Archive | June 2012

More Entries from my Hospital Diary


 It’s 9:00 PM and I’m all tucked in, ready to have some sleep. It’s been a busy day with visitors morning and afternoon.

My sons, Ra and Gary, came this morning. Gary lives out of town so has been staying in my suite. He returned home today as he needs to go back to work. Ra’s wife has been away and flew home today, so he went to pick her up at the airport.

My niece, Carol, and her husband came this afternoon. She brings “print outs” from Flickr, e-mail and my blog, so I do get your messages.

I’m so grateful for your prayers. Please continue to send them, both for me as I heal and especially for my son Danny.

I actually had some solid food for dinner tonight – the first in more than a week! I didn’t eat very much of it as it will take my tummy a while to get used to Chicken Cacciatore!



Typical of a hospital breakfast – not the food, but the activity around it – simultaneously, a lady came to take my blood pressure, another one to “do vitals”, and another one to help me move into a better position, etc.

By the time I got to my meal, it was no longer at a very good temperature… but I enjoyed it anyway. The yoghurt, Cream of Wheat porridge with brown sugar, “Texas Toast” with jam, and orange juice were such a nice change from the liquid diet I’ve been on. I even asked for another cup of hot coffee and am enjoying that as I write this.

I have those special “stockings” on my legs… the kind that expand and contract to massage them. They ensure the blood keeps flowing as it should. That’s important, but they were part of the reason I didn’t sleep much last night. I was still wide awake at 3:00 AM and had no knitting available to settle me down.


Nurses are very special angels. Having some idea of what they might have to cope with, they still choose nursing as their profession. They are another one of my miracles!


At least I think it’s Friday… the 29th of June. I just finished another delicious breakfast — everything tastes delicious after a week of water, broth and Jello! Today it was orange juice, porridge and a lovely biscuit with strawberry jam.

I am making progress. It’s almost lunch time and I am sitting in a chair — but what’s more amazing is that I’ve already walked across the room! Surgery on Tuesday evening and walking on Friday morning. Another one of my miracles.

I’ll be sending this home later with Carol to post for Saturday’s blog. Not sure when my next post will be. In the meantime, have a Happy Canada Day weekend.



My Hospital Diary Continues


As I begin this post it’s somewhere around 11:00 PM on Tuesday June 26th. Ra has my watch. I forgot to get it back from him after coming out of the operating room.

He and Gary had visited with Danny this morning, and then came to wait with me through the rest of the day. They only left long enough to have lunch. Would you believe they brought back a photo of Gary’s lunch – rack of lamb. I wasn’t even allowed water!

It has been a very long, emotional day. My surgery is over and I need to thank each of you for your prayers – I know they helped me through this ordeal.


Little stuffed Grover, who has been with me ever since I arrived in Emergency, is awaiting breakfast with me. Yes, I get breakfast this morning … I’ll welcome those clear fluids again. My nurse, Brier, has taken pity on me and brought me a cup of apple juice to “tide me over” until 8:30 AM.

After the surgery last night the anesthetist told me I “did very well”. A miracle! So many miracles all around us. Do you have miracles around you?

Posting to this blog is one of the miracles.

(Photo by Ra McGuire)

I’m lying in bed listening to a CD as I write. My son Ra will transcribe this into his phone later this morning and email it to my niece, Carol (that special lady), and then she will post it on my blog Thursday. Ra’s telephone might also be the camera used to take pictures here at the hospital. And then I get comments from all over – not just Canada and the USA, but France, England, Germany, Sweden.



While Norma is in hospital, any comments left below, or e-mails sent to will be printed out and delivered to her.



Surgery Day

At 1:00 AM yesterday the final countdown started. They took away my water.

Gary had stayed late Monday night and we had a good game of crib. No, it was a great game – I won!

(This deer antler crib board belonged to my Dad)

I had a fairly good night with the help of my TV or my CD player. I listened to piano playing, “Solitudes: Forest Piano“, accompanied by birds, and it was very relaxing.

My day progressed.

