Tag Archives: fishing

End of the curse

4 Aug

Decades ago, around age 6 or 7, I’d say, my sister and my parents and I were out on a lake in northern Ontario. We were in our red canoe, my mom at the bow, my father in the stern, and my sister and I at the bottom on either side of the middle thwart.

We were all fishing, but since we were so young, my dad gave us kids rods without reels. We knew pretty much nothing about fishing, except that we should be quiet. Nemmy and I sat as still as we could, with our hooks dangling beneath the canoe, listening to the gentle “whirr” of my dad’s rod when he would cast.

Suddenly, there was a tug on my line. A mighty pull. I think I started to pull the rod up, but a second later, a shining body leapt out of the water and flashed in the sun. It landed with a great splash and my line went light. Gone was the fish − a pike, I should think − and gone was the hook.

And that was the last time I caught a fish.

I went fishing a few more times on family camping trips. And there was that deep-sea fishing experience in PEI the summer before grade 12, where everyone on the boat caught something. Except for me.

I was convinced that mighty northern pike had cursed me for trying to hook him. None of his fishy brethren would ever come near me again.

These past 6 months have been very heavy for me as Michael and I begin the process of separation and divorce. It has been an intense period for many reasons and I have had some very dark and broken days. Part of my strategy to redefine myself is to do things I have always wanted to do, but never have got around to. Last Saturday, for example, I went on a 6-hour solo hike up a mountain. I don’t think I’ve ever actually done that before.

Earlier this week, I contacted my friend Valery and asked her to take me fishing. And tonight we did just that.

We drove out the Hidden Lakes, a couple of which are stocked with rainbow trout and kokanee. Valery explained how to rig and bait my line for trout and showed me how to cast. She said that since it had been such a warm day, the fish might not actually come close enough to shore to bite, but we’d have a nice evening out, at least. Since I had no expectations, that was fine by me.

A wee 4-incher nibbled at Valery’s line early in the evening. After that, the fish were pretty quiet, though we enjoyed the company of a loon calling a few times, and a beaver and a muskrat showed up, as well. Valery would tell me little bits about fish behaviour in between casts, and I worked on getting my hook out a decent distance from shore.

And then suddenly, there was a tug on my line.

I wasn’t sure at first that it was a fish. Perhaps my hook was simply caught on an underground log. But the waters near the shore are clear and in moments, I could see the silver body of a rainbow trout fighting the pull of my line. Moments later, I had landed it on the shore.

Valery was every bit as delighted as I was. She showed me how to bleed it, and then she also showed me how to clean it properly. It was a female trout (Valery showed me the roe!) and 13 inches, so not huge, but a respectable size so everyone in the family can have a taste at dinner time tomorrow. We’d have taken a picture at the lake, but neither of us had a working picture-taking apparatus. So this kitchen shot will have to do, instead:


Thank you, Ms. Trout, for the gift of your life. Thank you for breaking the curse, and thank you for feeding my family.

And thanks to Valery for showing me the “ropes”.

Day 6 at home

18 Jun

It’s hard to believe we’ve been home for almost a week now.

Michael left for the NWT yesterday morning, off on the business travel he was originally supposed to be off on when this whole epilepsy craziness started. 

Jade started back at daycare on Tuesday and was very happy to see the staff there again.  And her little friends, too, of course.  The staff have been great about being willing to accommodate her, which is mostly just watching her a little more carefully if she’s doing anything where she might be injured if she lost her balance (e.g. on the stairs) and recording any seizures they might see.  They’ve also been given instructions on how to administer Valium if she has a prolonged seizure.  Cheryl observed that Jade’s epilepsy seems easier to deal with than another kid they had in the group who was allergic to all things dairy, to the point where he’d break out in hives if he got a little yogurt on his skin.  He had to eat his snacks at a separate table from the other kids and they had to wash everything if there were any yogurt/milk/cheese-related accidents.

