It has been a month since I have written. We are in a new chapter now. I think I have been waiting, afraid to say we are on track. Every day it feels like it might be premature or too optimistic. I only want to whisper our news out to you in case I upset some superstitious balance. But I am all too aware you are waiting for updates so please forgive me.
Every day is a potential hurdle and a victory. Ken checks his temperature, his lung capacity and/or any sign something might be wrong. So far each 24 hours we have crossed the finish line, free of issue. It is difficult not to be paranoid but in all of it, we celebrate even the smallest steps forward. And when we compare how things were to 4 weeks ago, you could argue there have been giant leaps for mankind.
A month ago, due mainly to the muscle atrophy (caused by all that time he was unconscious and not moving) he required his wheelchair to cross any distance. Now Ken walks to the hospital unaided making the wheelchair finally redundant. More recently he even chats with me while we walk together. It may not seem like much but it was only yesterday he needed every ounce of breath just to do the walking. And as some of you saw on Facebook he managed a leisurely ride round Alun’s neighborhood last weekend on a bicycle. That was something to witness! He works diligently in physio and literally every session, he squeezes the speed or gradient of the treadmill up, or goes for slightly heavier weights. Inevitably he wants to move things forward faster and tells me how huge patience has become in all of this. It is a long process.
Alun and Carolyn have given us a home to retreat to at the weekends. Carolyn’s green fingers (sorry you mad Canadian’s but it simply cannot be just a thumb) have created a tranquil oasis of colour in her backyard. It is so quiet after days in the downtown core of Toronto. Butterflies and bees bob among the flowers and humming birds delight as they flit and hover. It gifts mini holidays for both Ken and I every 5 days to be with them. They have been with us every step of the way and we shall remember that all our lives.
One could argue we are on the home straight. As far as getting back to the boys and some semblance of order, it is true. All going well we could be home in Ottawa by the end of September. Truthfully, the separation from our boys is kicking in harder now the madness of those initial days are behind us. The boys enthusiasm for their happy summer days with Judi, John and family, our neighborhood, visits with Erin and Jack and a whole lot of trampolining have kept our spirits up. We know what good hands they are in!
Across the days there have been highlights. It was so good of my friend and colleague Callie to hold a party in her home while I was back in Ottawa for work. And such a motivator for Sandy to parachute into Toronto surprising Ken with his visit. That day was cherry-topped by Jack gatecrashing the party in his suit to pick up Lochie’s skateboard, only to roll out the restaurant smoothly on it’s wheels.
I want to also mention Ed Caesar. He is the writer of a incredible book called “Two Hours – the quest to run the impossible marathon”, which provides an insight into truly remarkable levels of human drive and determination. Ken has never met Ed but both played rugby at Heriots, albeit at different stages in life. Richie Lockhart connected them and a copy was delivered to our apartment with a compelling note of encouragement from Ed. Ken has already read the pages cover to cover and needless to say, loved it! He has found it hugely motivational to read stories of the extraordinary athletes, who dig so deeply to push their bodies to the absolute limits (although Ken admits it’s unlikely he will shave the required 5 and a half hours off his previous marathon time to hit the elusive two hour mark!).
My colleague Janice Dickson has also published her book called Herbert Peppard, The Eternal Man – a true story about a 94-year-old World War Two veteran who was a member of the Frist Special Service Force, known as the Devil’s Brigade. Not only did Janice give a copy to Ken but it is signed with a Go Kenny D from Herbert himself. Fabulous!!
And so we count the days and hope beyond hope, we can get back home soon. Meantime, as always, our thank you’s are endless and all encompassing. We are so grateful for your unwavering support.
Sending love and thanks! #GoKennyD
And finally, it has been a while but here is Ken’s latest music choice.