I have been using PCs since i was a child (age 6). I remember my heart in my throat the first time I plugged:

 

C:\> format C: /u/q/s

 

into my old 80286 with (wait for it) 8,192 bytes of RAM. This is a very old measure of memory, and very small. When it comes to PCs, all you need to know is that all the numbers are based on 1/8ths. This is because, as my Father always told me: “There are 8bits in a byte”. It wasn just dumb luck that I landed in a job whose products were like nomenclature (part-numbered) with a similar sizing based on that same 1/8th multipliere. I guess that’s why I got it right away (after my colleague told me to “bring your Tube Fittings catalogue home, read section A, and then come see me if you have questions.” Remember: never a lesson unlearned. So, tout simplement, I went home that very night with my silly catalogue (I’ve always been a keener–I could make some dramatic claim that I was a precocious child, but this, I do not believe to be true. It all boils down to the people, places, and things in my development, right? So start with the family. They are permanent. It doesn’t matter where I am, I will still count on them to feed me strength to keep on fightng this unwinnable and thus pointless war. So I suppose I found that reason!

Each and every one of my family members provide direction. Whether it is intentional (probably not) or somehow created by my big, beautiful, ugly, damaged, creative, diseased brain ( thanks KW!)

I truly believe that we are all just direct products of our interpretation of the people, places, and things around us. I’ve been using: “we are all products of our environment, for years, mostly as a good way to pick girls up. Love me, hate me, it won’t change my belief. I’m many things, or I have been many things, but I do my best to be genuine and honest. This one has sparked some fun conversations! Disengenuine I am not…

 

Moving along, it is in fact my perception of… everything, to be perfectly honest, is different (always has been). It is quite simply my perception of events around me. There are not, insofar as I am aware, who want to be sick. So, since I was handed this bag full of MS, I am over-freaking-joyed that I have MS. I failed Bio 104 because I’m a bad student (that whole problem with authority thing), but when you have the same people, places, and things which I have, you might be lucky, like me, and be given the right direction. Charting your own course is a piece of cake.

 

There’s no mystery for me. I am well versed in Catholicism, one of the first books I read was “The Picture Bible”. I still maintain to this very day that, perceived as a work of fiction. It has lessons which, despite the fact that I now consider myself fully atheist.

 

“a person who disbelieves or lacks belief in the existence of God or gods”. Yup, that’s me alright. I complain about my MS a lot–it kinda comes with the turf. But can you fault me if those people, places, and things which gave me such wonderful insight didn’t really have a chapter called “How Not to Become Jaded if You Develop MS”. Honestly, I am friggin’ ruined. When people tell me they’re in pain, I just snicker quietly to myself as memories oif retching over the toilet from chemo, every single needle I’ve ever had, having open-brain surgery, venoplasty, and every fall (I have an artful way of falling. I weigh nothing and my legs are still able to bear weight, if not otherwise disabed (and just for shits and giggles, I am experiencing moderate edema in my legs, making them difficult to manoeuvre–heavy and tricky to hang on to. I am told by Dr. Giacomini confirmed my suspicion that this is a common problem for people who are in wheelchairs.) I know a soluttion to the poblem. Maybe another post. This one is about the people, places, and things, my perception of them, and the coolway in which it allows me to see things.

 

I likely would have enjoyed many successes in the life I was living. Instead, I enjoy all the stuff that most find tedious. And that is because I have no choice but to invent new ways of doing them. I find it amusing and rewarding every time I solve another puzzle. And this is because of the people, places, and things, particularly in my childhood, which have shaped my perception so that I’m able to deal. Most of the time, it’s just more an external manifestation of the oeople, places, and things to which I have been exposed.

I think they did alright.

-A.D.

People, Places, and Things

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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

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.

Insanity vs. Inanity

This is just ludicrous. I didn’t even realize the amount of stuff I was polluting my body with. I worked so hard to remain as objective as possible through–everything–that I stopped caring about being poked and prodded and just started to think of my body as a (broken) machine and was a compliant patient. Through it all. Now I find myself no longer beholden to Big Pharma. For now; the truth is, at the moment, there is nothing to modify the natural course of this disease. My disease. Realistically, I will likely need to resume treatment. But not tomorrow… Insanity meets inanity in this post!

