Month: July 2016

no place like home


Bill loved his little house. He built it with his own hands when he and Minnie first wed. The house saw the growth of their two daughters, and served as a quiet refuge after their kids moved on.

The Potters lived in the home for over 30 years, the place serving as a reminder of their  wonderful life together.

The couple doesn’t live there anymore, not after the flood of ’05. Bill and Minnie, as well as their neighbours, were relocated to new housing, in a crowded subdivision on the other side of town.

“It just isn’t the same” said Bill, sadly.

This sad tale of love and loss is my entry into this week’s Friday Fictioneers. Click on the little froggy for more stories based on this week’s photo prompt.



our flight home

My brother in law got married last weekend, to a gal from Old’s Alberta. Naturally, we were invited. My wife was asked to stand in the bridal party. At first, I was reluctant to go, partially due to my lack of travel experience, and due to the cost. We went.

At 52 years old, I hate to admit, but I have never left the island. Nor have I ever flown. At first, I was a bit afraid of the flight, but my worries were soon put to rest. I loved it. My wife, not so much.

Upon our arrival, we were treated like royalty. The bride’s family, a long standing family of German-Russian heritage, were kind and gracious. The bride’s father, Gerry, works as an Oil consultant to some of the biggest oil companies in Canada, and in his spare time, runs a ‘hobby farm’ consisting of over 180 acres, over 30 head of cattle, a few pigs, and horses. I joked that if one bragged he had 180 acres in Newfoundland, he would be talking about Newfoundland itself.

We traveled to all the local sights and even hit some of the bigger stores, such as Costco, before heading home to Newfoundland. I was actually anxious to fly home.

This was until we began our flight. We got up at 4:30 a.m. on Monday, and headed to the airport in Calgary, where we just made it to the gate. Our seats sucked, my wife some three seats ahead of me, and my seat between two strangers. That being said, I lucked out with my seat companions. One was a lady from Prince Edward Island, her husband sitting across the aisle across from her. We both waited for the window seat person to arrive, and he did, just in time for the plane to take flight.

The guy was a smallish person, who was quite silent at first, but I am not a silent person. I am a Newfie. “Hows she going” I asked him. Startled, he answered “you talking to me? You do know I am Pakistani, don’t you?”

I said “I don’t care if you are from Mars, if you are nice you are nice. now how ‘she going?”

With that, he began to tell me about his four daughters, how he and his wife tried for a boy, got a girl, tried for a boy again, another girl, and then tried once more and got twin girls. He showed me pictures of his family, which he displayed proudly. I cannot understand how people can be racist and judge people just from where they come from or by the colour of their skin.

Our conversation was nice, our flight was not. We hit about twenty minutes of solid turbulence and received an announcement that we would be at least 45 minutes late for our connecting flight at the Pearson Airport in Toronto.

Apparently the plane needed some repairs, and this is what delayed us. When we arrived, our flight from Toronto to Deer Lake, Newfoundland had already left…without us.

We were told to visit customer service. After an hour in a lineup, we spoke to the Representative from Air Canada, and he (after first suggesting we wait until 1:00 a.m. and fly from Toronto to Halifax and then to Deer Lake) found us a flight to Deer Lake (some two hours from Stephenville) which was leaving at 7:00. This wasn’t too bad, and we accepted. He guaranteed (ha!) our luggage would be on the same flight as we were.

We had from 12:30 until 7:00 to kill, stuck in an airport. What a great way to spend a day. The airport graciously (HA!) provided us a meal voucher (After we demanded it) of $10 each…you can really eat well for ten dollars…HA! two slices of stale pizza which we threw out.

While we were there, we watched as two Air Canada pilots were arrested by RCMP, after it was discovered that both of them flew over 250 people in from Scotland while the pilots were drunk to the gills.

The 7:00 flight was then delayed until 9, and although our tickets read Gate D43, they were really supposed to read D26, which was on the other side of the airport. An elderly gentleman, who chatted to us for awhile, informed us that our tickets were incorrect. After running the length of the airport to catch our seven o’clock flight, we were greeted by an Air Canada employee, correcting himself and apologizing. The gate was indeed D26. Oh, and the flight was delayed again, this time until 9:00.

We sat in the airport until 10:30, (two more delays), and arrived in Deer Lake at 2 a.m. in the morning. Our luggage wasn’t on the carousel and if it wasn’t for an airport employee, we would never have discovered that our luggage had arrived on time, with our original 1:30 flight, and were put in an office for safe keeping.

When we arrived in the parking lot (we left our car in the lot where it was ‘safe’ (HA!)) we found that we had a flat tire. The air must have been left out as a prank, because I filled the tire that night and this is Saturday and it is still filled with air. We were charged $40 dollars for our use of the parking lot, and attempted to head home.

Our back brakes were seized and the car wouldn’t move. Ever watch the Twilight Zone and see an episode where two travellers are not permitted to leave an airport, and even time works against them to ensure they never make it home? Me either, but they certainly could make this an episode!

Another few hours picking at the car and we are heading home. We walked into the house at 5:30, daylight. Our dogs were anxious to eat breakfast and play ball in the backyard. This was four nights ago and I am still tired. …I just set up a travel account with the bank. We are planning a trip for next summer….with hopefully another airline. not impressed with Air Canada!



deep thoughts….while in an MRI

“This one will take a while”, they told me, as the technician injected me with dye. “This one will put a brassy taste in your mouth, feel real warm going down your chest, oh, and it will make you think you want to pee” he added.

With that, I asked if I could pee first. God knows I didn’t want to wet myself on the table, bad embarrassing I would imagine.

They hesitated with the injection until I returned. They weren’t lying, the taste hit me almost immediately. Yuck!

