Fresh Air and Sunshine

We begin day three in Sudbury, ON, at about the same time we did yesterday. Apparently it wasn’t the travel that knocked us out until one in the afternoon, it was just us. Although, it could also be the air. Mom, JC, and Janice have touted the superiority of the so-called fresh Canadian air up here. Having lived in Toronto before, I wasn’t convinced of its immediate and pristine perfection.

Sudbury is a small city to me, but up here, with a population in excess of 150,000, the Greater Sudbury metropolitan area a behemoth in the Near North. I am constantly baffled by this mismatch of opinions. Mining is the primary industry, and it seems that most people have a personal connection to it, either directly, or through family ties. We met another couple here to see their mom. Like ours, she had been airlifted from hundreds of miles away for heart failure. Like ours, too, she is young; this one even younger, clocking in at only 47 years. Sudbury’s renown for cardiology, at least in Ontario, is wide-spread. Sonny, a man at the the Peddler’s Pub, told me that the first bypass surgery was done right here, and that he knew the patient. Sonny is an old man. We have plans to visit him on his seventieth birthday, November 2, 2009.

The daughter’s name is Mel. She and her boyfriend Jason were the first to arrive. They agonized during the mandatory wait period. Janice and I visited our mom, who was relatively stable by comparison, and left them. Before leaving, I ran to the car to fetch the camera from the car. DJ and I had been working on a 500-piece jigsaw puzzle of Paddington Bear, the smallest, least complicated puzzle we could find. While we did not finish it, we had assembled enough of it that the image was recognizable. And the scattered, extraneous pieces, which were mostly of a solid color and filler anyway, framed the interior nicely. So nicely, in fact, that we thought it fitting to capture the whole set-up for later.

When I returned from car in the adjacent lot owned by CTC college—the adjoining building has space to lease if anyone’s interested—, I discovered Jason tooling about the elevator in the main lobby. He paced back and forth, stopping only long enough to decide whether we had met before. I spoke to confirm his suspicions, and to be nice, “So, we meet again.”

He responded, “I hate this place.” I had to leave Jason. I was on a mission; Paddington and his toggles were waiting.

Janice and I made it back for the next round of visiting hours. We didn’t expect to see the doctor. I was told she wouldn’t be around until the morning, but she was there now. So were Mel and Jason. This time a huge crowd of people accompanied them. Family, Mel told me.

Janice has found the courage to walk into the room and sometimes even speak to my mother. However, her focus and strength are not unlimited. From time to time dizziness overcomes her and she has to leave the room to sit. The doctor winked at the nurse, Bonnie, “It must be all this fresh air.”

“From those two smoke stacks,” Bonnie agreed.

Because of the mining culture, the three hospitals that serve Sudbury see all sorts of perverse diseases caused by airborne nickel and sulfur in uncommonly high concentrations. So much for that fresh air.

We’re looking into medivac options to bring mom to Boston. She has to go somewhere else for the transplant, anyway. She’s well beyond a bypass.

Everyone else is doing fine. We haven’t used the pool yet, but I plan to tonight.

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