28th Oct 2012
This a story of an amazing journey!
I had a nerve sparing prostectomy 5 yrs ago which it was hoped would successfully remove the cancerous cells. However, over the past year a series of PSA tests have indicated a recurrence at the site. pre-treatment with a hormone implant and now radiation therapy. This is a 6 week 32 treatment process which is being done at the BC Cancer Clinic in Victoria. Accommodation is made available at a very affordable rate at their Lodge adjacent to the Royal Jubilee Hospital. I am accommodated Monday Friday with meals included for $43/day.
There that’s the boring part over with! From the moment that I was collected from my doorstep by the Wheels for Wellness driver on a dark Monday morning, the care courtesy and that I felt was astounding. The warmth of the welcome at the lodge, the reassurances of the nurse manager of this 40 bed facility, followed by an orientation with a volunteer host, all add up to a sense of security- of being in safe and caring hands. Lunch is served 12:00 to 1 pm always tasty and inviting, with snacks and sandwiches available 24 hrs should your treatment cause to miss a regular mealtime. Soon I was joined at the fireside by fellow residents. This is not the glum dull scene conjured in the mind by the phrase “long term care home”. Although there are four separate lounges, one referred to a quiet room or reading room all are equipped with big screen TV’s and one with a shuffle board and snooker table. These distractions are not overly sought after, but rather the people gather in small knots and share all manner of discussions from their illnesses and treatment, life and their experiences. Which makes it especially interesting as cancer occurs in every segment of society. Every one has within them a story to tell I believe, and here in this nurturing space we are all inclined open up, perhaps with far more honesty, and listen to others with heart felt empathy that perhaps would not occur at home or in your neighbourhood. Looking around the room a three men are playing, cards in hand, but talking intently. Over there five ladies crowd around a table assembling a jigsaw puzzle, but their jovial chatter is part of the positive vibes emanating from their communion. And so it is throughout this joyful place the dinning room buzzes with sharp whit and careless chatter accompanied with much laughter. There are some who are dealing with their mortality and are enduring significant physical pain but not once have I heard a hint of complaint only praise for our caregivers, oncologists and technicians.
The supper bell is rung at 5 pm but is served hot and fresh until 6pm, after which a dose of daily news might be had. As the evening eases along, they come in ones and twos, a gathering occurs around the fire and frequently a cord is struck on the piano or a guitar and away they go singing the olde songs recalled from campfire embers or folk songs of the sixties, before moving onto more modern ballads. Happy, joyful evenings far from the 400 channels of lamentable trash offered on TV. The place oozes with a camaraderie not found often now in the community at large. A truly healing environment !