Seniors Situation Room – Edition 12 by Dawn Ford

CFN – The GlenStorDun Lodge issues a monthly Newsletter called the ‘ Lodger‘. It has many interesting articles, photos and great jokes. In the January issue Craig Smith, social worker and Tim McNally, recreologist, along with Linda Geisel have been working to make the Cornwall Unit into a dementia friendly environment. With limited resources they are asking for donations of first generation iPods, historical prints, large picture frames and other interesting artifacts. A financial donation would also probably be very welcome. To donate, please call Craig, Tim, or Linda at 613-933-3384. Craig is also interested in hearing about any past memories and photos of Cornwall life in days gone by. They are also looking for volunteers for Saturday Mass, the Day Program and dining room service. Contact Linda for these volunteer positions at 613-933-3384, ext. 243. The Lodge’s website is a source for more info.

Because of my brother’s recent illness I have been visiting the Lodge a bit more than usual. One day down the hall I saw a magnificent Golden Retriever standing patiently beside Craig and a lady. My inner five year old child had to go and see the dog and ask if I could pat him. His name is ‘Push’. His owner brings Push in to Craig every day during the week as a therapy dog and Push accompanies Craig as he visits the residents. Craig said that Push brings out many smiles on the faces of the residents, even some residents who are a bit unresponsive in other ways. I saw this at the Villa when my husband and I visited my Mother. My husband was blind and when he and his guide dog would pass by some people who seemed to be staring into space often they reacted to the guide dog and their hand would go out to touch the dog. Push certainly did that to me as he gently gave me a big wet kiss on my cheek and let me get a big furry hug. Some people say to me ‘germs, germs’. To heck with germs. I get more germs in many other ways and to me, these are good germs. Nothing like a puppy licking your face! Push is apparently the father of many puppies. What female could resist him? Craig told me that there will be an article on Push in the February newsletter. I will let you know more about this handsome canine.

Central Park Pool (later Horovitz Park)
Central Park Pool
(later Horovitz Park)

The other day I happened to drop the word ‘Dieu’ to a friend of mine in speaking of the former Hotel Dieu Hospital. Did I get a lecture ! I was told in no uncertain terms that the proper name is the Cornwall Community Hospital, McConnell Avenue site. I told her that the taxis always know where to go if I say the ‘Dieu’ or the ‘General’ or the ‘Villa’ or the ‘Lodge’. It did not appease her. I grew up with this lady: we practically had pablum together and here she is giving me the lecture of my life. I reminded Miss Smartypants that in the old days we said the pool, the rink, the bridge, the grounds, the park, and even 7th Street or 3rd. Everyone knew what we meant. We only had one swimming pool at Central Park, later named Horovitz Park on Water Street: boys in the morning, girls in the afternoon. It’s gone as is the beautiful band shell. The rink was indoors on Water Street, now gone also. Meet you at the bridge meant the old Silver Bridge we used to like to jump off as it swayed beneath our feet – gone also.


Another Cornwall memory is St. Lawrence Park at Windmill Point prior to the St. Lawrence Seaway
Another Cornwall memory is St. Lawrence Park at Windmill Point prior to the St. Lawrence Seaway


Cornwall Athletic Grounds
Cornwall Athletic Grounds

The Athletic Grounds was where my brothers played organized ball as they did at 7th Street and York (King George Park). We used to skate outdoors at 7th Street also. Who could forget the lovely angora mitts, caps and scarfs we girls wore? We also skated outside on 3rd at Memorial Park (I got cold feet and cold nose from skating until I was frozen and, according to my mother, didn’t know enough to come home) and we played baseball there also. There is no park there now. And we walked everywhere winter or summer. But today I am not allowed to say the ‘Dieu?’ I grew up with one word phrases. They got us where we wanted to go and we had a lot of fun doing it.

The recycling program of hearing aids and glasses for our local seniors as well as for the Third World is up and running with the support of the Lion’s Club. There was a meeting on Wednesday and I will give you full details about it next time. This is all due to the tireless efforts of Sharon Simonelis of Lancaster who has worked along with help from her sister Colleen Carter, also of Lancaster, to bring this about.

My brother has been at the Lodge for a couple of years and each summer I want to pitch my tent on the lawn and stay for a week close to all that beautiful nature. Lately I am thinking that maybe I could get a week of respite care there. I could use the excuse that I need a break from the constant demands of my cat Tiger (the only excuse I have). I have to buy and carry his food, and cat litter which is costly and heavy, maintain a spotless cat litter tray at all times or he howls like a banshee, feed him on demand or get snubbed until I run with a full dish of goodies, keep the house spotless and vacuumed as he lets his fur fly threw the air, brush his fur everyday to keep him happy and fur ball free, let him sleep on my side of the bed which annoys the heck out of me and keep a full supply of catnip mice and toys at all times. The worst of it is that he likes to poke me about 5 a.m. to be fed. He will show me no mercy until he get his way. I open my eyes a bit and I can see him figuring out just where would be a good spot to poke. If that isn’t enough to rouse me, he gets up on my pillow and chews my hair. Is that normal behaviour for a cat? Besides all that he chews any wires that are attached to lamps, phones or hanging within his reach. I have to keep his five beds around the house spotless and fluffed up or he will sleep in an old cardboard box in the corner. Let him, you say?? How could I do that to this spoiled little feline? And yet, do I have to take this abuse all the time? No. A week of respite at the Lodge is called for. I could walk by the water and meditate to renew my frazzled nerves and spirit, sit and write poetry in the warm sun, watch the squirrels run here and there, paint wonderful oil paintings of the surrounding gorgeous landscape and water and even have them post them on the walls. I could feed and enjoy the birds, inside and out: inside Yellow Rose and Mr. Blue, canary and budgie on the First Floor and also two budgies, Mr. Hot Tomato and Muffin on the Fourth Floor. The staff would grant me my every wish and I could dine in the gorgeous dining room overlooking the river and wonderful trees. Lots of music and entertainment. Great Coffee. And no dishes to wash. No cat fur flying. Hug therapy every day from Push and Benji, the visiting Sheep dog. Sounds like heaven to me. I will just have to convince my doctor. Ain’t likely it’s going to happen, though. Not a good enough excuse, he’ll say. But he doesn’t have to live with Tiger!

DocBehindCurtainMy dry sense of humour can get me in trouble sometimes. Recently my friend Elaine with whom I have lots of fun, was admitted to the subacute area of the E.R. I visited her each day. Having checked to make sure that she was still there on the third day before I went to see her, I walked into the three bed unit to find the curtain pulled around her bed. I could see a man’s trousers and shoes below the curtain. Probably a doctor or male nurse. I went up to the curtain and said, “Elaine, do you have a handsome man in there? A man snickered and a woman laughingly replied, “yes, but my name isn’t Elaine.” Was my face red!

Here is a wonderful video to watch about a gentle dog and a child with Down’s Syndrome.

Have a wonderful week, Dawn

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