Happy Rebirthday to you, Fred

I may rush in last minute when we meet for coffee, but I’m always early for my volunteering shifts. That’s how I was first volunteer to arrive at my scheduled Blood Services shift last Monday, only to be met by a FRiendly Donor (Fred seems the obvious moniker here) awaiting his appointment. Fred seemed in good spirits and, as the only two people there, we chatted while I warmed the soup.

Within a few minutes, I’d learned that Fred was donating blood that day, his 37th birthday. After offering him unlimited cookies (sadly I had no cake), he added, “I celebrated another birthday yesterday.” I looked confused, so he explained.

The day before his 33rd birthday, Fred underwent brain surgery to remove a benign tumour. He said the doctors had found the growth by chance. The surgery was successful, and after it was over, Fred experienced two major changes: the migraines he’d endured for years stopped and he was no longer depressed. He wasn’t aware that the tumour was causing these problems and was pleasantly surprised when they vanished. No wonder Fred celebrates that day. He considers his surgery-related birthday more important than his real birthday because of how his life has changed for the better since.

Hanging whole blood unitsWhat does this have to do with blood donation? Before the surgery, Fred noticed ten units of blood hanging nearby in case they were needed during his operation. Thankfully he did not need any of that blood, but the experience motivated him to become a regular donor.

I became unexpectedly emotional as Fred shared his story. When I was at my sickest, I received 22 transfusions–whole blood, platelets, and plasma–and I’ve required the odd top up since. Thank goodness Fred didn’t need all that blood during his surgery; he left more in reserve for cancerous people like me. And now, with his donations, he’s bolstering these life-saving supplies on a regular basis.

Fred had shared so much that I did something I don’t often do when I’m volunteering there: I told Fred I had leukemia, which deepens my gratitude for donors like him. Although I always feel this gratitude, I rarely tell donors how much their giving means to me personally. Could Fred’s blood have helped me at some point? I’ll never know, but I think he’d have good blood. He seemed like a decent person.

I’m not one to hijack a conversation, yet my sharing felt appropriate in that moment. Fred had disclosed a lot to me, and I wanted to let him know in the only way I knew how why his story had moved me as deeply as it did. The psychologist in me wondered whether Fred was as touched by my disclosure as I was by his. He asked me how I was doing with appropriate caring and concern and without a touch of pity, thank God.

As is my nature, I returned the focus to Fred within a minute or two, but I was glad I trusted him in that moment. Donors can only benefit from the chance to meet a recipient who is alive because of donations like theirs. I can be that grateful recipient, even while I’m warming soup.

Hopefully Fred and I will cross paths again so I can ask him his real name.

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The problem with paying to procure plasma

Arm outstretched of someone who has just donated blood with quote: If you really want to lend a hand, lend an arm.

Until recently, I didn’t realize that we had a shortage of plasma in Canada. You may not have either, unless you too are obsessed with the health news. Someone’s gotta be.

Last year, a private plasma donation clinic opened in Saskatoon. The clinic pays every donor with a $25 gift card. By allowing this clinic to open, the Saskatchewan government has reduced donations to the non-paying Canadian Blood Services clinic in the region. If you could be paid for your plasma donation or do it out of the goodness of your heart, what would you do? Turns out a lot of people like to be paid for their efforts.

Although in the U.S., blood donors are paid, in Canada they are not. We Canadians have historically relied on the good will of donors, and, according to Canadian Blood Services, we will continue to do so.

Maybe this wouldn’t be a problem if the donations procured at the paying clinic were adding to Canada’s plasma supply, but there’s no assurance they are. This company is selling the plasma to the highest bidder, wherever that bidder is. The clinic is a for-profit venture; its first concern isn’t Canada’s plasma supply.

As it stands, Canada doesn’t have enough plasma to meet patients’ needs, so we buy plasma from the U.S. to make up the shortfall. But what if we continue to rely on foreign blood products and that supply dries up? I can envision American plasma being stopped at the border in the near future, under the new America First policies. That crazy new president south of the border rules with an iron fist, as he has proven too many times over the past few weeks.

Plasma donations are needed both for infusions–I’ve needed a few over the course of my illness–but also to make drugs for very sick people with rare diseases. We need to ensure we have enough of these drugs to keep these people alive, or at least to improve their quality of life.

