Friday, 23 October 2015

Blog 40 Interpretation

Blog 40 Interpretation

October 24, 2015

As one can imagine interpreting thoughts Ideas, meanings expressions or jesters are a very important part of daily communication. A lot of these interpretations more often than not are brought visual jesters rolling of the eyes or by looking away, a shrug of the shoulders. If your visual impaired these jesters can be missed!  As someone who is visual impaired more often than not we can hear the stress or anger, or the sadness in someone voice that gives a distinction of where that person is head in their conversation or even story telling.   Another way interpreting is through writing such as Shakes spear, Yeats, and Shaw to name a few . Their writing are sometimes boring, but can also be inspiring they can make you think, they can move you, and could even inspire you!  

I found myself in a Irish Literature course last semester as part of minor. I right smack dab in the middle of interpreting poems and short stories Yeats, Shaw Lady Gregory.

I found out something very important I am TERRIBLE at it!  I would sit down listen write what I thought they were trying to say only to sit in class and find out what that what I wrote was wrong.  One time we were talking about one part of a poem and I drew a comparison to another poem and the prof said NO it had nothing, to do with anything it was just a filler in the poem.

I asked her what she meant by that she then told me I have to interpret what the poet was saying. I then   told her that was impossible because I just told you what I thought and you told me it was wrong. So it is not what I think he is trying to say it is what you think he is saying that is correct . She then asked me to see after class.

She explained many scholars have written the interpretation of these poems. I said OH so it is their interpretation I should know? She got upset and told me that I do not understand, I told her I understood completely I also told I gave up interpreting what things meant after my first wife!

Needless to say she was not happy with that comment but I passed the course and we never spoke again. As I look back on many times in my life I have never been a person who interpreters very well like in a conversation for example now understanding that some people have a good command of the langue however they must put hidden meaning in what they say. I realized I am not very good at picking that up either I always believed that if you want something ask for it, if you got something to say, say it!

I guess that’s why I had trouble in the Army some Officers or Sargent  would give you and order you would follow it someone else would come along with a higher rank yell at you and when tell them  who told you to do it, that person would Say “ No I did not mean that”.

So I understand that I need to be told directly needs to done or what I can or can’t do there cannot be room for me to interpret on my own.

You are probably wondering where this is all going. It has been known from time to time that I like to do DIY projects. No nothing crazy besides I have no more power saws! lol

You know hammering nail, soar thumbs, sanding tables little painting projects here and there, are they perfect no but there fun.

People ask me how I can see to do it I tell them the trick is do not get distracted if do you will never find were you stop. Do small section at a time and only stop when you are finished.  The big questions I get is how does it look when your done I say “ It looks fine to me”! lol

It may need a touch up here and there but most paint jobs do anyways when it dries. Which leads me to this my wife and I have planning to paint the bather since July 2015 every time we plan to paint something comes up. After while I stopped planning! The last couple of weekends we have made it plan to get the painting done but again something came up. So I asked if she wanted me to paint the bathroom and of course she said no she will get it done.  On Thursday this week our toilet seat broke so asked to one up on the way home from work, nothing fancy, nothing expensive, cheap like the good Scots man I am.

So hears were the interpretation problem comes in. She came in with this fancy wooden seat polished fittings. I told that is not cheap, and her reply “ well it was on sail” there you one misunderstanding it was on sale so therefore cheaper than it originally was.

She then explained how nice it will look when the bathroom was is painted? I told her “ but I need to change the seat tomorrow? She said I know.

So today I painted the bathroom and put the new toilet seat on. It is not a big bathroom but as I understood it that since I had to change the toilet first I should paint bathroom. It came out great a few touch ups here and there but it got done. All the pictures were hung and towel rack put back on and light switch covers put on all before she got home.

Before that my oldest son came by the house and asked me,

Wasn’t mom painting the bathroom? I said no she told me that the new toilet seat would look good once the bathroom was painted, so I painted the bather and put the new toilet seat on. He said “so that is how you understood it”!

When my wife came home after work she went to the bathroom and laughed. She came and told how good it looked and she was happy it was done!

What else could she say I only Interpreted what she told me.  


