom was confused and tired and had no memory about what had happened. She “didn’t know what all the fuss was about” and then apologized. She was a little cross with me and said she had told me that “I didn’t have to come !” but I had only heard her mumbles and groans. Anyway, as I have explained to her on previous occasions, I have no choice, I have to go to her whenever something happens.
Frannie said it was normal for someone to feel agitated after a TIA as the brain was healing itself and she explained that Mom could have a lot of these.
Frannie was a big comfort to us as she stayed all day with Mom along with my Aunt Lois who also went in and was there when I called. We’re so lucky to have family in Belleville!
Everything was put in place for mom in case this happened and everything worked well. The nurse confirmed with me that we wanted mom comfortable and cared for but not rushed to hospital as that would be so confusing for her. They can give her excellent care at the Hastings Manor. They have a doctor in the manor on staff and nurses on each floor along with personal support workers and many other staff for activities, cooking, cleaning and maintenance.
Later on the day of the TIA, Mom was walking down the hall and eating her lunch! The nurse said she had seen some people recover from a severe TIA before, but not that fast! We are very thankful!
Meanwhile my brother arrived with his wife and all three sons. John called to say that he was there and when I asked, he said Mom looked “just like she had three weeks ago,” when he saw her last.
Unfortunately that day we also heard that our Aunt Margaret was in serious trouble.
After what we were told was a heart attack, she was recovering and asking for her lipstick and hairbrush. On the same day as Mom’s TIA Aunt Margaret had a stroke and became paralyzed down her right side.
At lunch with Mom, John got the call and he and his wife Glenda rushed back to Scarborough to be with Aunt Margret and met Liz there. She had been picked up at the airport and taken to the hospital in Scarborough to see Aunt Margaret. Just after Liz arrived she was able to accompany Aunt Margaret in the ambulance while Aunt Margaret was transferred to Oshawa so she could be closer to home.
Frannie, my cousin, says her short-term memory will be a little worse after the TIA and within a few hours, after her TIA, mom was “back on the job.” She thinks she works at the Hastings Manor, and as a matter of fact, she has a lot of projects on the go.
So, Roger and I arrived in St. Catharines from BC . We stayed at Roger’s brother Andy and his wife Sandy, and spent a day visiting with Roger’s parents and family, then stopped and saw Aunt Margaret in Oshawa at the hospital and we continued on to Belleville to the Hastings Manor to see Mom.
That night we stayed with my Mom’s sister Aunt Lois and Uncle Ray who own a century dairy farm, north of Belleville on the concession where Mom grew up. I love to go there and see Grandpa’s old farm, enjoy my Aunt and Uncle, and listen to the stories. Other relatives dropped by to see us, and chat, so we felt supported by family, given our scare with Mom.
As our trip to Belleville overlapped Sister’s Day, (the monthly luncheon that all the aunts and uncles attend), I took mom, even though it was only a few days after her TIA. Mom did very well and everyone was relieved to see her. She went around to chat with her 20 relatives seated in the restaurant and was quite social. After lunch we all went to tea at Aunt Doris’ home which was lovely. The men sat in the great room and the ladies sat in the living room. We had tea in cups and saucers and enjoyed my Aunt Doris’ hospitality (and her roses). Another of the aunts, Aunt Shirley served. The cousins sat on the rug and chatted and my Aunt Bessie teased everyone.
Aunt Doris was very gracious and showed me all of the items (mostly china and figurines) she had received from Mom through Liz and I while we cleared out Mom’s condo and at a previous tea where mom was present. Aunt Doris had them displayed in places of prominence so I was very happy and touched that she is enjoying these lovely and sentimental items from my Mom, Aunt Doris’ big sister.
The next day we headed back to St. Catharines to celebrate Father’s Day with Maurice, Roger’s dad, and the rest of the Packham family at a family BBQ at Andy’s home, and also get the boat ready to begin our trip.
We had another sea trial to test the fuel injectors again, and one of Roger’s brothers, Andrew, and his wife Sandy accompanied us. This time the engine worked well with no lingering issues with smoke from the exhaust! Replacing the fuel injectors fixed the smoking engine problem!
Andy (Roger’s brother) and Sandy our first guests on the TA TA in Ontario. Andy has just retired. Don’t you think he looks happy?