So, Canadians, consider donating your plasma for free. It’s one needle prick*, except it takes a little longer than donating whole blood. The special machine will take your plasma only and kindly return all your other blood products to you. Easy peasy. And you’ll get all the benefits that whole-blood donors get and more.

What benefits, you ask? First off, after you donate, you can pop by the donor cafe, where a bevy of volunteers will eagerly meet your every need. Remember the soup and cookies? We also stock fruit cups and sesame snaps for the gluten free among you. There’s coffee and tea and pop and juice (go for the mango). Who says there’s no such thing as a free lunch?

And don’t forget the coveted pins. When you reach certain donor milestones, you receive a commemorative pin. You plasma donors will reach those milestones all the faster because you can donate plasma much more frequently than whole blood if you choose.

And what about the good feeling that goes along with knowing you’re helping someone? That’s worth a lot more than a $25 gift card, I think.

 

*If a needle phobia is holding you back, come see me. I can help you with that.

Not everyone has the holiday Monday off

Four volunteers and a donor at Canadian Blood Services

Just like these lovely women, you too could feel this fantastic.

I realize it’s a holiday Monday and you probably don’t want to be pestered with a post, but in order to keep with my usual blogging schedule, I went out in search of a worthy story. And so J. and I heeded the call of the Canadian Blood Services, since they’re experiencing a shortage of blood products. J. is the star of this story since she is the picture of health. I can’t donate myself, unfortunately, because of my defective, i.e., genetically mutated, blood. Darn those blood disorders.

J. agreed that I could join her if I promised not to cry. Yeah, right. How long do you think that lasted?  She knows me too well.

Turns out that on this holiday Monday, not everyone was out enjoying the glorious summer day. The clinic was a hubbub of activity, with numerous staff and volunteers sacrificing their time to accommodate all the generous donors. It wasn’t overly busy when we got there, but by the time we left, it was standing room–or should I say “reclining room”–only.  Man, those chairs looked comfy.

We saw donors of all colours, shapes and sizes, and everyone seemed happy to be there. I wondered what motivated these people to donate. Do they know someone who’s been in a car accident, or someone battling cancer?  Or maybe they just donate because they are kind, generous people.

I wanted to walk around and thank each donor personally, but I envisioned two potential pitfalls: 1) I would have started sobbing uncontrollably, and I was barely holding it together as it was; and 2) people may have been reluctant to donate in the future, fearing they’d have to deal with an emotional wreck like me each time they came in.

J. passed screening and was called over to one of those deluxe recliners to donate. The astute nurse, Liane, invited me out of the cheap seats to lend my adoring support to J., except when the needle went in and I had to look away. Liane told us that she loves working at the clinic because, in her words: “The people who come here are good folk.” She’s right. [Insert more tears here.] Her joy was infectious.

Competitive one that she is, J.’s bloody bag was filled before you could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (that was the longest word I could think of). So off we traipsed to the donors’ café, where four eager volunteers kindly waited on us hand and foot. J. placed her order of chicken noodle soup and juice, while Michele, the lovely volunteer who greeted us, encouraged me to have a snack too even though I had not donated. In fact, she insisted I could not leave empty stomached. And so, under duress, I accepted a drink, and, under more duress, a bite of J.’s milk chocolate chunk cookie.

I left convinced I’d like to volunteer here. I’d just have to find a way to contain my emotion (or maybe not–those donations saved my life), and not to steal too many of those cookies.

What’s wrong with sharing my gratitude aloud? These people–the clinic staff, the volunteers, the donors–should know how important their contribution is. I now regret not telling each and every one of them. So what if I cry in public? Let everyone think I’m crazy for all I care.

Amidst all the bad, good is still happening in the world.

It’s been really hard to turn on the news lately. Every day it seems there’s another tragedy, bigger than the one the day before. Incidents like the mass killing in Nice fuel the xenophobia in the Western world. Some start questioning immigration policies and that crazy scary US presidential candidate only adds fuel to the fire. It’s a mess out there.

Whenever I’m feeling overwhelmed by all the tragedy, I go to the Canadian Blood Services Facebook page. This past week, CBS posted a number of stories that reminded me of the good in the world. Every story is a feel-good story on that Facebook page.

There I read about the Texan student who joined the stem-cell registry during a high school blood drive. A few years later, he was matched with a child in need, so he stepped up and saved a life. A 6-year-old Calgary boy undergoing a recurrence of leukemia, a recurrence that would likely have ended his life, received that healthy Texan’s marrow and is now cancer free and thriving. Donor and recipient met for the first time this week.

