Thursday, July 1, 2021

Looking Back Four Years Today

 Today, July 1st, is Canada Day. Not much to celebrate as the Country begins to come to grips with what the colonists and settlers did to our Indigenous people with the residential schools. They knew about it and told us but we wouldn't listen. The "discovery" of hundreds of unmarked graves on the sites of former residential schools has forced us to listen. It is one thing to weep for the innocent lives lost but another, more important, is to understand the lives of survivors that were destroyed and for which they and their children and children's children are still suffering. 

Tanya and I both have our second Pfizer shots as of this week. We could have waited longer than the minimum days between but best to grab it when the vaccine is available. We get our official certificate next week. When we drove into town, I could count on one hand the number of people on the street wearing masks. In the supermarket more people wore masks but again, I could count on one hand the number wearing them correctly over nose and mouth. Made me think of the guy who survived Chernobyl. He watch the movie and counted nine errors on one hand.

Saturday, July 1st, 2017, my world changed. As Churchy LaFemme would say, Friday the 13th come on a Saturday this month. At 1:30 in the morning, a diverticula on my large intestine burst. Apparently I had Diverticulosis and never knew it. Most people with that condition will never know unless something goes wrong. I never had a baby or a kidney stone but my pain had to be right up there. At 5:00 am I went into hospital in Zhovti Vody and they had no idea what was wrong. That afternoon, I went by ambulance to Dnipro on a morphine drip to survive. Andrey had to speak to the mayor so the city would use the good ambulance instead of the Spanish Civil War left over. 

Mechnikov Hospital is the main hospital in Dnipro and was full of wounded soldiers from the front of the war against Russia. The doctors there had no idea what was wrong with me either and poked and prodded my swollen belly for three days before they decided they better operate. They cleaned me out, slapped an ostomy bag on me, filled my with IV antibiotics and sent me to a room to die. They told Tanya I would probably not make the weekend. As I was lying there too weak to lift a finger, I figured that as long as nothing went south, I would make it. Morphine was my friend.

My girls got there Friday 7th. Tanya found a flat for the four of them about 30 minutes by bus from the hospital. They were busy. Hospitals have no staff and not much else either. Too much money disappears between budget allotment and where it is needed. Nurses administer meds. Period. Family has to do everything else. Including buying meds. The nurse would give a list to Tanya in the morning and sometimes it would take two people half a day going to different drug stores to find everything. 

I was there a month, then back to Zhovti Vody hospital and eventually to the house. Once I could walk we flew to Regina. Two years and three surgeries later we flew home to Ukraine. 

I am so thankful for Tanya who was the best nurse ever, Dr Vishul in Regina (who trained at Mechnikov Hospital, my family who looked after me so well and friends and all who contributed to Go-Fund-Me which paid for all my costs in Ukraine and flights home. I am glad to be alive. 

Growing old is not for the faint of heart. Now I have caught the NILE virus.

The NILE Virus, type C
We are still battling the COVID-19 and the next thing is here already.  Virologists have identified a new Nile virus - type C.  It appears to target those who were born between 1930 & 1970.
Symptoms: Causes you
1.       To send the same message twice.
2.       To send a blank message.
3.       To send a message to the wrong person.
4.       To send it back to the person who sent it to you.
5.       To forget to attach the attachment.
6.       To hit SEND before you've finished.
7.       To hit DELETE instead of SEND.
8.       To SEND when you should DELETE.
It is called the C-NILE virus!
And if you cannot admit to doing the above, you have obviously caught the mutated strain — the D-NILE virus.


  1. Jeez. I did not know your health issue 4 years ago was so close to death as it turned out to be. You are indeed lucky to be alive. All of us are but most don't appreciate that fact. C-nile huh? Yeah, I think I am showing some symptoms.

    1. It was touch and go for a while. The first couple weeks I could not even feed myself. I was on some kind of nutritional IV and drank butter milk which I had but it tasted so good.
      I'm also allergic to morphine. It makes me feel like I am boiling hot even though my temp is normal.

  2. Wow, I never knew the full back-story of your illness and what happened before you were in hospital in Regina. Holy moly! And I can understand why you'd opt for the Canadian health care system. Were there any issues about accessing it since you'd lived out of the country for so long?

  3. The Canadian system was free for one thing and with enough staff to look after me. Technically I should have had to wait 3 months till my Sask Health card cut in. But I had Drs appointments right off the plain. The first Dr I saw was a nurse practitioner who as a girl 30 years earlier lived behind our house. Dr Vizhul was a godsend as he spoke Russian and could discuss everything with Tanya which helped immensely.

  4. We take for granted decent health care in Countries that have it. I do confess to complaining about ours sometimes when it is far superior to so many Countries I've either visited or heard the horror stories of. I did not know about how dire your situation was and that back story was quite terrifying! You are tough as old boots, aren't you? Yeah, I too have the C-Nile and D-Nile Virus, at the same time, the symptoms are quite evident to everyone else, sometimes even to me.

    1. I'm glad I wasn't sick in USA. Ukraine was expensive enough. Tough or fortunate is hard to say. Maybe more the latter

  5. My partner went through the same thing. Diverticulitis that he didn't know he had caused his intestine to rupture. I am endlessly grateful that I ignored him and called the ambulance. NINE abdominal operations later he is pretty much back to normal.
    You have the Nile virus? I am sorry. I hope your recovery is swift and complete.

    1. Nine operations? I thought my four were bad enough. Dr Vizhul took out 40 cm of large intestine and everything seems to be ok now but I sure hope I don't have it develop again.
      At my age, I am afraid the C-Nile virus will just get worse.

    2. I am sorry to hear that about the virus. Before I took up with my partner I didn't know that lungs could collapse without external trauma (three times now) OR that bowels could just rupture. Not lessons either of us wanted to learn. And I am grateful for Australia's health care system. It is not perfect, but without it I would be bankrupt and he would probably be dead.

  6. Gosh I remember when you had that horrible diverticulitis problem, was it really 4 years ago. I remember too that you came back to Regina and had to stay quite a while to recover while Tanya went back to Ukraine. I am very grateful for the Canadian health care system, I've had 2 new metal hips and lots of cardiac thingummyjigs and I haven't had to pay for any of it. So glad you are OK now, but you better take care of that C-Nile virus, I hear there's no cure. I think I've had some twinges of it too.

    1. Time goes. I was two years in Regina. Tanya went back and forth a couple of times. Canada's health system isn't perfect but it is so good anyhow. The only way to get rid of C-Nile virus is to catch D-Nile.

  7. "...counted nine errors on one hand" - Hahaha!! You sneaked that in so subtly, too.

    What an ordeal you've been through. Here's hoping you got a lifetime's worth of medical disasters all done at once and you'll be fine from now on.

    Oh, and of course I don't have C-Nile. (That's the D-Nile talking...)

    1. Ha. Glad you liked that. I wasn't sure if no one else caught it or if they decided to ignore it as being totally terrible.
      My next medical disaster can come when I am 90 and finish me quickly. My dad's father was 90. He gave Grandma her hot tea and milk, tucked her into bed and then went to sleep, never waking up.

    2. The ultimate blessing. So few people are lucky enough to depart life that mercifully.


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