Lain's Log

Raw Nerves

August 23/11.

It's been a long time since I missed writing a daily blog entry, (unless absolutely forced to by technology, or lack thereof), but I missed one yesterday? Why? Due to the above "title track" - Raw Nerves.

Is it possible I LOOK calm, cool and collected on the outside? I don't even know if that's true!

All I know is what is INSIDE, and that can best be described with my favourite word:

The fab vacation was a welcome respite, but as everyone knows, when you come home, it's back to the same troubles you were grappling with before, and quite likely some new ones too. (not to mention, mountains of laundry and all the work left undone when you took off in the first place!)

Shortly after walking in the door from Orillia, I got word from my beautiful cousin-in-law, Marilyn, that her husband (my first cousin, Kevan), had suffered a bad fall. I hesitated to write this, but have opted to because of the emotional impact it has had on me - and on Carrie.

Carrie & Kevio

Through our whole lives, Kev has been the brother we never had and among the best men I have ever known (and everyone would agree). So, to hear this news, was devastating. He and Mar had been at their cottage this past Friday. Kevan went up on the roof to attend to something there. He was using a ladder which required locking, but the ladder didn't lock properly. When he stepped up, it collapsed, the rungs yanked him by the legs, he toppled off the roof and fell to the ground below, landing, he says, first on his feet and then falling backwards on to his back. Marilyn was a horrified witness to it all. Kev fractured both ankles. They got him to hospital for x-rays and was told, "You're not going anywhere."

Auntie Ray with her son, Kevan. (She jokes that she only had one child because once Kevan arrived, she knew she could never do better)! She raves about him and always tells me, "I am in awe of his accomplishments." Marilyn brought Auntie Ray to visit Kev. He told me it was really bizarre to have HER visiting HIM, as he is only used to going to see HER in hospitals. (Cue Twilight Zone music).

Kevan with my daughter, Kate (who adores her Uncle Kev) at his father-in-law, Jan Kiewiet's art show in Toronto.

At any rate, Kevan has now had surgery on both ankles, to place pins in, etc., and is doing well, but will not be able to walk for many weeks. I had a hospital appointment of my own (at Princess Margaret) yesterday, so afterwards, walked next door to go visit Kev for about 90 minutes. Brought him Druxy's coffee (which he SO appreciated - (you coffee? Blech!), plus some cookies and goodies, the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, New York Times a funny get well card and a notebook to write down some of his thoughts.

We had a great visit, talking about how life can be very surprising and you never know what is waiting for you on any given day. He and Marilyn have been there for me every step of this cancer journey (in ways, I'm not sure they are even aware), so, I am inspired and compelled to do whatever I can for them during this, hopefully short-lived blip on their radar. (I reminded Kev, it was less than four months ago I had my breast cancer surgery, faced with what seemed at the time, a monumental uphill climb, and now, I'm OK!!) He will be too, but it won't be easy. Kevan and wheelchair? - does not compute. I want to go see him again today.

Hard to believe - April 27th, I was on a morphine drip, trying to put on makeup after having a lumpectomy. I can feel that pain even now if I think of it, (though people always say, you forget it. Nope).

Kevan with his Rough Trade partner, Carole Pope. I am quite sure Carole will be doing what she can too, to help Kev and Mar. She has been their friend for 44 years.

It's not easy at all, seeing someone you love this much having to deal with something as challenging as this. But in his usual affable, easy-going manner, Kev is rolling with it all, saying his ever-popular word, "Whatever!" I love you so much Kevan. (and Marilyn and Sacha too). Anything you need??? Name it and I'm there.

So, OK then. Whew. Breathe here. Talked about Kev. Got that out of my shaken-to-the-core-soul. On to the next thing.

Went back to Princess Margaret for a follow-up visit. The radiation specialist, Dr. Lui checked me out and said the breast looks good! (thanks Doc, always nice to hear your breast looks good! lol)

THIS time, no need to hit up a construction worker or even my security guard pal (who saw me and yelled out that I looked beautiful! He is always good for an ego boost!!) My friend, Joanne, was with me, and took the hospital blog shot after my appointment. Thumbs up.