 

I would like for all to know that while my information is accurate, I am in no way a medical professional. Further, MS as it was just covered is specific to me—we all have our own unique biochemical footprint.

My name is Andrew Durso, I am 30 years old. In 2007, I was diagnosed with a chronic, lifelong illness—Multiple Sclerosis (MS). I was counseled by my Neurologist to choose between 4 medications— Copaxone, Rebif, Avonex, and Betaseron (the only available first-options at the time, known as the C.R.A.B. drugs). What did I know of such things? My decision was thus based entirely on the method of administration and my relative comfort level with injecting myself. Thus, my options became: a subcutaneous injection (known as ‘SQ’, frequently referred to as ‘Sub-Q’, or under the skin) every day (Copaxone), a different Sub-Q injection 3 times a week,  an intramuscular (IM) injection once a week (Avonex), or a a subcutaneous (SQ) injection every other day (Betaseron).

I settled on Rebif. My disease progressed quickly. Within 8 months of my diagnosis, I was confined to a wheelchair. Six treatments and two surgeries later, the most incredible thing happened to me.

As of March 1, 2013, I have not consumed a single pharmaceutical product. I have instead been medicating exclusively with Medical Cannabis. I purchased a battery operated, portable vaporizer to facilitate consumption. I asked for and received a medical exemption to purchase, carry, and possess marijuana.

Please understand–I have a great job. I have an amazing family. I thought my days with pot were behind me. But this is no longer high school. It is a FACT that I am enjoying good health right now. Understand: I don’t want to get high. I’m sick and need to medicate.

I now consume Medical Cannabis for all that stuff that I was taking those 20 pills a day for. And, for me, it works.

 

 

Medcation History:

Prescribed:

-Baclofen – 10 mg tablrets 4 times daily (to control spasms, medical cannabis achieves the same effect)

-=Clonazepamn – 0.5mg pill 2 times daily (for tremor control – medical cannabis achieves the same effect)

Detrol L.A. – 4 mg capsule 2 times daily (to calm my overactive bladder muscles – medical cannabis achieves the same effect)

Treatments:

Rebif – 44mcg injected 3 times weekly (interferon 1a)

Tysabri – infused in a infusion centre. Dosage is based on weight, every 4 weeks

Mitoxantrone – chemotherapy1 agent used primarily to treat leukemia, 1.5L infused at hospital every 4 weeks.

Cyclophosphamide – chemotherapy1 agent used to treat various Cancers, 1.25 infused every 4 weeks for 3 years with future regimen of ever 8 weeks.

-Current intent is to resume Tysabri.

Surgeries:

-CCSVI venoplasty

-Open brain surgery and installation of Neurostimulator for tremor control

Over-the-counter (OTC):

3.1,000 IU Vitamin D twice daily

4.350 mg of Calcium Citrate or 500 mg of Calcium Carbonate twice daily

7.1 horse-pill sized multivitamin

8.Omega-3-6-9 capsules (containing 400 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA thrice daily

 

1                   Chemotherapy always indicated or use with steroids (1L of Solu-Medrol delivered via infusion and unknown quantity of Zofran (anti-nausea drug delivered via infusion.

Andrew Durso
Vice President
Tristan Williams MS Foundation (TWMSF)

Resources:

Neurology-2003-Goodin-1, obtained from http://www.neurology.org/content/61/10/1332.full.pdf‎
MS Society of Canada_ available at http://www.mssoiety.ca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Panel

Something more universal; anybody, with or without MS, may be able to relate. It starts for me with my own personal MonSter. It is the cause behind much grief. It is equally cause for much celebration—it’s simply question of perspective. Grief, however, for the implied reason–I have a neurological disease. I’ve got a problem you can liken to electrical wiring. The wires in THE PANEL (my brain) are no longer properly insulated (the insolation around nerve is done by this wonderful, self-replicating fatty substance known as myelin).

