Celebration of Life

There is a Celebration of Life tentatively planned for sometime around Christmas.  However, people are saying that this winter’s weather will be rough, and this may be a concern for people travelling.  It could also be in the spring, depending on what everyone thinks.  If you have any ideas on this, please comment.  It’s our time to come together and do this, so please let us know if and when you can make it.

the legal

I visited the lawyer today to discuss carrying out Father’s wishes.  Most legalities are or will be completed.  Anyone mentioned in Father’s Will will be notified by the lawyer.  It is now in Probate review and will take a while to complete.  Most say it will take up to a year … or more.

In the mean time, I’ve asked Laura to stay in the house and look after it, Cash, the chickens, mail, and anything else important.  Neither of us know the duration of this.

Above all, Father was so concerned Cash’s fate:  If Cash went to another house, he’d likely escape and run back here, the only home he’s ever known, since puppihood.

the viewing

There was a viewing today.  Les, Tammy, Laura, Isobel, Carley, Sherry, Lou, Tammy’s Mom, and I were there.  We met at Woodlawn Mr. Cheam Funeral Home, Chilliwack, at 4pm, and I went in to identify him.  Yes, that was Father.

He was in a white shirt with collar and his grey suit jacket.  His hair was combed nicely, hands folded in front of him.  He looked very peaceful, almost with a content look on his face.  He was also covered up with a blanket, just the way he liked.

Aunt Isobel brought flowers from her garden.  Laura put them into a vase to set beside him, and we later brought them home.  I believe he has always secretly liked flowers.  He’d mix them up into his vegetable garden on the sly.

I chose a dark grey round leather urn – leather because Father was always a leather boots, leather belt, leather work gloves kind of guy.  I also chose and a matching one for Glenn.  They were always two peas in a pod.  I’m sure they’re having a pint together now.

His initials L J on his fingers … Aunt Isobel said that my Mom’s sister, Merine, put it there.  I did not know that.  After so many years, it stood out.  Nothing about him faded.

We went back to Father’s house for cake.  Aunt Isobel made a chocolate brownie with chocolate icing and raisins – the way Father liked it.  Really good.  Unfortunately, Tammy, her Mom, and Les didn’t come back for cake.

Aunt Isobel wrote an obituary that will be put in the Chilliwack Progress, the Vancouver Sun, and the Brandon Sun.

Leslie Gordon Johnston of Rosedale, BC
March 25th 1937 – Sept. 11th, 2017
Fourth son of Robert & Frances Johnston of Justice MB
One of 7 children, Les was raised on the farm at Justice, moving to Brandon, Snow Lake, and North Surrey in 1966 where he worked as an Eaton’s repairman until he retired and moved to Langley and eventually Rosedale in 2007.
Les was predeceased by parents Robert & Frances Johnston, brothers Mel, Al, & Bill, son Glenn, niece Melva, and nephew Ron.
Les is survived by two of his three children, Angela of Wetherby, UK; Justin Allan of Lethbridge; sisters Mame & Isobel, brother Don, grandson Les, and faithful Laura whose love & tender care improved his quality of life which she shared with him until the end.
Les was a wannabe farmer who raised beef & pork and had a wonderful garden & a thriving egg business.
He was a good guy & will be missed.

I added:

A Celebration Of Life will be held in December.  Please see website lesjohnston.ca for more.

Tomorrow will be a world without Father, Les, Dad, Grandpa.  It’ll be a very different world.

Father has passed away

Father has passed away.

I just heard from Laura.  He apparently passed at 7:45AM (MDT) this morning, Sept. 11, 2017.  The coroner and others are now (11:33 MDT) at Father’s house talking with Laura.  She said she has to take care of documents and such and will call me back.  I’ll update here when I know more.

bless

I got a call from Laura and one from Ally, a social worker with Fraser Health.  I was out cycling and missed their call.

He was in hospital today for a fever – Laura thought it best to have him brought in – and is back home (or should be by now).

I called Ally back, and she told me that doctors really don’t know just how much longer Father has.  I guess it’s her job to keep me informed.  Laura told her that she keeps me informed all the time.  This is true now but only since my last visit a couple of weeks ago.  Before that, nothing.  Nonetheless, I’m informed now.

Anyway, Ally said he wasn’t getting ‘treatment’ per se but, rather, pain control to keep him comfortable for ‘however much time he has left’.  She tried to speculate as to how much time that was.  I suppose many people as that question.  If you’re The Lord, then yes you might give it a shot.  But we really have no accurate idea.  So I just told her that I knew he was slipping fast last time I saw him.  I said that it only matters if someone is looking after him (Laura) and that he’s not in any pain, is comfortable.  Time isn’t the important factor here.

