Canada day – celebrations!

Another good day. More walking, lots of smiles and interaction. A wonderful chat with my Father-in-Law and visits from women I have come to love – thanks girls.

Off to sleep. love and thanks.

#GoKennyD

Will leave you with Jocky D’s latest trick – awesome!!

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Tuesday 29th June – Walking!

Ken’s latest choice of music ( My Type by Saint Motel) – and for those of you who didn’t catch it on Facebook earlier, not only is he sitting in a chair but he took his first few steps today – we are on our way!

Where ever you are, what ever you are up to – celebrate with the Canadians and have a fabulous Canada Day!!

#GoKennyD

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Monday 29th June – He sat in a chair today!

The apartment is quiet. It is touching the end of the day but I wanted to write a little before I head to bed. Kenny D is doing better and it is so important to share that with you all. He is fully conscious now and while he cannot talk yet due to the tube in his throat, he is still able to communicate and make us laugh. He writes small notes and I am trying my best to get a handle on lip reading. Al and Carolyn have been in to visit him with me. Yesterday we took in balloons and a porcelain gift to signify 18 years of marriage. We also snuck in a wee bottle of Moet and while he could not drink it, he did take the glass and raise a toast to the two of us. It was not easy to come up with anything porcelain that would be the least bit of use to Ken so in the end I settled on a jug in the shape of a duck. Ken opened the wrapping paper, took one look at it and mouthed slowly, ‘I absolutely hate it’ – making all of us laugh!

He smiles as Alun tell him about the rugby going on in the world and listens intently to the audio messages you send as well as written messages I read to him. The boys call every day and tell him about the adventures they are having back home. They understand he cannot answer but love to hear he is smiling or giving them both a thumbs up.

Today the team managed to get him out of bed and into a chair. They put a blanket over his legs to keep him warm and I watched as he quietly went through small sets of exercises with his feet and ankles. I looked at him in astonishment but the determination in his eyes let me know nothing is going to slow our boy down any more than is absolutely necessary.

I love and admire the way he greets every new nurse and doctor. He takes their hand to shake it with the upmost sincerity. He humbly thanks them and I know it reaches each and every one of the people helping him. He is patient and polite and always says thank you. Tonight a nurse gave him a small injection and he reached for her hand to say thank you – she told him gentle ‘that was going above and beyond – no one should say thank you for a needle’.

Kenny D has always given me yellow roses. Yesterday, when I got back to the apartment in the afternoon, the security guard smiled my way before presenting me with the most astonishing bouquet of perfect blooms – 18 beautiful roses. I could not figure out how Ken had managed to do this (although I would never put it past him) but actually it was his family who had stepped in on his behalf. They fill my apartment with colour and scent and are truly the most beautiful arrangement I have ever received. They have unintentionally raised the bar for their son/brother who will have to keep up the good work when he is back on his feet.

Kindness is everywhere I turn. I met a lovely young lady who served us in a bar the other night – she pulled all her staff together and sent me a Go Kenny D photo. I went to get a couple of prints for Ken and the chap who served me, realizing what they were for, wouldn’t let me pay – he did a Go Kenny D photo instead. My Starbucks team in the hospital ask about Ken every day and the team of security guards in the lobby welcome me home as they would a friend. The nurses, now on new shifts, who looked after Ken last week, greet me with hugs, eager for updates and to a fault, every member of the team in the ICU are simply brilliant.

How will I ever thank you all?! It will take a while for me to figure it out but please know you are all making a difference, every single day.

Night night with love and thanks 🙂 GOKENNYD

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Sunday 28th June – Wedding Anniversary

Hi troops

I will keep this crazy short but just want to let you know we had a good day. Ken is doing better and his progress continues. He is beginning to understand the ‘Go Kenny D’ movement and is staggered. I watch his face in all it’s expressions taking in each of the hundreds of photos. He smiles and stares in amazement, smiles again and then looks to me in astonishment. It is a joy to watch! You guys all did that!

I will write more soon but that is it for now.

With love and thanks to each and every one of you.

