Darkest Hour

I was channeling Winston Churchill when I wrote this blog title. Also feels important to include "we shall never surrender' in to the equation as well so no one panics.

I haven't written in over two weeks simply because the stuff I would have written would have been dark, ugly and without any light. The last two weeks have been a fucking battle and I tend to always try and find the positive in all the blogs I write. And if I couldn't find a sunny spot I didn't feel comfortable putting words to paper.

So now I am writing, and a quick recap of the last two weeks is probably in order. 

As you saw in my most recent posts I was flying pretty darn high. I played a game of floor hockey and I felt so damn good flopping around in the net. I went out to the pub afterwards for the first time this season and the social aspect felt great as well. 

Then, as suspected my neck and back seized up (I knew it would but also knew it was worth it), at the same time that I started the preparation for my IV session and surgery on the Friday. The IV normally tires me out, but with pain of the debilitating neck issue the tiredness was compounded. I was struggling. I even remember walking up the same path to the hospital that you saw in previous video, Tracey was with me, and it was cloudy, I was walking slower and I wasn't really in a positive mood. 

But to show I am never giving up and am always trying to be positive, when we came out of the hospital after the session the sun was shining and Tracey had us stop to stare at the little diamonds in the snow. Each sparkle was a great person in our lives and we appreciated them all.

I love it when she makes us stop and pay attention.

The next day I had my stent replacement. And immediately after the surgery I could tell something wasn't right. I was not able to come out from under the cloud, the pain was increasing and the nausea was strong.

My BM was an explosive diarrhea and it was bloody, actually both were, as was my urine. I usually have a bit of blood after the surgery but this was over the top.

And still I was thinking it was going to pass.

I spent the day on the couch, went to bed and tried to sleep, it was tough. All the next day I was in quite a bit of pain and I felt something different was going on. Usually there is pain, gas and nausea but this time it was amplified. I couldn't stop shaking even though I had a fever and when I finally went to bed even Tracey's cuddles couldn't stop the shaking. 

Eventually I fell asleep after checking my temp and realizing I would need to go in to the hospital the next day but really wanted one comfortable sleep first. At some point around 2am I woke to the feeling of sweat rolling down every part of my body. I've had the sweats before, so when I say this was off the charts unique I mean it. I even had a pool of water in the gap between my eye and my nose as I was sleeping on my side. It was rolling off of me EVERYWHERE! 

Naturally the bed was soaked.

This was painful and uncomfortable. When I walked out to the kitchen it was obvious to Tracey and Jack that I had jaundice. If an 18 year old male notices something then you know it's gotta be something special.  My skin and eyes were yellow. Shit needed to be taken care of now.

Off to emerg I went yet again.

Over the next two days I had an X-Ray, Catscan, blood culture, five blood tests, 15 IV bags, morphine, rectal exam, eye exam, three bags of IV antibiotics and all across three different beds.

Actually, funny moment: while in emerg I was put in to a section of seven or nine beds in one room. All separated by curtains - but essentially we were all elbow to elbow. Somewhere around 2am the dude to my right started burping non-stop, and was doing it with gusto (having had extreme gas I understood his dilemna so I giggled to myself all while scolding myself for forgetting my earbuds). Then the dude to my left started non stop farting. Those farts that come out bold but toot along for another three or four seconds to give full satisfaction. Again I giggled. Throughout the cacophony the middle eastern family of ten inside the itty bitty little curtained space kept getting lectured for being noisy. Each time going quiet then building up steam. All in all, being on morphine would have been nice at that point, instead I asked for ear plugs and my first sleeping pills ever (they don't work for me btw). 

It was then then I realized, after the husband started complaining, that the burper to my right was a woman. That set me off on a full laugh, and the perfect way to put my ear plugs in and try for a nap.

As it turns out I had a blood clot from the surgery and it was in my bile duct.  Hence the abdominal pain, jaundice and dark urine. So off I went to surgery on the Monday to get a stent put into my bile duct. 

The guy that said the future is in plastics has it nailed, I'm a veritable highway of plastic stents in my abdomen now. 

As I type this now I feel much better, but I'm not going to lie. The pain and the amount of time I have spent on my back over the past two weeks have been very difficult.

My positive mental state has been taxed, pushed, kicked, prodded and challenged. I know it's a natural part of this process, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that it is new to me and I hate the feeling of not being able to see positive outcomes. 

I'm better now, and I am writing this as though the darkest hour is in the history books. But I am also not naive to the realization that an hour not unlike this will be upon me again. 

Now before you all start sending note of concern or positivity I need to you to realize how much I appreciate your love and support. But when shit is going sideways it is hard not to feel like this is a solo journey.

Damn, I didn't do a very good job of putting any sunshine into this post did I? I guess that's one of the trappings of my writing process. I just start writing and see what drips outta my fingers onto the keyboard. 

How's this.

When I got out of the hospital Tracey and Terry Rock were planning a clandestine outing for me to the Alberta Beer Awards event at the Palace. My son Jack was my escort and away I went. It was a great night with the room full of all the amazing new brewers in the province and this was their celebration. At one point, as Jack and I were sitting by many of the Village team my partner Rob leaned over and said "remember the meeting where we decided to help start the Alberta Small Brewers Association" - it was at that moment that I sat back and looked at the crowd with a very proud sense of accomplishment. Of course we didn't start the association alone, and in that personal conversation it was not inferred. But was inferred was that we have had a significant part in building this community and industry and that makes me very proud. At this point in fighting a disease you spend a lot of time wondering about your legacy, this gave me a serious positive boost. 

And then they announce the first ever Community Builder of the Year award and yup, as you guessed, I was the proud recipient.

I gave a speech, and it sucked, but only cause I was surprised and overwhelmed. All I could do was say how much I loved everyone...which I guess in the end was enough.

PS I also need to share that my good friend Lois Lockwood passed away last night after her own four year cancer adventure. So sorry to see her succumb, she was a gooder for sure.  I need to figure out a way to honour her Beer Baron glass that sits on our shelf as she deserves a place of honour. You will be missed Lois.


Theory of Relativity