On October 3rd, Sandy's mother Janet had her right hip replaced at Health Sciences North. Jan was 88 years old at the time, which puts the lie to the propaganda from south of the border that the government health care system here cuts old folks loose. She came through the surgery just fine.
The family decided Jan wasn't going to be able to return to the home where she had lived alone since her husband Harry passed away in 2014. We had arranged for her to have respite care at a retirement residence where we hoped she might take up permanent residency, but they declined to take her after a physical and cognitive assessment.
The week after the surgery, Tom and Heather brought Jasper and Fiona up to catch a Splash 'N Boots show and to visit with Grandma And Grandpa. They managed to visit Great Grandma Jan and take in Science North as well.
Sandy, Jan, Fiona & Heather
During the last quarter, the Freedom Riders made a concerted effort to put the deferred donation account, funds we have earmarked for local children's charitable causes, to work. We donated $500 to the Infant Food Bank, $1,000 to the NEO Kids Foundation at the hospital, $1,000 to a local family facing severe financial hardship due to their son's surgeries in Toronto and $500 to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Program (CAMHP).
Sandy and I had the pleasure of meeting Conservative Party of Canada leadership Candidate Maxime 'Mad Max' Bernier at a local bakery. He was passing through town and a few of the CPC members answered an invitation to hear him come out and speak. It was a very small informal gathering, so we actually got some one-on-one time. Max is the only true libertarian running for the leadership, so Sandy and I even joined the party so we could vote for him. We can always quit again when the campaign is over:-)
We got to mid-November and Jan was still in the hospital. All the Long Term Care homes are under the control of the provincial government. There are seven in our area with 1,600 beds and there are approximately 1,300 people on a list waiting to get in. This is one of the downsides to the government system, not dealing with real finite limits. The system gives lower priority to people actually in hospital so we finally made a move to bring her home. This elevated her status to Crisis and led to a bed at Extendicare York nursing home before she even moved. In the meantime, Sandy and I had been spending six hours a day at the hospital because the facilities were not geared to long term care.
Neither of the Extendicare locations are the preferred long term care facilities in Sudbury, but the waiting list at the better places is measured in years. She is still on the list for upgrade if something should become available. In the meantime, she is lucky to have a very nice roommate in Pearl, who is five years her senior.
Just after Jan moved, I attended the Action Sudbury Citizens Against Impaired Driving Red Ribbon Campaign Kickoff. MADD originated the Red Ribbon symbolizing sober driving in the USA, but Action Sudbury started the tradition first in Canada. As a past Vice Chair, I like to attend and this time was bringing a message of support from Operation Red Nose Sudbury, where I have been getting more and more involved.
A number of local dignitaries spoke about the need for people to make responsible choices. Action Sudbury Chair Ron Roy told me I would be up right after the presentation of the Rollande Mousseau Citizen Recognition Award. This is the honour Action Sudbury bestows each year on a citizen who has worked diligently to promote safe and sober driving. The surprise was on me when Brenda and Rolly called my name. I was honoured and humbled to be recognized in the company of past award winners, including the late but never forgotten Normie Hein.
In mid-November, I started to pick up the pace with Operation Red Nose Sudbury. As volunteer coordinator, I received the application forms and background checks from police, entered all the pertinent data in a spreadsheet and worked out which of the sixteen operating nights each person would be coming out. I notified the volunteers their information was received, reminded them before their shifts and prepared worker lists for each night. Then I oversaw the sign-in table and conducted orientations for the new people. I also backed up President Lesli in supervising the hall and end of night wrap up activities. When I wasn't busy, I went on the road. Damn, that seems like a lot:-))
The Freedom Riders were one of the most active community groups/businesses to support the Red Nose campaign over the last few years.
Christmas was quiet. Kim and Mike brought Jolene and Robyn up just after the holiday. They saw Great Grandma and we went to a movie together. Heather and Tom were also coming up for several days in the new year.
It is hard to believe that another year is done. The older we get, the faster time flies. Happy New Year all and we will see you when we see you.