E’s incurable optimism

Every day E takes lots of drugs which medically suppress his immune system. Kind souls who send us articles from health magazines with suggestions on how he could improve his immune system to combat getting the virus, although much appreciated, don’t understand that he can’t improve this immune system. In fact if he did, his old body would reject his new heart.

One side effect of the immune suppression drugs is a risk of skin cancer. Every few years he does a topical chemical treatment on his head which kills any pre-cancerous cells there may be. It is a most unpleasant process. His skin gets sensitive, ugly and itchy and just plain scabby. The first time he did it in October of 2010 he looked so scary he had to wear a mask on Halloween so he wouldn’t frighten the trick or treaters.

As part of his annual medical appointments last month the skin doctor gave him a prescription for another chemical peel for when we came home from our trip. It occurred to us that while we are in quarantine and not seeing anyone anyways, now would be a good time to do the peel.. He could get as ugly as he had to and there would be no one to scare.

So he started the treatment on Monday. As the effects on his head are just now getting uncomfortable and we are just ten days into our fourteen day quarantine, it occurred to us that perhaps this wasn’t the most brilliant of ideas. What happens if he gets sick and it is compounded by feeling crappy from this skin treatment?…

We are still feeling otherwise healthy with no signs of the virus. So we are all good but the decision to go ahead with the skin treatment before he knew if he was sick or not is just more evidence of

E’s incurable optimism

A sea lions

Today is day nine of quarantine or as I like to call it “I didn’t cough. Did you? I was sure I heard coughing.” I will be so glad to finish the quarantine part of our lives and move on to social isolation. We will have more control over those days. Right now, we are either infected or not and there is nothing we can do about it but worry that a minor headache or midnight cough is an indicator of worse to come.. So far, so good. but honestly… sigh..

A few months back we bought a generator from a friend who had had it for years as her back up. It was never used and she wanted to get rid of it. For what was an irrationally minor cost she let us take it off her hands so that we could have a back up. It didn’t work and so we set it aside to worry about when the bunkie was done.

E found himself reminded about the generator yesterday. After lunch he went up to the shed and took off its cover. He spent almost 30 laborious minutes replacing the carburetor and generally fussing over it. The generator started on the first pull. Really good to have it as a back up, tucked away for an emergency. Thank you friend!

I was not so inclined to do any work and basically spent the afternoon browsing seed catalogues. The seeds I started last week have begun… The lettuce seems very happy. Even the tomatoes are starting to peek out.

Got a call from a friend today that he had noticed pollen on his patio table.. It is time to shut down the rain water catchment system. Unfortunately it is the day before a week of scheduled rain. It isn’t worth the risk. Pollen turns your water to sludge.. Fortunately we are pumping successfully from the well right now… Thank you friend.

We are slowly managing to get our freezer and pantry restocked.. Friends have been grabbing a few supplies for us when they do their shopping. We should be able to manage to stay isolated for a while now. Thank you friends.

Although all of us are isolating on our different properties as we should, we know that we are there for each other if needed.

As it turned out the coughing we heard last night was coming from the ocean. Apparently our coughs sound alot like

a sea lion’s

proper social distancing

“Have you been in your pajamas all day?”, E asked me yesterday… I had to give that some thought. I figured that I had been dressed at one point but had no proof as it was 5pm and I was sitting at 5pm drinking my fiftieth cup of coffee for the day in pretty much the same clothing and position I had been in at 6am with my first cup of coffee.

These are days are for personal sacrifice. I for one have given up completely the concept of foundation under garments. (Wearing a bra).

After fixing the electrical wiring issue with our water pump E went to check the tanks and there was still no improvement in our reserves.. He walked around and checked all of our taps. Although tightly closed, the tap at our well pump had quite a substantial drip going on. I guess some sort of damage from the sudden frost in January. Has it been dripping for two months? Would explain a lot…

We had worked hard to have our property relatively tidy before we left on our trip. Our friends who house sat weeded our garden and tidied the property even further.

Knowing that we won’t have any company this summer has reduced any impetus for work to nil. I figure come April when our previously scheduled vacation time has come to an end we will get back to it. We will likely keep a moderate pace.

Our main goal for the next few months is to occupy ourselves completing unfinished projects. We have tons of supplies around. Plenty of chores to keep us occupied. I wish we had our kids here safe but they are all doing what they have to do. All E and I can do is stay home and safely out of everyone’s way for however long it takes.

I don’t mean to be judgemental but it looks to me like none of these birds, although getting along very well are practicing

proper social distancing

to howl yet

Oh man, I tried so hard to make this weekend special for E. Back in June I started planning a three week trip to Asia. At one point we were going to spend the 20th anniversary of his heart transplant in the spa on the cruise ship. Then, after we renewed our vows in front of the Ship’s Captain ( I know, corny right?) we would have a four course dinner on the balcony of our suite floating somewhere in the Straights of Malacca, served by our personal butler. But life happens and in the grand scheme of things we are just grateful to be healthy and together.

We know there are young couples out there who may have to reschedule their weddings, high school grads looking at their formal dresses knowing they will not have a prom and of course those out there who are worried about their friends and family with the virus. It just sucks. But you come here to read about living a life off grid as a recipient of the gift of life. So we will stick to that topic.

I have added a new tab on the right hand side of the front page of the blog with the title Heart Transplant. In theory, you can find all of my transplant related posts through that link. Some are pretty good, usually the ones written around the anniversary date. I am honestly torn this year. Although I want to again give recognition for the tremendous gift we received and tell you how much we appreciate the donor and all of the support we have received over the last twenty years. But then I worry it could be a little self involved considering the world as we know it is changing and none of us know how it will turn out. This anniversary is perhaps insignificant.

