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Elder Bean is no more

baby chthulu
My father, Jaunutis Jonas, died this past Wednesday March 10, 2010. I am devastated by his death, but it wasn’t a surprise for me. As many of my faithful readers know he’s been suffering for quite a while, and had been in hospital since early February 2010 when my mother rushed him by ambulance after he took a big fall at home.

At first it looked like he would improve, a week after being admitted he was quite cheeky, jovial, and cantankerous as only an old man can be. But two weeks before his death his health took a sudden turn for the worse.

My father died from aggressive lymphoma. It had started his in left armpit and it had spread quite quickly to his left arm (it was badly swollen), his upper chest, throat and his right cheek. He did agree to radiation, mostly because he had lost the ability to swallow because of the tumour spreading so quickly. He had one course of radiation, localised to his chest.

Last Wednesday we (Momma Bean, Lil Bro and I) were scheduled to meet with Elder Bean’s doctor for 10am. At 7:30 that morning we received a phone call from the hospital urging us to show up as soon as possible. We met with the doctor and the prognosis was not good. The doctor gave my father anywhere from a few hours to a few months — depending on how my father’s body would fight the lymphoma. Elder Bean was unconscious, on an oxygen mask pumping 6L of O2 per second.

Lil Bro had to go home to take care of Sasha, my father’s beloved dog, and my mom went to the chapel to pray for the Elder Bean. Thankfully my mother had called my father’s closest family — his cousin Vincas and his wife Silvija, who showed up around noon. It was around 12:30pm that I noticed that my father’s chest had stopped moving and there was no condensation within his oxygen mask. Right when I was yelling for a nurse my mom walked in from the chapel. Momma Bean collapsed in my arms, while I had to ring Lil Bro to tell him that Elder Bean passed on.

Lil Bro quite literally collapsed over the telephone. I advised him to stay home, to not even attempt coming back as he may have an accident driving down. Met with one of the hospital chaplains who gave my father Last Rites, and then we started the process of planning Elder Bean’s funeral.

Momma Bean does not speak much english so I had to do most of the translating for her, expressing her wishes with regards to how she wanted the Elder Bean remembered and taken care of by the funeral home. The visitation was Thursday evening and the funeral on Friday.

The whole process was quite surreal for myself. The funeral was small and very tasteful. I was so greatly pleased to see such an outpouring of affection and respect for the Elder Bean by the Toronto Lithuanian Community. My mother’s closest cousin collapsed into tears at the visitation, she was just so shocked that he sickened and died so quickly.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I want to express my gratitude and affection for those who have supported me, listened to me cry, and have hugged me. Hugs are a valuable commodity, greatly needed, and are in short supply.

I want to thank my long-time friend Aurelija, Jurate, Kari, Robert, Brian, Chris, Mike, Mark, Jenn, Lydia, Andrew, Cat, Catherine, Sydney, Geeklawyer, Katie, Pandaman, Ruthie (she got to meet Elder Bean) and many others who I have probably missed.

I greatly needed to escape, atleast mentally, and it was beautiful that my friends got together last Wednesday with me to help me toast the memory of the Elder Bean.

Father not doing so well

baby chthulu
I went to visit the paternal unit today after work. I was naughty in that I hadn’t seen him in nearly a week. Looking back, and hindsight is always 20/20, I should have come sooner.

My father had been moved to another room, as he was originally in a short-term stay ward. He was moved, but I didn’t know to where until I got off the lift. He’s in acute care now.

I walked into his room. I was at first happy to see that he doesn’t have a PSW (personal support worker) watching him. But there’s a reason why there’s no PSW, he’s too weak to move. He was sleeping when I walked in, and kept sleeping for about half an hour while I sat there quietly keeping him company. He opened his eyes, looked at me, and in the smallest voice (barely a whisper) he said “you’re here” .. and gave me the most beautiful smile ever; then he feel asleep again. Went through this again 15 minutes later.

When my father was able to keep his eyes open he told me he has cancer. He asked me to feel the site, where the tumour is. I nearly balled my eyes out … the tumour is so large and hard.

HIs nurse, Mario, walked in during one of my father’s sleeping episodes. He informed me that my father is NPO – nothing by mouth. Seems he choked twice today, both times requiring intervention. The second choking incident was over him taking a sip of water. My father is to go down for more tests tomorrow, to make sure his esophagus is clear; if it isn’t they will insert an NG tube.

