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4 Days of Labour, 3+ Months Premature and 2 Miracle Babies

17 Nov

The Story of my Miraculous Birth

{ My mother holding my twin brother. ( He was allowed to be held eventually ). Note the size of her hand compared to the size of my twin • Ottawa Civic hospital • Oct 1974 }
•••

“Mr.Flood? I’m going to have to ask you to leave the room now please,” said the doctor to my father after my brother had been born. I was still hanging out in my ‘womb. My chance of survival was low.  Living would take a miracle…

Would you like a little brother or a sister?” my mother asked my 6 year old brother. “Both” he said with confidence. I imagine the universe at that moment coming and saying, “And both you shall have!” I also imagine the 32 year old part of my mother saying,  “I don’t know if I could handle two more…then again, kill two birds with one stone…have ’em both a once and the other part of her saying to my brother, “You got it Pontiac!”

And so she did. They did. My father and mother. Eventually after one of the ultrasounds they were told they were having twins! I have no idea what my 34 year old father was thinking at the time! And this was all natural. They did not know however know the sex of their twins or if they would be identical or fraternal.

Fast forward to October 1974. My mother was only near the end her second trimester. She was only six months pregnant. Three more to go. My father and her designed a beautiful home that was to be finished in time for our birth…in January. She was now standing in our big beautiful white kitchen on the red and burnt orange checkered linoleum floor hanging out with my older brother. And what happened next would turn into a very long 4 days. “Mommy! Why did you pee on the floor?” Obviously my mother had not peed on the floor. Her water broke. Three months early. It wasn’t time. It really wasn’t time. There were twins in there. It really really wasn’t time. As the story has been described to me over the years my mother did say she was panicked. She knew it was way to early. She was also at the house in the country alone with my brother. I’m not sure if they had a second vehicle then, but even if they had, would she had been able to drive herself to the hospital? I know she was also worried for her little 7 year old son in front of her. Trying to contain her panic. She called my father at his office and I don’t know how that conversation went, but I was told that my father drove like a bat out of hell to make the ~ 20 minute drive to get to her. And then again once she was in the van to bring her to the hospital. I’m sure my father wished he still had his 67 Stingray that day to burn his way to the hospital.

I don’t know very many details of the hours that turned into days that followed of course even though I was there! I only know the things my mother always shared with me. I know that she was in labour for 4 days. I know that there was much confusion because of this situation. I know that there were many, many nurses and doctors there trying to save the twins trying to be born 3 months to early. I know that there were even more doctors and nurses because Ottawa’s best hospital, the Ottawa Civic is also a teaching hospital and there were many residents wanting to watch and participate. On the fourth day at 9:00pm,  my twin brother was born.

This is what I know of what followed. My father was there for my brother’s birth. Once my twin was born, the doctors placed him  in a mechanical ventilator to help his breathing.  I learned once that the lungs do not fully mature until the 3rd trimester. My twin, for now, was safe. I on the other hand, was not coming out. No way, no how. Not moving. I was tucked up way high and not coming out. The doctors had a very difficult time reaching me. There was quite a lot pf panic in the room, numerous doctors and specialists trying to figure out what to do with me. I think they contemplated leaving me in at one point…you know to bake for another 3 months kind of thing. This was a passing thought. Not possible! Then, the doctors turned to my father and said, “Mr.Flood, we’re going to have to ask you to leave the room now.” My mother used to say at this point she was just pleading, “Save my babies, save my babies!” to the doctors. I believe my younger brother was outside of the room for some of this time. Could not have been very reassuring for  a seven year old. When my mother would recount this story to me I asked her why they asked my father  to leave the room. She told me, “Katie, the doctors, we, had no idea if  you were going to make it or not. They would not want your father to see if you came out alive or dead.

To be continued…
Kate

{ If I get any more details or clarifications from my father I will add accordingly.}
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Listening to: Bruce Springsteen
Locale: Ottawa by the canal.
• State of mind: Happy to be out of a crux.

Turning into Female Agent 07 Bond Over Night

13 Apr

( It’s a single digit for a reason )
Uncovering the Synchronicity of my Life

Screen Shot 2013-10-08 at 3.27.30 PM
I’ll never forget this night. This was the night where I figured it all out. ‘Most of it. It was the first clue. The biggest clue. The biggest AHA moment as Oprah calls it. I went to bed like any other night. I was reluctantly sharing an apartment with an Italian boyfriend. We were sleeping side by side and I’m sure I had been asleep for several hours. I wasn’t having an easy time, but handling everything really well considering what I was navigating.

A little after 2 in the morning, I was startled in my sleep. I am an extremely light sleeper and wake at the drop of a hat. My mother use to get up in the night to use the bathroom and as she would walk back down the rose coloured hallway, she would walk past my room and without peeking in, whisper to me in the night.

“Go back to sleep Katie.”

She knew I would wake every time. This particular night wasn’t like any other as I had never ever experienced what happened next before. I doubt there are many that have. Some yes, but not many. I heard someone calling my name out loud in the night. There shouldn’t have been anyone else in the room.

“Kate, Kate, Kate.”

I was petrified to open my eyes. If i don’t open my eyes, whoever, whatever is saying my name will not know I can hear them.
I brought the cover over my eyes and left it a little open on one eye. I heard the voice whisper loudly again,

“Kate, Kate, Kate.”

I very slowly opened one eye into the night of the room.
It was pitch black, but there up in the air floating above me, just floating there, were two little blue pinholes of light in the night. They were cobalt blue. I stared at them to make sense of them. Were they coming off of the street light? I was living at High Park, and the street lights could be seen from the large bay window that went into our room. We had two large french doors into the bedroom. Were the lights playing off of the glass panes? Were they reflections off of the tv screen? Were they dust particles from the moonlight? No. No. No.

I was scared. I closed my eyes hoping they would go away. I opened one eyes slightly. They did not go away.

