Monday, 16 October 2017


If I could, I would spend every moment at the hospital. Leaving is just so awful, especially now that B.A. is more or less in his right mind. He's still confused, though, and he looks so sad--not that I am leaving, but that something awful has happened that he can't quite comprehend.

We should be rejoicing, but B.A. has been traumatised. After all, he literally (if skilfully and kindly) had his skull split open. And I feel figuratively traumatised, which is nowhere near as serious, but still tiring. I'm not sure how much B.A. understood when he signed the consent forms, but I understood them all. I have lost count of the times I have watched my husband sign off on death this year. Five?

My big fear now is that I will fall down the stairs or in front of a bus. If that happens, who will make sure B.A. is okay?

Saturday, 14 October 2017

In the ICU

Man (several uncomfortable tubes inserted in his body): I'm sorry, darling.

Woman: Why are you sorry, darling?

Man: I'm sorry that you're suffering.

So far so good ...

My husband is in intensive care, and I am shortly leaving the house to see him again. Yesterday was a bit rocky from a nursing perspective, as B.A. was totally delirious and tried to take out his breathing and feeding tubes. When he got so agitated that the surgeon gave permission for the nurses to take out his breathing tube a little early, he started yelling.

 In a way this was great, for it showed the operation hadn't left him with a speech impediment. In fact, despite all the solemn faces and list of potential horrors B.A. had to sign off on, yesterday he didn't seem to have any nerve damage at all. No strokes, no paralysed face, no motor problems, no death. 

I was so relieved when I saw him conscious and mouthing "I love you" to me, I had to stop myself from weeping. My big dread (for myself) was that he wouldn't recognise me or that he would have a big personality change in which he didn't love me anymore. 

I couldn't make out what else he was trying to say, which was fine, as he sure let me know when they took out his breathing tube. It probably isn't fair or kind to publish one's husband's delirious rantings, so I won't go into detail. The poor man was very, very frightened much of the time. But the edifying thing about B.A.'s rantings was that, instead of cursing like a sailor, as apparently people usually do when they recover from such surgery, he told me over and over again that Our Lady's "Immaculate Heart will triumph." 

It was the 100th anniversary of the last apparition at Fatima, of course, and I think I told him that when I arrived. In fact, on the way to the hospital, I prayed the traditional 15 decades and asked Our Lady not to mark the day with terrors but with a gift, a special gift for me that B.A. would be made totally well. 

So far--God willing--it looks like this may actually happen, at least for now. And Benedict Ambrose, totally addled from surgery and anaesthetics and heaven knows what else, informed me dozens of times that "her Immaculate Heart will triumph." 

I feel weirdly proud that my husband was/is the Terror of the ICU. It's both sad and funny, laugh or cry. It's just so unlike him to disturb people, and it was awful that he was scared. But it was good for me in that the nurses decided that I should be allowed to sit with him all day to keep him relatively calm--and his feeding tube where it belonged. Every time they sent me out so they could do something important, they had to fetch me back to stop B.A. from shouting down the ceiling. 

Meanwhile, in a hospital where a nurse had asked me what she should do with Mark's "necklace", meaning his rosary, it was quite something to have him yell that I must call Father AT ONCE to have a Mass said for him and HER IMMACULATE HEART WILL TRIUMPH!!!!

About 16 more hours, and I'll feel ready to order the Te Deums! Keep praying, and thank you!

Thursday, 12 October 2017

He Has Survived the Operation

The surgeon called. The operation is over, and B.A. has been moved to the Intensive Care Unit. He isn't expected to wake up/he'll be woken up tomorrow morning. And I will be there! 

There was a lot of poking, pushing and pulling at his poor dear brain, so the surgeons won't know what state it is in until tomorrow morning--and even then they won't know for sure for 48 hours what lies ahead. 

But for now I am very, very relieved and happy, and thankful to everyone for their prayers. 