This is ‘our’ song. Always has been, always will be 🙂

Happy Anniversary Kenny D. x

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Thursday 25th June – smiles and kisses

Forgive my intermittent updates. But rest assured as the days pass, no news is good news. I know so many of you are constantly with us and waiting for updates. I hope through the tremendous friends & family grapevine/network you know we are still heading in the right direction. But if you want to connect with me directly I promise to reply.

Ken remains stable. Needless to say his recovery is frustratingly slow, not least for him, but he is recovering and I remind myself every day – he has new lungs!

The days are becoming a bit of a blur but what remains constantly in focus to me is the unbelievable support from you all. It seems like every person we have ever known is behind us.

Wonderful Judy brought our boys to Toronto on Monday. I didn’t know how much I had been missing them until I set eyes on them. Their Uncle Hugh wore down some of their wound-up energy with swimming and trampolining and the boys loved catching up with him. We spent a lot of time talking through what is happening with their Dad and they had the opportunity to talk with a doctor as well as a nurse from the hospital team. I don’t think I have ever been so proud of them. Ken had asked that they not come visit until he was a little better but I know he would want what was best for the kids. So, we talked over what they each wanted to do and felt most comfortable with. Both boys agreed they wanted to respect their Dad’s wishes and Lochy D concluded he was happy to wait a little longer. But in making that decision he made it clear to Jocky D it would be absolutely fine if he wanted to do something different. Jocky paused for a long time before saying very quietly “I want to see him”. We decided, to make sure he was doing what was right for him as well as his Dad, he would only go to the window of the room and take a peek while Ken was sleeping. He took my hand and into the corridor we went. It is a moment no one ever wants to share with their wee one but I truly caught the measure of our sons in these moments.

The lovely apartment Hugh found for us is taking shape. Al and his wife, Carolyn have rallied their troops to help us with household essentials and somehow managed to unknowingly lend bed linen that matches the bedroom colour scheme perfectly. The very beautiful Elizabeth Gray-Smith arrived from Ottawa with framed photos, my computer from work and my aisle all making this new space feel so much more like home. The Metis girls continue to rally and Jack Burkom flew in on route to the States bringing his love and support.

Every day throws it’s own sunshine. I asked the Starbucks team in the atrium of the hospital if they could be ‘my friends’ and every morning they greet me with smiles and call me Sally D. Rogers went out of their way to wire us up during our temporary stay in Toronto and the technician who turned up to connect us was a complete star – big shout out to Erin!! The nurses are wonderful, the doctors are magicians and our friends & family are lifesavers. These stressful days are made so much more manageable by every last one of you.

Yesterday was another day of highs and lows. Ken’s stats were a little off kilter, he was still heavily sedated and the docs explained their usual complex synopsis of where things are at. As I looked at the numbers on the screens I felt a little anxious but remembered a piece of advice given by a nurse called Donna days before. She said, “Don’t look at the stats so much as looking at the patient”. As I turned away from the screens and said his name, Ken shuffled and stirred and beamed another smile my way. Today he stayed with me much longer. He mouthed questions to me about the boys and how he was feeling. I was angry with myself for not reading his lips more easily but we managed. This is real progress and fuels me with confidence and perspective. He wrote a few things too, albeit slowly. He requested his laptop, phone and glasses (easy tiger!) and thanked Hugh for helping with the kids. He even blew me a kiss 🙂

The rollercoaster will continue but corners are being turned. And in the meantime there are moments in each and every day that are magical. While on our way to play some pool with the kids the other night Liz spotted the actor Adam Scott in a toyshop. In a split second we had made a Go Kenny D sign and were hovering behind the poor man like hysterical teenagers. Every time I look at the photo he kindly agreed to have taken I laugh at Liz’s expression – priceless.

She also managed to accost a man in the elevator of the apartment block. He was taking an ottoman out the garbage because he is moving out. By the time she had worked her charm he was in our wee pad drinking beer having given us that ottomen, as well as a tv stand and a lamp. J

Before I sign off I will tell you about one more example of pure kindness from the countless gestures you all support us with. Our wee pal Gladstone has been concerned about Ken not waking up quickly enough. He mulled it over for some time and knowing Kens passion for coffee, he went to his Mum to explain he believed that is what he needed. For now that is not possible but he and Ashley did put together a little jar of coffee beans to make Ken’s room smell of a bright new morning. Wonderful.