Thursday, 3 September 2015

Blog 38 Winning the Fight

September 3 2015

Blog 38 Winning the Fight

I cannot believe that it has been over a year since I wrote my last Blog! I also cannot believe I found it so hard to start writing again! Many things have happened since then as you all probably can imagine.

I literally had to try hard to get back into shape and start working with Lucky to try and get some mobility back along with my strength. I struggled just trying to grasp what had happened and although I was feeling better I still was not strong nor was I seeing the results that I was hoping to get. In fact I can say that I was sliding back I had gain more weight my body was always hurting and no matter how much I worked out  I could not lose weight in fact I could say that I gained! It became a very depressing time for me. The only salutation my doctors could give me is stay on the diet they gave me and increase my insulin and pills, it was nuts!  The viscous circle it creates  is that the more insulin you take the more you eat and the more you eat and more insulin  the weight you gain.  

I became very depressed I struggled through school. Some of the issues I was having were bloating and a lot of stomach cramps. I was having trouble with eye irritation from the computer screen which caused more headaches.  I was not doing well learning the new Jaws program I need to learn,  instructor issues.     I was having mobility issues. I struggled through the holidays and I was not looking forward to the upcoming, winter semester in the New-year. It was the last week in December Arlene and I were sitting watch television and I turned to her and told her I was not winning this FIGHT!

She looked at me and knew exactly what I meant. When we first started seeing each other t in my security school  were these words  on the wall for the student to read.  

I fight the way I Train!

 I Train the Way I need To Fight.!

I will win the Fight because I Trained!

We took some paper and started making a plan of attack. The first thing was I needed to talk with doctor about the medication to talk about  what  was working and what was not including insulin and pills.  The second was to find not a diet but a good eating plan that can be followed on a long term plan, and the best one  I was on is when I was fighting I went to see a Naturel Path who first put me on a cleans and then built a meal plan.  The next part of the plan was once I started feeling  better we address the mobility issues and then the Jaws issues. Until we could put the plan in place in the New- year I just kept clam and watched myself.

AS January 2015 rolled in I had my first doctor’s appointment and for the first time we talked I told her we need to talk seriously and take hard look at all this medication. She ended up removing a couple of pills that were not working she suggested a different insulin that had a better effect for a longer period of time over the day! The draw back however  to get the required amount of insulin it  would take a few weeks because it  may causes nausea, I told her was willing to try anything at this point. The second part was finding a good Natural Path who was not going to try and sell me all kinds of  stuff  I really did have. I did not have to go far in our church is a great couple who are our Chiropractors who also study naturel medicine. In the middle of February   2015 after the church service I had a long talk with them and it turns out his wife was leading a group cleans at the end of that month. I will never forget it Super bowl Sunday not a good day to start a cleanse!  What was this cleanse some are wondering simple stop eating, wheat, dairy, grains, starch.

I found out many things that was causing my bloating and ill health. So did I eat veggies sixty to seventy percent, protein,  sweet potato. We could have broth in between meals to help with our hunger first three weeks was veggies. This eating plan was different for each person because of my insulin issues I had protein in my diet, and some others  may have had something different it was made for that person needs.

So armed with this new plan in the first week of switching my meds and the new eating plan all my blood values started dropping immediately with in the first week I was having normal blood values. My body was trying to adjust so quickly it was a constant juggling of insulin testing adjusting. I also dealt with the new insulin believe me I suffered through February and March sometimes I was so sick I could not get out bed.  In April I went to see my doctor and she had just about fell out of chair! I lost 22lbs my blood values were perfected I dropped all my insulin by half and to date I am down 30lbs my blood pressure is down.

I spent the summer working on Jaws with a good friend who gave me good tools to be able to accomplish a lot of my work with Jaws, but mainly he reduced my stress and my fear of typing by listening and not by looking.  The most important was working with Lucky taking nice big long walks and these are walks that you need to make a good guide dog team.  it Is these long walks encountering different situations that make you great team. I can honestly state that there is nothing wrong with my cardio! I cycle four kilometers on my stationary bike and then take Lucky out for a good four or five kilometer walk and I also started strength training as well.

My last cardiologist appointment was excellent!  His  only comment to me was keep it up! I know one day we all lose the fight but I really prefer to kind of lose  fight more on my terms more later than sooner!