Despite my pilgrimage blisters, Venerable Margaret Sinclair did not convince (or was not able to convince) Our Lord to make the tumour just disappear. I'm not resentful--I'm just throwing that out as data. 

This is the Big One

Benedict Ambrose has been losing consciousness, and his tumour has to go. Today. So I am writing this for more prayers.

It will be a dangerous operation, which is why the surgeons never wanted to remove the tumour. It is sitting near some very important stuff, even as it increasingly presses against even more important stuff.

Yes, "increasingly". We were told in March it wasn't growing or was "very slow growing",  but a fall in the rehab centre early on Monday morning led to an MRI in the emergency ward and then back to the neuroscience department.

He has had the Last Rites--again.

B.A. is very hard to understand right now, but it was profoundly moving how badly he wanted to see our priest. He got quite anxious about him and worried that he would be moved before the priest came, or the the priest would be stopped from coming in. When he saw Father come in, tall in his grey overcoat, B.A's blue eyes widened and he struggled to sit up, while beating his bony breast.

"Don't get so excited, darling," I said.

But now I realise that it wasn't Father he was so excited about. When Polish Pretend Daughter and French Pretend Son-in-Law arrived at the hospital, I asked B.A. to tell them who had visited him that day.

"Our Lord in the Holy Sacrament," said B.A.

He saw his mother, and his mates in our parish Schola, too, and I feel badly that I didn't summon two of his uni pals and his best friend at work, but I thought any more than seven solely human visitors (including myself) would be too many for him.

At any rate, I don't know when I will be writing again, or what I will remember of all this. However, I want to note down while his reason is slipping, B.A.'s faith in the Blessed Sacrament--in all the Sacraments, actually--has stood firm. He loves me, he loves his mother, he loves the Blessed Sacrament and he involuntarily murmured "Yum yum" as I fed him custard.

And now I'm going back to the hospital. It feels like hurrying to Golgotha.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Lessons Learned by Formerly Long-Term Singles

The flock is greatly scattered, but some of my long-term readers have been reading for up to ten years. Many long-term Singles have been married for a few years. Some have had babies. Some have had major struggles: getting the doctorate finished, fertility issues, unemployment, illness, children's illness, husband's illness....

Any residual sadness about being Single has disappeared, but only to be replaced by other kinds of sadness! And this leads me to an open question: what do my now-married, formerly long-term Single readers wish they could have told their long-term Single selves? 

This is not at all to denigrate the sadness and feelings of anxiety felt by long-term Singles who want to marry, or become sisters/nuns/brothers/monks/priests, or at very least settle their what-is-my-vocation anxiety once and for all. That is--and was--very real. 

It is merely to prepare the Single for what could lie ahead. 

For me, my number one lesson would be "Don't assume you can get the same medical help (for fertility issues or anything else) in Scotland that you would get in Toronto." 

I couldn't begin to express how easier life would be for me, if not B.A., if we lived in Toronto right now. However, I don't want to dwell too much on that, or I will get extremely depressed. When I ask myself how I get up in the morning, my answer is "Coffee." If I weren't addicted to coffee, I would still be in bed. 

Okay, time to work. 

Monday, 2 October 2017

The Fruit of Not Quitting

I did a Polish interview via email and translated the results. Here it is. 

This is the result of six years of work (and two dictionaries) although I didn't work THAT hard in the first years. I have no innate talent in foreign languages, so this translation is a testament to the power of work and not-quitting. 

Today I put in a good day's work before rushing out to visit B.A. at the hospital during the late visiting hours. Polish Pretend Daughter and French Pretend Son-in-Law have returned from abroad, so they are back with me. This is great because I find the walk from the bus stop through the dark woods less scary when PPD and FPSIL are in the House. I phone them up on my mobile and natter until I am safely at the door. 

B.A. and I received a wonderful card from long-time reader Emma, who sews habits for Dominicans. (Perhaps other long-time readers will remember Emma.) Actually, it was three cards and two prayer cards, and we were very touched and edified!