While we were at it, stuck the camera on a post and snapped an auto-pic of the two of us, just a day before she has to go home to L.A. Joanne was my roommate for a long time, at 100 Roehampton, when I was about 21. Her sister, Franelle, was also my roommate, but then she moved to Hollywood to become a scriptwriter. Shortly after that, Joanne moved there too and I was on my own in Toronto. But those Silver sister days have never been forgotten.

Joanne just told me yesterday (and yep, made me cry), that some of the happiest days of her life were the ones she lived with me! I find that hard to believe, (since I'm kinda high maintenance), but made me very happy to hear it anyway! Thankfully, they have remained my friends for life. No matter where or when, they are my true friends and that means the world to me. (More on Joanne & goodbye in a minute).

When I got home, was reeling from the Kev experience, the hospital, Joanne (and a lot of other stuff), and a little later, got an unexpected message that my long lost Seneca College pal, John Axelson, was coming on line to Skype me and to be there or be square! Yikes. With the kind help of Kate & Max (to the rescue again), they were able to set things up for me so I could see John and he could see me. (through my tears and streaming makeup)

Hope he doesn't mind me using this shot of him (by his significant other, Geri Nolan-Hilfiker). Such a cute pic. At any rate, we talked on & off (despite losing computer contact several times), for at least an hour or more. I grabbed his manuscript and asked him all kinds of questions about what I'd read. Have to say I was pretty stunned at some of the answers, which I wasn't expecting. But that's John. Unpredicatable, never what you expect, out there, funny, emotional, hmmmmmmmmm, sounds a bit like ME these days. No WONDER I like his book! And I'm not even halfway through, so we will need to talk again when I'm done.

So - with me so far? All this emotion and high highs, low lows, and then throw "Skyping Axelson" on top of the mix and....yep, pretty much, Ka-BOOM!

Now, back to Joanne for the final farewell.

In the midst of all this drama, you want me to say goodbye TOO?? Good grief.

On days when our schedules allowed, Joanne would come to my house in the morning around 9:30, walk in, make herself some tea, have some mixed nuts from a massive jar, for breakfast, then come upstairs to talk with me, while I sat on the floor doing my hair and makeup. (Joanne was actually my first hairdresser, so she is used to my Phyllis Diller look in the morning - no, no pics please!!!!) We just sit and yak up a storm about everything under the sun. We laugh, cry, commiserate and bolster. It's been a blast. I didn't want it to end. I never want anything to end it seems. But it always does. Now the hard part. U got it. Goodbye.

Joanne never fails to make me laugh - (especially with her "sad" wave goodbye to T.O.!)

I drove Joanne to Bloor and Church where she needed to do an errand and then head off to meet her sister, Valerie and then to the airport to fly back to L.A. Sigh. But before that, stuck the camera on top of the car for a blurry autoshot of the two of us in front of some takeout place.

Not picturesque, not flowery, but real. I was still wearing yesterday's clothes, (thrown on for the drive to Bloor & Church) and yesterday's makeup, not washed off, all smeared and cried on, hair every which way but loose, emotions outta control. Maybe no one else is seeing it (as I talked about in the beginning), but to me, this pic is as raw as it gets. Joanne gave me the tightest hug, told me what a great person I am, how much she enjoyed sharing this time with me, how she wants me to be happy and on and on. I tried to tell her the same, without much success through my tears. Then cried all the way home. The tears weren't helped by the fact that Mum's birthday would have been this week (August 27th) - first one without her. STILL trying to say goodbye to her. (Did I mention I HATE goodbyes?)

Readers who don't know me probably think I should do what Woody Allen says in Manhattan (one of my top 10 fave movies of all time). Woody is dealing with some heavy emotion and says, "I'm stunned. I mean, I'm in a state of...somebody should just throw a blanket over me, you know?"

But then, as in all of Woody's films, there's always that little sparkle of a hint that something good may be just around the corner.

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