48 Christmases Ago…

Living in Vancouver, cash-strapped, in 1968 I wanted to get home to Montreal for Christmas. My sister had a brand new son born on December 10 and my parents lived on Queen Mary Road.

I and another young fellow named Don traveled with Dave and Kathy B. from Vancouver to Toronto in their VW station wagon. Don and I had answered a posted ad offering a ride if gas costs and driving were shared. Only Dave and Kathy knew each other prior to the trip. The drive East to Toronto was completed in just 61.5 hours!

On the way there Dave wanted to avoid the Trans Canada Highway north of Lake Superior and suggested crossing to the American side and going south of Superior through N. Dakota and Duluth, Minnesota crossing into Canada at Sault Ste. Marie. Don argued that the road would be hellishly icy either way – and he was right but Dave was the boss. It was a white-knuckle ride all night. The VW had tires with metal studs, still allowed everywhere in Canada in those days. This did not make it safer – the studs simply allowed us to drive fast without facing certain death.

Dave dropped off Don and me, both from Montreal, at Union Station. The two Montrealers then rode together on a CN train from Toronto to Montreal. On that part of the journey Don told me that he was carrying marijuana. He then revealed that, during our two border crossings and our time south of the border, I had been carrying it in my left jacket pocket! Continue reading “48 Christmases Ago…”

My Sister’s Journey With Dr. “Z”

My sister, Anne, has gone through seven eye surgeries in the past 14 months, maintaining her sense of humour throughout. Eventually Anne began a history of her experiences. I suggested her story needs to be passed on, and she agreed.

Here is her incredible story in her own, very funny, upbeat words:

My Journey With Dr. “Z”

I would like to prelude my story by introducing myself. My name is Anne and I am a 66 year old woman who has struggled with severe myopia most of my life. You might ask why, in this day and age, did I just not receive corrective laser surgery as many have. I was told that, in order for this procedure to be a success, so many layers would need to be removed from my cornea that it would become dangerously thin. No one would do it.

Because of my extreme nearsightedness, I am particularly prone to developing an abundance of floaters. Floaters are black or mucous-like squiggly forms that swim around in my vitreous fluid and compromise my vision. At my age, all of my original floaters have now had grandchildren.

I also have an astigmatism: an imperfection in the curvature of my cornea; it affects the light that reflects into my eye, making my vision blurry without a corrective lens.

Finally I developed cataracts, but they were surely to be my saviour, as the surgery necessary to help my myopia could now be done and would be covered by the government. Despite all of my problems I was still confident that the cataract surgery would be straightforward.

My nearsightedness, which was almost a minus 15 prior to my first surgery, (minus 20 diopters is legally blind) has always been a challenge for me. For example, years ago I thought I was trying to coax a cat to come to me only to realize, as I got closer, that it was simply just rust on a mail box. Continue reading “My Sister’s Journey With Dr. “Z””