Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Gertrud and Fred visit

Gertrud and Fred came over to visit William this afternoon and to hear many of the stories about his surgery. I measured him on my ongoing "measuring wall" and William seems to be 6' 2.5" now. 

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Allan visits

Allan has been one of our loyal cat sitters this past two weeks, even though he is allergic. Thank you Allan. Margaret went to Richard and Gerda's gin party but William wasn't quite up to it so we didn't go with her. Thank you Gerda for cat sitting as well. We got the One Take films back and watched them in the kitchen. Turned out well. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Geremy visits

Our day was full of errands. We took William to his family doctor who was surprised to see William in his office so soon after surgery. Since we've been home, one of us was always home with William. Sometimes he seems to be in good enough shape to just be home alone; other times not. I picked up the temporary handicap parking sticker for the car, and stopped in to talk to the pharmacist about which order William should take his meds each day ( to try and optimize pain control and reduce nausea.) After supper Geremy came by with a card that outlines further suggestions for bionic implants.

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Return to Regina

We drove William home to Regina, two weeks from the day we drove there for his back surgery. The ride was okay when the road was straight and flat, but turns and bumps made him feel bad. He has a nauseous morning so we need to get on top of how his medications work. The last stop was a surprise visit to Xander whom William was texting to in the car.
Once home, we saw Lori and Al who had been so great bringing a pie and installing the screenings on the gazebo. A short time later, my mom and dad came to visit, also bringing some sweets. Settling back into the house took a while but it is much better than hospital or hotel. Good to be home. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Mike and his visits

Mike Grzesina visited William most days in the hospital, arriving with drinks, suppers, and cards. Every visit was appreciated and he gave William as well as Margaret and I a nice break to the day. 

Outside and eventually out of the hospital

 First thing in the morning, William was uncertain if he was ready to leave the hospital. The physiotherapists gave him the green light, but everyone also said it would be his choice about how long he would stay. After a trip outside, a walk on the grass and up and down some stairways, and some fun adventures getting lost in the under-construction health sciences building, he declared that he did want to leave.
 We had one last meeting with his doctor and disembarked for the hotel. The hospital adventure was coming to a close.

Friday, July 26, 2019

Walking around

Yesterday was good for walking around the room and into the hallway. Today was much better. He went to physiotherapy and learned how to get up from a tub chair, a car seat, and to go up and down stairs.  I think that walking for the sake of getting better is uninteresting to William, but walking to engage with someone or some place drives him harder. Mike and George both visited and William literally rose to each occasion.
The other big event of the day was that the respiratory specialist came by with five residents under his tutelage. William had been taken off oxygen yesterday but last night had some difficulty breathing so was back on it for a while. This doctor had the x-rays which showed fluid in William's pleural area outside of his lungs and had a few suggestions ranging from radical (tube to drain over time), moderate (needle to remove fluid today) to minimal (let nature take its course). William wanted it drained so they hooked up a vacuum bottle and syringe and pulled over a litre of fluid from William.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

new room, more visitors

William was detached from his IV and other machines attached to his body today. Leveraged with the bacterial infection this time, William got a private room again (the same room) which is much better for countless reasons, including having a bathroom that he can use with impunity. Mooky and Sara visited on their way to North Battleford for a festival. It was great to see them. To avoid contamination, even though it likely wasn't a factor by this point, we had a huge virtual hug. Later in the day, Frank Bessai and his sons also visited on their way from the farm (where we were unable to see them) home to Edmonton.

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Moving to private room again

It was suggested that he eat food that gets the old digestive system in full gear and KFC came up as a suggestion. I bought him two pieces. This is the very first Kentucky Fried Chicken that William has ever eaten. He was up on his feet a few times but is not supposed to use a bathroom that other patients use, so this was a big problem.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

First step to recovery

William spent the night with a breathing tube. The doctor saw him first thing in the morning and began taking him off the drugs that were keeping him asleep. He was alert quite quickly. He tried to write a message which was to tell me to video the process but it was just scribbles and the doctors prefer that procedures not be recorded without permission, so I didn't. A couple of hours later, we sat William up and even got him momentarily on his feet, at which point he described the pain as being at level 10.
As I said in the previous post, he was moved to regular adult observation by the end of the afternoon. Shortly before moving, they told William that he'd picked up a bacterial infection so needed to be isolated for six days during that treatment. It's always something. In the six bed observation, an older woman called for the nurse to make her toast or hold her hand every six seconds. Mike visited as he is tremendously supportive, bringing booster juice. Got through the night by drowning out voices with My Little Pony on tablet and eating baking from Christie's.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Huge second surgery on William's back