I think a lot about the stem-cell registry because I know someone who might have benefitted from it. My dear friend Scott, whom I wrote about in one of my first posts, died of lymphoma 22 years ago this month. I vividly remember his despair upon learning doctors could not locate a bone-marrow match. Gruelling chemotherapy had decimated his immune system. As a result, he developed an opportunistic infection and died 4 short months following his diagnosis. Would a bone-marrow transplant have saved his life too?

Out of interest, I learned that registering to be a stem-cell donor is as simple as four painless cheek swabs. The process of donating stem cells or bone marrow is more involved but that’s assuming the potential donor is matched with someone in need. Somehow I think I could endure a bit of discomfort to save someone’s life, but nobody would want my tainted marrow and I’m too old anyhow (registry age limits are between 17 and 35 years). I will have to count on others to step up, not for me since I wouldn’t survive the rigorous process of a transplant, but for those who could benefit.

There’s another CBS story that made me cry happy tears, one that Trumps all others. (Try fearing people from far lands after you read this.) Over the last few years, a group of Syrian refugees arrived in Canada, settling in Winnipeg. They wanted to find a way to express their thanks to the community that welcomed them.

Group of Syrian men having just donated blood in Winnipeg

So two dozen of these Syrian refugees donated blood. (This picture is from the CBS Facebook page; I didn’t think they’d mind if I borrowed it.) What an amazing way to give back to Canada. They’d escaped a war-torn country. The frequent bombings and shootings resulted in a constant need for blood, so they became experts at donating to help their compatriots. One fellow in the group had donated three dozen times in Syria. When they heard there was a blood shortage here, they willingly pulled up their sleeves. Thanks, Syrians, for giving where you live. You’re helping people like me.

I’ll gladly take your gay blood

Chart of groups in high need of blood donations from Canadian Blood Services

Canadian Blood Services’ transfusion needs.

I’ve been posting more than usual in the “Being Gay” category lately. Can you bear with me for one more? I’ll go back in the closet soon.

One of the groups marching in the Pride Parade was the Canadian Institute of Diversity and Inclusion (CCDI [do you think their acronym writer has a learning disability?]). The group’s motto? “There’s no such thing as gay blood.” CCDI is challenging Canadian Blood Services’ longstanding ban on sexually active gay men’s blood donations.

In the mid-80s, Canadian Blood Services instigated a lifetime ban on sexually active gay men (their acronym is “MSM” for men having sex with men) donating blood. Anyone who wants to donate blood has to answer a series of screening questions, and if a man acknowledges he’s an MSM, he is turned away.

In 2013 the rules changed, but not by much: gay males who have abstained from sex for the past 5 years are free to give, but any gay man who has been sexually active more recently is refused. (In the US, it’s 12 months, but even that limitation is being challenged.) Does this not presume that every gay man is recklessly sexually promiscuous and takes no precautions to lessen the possibility of HIV transmission? What about all the promiscuous straight people? Does the name “Ashley Madison” ring a not-too-distant bell?

I understand why this ban was instigated: HIV was a very scary beast when it first appeared in the early 80s, and there were not yet ways of screening for it. That resulted in the tainted blood scandal, a horrific time when too many people, including a generation of hemophiliacs, were infected with diseased blood. But those days are long past. Blood can now be tested for HIV and other pathogens, and unsafe blood is not transfused. Given that, the ongoing ban is prejudicial.

People with blood cancers often need top ups. Other cancer patients undergoing treatment often need blood products too because many chemotherapies suppress blood cell production. Even zapping (radiation) can interfere with blood counts.

I have needed a ton of blood products since my leukemia diagnosis 3 years ago. Plasma, platelets, red blood cells, I’ve received them all. I was most in need when I was first diagnosed with leukemia and could not keep my counts up. I’d have been sunk if blood donors had not given generously of themselves.

So, Canadian Blood Services, maybe you could start collecting gay blood again. Next time I need some, I’ll take it. I don’t care who it came from, and I’m trusting you’ll screen it carefully. And I imagine I’m not the only gay person willing to take those blood products off your hands. Start with giving gay blood to the gays, and when they don’t get sick, maybe the straight people will take some too. You never know. This is Canada, the home of gay marriage and equal rights for people of all shapes and sizes and persuasions. I hope you never find yourself in need, but if you do, wouldn’t you appreciate those donors?