“Bruno?” I nudged Bruno beside me. He didn’t answer me.
“Bruno Bruno? Bruno – Wake up. Did you hear that?”
“Hugh? What? he mumbled sleepfully.
“Did you just call me?”Bruno
“No. I’m asleep. Or I was asleep.”
“You didn’t just call my name?”
“No. Maybe you’re having a nightmare.”
I was confused. Rolled over and tried to fall asleep. The lights were still there. I was too scared to sleep, but didn’t think of what I could do. Eventually I fell asleep.
In the morning I woke and said nothing to Bruno. I went to bed that night.
And the very next night, at the very same time, even though I was fast asleep, I woke startled to here my name being called in the night.
“Kate .Kate. Kate.”
This voice was not in my head. I was not dreaming, I was wide awake and I have never slept walked. This voice was audible clear as day and it was calling my name. It, whomever, whatever new who I was. They knew my name.
I stayed under the cover.  Again,
“Kate, Kate, Kate.”

Oh My God, what on earth is going on? I’m thinking to myself. I peered out from under the cover. There they were again, two blue pinholes of cobalt blue light in the night. I felt calmer now. Nothing was happening. Just hearing my name being whispered in the night and two blue lights staring at me. Normal right? I stared at them for a long time. They went know where. I didn’t want this to continue another night. I stared and I relaxed. I grew frustrated. Why was this happening. I got distracted…or so I thought I did. My next clear thought into the night was,

“Why me? Why another car accident? Why? Why? Why?”

It can’t be coincidence. It can’t be. This doesn’t happen to people.
I lay there for maybe a minute and then out of nowhere I had a rush of energy. I am not a night owl. I’m an early bird. I used to get up at the crack of dawn and look for my father who was usually in the garden and I would go and help plant the morning glories and the pansies. I’m not a night owl unless I am partying or falling in love over long conversations that run the night into the wee small hours of the morning.
I jumped out of my bed deliberately and went to my computer by the bay window. The moonlight was shining through and the street was quiet. I never “get up” to do things in the night. I’m the person who will not grab the extra blanket at the end of the bed if I’m to cold to move. I’m the person who will wait until the morning even if I feel have to go to the loo in the night. I turned the power on and waiting for the screen. I didn’t know what I was doing – really – it was moment to open. I opened up a new page on Microsoft excel. I stared at the blank columns in front of me.
This is where is where I had my first female 007 Bond moment.
I typed in the date of the car accident I had just had along the left side of the column and beside that I put Car Accident. Then I plugged into the other bad car accident I had in University in the Porsche 911. Then I plugged in other smaller car accidents I had over the years and the year I had them. The others I couldn’t remember the exact dates as they weren’t as significant, but I remember how old I was so I put the year it happened and the month if I knew it. Then I decided to plug in the surgeries I had over the years. The age I was and the surgery.
1982  – 8 Years Old – Adnoids removed.
1992 – 18 years old – ACL Repair { Anterior Cruciate Ligament Repair – Soccer Slide Tackle Injury }
1997 – All wisdom teeth removed surgically.
Then I went and plugged in if there was some significant emotional trauma that had happened to me. The most major being:
1990 – 15 years old – Held at gunpoint by Shotgun
Finding out Santa didn’t exist didn’t make the list.
Beside the incident column I put point form the list of what ever injuries happened to me.
1995 – 21 years old Car Accident – Whiplash – Body Bruising – Shock – Near Death Experience
I ran down the list and added these.
Them I decided to plug in whatever was significant with them Usually they offered the involvement of other people. Specifically, in all the car accidents I have been, people wonder with so many car accidents, is she the driver? And, a bad driver at that? No.
I AM NEVER THE DRIVER IN ALL OF THESE CAR ACCIDENTS. ALWAYS A PASSENGER.
So, I put in who was with me in the car accident. Who was driving the car?
5 years old – Car Accident (Blue Van) – A Nun hits Mom in the Van – Mom Driving, my twin and I.
15 years old – Car Accident (Minivan) – Dad keeps us from skidding on ice, headed into oncoming main artery and we land in opposite snow bank minutes after I ask, “Dad, what do you do it you skid on black ice in the car (I was learning to drive). Dad, my twin and I.
His response,
“Depends on where you are. If you’re in the country, you gotta head for the CLEAR!”
He certainly did exactly that. We were going down a hill that had a stop sign at the end and main street coming into it. I remember the van spun right around facing the opposite direction on the wrong side of the road and landed safely and softly in a big deep snow bank. We were all completely safe and sound. I still remember my twin saying,

“Does this mean we don’t have to go to church now?”

1991 – 16 yrs old – Garbage Dump Road – Van flip – Camp – Christine, Tanya and I.
1995 – 21 yrs old – Porsche Car Accident – Queen’s  – First Love and I.
2003 – 29 years old – Car Accident Christmas – Dad, twin and I.
Only two were major – the one in university in the Porsche and the one at Christmas. The others were of significance as there was impact. There have been others that were really spin outs or nothing too major.
The early sun was starting to come up and I could hear the birds walking up.
I sat back from my computer and looked at this excel spreadsheet. What happened next scared the shit out of me. Looking at all the dates and the things that had happened to me,
There was a pattern.
There was a pattern to when the things happened, how many years a part, what had happened to me and who was with me. It freaked me right out.
Who is trying to kill me?
Who is in charge?
Who is running the show? My life. Who is running my life?
Am I not?

I remember feeling petrified. Freaked right out. Honestly, like someone was trying to get rid of me, and that it was deliberate, and that I wasn’t controlling it.

That’s ridiculous. I looked at the chart again. There has to be something else to this. If I retrace the steps, where do they lead back to? What was in the beginning?

My birth.

My miraculous birth. Those words were heard in my household time and time again.