The result is THE PANEL (my brain), with DAMAGED INSULATION (myelin), is trying to complete a circuit that that is missing a crucial link, and is thus doomed to fail. Improper INSULATION (myelin) to the wiring in THE PANEL (my brain) hinders not only the dispatching (COMING) but also the reply (GOING) of any piece of data processed by your PANEL (your brain). And the time it takes to squirt an ELECTRICAL SIGNAL (synapse) through that gooey, slimy layer of INSULATION (myelin) to the right part of THE PANEL (my brain) is referred to as latency. Improper INSULATION (myelin) becomes a MonStrous fire hazard.  I’ve  sauntered out alive each and every time, but only after I blow more taxpayer dollars by calling the FIRE DEPARTMENT (corticosteroids—while I personally respond extremely well to and do not suffer any of the side-effects associated  with turning your adrenal glands on overdrive via some external mechanism, in this case medications known as Solu-Medrol (delivered intravenously) or Prednisone, its tablet counterpart—dispensed in quantities of 5 mg  as well as 50 mg—for those times the FIRE DEPARTMENT (corticosteroids) needs to be called in to save the day.

 

Because of this disruption to my neural network by this stupid, fatty substance known as myelin, I had to call the stupid FIRE DEPARTMENT (corticosteroids–I have them on speed dial).  and only once I’m EVACUATED (remission), am I able to assess the damage. There’s no telling HOW MANY (Multiple) SCARS (Scleroses, or Sclerosis when pertaining to MS) will be left behind. The most amazing bio-electrical machine is your body; it’s neither finicky nor selective like the Marines and has no problem leaving a man behind. THE  PANEL (my brain) quickly assesses and notes any discontinuities, overwriting or rerouting the original, projected path and making necessary amendments what is the greatest ally you will ever have, your brain. As with most naturally occurring phenomenon, it takes the path of least resistance. Your PANEL (brain) and mine are wired the exact same. The cause of my problem is that disruption of the WIRING (synapses) to MY PANEL (my brain). Once THE FIREMEN (Corticosteroids) are finished extinguishing the blaze, I normally emerge from the FIREunscathed. But there is no telling what may be damaged or lost:

“Higher early relapse frequencies (FIRES) and shorter first inter-attack intervals (a great deal of FIRE, back-to-back and in need of an endless string of FIREMEN) herald more rapid deterioration via interaction with the neurodegeneration (I don’t like using the word, but it is the ultimate effect–death; while many links in this stupendous bio-electric machine can regenerate, that silly fatty tissue around my nerve endings, once victim to a stray burst from that improperly INSULATED (myelin) PANEL (my brain) is left unable to regenerate tissue which was BADLY SCARRED (Sclerosis). There are a number of ongoing studies investigating myelin and the mechanism your body uses—my limited understanding is that it has something to do with oligodendrocytes–innately, with neither your attentiveness nor your focus, to regenerate that hooey-gooey, slimy, INSULATION (myelin) around your PANEL (brain) and EVERY CONNECTION (this is represented in everything you do) in your HOME (your body).

And that’s what I need to submit to The Gazette or start going to Elementary Schools and tell the kids this pretty neat story about Electric Panels, Firemen, and how they saved me. More than once…

————————————————————————————————————————————And now here’s something you’ll really dislike:

The above was a perceptive post; it is bibliographical recount of the experiences I’ve undergone since my diagnosis with relapsing, remitting Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in May 2007. I would like for all to know that while my information is accurate, I am in no way a medical professional. Further, MS as it was just covered is specific to me—we all have our own unique PANEL (brain).l.

Do not take this medication if you:

–          are allergic to prednisone or any ingredients of this medication

–          have an internal fungal infection

–          will be given a live virus vaccine (e.g., measles, mumps, rubella, yellow fever,  BCG)and are taking large immunosuppressive doses of prednisone

The side effects listed below are not experienced by everyone who takes this medication. If you are concerned about side effects, discuss the risks and benefits of this medication with your doctor. Side-effects may include:

–          acne (was on Minocyclin at the time, so no adverse reaction)

–          diarrhea (for me, this is kind-of an unfortunately messy good thing)

–          constipation (this is a reality I deal with by doing something as simple as simple as eating 2-3 prunes a day, maybe pair it with a daily softener which has no detrimental long term effects)

