Sunday, March 31, 2019

The Blog

I do not want this Blog to become a monument to the Cancer that took Norma and I know she would be even more adamant on this subject than I. Therefore I am going to copy all the cancer related posts  along with all associated comments to a Word file  and then delete them from the Blog. I will leave her obituary and this post up but the rest will be gone. I appreciate and value all the comments that her friends (both "Real" and "Imaginary") have left but it is time to make that change. Thank you for understanding!

- Croft

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Norma Randle

JULY 27, 1942 – MARCH 24, 2019
Obituary of Norma Randle

Friend, Lover, Wife, Mother, Colleague, Socialist, Feminist, Unstoppable Political Dynamo, Union Organizer, Fierce Defender Of Lost Causes.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Norma Randle July 27, 1942 - March 24, 2019

Norma Randle July 27, 1942 - March 24, 2019
At 10:15 PM Sunday night we lost Norma. Friend, Lover, Wife, Mother, Colleague, Socialist, Feminist, Unstoppable Political Dynamo, Union Organizer, Fierce defender of lost causes. This leaves a gaping hole in my heart and I can hear her telling me to "Get moving and get on with it. Quit whining!"
The photo is at our friends Juan and Chris' home in Monterrey, Mexico. She was always happy in Mexico.

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Moving up

And the big news of the day is! WE ARE OUT OF EMERGENCY and have a room! Not the fun filled oncology 8th floor "penthouse" but the 4th floor. I think they are still trying to move us up. The dietitian from the 8th floor talked to us earlier and wanted to do a couple of experiments to get better nutrition. Maybe another move tomorrow but at least she is out of the ER and the security guards running around all night. Unfortunately the room she is in now has three beds so I will not be able to stay overnight.

Radiation #2 Done

Treatment #2 done this morning.Easy Peasy! Norma was feeling really good this afternoon so our granddaughter #2, Sierrah and her other grandmother came for a nice visit. It was a good day. They slightly changed the meds so hopefully we will avoid any more pain crises. THAT would be a step in the right direction. All that positive thinking is starting to pay off folks!

One Down Nine To Go

Norma rode down to Victoria in an ambulance with me following in the Mazda. Four hours on the road and then her first radiation treatment a half hour after we arrived.

The hospital is over capacity so no rooms available. Norma slept in a curtained off area of Emergency and I slept at Brooks' in-laws. Norma had a bit of a panic when I was not here when she woke up for her pain meds as she forgot me leaving. Hopefully we will get a room with a cot for me tonight,

Second treatment at 10:00 this morning. They are hi-tech and painless!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Off To Victoria, BC

We are off tomorrow morning to Victoria for treatment. Norma will be in the Royal Jubilee Hospital for two weeks. Keep those positive thoughts flowing, they do make a difference!

Great Memories!

Norma's old friend Sharon Prescott came for a visit yesterday and presented Norma with photos of Norma, Sharon. Patrice Pratt and Angie Schira who together were Mike Harcourt's "Back Room Boys" in the BC Provincial election they won so handily for Mike. The photos included a "before" shot taken just after the election and an "after" shot taken four years ago with Mike at a retirement party. The photos and old stories they shared got a lot of smiles out of Norma and it made her day!

*Update: As Angie just reminded me in a phone call, their other name was, "The Spin Witches"!

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Good Trip To Victoria

It was a good trip today. We started with a wake-up at 5:30 and ended when we got back at about 4:00. The day was dry, the highways freshly salted and the traffic light so we made good time. Brooks and LindaLee met us when we got there.

We all met with the doctor who outlined everything we knew. Surgery is not an option because everything in there is all tangled together and they would have to cut it up too much and it would come right back. He also ruled out radioactive iodine and Chemo. That leaves radiation as the preferred method of attack. We discussed pain management and Norma's aversion to morphine.

They took her into another room where they made a "mask" to hold her in the proper rigid position while the radiation is applied which looks something like a sci-fi goalie mask. They then gave her an MRI focusing on their areas of concern.

