April 2016

April 2016
Dawson Creek, BC

Typical spring in the Peace River country – warm sun, water running, mud, dust, geese are returning (haven’t seen a robin yet); as patches of snow recede green grass appears, leaves are beginning to think about popping out. We relished the unusual mild temperatures of our winter. I wore my heavy winter boots only 2 times, the heaviest winter coats, mitts and toques remained in the closet. The biggest snowfall of the season fell while we were in Vancouver; our neighbor kindly shoveled so when we got home the snow bank was at the side of the driveway.

Spending time in Vancouver was on Ray’s bucket list, so we chose December 15th, 2015 – January 31st,2016, hoping to escape shoveling mounds of snow and experience milder temperatures – how were we to know Dawson Creek’s winter would be the mildest ever?
The big city offers opportunities that are not available to us in northern BC.
*We soon learned to allow ourselves plenty of time to get to a venue as often we waited in line for as long as an hour;
*The sleigh ride over Canada with Santa was spectacular with Betty holding on tight even tho buckled in;
*Services in 3 different churches each with distinct personalities different from each other;
*Our apartment was right down town so we could walk where ever
we wanted to go, claiming our space on the sidewalk was a challenge without bumping someone and dodging umbrella spokes or dodging seniors in their motorized wheelchairs who seemed to claim the right-of-way ;
*Strolls along the waterfront observing huge freighters waiting to unload, boats of all sizes and grandeur, small ferries zipping passengers short distances, including us;
*High tea at the prestigious Wedgewood Hotel due to Betty talking the Maitre de for a table although we had no reservation:
*Dazzling Christmas lights, elaborately and creatively decorated Christmas trees.
*The sky train took us to a huge mall, (there was nothing there we could not live without);
*Time spent with children, grandchildren and friends living in the lower mainland;
*Receiving news of 1st cousins’ deaths – one on each side of the family and serious health problems with our daughter.
*Most of all we will remember the people that we meet, some only briefly, some chatting over coffee and cinnamon buns. Every person we meet brings something to our lives that was not there before; we are learning to cherish every person we meet. Our lives are so enriched by these brief encounters.

It is now just over a year ago that Ray was flown out to St. Paul’s hospital to remove a blood clot that was threatening his leg and life. The clot was removed and he came out of surgery with life and limb intact. He spent several weeks in hospital resting and recovery while hassling the staff and flirting with the student nurses , then Dr.s’ visits and home care nursing after we were home. Betty had to give me (rather volunteered) a series of shots in the stomach with a menacing look on her face. It was an amazing
experience. At no time did we feel afraid, we always knew that whatever the outcome, it was going to be OK. We learned to TRUST! Trust that someone who knew a lot more than we do was looking after us. We were once again reminded of how vital and important the support and company of our friends and family that share our values and experiences is. It brings us strength and courage, we are so grateful. We are presently almost back to pre-emergency surgery condition; nerves in Ray’s foot are growing back, he is working at bringing the yard back to where he wants it after a season of doing its own thing, working a full day, giving Sharon an entire day off. Has not yet returned to once a week bowling – maybe next year.

Spent a wonderful 10 days in Indiana with my siblings and extended family. A time of sharing memories, taking trips down memory lane, times of laughter, eating together, being silly and just quietly being together.

Plans for upcoming summer – nothing definite yet but some possibilities:
An Oswald reunion in Nebraska – is there anyone out there willing to offer me a place to stay for a week or so? Already have an offer for rides to and from Omaha airport.
Trip to southern Alberta;
Family coming to visit;
and who knows what adventure awaits or who might decide to look us up as they pass through our town.

How would you finish this sentence? My favorite thing about Spring is. . . . . . . . . . . . .

