A few days ago, My Girls and I packed up the car, jumped in and headed off for an adventure. We love adventures, and this was one we had been looking forward to for a number of weeks. Our destination was Miller Lake located up in the beautiful Bruce Peninsula. My friend, Sue, has a family cottage right on the lake. We planned on staying up for two nights with her and her husband Pete. Sue and I have been friends since grade six. That means 34 years. It's an easy friendship where at times we can go for a long period of time without chatting with each other. Just recently, we have rekindled our relationship and have picked up where we left off. Our relationship goes back to a time of childhood – prior to our significant others and children. It was a carefree time of riding bikes, playing endless card games, fishing and swimming. As we grew up, our lives naturally changed as we met our soul mates, became parents and followed our careers.
The Alzheimer Society London and Middlesex strives to provide programming that supports people with dementia and their caregivers through the dementia journey. In the fall of 2013 and in collaboration with the Community Service Learning Program at Western University, we piloted the “iPod Project”. The program is based on music appreciation for those with a diagnosis of Alzheimers disease or other dementia (ADOD).
One of the first poems I learned was “Casey at the Bat” by Ernest Lawrence Thayer. It is my favourite poem telling of the story of the crowd hero, Casey, of the Mudville town baseball team. You are kept on the edge of your seat, stanza after stanza, until the final sentence of the poem when you learn the outcome of his turn at bat. Yesterday, much like the crowd described in this poem, I was on the edge of my seat, watching our niece, Brontae, play baseball in the championship game at a local tournament. It was an even match of experience and ability. Depending on which side you were on, cries of “nooo...” echoed the umpires “striiiike!”
Many of us have heard the term “Journey” when the topic of dementia is brought up in conversation. It’s an apt description for a disease that has only one destination and features many twists and turns along the way.
If you’re even remotely interested in current events, you have likely come across stories or articles about Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. The media attention dementia has received over the last number of years is reflective of the profound societal effect the disease imparts on us all. Overall this attention is a good thing; there needs to be more awareness about this most complex of cognitive disorders.
St. Valentine's Day is one of my favourite holidays. I am not the roses and chocolate type of girl, but rather homemade cards, and a special dinner at home. In our home, the feeling of love intensifies as February 14th draws near. Because of my fondness for traditions, I also have one for this marked day of love. Every year, I make my Valentine a homemade card professing my love. It is a tradition that My Girls have greatly enjoyed for the last 10 years. My brother Mark, has been making homemade Valentine cards for his Valentine, Mary Anne, for over 20 years. Mary Anne, proudly displays these works of art, days before the big event. I'm always amazed at my brothers' talent, as every year he produces a new unique card. It is from him, that I have borrowed this idea.
Prior to the Anatomy Act of Ontario in 1843, there was not a legal process for the medical community to obtain corpses to be used for dissection or anatomy lectures in medical schools. Instructors had to rely on body-snatchers for cadavers. In the late 1870's, in Ontario, a cadaver could fetch $30 - $50. (Body-Snatching in Ontario. Royce MacGillivray). Thankfully, laws now regulate how a corpse can be obtained, and mirrors the need for necessary studies and research.
The door bell rang. I could see a tall figure holding a large box. My supplier was here. I opened the door and let him in. He had not been here for a delivery in a few weeks. We gave each other a warm hug and proceeded with pleasantries. I eyed the box and waited in anticipation for him to hand it to me. He slowly took off his boots. I continued to wait. We walked towards the kitchen where, finally, he gave me the box that held my supplies. I love that moment!
Today is a historical moment in the Catholic Church. Pope Benedict XVI prepares for his final day as the head of the Catholic Church. He has become the first Pope in 600 years to step down. In his last speech to The General Audience of over 150,000 people, he stated, “...I have come to the certainty that my strengths, due to an advanced age, are no longer suited to an adequate exercise of the Petrine ministry.” He will leave the Vatican for the last time and be brought to the papacy's summer retreat castle. The Swiss Guards who protect the pontiff, will march away and this will initiate the “sede vacante” - the empty seat of St. Peter. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sede_vacante). Pope Benedict XVI's eight year papacy will formally end.