He’s lost half his hair and is very quiet.  Laura says he hardly says a peep, but Laura walked into his room at the hospital, and he looked directly at her.  He knows.  At home, Cash licked his leg, and he didn’t cuss at him like he didn’t know him like last time, so that’s good.

This is the first time Laura stated that he doesn’t have much time left.  She has always been of the mind (outwardly, at least) that he’ll pull though … somehow.  This time isn’t one of those times.  He asked Laura to pray and tell The Lord to bless him.  Only very few times in my life have I heard him refer to The Lord.

Keep him in your prayers, please.

at home getting care

Laura called me to tell me Father is doing well at home.  He’s not able to get out of bed, so for sure not able to walk just yet, but he’s recovering and gaining strength.  An occupational therapist might be used to get him some exercise with his legs.  He might not be able to walk again, but he could also surprise everyone.

He’s eating apple sauce and other foods to get his health and strength up.  Home care staff from Fraser Health (BC government medical care in that area) come to help him turn over and to make sure he’s clean, etc.  He had some bed sores on his legs … or hips? … but they’re not open sores, so he’s doing well in that.

Laura says she hopes he’ll be able to get into his wheelchair at some point so as to wheel out to the deck to see his garden and chickens and such.  I’m hoping he’ll be able to do so soon.  As was proven in the hospital, his legs have become very weak while laying in bed without any activity.  Besides, fresh air always does people good.

home sleeping

Father is home sleeping in his newly delivered bed – at home.  Yay.  All is well once again.

Hopefully

  • he’ll eat well
  • he’ll have his meds regularly
    • dilantin for seizures 4-5 times per day
    • dexamethasone twice a day for swelling
  • stand up and stretch his legs now and then
  • Laura and the Fraser Health home care people can make sure he’s cleaned up when needed
  • feel well enough to talk with people again
  • Laura can get some respite when needed.

All this can be done at home, not in the hospital.

I’ve kept Aunt Isobel and Aizlynn up to speed with what I know.

(Now it’s time to take care of myself – ear infection – earache, vertigo, & nausea.)

going home again

Nurse Laura was too busy to talk to me.  So Margaret, the head nurse on the floor Father is on in Chilliwack hospital, was sure there was no way that Father could get home before Wed. next week.  Finally, after a few attempts at speaking human to her, I said, “I’m not a very commanding person when it comes to conversations – never have been – so, please, just let me speak for a minute.”  <Silence>  I explained that I didn’t want my father to die in hospital.  He should do so at home.  She softened her stance and sounded like a real person, just just trying to control the conversation to obtain a desired outcome.  Is there any way of making this happen – like if I were to arrange to borrow, rent, or purchase a hospital bed so he could be transported home?  Yes, absolutely, if you can arrange it on your own, we’ll work with you on that.  <Sigh>  Bossy-boots power woman trying to ride over my ass with a steamroller.

Don’t be heavy, mamma; I’m your brother.

Lisa at Discount MediQuip out of Chilliwack, BC, was the very opposite.  “Yes, I can find a bed for your father from somewhere.  Just give me a minute.”  Within a minute, she came back from putting someone in a headlock (I’m sure figuratively) to get a bed for me.  The long and the short of it is that Father’s bed will be delivered by 2pm today.  Cost: $220 ($30 delivery, $30 setup, $150 rent for one month, $10 mandatory mattress cover.)

Laura (henceforth Father’s friend, not nurse at hospital) says Father will be delivered by patient transport at 4pm today.  Father was happy and ate lunch.  Yay.

The kicker was last night was when Father asked Laura if he should die in the hospital or at home.  It broke my heart to hear this.  No, Father, I don’t believe you are going to die in hospital.  You’re going home so that you can live there with your dog Cash, your 43 chickens, your beautiful back yard full of flowers, and Laura looking after you.  That’s what you’re gonna do.

trouble with meds

Laura called last night, freaked about Father’s medication and overall treatment (or lack of).  She says the hospital staff aren’t feeding him (just leave the food on a tray 4 feet away), aren’t giving him his medication for swelling and seizures, have disconnected his fluids IV, and leaving him in the supine position every day (rather than sitting up).  He’s developing bed sores on his hip and legs.

I called the hospital last night and spoke with Zee, a nurse; she says that he’s taking his meds but has been disconnected from the IV.  She doesn’t know why and says I should call Dr. Heather Leyen at 8am in the morning.

I did that, and her voicemail states that unless you’re cancelling an appointment, don’t bother leaving a message because it won’t be returned.  How do you like that.

Dr Heather Layen voicemail 16047922266_2017-09-01_09-08-35 e1.wav

So I phoned the hospital and spoke with a new nurse, Laura (first day with Father), inquiring about him.  She said she’d check into him and for me to call back in 45 minutes.