The nurses won’t tell me anything. I put in a request to have his oncologist to ring me in the morning, as I am sick & tired of the run-a-round.

My father isn’t very demonstrative, which is where I probably get my slight distaste for indiscriminate hugging. But tonight he tried to grab for my hand. Tonight my father leaned into my arm when I was adjusting his pillow. Tonight, my father begged me for no medical intervention.

I am still crying.

Justifying Romuva

angry kitty
I usually have a combination of thoughts and feelings with regards to statements such as this:

My apologies for the nearly duplicate posting, but just like the rumors I have heard about (the Slavic deity) Perun; I have likewise read (in “Of Gods & Holidays”) that Perkunas is associated with sacred fires and the oak. However this book also does not cite its sources. Does anyone know what source materials are used to make these claims??

This was in response to a post I made on a message board for Reconstructionists. My thoughts, when I read such comments are twofold; I am saddened and angered.

I keep running into this, and I’m sure my fellow Eastern Europeans feel the same way. I hate getting comments such as the above because it raises my hackles, to me it sounds like “please justify your faith”. Romuva, which is the modern expression of an ancient faith, a faith that has persisted for a very long time. Lithuania did not officially start being converted to the Catholic Faith until the marriage between Grand Duke Jogaila and Jadwiga, Queen of Poland…. conversion started in and around 1387, and it took about 200 years for conversion. Many of the beliefs, practices and customs continued until the 20thC. Our last sacred Oak Grove was chopped down in the 1790s.

Lithuanians are not reconstructing anything. It’s there, it has always been there. The problem with amateur pseudo-academics is that they are accustomed to studying dead cultures. The revival of the Roman Traditions, Hellenismos, etc … all the information is available in texts written a couple millenia ago, but there is no empirical proof that any of these beliefs, traditions have survived — they are myths now.

Lithuanians are referring to folksongs learnt at their grandmother’s knee, folktales taught as children in kindergarten, little proverbs uttered by our mothers when there is a thunderstorm. We never went through a witch-hunt/craze like Western Europe did. Our herbalists/faith healers were and still are revered.

Our source text? The “Liaudies Dainos“, good luck trying to read that if you aren’t fluent in the language. That’s the problem as well. Much of the “source text” that these pseudo-academics whitter on about are not reading their own source texts in the original languages. How many of them can read ancient greek? latin? ancient icelandic? Very few. They rely on translations, and much of the translating work was done decades ago. The expectation now is that us Eastern Europeans get on with it and translate as fast as possible so that they can analyse our source texts.

There is very little appreciation for the rich tapestry of customs and traditions which we have retained and nurtured – against oppression by the Russian Empire (Ems Ukaz anyone?) and then by the Soviet Authorities who tried to stamp out all vestigages of national pride, and even the languages. Very little understanding, or willingness to understand, that our faith is not something from dusty tomes — but a living and breathing and vital component of our lives.

I find it more than annoying that my faith structure in essence is being called into question. The whole – you believe that Perkunas drives a chariot pulled by 2 black goats, show me the source evidence for this. There is no handily packaged set of texts such as the Illiad or the Oddessy for these pseudo-academics to challenge and mull over. The fact that we say – our songs, our folktales, our prayers – means nothing.

I say bugger.

Nearly died, feeling better now

sad kitty
Well, I got sick again. Blast this decrepit body!

I went to Emergency on July 17th at 2am with severe abdominal pain. I was in ER for a few hours and was prescribed Macrobid by the ER doctor – a certain Dr J Thurger. I was sent home, hopped up on morphine. A few hours later the pain was worse, I had chills and was shivering so much I could barely stand. I called for an ambulance and got myself back to the ER. My heart rate was 175 bpm and had trouble getting oxygen in, so I was connected to an oxygen tank. Finally got to the ER and a team of nurses were working on me to get an IV started and to take multiple blood draws.

I was put into another room, thankfully I didn’t have to move, they just moved the stretcher I was on. One of the Residents from Urology came down for a consult and he irrigated my bladder. What came out was huge bloody chunks of mucous and deep red urine. Macrobid is a fairly weak drug, so it would have never been able to kill off what was now a raging Urinary Tract Infection. The Resident manage to irrigate about a litre of sterile saline through me, and the stench was overwhelming.