We have three nurses named Mellissa working here. I haven’t met them all, just the one who cared for me today. I do appreciate her dedication to her duty.

Two of my sons were here visiting and we mentioned that I have a blog. Mellissa was surprised and said, “Oh, what do you write about – your life – or something interesting?” We all had a good laugh as she stood there with her foot hanging out of her mouth.

Mellissa is the only one of the nurses to take me for a walk and we went twice yesterday. Much needed after being in bed day and night for five days. I’m attached to an IV pole so can’t go it alone.


Shortly after 5:30 p.m. yesterday Norma was taken into surgery, and by 7:15 p.m. the word came that she was back out of surgery, “…and all is good. Thanks for your prayers.”

She faces a significant time of recovery, of course, but with her faith and determination I’m optimistic that she’ll soon be back in circulation.

If you’d like to send her a message of encouragement, please leave it in the comment section below, or send an e-mail to . And thank you so much for your support and prayers. Norma and all the family appreciate it immensely!


Counting the hours to surgery

Another update from Norma in her hospital bed


When I approached my 50th birthday it didn’t affect me the same as some others who thought they were “over the hill.” One thought kept going through my mind: “I’m half way there.”

Now everyone knows that 50 is half of 100, so today, the 26th of June 2012, I am leaning heavily on that thought.

It is 3:00 AM and I am trying to get some sleep. Every time I am near to sleeping, someone or something wakes me up.

It is now 9:00 AM. Breakfast? They’ve been withholding food – even fluids now as we approach “The” day — Tuesday. I’ve had to wait five days before surgery to come off of blood thinners. Now I am about face-to-face with what God has planned for me.

I’m asking for your prayers. I know they will help me as I travel this unknown road. I need prayers for my son Danny, too, as he goes through chemotherapy. We are both in God’s hands.

There is a very special lady in my life — my niece, Carol. She brings me so much love, joy and thoughtful goodies. Visit her Careann’s Musings blog and see how special she is.

She made up a little book with photos of my family and hers to have here. She brought a CD player with relaxing music to help me pass the waiting time. (Did you know that a “Trooper” CD can help me relax?!) Carol’s husband, Bob, is very special too — he had the TV hooked up for me, and has been here with Carol every day. I am very blessed to have them as part of my family. I am grateful to God for all my family and friends.

Update: Later the doctor paid a visit, and he is allowing me to have a little ‘food’ again — juice, tea, beef broth and some jello. It may seem like a small thing, but a warm bowl of broth is comforting nourishment as I wait and count down the hours to my surgery, which should be sometime this afternoon.


Any comments left below will be printed out and taken to Norma,
along with any e-mailed messages sent to .
I know she loves hearing from her cyber friends.


Photos from Free Digital Photos

The Waiting Game

Norma wrote the following message in hospital
and asked that it be posted to update you on her situation.


Things change … so quickly … don’t they? Right now, for me, it’s a problem to even know what day it is. I think today might be Monday, June something. Maybe the 25th?

Wednesday the 20th I went to Emergency at our local hospital for a simple procedure. I expected I would be home in time for our weekly ‘Hymn Sing’ a couple hours later. Wrong!

My tummy was x-rayed. I had to wait around for the results – and then it was decided to do a cat scan of it. Too late in the day to get results, so I was sent home, but only for overnight.

Back next day. More x-rays, this time heart and chest, and now I’m here for a while. Emergency surgery to remove a blockage, but because I’ve been on a prescribed blood thinner the surgery has to be postponed until it’s out of my system … until Tuesday.

(Photo by Gary McGuire)

So here I am. I’m on a clear fluids diet. Until yesterday that meant Jello three times a day, juices, black coffee and delicious broths – beef or chicken. I was particularly grateful for the broths to sooth my empty tummy.

Until yesterday.  Yesterday there was no lunch tray, and when I inquired I learned I’m now limited to scant sips of water or apple juice. There’s the I.V., of course, so I won’t starve, but that’s small consolation during this five-day waiting game.


Any comments left below will be printed out and taken to Norma,
as will any e-mailed messages sent to .
I know she loves hearing from her cyber friends.


