We have been in Vancouver since Monday when I had my marathon 3.5-hour specialist appointment. Given that today is our 8th wedding anniversary and that I have to be at an early training session tomorrow morning. We found a reasonably priced hotel. We are staying at the Sheraton Wall Centre. Here is what we have done in some particular order:
- Got lost trying to find the ‘Rapid Access Clinic’ in St. Paul’s hospital. WE went to the Thurlow building when we needed to be in the Burrard building. For those of you who have ever spent time at St. Paul’s what is it about the elevators? Some of them only seem to run every 10-15 minutes. It was bizarre. Also everyone seems to be running there plus there were tons of people.
- We had dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was very good. I had the ever-reliable tenderloin steak, which was outstanding. Deb had a salad and a vegetarian panini. There were zero vegetarian options on the menu and she had to ask what they could do for her. It seems strange in a city like Vancouver that there would such a dearth of vegetarian options.
- We went swimming last night at the hotel. It was great. I swam several lengths and then chilled in the hot tub. I was trying to teach Deb how to sit and balance on a flutter board under water. I am nowhere near as graceful doing that as I once was. It was very relaxing. We were starving when we came back to the room and ordered nachos.
- I got up early and went to work early. I had a lot to do and I was able to get it done today. Work is feeling really good these days so I am a happy camper.
- Deb sent me a huge bouquet of flowers today at work. It is so nice to get flowers at work!
- Deb picked me at work and we went out for dinner. We had Japanese food!! It has been years, literally, since I have eaten Japanese. We had tempura vegetables and prawns. I had agedashi tofu, and miso soup. It was divine.
- Now we are back at the hotel watching Dancing with the Stars.
- Don’t forget to check out Derek Miller’s blog excerpts in this month’s Reader’s Digest.
 Squee!!! I cannot believe we have been married that long! It seems like just last year we achieved marriage equality. Although same-sex marriage has only been in legislation since 2005 (thank you Paul Martin and the Liberal Party of Canada) it seems much more recent. We did marry in the period between the court decision and the approval of the legislation.
 Not a boutique hotel.
 Considering I waited more than 6 months for my appointment I would challenge the ‘rapid’ part of that name!
I first heard about Derek when the CBC played an interview with him about his cancer diagnosis. At the time of his diagnosis with stage 4 colorectal cancer, he was being interview by Priya Ramu about blogging his cancer experience. For Derek, not blogging about his cancer would have been a challenge. Derek had been blogging long before everyone (like me) could go to WordPress or Blogger and set one up,
I was immediately drawn to Derek. I identified with him a bit due to my own colon issues. However what he was facing was much more dire and would require much more intestinal fortitude than my disease. He was also a computer geek. Being a computer geek myself, I enjoyed asking him questions and getting answers. I remember asking him why my Windows machines always slowed down no matter how much RAM I put into them. And, in typical Derek fashion, he did the research for me and directed me to an article that said it just happens with Windows. It was Derek, in fact, who helped convince me to switch back to Macs. He helped me through those first few months where I could find nothing. I remember Facebooking with him about how to set up my first Mac network. Always he was patient and helpful.
I remember meeting him and his wife Airdrie when I bought Derek’s used camera for Deb. They came to my office and we met for the first time. We then decided they should come for dinner. There were more visits after they got a lovely dog named Lucy.
Derek was always happy to give his expertise, regardless of the subject. As part of his cancer treatment he had most of his colon removed and had lived with an ileostomy for several months. When I was faced with making the decision about carrying on with my ulcerative colitis or having a colectomy, naturally, I turned to Derek. He wrote an amazing response to my questions about how it all worked. He went into great detail and he clearly put a great deal of thought into what he wrote to me. After reading his response, I knew that I could do it if I had to have a colectomy.
Many people knew Derek from blogging, computers or the music scene. His living wake, held in March of 2011, completely took over the Waldorf in Vancouver. Everyone had Derek stories to tell. Unfortunately, he had lost his voice and it never really came back. It was a complication of his cancer. I remember him writing that his inability to speak made him feel like a ghost at his own wake. His writing was always eloquent and thoughtful and his last post (this is a link goes to a mirror site, I will update with the link once the traffic has slowed down) was no exception. However, try not to inundate the server. Apparently, it has been down most of the day due to the high traffic. As someone aptly pointed out on Twitter: Derek would have laughed.
 I believe he was late to Facebook and it took a Facebook group to finally get him to embrace it.