A 20-minute procedure in 7 hours

Yesterday I underwent The Procedure with Dr. Woman, that one I’d been anxiously anticipating. I know, I anxiously anticipate a lot of things. But I managed to sleep very well the night before, to walk the dog early that morning, and to arrive at the hospital in a good space.

In this particular Day Surgery unit, although one nurse checked me in, several others became involved along the way. To be honest, the nursing care seemed a bit chaotic. I arrived two hours prior to my procedure as instructed so there would be time to arrange for my needed platelet infusion. Seems like plenty of time, don’t you think? But then the waiting started. At one point there were 5 nurses involved in ordering my platelets from the blood bank and I worried none of them knew what they were doing.

Well into our wait, one busy-looking nurse asked if I’d “been pinked” while she scurried by. We had no idea what she was talking about. Turns out “being pinked” means one’s status has changed to “Ready for the OR”. Despite our extensive hospital experience, we had not previously been privy to the surgical status colour codes. We weren’t sure why this nurse was asking us, since we had no idea.

You know how I feel about waiting. I don’t love it but I understand it. We were in the hospital, and there could have been many legitimate reasons for the delay, in particular other patients with higher needs than me holding the doctor up. I’m fine with those delays. But we felt, rightly or wrongly, that we were the protagonists in a comedy of errors.

The wait would have been fine if it hadn’t given me more time to stew about the procedure. Although I had done a fairly good job of containing my anxiety before arriving at the hospital, the longer I was confined to that tiny curtained alcove wearing that ugly hospital gown, the more stressed I got. Of course, I was most concerned that I was cutting in to Dr. Woman’s lunch hour.

Once I finally arrived at the surgical suites, J. and I had a brief chat with the anaesthetist, the OR nurse, and, finally, Dr. Woman. Oh, what a woman, that Dr. Woman. Suddenly, the wait didn’t matter. She was relaxed and kind and I couldn’t even hear her stomach growling. I had ineffectively tried to contain my burgeoning panic but the dear doctor picked up on it and responded accordingly. When she gave my hand a squeeze, I knew I was in good hands.

As our conversation wound down, I shared my greatest fear: my potential for inappropriate utterances upon awakening from sedation. Remember that time, in my altered state, I told the handsome Dr. Liver how handsome he was? (Oh, open your minds, straight people. Lesbians can find men handsome.) Without skipping a beat, Dr. Woman said: “It’s like Vegas. What happens in the OR stays in the OR.” What a relief.

Thanks to the amnestic properties of sedation, I can’t recall if I said anything inappropriate after the procedure. But I learned that the doctor is not concerned about what she found, so what else really matters? I can’t think of anything, can you?

What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas sign with background of the city

Ah, to be a woman!

Although I know you’ve been waiting for the dirt, I will not be sharing the rundown of this week’s therapy session. The content is clearly Chapter 4 material. I will, however, acknowledge that I feel lighter and I trust my therapist does not feel heavier. We therapists with good emotional boundaries do not take on our clients’ woes as our own.

Rather, I need something to distract me from this upcoming Monday’s operating room encounter with Dr. Woman. No, I’m not undergoing an operation, just an investigation, but there will be a general anaesthetic involved. It’s been a while since I’ve had a general, and I’m not looking forward to it, for a few reasons.

First, my liver doesn’t like anaesthetic so much and can rebel if taxed. My mock pregnancy first arose following a surgery many years ago, and never really went away.

Also, it turns out my platelets are running low right now, which places me at higher risk of bleeding. I will be topped up with donated platelets before any cutting starts and hope that will stem my tide, but I was told to bring my jammies and toothbrush just in case I need to be watched overnight. I don’t want to be watched overnight.

Perhaps most scarily, this procedure will be taking place in the same building as the ICU, where I spent 13 death-defying days in September 2012. Although I am glad to be alive, I do not want to hang out anywhere near that place again. Brings back bad memories. You can understand that, can’t you?

A timely gynecological distraction has arisen, however: the July 1 elimination of the Tampon Tax. This tax has been the outrage of women since it was instigated with the Goods and Services Tax on January 1, 1991. Almost 25 years later, feminine hygiene products are finally being viewed as an essential product–to be fair, they are just essential for women–and the tax will be rescinded. In my research for this post, I have learned that a group named Canadian Menstruators has been pursuing this legislation change for some time now. Despite my creative bent, I could never have come up with that catchy group moniker!

