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March 31, 2009

Wonderful World of Connections

As I was coming home on the ferry on Sunday I was thinking about the vastly different environments I spent a bit of time in while in Vancouver.

There was Dee’s small one-bedroom apartment in the West End with fantastic views that showcase the ability of Vancouver’s geography to provide wonderful ocean and mountain vistas from a single spot. We always laugh so much when we get together. This time it was over my story about almost breaking my kneecap in Country Grocer when I was wearing my cowboy boots and slipped on some lettuce. You had to be there!

In Surrey I spent time with my Dad and my sister in a nice two bedroom apartment in an assisted living senior’s residence where his world exists.

Then, I was in the two-bedroom apartment in Kerrisdale where Beth and Neil live. It's wonderfully decorated because of Beth’s professional interior design experience and the perfect place to visit with Richard and them. The kind of conversations we have is what I miss most about living here and not yet having made the kind of friendships I have back in Vancouver.

I moved on to the luxury of a beautiful old home on Angus Drive in Shaughnessy where Colleen was house-sitting. It was really tastefully decorated, not over the top, and very comfortable with two big cats, (Bonnie and Clyde) to pet although I did have to wrestle Clyde off my bed (perhaps it was HIS bed actually) when he wanted under the covers on Saturday night. I was so generously treated to a meal at Banana Leaf in Kits and it was delicious! Why can't they cook like that here?

And, then I visited the neonatal intensive care unit at Children’s Hospital where Lisa and Dave are spending most of their time with their new baby son.

When you step into an intensive care ward for babies, if you’ve been lucky in your life, it’s a very foreign environment. First, you must scrub up to the elbows removing all jewellery. Then, you are allowed into the ward by the receptionist. You walk down a corridor and through a double set of doors and you’re inside. There are cribs and incubators and whirring and while I was there, it was surprisingly quiet. Very few babies were crying. It was nice and balmy inside to keep them warm.

Some babies are attached to monitors and you can read their heart rate and respiration. Baby Wolfe as he's called for the sake of the hospital seemed as fragile as a little humming bird. His heart rate would range broadly from as high as 200 down to 140 and all numbers in between.

His tiny, perfect head was covered with a little blue wool hat and he was sleeping. His lips and nose were perfect. He was like a little doll. His skin didn’t seem to have any of that scaly stuff some babies have. His fingers were as tiny as a couple of grains of rice pieced together and they were flexing; curling up, curling around my little finger.

One of his feet could fit comfortably inside the palm of a woman’s hand and she could close it to keep it warm. Lisa seemed especially enamoured with his tiny little feet. There were other babies. Fraternal twins from Whitehorse and a baby girl who was born on my birthday still there more than a month later.

There are photos of the babies who have left the ward and there are mothers and fathers looking into incubators, while others were bathing their babies, breastfeeding, listening to the nurse’s instructions, showing their new arrivals to family members.

From all accounts it’s not a picnic assisting the arrival of a soul onto planet earth when they enter as a full term birth. But, when a baby is premature, parenthood with all its worries, commitment, indecision, responsibilities, ambiguity, joys and satisfaction seems even more daunting...at least to a childless outsider.

But, if you’ve climbed to the base of Mount Everest as Lisa and Dave have, surely being the Sherpa guides for a new human is a journey they're up to.

It's always so great to see you all and I forget how wonderful you are until I'm reminded every time I visit.

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