Prince Albert Voice
I am fortunate life provided me with a way to pursue my dream of becoming a teacher when I thought I didn’t stand a chance of fulfilling that goal. For whatever reasons, the University put an equal value on mature students who might not have graduated from high school as they did on those who did. Because of this, I had my chance to pursue, and earn, my Bachelor of Education degree. The years since have allowed me to pursue education online, for my second diploma, and then in person for my last degree. I haven’t decided if I’m done yet but I’m thankful the option for further education is open to me. Due to health, I may need to pursue another occupation that will allow me to face the daily challenges I encounter in a way that will help me feel successful and relevant. In the meantime, the same challenges that are taxing me also have me reflecting on how grateful I am.
Last week a medical trip to Saskatoon coincided with my family and I being able to visit a weekly Farmer’s Market. It was nice to see social distancing in effect while having ‘human’ contact in the form of eye contact, conversation, food and interaction as purchases were made. The fruit truck provided a wide selection of fruit from across Canada including watermelon, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, tomatoes and vegetables such as corn. The really great thing about visiting a larger venue is the producers are more likely to have fresh items on sale. The day we were there the sale consisted of twenty pounds of fruit for twenty dollars. I took particular delight in watching seasoned food preservers walking away from the fruit stand carrying boxes full of fruit, very pleased with themselves over their special find. The spring in their step and the proud smiles on their faces was delightful to witness. I looked at the boxes left for sale – apricots and a few plums. I decided to pass this time but I’ll return next month to see what is available.
As we drove through the country side the other day, I enjoyed watching the colours of the setting sun reflect in the sky and off the water in the sloughs on the ground. There is something magical and irreverent about the different facets of lights and colours the human eye can detect that a camera can never truly capture. And, although it’s wonderful to see all the wildlife that has grown up over the last number of weeks, it makes me feel a little nostalgic and sad as well. This summer seems to have passed uncharacteristically fast. It feels like I was just counting the number of yellow-bodied ducklings that had hatched and now they’re flying! The clouds are changing and starting to take on the familiar shapes we associate with cooler weather. And the evening is quite chilly, requiring a sweater or blanket, once the sun goes down.
Lately life has seem like a comedy special where I can neither change the channel, mute the volume or even push a ‘pause’ button to just let my brain catch up with reality so I don’t feel quite so overwhelmed. Things were going very well until I was scheduled for day surgery one Friday a few weeks ago. The Saturday before, I noticed a small bump about the size of a pin head and I immediately began treating it with a topical antibiotic. I’ve had these bumps before and the ointment relieves the pain and takes the swelling away. This time, the opposite took place and by the time Friday morning rolled around I knew the swelling would only go down if it was drained. I apologized to my surgeon when I saw him. “I’m sorry for wasting your time today.” He reassured me that all was fine and I met with someone who was able to help me with the swelling. But it also meant a hospital stay. And we do have an incredible team of hospital staff at Victoria Hospital who treated me with nothing but dignity and respect despite my desire to be at home with my children.
COVID has me thinking about the history of my Indigenous ancestors. When explorers landed on the shores of what is now Canada, they thought they’d found India, thus the name given to North American Indigenous people... “Indians.” With the explorers came a disease that was apparently familiar to our Indigenous community; Scurvy. It’s a disease that leads to death unless fruit and vegetables are added to the ailing person’s diet. The Medicine person knew how to help the explorers, and they did. Then Smallpox happened.