Not that I would be welcome in this group because, sadly, this tax reversal comes too late for me. At the risk of TMI, I have not needed such products for some time now. But as part of a female-dominated household, I used to dedicate a large washroom drawer to all manner of such goods. Now I use this drawer to store various and sundry anti-aging products.

Thank goodness this situation has been righted for the younger generations. Think of the money young women will save, money they can now put toward the gender pay gap. Way to go, Canadian Menstruators!

One final ungynecological note: I will not be able to publish my usual Monday post because my sedation will render me unable to sign any legal or financial documents, to use power tools, or, most importantly, to write an appropriate entry for my blog. Who knows what I might share as my anaesthetic wears off? Talk about TMI! I’ll be back in the saddle as soon as my judgement returns.

Basset hound sleeping on couch with tongue out

 

A quote for my headstone

Blank headstone

Hmmm, what to write…

I realize that once I die, I won’t have much say in what happens to me. J. and I have discussed my basic wishes–yes, I want a funeral, no, I don’t want to be cremated because it’s unJewish, and yes, donate any and all organs that aren’t spoiled by my various ailments–but I’m leaving the obituary and eulogy up to J.

To ease J.’s burden after I die, I scripted my own headstone this week: It was all about her. I can’t take credit for this insight, though. Long ago, our good friends, the Double Ps, gave us a garden stake with this quote on it. They made it clear they meant the gift for me. Yes, this was their impression even before I got cancer. They were right, and we’re still friends.

Now that I have cancer, my relationship with J. has unfortunately become all the more about me. The latest evidence of this relationship inequity is our spending J.’s birthday in the Emergency Room. “Surprise, honey, hope you liked your gift. Enough about you. Now take me to the hospital!”

Well, that was unexpected, wasn’t it? I hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, and shared a concerning symptom with the caring hematology fellow who called to follow up on my Cancer Centre visit Tuesday. She (I love it when fellows are female–calls for a change in terminology, don’t you think?) told me to get my tuchus to the ER.

I don’t like to go to the ER, and I really wanted J. to have one day that was solely about her, so my inner five-year old resisted. I asked the female fellow if I might go the next day instead. She consented reluctantly, but told me to take action if my symptoms worsened. As soon as I hung up, I grew up and called J. in tears to tell her where we’d be spending her birthday. Oh, but first I dried my tears and saw a client while J. arranged for emergency dog care from our beloved jump-into-action friend, C.

And so it came to pass that we spent J.’s birthday hanging out with smart and kind medical professionals who marvelled over my curious body and debated whether to admit me or send me home to follow up with my specialists. J. brought work along to fill the waiting hours. (J. believes she gets more work done at the hospital because there are fewer interruptions.) Thankfully, after a long day and a platelet top up–thanks yet again blood donors!–the doctors concurred my death was not imminent and allowed me to go home.

We left just in time for J. to pick up her birthday meal of choice: Dinner for One from the local Chinese restaurant. Then our dear friend M. dropped by with her beloved chocolate cake with mocha icing. Best gift ever. J. knew I wasn’t faking when I refused a slice.

Illness makes our life too much about me, and this time, to my dismay, J. lost her special day. I know this health journey has not been fun for her, but we tried to make the best of a bad situation. We are experts at that.

Stressing about not stressing

I’m afraid that circumstances beyond my control interfered with my writing last week. You see, I was busy collecting frequent flyer points at the hospital. And I was heavily medicated with narcotics. In the midst of cancelling our long-planned vacation, I was forced to address the growing, months-old hematoma on my knee. After involving every doctor I know and more last week, a plastic surgeon excised my unseemly lump last Friday.

This operation was no small feat. I needed to go off my blood thinners, I needed a platelet transfusion, and I needed scans to rule out other causes for the increasingly painful ugliness. And here I am, on my couch, elevating my leg and, as per doctor’s orders, trying to keep my blood pressure down for the immediate future.

So, in my unending curiosity, I did some internet health research–shame on me–on factors that elevate blood pressure. Let me share these with you. Perhaps you’ll find this information useful someday.

Small brown dog looking overwhelmed.

That’s me, cool as a cucumber.