“Katie, you were miracle honey. A miracle Katie. You don’t understand. You almost didn’t…”

She often wouldn’t finish those words.

But what did these patterns have to do with my birth?

What was the similar about these things that happen to me?

I almost die.

But I don’t. I make it. I stay alive.

I didn’t believe it. I also still didn’t understand why. Why go through these car accidents and being held at gunpoint to have my life threatened?

The chart staring right at me. The number of car accidents, the time between them, the surgeries. The pattern. I still didn’t believe it. I made excuses. It’s just a coincidence. It doesn’t mean anything. I’m just drawing conclusions.  I did everything to convince myself out of what I had seen. Another part of me fought this and must have known.

So the car accidents and being held at gunpoint are connected to my birth? Whatever. Fine, if they really truly are I need proof. More proof. How can I get that? What could I do? Hmm….

I know! Birth records! I’ll order my birth records!

By this time the sun had come up. I was wide awake, curious and a bit shaken. I felt altered. Was the hospital open yet? I watched the hands on the clock turn. They weren’t turning fast enough. Am I crazy? This is ridiculous.

8:00am – I called the Ottawa Civic Hospital where I was born.

“Ottawa Civic hospital. Can help you?”

“I’d like to order my birth records.”

“Your birth records?”

“Yes. Do you do that?”

“Uhh.Yes. What year are we talking about dear? We only keep a few years on computer.”
“1974.”

“1974?!”

“Yes, 1974. Can you do it?”

“Ughh. Yes, it’s going to take some time. Those will be paper and they’ll be in boxes. Any year before 1990 is housed in a different library.”

“Ok. How long will it take?”

“I’m not sure honey. Two weeks minimum for sure. Could be 4 weeks. It’s $45 minimum to get the charts and $45.00/ an hour after that to search and retrieve them.”
“Ok.”

“We can’t process the order until we’ve received payment.”

“Ok, here’s my credit card.”

“Cheques only.”

I was so close. I felt like I was my own P.I hot on the trace of a mystery. My mystery. The mystery of my life. The mystery to why I’ve been in so many car accidents. Why I had come so close to dying. What did I do wrong? Why was this happening to me. I was a good person, I did good things, I was an A student, I exercised, I ate right, I…I had finally started a salaried position job in the biggest branding company in the world only to be in another car accident again. I needed to figure this out. I wanted to get on track.

“I’m in Toronto though.”

“Cheques only. When we receive your cheque. The records request will go through.”

I mailed the cheque and waited. I followed up with a phone call and waited.

9:00am: I called my holistic friend who I had just connected with 2 weeks before the car accident.

“Holly?”

“Yes?”

“Hi – It’s Kate”

“Hi Kate. How are you making out?”

“Holly. I’m not sure how to say this, but I didn’t know who else to call. Who would believe me and not think I was a crackpot or something.”

“Uhuh.”

I explained to Holly what had happened. I told her about the chart and mapping out my life on the Excel spreadsheet.

“I’m scared Holly. This is freaky shit.”

I could heard hear her smiling on the other end of the phone again as she’d done when I called from my hospital bed. Not this again I thought.

“I was waiting for you to get this.”

“Get what?”

“Well, what you got.”

“Ahh, please don’t be secretive at a time like this!”

“It’s ok Kate. You’re going to be just fine. Don’t worry.”

We agreed to meet another time. I needed some support at this time. Someone I could talk to who was understanding.

In the mean time, my hospital records arrived. It was a pretty substantial pile. It was home for the first 2 1/2 months of my life after all.  I opened the file. Wow! So neat. Photocopies with the dates October 1974 on them. This was cool. This was really neat to see. There were doctors reports from my birth. Giving some basic details but not the nitty gritty of what went on. I read them one buy one.

“Baby B – female is quite alert.  The Apgar score reading of….”
Weight: 1.5 pounds at birth. Current: 1.2 pounds.
“Baby B despite her lower birth weight if anything is more alert then her brother, Baby A.”

I laughed at this. I was smarter then you (my twin) when we came out!

The notes were really neat to read. The language initiative of the times, 1974 were polite and official. The doctors spoke of my mother and her concern for her babies and calling into the hospital.
I read through everything. So I had been though a lot. So I was there a long time. I didn’t see anything of any significance to why I had been in all these near death experiences. I had not proof. No substantial evidence, coincident or synchronicity. It was fun to read these reports none the less. Then towards the end of the pile, I picked up the last paper. It had a stamp on the top of it,

FILE TRANSFERRED

Interesting. Transferred where. I’ve hardly been here and the file’s moving ship? What’s this I wondered? I looked at the top of the page and read on.

Twin B, Katherine was to be discharged today, however on routine discharge, nurses found a heart murmur and Katherine is being transferred to the NEONATAL unit at CHEO, The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. I knew my heart wasn’t fully formed at my birth. I knew that. I knew that there were months where the doctors thought they would have to do surgery and operate. The risk was too great on the tiny size of my body. And then I looked on the date I was to be discharged:

October 22, 1974

Holy Shit. I stared at the date. My hands began to shake. The world around me became incredibly still, the sounds around me disappeared and became background noise.

October 22, 1974. You have got to be kidding me.
That’s the same date as the car accident. At Queens. In the Porsche. Will Alex. The exact same date. Of all the days of the year, you mean to tell me the day I was going to go home to be in my mothers arms who I had been crying for 3 weeks for, and the nurse finds a hear murmur and I”m being transferred to another hospital is the SAME day as a my first major car accident where I almost died?

This is not a coincidence. It isn’t anymore. It can’t be. I flumped into my crossed legs on the living room floor with the papers spread all around me. Then I jumped up sending the papers flying.

“FINE! I believe it! I Believe it! I believe it’s all connected! I yelled out loud into the living room to no one but myself.

“Now what?”

How come there isn’t a female James Bond?

“I’ll have my life shaken, not stirred.”