She will be transported to Comox on Thursday for a bone scan and then back to Victoria in 1 1/2 to 2 weeks to start her radiation. We will remain in Victoria for two weeks and it is undetermined where I will stay but it will be either at the Cancer House or at friends. In the meantime they have ordered more biopsies.

This is a very tiring journey for all concerned but our socialized medical system removes any financial strain and for that we are very thankful to be Canadians!

Monday, March 11, 2019

Big Trip Tomorrow!

We are getting ready for the big day at the Victoria Cancer Clinic tomorrow! We leave in the Cancer Van with a driver and a nurse at 6:00 AM, have a two hour meeting and should be back in our room in Campbell River by 6:00 PM. The big treat was Tanya, the Health Care Assistant gave Norma a shower and a hair washing this afternoon! What a great service these people provide and we didn't even know they existed!. I was going to help her myself but this was so much better!

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Time To Explain

Some of you know but many of you do not. Norma is in the hospital!

She had some dental surgery on February 1 which was followed by a bad infection in her mouth. This made it hard to swallow and antibiotics were prescribed. The first course did not help and it got worse. This was followed by three more courses, none of which helped. By now she found swallowing very difficult if not impossible and was existing on Boost, juices and other very soft foods. I took her to the doctor and lab tests were ordered. Two days later we went to see the doctor who told her she had passed the lab work with flying colors. He kidneys, liver, lungs were good and her chest x-ray showed clear lungs. She passed the cancer screening blood test. "You are healthy so we just have to deal with the infection. He prescribed a stronger antibiotic and we went home. This was Friday, February 22.

The next morning I was in my office and when I checked on Norma she was passed out on the toilet. I shook her, yelled at her and woke her up. I was helping her back to the bed when she passed out again. I carried her to the bed and called 911.

They arrived and noticed she was severely dehydrated and put her on an IV drip while they transported her. The Emergency Room doctor ordered a scan which showed two "masses" pressing on her swallowing mechanism, blocking the passage. Her breathing passage was fine.

He admitted her and after playing musical beds in our brand new but overcrowded hospital we ended up in a private room with a large couch for me to sleep on.

Many tests, scans, MRI's, biopsies and x-rays followed with some results coming in quickly, some slowly and some we have not seen yet. She was on 24/7 IV drip for many days and soon they put a feeding tube up her nose. This was a difficult job done by her ear, nose and throat specialist because of the problems in her throat.

A couple of days ago this nose tube was replaced with a tube directly into her stomach and is much more comfortable. She is "eating" much more than she ever has. They were feeding her 24/7 for the first two or three days and have now cut her back to 3 "meals" a day. The IV drip has also been removed as she is no longer dehydrated. They are giving her water through the feeding tube every time they flush it. She is much more cheerful now.

Her attitude is so much better now. She refused any type of opium based drug just on general principles and because of unfortunate experiences with both her mother and father. Between the nurses, doctors and I we talked her into trying Dilaudid in a tiny 1 mg dose and it is working! No more severe headaches! She is on that as required (about every 5 - 6 hours.

So far the results are suggesting two kinds of cancer although they are still not sure. Everything has been sent down to the Cancer Clinic in Victoria and on Tuesday Norma, a nurse escort and myself will make the trip down in the Cancer Van for a consultation in Victoria. It is about four hours each way so with a two hour consultation it will be a 10 - 12 hour day. She will be in a bed in the van.

Please send lots of positive thoughts but hold back on the flowers as the room is small with almost no counter space and we have already been asked to remove some of the more odoriferous flowers as other patients and some staff are complaining.

I will keep you all updated but right now she needs a very positive attitude from all her friends (both real and "imaginary" as she calls them) to match her own positive outlook. For Norma this is just another job that needs to be done. She has organized unions, kicked bad politicians out of office and has run campaign to elect good politicians and she has a very good batting average. This is just another windmill for her to tilt!

Friday, March 8, 2019

To all our women friends: Happy March 8, International Women's Day!

Michele Paccione/Shutterstock