Holding on to life’s roller coaster, keeping my face to the sunshine

Author, Gill McCulloch, holding a piece of driftwood, on a beach in Tofino, BC, Canada. Ocean and trees in the background.
Author, Gill McCulloch, holding a piece of driftwood, on a beach in Tofino, BC, Canada. Ocean and trees in the background.

Hello and welcome to my About Me page! My name is Gill McCulloch and I appreciate you taking the time to get to know me.

In a nutshell — at least I’ll try

I was born at a very early age and lived with my mum, dad and two sisters in a lively seaside town called Brighton on the south coast of England. My parents were kind, hard-working people. I’ll always be grateful for the life lessons they taught me and for their unconditional love and support.


Presented below is a complete list of my work on Medium

Painted healthcare worker themed rocks wearing face masks, against backdrop of forget-me-not flowers.
Painted healthcare worker themed rocks wearing face masks, against backdrop of forget-me-not flowers.

I created this index for people who want to read more of my work. Everything is categorized into topics, and I update this page regularly. I appreciate you reading and commenting on my stories, articles and poems.

Story Categories (see full index below)

  • Personal Stories
  • Fiction
  • Humour
  • Poetry
  • Life Learnings, Self Improvement, Inspirational
  • Medical, Health and Safety

Personal Stories

What Would You Buy if You Only Had $18.00 for Groceries This Week?

Medical Assistance in Dying Is a Humane Option for the Fortunate Few

What I Learned From “Doctor Death”

Who’s the Quirky One in Your Family?

Growing a Sunflower Fence Showed Me How People Are Much Like…


What I learned about poverty while participating in the Welfare Food Challenge

Three Canadian dollar coins resting in the palm of an adult’s hand
Three Canadian dollar coins resting in the palm of an adult’s hand

$18.00 a week is less than $3.00 a day. Could you live on that?

It’s easy to judge those living in poverty — homeless people on the streets and hungry families lining up at the food bank. The truth is, life can throw curveballs, and poverty and homelessness can happen to any of us. People are often on income assistance programs due to misfortune: a serious accident, long-term physical or mental health problems, an abusive family situation, or unemployment.

We need to educate ourselves about poverty and homelessness, not only to help avoid these situations ourselves but to help those…


Humour

I was young once you know!

Lifeguard in red shorts stands watching swimmers in a public outdoor pool.
Lifeguard in red shorts stands watching swimmers in a public outdoor pool.

“Would the lady in the black sunglasses please move to the right?”

The lifeguard’s voice boomed across the pool on his megaphone. How embarrassing for that person, I thought as I continued a leisurely breaststroke while enjoying the sunshine. In consideration of my fellow pool users, I was swimming directly over the black line on the bottom of the pool as directed by the sign.

I looked around, intending to give the targeted swimmer a sympathetic nod when the lifeguard’s voice boomed once again, this time sounding a little annoyed,

“Would the LADY — in the BLACK sunglasses — PLEASE…


Plus, bonus, step by step, instructions for getting onto an airbed this summer!

Large, yellow duck-shaped inflatable with red beak and black sunglasses sitting in a swimming pool.
Large, yellow duck-shaped inflatable with red beak and black sunglasses sitting in a swimming pool.

Life is full of challenges. I hope the following stories and insights will help you with these three:

  1. Reaching goals quicker.
  2. Stopping arguments.
  3. Getting onto pool inflatables.

Never let a pool inflatable get the better of you

While visiting family at Christmas in Singapore, my dad was having fun attempting but failing to get onto a pool inflatable. First, he tried crawling onto it slowly, pulling the airbed towards him, then placing his knee on the edge and shifting his weight onto it carefully. The bed escaped easily, skimming merrily away across the pool.

Next, he tried holding both ends and wiggling on belly first, inch by inch. The bed…


A poem

Young couple standing on a sandy beach, taking selfies against a sunset background.
Young couple standing on a sandy beach, taking selfies against a sunset background.

From a lakeside blanket,
a baby’s eyes gaze adoringly.
A universe of love, beaming from a tiny soul,
to a mother, who at that moment,
is its whole world.

The mother, oblivious, stares at scrolling pages —
anxiety building.
A first gurgled, “Mama,” slips away on the fresh summer breeze —
unnoticed.

In the lake, an otter glides silently through silken water.
Sunlight glistens on sleek, black skin.
A duck corrals her scattered ducklings,
while the blue heron stands,
observing quietly.

Years pass.

From a hospital bed,
a mother’s eyes gaze regretfully.
A universe of love, beaming from a weary soul,
to a…


Poetry

A fountain in the middle of a lake against a backdrop of trees and blue sky.
A fountain in the middle of a lake against a backdrop of trees and blue sky.

Walking in the blue-skied morning
I gaze across glistening water to a fountain

Clear jets gush upwards
With unbridled energy
Shimmering arcs reaching
through sapphire sky

In the misty veil, through bubbling sprays
Sunlit prisms drift lazily in the warm breeze
Painting tiny rainbows
Each, a sparkling masterpiece

I’m mesmerized by ever-changing arrangements
At the top of the fountain
Where iridescent fingers
Rush to meet, and play for a moment
Tumbling and tangling in the uppermost reaches
As if celebrating the fun and freedom
Of their mid-air flight

Crystal drops hang — suspended for an instant
Then, plunge bravely down
And wait…


While experts work on long-term solutions to the opioid epidemic, the rest of us can take action now to save lives.

Sideview outline of a person’s head. The head is full of different coloured pills. A hand is feeding the person a spoonful of pills.
Sideview outline of a person’s head. The head is full of different coloured pills. A hand is feeding the person a spoonful of pills.

The world is struggling with two major health emergencies: COVID-19 and the opioid epidemic.

While COVID-19 is constantly in our thoughts, the opioid epidemic may not be top of mind for most. But, for first responders kneeling on cold sidewalks injecting Naloxone into unconscious casualties and parents who’ve just found their teenager dead in bed from an overdose, it’s a devastating reality.

Government health agencies have given us reams of instructions for protecting ourselves from the COVID-19 virus. They’ve not yet, however, provided clear guidelines about preventing death from an overdose. Healthcare professionals are urgently searching for solutions to the…


A personal account of accompanying a loved one on her end-of-life journey

Marguerite daisies growing in a field against a sunset backdrop
Marguerite daisies growing in a field against a sunset backdrop

We don’t choose to be born, but we should have the right to decide to die.

After supporting a beloved family member through the process of Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID), I’m incredibly grateful to have this option in Canada. Accompanying my aunt on her end-of-life journey was a heartbreaking experience — and an honour. I hope my story will help if you ever go through this.

In December 2020, my aunt chose to end her life. She was in the final stages of leukemia and asked me, her only relative in Canada, to be with her when she died…


Also, it was fun!

A row of sunflowers growing in the sunshine against a background of blue sky.
A row of sunflowers growing in the sunshine against a background of blue sky.

Every year I grow sunflowers in my garden. I love sunflowers, their bright, cheerful faces make me happy, and it’s satisfying watching them grow bigger so quickly.

One year, our kids planted seeds side by side and waited to see whose flower would grow the tallest. They named their sunflowers SpongeBob and Patrick.

My bedroom window looks out to our backyard. I was enjoying a cup of tea one morning when something caught my eye. SpongeBob was at the window bobbing happily in the breeze on his 13-foot stem. Days later, Patrick was peeking through too.

Every day when I…

Gill McCulloch

I write about meaningful experiences, life learnings, medical issues, odd occurrences, fictional imaginings and situations that make me laugh. learnfirstaid.ca

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