Liz closes in as closely as she dares with Adam Scott

Liz closes in as closely as she dares with Adam Scott

One of my wonderful brothers all of whom are with us every step of the way.

One of my wonderful brothers all of whom are with us every step of the way.

We found an art store round the corner from our flat - Yeah!

We found an art store round the corner from our flat – Yeah!

Perfect bed linen

Perfect bed linen

Peaceful after a long day.

Peaceful after a long day.

So proud of my boys.

So proud of my boys.

Fun and games to wrap up the day.

Fun and games to wrap up the day.

The boys other Uncle.

The boys other Uncle.

Hanging in the pool hall.

Hanging in the pool hall.

Omar, having been accosted in the elevator.

Omar, having been accosted in the elevator.

Lochy D flys on the trampolines.

Lochy D flys on the trampolines.

Chella spoils us with a homemade dinner.

Chella spoils us with a homemade dinner.

The lovely Erin from Rogers.

The lovely Erin from Rogers.

Wene and Jack come to keep us company.

Wene and Jack come to keep us company.

Gladstone's coffee beans.

Gladstone’s coffee beans.

Hugh and I were in Ken’s room the other day and this song came on the radio – it has been in my head ever since. The line “Jai Guru Deva OM” means, “Glory to the spiritual master”. I hear the song in my head every day and know everything is going to be okay.

Love and thanks to all. Go KENNY D!

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Saturday June 20th – the day after ‘day 7’

Friends have helped me print pictures of happy days and they are on every spare part of the walls in Ken’s room. Some of your ‘Go Kenny D’ pictures are among them, lots of shots of our laughing boys and even one of Ken and I dancing on our wedding day…Oh and Mr Harper is up there too along with Mr Trudeau 🙂

We have music playing in the room as it is always such a motivator for him and I read to him. I know those of you who know me will smile at this image. My reading aloud is less than great but I do my best to read your messages to him. I want to make sure he knows we are all with him.

I can see the stats creeping in the right direction and while it is all too technical for me to understand or ever explain, I am told by every doctor and nurse he is going in the right direction. The adjustment for all of us waiting for him is around the timelines. This is going to take a while. I hate to put a time on it because nothing is certain but lets say, at least 7 days (you know I like my 7’s). Right now he only touches the surface of reality intermittently. Most of the time he is too heavily sedated to really connect. But when he does, he lights the room up. Yesterday while chatting to him I said he would make my day if he would just open his eyes. And on queue he lifted his eyelids sluggishly and tried to focus in my direction. Later in the day I got Lochie D to speak to him via my cell on loudspeaker. Ken could definitely hear him. His mouth twitched and smiled. It was very special.

Jocky D has spoken to him too and tomorrow more wonderful friends are bringing our wee men into the city. Assuming they are comfortable I will take them in to see Ken on Monday.

I cannot tell you how much I love the ‘GoKennyD’ pictures. They are such a motivator for me. My dear friend Michelle has put them together in an album that just keeps growing. Every single one of them matters and I just can’t wait to show him.

When I am not in the hospital I am surrounded by love. Jill and Michelle came back from Ottawa and having them here is like bringing some of home to me. My Toronto team bring every possible thing they can think of – even a soft blanket. I think it was meant for Ken but he hasn’t had a look in yet. Al and Carolyn (my other brother and his wife) are just a wonder to me and my brothers along with Ken’s family back home, check in constantly.

