Cystoscopy For Christmas

The path. In the tree tops overhead, bald eagles scream and chatter among themselves.

Well, here I am a week upwind of Christmas Eve. I hope this marks the end of the plague of griefs we’ve endured this year. Jill continues to improve. From my perspective her biggest setback is the medications as ordered by the doctors. Ongoing nausea and fatigue raise questions about the whole point of life but Jill has perservered and hopefully she’ll soon be skipping through meadows filled with daisys. She deserves happiness again after all she’s been through.

The trekkers

One of my heros is the Scottish comedian Billy Connolly. He has a hilarious yarn about going to the doctor for a colonoscopy. He describes the ordeal as being “When they ram a tv camera up your arse.” A few years ago I sprouted a tumour in my bladder. The experience of peeing blood for several weeks and not knowing what was happening, and being in a remote area of upcoast BC at the time, was not joyful. It was in fact a frightening piss-off. The repair job involved going into the inside of my frontal plumbing and removing the offending tidbit. It is an amazing process done remotely with minimal invasive slicing and dicing.

Finding humour in a delicate moment. A cystoscopy is described as “uncomfortable but not painful” Yeah, right!

All’s well that ends; but this has not yet reached a conclusion. I need to go for an annual inspection called a cystoscopy. I’m now a seasoned veteran of this but still tend to pucker inwards at the very thought of it. It only takes a minute or two but it is not an “Oh what a feeling!” experience. After you’ve booked in at the hospital, a place I absolutely dread, you have to change into their standard bum-flapper togs and then go sit in a hall with several other folks. We all have our brown paper bag holding our own clothes and sit humiliated and anxious, glancing at each other, knowing we men and women sit there now without any knickers. It is not a pretty picture. We’ve all been asked to not drain our bladders so most of us geezers sit there bursting for a tinkle. None of this brings any gratifying thoughts to anyone. Being in this together is no comfort. There is little sense of camaradarie.

Creekside. Libby must still be able to smell salmon remains.

Eventually a set of double doors open and a subdued-looking patient shuffles out, avoiding eye-contact and closely clutching their bag of clothing. They survived their experience and are going to cautiously go have a monster pee, get dressed and to hell out of there as quickly as possible. Eventually, a nurse with a clipboard appears out of the light beyond those swinging doors and calls your name. They’re always so damned cheery.

You are asked to sign a consent form, then ushered to a table and greeted by the poker-faced urologist. I noted how he has aged through the years. As I recline on his workbench I bang my head on something and am admonished to “Be careful.” I quip about not wanting to damage their equipment. The nurses laugh gently and the man whom I think of as the “Piss doctor” replies “No, no the equipment can be replaced, we don’t want you getting hurt.”

No sense of humour” I muse, “let me see what I can do about that.” I love trying to make medical folks laugh. Then comes the blur of agony. A numbing lubricant is applied, the camera on its tube is instantly inserted then rammed inward into a tight tunnel that feels three miles long. (It’s actually just a few inches) I realize that I am uncontrollably wiggling my feet like a baby duck.

Then a small tv screen reveals my inner workings. I see into a whitish rubbery underwater cave and the tiny camera is deftly wriggled around, peering into all corners. I offer, “Oh look, a starfish!” The nurses find some mirth, the doctor wonders what I’m on about, absolutely humourless. No other resident invaders are found. The apparatus is deftly removed. “Everything’s fine, see you in a year.” I’m handed a wad of towels, grab my bag and head out through those doors, trying to throw a “nothing to it” smirk at the other waiting victims. I’ve always wondered what it might be like to emerge as if doubled in agony, clutching at myself, and blubbering like a baby. I remember a previous year when a burly nurse began shouting at me to “RELAX, just RELAX!” I responded with “Well then let go your strangle-hold on the little fellow!” The probe had felt like a fire-hose augering into my sensitive friend as she clamped it like a bear. It was clearly counter-productive and very hurtful. I wondered about how she treated her poor partner at home. All’s well that ends. I drove out of the hospital parking lot and disappeared into the gathering darkness.

Speaking of plumbing. These two massive wooden pipes are part of the water supply for the local paper mill. I’d love to see how they were built. I don’t know how many miles they run.
Know the feeling? The woodpeckers are almost finished.
Dear old Jack’s resting place. He gets at least a weekly visit.
How I miss my beloved dog. He was very special.