As I said to Arlene the other day

“I am winning the fight because I TRAIN”!


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Blog 1 Starting New

November 22 2014


Blog 1 Turn of the Page


It has been a long journey to say the least! For those of you who have been counting this should be Blog 37 but I really feel Blog 1 is more fitting.

It has been 8 months since my Heart-attack and quite frankly I am still  processing it. I keep replaying it over in my mind we kind of figured when it happened but if I had not gone to the hospital for complaining of  a gastro I would have never have known that I had a heart-attack!

As the doctor questioned me about felling the severe pain I asked him where I should have felt this pain as he told me the different place I might of felt the pain. I asked the doctor if he realized what I have been in my life and mainly over the last 10 years. I then explained that every day of my life I have pain some days worse than others why would pay more attention to this time since I did not have any pain in my chest? He had no answers, my question to him was has this been a buildup or was this was sudden? He had no answer. I then asked why nobody picked it up? He no answer! The signs wear there but every time I said something to my doctor she told me it must be my diet.   So with that said the doctor new that people dropped the ball that’s how I ended up with the head of the cardiology department as my doctor!

I have to tell you it was probably one the funniest or strangest ways it all took place. We had just finished moving on the Saturday and I was quite sick. On Sunday the day of St-Patrick’s day   parade when the hospitals are the busiest and did mention that every year for the last five years I have been at the hospital on St-Patrick’s day. 

We called my friend to see if  he would take Lucky while I went to the hospital and I have to tell it was the same friend that ran our move and it was not easy but another story. He took Lucky  and off we went. When we got there they took me right away poor Arlene was falling asleep in her chair. The doctor told me I would have to go for chest x-ray. He told Arlene to go home I would most probably be there until 6am then she could come and get me. She went very reluctantly but I told it was good and she should check on the little guy. Of course when she left she took my phone.

About 2hrs late they took me for a chest x-ray when they were bringing back to ER they took me right to the cardiac department and did an ecc. The doctor then I told me that I had a heart-attack and I needed to get registered and I needed to sign some papers because I need surgery. He then asked me if I was ok I said yes he ask me if I was scared I said No. I told him I am still processing I had a heart-attack..

The funny part I tried calling Arlene her phone was off she forgot turn it on when she left the hospital she was so tried. I could not call home since the phone would not be connected until Monday we just moved.

I called the only phone number I knew you guessed it my friend Steve  who was minding Lucky the same guy who organized and coordinated our 10 hour move did I mention that it was 1:30 in the morning. I got him on the phone told what was happening and I need to Arlene to come and register me. Without question he got dressed got Lucky went over to the house and got Arlene to come back to the hospital. I have to tell you after all that I thought he would not want to speak with me for a while. lol    

When Arlene got the hospital she went to the ER they told I was discharged she just about freaked out, they told I was on the 4th floor Catheter floor.

She spoke with nurses and she start filling out the papers she heard me talking with the doctors and they telling me how well I did and we were joking she could not understand why they congratulating me it was only a chest x-ray.

The doctor came out of the room and talked with her she could not believe it you could have knocked her over with a feather.

The reason we were laughing was I feel asleep while they were putting the shunts in my arm. I start to snore while I was on the table the doctor thought I was having trouble breathing. He has never had any one fall a sleep before.

Like I said it has been a long 8 months with up and downs I am finally starting to come around. I had more appointments than I know what to do with.

The doctor was quite happy that I had a service dog because having to work with Lucky was the ideal way to get out exercise. He said that people with dogs recover better because they have a reason to go out. I told him he should try with a guide dog.

I said with Lucky its like strapping yourself to a 90lbs bullet.

I got see Chris’s grad I was here for the kids birthdays and every day is a gift, although some times it does not feel like it.

As we come into the Christmas I am just happy to still be here.


I should post again before the holidays and in those immortal words.


Keep you stuck on the ice.


John & Lucky

I started a private Youtube page check it out I have some good video.

As I start feeling better I will add more video and photos


Wednesday, 1 January 2014

A walk with a Blind Guy!

Blog 36 January 1 2014
A walk with a Blind Guy!

