Earth to Jo-Ann…Come In Jo-Ann

It’s March 12th and we’re so excited. It’s 10:34 p.m., we’re situated along Florida’s Space Coast, (east side of the state on the Atlantic Ocean, 74 kilometres [46 miles], south of Cape Canaveral). The United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket is at the Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and is ready for take-off. It’s the 4th rocket launch since we arrived here on January 1st.Kennedy Space Centre

During the 10 minute countdown to lift off, my imagination kicks in and it brings me back to our home up north, t
o our bedroom, and to the large photograph hanging over the headboard. It is the now famous photo of planet Earth taken on December 7, 1972, by the crew of the Apollo 17 spacecraft, at a distance of about 45,000 kilometres (28,000 mi) from earth, titled, The Blue Marble, that I purchased sometime in the 1980’s at Kennedy Space Centre.

I bought this photo then because I love our home planet. I find myself often, sitting on my bed and losing myself in the magnificent beauty of our planet. I contemplate our blue jewel suspended in the velvety blackness. I marvel at our fragile sphere.

I think back to 1992 when Roberta Bondar, Canada’s first female astronaut boarded the space shuttle Discovery, and broke the mould. I recall an interview upon her return from space, she remarked that she had looked out of the window of the shuttle and was struck by all the empty space around our planet. That we’re alone in our part of the universe, she pointed out that it’s the only home we have right now, and we need to take care of it.

Earth looks peaceful and harmonious from space, but of course all is not as it appears. Conflicts threaten our very survival. Weapons are poised, ready to annihilate life as we know it at a moments notice; environmental crisis is lurking, and conflicts that are rooted in antiquity abound. Human destiny is unclear, the veneer of civilization is yet exceedingly thin, and our current actions bring sustainability into question.

Oh my, the glow of what looks like the dawn of a new day, fully illuminates the horizon to the north of us. It’s 10:44 p.m., and we have lift off. Within seconds a large fire ball climbs through the inky black sky. WOW! The rocket has a quartet payload of what is called Magnetospheric Multi-Scale (MMS) spacecraft, which is the first space mission dedicated to the study of magnetic reconnection. My own very basic understanding of magnetic reconnection is that it is a fundamental process that occurs throughout the universe where magnetic fields connect and disconnect with an explosive release of energy. Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important drivers of space weather events, such as eruptive solar flares.

It’s amazing to think the journey it took human-kind to arrive at a day where representatives of earth can leave our home planet, not knowing what they will find.

Arriving back to our Florida condo after witnessing the spectacular liftoff I am in awe as I think of humanity’s epic journey out of Africa, the cradle of humanity, to eventually populate the earth. We are a species of brave pioneers and adaptive innovators.

I’ve lived most of my life so far in the 20th century. Those of us who have lived during this time in our planetary history have witnessed the extraordinary miracles and folly of humankind first hand. Ours has been a century of demystifying, human-made miracles and human-made catastrophe.

My mother who is only 22 years older than I, lives with the effects of a world evolved from the dim years of the Great Depression to World War 11, and she witnessed the incandescent Nuclear Age.

Progress has been swift for the most part and severe. I have lived through the silent war that was never overtly fought, (Cold War). Watched as humans fought over ideology, and are engaged in an era of organized global terrorism, the likes of which has never before been experienced.

In this age of miracles such as; The Human Genome Project and gene therapy, Pandemic Planning and Coordination of Response, creation of life saving and life sustaining ostomies. The Human Brain Project, an international team of researchers led by German and Canadian scientists have produced a three-dimensional atlas of the brain that has 50 times the resolution of previous maps. Microscale 3-D Printing. And, the list goes on. In my lifetime I have seen the horse drawn ice wagon, delivering ice to my neighbours in a time when not all folks had a refrigerator. And then, just a few years ago my life was saved and extended by the technology of modern medicine, and the skills of medical practitioners.

I have lived momentous days, extraordinary in the ability of people to coordinate their minds and skills to ensure the continuation of humanity’s journey and our own individual journeys. The little blue speck in the midst of the vast emptiness that is dotted by luminous celestial bodies is our home, and this ostomate is honoured to be graced with an extended life and the opportunity to live life to the fullest on this beautiful blue marble.

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

Ostomate

“Everyone you meet has a story to tell.”

“THAR SHE BLOWS”

The healing journey is an interesting dance. It’s a one step at a time forward, with a leap or a bound thrown in for good measure. Then there’s the sideways stomp and the occasional backslide. Yet, progress is made in this freestyle dance.

Percy has had a challenging time of it. We underwent surgery March 19th  and it wasn’t till March 29th, that Percy started to wake up. Poor little stoma was traumatized from the procedures, he had simply shut down. Little Percy pooper was pooped out. He has since slowly but surely woken up and is returning to a healthy pungent self, and is once again starting to immerse himself in his liquidation business. What a trooper.

 

I continue to make the necessary healing strides with the help of my caregiver and husband Mark, my Health Care Nurse, and my cheerleader friends and family. Thanks for joining in the dance with me everyone.

 

I’m still on a cocktail of pain management drugs that make my brain wonky, 2 forms of antibiotics, and few more prescriptions thrown in. Mentioning pain management drugs, Percy is looking forward to posting the next blog, not sure what he’ll come up with, but I’m expecting that I’ll be at the butt end of his potty humour.

 

The 24 hours leading up to Wednesday April 3rd were quite tense for me. That was the date 21 of my total 31 surgical staples were scheduled to be removed. Now, I’m not normally a nervous nellie, but in my rather more distant past when surgical stitches were removed the whole incision opened up and came fully apart. A traumatic experience to say the least.

 

And so, the night of April 2nd the words, “Thar She Blows”, screamed throughout a dream filled night. I woke up in the morning with it still on my mind as I awaited for my Health Care Nurse to arrive. I had informed her of my concerns the day before, and so, when she arrived she was aware and considerate. She settled into her task and one by one removed the staples. I’m glad to say, it all went well, the incision did not open up, and there was no, “Thar She Blows”. I am relieved this stage of the healing journey is behind me, and I’m looking forward to the day when I’m well enough to dream, “Thar She goes”.

 

Jo-Ann L. Tremblay

 

Ostomate

 

“Everyone you meet has a story to tell”