I got admitted to the ward on July 19th, so yeah I was in ER for nearly 2 days before they could get me a bed. I got onto the ward (Urology Ward, C2 at Sunnybrook Hospital). It seems that superficially I was doing okay, but on July 21st I collapsed vomitting blood and stopped breathing. I was rushed to the Critical Care Unit (ICU) where I was intibated and then placed on a ventilator for nearly 10 days. Seems the UTI spread and I had an infection in the blood, and then it spread further to my lungs. I had pneumonia, and a fairly deadly one as I couldn’t breathe.

Eventually I was moved to D4, which is step-down ICU where it’s 2 patients per nurse while CrCU is one patient to one nurse. I was in D4 for a day and a half, and while there I had a number of tests done. I had a doppler of the legs done, as Respirology was concerned that I might have blood clots that could cause problems for my lungs. The doppler was clear. I had a number of chest x-rays, and was taken down to Angioplasty to get a PIC line inserted – a PIC is a catheter surgically inserted into a vein, for those of us with crap veins which have been tapped out. With the PIC in the central line (IV) in my neck was removed, as was the collapsing IV in my left wrist.

I was deemed fit enough on July 27th to go back to the regular ward. I was placed in isolation, as I was exposed to MRSA 18 months prior. I was on two different but powerful drugs – Vancomycin and Levequin. I was in isolation because my MRSA is a danger to the elderly and the very young – and the ward was full of older men recovering from prostate surgery. I had a hard time the first few days, with me discovering that morphine now makes me wheeze and makes it difficult for me to get any breath in.. there goes another painkiller I can’t use. I was on puffers for a short while, but even those proved to be detrimental, with them causing me to vomit and cough rather violently.

While in hospital the nurses irrigated my bladder every 3-4 hours, to make sure there were no mucous plugs which could contribute towards another UTI. I was weak as a kitten and could barely stand but I practiced everyday and got stronger.

I was eventually discharged on August 5th and sent home. The first few days I was scared to sleep on my own. The whole experience of not being able to breathe on my own freaked me out, and still does. So for the first few days after my discharge Squirrel, Tarotcub and my mum took turns spending the night at my place, checking on me periodically to make sure I was okay. I’m feeling better now, but am still freaked and am pleased that I am under orders to flush the bladder every 4 hours, which means I wake up in the middle of the night — my alarm clock is my friend as it beeping at me every 4 hours is very reassuring with regards to my fears of not being able to wake up.

I was scheduled for a cystoscopy for August 12th. I got to the Cysto Clinic and my doctor decided that I was still too weak for the procedure, so I’m to go back this coming Monday. While there I asked my doctor about this latest adventure. I was feeling sick towards the end of my hols in June and paged the Urology Resident on Call on June 27th from the airport (Pearson) as my stoma was infected. My doctor said yes, it probably started back then. He was shocked when I told him that I was at the ER earlier on July 17th and that they discharged me with a script for macrobid.. he looked livid, and he does have a reputation for being super protective of his patients, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he reems them out for nearly killing me.

I am still waiting for a call from Respirology as they need to run tests on me cos of the lung issues.

Currently I am at home, fluttering about my flat in a hospital gown. I’m still rather weak, but I am getting stronger. This latest bout has adjusted my tastebuds somewhat and now I find pasta and pierogies disgusting – like eating very thick wallpaper paste. Ah well.

One Year Ago...almost

Maxine
… I had my big uber surgery. I will be having a little drink with friends next weekend to celebrate my surviving the surgery.

A lot of changes have gone on in my life in the past 18 months - the surgery being one of them. Another was losing my job at Airmiles. I admit I was devasted by the job loss, especially as I was trying to nail down a surgical date; which made it difficult to find a new job as I couldn’t give a definitive date for the surgery. Luckily I did find a temporary placement at Corus Entertainment, which kept me going financially and mentally until a month prior to surgery. My time at Corus did wonders in rebuilding my confidence in my professional skills, which helped in not overstressing my body prior to the big slicing.

The surgery, as those who have read my blog entries, was brutal. I got through it all with a lot of support from my parental units and my brother. As well, friends checking up on me while I was in hospital - Cassie & Stu, Mike, Puck, Brian, Lydia, Andrew, Rebecca. And when I got out a lot of words of support from friends both far and near.