By,
Kate, Kate Flood 07

{ This was originally posted October 2013 }
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fingerprintLocale: Rose leather tuffed banquette,
Dineen Coffee Shop { King/Adelaide St. }  The Canadian Stumpdown Coffee of ACE Hotel, NYC fame ~ Amazing place all round.
On Deck: Synchronicity by The Police
James Bond Theme Song by Monty Norman
Mood: Determined.

Birdie Sanders: What Message Did The Little Brown Bird Bring?

26 Mar

The Deeper Meaning Behind the Little Brown Bird and Bernie Sanders


{ Bernie Sanders, Presidential campaign rally. Moda Center, Portland, Oregon. The Oregonian }
————————————————————————-

A little brown bird fluttered into Democratic candidate Bernie Sander’s Portland rally Friday night. Behind Bernie’s podium, the audience were already stirred up giggling before Bernie turned to address the little feathered friend with pointed finger. If it weren’t enough of a sweet nod from the animal kingdom of messengers ( birds are thought to be winged messengers since the beginning of time), the little guy swooped up and landed front and center ( and a little to the left leaving Bernie’s camera angles open) on the podium.

“I think there may be some symbolism here. I know it doesn’t look like it, but I think that bird is really a dove  asking us for World Peace. No more wars.”
– Bernie Sanders

You were right Bernie Sanders. There is symbolism behind that little brown bird.  And while it wasn’t a dove standing for peace, it did potentially bring an equally powerful message to the American people. Webster’s Dictionary describes a totem (such as an animal or plant) as the symbol for a family, tribe, etc. All animals bring messages. Our First Peoples and Native Americans refer to as animal totems. Whether you chose to believe this sparrow had a message or not, for the naysayers and non-believers of this notion that a little sparrow could bring a message there is a reason for that. Here before us, our ancestors were – are – interconnected to their environment, including animals. They were open to, listened to, observed and guided by animals. What’s got in the way of this?  People have disconnected, checked-out and turned away from that which we are. We have connected to the tangible – technology, smartphones and how tall a skyrise we can build instead of staying connected to our selves, our people, our species.  I am sure every person has had a brush with an animal bringing a message and he/she does not even realize this. What animal has crossed your path this week? What message does this sparrow bring?

The sparrow is one of the most common birds around, yet it:

Flourishes when other species have failed
It reflects self-worth

If a Sparrow totem has entered your life, ask yourself if you know your own self-worth. Do you know your self-worth?

For all the “put a bird on itPortlanders and alike minded open thinkers out there,

The song sparrow reflects the awakening from the heart and throat. It reminds us to sing out our own song of dignity and self-worth.

And who is this little sparrow rallying for?

In ancient Britain, the sparrow was the symbol of friendly household spirits.

During the middle ages, the sparrow was the symbol of peasants and the lower classes.

Fact: There are at least 35 types of sparrow species in North America. In the southern states and Northern Mexico alone the sparrow species make up a large 29% of the total 35 sparrow species. That is a large group of Spanish singing sparrows don’t you think? To register to vote in Spanish follow this link.

Common in Portland all year round are the Spotted Towhee and during the fall to spring season the Song Sparrow, Fox Sparrow  and the Golden-crowned Sparrow. I like the sounds of those Portland specific sparrow varieties – an air of messengers, slyness and victory. Official  links to register to vote are included below this post.

How does this particular explanation of the symbolism behind what a sparrow bird represents end?

The sparrow will show you that even a common little bird can triumph

I hope the US presidential election on November 2, 2016 ends and begins in kind.

On that songbird note, I leave you a song from fellow talented songbird of deeper meanings Neko Case’s (New Pornographers) popular “Maybe Sparrow ”
(Buy the album here) off of her solo LP Fox Confessor Brings the Flood.

Neko Case –  “Maybe Sparrow”

{ Neko Case – “Maybe Sparrow”,  Fox Confessor Brings the Flood ANTI Records }
————————————————————

In the animal kingdom, a predator never alerts their prey…

Bernie, I think you just found your presidential campaign mascot.
On the fly, it would appear the sparrow, this common bird has no
assignment as a nation’s official bird.

Vote #BirdieSanders for a Bernie’s official mascot!

There are no coincidences. This is particularly true in brushes with our fellow animal kingdom. Particularly if they’re going to steal the show and grab some camera attention in front of 10,000 audience members and tweet their message to the tune of 300K trending tweeters. Tweet! Tweet! People and animals. Let us not exclude the other, the minority or the marginalized. Let us include the other.

Maybe that sparrow has your back Bernie Sanders. And maybe Bernie Sanders has got your back America. Maybe Sparrow…

In Richness of Being neighborly from the country
with the Prime Minster you wished you had,Kate Flood

P.S. Has anyone seen Captain Jack Sparrow? Who’s he tweeting for?

thumbprint.
Locale: By the Canal, Canada’s Capital (Ottawa)
On Deck: “SongBird” – by Anne Murray
Twiiter: @richnessofbeing
{ note: on my Twitter banner, the correct identification of the woman pictured with Prime Minster Pierre Elliot Trudeau is my mother Judith Charbonneau (Flood). Not Margaret Kemp Trudeau…Kim Cattrall.}

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REGISTER TO VOTE Now:

1. Register to Vote here: https://vote.usa.gov/

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Disclaimer: All information provided on my blog is for entertainment purposes only.I am not providing legal, medical, voting or music advice or suggesting a change in migrating patterns such as moving to Canada (our Prime Minister has already been inclusive and welcomed 25,000 Syrian refuges with open arms to our homeland). I make no link or endorsement of presidential Candidate Bernie Sanders, Sparrows or Neko Case. I have no idea who Neko Case is voting for, except that she endorses doing your part and registering and voting. That and she is often referred to as American AND Canadian. I am not a bird watcher or a Shaman; although I’ve had my own experiences with both and I trust both.
No one paid me – including Barry Sanders or any one affiliated to his campaign – to link the sparrow and this lovely democratic candidate who has fought tirelessly for the commoner, the marginalized, women and the environment for over 54 years on paper and in his heart since he was a child. Bernie Sanders let that sparrow have his voice and I think that little brown sparrow is a fan of Bernie Sanders…
graphics-birds-253406

