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Tossing Pebbles in the Stream

This blog is my place to sit and toss pebbles into the stream. The stream of Life relentlessly passing before us. We can affect it little. For the most part I just watch it passing and follow the flow. Occasionally, I need to comment on its passing, tossing a pebble at it to enjoy the ripple affect upon Life's surface.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me

Saturday past was my birthday. I was born February 23, 1943.   which makes me 70 years old.. I guess that makes me old although I do not feel old. I wonder if one ever feels old?

My sister considered this birthday a significant event.  She insisted on a special recognition of it saying if I did not come to her home in Toronto,  she would come North to River Valley to be able to spend some time with me on this occasion.. So I found myself being driven by my son to Toronto for the weekend which allowed me to go to Penny's home and share a birthday meal with her, husband David, son Donald along with my son Parker and my belovéd friend Lynne.  It was a nice evening as we reminisced about years and friends past in the old neighbourhood of Port Credit, where Lynne has continued to live and is a living link to the past.  It seems for the rest of us while our roots were torn up years ago, memory calls his back to the time before the historic changes.  It was a nice visit and gesture by my sister, two years my senior.

My sister gave me this painting for my birthday. She saw it some time ago and it spoke to her that It was the perfect gift for me. She has squirreled it away until the perfect occasion to give it to me,  my birthday.  I love it.. I have few cherished possession.  My 16 foot cedar stripped canvas covered canoe is one of them. Of all the thing I have had over the years it has given me the most pleasure. I was 16 when I worked half the summer to pay for it and then spend the other half of the summer alone on a lake in Muskola using it and mastering the fine art of paddling it listening to the quiet and gentle sounds of Nature. For many of the years I spent in the US I drove around with it on the roof of my car. I seldom stopped to use it on an impulse but maybe just maybe there might have been an opportunity. It certainly made it easy to find my car in a parking lot. With it I became a self taught camper with a dedication to minimalist camping. (leaving no signs behind as well as being able to carry in a single backpack all you need to keep yourself in Nature for two weeks . I most often enjoy solitary canoeing although there were time of just playing with others in the canoe. I even tried once to master the test  suggested by Pierre Berton of being a real Canadian by "making love in a canoe". It is a tricky as it sounds.

My canoe is an interesting measure of how times have changed over the years. I paid for my new canoe $150 all those years ago. To purchase one now would cost one $150 a linear foot.  I twice has some repairs done on it. Once I drive to New Brunswick from Boston to have a gunnel replace by the original manufacturer of the it, The Chestnut Canoe Company (now out of business)  although their molds were purchased by others and there are still builders of their models, Mine is the iconic Prospector model that the great outdoors man and canoeist Bill Mason used and our former Prime Minister, Pierre Elliot Trudeau was photographed in.
I next had my canoe repaired a little at the North Bay Canoe Company which cost me $1,700 with the assurance it would last another 50 years. Sadly, not true, it needs some repairs now which will cost about $2,700. I have not used it for a couple of years and my son has now hung it from the ceiling of his log cabin. I am not willing to see it become an ornament yet just as I am not willing to see myself at this age become just an ornament.  Hopefully we will both have some vital years of life fulfilling reason for our existence.
In the meantime I will find an honoured place to have the painting of a red canoe by Canadian Artist Greg Shafley.

My sister also gave me this book for my birthday. She is sure I will enjoy it. I trust her. She often gives me books and the rarely disappoint me.  The Hare with Amber Eyes by Edmund de Waal is a family memoir of a Jewish family during WWII.. I look forward to reading this book.

My birthday party in part turned into an "intervention" ( this word occurred to me in retrospect.)  My current medical problems became a topic of discussion. I have a very painful leg which gives me shooting sharp pain with certain movements that temporarily locks the leg up with me bent over in pain until though my tentative efforts to regain the use of the leg pain free after I hear or feel a little click in my left thigh. This happens almost every time I get up from a chair or bend over to reach near the floor., for whatever.  This a annoying and painful  I have also know my feet are swollen somewhat.

My general attitude is to ignore such things figuring they the will go away or I will die.  I am not a big user of the health care system. The problem is serious enough that I actually started to take some pain killers. I also avoid taking pills normally.  David, Lynne, Parker all chimed in with encouragements for me to see a doctor. I finally agreed with the wisdom of the loving advice I was getting and somewhat agreed to see a doctor sometime soon.

Driving home with Parker he brought up the subject of me writing a will and preparing a letter of power  of attorney in the case I find myself unable to manage my own affairs.  I think he was taking to my sister and brother in law to come up with this. It seems there are those betting I will not have as many bonus years as I think I might. Is this a result of my current aches and pains and general neglect of any proactive health care on my part?  It makes me smile. Of course this is a good  idea and I agreed that if Parker set up an appointment with  a lawyer I would consider both of these.  During the drive we did not resumed the talk about my painful leg and swollen feet. I should have been suspicious for the surprise was ahead of us.

When we  reached Sturgeon Falls and headed for Parker's home, past the hospital, he suddenly turned into the hospital and said  "You are going to the hospital, right now." Now I knew I had been in an intervention.  I went to the emergency room, as I do not have a doctor. My last one closed his practice and them died, (  How inconsiderate of him. I guess he knew he was sick). He left 7,000 patients  who had to look for another doctor..