It is now May, the landscape has changed. Bushes are flowering, leaves continue to break forth from the winter rest, the Mayday trees are sending
us their almost overpowering aroma from a block away, large patches of yellow – pesky dandelions. Apparently spring is early all over BC, they are telling us the fruit crops in the Okanagan are ahead of schedule and that we can expect BC cherries in June. Unfortunately the warm, dry windy weather brings devastating wildfires burning north and east of us in Alberta, and north of us in BC; people have had to evacuate on very short notice. Costs are estimated in the billions of $ thousands of people displaced, (how can the effects to humans be measured?), awesome pictures on Google – (Fort McMurray, Alberta). Closest to our home about 40 miles, we are seeing no effects from our home.

Our goal is to eat healthy and be active, staying away from processed and packaged foods – (we make exceptions for ice cream) and cook like our mothers taught us – the buzz words are “eat clean” or “eat green”. I’ve tried kale, it chews like leather but leather tastes better. The yard work, sessions at the gym, and daily walks keep us active.

Life is short, and we do not have too much time to gladden the hearts of those who travel the way with us.
So be swift to love, make haste to be kind, and may the blessing of God be with you.

Thank-You For Loving Us!
Ray and Betty Good

January 2015

Fear Not, Go Forth in Hope, Peace, Joy and Love in 2015 –

We actually were awake when 2015 entered our world. It took us 74 and 77 years to get here; WOW! – 1940’s – 1950′-that was then – in our impetuous youth; now here we are at the winter of our life caught by surprise, wondering how did we get here so fast, where did the years and our youth go?

I, Ray,have been thinking about times past and wondering why stupidity seems to be increasing. For instance, a local airport has been receiving complaints from passengers about the lack of cabs at certain times, even though the airport has an “open” policy to allow any cab company to service passengers. Their brilliant decision. Put the service up for bids and allow just one cab company to service the passengers. Let’s see now. If 5 cab companies can’t properly service the airport passengers, one most certainly can. Is this the new math? Also, at the hospital recently for a CT scan I sat and waited for 3 hours. On inquiring if I had been forgotten I was advised by the imaging supervisor that the lab computers were down so the lab couldn’t send the results of my blood work to the imaging department and therefore they couldn’t start the CT scan. I wonder if they ever heard of paper and pencil? And walking that paper to the imaging department. I walked that distance in under 4 minutes. But as I said, I’ve been thinking about times past and remembered 4 guys driving back home after late nite bowling, when one looked out the back window and noticed flames following the car. After stopping to investigate, it was found that the whole underneath of the car was on fire. Maybe that’s why I laugh at one scene from the movie “Planes, Trains and Automobiles”. Anyhow, since all 4 guys were firemen, the driver was instructed to drive like he was qualifing for the Indy 500, to the nearest fire station where we would find fire extinguishers. You can use your imagination to make the ending. But you might want to ask to see my burn scars on my left shoulder. So now I don’t want to think about stupidity.

*things to remember* in 2014
a train trip to Niagara Falls NY. We were privileged to meet people along the way, met with siblings and spouses at a B&B where we were treated royally by our hosts, awed by the powerful splendor of the Falls. We are still savoring the memories!
An endovascular aortic aneurysm repair; excellent Dr. and nursing care, short hospital stay. Recovery continues at home. We are still savoring the experience.
Other than that our 2014 was “vanilla”
*looking ahead*
-grandson wedding -Dan Smith
-family reunion in the states.
Expect the remainder of 2015 will continue to be “vanilla” ; that is a good thing!

I am back to genealogy; working on compiling data to bring up to date the ancestory of Aaron Levi and Mary Ann Short/Yoder, Ray’s maternal grandparents, hoping to leave an historical legacy for future generations. I can gather information from Ancestry.com, it gives info for people who are no longer living. Other than that I gather data from Ray’s first cousins – like I did from all of William Oswald’s grandchildren. Information is slow coming.

We had an abundance of snow late 2014, so much so we were running out of places to put it. Our neighbor was kind enough to use his snow blower to take down our bank when it got difficult for us to shovel over our heads. Since then temperatures hover at +/- freezing that creates shush, ice and uneven sidewalks and streets. So we are pretty much left with that scenario until spring. YIKES! Since we have had so many days of unseasonable warm temperatures, I suggested to Ray that maybe our cold snowy weather is over for this winter. He just rolled his eyes, as of last night’s snowfall, he is right. Our world is all white again.