Muirfield Drive

(** Note: please see special message below)

7750 Muirfield Drive! A brand new house! A palace! Three bedrooms. It actually had cupboards with doors on them, and drawers, and a bathroom! We bought an electric stove, and we got our first telephone. We thought we were in heaven!

Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) was our landlord in the beginning. They planted the lawn in the front and at the sides, and ten feet behind the house. We were responsible for landscaping the rest of it. It was quite a while before we got a fence around the back yard, so I would sit on the back steps and keep an eye on the kids, then get my work done while they had their naps.

 Christmas Eve, 1953, and the family gathering was at our place. A lot of work for me.

Gary wasn’t well, but the Doctor refused to come out to the house. At the beginning of the new year Gary ended up in the hospital for two months… he wasn’t absorbing his vitamins. What a stressful time that was, and we were so happy when he was able to come back home.

After the accident at Knight Road and Kingsway, I lost my nerve and couldn’t drive the car. Even being in a car was almost more than I could stand… cars coming along from side streets would make me almost hysterical, and I nearly drove Mickey up the wall. It was a few years before I got mad enough at having to rely on someone to drive me, especially to see my mom and dad, that I started driving again. We were living on Muirfield Drive at the time.

Mom and dad had bought a place at Willoughby, in Langley. They had no washing machine, so I was doing their wash, ironing and mending. I was also baking cookies for them as Mom wasn’t too well. I also made mom’s dresses. I had done that since I was sixteen. I bought a portable sewing machine and I made the kids’ clothes, some of Mickey’s shirts, and most of my own clothes.

Boy, do I jump around! I hope you can follow me!

Muirfield Drive was a veteran’s area. To rent one of these homes you had to have at least two kids (a boy and a girl). If you had all boys or all girls you had to have at least three kids. That meant a lot of kids in the area, with all the parents around the same age. None of the homes were for sale… they were strictly rental properties.

Behind our house was still bush, right over to 54th, quite a distance. Below that was Fraserview Golf Course. Also, a two block long area along the opposite side of Muirfield was bush.  Eventually that two-block area was cleared… one end completely, so that they could build David Oppenheimer School, but the other end was left pretty much as it had been.  They did take out some of the undergrowth after I called them and told them that kids liked to play in there, and were easy prey for predators.

The year that Ra was to start school (1956) they opened the brand new David Oppenheimer School right across the street from our crescent.

The minister of the Presbyterian Church on Nanaimo Street, the other side of the bush, phoned me.  He had heard that there had been molestings in the area, and he wanted to get the bush cleared. When he talked to the city about it they said he had to prove his allegations. He asked if I knew of any family that had a child that had been molested… I said I had no knowledge of it.

I phoned the police. I said I knew they couldn’t release that kind of information to me, but would they be willing to release it to the City department involved?

They cooperated fully, and the City came and cleared the rest of the bush and turned it into Bobolink Park.


This is at the point where I’ve had to do some rethinking about my blog. Do I continue writing it? Do I stop?  A lot of people stop by, but very few actually comment and let me know whether they enjoy it, or not. Is it worth my effort?

They miss out on the virtual cup of tea that I like to pour for my visitors!

The other thing… going back over the old memories brings back all the memories… not just the good ones that I write about. I have to decide which ones to write about, and which ones to exclude. I hope you agree with my decisions, and will continue to travel along with me.


This is Norma’s niece stepping in with an update on her behalf. Although she intended to continue her blogging, Norma has had to take an unexpected hiatus as she suddenly finds herself in hospital awaiting emergency major surgery. If you wish to leave her a message, you can do so in the comment section below and I will print it out for her. Or messages can be e-mailed to and I’ll see that she gets them.
 Carol (McGuire) Garvin
See also: Gary McGuire’s Flickr posting.

Ramon, Danny and Gary

Ramon Wayne McGuire was born June 13, 1950 at 4:01 AM at Grace Hospital. Vancouver, B.C. He weighed 6 pounds, 5 ounces.

