Options during my life are a constant, often picked by changes to my physical capabilities. I wish to communicate with you, but my hearing is poor, I could write to you but am no longer capable of cursive writing. The best option for me is to type – I still have a good left hand. I wish to tell you a little about my 77 years or 28,105 days; whew, how will I encapsulate that in a page?
I was born in Ottawa in 1941; shortly after, the hospital was torn down, no doubt the old building was not designed for the hospital of today.
I have wonderful recollections of life in the forties … milk, bread, ice, delivered by a horse drawn wagon, coal streaming down the chute to heat our home, the ice box in the kitchen, the hot water tank filled with plugs. The street was the playground for hockey and football and a short walk to the Rideau Canal was the spot to fish. Many a walleye ended up in the frying pan. We were in the heart of the city, yet few people experienced the feel of a big city. What a different world when the telephone number was just four digits.
My first job at the age of 12, I was the kitchen boy at Camp Pontiac in Quebec. Seven days a week before breakfast to after supper for fifteen dollars. I was grateful, at the time I was not a burden to the family. Dad died that summer.
I always found summer work from a warehouse stocking, shipping, drilling holes in glass for Pierson windows and building a home with Dieter and Wilfred. That was a special time building a home with two professionals.
I was unemployed over the weekend. On graduation my first real job was in government; it turned out to be not my cup of tea, I left the job on a Friday, sat an interview the same day. I started work on the following Monday … the beginning of a thirty year career. I wish youth today had so many opportunities.
The years unfolded so quickly. MJ and I married in 1970, we enjoy two daughters. Life unfolded quickly with family camping, skiing, building a home in the country and then the event that changed my family life.
I could not walk, I mumbled. A collection of new words was imposed on me: vestibular system, tinnitus, vertigo, peripheral neuropathy, and hemiplegia were part of my life.
After one month I took my first step. I could not thank Herve enough for his marvelous physiotherapy and humour. Once he duct taped me in the wheel chair and chuckled. I was very emotional on taking my first step.
The impact to the family was enormous. Duties once shared were done by MJ. The isolated country home we live in was no longer practical. Decisions had to be made.
We decided to go West. MJ made two trips; on the second trip we purchased a home in Qualicum Beach.
Good fortune comes in strange ways. Our daughter lived in Parksville with our two beautiful grandchildren. MJ and I were very involved and shared the joy of a child’s unconditional love.
Items that I found most helpful … under the mattress grab bar, MP4 player for a restless night, a mobility scooter, a rocking knife, grab bars, PC with it’s Google brain, gardening, carpentry.
How can I thank the stroke group for enriching my life? I think of the many unsung heroes that nurture our members, often in a family setting.