Hope to see you all in SD in June for W.Oswald reunion.

Hope all is going well with you, take good care of yourself.

Few things in our life can top the blessing of a loving family and friends. We’re blessed to have you in our life; you make our world a better place to live. Thank-You for loving us.

Ray and Betty Good

We Have a Story to Tell

March 22nd – Ray was not able to finish our walk back home after our weekly trip to the Dairy Queen.
March 23rd – After a miserable evening and night of much discomfort we showed up at the local emergency room via ambulance. Dr. checked him over, ordered an x-ray thinking maybe a pinched nerve was the problem, ordered medication and CT scan for the next day.
March 24th – We reported in for the CT scan – that was accomplished and came back home; we were barely settled when the hospital phoned requesting that we come back to emerg. There we learned that the scan showed a large blood clot, only a trickle of blood getting to the left leg, the right leg had compensated some so it was not as bad. At the upper end the clot was nearing the renal artery; Ray’s leg and/or life are in jeopardy, it is imperative to get help. Arrangements were made with the vascular surgeons at St. Paul’s Hospital in Vancouver and with BC’s medevac service for transportation. It is now early morning of
March 25th – the emergency room at St. Paul’s is waiting for us as is the surgeon, Dr. Reid. After paper work for transfer from ambulance to hospital, Dr. Reid came and stood by the stretcher at Ray’s side, I was standing at Ray’s head, he said, “I might not be able to save your leg, and if I can’t save your leg, the stress on your heart will be so great, I might not be able to save your life.” He then went on to briefly explain what he was going to do in the operating room. That sort of went “Whoosh” over my head. I then went to my room next door as the Dr. wheeled Ray into the waiting operating room. The surgery lasted 4 hours – 2:00a to 6:00a. By the time I came back to the hospital at 8:00a, Ray is still in recovery, alive with leg intact.
The following 20 days were spent in the hospital.
Medical staff checked on him often day and night, checking vitals, monitering IVs, checking dressings.
As days went on he could get up, graduating slowly from walker to walking a distance with a cane. When he felt like it I could wheel him in the wheelchair to the roof top garden to breathe some fresh air, observe as gardeners worked the earth in their small garden plots and enjoy the blossoming shrubs and trees. Occasionally we would go to the cafeteria for a treat or I would bring in a sandwich, soup, ice cream or pie -(hospital food is not all that great). Incisions were healing, some stitches were removed. The pressure sore on his tailbone was monitored closely. We were treated with respect, compassion and dignity. I was never asked to leave the room, was privileged to watch what ever proceedure the medical staff were carrying out. Ray is a good patient, he listens, follows instructions, retains his sense of humor, works hard at getting better, every day was one small step to recovery. The plastic surgeon discovered a hematoma, size of 1/2 can of beer – (her words). She cleaned it out, the skin on his leg incision could then be stitched together, no need for a skin graft. Now the staff is preparing us to leave the hospital, instructing us on how to take care at home. It was a little scary to leave the security of the hospital but we are confident we can handle it. It was a nice day and only a two block walk to the hotel where we had to lay over for a day – no flights to Dawson Creek on Saturday – so we decided to wheelchair it. It must have been a sight; Ray with his unruly long grey hair flying in the breeze, his 20 day growth of beard, me trying not to let the chair be out of control as we wheeled down hill or let go of the handle and engage the brake allowing him to take a header. Hotel staff were helpful getting us into the lobby and on the elevator.
April 19th – now we are home! Regular blood tests at the lab, home care clinic to change dressings, Family Dr. visit. All are amazed at how well he is doing.

It was an amazing adventure! I Ray, would not change it. But I don’t want to take another such adventure.

Once again we are reminded that our need for community becomes vital. Family, intimate friendships, large support network, the company of others with shared values and experiences became soothing for our turmoil and pain. We are grateful beyond measure; thanks for loving us!

I look forward to seeing all of you in South Dakota in June. If you have questions re our adventure, be happy to answer them.

Ray and Betty Good