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{source:bird facts - http://nwbackyardbirder.blogspot.ca/2009/03/backyard-birds-of-portland-oregon.html }
{source:all animal totem meanings -  http://www.linsdomain.com/totems-sn-2-sz.htm}


Take your tiny wings and learn to fly
– “SongBird” – Anne Murray
( Canadian )

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In Always { a poem }

21 Mar

Happy World Poetry Day

{ Moon over Pantheon,  Piazza della Rotonda, Roma, Italy }

In Always { a poem }

I want to be with you in the night,
in the morning,
in the day,
In the snow and in the cold,
In the sun, in the heat,
In the rain, in the wet,
In the spring, in the air,
In the fall, in the crisp,
In confusion, in perfection,
In enthusiasm, in delirium,
In the heat of the moment,
in the doldrum of the day
In the minute, in the hour,
In your arms, in my arms,
In your sighs, in my sighs,
In our silence, in our room,
In our agony, in our laughter,
in always, in forever.

In Richness of Being a poet…
Kate

fingerprint• Originally posted 9:22am, 2009
• Toronto
• Writing in my cozy cashmere robe and suede mukluks
• Happy World Poetry Day! ♥

Source: In Always { a poem }

Flashing the Dr.McSteamy

4 Jun

With My Arms Strapped Down How long can one wait out here anyways? Be calm my mind is saying over my worry. “We’re ready for you now Katherine. Are you ready?” { Do I look like I’m not ready? I’m sitting here naked with my bum exposed in a green (not my shade of green I might add) hospital gown and I haven’t eaten for 24 hours and you made me clean out my insides from both sides yesterday. I’m READY for crying out loud. }
“Yes, I’m good to go. Let’s do this.”

I was wheeled in. Always makes me think of MASH. Were you old enough to watch MASH? Are Hawkeye and BJ Hunnicut in there and going to do my surgery? Hot Lips? I think maybe they gave me to much of the calmer. They know I have a sensitive tummy and system in there don’t they? I’m not a pill popper. I prefer to solve the issue at the heart. Never been into meds. Besides, neither has my body. Anytime I may have to for a surgery or wisdom teeth etc., I’ve always had to request the smallest dose possible. Usually asking a second time, when the doctors say, “This is the usual dose.” I’m not “usual. Please just give the smallest dose and 1/2 it again. Trust me.” When I had my Knee surgery at 18 yrs old, the nurses and docs inadvertently OD’ed me to some degree (the I.V. bag hadn’t been put on since my recovery, so I had straight post surgery narcotics being pumped through me and the anesthetics. Chalk on a 125 pound frame and 24 hrs of fasting. Well. Let’s just say, “Take her off all meds” was probably the right thing to do. For the four days after the surgery where my knee was opened up and a piece of my hamstring used to attach my ACL – not so much. I digress. The room was cold. That’s an understatement. It was Ottawa in January, by the Toronto waterfront, in a field in Winnipeg cold. ‘Wasn’t exactly a warm environment to go under the knife. I’ve never seen so much steel in my life. Steel walls, counter, trays, operating table, tools….operating table! I have to get off of this gurney and onto that cold, steel narrow bed. Shit! Why didn’t they put me out before seeing this. The bed was narrower then a twin bed. They must have different sizes for different size people. I’m gonna role of that thing and hit the floor! I can’t remember now how I was transferred. I think I popped of the gurney, carefully clutching the back of my haute couture hospital gown so as to not expose my bum. As cute as it is. And as silly as that sounds since they are about to get all up in my business up close and person with magnifying glass! Perspective here Kate. Let’s get perspective.

I was lying flat on the piece of steel they operate on. And then it happened. What’s this? Amongst all this cold, steel, baron room, through the glow of the operating lights spotlighting him walks in…wait for it…The real life Dr.McSteamy. Right at that moment I heard a smack! One of the doctors had tacked my two notes of visualization wishes up on the steel wall beside the hospital bed. My eyes deterred for a moment before coming back to – enter – Dr.McSteamy in his scrubs. I’m grinning. I know I’m grinning. It’s the unstoppable grin that you can quite seem to get off your face when you see something or someone you really like. I must look like a fool right now. The others catch my grin and grin at each other with their eyes. I can’t see their mouths underneath the face masks, but their eyes are squinting. Then the large nurse bring the young resident nurse around to the right side of the bed.

“Katherine, do you mind if I show Tasia the ropes here? She is a student and learning. Don’t worry I’ll be doing all the important things and correcting anything.”

“Sure! Why not.”

You’re distracting me from the Dr.McSteamy Dreamy.

I think this calm pill says yes to everything. Next thing I know the nurses swing out these two steel arms from underneath the table and have grabbed my left arm and strapped it down with a large yellow seat belt like velcro strap. I had no idea they were going to do this. Seriously they should tell you these things ahead of time. Then they walk around me to strap down my right side. At the same time I’ve got McSteamy asking talking to me. “So, Katherine, I understand you are sensitive to medications. You took the time to let our intake Anaesthetist know this and we have spoken in advance to make sure we adjust the anesthetic to best suit you okay?” McSteamy was adjusting the pillow under my head.

“I have a really bad neck. Is it possible to have something under my neck?”
I’m thinking about you McSteamy.

McSteamy was now directly behind me. He was standing, but leaned over the back of my head and fluffing my pillow to wedge it under my neck. His head was basically on top of my head. Now at the exact same time, I’ve got the two surgeons at my feet with other doctors counting tools.