As I wrote in my Blog in May 2013, that I have to apologies for not writing as much as I should have. I made that thou to write more and be on top of things, guess what it is now December 31, 2013 and this is my 3rd blog.
As you probably guessed I went through the summer de-toxin from medication that the doctor keeps on getting me to try.
I spent 1month getting use to the new meds and the next month expelling the side effects from it.
I did manage to do something’s over the summer not much but a few.
Lucky and I did put some Kilometers on over the summer on the days I felt good and we really started to click together as a team.
Our first evaluation was ok, we had a couple of issues but overall the school was happy.
Our 2nd evaluation went much better.
Like every new partner be it at work, friends or even a spouse you got to get to know the personality of your partner.
This follows true with a guide dog team, the exception is that you don’t have years to get to find all those little quarks you need to figure those things out quickly, especially when you are working as a team in Montreal. 
I found out a lot about him this summer and we spent a lot of time traveling we traveled, on the buses we traveled on the Metro and we walked a lot.
I found out he is not really a rural dog he works ok in that environment, but it’s not his strong showing. I look at it as having a really intelligent, child sitting in a class that is way to easy for them and as soon as something small happens they are distracted.
However when he is working in the city or in the subway he is as sharp as they come!
His traffic is fantastic his corners are great he brings me around the little cracks in the side walk.
If we are on the corner and he hears a siren he does not move.
It is these things you learn about your partner that makes you a good team. He learned from me to trust in me, he learned that on the street we are all business, but he also learned that when he is at the park and out of harness that is his time to have a break and sniff and roll and I don’t get
upset about it, well maybe a little since it takes a lot to brush him out and 2mins to roll in the grass and get covered clippings. This is all part of his personality
He also learned that I am not in a hurry when we are going somewhere and he can take all the time to assess the route and traffic.
Needless to say after finding all this stuff out between the both of us our second evaluation went a lot better.
I think the hardest thing he had to get use to was when I took our little guy to play pool on his birthday.
I tethered Lucky to my belt and had him follow me around the table while I played after the 1st game he got it and stuck really close by this proved to be a good work experience.
Over the summer our son Chris made a video for his class on what it is like to work with a guide dog if you ever wondered how we get through revolving doors, you will like this.
I acquired a piece of equipment that allows me to video while I walking so I am going to attach a video clip of Lucky and I going through the Subway up the escalators, outside and crossing some major intersections on our way to pick up a new modem plug.
You can expect more of these videos to come, but for now enjoy.

Happy New-year Joy , Health, Happiness most of all PEACE.

John & Arlene, Lucky and Family

Warning some of these are long. This is my first time 

Walk down town Montreal
Lucky taking a  break 

Going through revolving doors Montreal 1

Going through revolving doors Montreal 1a


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Blog 35 May 22, 2013

Blog 35 May 22, 2013
The 1st, 2nd and 6th
It has been a long time since a wrote a blog since (Jan 1, 2013) that I must apologies for not writing sooner. In fact I have not done much in the way of e-mails or responding to e-mails or reading comments or Jokes or witty comments, it has taken everything I had to just get through this semester.
I have been dealing with so much stuff that I just could not take on anymore. My doctor felt it necessary to keep trying to find that winning combination of lucky pills that would make it all better. After the 3rd time of trying a combination I told her for now think of it as when you get your security code wrong 3 times you loose access to that account. I told her it was for the same with me that was the third try there is no 4th!
I was trying to deal with 4 major things at that time. The 1st was my foot injury after healing one I got another, while compensating on side of foot it created another injury on the other. This meant more staying in bed and adapted transport, and for those who have never had the pleasure of adapted transport if you want to go somewhere you need the day to travel. If it is a 2hr trip you can count on 5 hours to get it done. If you have a dog, be prepared to share a taxi Car with 2 other adults and have your 80lb dog sit in your lap, Great fun and stressful on me and the dog!
So I missed some first very important dates and events. The first being it was a somber moment when the date came for the 1st anniversary of death of my very good friend Sylvain Downs, I don’t know how many times that  I wanted to call him just to say or stop by with Lucky our family still misses him. The next firs we celebrated Lucky’s 3rd birthday on Feb 14 but it was his first with us. The next first was Lucky and mine first year anniversary together as a team. We came together April 11 2012 and it has been great ever since.
We did our first year evaluation on May 3rd and went great. The next first was our youngest sons first year in College and although it is a special program trust me there was nothing special about the homework. He worked hard to learn and understand, he learned sciences, he had personal growth, he took two college courses and did really well. He had some hard times but no matter how hard or tried he was never quit! I have tell you this he is my Hero but to me and Arlene all our kids are our Hero’s!
As I am writing this Blog we are coming upon 2 major anniversaries. The first is the 2nd year of the passing of my nephew Eric I keep his picture on the wall along with Jagger because there dates are intertwined. The second is the anniversary of Jagger and have to tell you that as sad as that makes me feel, I see a lot of him in Lucky. I feel very privileged to have been a part of all of them.
The 6 anniversary of, talking at the schools. I was asked to come back and speak once again at the high school to the science class. The interesting part of this was I have now spoke to every student in the school on personal level.
It was the 1st year for Lucky and they loved him and enjoyed hearing about the whole process.
These talks are really no longer about what it is like to be visually impaired it is more about life and how you approach it. I talk about Eric and Jagger. I talk about how Eric was and his stand on bulling and talk about Jagger and how he was and on his lasts days made sure I got to the hospital and made sure I was okay.
People , ask me what are you doing with your Certificate Pastoral Ministry? I tell them sit in on one of my talks and find out!

