Non-Standard

This Blog post began upon true contemplation of a question asked to me by my personal and professional mentor. The question was thus put to me: “Are you where God wants you to be?” This was at 17:45 on 15-November, 2013. It is only now, at 13:21 on the following day, a full 20 hours later, that I am ready to hit “Send”.  My friend, Derek, always told me: “Good things take time.” 1,600-odd words, 5 coffees (the last of which I’m currently sipping at gently) and 2 teas later I have arrived at my conclusion. My typical reaction when people begin a discourse about god is almost autonomous–my eyes begin to roll as I take a deep breath whose long exhale is paired with a sigh that stretches its length and I…immediately…begin..to…digress. This man deserves more than that. His experiences as a refugee from Zimbabwe are tied inexplicably to my illness (though it makes sense to us.) It has allowed him to truly understand a definition of things like isolation and abandonment, and the brilliant thing about this more-worldly-than-me individual is that he is from somewhere different. He is from a different continent. His skin colour is different. His manner of thought and the way in which he conducts business is different (there is a former employee of Parker who once told him: “anything you don’t know, we can teach you, but what you already know, we cannot.” The uncanny way he holds my head up and pulls my eyelids open so that I can see is different, albeit well suited to me, given my oft disdainful air for authority. Adroitly, the way in which Parker chose to deal with him is somewhat different. Fasten in y’all (hey, I’m just another poser Alberta boy by way of Calgary) and follow me through this incredibly introspective post, if you will. Tears, many due to sadness, more due to the overwhelming joy and satisfaction which begins to rise in me each time I draw some kind of seemingly enlightened conclusion (e.g.: “I Hate it When I Badtrip”) may follow. SFW, I will still call this 14A, as it may have an undesired effect on some. So Reader discretion advised.

Hi Bernard,

The attached image is what Quentin has and likely always will refer to it as “Power Saving Mode”. This is something which occurs daily. At noon. Probably at 2:00 PM also. 4:00 PM for posterity.

I perfected this art in my high school days (1995-2000). I was a silly, angry teenager who had a lack of respect for the way some individual projected their authority. If I even went to class, there was a high likelihood that I was not really paying attention. It worked for me. This manner of thinking came about because I’ve always been exceptional (full credit to both my Father (who embraced my love of all things tech) and my Mother (who more or less did everything else, from the very first story I wrote to my continued improvement in any and all academics.  She has always been there to steer me the right way. This spilled into my professional life; too, in the way I am so easily able to conduct myself properly when I am in a group of non-peers. And the thing that she has perfected is how to best frame things for me, and then allowing me to accomplish them myself (kinda feel like a stompy child (♥ you, Jo!) as I wrote that now.) But my experiences say I was sort of on the right-ish track; within the first month of the second grade, my instructor handed me the final exam for that year. I scored a 90% (notwithstanding, I am an October baby and I was right around the cut-off date—the effect of this was that I went from being the biggest, fastest, and strongest kid on the playground to being the smallest, weakest, and slowest. Malcolm Gladwell muses over exactly that in his book “Outliers”. I still remember my first day of grade 3, and being forced to catch up because I was previously occupied with grade 2. My schoolmate, Catherine, attempted to teach me cursive.  I got my first pair of glasses that same year. Thus, skipping a grade+glasses+honour roll student (until grade 9)=geek. It’s ok, I OWN my geekdom. The cherry on top? I was the only boy—I grew up with 3 sisters (2 older, one younger), an infirmed father (though unbeknownst to me in my youth, and truly until I fell victim to a disease by the very same name, though that is where virtually any similarities in our respective illness ends—and a mother who was forced to do it all.

 I’m not going to sugarcoat it: my MS has left me weathered. It has at the same time, regardless, taught me so much; you really can only truly get it if you suffer from it (sorry? You’d rather not know.). I have come to a few conclusions in this wizened, jaded state in which I exist:

The pathogenesis of my MS is different than that of my Father’s.

My disease progression is different than that of my Father’s.

