Although, neither of Mike’s home teams, the Vancouver Canucks or the Toronto Maple Leafs made it to the NHL playoffs this year, Mike is faithfully watching. The Montreal Canadiens (the only Canadian team to make it to the playoffs) are his favourite of course, but he was also cheering for the Columbus Blue Jackets because the Jacket’s young and talented Ryan Johansen from Port Moody, BC played on the same team as the young and talented Nathan Sands. They played Major Midget hockey together on the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs. Nathan still plays a little hockey recreationally.
Mike was also cheering for the Colorado Avalanche of course. Even though one of our all time favourite players, Joe Sakic retired in 2009, I suppose we will always root for his team. The only other team Mike was cheering for and of the above is still in the playoffs along with the Canadiens, is the New York Rangers. We particularly like the Rangers this year because of the coach…the Canucks’ former coach, Alain Vigneault.
Here we are already in the third round of the playoffs and its Montreal versus New York…they are three games in. The first two games were disappointing to say the least. New York won both games; 7-2 and 3-1. The third game was a bit of a nail biter, but Montreal scored early in overtime to win.
I never sit through a whole game. I do other things and just watch bits and pieces. If I can hear the crowd going wild, including Mike, I come and watch the replay. Highlights during intermission or at the end of the game get me all caught up and I pretty much know exactly what happened. Anyway, what I could tell from what I saw of that third game, New York was all over Montreal, but Montreal, two games down and fighting for their lives, did not give up! You gotta love that kind of determination!
It reminds me of Mike. I know I might sound like a broken record, but through every stage of this illness, he just doesn’t give up! Unable to sit up straight with trunk muscles and neck muscles so much weaker now, he is still determined to stand every day…even for just a few minutes.
Sometimes it takes a while to get his feet right where he wants them. Once I get him up to a partial stand and prop him against his chair, I quickly get down and adjust his left foot (the weaker of the two). I put my shoulder against the outside of his left knee to stabilize his leg and then I adjust his foot with both my hands. With every little adjustment, I look up at his face to see if I’ve hit the sweet spot. He’ll give me the eye brows up signal (like thumbs up) to tell me “good”. From there I prop pillows under his arms and quickly get the suction machine and suction his mouth. When first in that semi-stand position, before he is able to stretch himself to full standing, his head falls forward and all the saliva pools in the front of his mouth and slowly seeps through his lips. I sometimes feel a drop or two fall on my head, but first things first. When his foot is in the right spot, he is able to slowly stand up out of a slouched position…I suction and all is well.
Sometimes he lasts a few minutes, other times he can stand for 10 or 15. He looks awkward and uncomfortable but he assures me he is fine. When Mike told me many months ago that when he can’t stand anymore, he will probably decline quickly because that’s what naturally happens when people stop standing, I became as determined as he is. If he hasn’t stood in a while, I’ll say, “Mike, do you want to stand?” He gives me a smile and a little nod and away we go. But I know my Mike, and I think when he is unable to stand, he’ll happily sit and keep fighting. He’s a fighter, like those Montreal Canadians and there is no giving up.
Montreal and New York play again later today. Mike will be watching and cheering for his team the Canadiens. He is hopeful…he did predict that whichever team got Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline would win the cup. Mike is usually right about these things, but we will soon find out. If they don’t make it to the next round, he’ll still watch and wish Alain Vigneault and his Rangers all the best!
“Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill
Here, Mike takes a look at the cloak. He likes to time himself to see if he can stand as long or longer than he did the day before.
Stand firm in your faith. Be courageous. Be strong! 1 Corinthians 16:13