–          increased appetite (I can more than use the extra calories. Remember, I was dignosed May 1st 2007, I was in a wheelchair by January 2010.  The first 32 months with my MonSter was just relapse, after relapse. After relapse! Steroids brought me back, from what I felt, but I suppose I’ll never know if all those tablets of prednisone (25 x 50 mg, 1,250 mg, or 1.25 GRAMS every other day for 10 days- This went for a month. During the 4 weeks my cortisol levels were unnaturally high, much like myself, they gave me the capacity, determination, and plain old-fashioned grit where:

  1. I was able to work full time
  2. I was still able to shower and shave autonomously
  3. I was able to lug my laundry down a flight of stairs and able to fold and sort everything in a typical, neurotic Durso-Gabriel way
  4. I was euphorically happy (that is a side effect the NHS neglected to mention—Euphoria. It can kind-of crack you out. It’s kind of like busting a HUGE rail. The nice part is that during my love affair with Prednisone, Doctors at that juncture prescribed a taper dose. This lessened the shock to my system—as the artificial Cortisol clears my system, my adrenal glandsfire back up and maintain my body’s cortisol level. This is no longer in practice thanks, in part, to crack heads like me…

–          increased sweating (n/a to me, may have been a secondary effect of the Minocyclin)

–          menstrual problems (n/a)

–          nausea (no, no—nothing short of chemotherapy does that to me)

–          reddish-purple lines on arms, face, groin, legs, or trunk (nobody has ever said anything)

–          thin, shiny skin (again, n/a)

–          trouble sleeping (it’s called Temazepam)

–          unusual increase in hair growth (it’s as good as gone on my dome!)

–          premature bone decalcification (this is the big fat ugly issue with artificially enhancing your adrenal functioning. I have spoken about this time and time again. No doctor would ever agree to my continued usage. It’s this wicked-amazing pill that eliminates a broad majority of my MS-related symptoms. I can supplement with all the vitamin D and Calcium I’d like, but I have been told by Mark Freidman himself: “They will kill you.”

 

This was a warning I took to heart. I have been undergoing my own personal trial of sorts. I felt I was just shoving pill after pill down my gizzard. They do not cost me anything thanks to ol’ Parker, so I was never reluctant to take them. Every day, I was taking:

  1. Detrol LA twice daily
  2. Minocyclin twice daily
  3. 1,000 IU Vitamin D twice daily
  4. 350 mg of Calcium Citrate or 500 mg of Calcium Carbonate twice daily
  5. 1 mg Clonazepam twice daily
  6. 10 mg of Baclofen 4 times daily
  7. 1 horse-pill sized multivitamin
  8. Omega-3-6-9 capsules (containing 400 mg of EPA and 200 mg of DHA thrice daily
  9. I was taking 5 mg of folic acid twice daily due to an unusually low platelet count, which was my first WIN since beginning this experiment; it rose to a respectable 166 in my last complete-blood-count (CBC), well within the tolerance level for a second open brain surgery.
  10. 5 mg of Cialis daily while Malissa and I were dating—I discontinued it when I began this experiment, and will now never know whether this played into my fluctuating platelet count

 

Since March 1st, 20113, I have not consumed any pharmaceuticals beyond #7. I have instead asked for and received a medical exemption to purchase, carry, and possess marijuana. Look, I have a great job. I have an amazing family. I thought my days with pot were behind me. But I now consume it primarily for all that stuff that I was taking those 20 pills a day for. And, for me, it works. I invested in a portable vapourizer, which is a clean way to smoke.

Gimme a break, it’s not like “I was ripping the shit like it’s my motherf*cking last hit.” I invested in a portable vaporizer and this is the way I now medicate.

 

-A.D.

 

Resources:

 

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Bust%20a%20rail

http://www.canadianvitaminshop.com/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2892939/

 

I love it when i WIN

For Ace Milner…

I love it when i WIN. Let me explain some quick concepts and tell you a lovely story about the WIN Strategy, where I learned what WINing is, and the methods I use to keep WINing. It comforts me enormously to write. A blank page is my personal retreat to compartmentalize and truly think.