Getting the band back together for one last spinal concert
We got back to the hospital at 7 am to be with William through the pre-op sessions, questions, etc. The team assembled and answered any and all questions he had before wheeling him into the operating room at 8 am. They spent the next two hours doing precise x-rays and scans and positioning his body into just the right position using tables, bean bags, sponges, and who knows what. At 10am the surgery began. Margaret and I were able to leave the hospital and be in phone contact and we did laundry, playing cards, sorting stuff that we needed to remove from the private room, and trying to get through the day without worrying too much. Calls from the O.R. came every two hours, all positive, and many telling us that they would call again in two hours. The operation took until 9 pm, a total of 11 hours. In the end, he was kept in PICU, "pediatric intensive care unit" overnight, which is an amazing facility. Until the children's wing is finished, the PICU is supposed to be only for people 17 years old and not a day older (the age will go up to 18 year olds later). However, scoliosis surgery is more common on younger patients so the PICU is well trained to treat them. Dr. Allen arranged for William to be there post surgery, and the head doctor felt it was okay, but other forces prevailed so as soon as the breathing tube was remove (William was mad I didn't video that process) he eventually was sent back to adult. But for this first night, he was unconscious in their unit. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

last recovery day before second surgery

William is getting stronger and the private room has been a big part of that. He is still uncomfortable and cannot concentrate on things for more than a few minutes, which makes reading and watching movies difficult. Bodily functions have begun to spring back to normal, but not without a bit of chemical assistance. As with last week in the restaurant, I don't know what his appetite will be like after the next surgery so I got him one of his favorite comfort foods, fresh rolls. They were almost as good as Milu's, but they gave a peanut sauce instead of the thinner sauce (name of which I don't know) that Milu's gives. 

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Saturday hospital visitors

Late in the afternoon, we received two sets of visitors from Regina. Arriving first was Terri and Xander, bringing noodles from #1 Noodles, Rudy's favorite Saskatoon restaurant. Literally five minutes after Terri arrived, Lori and Al arrived bringing fresh picked raspberries. Lori had a social engagement so after a nice visit with them, we left William and Xander to hang out for a while as we got a coffee. It was really terrific that people came so far out of their way to spend time with William. It lifted his spirits and has helped with recovery. 

Friday, July 19, 2019

recovery and the problems with rooms

On Monday and Tuesday, William stayed in "Observation", which has six beds and extra nurses to respond quickly to each patient. It can get loud and doesn't give anyone much space, but the care was good. On Wednesday night he was moved to a smaller room with only two other patients. However, even though they were likely very nice people, they had multiple visitors all day long and their cell phone rings were ungodly loud. It made it impossible to even think let alone rest. When the doctor came to see William, she had a difficult time hearing or being heard. I think she said a few words about him needing better rest than that to be able to be prepared for his second surgery. On Thursday he was moved to a private room. Much better. Decorated it with a few photocopies from My Little Pony.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Thursday in recovery and One Take Super 8

Huge storm today. Wind and lightning. We drove to the university instead of walking from the hotel 8 blocks away. Margaret's feet and shoes are being a problem. The One Take Super 8 Event was this evening in Regina. William and I both screened films but were not there (obviously) to see them. We waited anxiously for reports from the screening and finally hear positive responses. We missed the group discussion and photo with filmmakers on stage, but sent out three thumbs up. 

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

more recovery

Two days after the surgery, his continuous problem has been sticking to the bed with his sweat and feeling every crease in the sheets with huge discomfort so that he could never relax. I bought a fleecy blanket from Superstore on spec and it proved somewhat effective. Margaret needed to buy more such things as he soaks one after the other in sweat and they need to be washed (smelling rank at the end of all that).
Mike visited and brought Booster Juice. William was intrigued because Teagan recently got a job at Booster Juice and was telling him all their secrets.
I got him to draw a bit, just to bring in something from normal life. Yesterday he needed to draw with his left hand as his entire right side was too sore. Today the right side is still very sore (the side the rib came out of) but he drew right handed anyway.
Yesterday's left handed drawing

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Recovery begins

William's pain and discomfort was much more evident the day after surgery. What was a bit surprising was the amount his core body was sweating, even while his arms and legs were cool. He was supposed to try to sit up today but actually managed to get on his feet for a few seconds, which was very impressive to everyone. Everything went well for the surgery. They had removed a rib on his right side and material from four vertebrae. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

William's surgery, part 1

We brought William to the hospital at about 6:15 am and they started getting him processed and ready for surgery. One of the surgeons had an emergency surgery early in the morning so William needed to be pushed back a couple of hours. Surgery began at about 10 and at about 3 we were told they were ready to close. However, he ended up longer in the final stages than we expected as a new technique of  deflating and re-inflating the lung was used which allowed them to close without putting in a tube that would stick out of his body. We saw him finally at 5:45 in the recovery room, eating a pop-cycle and declaring "I feel great! ... except for the pain".