Now here’s something that puzzles me about some men. I stood in a cashier’s queue behind a tall fellow. He wore a heavy macho parka, complete with furry hood and a camoflage motif. Under the parka he wore a pair of summer shorts. I just don’t get it. What statement do I not understand? Surely these fellows are not all retired postmen. My arthritic knees throb at the sight of this, it seems completely silly to me. He also sported a full forest of beard beneath a shaved shiny skull. Having just described a cystoscopy I wonder why guys want to go around looking like a penis. I have asked women if they find this look sexy and invariably draw a negative response. Is it a video-game-look these men try to achieve? Stumped!

Jump right in
Just breathe
The bridge. There are ripples in front of the bridge where a salmon has just jumped.

Another current vogue is for young women to dye their hair grey. What’s with that? The real thing will come soon enough and then you’ll be colouring it some unnatural tone to hide the grey. Just let it be. You’re lovely as you are, or were. One more thing while I’m ranting about appearances. What’s with these body-coverings of tattoos? A few tattoos mean something, an entire suit of them leaves me thinking nasty thoughts. There’s a fellow at the pool where I go for my morning swim. He’s tattooed like he has been wall-papered. He loves to stand in the shallow end and pose. What these young folks don’t realize is that their body is very fickle. As it ages and changes they’ll end up with splotches and tangles that will look like a street map of Moscow. Tattoo removal is clearly a great business for the future. I’m glad I’m the age I am.

Arye crosses a bridge over a salmon pool. The dogs love this walk around the hatchery grounds.

As I sat at this desk last night I watched as an orange last quarter moon rose behind the bare limbs of a neigbour’s massive tree. The forecast blizzard did not arrive and it is time for the girls to me take out for a walk. Maybe we can find a dead fish to roll on. No worries, now it’s snowing heavily.

On a final note, I’ve just posted my latest video effort on YouTube. There’s a great response from motorcycle people world-wide and a comforting criticism from close to home.

You be the judge if you like and leave a thumb up or down please.

Swimming weather seems so very far away
They’re back! Seal lions are arriving after a long swim from the south. They’ll be in position to wait, and wait, by the thousands, for the eventual arrival of huge numbers of herring which will spawn in late winter or early spring. The seal lions will gorge for many weeks. The cycles of life go round.


This will probably be my last blog before Christmas so I hope the elves are kind to you and that you can enjoy the closeness of family and friends. BUMHUG!

Aren’t we forgetting the true meaning of Christmas? You know, the birth of Santa.” — Bart Simpson


“Step into my mother’s garden,’ said Amantha.
“Walk toward the gate. There’s a whole new world just outside.” she said. “But I doubt you’ll ever get there.”
Daphny, the dog in the garden.

This is blog 400. I suppose that’s a milestone. It is not a very happy one for me. I’d planned to be writing this one aboard my beloved ‘Seafire’ while anchored in a lagoon somewhere on the opposite side of the planet. The boat is gone and the dream is in shambles. But, that’s the way the pickle squirts and all you can do is keep on looking ahead while also trying to make the most of the moment at hand. You only have this moment and truly do not even have the day so squeeze all the juice you can from every opportunity.

The warm aroma of dry and crushed leaves on the path fills the air. It will be lost in the earthy wet smell of autumn.
We stop often to smell the flowers.

Two days ago Ayre and I went walking in a favourite spot. It was late in the morning and by the time we completed our two kilometre loop back at the vehicle we were hot and thirsty.

No keys! “Oh gosh” I said. (Uhuh) They had to have fallen out of my pocket somewhere along our way so back around we went the opposite way hoping I’d dropped them later than sooner.

I’d chatted with a friend on my cell phone. Could that be the spot? Back at the car again after the second loop there still no keys. “Hey” I thought, “spare key!” I thought of all the other keys I’d need to replace but one step at a time. It took a while to remember where I’d hidden it but finally I extracted the precious item and inserted it into the door look. No result. I fiddled and wiggled and finally looked at the key to discover that it was only a blank, the key had never been cut. So what bonehead hides a blank key? I began to contemplate all the possible scenarios. What was best?

This was a moment when I wished I still smoked. After quitting over thirty-five years ago the urge still arises. I sat and thunk a spell. What the hell to do? I reconstructed events since our arrival and recalled that when we had arrived I had been accosted by a lovely malamute just as I opened the car door. Had the keys fallen out my pocket then while I was still in the vehicle? Finally my wide shut eyes noticed the passenger window was open about an inch. I fished the dog leash down inside and snagged the door handle. It, of course, pulled inward. Finally using a tree limb which I scrounged up I was able to eventually push the taut leash inward enough to open the lock. That was when the car alarm went off. It worked well. My keys were hiding peacefully under the driver’s seat. Never has a mouthful of hot bottled plastic-flavoured water tasted so good.