What I did notice is that those who have called themselves my friends really fall into two-camps - true friends and fair weather friends, the former I appreciate and adore and the latter I no longer make an effort to maintain a semblance of a friendship –if they want to talk or get together with me, that’s fine, but I am no longer prepared to expend the energy to do so, it’s better spent on other endeavours.

Those who call themselves my friends, but who I consider to be fair-weather friends, are those who couldn’t be bothered to see if I was okay. Individuals who cannot be bothered or do not want to be bothered with expressing concern if I have a kidney infection, suffering through MRSA, a really bad UTI, being put on a respirator because I went unconscious for 5 days right after surgery. But if I am smiling and seem happy than they are fine with talking with me, and trying to enjoy happy moments.

This surgery opened up my eyes to who are my true friends, to who I want to spend time with. The surgery also made me realise how fleeting life is, and it’s just not worth chasing after people who cannot be bothered to pay attention to me unless there’s something in it for them.

Pagan Lithuanian Music

me
"Followed the Sun"










"I sowed the hemp"


Getting Rid of

me
.. if anyone wants them and makes me a decent offer they can have them:

TD Kendricks. The Druids.
Jean Markdale. Merlin - Priest of Nature
Thomas Cahill. How the Irish Saved Civilization
Brian Bates. The Real Middle Earth
P.B. Ellis. The Druids
Stuart Piggott. The Druids
Marie Heaney. Over Nine Waves - A Book of Irish Legends
Ceisiwr Serith. A Book of Pagan Prayer
P.B. Ellis. A Brief History of the Celts
P.B. Ellis. A Brief History of the Druids
Mara Freeman. Kindling the Celtic Spirit
Elizabeth Pepper & John Wilcock. Magical and Mystical Sites - Europe & the British Isles
Wylundt's Book of Incense

Hello Kitty

shocked grim
Many of you don't read my new blog on wordpress so I thought I'd just provide this link. I got a Hello Kitty from a very excellent friend who bought it for me whilst travelling about Japan.

http://opinionatedbean.wordpress.com/2008/07/30/hello-kitty-2/

Hamilton Pagan Pride...and other fun stuff

raver bunny
I know, I declared that I would post on wordpress from now on. But as there is a feed to facebook of my wordpress blog I thought it would be safe to post here. My concern is that more and more "authorities" are vetting potential and current employee activities through facebook.

Anywho, on to my semi-rant here.

I am very much looking forward to Hamilton Pagan Pride. I thoroughly enjoy myself there, for the most part. I say "for the most part" as I do not enjoy the vendor area. It's the same old tired "bling" that they are hawking - the whole "I'll slap a pentacle on and it will sell". A lot of the goods being sold are rather shabby and very little artistry is put in by these so called "artisans". True, there are exceptions and when it is possible to find something interesting it can be truly spectacular (like my concrete mushroom that I got a couple of years ago). But for the most part it's crystals with cheap wiring wrapped about on a cheap plastic string selling for $20, or some questionable incense.

This year is special as Blackangel has invited a few peeps from different traditions to help in a Fire Blessing. I am doing a Baltic one. As most Baltic Rites are primarily song-based I need help with the singing. I have roped in Ms Amber with that, and that's great for a soprano.. need a baritone to round out the sound (I'm an alto by the way). After the rit I'm going whoosh to Pearson to hop onto a plane for a week in the UK.

A whole bunch of books are being published by people I know, and there's been a general push for us in the community to "support our artists and authors"; and generally I agree with this, if they produce quality work that I am interested in. Mr Bren is having his book launched as we speak, and huzzah for him, and from the sounds of it it will do fairly well. And he does produce good quality work which is worthwhile purchasing. But going back to my comments about the vendors at Hamilton Pagan Pride -- has anyone seen the "artwork" done by pagan artists? I ran across an individual at the Halifax GG who told me point blank that it was my duty to support pagan artists because I can afford to.

This is a ramble, I know, but my point (eventually) is that I am tired to people looking at me and thinking "oh she's an accountant, she can afford to buy my sh*t" and then proceed to try and guilt me into doing so. That's why I tend to stay quiet about my profession and when asked what my rates are I state "$125 an hour"; when asked if I will barter my response is usually "I can't pay my rent in athames or aromatherapy sessions".

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