“Scalpel”

“Check.” (They really do say that like on Grey’s Anatomy and Mash from years gone by!)

They start saying names of tools I’ve never heard of and rhyming out measurements of sizing of tools. Of which I didn’t care to know the diameter, length or any dimension of them. On my right the two nurses are engaged in a lesson of strapping down my right arm. I’m trying to keep cool about McSteamy above my head while my body is tented, freezing in this cold refrigerator. The calmer medication I gather is in full effect and my reflexes are little slow on the uptake. All of a sudden, all my efforts to cove my bum earlier, and keep the gown draped in just the right places mean nothing. My left breast is completely exposed. Completely. The gown is pulled down under my breast. Wait a second. How did that happen? My arms are strapped down. And McCready head is bent down beside me and he leans into one side,

“Is this ok Katherine?”

Gad, is it hot in here now. I’m trying to turn my grin into a smirk. I’m in a time warp. Is the pillow fluff ok? Or the fact that my left breast is now completely exposed in this freezing cold room and I can’t grab my gown to pull it up or cover my nipple? Maybe he hasn’t seen it yet. He’s too close to my face. I’m trying to get the large nurse and the student nurses attention by glaring at them. It’s not working.

“Ahem, Ahem, AHEM!” Still nothing. “Nurse!”

The large nurse looks over.

“Yes, Katherine? ‘Everything ok?”

How is that no body is noticing my left breast exposure, but I?” I don’t want to draw attention to my left boob as McDreamy hasn’t noticed it yet, so I stare the nurse square in the eyes take my eyeballs and move them up and over and point them at my exposed breast. I end my eye notation with a “Can you help a fellow woman out?” look seeing as you have both my arms strapped down with velcro straps and I can’t lift a finger look! He hasn’t noticed it yet right? He would have tried to fix my gown for me right? Who am I kidding, don’t men have a perpetual built in radar for exposed breasts? Well breasts in general I suppose. Exposed breast up a notch. And, I’m sure they even have as special detector that alerts them to high probability moments of chances of an exposed breast. Was the 10 year old inside McDreamy jumping up and down inside while his MD hat remained composed?

“YES! I seem ’em ~ Boobies!”

The large nurse looked at me to acknowledge she’d seen the exposure.

“Oh Dear!”

No. Shit – Don’t. draw. more. attention.in.breast’s.direction.please. Ahh crap. All of my measures are a lost cause. He had an up close and person direct head shot of my left boob from above. Impossible to miss the gown unveiling. The exposure. The left breast flash. The nurse gingerly grabbed the top of my gown with the lace hanging loose and pulled it up over my now introduced to the entire operating room full of 10 doctors and nurses…with spotlights. In the frigid temperature.

“Don’t worry. He didn’t see a thing.”

Cha – rigtht! I’m call’n Bullshit. I rolled my eyes in a it’s a too late now gesture and took a deep breath. McDreamy came around to my right side where my just wrapped up left breast was. This happened to be the same hand that he would be administering the anesthetic. His gorgeous blue eyes smiled at me. If he did see anything, he didn’t let me know. This was sweet of McDreamy. The anaesthetic must have surged my veins now because this was my last memory before talking to my mom. Did I mention she’s deceased? Good night McDreamy. See you on the other side. Just not my left breast side. Signed, The Exposed

Watermelon

Watermelon

Locale: Feathers, Red velvet tufted banquette.
Mood: Feel’n weird. Spaceless.Timeless.Sleepless.Stuck. Rather be snuggling.
On DeckThe Future Islands: The Chase (Click to listen) As seen on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. They’re awesome! Take a listen. Indulge your senses. This is late night summer heat kitchen party music.

The Party Down Below

5 Apr

How a Simple 2 Hour Surgery Turned into Close to 7 Hours of Torture 

{ The Party that was my Va Jay Jay, April 2012 }

{ The Party that was my Va Jay Jay, April 2012 }

Nurse: “Would you like something to relax before the surgery?”

Me: “What do you mean?”

Nurse: “We can give you something to calm you down.”

Me: “Oh. Well, I’m not much of a pill popper. Do I not seem un-relaxed?”

Nurse: “Well, we don’t know Katherine. We just offer this to patients if they would like.”

I think I had primped, tucked in, straightened all the fold in my lovely faded army blue hospital gown, the sheets on the bed and the white blanket. My wool socks were pulled up so taught that you’d swear I had sock garters on. Who wears those anyways? Seriously. Aren’t garter’s supposed to be sexy? For your nylons? Not knee high socks.

Me: “Ok. It will help my body relax which I think is a good thing going into this. Will I feel funny?”

Nurse: “I don’t know. Most people just feel relaxed and slowed down a little.”

We had to be up at 530am to get to the hospital for 6am. I had to undress, give my belongings away and wait to find out what time my surgery would be. There could be 2-4 on this day and they make the decisions the morning of which patient goes first and then schedule the others accordingly. I was told I was going to be first. 7:30am. I think. The nurse motioned me over to a waiting room with other sans make up, early bed headed patients in hospital gowns with a loved one beside them. Kinda makes it look like a psych ward depicted in the movies. Ok. half the people here are sane dressed and the other half didn’t get dressed this morning.

“And you look lovely in this pale sky blue. Who are you wearing?”

“Well, I’m not sure…’label says, Civic Hospital. It was fabulously loaned to me. I’m not sure who else has worn it before me. What procedure they had. They coulda died for all I know.”

“Ahh. And your jewels?”

“No jewels. Strict no jewel policy.”

“Your nails? That’s a fabulous colour.”

“Naked neutral by OPI. I don’t have any polish on! Strict no polish policy.”

“Why no polish?”

“I’m having a surgery.They need to see your toenails to check to make sure nothing major happens – your know circulation etc.”

“Sounds serious.”