When Ra was six weeks old I took the car to go and get some meat before Mickey left for work. I was crossing Kingsway at Knight road, when a wood truck coming North on Kingsway went through a red light and hit my car just behind where I was sitting… and broke my shoulder blade… again.

Mickey’s aunt was supposed to come every day (for pay) to look after Ra but she wouldn’t show up until two or three o’clock. So I would take my arm out of the sling and bathe him etc, myself. Anyway, because of the accident I couldn’t nurse him any more. Dr. Telford put him on a formula (SMA) which didn’t agree with him and the doctor came to the house and gave him an injection… adult size… and Ra went into a convulsion. We rushed him to the hospital where he stayed for about ten days.

In 1951, when Ra was eleven months old we moved to Townline Road in Surrey. The idea of moving to Surrey was to be near the piece of property we had bought along with his parents. Mickey wanted to clear the property and start building a house for us.

We rented a three room house… front room, kitchen and bedroom, with an outhouse and a well. You had to get the water from the well, heat it on the wood stove, and wash the clothes in a tub on a scrub board… then pack the water outside to dump it…. And hang the clothes out on the clothes line to dry!

In regards to the property. We owned half of a five acre piece, but it didn’t work out, so it was sold.

I became pregnant again… and Mickey had a car accident on the way home from work and broke his arm. As we didn’t have a phone, Mickey’s parents were notified. Although we lived less than a mile from them they never bothered to let me know what had happened until the next afternoon. I’ll never forget how much I worried, wondering what had happened to my husband.

Now neither of us could haul water from the well, so we moved to a little place at McGuire’s…  9121 Clow

Road. Still no water. Had to carry it from their place from a tap in the garage.       .

December 3rd, 1951, Danny Clarke McGuire was born at St. Mary’s Hospital in New Westminster at 9:21 AM. He weighed 6 pounds, 15 ounces.

In the hot weather, the little house where we were living was like an oven and you couldn’t stay inside. Mickey was having to drive back and forth to Vancouver to go to work and it was not very pleasant for me living there,  so we decided to get out.

In May 1952 we moved to 2447 E. 19th in Vancouver, to Mike and Rosie’s basement suite, with a bathroom, a wood stove and no fridge! No washing machine! No telephone! No drawers! No doors on shelves to keep dishes in!

November 19th 1952, Gary RusselL McGuire was born in St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver.. 6:55 P.M.. He weighed  6 pounds, 7 ounces. At that time you stayed in the hospital for a week after giving birth.

I came home from the hospital with Gary and both Ra and Danny had whooping cough. My mom had been staying there to look after the kids but poor Mickey wasn’t getting any sleep either from being up most of the night with them coughing.

We had three little kids… Mickey got a small raise, so we bought a fridge and a washing machine! What an improvement that was!

Part of the time our landlords, Mike and Rosie, were friendly… but part of the time they weren’t. The morning of December 24th, Christmas Eve, they came and took our table and kitchen chairs away. They were part of the “furnishings” that we rented!

Luckily I was able to phone the store where we had bought the fridge and washing machine, and we bought  a yellow chrome dinette suite, sight unseen, and they delivered it that afternoon!

We found another basement suite on Inverness, not far from Kingsway. It was almost impossible to rent when you had kids… and we had three of them!

We moved June 13th, 1953, Ra’s third birthday, and had a family gathering the following week for his party.

The night before, I was busy in the kitchen getting some things prepared for the party… I heard our car start  up. I called my husband and he ran out in time to scare off the car thief.

This place was small, with a wood stove. Our washing machine had to hook up to the kitchen sink.

We had put our name in for one of the Veteran’s homes in Fraserview, and had supplied a letter from our doctor saying that dampness in the basement suites was not good for the health of our family. They came to inspect where we were living to see if we were really eligible for one of the veteran’s homes.

They picked a perfect time. My folks were visiting and I was doing a wash, so there was more of a commotion than usual. We only had two small bedrooms, and Gary’s crib was in the front room. Anyway, we got the OK, and in August 1953 we moved to 7750 Muirfield Drive. It was a Brand New House!