We’ve had some good seizure days and bad seizure days since getting home; some days she seems to be having little seizures all day long, others there are almost none at all.  As she slowly gets weaned off the Clobazam and moves onto the Volproic Acid, I dearly hope that we’ll see an end to the seizures.  It’s not that they’re immediately dangerous but they’re upsetting.  The doctors told us that as long as we’re seeing these seizures, it means she’s also continuing to have the subclinical seizures they found when they did Jade’s EEG.  (A subclinical seizure is one where there is seizure activity going on in the brain, without any outward evidence of it happening.)  Having seizures all the time means her brain is constantly being interrupted, which could hurt her ability to learn.  While being a slower learner is, from a logical standpoint, not the end of the world, it weighs on me, especially with all the changes she’s about to go through, from weaning off her soother to potty training to moving to a big-girl bed to moving rooms.  I try not to worry about things that might not happen, but this just seems to linger in my brain.

Anyway, enough serious stuff!  We have several hundred photos sitting on my laptop that have to be moved to our back-up hard drive; many of them are from the last three weeks.  I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

Here’s Jade blowing bubbles in the Children’s Hospital playroom.  (No, she can’t actually blow them herself, yet.  But she sure loves those bubbles!)

Blowing bubbles in the hospital playroom

We went to play in some nearby gardens one day when we were allowed to go out on a day pass.  

Out on a day pass

Here’s Jade in the hospital crib, lying across it width-wise. She actually fell asleep with her little feet up on one of the slats.

Sleeping comfortably

“Is it just me, or is it drafty in here?” Jade was so cute in her little mini hospital gown, I was actually tempted to steal it! In this picture we were in the MRI waiting area and she was playing with the toys thoughtfully stocked there (one of the great things about being in a children’s hospital). I’ve also got to mention that they used bubbles to distract her while they inserted the IV into her hand. Bubbles, what can’t they do?

Drafty hospital gown

Hurray! Here we are on the plane on our way home to Whitehorse!

On our way home

On the weekend, we went over to a friend’s house and Jade played with some balloons left over from a birthday party. Since she enjoyed them so much, I gave her a couple to play with when we got home. By the next day they had shrunk down to the size of mangos (hmph, Dollar Store balloons…) and this is what Michael did with them…

Like Mama like daughter

Jade was playing in the kitchen drawers (as usual) the morning after we got home, and she pulled out Michael’s “camel pack”. (For those of you unfamiliar with this, you fill the bladder with water and wear it on your back. You can then suck the water out through the hose instead of fiddling with a bottle, which is handy when you’re biking or hiking, where bottles can be awkward to carry.) Jade found that the hose perfectly mimicked the thermometer used at the Children’s Hospital (where they use the kind where the stick goes under the armpit and it’s attached by a coiled wire to a box). Every day since that morning, she insists on taking her “amp-pre-ter” repeatedly on both sides, and then forces us to do the same.

Jade taking her \

The bladder part is also perfect for “arm hugs” (taking blood pressure).

Dr. Jade taking her own blood pressure

We spent a glorious day out at Fox Lake on Saturday. This was Jade’s best day of all, with just a few small twitches in the morning, and none at all the whole time we were out at the lake. The cabin we went to belongs to Kelly and Nita from the Big Band; they invited everyone in the band to visit them for the day, and we were glad to take them up on it. George the Bass Man loves fishing and was happy to show Jade how to get started. She didn’t catch anything, but George did, and we got to have fresh lake trout the next day. Yum!

First time fishing

Our Fox Lake foray was also our chance to get in the first paddle of the season. Jade didn’t show any signs of falling asleep in the canoe, as she has always done on past canoe trips. She loved being out on the water; after our family paddle she insisted that Michael take her out twice more. Going without me gave her a chance to try her hand at paddling. It’s definitely time to get her a toddler-sized paddle!

First paddle

So that’s our last few weeks in pictures. Hmmm, it’s getting late. I guess it’s time to get off the blog and off packing our lunches for tomorrow. Darn reality!