 It was 3:30. The emergency room was not too busy but it still was 7:30 before I got out of there.

The result was the doctor could not find out why I was having pain in my leg. This is good news for she ruled out a bone problem, a tumor or a blood clot. I had an X ray of my pelvis and leg.. She also had blood work done.  I turned out my blood work was good. I have somewhat elevated blood pressure. I would have guessed that but maybe the sharp pain I was periodically having send that up. My sugar was good so my swollen feet was not diabetes, which I am always concerned about. In our family there have been thyroid problems as well as diabetes so I am always interested in test of my endocrine system. So I am in pretty good shape for an old guy, except I still have pain that makes every day things difficult. I will be trying something else soon. If it does not improve in a week I will go back. There many be a bone scan in my future or physical therapy. (The latter is no long paid for my our universal health care.) I can't afford  that. The last time I did it twice a week for 10 months to overcome my frozen shoulder condition. It was paid for by the government then. This life drama will continue.

Should three score and ten be seen as an ending, a new beginning or the beginning of the end. Time will tell. The Bible hold out the hope of reaching four score.  Modern medicine seem to suggest 5 score is a possible option for may more of us.


At 12:28 p.m., Blogger Navigator said...

I am certainly not happy to read about your medical issues, Phillip, and I hope you can overcome them. Since we all pay taxes into our health care system to keep it universal and so-called "free", it does not make sense to not use it, you are still going to be dinged for the taxes whether you use it or not. At this age, don't let stuff slide. I am not a person worried too much about my health, but I don't ignore persistent pain that I cannot explain. Full marks to your son.

I too have had a canoe of one sort or another, all of them prospector models, for a very long time and for years have vacationed with them in Kilarney Provincial Park, going in country and portaging. I am betting your canoe weighs a good 75 pounds. My last fiberglass canoe was 65 pounds (which I purchased for $250 at the Sportsmen Show in Toronto about 35 years ago -- it was made in Temiskeming (sp?)). When I separated from my first wife, I gave up the house, the furniture and the car. The only thing I insisted on taking was the canoe. I found it a bit of a struggle in the last couple of years with my advancing age, on long and difficult portages. So, having sworn I would never part with it, I sold it to a relative for what I had paid for it (it never needed repair, but it did present heavy usage). I then purchased an Evergreen 16-foot prospector made to order in Quebec. It is kevlar and weighs only 45 pounds. The seats and the thwarts are bird's maple (beautiful) and it has a built-in yoke. I had a special paint job in an unusual colour (for a canoe) done on the exterior. It sat in the showroom of the canoe dealer for a couple of weeks before I was able to pick it up and he told me he could have sold it 50 times before I got there. It cost me $2,250, but I figured it is likely the last canoe I will ever own and it might as well be special one. No point at this age being frugal.

I did a two-day trip down the Saugeen River with it (many rapids and shallows) so it now has the appearance of well-used boat.

Anyway, happy belated birthday and thanks for the canoe memories and for giving me an opening to brag about my lovely boat.

At 9:31 a.m., Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Happy Birthday, Philip. I am behind you in years, but I think I have more trouble with my body than you: hip, knee and foot. And we have stairs in this place.

At 11:11 a.m., Blogger Owen Gray said...

Happy Birthday, Philip. Whether it's three, four or five score, every day counts -- even with its aches and pains.

You obviously have a lot to live for. May you know many more days.

At 3:46 p.m., Blogger judie said...

Happy, happy birthday Phillip. If I were there, I would, well, I guess I can't say I would bake you a cake because I don't like to bake, but I could microwave something frozen! LOL You take care of yourself and do that bone scan. Your birthday painting is a wonderful gift! xoxoxo

At 6:37 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 12:05 a.m., Blogger Peggy Lineberry said...

Am late but Happy Birthday my friend. Hoping you find something to take away all the aches and pains. I am having more and more of them myself. If I have to get down on my knees I have to have something to hold on to get back up. That just started this year. I am having old age aches and pains and not liking it at all.

At 8:43 a.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--in this order:
--glad you had a happy birthday;
--your family and friends care deeply for you;
--you have the best gifts any man could have;
--your son is correct on all counts: make a will, & power of attorney plus medical directive; AND
--get thee to a doctor when you have aches and pains.

At 7:51 p.m., Blogger KGMom said...

Philip--any chance your leg pain is sciatica?

At 9:38 a.m., Blogger possum said...

Well, You beat me to that new magic number. I have a few months to go. For some reason I am having a hard time getting used to the idea. I have had a Living Will for quite a few years, have a lawyer friend as my POA incase I get battier than usual - but how would she know? LOL?

Anyway, Happy Belated! And I wish you as many more wonderful years as you want.

Have you considered a chiropractor? I go to one weekly. She has kept me out of my wheelchair for over 20 years. She is also the one who sent me to a physician when SHE figured out I had high blood pressure. She knows my body better than I do and can tell when I have been eating junk (sugar or too much gluten).

Stay active as possible. Once you sit and hang up your spurs, it is over. I don't see either of us doing that too soon.

Here's a Big Birthday HUG! (_/\_)


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