We are just a few days away from a huge crop of ripe blackberries. all we need is a few hours of rain for their perfection.
“Bugger off,” said the fly.
So they did!

All’s well that ends. My next stop was a locksmith. While he put things right, across the street police and paramedics removed the body of another fentanyl victim. Their activity seemed placidly routine which enhanced a sense of the surreal. The day progressed like a weird bad dream. We all have them. I wonder what sort of mental energy brings these experiences on. How can we harness that force to make good stuff happen? Oddly, later that same day, Ayre began barking furiously. I could not hear nor see anything. Several minutes later a rain squall arrived. Think of all the sensitivities dogs possess which we gave up long ago. A few days later, to photograph the trailer images below, I pulled onto a tiny short road so I’d bother no-one, nor they me. In the sixty seconds I needed, three different cars arrived at the spot where I stood in the roadway which I had blocked. Really! What are the odds?

My little circus parade. Folks ask “Wotcha got in yer trailer? A horse?” I reply, “Naw, just the kids.” I’m going to paint a sign on the side that says ‘Feel free to feed the monkey.’ There’ll be a drawing of a Sasquatch.
And there’s room for more. Motorcycle and ramp, kayak, inflatable boat and 10hp outboard motor, comfy bed, generator, air compressor, chainsaw, tools, ax and shovel, tent, inflatable mattress, bbq, tarps, jacks, hand winch, extra fuel and water, spare parts and “stuff.” Oh yeah, firewood! Note that there’s a hitch for a second trailer! Just in case.  I’ve built storage lockers in the front and some solar panels will go on top. As a boy I started out with a canoe and a tarp.
A friend suggested installing “Ram” ball mounts on my mirrors so I could fit the bike under the bunk inside the trailer. Great idea! The new mounts also lift the mirrors up and out enough for me to finally see the vehicle coming from behind. It’s nice to see who is going to crush you! Working mirrors are probably the most important safety item on a motorcycle. Thanks Jimmy!

We are at the time of the August full moon. I had been visiting friends on Gabriola island and missed a ferry homeward by five minutes. The next boat eventually left two hours later. I rode my wee scooter home in the dark. I now do not like driving anywhere after dark and realized that I’d never ever ridden a motorbike in the night time. My motorcycle jacket, which had seemed so cumbersome in the summer sun was now my saving grace. It seemed chilly after the heat of the day. My shorts were a cold frivolity. I ride the back roads. My little two-wheeled flivver just does not have enough power for the open highway of madmen at any time of day, let alone at night. The dark country road was my path, complete with glowing eyes in the ditch and the sudden, mysterious shapes of deer ahead. I eased my way along, tense for what might rise before me. The notion of being smacked in the face by the entire planet hung over me heavily. I tip-toed on my tiny motorcycle.

The gibbous moon was rising. It bathed the fields and forests in its soft light, the occasional window glowed warmly along the way. Soft clouds floated above. It was beautiful and indelibly eerie. Obviously I made it home and again, all’s well that ends. Today I stopped for gas at a station in a tiny island village. Fuel was selling for eight cents a litre than anywhere else. The protocol there was to first fill up with gasoline then go inside to pay. Yeah, I know it’s illegal. There were Canadain flags flying, nor protest posters, this guy was just exercising his free will and freedom. Isn’t that refreshing? No, I won’t tell you where is, for obvious reasons. That’s sad!

Osborne Bay. Sunday afternoon, August, low tide. Three golden retrievers ran out onto the mud flats which reeked wonderfully of clams and oysters. They charged about in the muck, their feet making loud splocking and squelching sounds. Then they rolled in the mud for good measure before coming for a cuddly visit. They were happy. And, so was I. It was only mud.
The knocker! His drumming filled the forest with rhythm. I know the feeling of banging my head on a tree all day.
La Puma. “Hey Woody, pull yourself together.”

Despite beautiful warm languid days there is a sense of late summer. There were spring blossoms just a few weeks ago! Now dry yellow summer leaves are falling. And get out a big pail. The blackberry crop this year is coming on fantastically!

You never know who’s watching.
It’s just a trickle but it is normal at this time of year.
En route, on track, on time. What purpose and precision! We don’t even look up.

What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” Bob Dylan

( So Bob…how about a handout? )