In the mean time, Laura (Father’s friend, not the nurse) is waiting to see Dr. Enyvari, Father’s “regular doctor”.  (In fact, he’s a walk-in clinic doctor who only accepted Father as a one-off.)

I’ll keep you posted.

Les Johnston website

This site is here to let everyone know how Les is doing. Have a look at the about page for more info.

So this is the second attempt at making this happen.  While I was there at Father’s house earlier this year (2017), the internet was so slow in his house that I couldn’t put this site together.  I’m back home now and attempting to put it all together again. I hope to have it up-to-date within a week; I start school Sept. 5 and want to get it all done by then.

There are lots of entries that will come before this.  I’m back-dating all entries up to now.

going home to enjoy life again

Father has been in the hospital for a week due to the seizures.  He had a few more in hospital until they could get things sorted out with the medication.  The meds seem to be working now.

Laura called me to say everything was better and that he was going home tomorrow.  They’ll use a hospital patient transfer service (like an ambulance except without the medical equipment or paramedics).

Laura thinks he might be too weak for more radiation therapy.  He’s lost muscle tone in his legs from being a week in hospital, and he’s only eaten a bit of sandwich per day.  He would be hungry at 4pm, and they’d come with supper at 6pm; that doesn’t work, so Laura has been bringing him food.  She tried to feed him some egg from a Tim’s breakfast sandwich.  “I’ve never eaten egg in my f###ing life!”  He didn’t have his teeth in for the bacon.

He loves sitting on the balcony looking at his yard.  Laura has fixed it up quite nicely with flowers, trimmed shrubs, painted railings, and such.  So he sits out there, has a coffee & cigarette, and enjoys life.

in hospital after seizure

Father’s in hospital.  He’d had a seizure, so Laura called 911.  They say he’ll be there for a few days.  As it turns out, they’d misjudged how much medication he needs to control the seizures.  He’s now on 5 tablets rather than 2 per day.

Today I saw Father at the hospital.  He was curled up in a ball on his hospital bed.  Laura said, “Justin’s here.”  He looked and asked me how I was doing.  Not bad, I said, and how was he.  “Not worth a shit,” he replied.  Laura and I fed him some Tim Horton’s coffee by way of straw.  We had some small talk for a while.  He asked where the bathroom was – number two – but Laura said he could just use his nappies.  Not very appealing, I know, but I dare say he’s used to that by now.  He asked, “How’s your old mother doing?”  I said she was a little slow but doing the best she can and that Floyd was getting a little slower these days but in good health.

When I got back, he was getting a little sleepy.  I offered him some more coffee.  I put the straw to his lips, but he didn’t respond, so I just put my hand on his head and told him … some sort of well-being wishes – can’t remember what.  Laura and I talked for a bit, and then it was time to go.  I gave his shoulder a hug, hissed his head, told him I love him and to take care, and left.

bump in the night

Ten past eight in the morning.  Two homecare workers are here – both new – Stephanie & Jemmiemay (sp?).  Not a lot of sleep last night.  I was awake from one to five.  At about 1:30 I heard a bump.  He was trying to get to the bathroom.  I helped him, changed his nappies, put him to bed again.

Tim’s to-go coffee

We went out to Tim’s for a to-go coffee.  We got in the car, and I turned right to go to Tim’s.  He pointed left without saying anything.  So I turned the car around and went the other way, toward Rosedale.  I asked him where we were going.  “The coffee shop, next to the garage.”  We drove by the garage.  There’s only a garage.  “Oh, I guess they’re gone.”  Maybe there was one there years ago?  Hard to say.  I think he’s thinking about the gas station that used to be there.  He’d drop by for a coffee and loiter for half an hour.  That place is closed.  We turned around.  He pointed left, toward the pub.  I told him I’m not going to a pub.  Finally he agreed, and we went to Tim’s.

walker

Father walked today.  He used his walker for the first time.  I had to show him how to use it.  He held it out in front of him too far.  The idea is to have it under you at all times so you can put all or some of your weight on the handles.  He got it, and he walked to the living room, sat down on his chair, got up, walked to the kitchen, and sat on a kitchen chair, with my help of course.  I didn’t offer much help aside from hauling him up to a standing position and hanging on to his coat in case he fell.  He was pretty pleased with himself but needed reassurance that he was doing well.  Self-doubt comes into play, you know.  I told him, “Don’t sell yourself short.  You did it despite the doctors saying you will never walk again.”  He was pleased.

I can hear him now crawling on his hands and knees from the living room to his bedroom.  I told the nurse yesterday that this is not him losing his dignity, crawling on the floor, but regaining it – he is the one in charge, independent, not in need of assistance.  (Laura stated this before, too.)