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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D6ZLiLNu_5M&t=51s

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

Pink People

Pink People

Rumble Mountain.
While on a visit to Fernie last week, for my second covid vaccination, I watched this cumulonimbus cloud quadruple this size in less than a half-hour. A huge anvil was forming on its top as I left town.
Even these high peaks looked hot.

After a reluctant spring, summer descended like a squadron of dive bombers. We were obliterated. Even my young co-workers staggered about panting. Those working on the docks easily burned from the sun’s reflection on the mirror-calm lake surface as if they were in a micro wave. We were being nuked. Temperatures hovered around and above forty degrees Celsius. I found myself sitting in the emergency ward of the hospital in Cranbrook for seven hours when I thought I was exhibiting a few stroke-like symptoms. I waited that long because ambulances were arriving almost bumper to bumper with heart attack victims due to the heat. I was told, after a series of tests, that I was working too hard in the heat. I knew that. But there’s no fool like an old fool.

Yes Really! Inside the camper at ten pm.
Kinda says it all
Fernie street art
The mark of a civilized town, a public loo.

Tonight I’m sitting outside of my camper in a sultry wind blowing off the lake. Temperatures have plummeted down to the mid thirties. It feels chilly. The tree tops roar like surf and dust blows past in swirls. I’m loving it. There is always a patina of dust on everything and I remind myself that life in the desert is just like this. Repairs to the camper have stalled, I’ve been too exhausted to do much with my evenings except wait for the temperature to cool enough for sleep and consume every sort of fluid available. And so the summer passes at the moment, one weary day after another. Visitors I was looking forward to seeing are cancelling for various reasons and frankly I am feeling quite low about life in general. This too shall pass.

One of my many projects, our floating cantina
A morning coffee on the roof watching an inbound houseboat
‘Amazing Grace’ draws close. It looks like a floating wedding cake to me. While nowhere near my idea of a boat they are a highlight of many folk’s lives.
Here we go again
End of the day, my sweat-crusted shirt

One of my bemusements here are the folks who come to enjoy the new water park. It opened on July 1st. My employer purchased an inflatable world from a Chinese (of course) manufacturer which was then held up in customs for almost two months. There was much puzzling and re-anchoring and inflating but it finally came together. Skeptical at first I am now amazed. From toddlers in diapers through amazingly obese human apparitions to geriatrics barely capable of walking on solid ground, these folks clamber, crawl, slither and roll along these inflatable floating obstacle courses. They squeal and scream and squeak in a cacophony of unbridled joy. Most are not confident swimmers so they are provided with life jackets. It is delightful to watch as even elderly folks become children again. The old adage about the best amusements being simple things proves itself true.

Where adults can shamelessly be children again
Wheee kerplunk

I can also see that a thriving future business will be tattoo removal. Good grief! Don’t folks realize that those beautifully crafted flowers, dragons, tigers and graphic fantasies will evolve as time goes by. When their skin sags, wattles and wrinkles those tattoos will slowly evolve into abstract patterns and more closely resemble street maps of places like Moscow. Then there are the thong-string bikinis which do nothing erotic or tantalizing fopr the wearer or the observer. Pockety alabaster mounds (both genders) balumping down the dock only confirm statistics about rising Canadian obesity. Clearly this old fart, who is in no way a prude, is missing something about contemporary physical appeals. “Shake it up baby.” What’s white and red and squeals when it gets near water? A Canadian.

The fleet in the morning. By mid-morning the dock bustles like a train station as swarms of new charter folks arrive with all their food, booze and other baggage. Then there are the maintenance folks desperately preparing the vessel for the next trip.
The boat won’t go anymore! Landlubbers feel safest close to the shore…where the rocks are!
I have never before seen such a neatly trimmed propeller hub. The speed at impact must have been tremendous.
A much prettier set of three blades, completely intact. These flowers grow in baking hot, bone-dry, powdery alluvial dust. They are incredibly beautiful.
Growing
Growing
Bloom
Bee happy

By the end of the day some of these creatures have turned a vicious fluorescent pink. They plod up a very steep hill to a dusty yard where their cars are parked with blast furnace temperatures inside. They drive for at least an hour to get anywhere back out toward their world yet next day there are more folks squealing and pink. Word of mouth is an ultimate marketing tool and clearly folks are very happy. Meanwhile the fleet of rental houseboats comes and goes as ever more folks enjoy a unique vacation. I am amazed at how my employers saw this opportunity and have made it work so well. All things are possible.

Another job on the docks done, next one now! Still smiling!
photo by Krista Fast

Enjoy life. There’s plenty of time to be dead.” – Hans Christian Andersen