Let nothing you dismay

Posted by bernicky - December 26th, 2015

Our daughter is home from hospital from Xmas Eve to the 27th which made Xmas celebrations complete as far as immediate family was concerned. My sister Sandra was working not far from our house so after Xmas dinner we went over and said “Hi” and dropped off some Xmas dinner and some turkey giblets for her dog. It was a quiet Xmas this year. Our daughter’s boyfriend joined us which was nice, but he doesn’t talk much which I suppose is better than talking too much.

Xmas is done for this year. The tree and decorations will come down tomorrow and then the New Year will be ushered in at the end of the week. Days are getting longer again. Fingers are firmly crossed for things to go better in the coming year than they have in this past year.






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the book of lynn priest – the nyc family trip or at least the start of it

Posted by bernicky - October 29th, 2012

There was always lots of planning whenever Lynn undertook a project regardless of the project’s scope. Family vacations were of a particular variety of planning most of which was far above my level of understanding. So much when into the planning most of which I was blissfully unaware. This came to light recently while going through more of Lynn’s things and running across itinerary and booking information for some of our great trips. The post mastectomy Disneyland / Epcot trip, the once in a lifetime family trip to New York City and the best trip we ever had the Las Vegas renewal of our vows trip. There were other trips that we took that I have not yet found the details for. There was the trip that Lynn took to Vancouver for the world dragon boat championships with her dragon boat team. There was the family trip to Belleville for a dragon boat race, which was followed, by a trip to Niagara Falls. Before the children came along we also managed to fit in a few other small trips like one to Barre, Vermont to visit the stone cutter’s cemetery, one to Toronto in the middle of a snow storm to see Lynn’s friend Christina Federici get married to Gianni, a trip out to Alberta to visit Calgary, Banff, Jasper, West Edmonton Mall and finally my mother before we got married, our honeymoon in NYC and a few others here and there which were unremarkable. Of them all though the one, which stands out, is the family trip to NYC in July of 2009 because of the way it started and because it was the last time we took a trip as a family.


The NYC trip was financed by Lynn’s mother Ena though we did spend a chunk of our own money on it as well. The reality is that the trip would never have taken place without Lynn’s mother footing the bulk of the bill. In the lead up to the trip Lynn made all the arrangements. CAA Triptiks were secured an appointment to have the van serviced was made luggage arrangements were made. All the I’s were dotted, all the T’s were crossed, nothing was left to chance.


The day before we were to leave for NYC three things of no particular significance occurred. The first was that Lynn went into hospital for a few hours to get a full PET/CT scan which involves an injection with a radioactive isotope. The second was that we cleaned the van thoroughly from stem to stern.  The last was that we packed up everything in the van so that in the morning all we had to do was go out to the van and head out on our road trip. We chose the van for the road trip because it is big, roomy and easy to pack all the stuff into including a travel wheelchair which we were bringing in case Lynn started to find it difficult to walk. That evening everyone went to be early and in the morning after everyone had, had breakfast and we were all certain that there would be no imminent, urgent need to go to the bathroom for a few hours we all trooped out to the van.


The van would not start. The battery was dead. Deader than that piece of ironmongery known as a doornail. Lynn was livid and offered me a sarcastic congratulations on achieving my desired goal of not going on a family vacation.


It was not an unjust charge though I had done nothing to sabotage the van. Lynn could and the children can both attest to the fact that I am a homebody loath to leave the area in which I live. I had made much of the money being spent on the vacation even though most of it was not from our pocket. The truth of the matter is I never want to go anywhere so in a way Lynn was right the van not starting was a fulfillment of my own wishes.


The other side of that though is that my fondest desire was always to see Lynn happy, or at the very least content, and I immediately started unpacking the van and packing the second hand Hyundai accent which hadn’t been serviced in forever and always seemed to be on the brink of breaking down. We managed to pack all our luggage in the trunk and the back seat. The children were accorded postage stamp sized seats in the middle of the luggage in the backseat and once we were all in the car we started out on the journey. At first Lynn was a little incredulous that we were going to take the car but the fact that it started and ran was enough to convince her that it was the best course of action.


The traffic down to the border was so light that while we were behind schedule we didn’t feel like it was a hardship because we could go as fast as we were willing to risk. When we got to the border things took a slightly different turn. When we arrived at the border we saw agents moving around and the whole border was suddenly closed. We waited in line awhile while the cars ahead of us were processed and finally we were motioned forward. This was during the H1N1 flu scare and one of the questions the border agent asked was “Is anyone in the car sick?” As no one was sick we answered that all was well. There were a few more questions and the agent asked for a second time if anyone in the car was sick. Again we answered that no one was sick. At that point a supervisor came out to the car and asked pointedly if anyone was undergoing any treatment.


It may seem obvious to others but we were really confused by these questions and answered in the negative again. Then the supervisor rephrased the question to ask if anyone had, had any injections. At this point it was like a big light bulb went off over both Lynn’s head and mine. She had received an injection of radio active isotopes for her PET/CT scan. At that point we were directed to park near the inspection station where our car was searched and we were all inspected with a Geiger counter. Lynn lit it up like it was Canada Day.  After they confirmed that the only radioactive substance in the car was Lynn we were allowed to continue on our way to the first real stop of the trip: the Albany iHop and Lynn’s favourite restaurant meal of all time the Rooty Tooty Fresh ‘N Frooty breakfast.

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the book of lynn priest: christmas 2010

Posted by bernicky - May 14th, 2012

The Christmas of 2010 was the last Christmas Lynn spent at home. In 2009 she spent Christmas in acute care at the Montreal Neurological Institute and in 2011 she spent Christmas in West Island Palliative Care and died a few days after Christmas. In 2010 the decorating process started early and it was frequently directed by Lynn who had always been responsible for all special family occasions. It is no secret to anyone who knew her that Lynn held Christmas dear but also had a deep commitment to making New Year’s Eve, Saint Valentine’s Day, The Oscars, Easter and birthdays as special as she could make them.

Lynn liked spruce trees so once again we had a spruce. The decorations were brought down from the eves of our son’s room and Lynn and Katharine worked on decorating the tree. We got a short tree that year because we wanted to have Lynn put the star on it and that worked out just fine. Despite the restrictions of being in a wheelchair and having expressive aphasia and apraxia Lynn was able to accomplish almost everything she wanted…almost.

From the front door of our house when you enter there is a short corridor which has an entranceway to the living room immediately to the right as you enter. To the left of this we put the tree but because there is no electrical in the corner where the tree is we have to run a wire up and over the entrance and mask the cord with decorative cardholders. We thought that this had been done well but not, apparently, to Lynn’s satisfaction. With her very limited vocabulary and the ability to only speak two or sometimes three words at a time Lynn tried to direct me to fix the problem. Katharine, seeing that I wasn’t quite getting it, started to try and help but to no avail. Finally James stepped in and all three of us were moving stuff around the entranceway constantly asking “ Like this?” “Is this it?” “Over here? “ with Lynn pointing, twisting her one good arm and hand around gesturing and answering with “No.” or “Like that” or “Over”.

In a moment of what must have been complete exasperation Lynn blurted out “Why are you all so stupid?” It was the longest sentence she has spoken in months and we all dissolved into laughter and hugs. We never did get the problem of the entranceway solved but we have a memory in our hearts of Lynn’s spirit and humour because of it.

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