Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Light at the end of the tunnel

Things have been aa bit hectic around here these past couple weeks.  Two weeks ago, I finally got a surgery date.  Tomorrow April 25th. So have been busy getting stuff caught up that I had been putting off.  Like taxes and correspondence.  Blogging kind of took a back seat.  I read blogs posted to Facebook because I can do that late at night when I cant sleep.

We are also moving apartments on April 28th.  After giving notice March 31 we had to find a place and then start packing, change addresses, arrange for electric service to be stopped and started and internet service as well. Lots of paper work, now done on the internet but still takes time. Since I can't lift anything heavier than 12 pounds, I won't be missed during the move anyhow.

Pre-Op was last week.  Essentially a nurse asked me a large number of questions and the anesthesiologist sized me up as to how much ether to put me under.  I had to laugh.  The nurse came in and said "My name is ___ and I'll be your nurse today".  I asked if she ever waited tables with an opening line like that. She had, briefly, and decided nursing was more her style.

One of the things the nurse asked me to do was make a living will.  This is always a good thing to have so people know what you want if things go south.  Since I am having three surgeries before they finish with me, they will keep it on file. 

Tomorrow the surgeon will remove the section of gut that has tried to kill me twice already so there is no third time and out.  Diverticular disease  means my cast iron innards have finally started rusting through. Then in a couple months he will reverse the ostomy, reconnecting my top and bottom.  THIS is what I am waiting for.  To get rid of the damn ostomy pouch that has controlled my life for the past many months.  For those who have never seen an ostomy, I should illustrate this with photos.  Put you off your food for a while.  Then when I am all healed up and fully functional, my doctor will attempt to repair my incision hernia which runs from stem to gudgeon, a reminder of my July surgery in Ukraine. That is a difficult job and when it happens no idea but as long as I am rid of the stoma, I don't care how long it takes.

The living will is fairly simple and if you haven't done one you really should.  I put on paper who speaks for me if I a cannot.  Since I am too healthy for a DNR (do not resuscitate), they should keep trying to keep me alive until it doesn't make sense and then if there are any spare parts they can salvage, go ahead. Not sure about useful spare parts, as if I were a vehicle, I'd have jacked up the radiator cap and run a new car under it long ago. I talked this all over with my wife and oldest daughter so we are all on the same page more or less, i.e .no violent disagreements.

My son says I better not die on the operating table and cheat the gallows. However, on the subject of funerals, I want to be cremated as it is cheap. Black garbage bags in a dumpster is cheaper but tends to be frowned upon by the authorities.  Since I live in two countries and love both, the suggestion was made that half the cremains go to Ukraine and half to the little family plot near where i grew up, where my parents, grandparents and great grandparents are buried.

That way my kids can put on my stone, "Here lies our half-ashed father".

I can wait.

Friday, April 13, 2018

To D(NA) or not to D(NA)

Ads for personal DNA analysis come across my Facebook feed on an almost daily basis and it is tempting.  The movement of peoples around the earth fascinate me. Mitochondrial DNA, inherited solely from the maternal line, and the Y chromosome, inherited solely from the male line, tell you a great deal about your ancestors and where they came from.  Hence books such as "Y Chromosome Adam and Mitochondrial Eve".

That is what I would dearly love to learn about myself.  I don't need more relatives, though they are nice to have, as we have a pretty good handle on all our parent's cousins and most of our second cousins.  But where did they come from, not in the near past but in the distant past?

Technically my one set of grandparents came from County Cork, Ireland to Canada in 1906, one came from Holland, via Iowa roughly the same time and one came from Yorkshire emigrants to Canada a hundred years earlier. But their more distant genetic antecedents are pretty much unknown.

It is highly unlikely I have any Irish blood in me at all. The first Hingstons in Ireland arrived in the late 1650's as part of Cromwell's replacement of the heathen Papist Irish with God-fearing English and Scots (Never ask an Irishman his opinion of Butcher Cromwell).  My paternal grandmother is a Ross which is a Scottish name. Though we have not much information on the family's history, I would suggest it is not much different than the Hingstons.  There was mingling of the newcomers and the Irish over time but not much until more recently and given the fiercely religious attitudes of my grandparents, I doubt there was any in their families.

My maternal grandfather came from Holland.  Unless his relatives in the States (he was the only one who moved on to Canada) have family history, we have no further information on his ancestors.

It is my maternal grandmother, of the Bielby family, originally of Yorkshire , that interests me the most.  There is a village and parish in eastern Yorkshire named Bielby.  According to Wikipedia, for what it is worth, there is a Roman fortress near by and the place was over run by Vikings in the late 9th century and the remnants settled there and ruled the place for about a century until 954.

Source Wikipedia
Wiki says that Bielby (spelled Belebi in the Doomsday book) is taken from a Scandinavian name of Beli and means farm or village belonging to Beli.  I have my own theory about that.  The Russian word for white is белый (pronounced belyy or in poor Russian beli).  So maybe Bielby or Belebi means White Farm and has a Slavic link.  My reasoning is based on the fact that not only were the Vikings raiding (and settling) up and down the coasts of Great Britain and Ireland, they were also trading (and settling) up and down the Dnieper and other rivers from the Baltic into the Black Sea. They were known as the Varangians by the Greeks, Rus' and Ruthenians.  They became the aristocracy in Kyiv and were the first rulers thereof according to the histories I read.

Now maybe one or many of the Varangians returned from the Slavic countries bringing some of the local language, or leaving some of theirs behind, and were part of the raiders and settlers in Yorkshire and maybe I have some genetic links to Ukraine via Vikings/Varangians?

I hesitate to get a DNA analysis for several reasons.  I have no idea which company is best.  I do not have $100 dollars or more at the moment.  There is a huge amount of information available from DNA analysis and once the company have your DNA they own it regardless of the fine print which likely says they own it anyhow.

DNA analysis not only affects you, it affects everyone you are linked to for many generations both laterally and vertically.  That is scary.  What might they know about me and all my relatives near and far and what might they do with the information?

I asked one of my daughters and her answer was don't do it. I guess that settles it.  I'll never know, I'll just speculate.