My brother Hugh has been beyond brilliant. I describe you all as my scaffolding because I feel completely held up by you. Hugh is my foundation. Over the last couple of days he has scoured the apartment blocks on every side of the hospital. And of course, he has found the perfect spot. A lovely flat on the 16th floor of a tower only a short walk from the front doors of the hospital. The building has a swimming pool and gym and even a party room which Ken and I will be using before we are done in Toronto. The chap who owns the flat is called Sonny (which I knew was a good omen) and he has been so kind. He is allowing us to go month by month and charged us less than absolutely every other place we looked at. Some wonderful people are helping me furnish the place and I get the keys on Monday. This is a huge step forward for me. A place the boys will be safe in when they visit. A temporary home for Ken and I while he recovers. Given the Pan Am Games are about to start, Hugh really struck Gold. I will take photos to share with you when I have got it feeling like home.

The boys speaking on the phone to their Dad struck an idea in me. If you feel like chatting to Ken, write him a note or record him a message. Cell phones are so clever these days I am pretty sure this is not too tricky. It will be welcomed rest bite from my blethering. I promise to read every last one to him and I really think it might help.

Love and thanks to all.

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Wednesday 17th – Steady as we go

Wow, where to start? Well lets begin with Kenny D has new lungs. I am sitting by his bed as the nurses tirelessly work with him. I watch in wonder as they talk in what seems like code, working swiftly and always with utter respect. They talk to Ken who is still sedated and not really conscious. They tell him everything they are doing and constantly reassure him. It is a site to behold.

I cannot tell you it has been plain sailing. But I can tell you the medical team overcomes every tiny hiccup and while the progress is slow, it is progress. He is taking his time coming up from under all the drugs and anesthetic. It is not uncommon. It is like he is swimming just below the surface in a pool. He can hear us but is slow to react and sometimes he is too deep to understand or sustain focus. Other moments he is a little more alert and reassures me by squeezing my hand.

There are lots of wires and pipes and machines connected to him which at first I found intimidating but very quickly I have come to realize every last piece is our friend. Kenny would firmly disagree with me. He does not like the ventilation pipe but we always knew that would be the case. It prevents him from speaking and is uncomfortable but hopefully they will be able to remove it in the next few days.

We have friends on every side of us providing practical and emotional support. It is overwhelming but is like scaffolding around me. I am reluctant to mention individuals for fear of leaving someone out but friends have come from far and wide just to be with me. The ‘Go Kenny D’ movement has been unbelievable and the endless messages through text and email have been constant company. I have been put up in a hotel, given gift certificates to help with day-to-day expenditure, had home cooking and herbal boosts delivered, drawings made for Kenny D from the kids and heartfelt gifts sent to us. My home is being looked after. My garden looks better than it has ever done apparently. My mail is getting picked up and friends are helping with admin. Ken is surrounded by the incredible medical staff he needs and I have all of you looking after me. Thank you is so inadequate but it is in my heart constantly.

http://ipolitics.ca/?p=612191 (check out iPolitics and their article)

Al Phillips is the only person that has been in to the ward to see Ken with me. He has been my ‘other’ brother for as long as I can remember and represents my family unwaveringly. When with Ken, he talks warmly to him about rugby and – well, more rugby. He reassures him and at the same time keeps me company. He is wonderful.

Ken has managed to take a pen and write a couple of words to us on a board. This took enormous effort on his part but he stubbornly hung on to complete his task. Having signaled with his forefinger for a pen he took his time and worked to grasp it. Every step demanded concentration and effort. When he finally managed to connect the pen to the paper he sluggishly wrote “I”. Excitedly, we tried to help him suggesting “I am tired”, “I love you” “I hate the breathing tube” but he kept shaking his head. Minutes passed as he continued to try and reconnect with the paper and he eventually tumbled out the word “feel”. Again we offered up ideas “I feel good”, “I feel frustrated”, “I feel groggy” Again he signaled we were wrong. His work continued and he eventual he managed “I feel sorry for Alun’s chat!”

I FEEL SORRY FOR ALUN’S CHAT! Not I love my wife or thank you!! Everyone in the room was laughing and Ken knew what was going on. I told him jokingly he was in major trouble but he even managed to slip his arm from the side of the bed and around me to rub my back affectionately.

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Progress is slow but steady and soon we will be dancing again.

#GOKENNYD

Before the surgery I promised I would post this piece of music for him – take from it what you will. For me – it is for Mama D.

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