Cracked: new light on dementia

Published on Jun 3, 2015

Cracked: new light on dementia follows Elaine Carter’s journey from her diagnosis through to her new life in a long-term care home. Elaine and her children, Caroline and Clay, grapple with what the diagnosis means, if and how the diagnosis changes their relationships and how they struggle to be with each other in the present where Elaine calls them to be. Filled with poignancy, honesty and humour, this play brings to the fore the richness of the social world of dementia and encourages audiences to see the humanity of persons who are living with dementia. The play is an innovative research-based theatre production that casts a critical light on society’s one-dimensional view of dementia as an unmitigated tragedy. The play raises questions about the predominant discourse of loss that defines current conceptions of dementia, and the dehumanizing care practices that still prevail in institutional care settings. Inspired in part by Leonard Cohen’s words in Anthem, the play is intended to inspire alternative ways of seeing persons with dementia, instill the importance of maintaining strong relationships with them, and reinforce the imperative for good ethical care.

The play is based on research conducted by Drs. Sherry Dupuis, Gail Mitchell, [...] continue the story

The Best Day Ever

It was Friday, June 11, 2010.

Wow. What a day, and possibly the best one of my life.

Dr. B came in and removed my bandage, the last one I would have.

A short while later Dr. A, my GP, arrived to tell me that the toxicology reports for the specimens they removed during surgery had all come back negative! No more cancer in the colon and it hadn’t spread out into the lymph nodes either. The news literally could not be better. She was nearly as excited as I was when she told me. I guess sometimes the doctors get to deliver some good news too. I almost couldn’t believe the words that were coming out of her mouth, and in that way, it didn’t feel that different to when I was told I had cancer in the first place. Weird.

Was I cured?

I even had a small bowel movement. Look at me and my bad self! But Dr. A explained that it was more important at that point that I be passing gas, which would indicate all the passages were clear.

OK, so I’ve been putting this off but we can’t avoid the discussion any longer. With respect to my personal journey and healing, the [...] continue the story

Going Under the Knife

This is when things really started to happen, and if I thought I had been through some hoops before, I was sadly mistaken. The next few weeks and even couple of months would challenge me in ways I could never imagine. As I sit writing this now, I can look back at the surgery and recovery phases and find some things to laugh about, but I would be lying if I said I found humour in anything at the time. I could really laugh out loud while having the crap of my life after drinking Colyte, but laying in a hospital bed bleeding or rolling around in agony on my living room floor has no such fond memories. But damn it, everyone tells me my blog is funny so I’m feeling a little pressure here…

When I woke from my surgery I said, “Now I’m a semi-colon!” Ba da bum bum. I got a million of ’em. Try the veal. I’ll be here all week. Unless I die.

It was an early start on Tuesday, June 8, 2010, with a 6:30am check-in to the surgery unit at Trillium Mississauga. I was miserable because I hadn’t eaten any solid food since the previous [...] continue the story

Countdown to Surgery

There have been many times that I’ve had to compare my personal situation to others who were fighting any sort of battle with a medical problem, and a few minutes in any hospital or doctor’s office waiting room usually gave me good reason to consider myself fortunate on balance. With this in mind I look back on that 2 1/2 weeks between being told surgery was needed and the event itself. And I would also feel grateful many times that I was made to wait just three weeks from diagnosis until surgery. We certainly hear a lot of gloomy and critical talk about our health care system in Canada, some of it justified, but I was and still am grateful to live in our wonderful country that has such a system. And, I was about to cash in big time against all the money that was put into the system on my behalf over the years. Cha-ching!

To be honest, I don’t remember too much about this time except for a few milestone events. There was a lot of staring out windows, busywork around the house, and trying to make arrangements to suspend the operation of my piano business for an [...] continue the story

The Life Bomb

The missile struck me on the morning of May 18, 2010, in a hospital examination room in the presence of two people I had never met before.

But first a little background about how I got there.

It’s late March 2010. Since my 40th birthday I had been disciplined about going for my annual physical, and I had one coming up in early May. For the third time since January, I noticed I had some blood on the toilet paper after having a bowel movement. I called Dr. A, my fabulous family doctor, to report the problem and she said if it happens again come in right away, otherwise let’s have a look during your physical. Fine. Months later I would realize my body had given me a signal years earlier but I failed notice. That’s for another post though.

The physical came and Dr. A examined me as I laid there somewhat horrified, but I’d later look back and laugh at this episode as the least flagrant violation of my dignity.

“Everything looks OK, but let’s have specialist Dr. B take a look anyway. Maybe it’s a hemorrhoid or fissure or something and he can give it a little freezing and away you [...] continue the story