Wally was declared an emergency last week and moved by ambulance to a long-term care facility — Extendicare Oshawa — where he will receive 24/7 nursing care. His weight has dropped to 101 lbs. The care he was receiving at the assisted living home was not adequate for his needs. His teeth have fallen out so he needs a special diet, and the state of his tailbone ulcer has reached such severity that he requires specialized wound care and constant rotating in bed to keep weight off the wound.
However, he almost gave a nurse a heart attack yesterday when on his own he got out of bed and hobbled over to the “parking spot on the wall” where his walker and wheelchair were placed. His undaunting spirit carries on.
Our daughter Trish helped me to tell him on Friday because he has feared moving to a nursing home and she worked out with him what to pack. While I had to go ahead and sign the papers, she waited with him for the ambulance. She said he waved good-bye to all his friends and staff at Kingsway as the paramedics wheeled him out on the stretcher.
Trish and I are relieved because we are impressed with the specialized care provided at Extendicare Oshawa. He’s also under the care of a doctor assigned to his case so his meds and wound care can be adjusted immediately if required.
For me, the last two months have been a nightmare of constant worry and advocating for corrective care on his part. Our family doctor, who saw Wally’s backside “wound”, and Durham’s Community Access Care forced the health ministry to move him ahead on the waiting list. We have been very fortunate to have such a caring family doctor, Dr. Stacey Ross, as well as determined neurologist, Dr. John Adams, of the Canada’s highly respected movement disorder clinic in Stouffville, Ontario.
On Saturday morning, I awoke so stiff I could barely walk and then I found it difficult to stay awake. My next-door neighbor drove me to Oshawa so I could visit with Wally for a few hours in the afternoon, and I promised to have dinner with him today. It will take him about a week to adjust to his new environment and for Extendicare to get his schedules and services working. He will receive special massage therapy together with personalized activities assigned along with his diet and wound care.
It will be some time before I go back to journaling about Wally’s battle with Parkinson’s on this blog or leading my Facebook group forward. I am exhausted from worry, lack of sleep and advocate intervention. Now that I can let go, my body is letting me know just how tired it really is. It’s unfortunately true: In our health system, if you’re asleep at the wheel, nothing gets done.
Thank you all for your loving support and prayers,
Play about PTSDKILL ZONE A LOVE STORY will run at the Sir James Dunn Theatre, 6101 University Avenue, Halifax from June 12 – June 16, 2013 https://flavors.me/heattheatre#601/tumblr
New Veterans Charter
Saying it had to modernize to reflect the new, unwrinkled face of the Canadian veteran, the federal government revamped legislation governing benefits for retiring and disabled soldiers in 2006. The New Veterans Charter, introduced by the Liberals under Paul Martin, backed by all parties and passed by the newly elected Harper Conservatives, was designed to meet the complex needs of veterans from the war in Afghanistan.
Young soldiers didn't want to sit at home, waiting for a cheque in the mail, reasoned the government. They wanted work in civilian society and to live fulfilled lives. The Veterans Charter would provide that by offering improved counselling, vocational training and one-on-one case management.
Veterans at the time warned that the new charter would drastically cut disability payments at a time when thousands were coming home wounded from Afghanistan. The changes, critics said, were all about saving the government millions at the expense of soldiers permanently disabled in the line of duty. As it turned out, these CRITICS WERE CORRECT.
© Copyright The Edmonton Journal
Afghanistan Mission Stats
•39,558 Number of Canadian Afghan veterans (defined by having spent 30 or more days in-country)
•4,181 Number of veterans receiving disability benefits whose disabilities are directly related to their service in the Afghanistan mission, as of Dec. 31, 2011.
•40 Number of veterans who did five tours
•3,680 Number of female Afghan veterans (9.3 per cent of total)
•338 Approximate number of female veterans receiving disability benefits directly related to service in Afghanistan
•158 Number of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan
•82 Number of dead who were from rural communities
•579 Number of veterans with injuries related to service in Afghanistan from Edmonton, the highest of any single city
•63 Percentage of veterans who were married or in common-law relationships
•635 Number of Canadian soldiers wounded in action in Afghanistan between 2001-2011
•1,412 Number of Canadian soldiers injured in non-battle situations in Afghanistan between 2001-2011
•8 Estimated percentage of Canadian soldiers suffering Afghanistan-related PTSD
•5.2 Estimated percentage of Canadian soldiers suffering other Afghanistan-related mental health issues
Department of National Defence, Library of Parliament, Veterans Affairs Canada, Office of the Veterans Ombudsman
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Bonnie Toews is a former business journalist reporting for logistics and private security magazines and now a novelist, speaks out for the victims of genocide and war, from the peacekeepers and coalition forces trying to save suppressed peoples to the children and innocent civilians caught in the crossfire of opposing powers, ideologies and cultures. Current writing "Trilogy in Treason." Member of Military Writers Society of America, American Authors Association and ACFW.