I will be blogging more now.
We are on the Move once again wait for some more blogs we are doing our First walk- a-thon on May 26 2013 and we will doing it in our area from starting from our church and ending it will be a 4km walk.  
Here is a link to my online donation do not let the 0 donations scare you because we have raised some money.  


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Blog 34 January 03 2013 New Start

Blog 34 January 03 2013

New Start!

I love the start of a New-Year! It gives you a chance to put away the hard times you had over the last 12 months and it gives you the opportunity to have a fresh start for 12 more months.
 I have to start by apologizing for not writing a Christmas Blog or a New-Year eve Blog. Some might say I dropped off the earth! I assure you we have not.
I have been still trying to adjust to the new medication that the doctor gave me in October and trying to heal that foot injury both are very frustrating. The foot injury is healing quite well thanks in large part to my friend who has volunteered to change my dressings and make sure that no infections occur. It is most important especially over the holiday’s.
I have had the experiences with home nurses coming to change dressings and the overall experience has not been good. The problem with that is you don’t always get the same nurse and each one has their own way of doing things which sometimes causes a problem in treatment, which in turn causes a longer healing process. So to have someone close to help with the day to day management of the wound care is great and it takes the pressure off my wife is such a blessing. 
All that aside let me share a couple of thoughts with you. As we went into the holiday’s some great things happened. Lucky and I have celebrated our 8 month anniversary together. Yes 8 months I got Lucky on the 13 of April 2012 and we are now headed in to the 9 month as a team. We are doing well together.
We finished our first semester at university and he was great. I am always amazed on how they find their way after  only once going to a place. It was like old times we got off the elevator and he would bring me to class, it was awesome, he did well! We did a lot of kilometers/miles together not as much as I wanted but a lot.
As we came into the Christmas season of 2012 I realized I was not in the same place I was in 2011. It was our first Christmas without Eric and Jagger, we did not feel much like being apart of Christmas but our youngest son took care of that.
My wife had a gastro and we did not really celebrate much. This year we sat back to remember Eric and Jagger and we told some happy stories and good things we remember. Once again our youngest son and Lucky quickly reminded us that this was a Happy, Happy, Happy time of year. Our daughter came over and spent the Christmas Eve and to share in my birthday and it was nice.   She was not ready for our youngest and Lucky getting up at 5am, our youngest for gifts and Lucky for bathroom and food, and he is quite good at reminding you when it is time to eat!
Someone once asked me what it was like to have a new guide dog so young? I answered it like being 50 years old and having a child in the terrible two’s. Like every two year old when they are quiet you go and see what they are up too. Sometimes he is in mischief taking (socks and underwear) or there perfect angels sleeping most of the time it is first one. This is his sign of being board and it is time for a walk.
I also had Lucky out in our first snow and he loved it! I stopped at the park on the way to class and you guessed it, he could not wait to roll around in the snow. Every body who walked were laughing and I think this is why we are such a good fit loves to be outside no matter what and he is always up to having fun. I have to admit that we have not been out since we got the 50cm/ 3feet of snow, snow clearing is very slow here and not good.
Our 1st Christmas and New-year with Lucky was great. He was happy to get his new bed and a toy for Christmas, his other bed did not make it after an uncomfortable night sleep. It was quiet New-Year’s eve we had our good friends over, we had some finger food we watched a funny movie until midnight and we brought in the New year. As we hugged and kissed each other
It was nice to have Lucky with us to bring in the New-year he has been a good addition to our family.
So my New-Years resolution is much the same as last year. I am not promising to lose a hundred pounds that usually doesn’t work, I will train more not hard but more. I will blog more since we have worked out this med issue. If I manage to do one or two of these resolutions I am doing good!
The most important of all resolutions are! 2013 will not be my year, I am going to make 2013 my year!
I am not waiting for something to happen I am going to make something happen. This is what I did for 2012 and it was a good year. Yes there will be bumps, but if you keep in mind to make more good things happen than bad you will have a good year!

