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My Winter Vacation

January 9, 2012

 It’s been a while since my last post. I have spent the last few weeks in Canada celebrating Christmas and the New Year. I have had the opportunity to enjoy my granddaughters, to see all my children, my siblings and my mother. I got to visit with a number of friends and to worship in two of the churches I have attended over the years; I will attend a third next Sunday. The time has been restful. I curled up with Owen Wister’s The Virginian, the original Western, written in 1902, thoroughly enjoying it. I ferreted out two suitcases full of items I cannot easily find in Haiti, particularly things to make my newly acquired house my home. Digging through the thrift stores is a bit like shopping in the market in Saint-Marc. I also made some connections for COPSA-Haiti and came up with some promising leads.  And I very much enjoyed long hot showers and Canadian food.

 I spent an unscheduled overnight in Ottawa on my flight from Haiti, so I arrived in Winnipeg a day late. After ten days there I went on the Okanagan, intending to spend five days. I was pleasantly surprised that my tolerance for cold has not diminished significantly; the above normal temperatures throughout my visit have been very welcome.

 Just as I was about to leave to spend the last few days of my Canadian visit with my family in Winnipeg, I experienced a very unsettling episode. As is my habit when in Vernon, I scheduled appointments with my physician and my ophthalmologist. Both were on holidays, so in both cases I saw locum doctors. The ophthalmologist I consulted did all the routine tests. When he measured my intraocular pressures (I have had glaucoma for many years) he became alarmed, telling me the pressure in my right eye was critical. He told me I had to have emergency eye surgery immediately or I was in danger of losing the sight in my eye. I expressed my surprise at his findings as I had seen an ophthalmologist in Haiti about a month earlier, and at that time my pressures were good. I asked if I could wait a week until my regular doctor returned, but the locum insisted the surgery could not wait. He also told me that following the surgery I would have to remain in Vernon for a month for close monitoring and follow-up treatments.

 In the time it took me to have lunch with a friend he had booked me an appointment with an eye surgeon in Vancouver. Fortunately the dear friend with whom I had been staying in Vernon agreed to drive me to the coast and to be available to assist me should that be necessary following my surgery. After a thorough examination in Vancouver the surgeon told me there was absolutely no problem with my eyes; my pressures were lower than they have been in years, well within normal range.

 In order to accommodate the course of treatment the Vernon doctor had indicated, I cancelled my flight to Winnipeg and my return flight to Haiti. In doing so I incurred flight cancellation penalties and considerably more costly flights upon rebooking. I also had the cost of the trip to Vancouver and an overnight in a hotel there. Needless to say I was not happy with what had happened.

 On the other hand I thanked God that my eye was okay. I also enjoyed a pleasant couple of days, taking a long walk along the seawall past Stanley Park, staying in the Sylvia, a delightful heritage hotel along the ocean, and feasting on the seemingly endless choice of restaurants along Denman Street in English Bay. One just can’t get good Thai in Haiti.

 I look forward to returning to Haiti next week. I am taking back what I need to undertake a number of projects in my home. I will be following up on the contacts I made in the last month to forge alliances and hopefully to access some funding. I look forward to seeing my friends and the people with whom I work. But it saddens me to again leave those I love in Canada.


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