My familial and financial situation is different than that of my Father’s.

My professional life is different than that of my Father’s.

My relative job security is different than that of my Father’s.

I’m starting to get the feeling that I am unique!

Fittingly the answer to that question must therefore be no, I am not where God wants me to be. Upon full contemplation, if he is in fact creator of all things, he made me unique. He made me different. I’ve always known this. Mom has always embraced this. Listening to everyone all the time is wearisome to a level incomprehensible to most (you can rest assured people always know either what is best for me or for best for my MS—when all the things I really need are things such as a hot meal, or someone to spend some time with me). I read Chicken Little at a young age (another testament to my Mother—she fostered both a will and a desire to read as well as write—and as it is with all things in under her tutelage, I ran with it…like the wind.) But such intangibles are so easily overlooked, though—and the real bit*h of it all is how impossible it is to elucidate others, in part because I vociferously refuse to walk around under a storm cloud. A further testament to my Mother—this Blog exists in large part because of her (though separate from the Catalyst, she is the metaphorical god-darned pit crew, keeping my fuel tank full, my Car clean and rightly oriented, even taking the lead when necessary and allowing me to drift behind her (sorry about all the #Nascar jargon, but it, like all things, is enjoyable in the right company.))

Those differences between my Father and I are inarguable, as inarguable as decisions based on emotion. I know this because I live it every day. For the rest of my time on this wonderful, hazard-ridden, beautiful, gorgeous, ugly nasty Earth (thanks KW!)

I feel a storm cloud beginning to form. Darn you, Mr. Patel. This is something you enjoy doing to me: you ask a question to which I already know the answer, and watch me bounce around like a rubber ball. Because you command my respect, and there is no lesson which goes unlearned, I owe you as much as to be pensive and really think about your interrogative, and eventually I figure out that you expect and want more  from me—because you know me, sir. You got a slate which was half blank in me. I’d say we did alright.

-Andrew

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It

I have been poked–keep in mind this is not a Facebook activity. For me, nothing beyond photos and videos of the family, my blog, the occasional (arguably) comedic status update, and keeping in touch with people I used to know. This is something, as it is with many others, which I enjoy. I believe that if you are going to think of a person as a friend there is the smallest, easiest, and most pleasant task that you must undertake—you must communicate with them.) It is not unusual for me to throw a quick hello to my friend, Angela (Angie) in Verona, my friend Luisa in Sao Paulo (now a vascular surgeon, if you can believe that!!) So keeping people in my life is very important to me. Why did you ever become friends?

On point, I have been poked. I have been prodded. I have turned my body into my own “Lake Springfield.” (no three eyed fish yet, thankfully).. I have been through 3 years of monthly chemotherapy, 2 surgeries (venoplasty in Costa Rica and an extremely invasive neurosurgery which took 12 hours over 2 days to perform and which I am just coming out of recovery from…), but still—it’s still there, jammed right where you think—that stick up my ass. While traditionally keep in touch with people that I have known, I suppose, upon further reflection that I equally loathe having to interact with those are not already stored under familiar/recognizable/safe to me. From birth I have maintained this nonsensical flat out refusal (I am really stretching back here) to interact socially (and professionally. And academically. And athletically. And romantically.) I will give you an example: my elder cousin was once a Camp Leader at Beavers. I still remember the extreme discomfort I felt the entire time I was away. The intent was likely to encourage me to begin thinking that “Scouts meet new friends, learn cooperation and teamwork and develop self-confidence”. It may accomplish that for some . I was never good at relaxing and letting my guard down. Entrenched I remained until two things occurred to which, contrary to what I thought, I had a positive reaction—my MS and the torrent of writing that was then unleashed. My MS because it forced me to stop being the twitchy, caffeine-addled, nicotine addict (I’m a smoker. I have been since I was 14.) Workaholic loner who wasn’t so great in  the aforementioned areas of my life.

Socially, I needed a proper lubricant for anything in this realm that I have ever achieved.