“It is. Why are you asking me about what I’m wearing or my polish!!!”

I sat down beside my Dad. I picked up a book. It had a pretty picture on the front of rolling hills and cobblestone fences that looked like Ireland. I couldn’t read right now. I could only focus on not being able to focus on anything. I turned the book over to the back side. The author’s name was familiar. It was my first name, my middle initial and different last name but same starting initial. I thought that was interesting. And not a coincidence! I’d been told to write my story down on the page.

The hour or so went by. Seemed like there was no time.

“Katherine Flood”

The nurse called my name. I only use my full name for doctors, government, lawyers and such. Seems more dinfinate when I’m called in a situation like this. Yup that’s me. I got up and went to the nurse.

“Were you born on this date?”

“Yes.”

“We just need to make sure it’s you.”

I’m not sure if that reassured me or not. I had to go in and out of a series of different rooms. I said good bye to my father.”

“Say a prayer the surgery goes well Dad.”

“Already have. ‘Will again.” and he smiled and winked at me like he does to let me know he see my in a crowded hall or a precarious discussions between a number of people.”

I was told to climb on top of a different bed and was wheeled into a wide and very cold hallway. Seemed like a back hallway of sorts. The lights were half dim and there wasn’t anyone around. Hmm. Where is everyone? Why aren’t there people here? What’s going on? Where are the surgeons? Is this the right day? Did they sleep through their alarms? Are they late? They can’t be late. I don’t want late surgeons. Maybe their hungover. Did they go out the night before? I don’t want hungover surgeons. They have to be in tip top shape. I thought this pill was supposed to chillax me.

I lay there in my gown split open the back. You know you would think they’d a come up with a gown that  – yes, sure they need to open up in the back –  but that closes when you want it too. Those cotton ties just don’t do it. Seriously. Or what if they bedazzled the ties. Where are the surgeons!!!

I had to go to the washroom. Who wouldn’t? I looked around for someone to ask.Nadda. I started to shuffle my feet up the bed while keep my legs closed and holding the back of my civic hospital “gown” trying to not to expose my backside (although I’m told it’s a cute backside who needs to be exposing it to this back hallway). No sooner had I figured out a way to get over the cold rail while managing all my parts (included folded arm chest because it was so bloody cold in this hallway!) did I feel a hand on my hand and hear.

“Ahh, ahh, ahh, ah. Where are you going Katherine?”

I looked up and came face to face with a large – extremely large –  black nurse. She seemed sweet and concerned.

“I have to go to the bathroom.”

“Oh. You sure. Can you wait?”

“Wait? For what. I’m about to go under the knife. Would you rather I go now on the table?”

“Well it’s just that, umm…”

I sat there looking at here wondering what on earth would prevent me from using the ladies washroom.

“It’s just that we gave you that calmer down medication and you might fall.”

Ok then. Send someone with me, because I gotta go and I gotta go now.”

I got up without her looking for something else to say. I grabbed the back of my gown to crunch the opening slit behind me as much as I could. I can walk. I feel fine. I’m fine. I placed my one foot infront of the other.

“Wooooo!”

My legs collapsed like jello. The one nurse pushed another much younger nurse to my aid and grabbed my arm.

“Hold onto me Katherine.”

Katherine, this is Julianne. She’s a resident nurse in training. She’ll be with us today. I’ll be teaching her as we go.

Sweet Jesus. First no one, then someone restricting my bodily functions and now a student! Ahhh!

They wheeled one of the saline bag poles my way and held onto to the washroom. I didn’t feel that off.
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I was a little more relaxed on the way back. I guess it was kicking in now. They helped me back onto the gurney while I still tried to keep the back of my gown clenched between my hand.

Few more people started to trickle in now. Coming down the hallway. They were laughing and some story from the night before and going in and out of a room my gurney was parked outside.

“Just a few more minutes Katherine. The surgeon’s will be here.”

“I want to speak to them before I go in. Especially the one I haven’t met. I can do that right? I requested that.”

“Yes, you can do that.”

‘Seems really weird to me to have someone operate on you that you haven’t met or even had a conversation with.

I kept trying to sit up, but my body really wanted to lay back down.

I stared down at a sheet of paper I had with me. I had drawn on it a list of the things that needed to be done in the surgery, the things that I absolutely did not want done (SAVE BOTH OVARIES. DO NOT REMOVE) etc. I had loosely drawn my reproductive system. I had been doing various forms of holistic modalities in an attempt to heal, help, cure whatever had been going on.
I lay there looking at the sheet to make straight the questions I had and the points I wanted to make. KEEP MY OVARIES. I kept reading the same lines over and over again not making it down the page. There had been talk that they have to remove one of the ovaries as too much endometriosis and overtaken it to the point where it was more endo tissue then organ. This was not acceptable to me. I told the doctor no in the office months prior.

“You do have another ovary Katherine.”

“I know I do. And I still want to keep both it at possible.”

“Your other ovary can make enough eggs if you want children.”

“It doesn’t matter. I want to keep both. Left and the right.”

This was the conversation we had had months prior.

I was feeling a bit sleepy. I stared at my page.

Some voice came from behind.

“Katherine. Dr. _ is here.”

“Oh you must be Katherine. It’s nice to meet you Katherine. I’m glad to be here today scrubbing in with Dr.___. He’s informed me quite thoroughly on your case. ”

I opened my mouth to speak. I just smiled.

He caught eye of the page I had that was for my eyes only. It was for me. My visualization purpose. My well wishes and desires for the surgery. It wasn’t for anyone to see. Very personal.

His hand reached for the page as I was about to open my mouth to go over everything.

“Oh, is this for us Katherine? Is this a list for us?”

I reached out to grab the page from his hand.

“Ahh, Nooo…..Ahh…it’s…”

The medication took my hand back. I was jello.

I smiled. What harm could be done? I didn’t want to seem foolish though. Silly.