Have more Fun! If it is not fun I am not doing it!
I have to admit with some of the bumps we had in the road, we had a lot of fun in the process, and that is the key; (don’t for get to laugh at the little things and belly laugh at the big ones)!

Happy New-Year

John & Lucky and family 
Blessings to you all.      
Lucky waiting to open gift.

Lucky looking outside.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Blog 33 November 9 2012 Service

Blog 33 November 9 2012
We get many opportunities to serve but very few rarely do, and those who do get little reconnection. As we come to this time of remembrances I reflect on those soldiers who gave their lives for us! With the end of world war two the second war that was to end all wars and of course all the other wars that followed those wars it seems it is a never ending war all for different reasons. As Canada officially closed it combat role in Afghanistan and the US out of Iraq and their mission coming to an end in Afghanistan the threat of veterans being forgotten is unlikely. Although as the veterans from world war two pass-away we have created a whole new generation to take their place.  The most amazing part of this is the lack of respect that is shown in schools, work places, and even homes. It is almost as if people believe that their freedom and safety is their right and not a gift that was paid for with lives and great sacrifice.  We remember the soldiers that served but we forget the sacrifices that families and friends pay when they loose that one they love. When we talk about service we are also talking about those families that gave so much for us.
I had a chance to speak this week at the University for a Class on diversity what it is like being student with a handy cap. It was a great talk since the other two people that were to speak with me could not make it. I was asked to speak for two hours (for those who know me that is easy part). I got to hear a lot of things that you would not get here in a 30min talk. I spoke about the sacrifice that the puppy raisers did so I could have great dogs. I spoke about how Lucky saved my life 2 times in 20mins from cars not paying attention. They asked about the training we did and the sacrifice my wife made for being home with our son for a month on her own! Having to trust that our son would close the front door when he left the house never mind locking it if he closed it we are happy. My close friends helping my wife out, and being there as well as driving her to visit me! I speak about my sisters, who visited me while I was there and making sure that I was ok and feeding me. I got to speak about Jagger and Lucky and my commitment to them and there’s to me. I got to speak about the dedication that my family and friends give me on non conditional bases.
At the of the talk of course the students were very happy and I had a lot of questions, the professor was very pleased and impressed that I could talk and keep their attention and answer all the questions she was very pleased. As I was packing up my things and getting ready to leave a young man probably in twenties came up and asked if he could shake my hand. As we shook hands he said thank you and thank you for talking about your military experiences. He further went on to say that he is in the reserves and will be heading to Afghanistan in a few weeks for a tour providing security.
I stop what I was doing and put my hand out and said “ I want to thank you for your sacrifice and your service” he was amazed that someone thanked him. I like to think that maybe somewhere down deep inside of him that he got some hope that if something happens to him that he could bounce back. There is a great line from the movie the Big Red one. During a patrol the section comes across a memorial dedicated to the Big Red One division! The soldier asks how they put this monument up so fast? The sergeant replies they didn’t! This monument is from world war 1.
The soldier replies “yah but all the names are the same” Yes said the sergeant the names are all the same but the dates is new”!