“Now, this will take at least an hour, maybe two. You have to keep completely still.” one of them said. I had my eyes closed so not to see the needle. Did I mention I hate needles?

An hour? I have to keep still for an hour? My wife says I am the human squirmer. I can’t keep still for a minute, let alone an hour…or more. I warned them that this might prove impossible.

“Are you claustrophobic?” one of them asked,  as he put a cage over my head and stuffed foam against my neck. “You got the earplugs in tight? The noise will deafen you!” So much for my fear of small places. I am already panicking, but I can’t move, remember?

“I will be talking to you throughout the experience, and squeeze the bulb if you need anything.” he reassured me. I squeezed the thing just to see if it worked. “Just checking” I told him.

“Close your eyes, and don’t look anywhere except straight ahead” he said. “We are taking pictures of your eyes, and your brain. We want to do this right, and do it once.” Now I cannot move, cannot open my eyes, and have to look straight ahead; this is getting better all the time.

I tell myself that an hour isn’t really that long. I lie to myself. I am in the thing for what seems like forever, and the guys say “Okay, that’s the first two minutes…”


Damn that thing is noisy! Good thing for the earplugs. Wait a minute, one of them fell out. I squeeze my squeezy thing and the clanging stops. “What is wrong?” one of them asks. “My ear plug fell out. The the noise is deafening me, and I am half deaf to start with.”

I feel myself being hauled out of the MRI, two pieces of tape are pulled across my ears to hold the plugs in, and its back in the MRI. The thing is freezing. I tell them I am freezing before they begin again. One of them throws a warm blanket on me, and I am in heaven…except for the fact that I have an IV tube sticking out of my arm. Did I mention I put the hospital gown on backwards? I couldn’t figure out how I was going to do up the laces if it was in the back of me.


More noise! “Okay, this one is going to be a bit longer, five or ten minutes of steady noise. Keep still, don’t look around, keep your eyes shut”


Three more times and then I feel myself being hauled out again. Finally I am done! That wasn’t so bad, didn’t even seem like an hour.

“We are going to inject the dye now, Mr White. The taste will intensify, and its only another half hour or more and you are finished.Remember to keep still. Put yourself into a happy place while we do this.”

Half an hour more? And the dye wasn’t injected? What was that warm feeling and that bad taste? My mind playing tricks on me, that’s what.

This half an hour turned into an hour due to my squirming. I think I opened my eyes once too.

And then I did what they asked. I put myself into a happy place. I stopped thinking of the machine and instead I imagined myself with my wife.

The day before the test, my beautiful wife and I took our ATV and headed for the country. We stopped along a river, and ran and played in the water like kids, splashing each other with the cool water, and laughing our heads off. We wanted a carefree day in which we didn’t have to think about work or other stressors.

I was relaxed, and enjoying myself. The water was cool on my toes and the river made a babbling noise as it ran across the rocks. The air was fresh and I could taste the cool water on my tongue. It tasted like DYE! Soon the rushing water sounds turned to Klackety Clacks. I need to pee…..

Just when I was going to squeeze the bulb, a voice came on and said only two more tests, each one less than a minute. A few more Klackety Clacks and I was done.

“Thank you Mr. White. You did great. You should drink lots of fluids so that you wash that dye from your body, we used quite a bit of it. Your doctor should have the results in a few weeks.”

I was done. What an experience. When I checked the time, I was in the thing for over an hour and a half. I was starving. A trip to a restaurant for lunch and together with the bad taste from the dye and the greasy food, I got sick. I think it was probably a combination of my claustrophobia, my diabetes, and my fear of needles, together with bad food.

In an hour or two I was on my way home. Glad to be finished with the test. Now to wait for the results, which is often worst than the test itself. I will keep you posted.




I see….

Of all our senses, I would imagine Sight is the most used; at least in my job it is. I sit in front of a computer 90% of the day, staring at the screen ahead of me. I read documents and tests printed on bright white paper, and it hurts. Brightness hurts. I am sitting here at work today, wearing sunglasses.

My eyes have been hurting quite a bit lately. Especially my left eye. It is as if there is something there, but it can’t be seen. I tried to explain what I saw to the eye doctor at the clinic, and she wasn’t sure what I was talking about. As a precaution, she referred me to a specialist.

A week ago I visited an eye specialist. He put me through a ton of tests, everything from staring into a machine and pushing a button when a light blinked, to staring at a light brighter than the sun.

He even took a picture of the back of my eye, after he applied drops that burned like hell, and dilated my pupils.

I remember the look on his face. He didn’t have to say anything for me to know he found something.

He showed me the picture he took. He pointed to my left eye and explained how my Optical Nerve is inflamed and bleeding. He also noted the right eye was swollen.

What caused this? He has no idea, only guesses. ” MS could do it, but you don’t have that. Your vision is still moderately good. Good  colour vision too. A tumor I expect.” he said, calmly. He noticed on my paperwork that I had a Neurofibromatosis tumor a few years back.

I had a CT Scan on Wednesday, and I have an MRI scheduled for Monday. Hopefully he is wrong with the tumor guess. I went through the tumor thing back in ’03, and I really don’t want to repeat that again.

The day after returning home from the test, I remembered what I believe could have caused my problem. While doing yard work, I cut quite a few alders. One of the trees was especially long, and in an attempt to flick the thing in the woods, it bounced back and struck me in the head. I must have been at least twenty minutes trying to regain myself. worst whack in the head ever. I hope this did the damage to my eye. At least I hope if for now. God only knows what other damage it did.

I should get my MRI results at least a week from Monday. Keeping my fingers crossed it’s nothing. Anything but a tumor or MS.