More people were gathering. The energy was high. People were talking, getting ready, flying medical jargon and forth like a Grey’s Anatomy episode. Still moments of mundane would creep in. It’s ok on Grey’s Anatomy; it’s a show after all, it’s meant to entertain us. This is my life though! No mundane here please. Everyone on task. On target. Sound like you know what you’re doing please. The staff were laughing and making jokes. No wait, this is a good thing. They’re in a good mood. I want them in a good mood if they’re about to cut into me.

“We’ll come back and get you when were finished getting ready Katherine.”

They all left me in the hall and went inside. It was cold, dark and lonely. Barren. They really should put some nice leafy green plants in those back hallways. You know, some swaying palm trees or something…while patients wait.

Part II to be continued…’Enter Dr.McDreamy and the wardrobe malfunction…

Let me know what you thought! Leave a comment below, follow or Like if my vag vlog moved you.

By
Kate Flood’s Va Jay Jay

Screen Shot 2015-04-05 at 5.38.03 PM• Locale: MadHus Cafe, perched on a slouchy vintage 1970’s brown & orange velvet couch.
• Feel’n: Tired. Hungry. I need a massage. Feel’n good to have Part I of this post out. ‘Still want a stellar literary agent.
• On Deck:  ‘Was an open Mic. Not a bad one. A really good one. Now I’m listening to: Custard Pie (Click link to listen) by Led Zepplin.
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Part II: The Second I Found Out My Mom Had Cancer

14 Sep

How Hard it Was To Tell Me and How My World Collapsed When I Found Out

{ My mother holding me at my second baptism }

{ continued…} We left off here:

“Katie…” my mother started.

“What?! What is it? Please somebody spit it out! You’re killing me!”

They each would start to speak and stop, each taking over the others words.

“Your mother…” my father pitched in.

I had absolutely no clue in the whole world what they were going to say to me. No context whatsoever except they were having a darned time getting it out!

“You mother has…” he said and at the same time my mother finished the sentence with my Dad,

“I have cancer honey. I have Cancer.”

I think people now know whats coming before the word is even said. All we have to hear is, “I have..” Then the hard sound of the “C” starts and its over. When my mom said, “cancer” it was weird. Felt foriegn. Like someone else just said that. No my mom. Not mom. She said and as light a word as it is, ending in a soft sound, it was the heaviest word I’ve ever heard. The space around the room closed in and then expanded around me. Felt like I could feel stillness in every single particle in the room, the air, the sky outside the bay window. Cancer though, that word cancer levitated there, in the air outside her mouth – stuck, thick like glue. The heaviest word I’ve ever  heard and it there it was floating in the middle of the entire room. My ears began to ring.

Take it back. Put it back in your mouth. You didn’t say that. You said something different. I didn’t hear that. My ears didn’t hear that. It didn’t enter my ears. You there, “Cancer”, go silently back in from where you came from, leave the air and go back into my mother’s mouth and away from here. It didn’t listen.I think the word hit me like a a thick wall and knocked the words out of me. I didn’t know what to say.

“Ahh..Umm…Ahh…Uhh.”

Okay, now I will sit down. Now I will sit down. My legs feel wobbly. We all sat far away from one another. No one going to the other except for our hearts in our eyes.

“What do you mean? Are you sure”

She didn’t have to say Lung Cancer. That didn’t have to be said. I would have been very surprised indeed if it was another part of here body.

My eyes welled with tears now to match the damn that had been holding back the tears in my Mom and Dad’s eyes.

I choked on my hurt and it got caught in my throat. I’m sad. Nooo, this can’t be happening…WAIT, I need to be strong for her. She can beat this. I won’t cry. Such a mix of emotions running at one time. Im not the only that feels sad for the other person, and themselves, but has to switch to be strong. Their the ones with the cancer ahead, not the other person. Hard no matter what. After they told me that all the other sentences that came out of their mouths tried to hold a fight against the cancer in the air. They didn’t win. Coming out and fading out, I could hardly grasp and compute any of them. Cancer just kept winning this bird fight.

“The doctor asked if mom had ever had a chest xray….No, she said….and you’ve been smoking how many years?….almost 40 years?…..We were coming back to Ottawa….the doctor called on the cell phone on and told us to turn the car around and drive back to Toronto…urgent…there’s a grey spot on her xray…suspect a tumour…must send for MRI immediately…..”

The details didn’t matter. Nothing mattered. My mom had cancer. Lung cancer. From smoking all these years. Like we told her she could get if she didn’t quite. The bain of my existence daily. Her smoking. He smoke filling in the air. Didn’t matter now. Just wanted her to beat it. She could beat it. She can. She’s a strong woman. We can beat this together.

What about my brothers? Did they know?

“Do they know?”

They knew before I did. Why did they know before I did?

“We wanted to come and tell you in person. We had to wait until we could see you.”

“Oh.”

I guess I can’t be mad at that now. I guess I can’t really be mad at anything now really. Nothing matters except mom beating this. Getting though this. Surviving this. Living. It’s do or die now. She can beat this though. If anyone can, she can.

I have absolutely no recollection of the rest of that day except those moments when Cancer came into the room.

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Do you remember when you were told a loved one had cancer? How did you feel? Feel free to share your stories below. It’s cathartic.

By
Kate Flood

Red Fingerprint• Locale: Laid out in a tuffed chocolate leather sofa @starbucks. The official sponser of this blog. not really, but most of it’s been written here. Do they recycle those bins everyday that are full of recycle cardboard and plastic coffee cups?
• Feel’n: Infuriated with people’s perceptions, projections, assumptions, judgements.
• On Deck:  U2’s new album, Songs of Innocence { Downloaded FREE courtesy of U2, my favourite band I might add, so I’m one of the happy ones! Thanks U2 }. Sleep Like a Baby Tonight

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