I know that twenty years ago tonight we got the call that a new heart was available for E after waiting months on the list. He was running out of time. Now he sits beside me playing with his guitar, in front of a giant window over looking the most beautiful view a girl could imagine. The dog is laying at his feet. The progress he is making with the guitar must be pretty good because the dog hasn’t been driven

to howl yet

He is playing

Today is day five of quarantine or as I like to call it our first day taking life easy.

You see the kids and I gave E a guitar as a gift for his twentieth heart anniversary. In his youth he played the piano and clarinet and briefly attended guitar classes at the Dunbar Community Centre when he was twelve. Fifty odd years later we thought it would be good for him to take a break from standing one footed on ladders and spend some time relaxing..

Neighbours lent us music books this morning and he spent the afternoon playing around with his new toy. It must have been fairly melodic because I promptly fell asleep listening to him.

He had his annual check up with his St. Paul’s Doctor by phone this morning. Certainly much easier for us than a two day trip going into Vancouver. One wonders if this will become the new norm once the virus is gone.

I appreciate all of your concern, but the wine crisis is over. My sister in law brought me emergency rations last night in time for wine oclock.

In conclusion like many others we have plans to spend this time in isolation learning a new skill. For E it will be playing the guitar. I haven’t decided on mine yet but I have narrowed the options to either learning how to make donuts or guessing what song

he is playing

These difficult times

Day four of a life quarantined on the island or as I like to call it … living life almost exactly like we always do. E and I alone on the property doing chores during the day and binge watching TV at night. Our current show d’soir is Giri Haji. It is really good!

Admittedly, during the warmer months there is a very active social life on this island but during the winter months it is normal for us that two or three weeks might pass without socializing with others. This is not for everyone. In fact I think some relationships could find the situation difficult. For me, it is ideal. If you ask E if he agrees with me he would tell you that I said he does.

Three years ago I started my vegetable seeds earlier than normal (March 15th) as I was having my shoulder replaced. That summer’s harvest was the best I ever had. Yesterday I planted seeds. The guest room is playing the role of greenhouse this year.

E found a problem with the wiring on our well pump. It was a simple fix and The output has now increased from zero to 5 gallons a minute. This is going to make a substantial difference to our reserves. We discovered when we got home that the pump had not worked all winter. I envision our well is full to the brim with all of that untapped water and we are going to see great gains up top from well pumping. Lord knows there is no rain catching going on. We are having beautiful sunny days.

I am reducing my vegetable garden this year but still started 8 Cinderella pumpkins, 20 Ruths Medium tomatoes, 20 Pollock tomatoes, and 30 Yellow Wonder Light tomatoes and some lettuce. There should be enough tomato plants for us with some extra to trade. I have been given more asparagus and rhubarb plants. A friend is going to share some pea starts and that should be about it…

Although our son filled my grocery list before we got home we returned to find that we had forgotten a couple of items. The most critical being red wine! What was I thinking? Fortunately we have neighbours who have offered to pick up random items along the way for us.

Even after our quarantine is over we won’t be socializing or going to town until the situation is resolved. Although we love our neighbours dearly we can’t have any visitors. So we will have to change up a few of our routines.

Fortunately E had his annual blood work completed before we left on holiday. On Friday he is meeting with his medical team in Vancouver through FaceTime from here.. He just needs to take his BP and weight before the call.

I checked the liquor cabinet and although we have no red wine there seems to be an inordinate amount of Gin. Is it time I learn to like Martinis?

We all need to adapt during

these difficult times

not a hardship

On Saturday, we lay on the beach emailing our daughter. Our daughter was on the phone to our travel agent. The agent could not get through to Sunwing. From what started in the morning email to investigate if we can get an earlier flight home (we were supposed to fly home on the 22nd) to afternoon instructions that if the agent got through, tell her to book us on the next flight home.

We ordered another Margarita and went for a walk to the hotel lobby where the tour guys sell excursions. We approached the Sunwing guy who was sitting alone, obviously bored stiff.

Us: We would like to change our flights and leave.

Him: Why?

I held my phone out to show him the Gov’t of Canada bulletin to get home.

Us: Because our government is warning us to get home while we can.

Him: Because of the virus?

Us: Yes Him: That is fake news.

Choosing the calmer option of sipping my drink rather than jumping over the desk and wringing his neck for speaking those words to me, I responded

Me: Be that as it may we would like to go home.

So he got on the phone and changed our flight to the next day. He got straight through, had no trouble. There was no change fee but he made us sign a form refusing a refund for the lost week before he would change the flight. He crossed out the line on the form which stated quite clearly that we would receive a refund. We signed the form, knowing our travel agent could deal with Sunwing at home. This guy was not worth arguing with… We went back to the beach, told our kids we were sorted out and ordered a Pina Colada.

Sunday night at midnight our son picked us up from the airport and got us to our car. He had filled the car in advance with food and staples. On the ferry we stayed in our car. My brother met us in town with our dog. Our friends had our boat waiting for us and our other friends, who were house sitting, graciously allowed us to kick them out early.. Sorry!!!!! In forty eight hours our plans went from laying on the beach for ten more days to home and unpacked.

Yesterday, after unpacking, we phoned all of our kids to tell them we were home. We thanked them for their concern and help. We had to hang up early on one of our kids cause E noticed there were whales behind me.

We started planning a celebration for E’s 20th heart anniversary in June with a trip to Asia. In January we cancelled Asia and booked Mexico. In March we rescheduled Mexico and accepted that we would be celebrating alone at home on the island. It is

not a hardship.