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Drive to Saskatoon for surgery

I am writing this after William's surgery has been completed and we have gone home. I'll be putting each blog posting into the date that things happened but without the drama and tension that existed at the time as we worried. This is for documentation and memory purposes.

Before we drove to Saskatoon we saw Marc and Jess and all Marc's family at his father's memorial as at Slate. We didn't stay long but got back to the house, finished packing, and stopped in to Vic Cicanski's secret garden before hitting the highway.
In Saskatoon we checked into the Holiday Inn Express then went for supper. Mike was busy at first but made us reservations at a nice restaurant, Odla, on Broadway. Very nice. I wanted William to have a great meal before facing two weeks of hospital food and take out. He had the lamb. Storm came and rain fell hard. 

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Films, gardens, and storms

Today was William's summer vacation. I hope he can enjoy more of it, but if not, he will have had today to make a film with a couple of his friends (Xander and Griffin), buying them lunch and driving them around like a real trooper. The winds seem mild but off to the east, after sunset, I could see lightning flashes every three or four seconds for lengthy periods of time. Crazy. Margaret and I went to a few destinations of the Secret Garden Tour. Here is the cloud we could see from one of them: 

Friday, July 12, 2019

University progress and Daniel Barrow presentation

 Today William got his student card photo taken (three tries, still unhappy) and we also took care of a number of technical details regarding his university registration.
 Later we attended the Dunlop opening which included a impressive presentation of projection art by Daniel Barrow. We saw him perform about 10 years ago and since then I've suggested his work to many grad students as a way of disrupting the method of production and finding new ways to engage more directly with audience.
Griffin arrived and we met him at the airport. William and he will be creating a new film tomorrow. They only have the one day window, so it will probably be crazy and hopefully more fun than stressful. 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Two scenes for Gentleman Farmer

 Headed out to the farm and shot significant portions of two scenes for Gentleman Farmer. The girls were out there but were roofing. On the first shot, I think I over wound the spring. It made a small ticking noise when I reached the maximum wind and then it wouldn't work. I had to mess around with it for ten minutes until finally it ran again. I avoided winding it to the maximum after that, which means my long takes (such as in the typewriter scene) are a few seconds shorter than I'd have liked.
 Cut the shooting short as we wanted to get back for a presentation of videos by Christine Negas who usually only presents video work in galleries. The complete sixty minute body of her fifteen years of work was tied together by a motif of death with which she really seemed to hide from saying anything with any great depth about herself or, for that matter, about death. Some funny stuff here and there, but also some parts that were disappointingly sloppy.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Return of Mooky

Mooky dropped by the house, hung around the deck and told some really thrilling (and sometimes distressing) stories about her recent work on the Circus Flora where she just returned from. Wonderful crazy stressful memorable times. Great to see her. 

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Computer frustration

Frustrated by computers today. Insurance only accepts their app or fax or mail. Who doesn't accept email? Margaret's computer won't see the internet, no matter what I've done. Went and bought a new internet connection thing (a usb with an antena on it) so I hope that works. I didn't do much animation today, even though my whole day was in front of the computer. Allan was over. We hit OTV and Chapters before going home and completing the storyboards for Pud 2. 

Monday, July 8, 2019


Margaret had a tire problem. As I drove to pick her up from the shop, I got a call which reminded me why I had wanted to get to the office today - my comptuer was to be updated and I wanted to put my room in order. Too late - Andrea called and asked if I wanted a large monitor or a duel monitor (duel of course). 

Friday, July 5, 2019

Leaving Saskatoon

We'll be back soon enough, but not to be living and relaxing in the style of the past couple of days.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Comedy of Errors

Although it was one of the least plausible Shakespeare plays, we really liked the Comedy of Errors set in a Florida trailer park with twin brothers separated at birth, one living in Canada, the other in red neck USA. Kenn played one of the leads. We got a chance to chat afterwards, but only briefly as the final set of notes from the director were about to be discussed. The girls drove up and stayed at an Air BNB and came to the play with us. We cruised around 20th street before the play, finding food and public art (likely a Nachtigall).