You probably know that stress can increase blood pressure. Just think of someone who is boiling mad and how red her cheeks get while she screams at you. Thankfully, I am a very calm person whose stress rolls off her back, so this is not an issue for me. (As if.) If I don’t pick up the phone this week when I see your number on my call display, please don’t be upset. Just know you obviously cause me stress and I don’t want to raise my blood pressure by speaking with you. I’m just avoiding you to promote my own healing. (N.B.: blog followers do not fall into this group.)

Smoking and alcohol consumption increase blood pressure temporarily and over the long term. I do not indulge in either of these, although every so often I dream that I am having a cigarette. I’m not sure what this dream means since even dreaming about smoking makes me cough and gag.

Drinking alcohol is out of the question, as you know. I did have a rare cup of coffee Saturday morning to counter the effects of several days of sleeplessness, not realizing that caffeine too could cause a spike in blood pressure. Perhaps I should have done my research first. Oh, no! Does this mean no chocolate this week? Let’s just pretend we didn’t know that.

Use of illicit drugs, such as amphetamines and anabolic steroids, can also raise blood pressure. If I’m too square to smoke or drink, do you really think I’m going to be abusing street drugs? I’m much too uptight for that.

I didn’t realize that sudden or strenuous exercise can raise blood pressure. What a bummer, since physical activity is my Prozac. Having to lounge on my couch while I heal is killing me. In fact, not exercising will most certainly add to my stress and increase my blood pressure. Maybe I should be exercising to keep my stress down. Do you think the doctor will agree?

Finally, over the long term, weight gain can increase blood pressure. Well, if I’m stuck on the couch, stressed because I can’t exercise, do you really think I’m going to maintain my usual slim physique? I’m not hopeful, especially since the first thing I turn to when I’m stressed is food.

Just thinking about reducing my stress is stressing me out. There’s no hope for me. I’m off to the gym, you can’t stop me. But first, where did J. hide the darn chocolate?

Another anniversary worth celebrating

As a psychologist, I know that people can struggle on the anniversary of any traumatic event that dramatically affected their lives, including, for example, the death of someone close to them. I understand these reactions and have supported many people through them. I’ve had them myself occasionally.

But I was talking with a friend the other night who just reached the 20th anniversary of a very traumatic day in her life, a day that she almost died. But she didn’t. And my sense is that she celebrates not dying much more than she focuses on the fact that she might have died. Makes a lot of sense to me.

I have a fairly big anniversary upcoming in early August, although I’ve managed to forget the exact date. I’m speaking of the day I went from not having cancer to…you get the idea. (There was a lot going on at that time: emergency hospital admission, acute pain, unexplained bleeding, blood transfusions, and endless repetitions of my medical history.) I guess I could consider this upcoming period one to dread. I could relive my 7 subsequent weeks in hospital day by day–the days I recall at least–but I imagine that wouldn’t feel great.

To be honest, I did a lot of that last year. In fact, last Labour Day weekend, I even dragged J. to visit the ICU with me–funny, the ICU is open 365 days a year–so I could put some of the traumatic memories of my stay there to rest. (More on that another time.) Maybe I needed to go through that reliving process last year, but not again. It felt pretty crummy.

Rather, I’m going to focus on all the good stuff that’s happened since. Here’s my abbreviated list: 1) I’ve got my strength back; 2) I’ve gained back every single ounce I lost; 3) I’m on a chemo that’s working really well; 4) I’ve got a small part of my work life back; 5) J. and I have weathered this very turbulent storm, only to become closer; and 6) I’m still here to celebrate.

Maybe instead of focussing on the day I became a cancer patient, I’ll focus on how well I’ve done since my initial sickly hospital ordeal. The road hasn’t been easy sometimes, but most of my challenges have had little to do with having cancer. And most of those challenges are behind me now.

Not only have I not died from cancer yet, I’m still living–dare I say “thriving”?–with it. I consider that reason to celebrate, don’t you? So of course I looked it up (I’ve got a lot of time on my hands) and second anniversary gifts are traditionally cotton. Cotton? Really? Not chocolate or a trip to Hawaii?

Well, we could sure use some nice new high-thread-count sheets, especially since a good night’s sleep is supposed to be especially healing. Perhaps I’ll use my recent GST credit–another benefit of my little government allowance–to buy some. There’s nothing else I really need right now, since I’ve got my health.

Happy Anniversary printed on a colourful balloon

Glad I’m here to celebrate.