I prefer beer, but Goose will always. Glenfiddich would suffice in its stead.  That’s kind of what I should stick to.-  Rye turns me into a serious asshole, tequila and I got into a fight when I was 14 (it won) and have not made up.  I’m not a real drinker—so I stick to what I know wonderfully advertised overpriced branding and all.  Left to my own devices pre-MS, I  simply chose to fly below the radar as much as possible

Academically because I just didn’t want to play. I was an honour-roll student in my elementary school days, then grade 9 happened. I began smoking Pot, having the odd drink, smoking cigarettes, and being an insufferable human being known as a teenager. I preferred not going to class over going. As a result of this, my grades suffered. I nonetheless I obtained my (IBMY) High school Diploma. My application to the ridiculous institution of Cégep was met with a letter of refusal. By the Department of Computer Science (Captain Hindsight strikes anew!). My high-school History Professor always maintained that the only thing you need to walk out of High School with are the abilities to read and write. But High School in Quebec does not teach you to write properly. I guess that is what Cégep is for, but can’t Grade 12 get us there more quickly? The inanity of it made me want to pursue my education elsewhere.

Athletically because I’m just not so inclined. I was never a spectacular team player—my Father had to literally throw me onto the basketball court when I was 10. I did alright, but meh. Same with soccer and baseball, These things failed to captivate me. I began to grow more allured by screwing around than

Professionally is the least problematic of that list for me, but again, I stick to what I know. Parker scooped me up and essentially sponsored me. Parker has always been somewhat patriarchal to me. We continue to enjoy a symbiotic relationship to this very day.

Romantically because of that same stick shoved in that same place I mentioned earlier.

Despite the copious amounts of medication I have either been prescribed or elected to take OTC, that cursed stick there remains. I guess I will just have to learn to live with it. I’m learning each and every day how to live with my MS. I suppose a stick up my ass is no problem in comparion.

-A.D.

Jumping ship

I have moved my fair share, of this, you can rest assured. For a few years in Calgary, it was an every-six-months kind of thing (my profound thanks to the “Morrismoving Co, Inc.) but now I have found MY home–with Malissa, over in Forrest Hill, a stone’s throw from all the wonderful yuppiness that is incorporated in Westmount.

Wait a minute? Westmount? Malissa? What the heck is going on?

Let’s backup…

My last post was replete with whining about a Urologist, bantering on about a suprapubic catheter that I was weighing having “inserted”, and got everybody excited for my next round of surgery. I am happy to report that I have accomplished NONE of those things.

The Catheter insertion was good to go–and then next thing I know, I’m being asked to report to the Neuro for a 7:30 am start. They warn you in pre-op that you can be called at any time to report for surgery, but it always seems to happen at a time which conflicts with something.

So my my left hand continues to shake like a leaf in the wind, I’m still weighed down by my endless incontinence issues, but somehow, nothing can make the smile on my face fade. That just might be because…

I met someone. This may factor in to my disappearance, but that is no excuse. The writing that I post is my catharthis. There really was nothing in my life that I minded sharing–but what exists between Malissa and yours truly, well, I think that this is something I’d like to keep private. Needless to say, I’m incredibly happy, I have a beautiful girlfriend whose looks are rivaled only by the size of her heart…

And so now best piece of news; we found a beautiful apartment that we plan on moving into post haste! Actually, we took possesion Mar 10 and we’ve been living the life ever since! I’m excited and nervous and happy all at the same time. With apologies to my family for subjecting them to the fun of moving again, but this is is the one with a little more permanence.

So we’ll end here. I’ve been having difficulty blogging on the iPad – touch screen + tremor don’t go well together – pretty sure I’ve written this pot 4 times. No excuse, I’ve had this desire to get this post out. So quick recap:

1) Surgery is on hold until my platelet count rises–did I mention my second neurosurgery was put on hold? I’m just totally “Malissa-centric” lately, forgive me.

2) Met Malissa and she’s totally changed my life!

3) I am really going to redouble my efforts to keep my blog up to date. Just been busy.

Let’s keep it up, yeah?

-A.D.