Where on Earth did I learn something as obscure as the WIN Strategy? It may sound like one of many corporate strategies that shift frequently. It’s not. Parker taught me how to make it a way of life. Similar to everything else Parker Hannifin and my peers under their employment taught me, it was repeated. Again. And again. And again… This kind of indoctrination is precisely what I needed. I suppose I craved structure even in my youth.

the following is what has been playing on repeat in my mind since 2002.”The foundation of the Win Strategy formalized the idea that encouraging employees to take action and ownership in their work will enable us to improve our performance and achieve our goals.

Remember when I said I own my disease? If you missed it, see above. My peers and I were equally committed to fostering a clean and standardized workplace. We had a common goal–increasing efficiency. Parker challenged me to achieve this by rewarding me for anything, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, to expedite our arrival at our destination. The ultimate goal is the bottom line, and this is what Parker owns. From their corporate governance to the thick of the shipping bureau, the customer service desk, or the manufacturing floor, all follow the same line of thinking—if I can make my job easier (make more money for the company), why not do it (increase product flow from assembly to end-use hands, which results in better everything. Your product comes from manufacturing with more speed. Wait times decrease. Cash flow becomes invariably more fluid. And what does this wonderfully innovative and well-oiled machine create? A renewable energy source (or idea source) which comes not from some consulting company, but from the guy who spends his days running the machine, or the Order Desk worker getting reamed out by a client because they have open orders which  haven’t yet shipped. These are the people Parker empowers to improve performance.

And so, it was (and hopefully still is.)Sheer brilliance—when did asking the person who manufactures something how to make the process better become novel? Parker taught me much. University showed me to focus on the task at hand. All you need to do is open your eyes—it’s as simple as that. In what is an almost Jobsian (I haven’t been keeping up-to-date with my pop-culture knowledge—did I just make up a new word that pins the efficiency and creativity of Apple (I’m still and likely always will be a hater) onto the shoulder of Steve Jobs?) Regardless,, the indelible lessons learned over the course of my career are now serving me well. When I successfully navigate my way through the piecemeal setup in my bathroom and get into the shower autonomously, well folks, that’s a WIN.  When I get 6 loads of laundry done in a day (granted, it should never get that way—that’s where ownership comes in,) that’s a WIN. The fact that I have been off all pharmaceuticals since May is a huge WIN.  So Parker’s corporate mantra has been somewhat modified:

The foundation of the Win Strategy formalized the idea that encouraging employees to  (I must) take action and ownership in their work (everything I do—trust me, it’s all work) (it) will enable us (me)  to improve our (my) performance and achieve our (my) goals.”

The transformation of the philosophy behind everything Parker has been a tremendously beneficial thing for me, far as things go. It was only made possible when I paired everything Parker with University–I began to notice that ‘I was able to take pause, orient my thoughts, and work through a problem.  I owe just as much to two entry level University English classes as I do to Parker—they taught me business, school gave me focus, often an ability to see what is so blatantly obvious that it flew right by me. Notwithstanding, I have an overabundance of time to think. I have an affinity for obscurity—some ideas are good, some bad. As long as I keep trying, I will WIN.

Resources:

http://www.parker.com

Concessions

Before you begin this, bear in mind that in the end, all things are equal. “All living organisms have mechanisms to sense and respond to changes in their environments” – Young LR, Oman CM, Watt DGD, et al. (1984). “Spatial orientation in weightlessness and readaptation to Earth’s gravity”. Science 225: 205–208.

I have not at this point learned to dance. I mean dance, not the senseless jumping around and flailing of my imbs like back in what now feels like a separate life from the one I currently exist in. I’m smiling to myself because I was sort of given a unique opportunity—I have had many experiences throughout my youth as an able-bodied man. I have lived in Montreal and Calgary, I have had a driver’s license, I have owned a vehicle. I’ve held the same job since 2002. I have opened a bank account. I have applied for and received a line-of-credit as well as a credit card. I have had what I would like to think of as a successful dating career. Some say better to have loved and lost. To those adage-lovers, I say: “Are you kidding??” But through everything, I never learned to dance.

It is perched just out of reach in what is apparently a never-ending battle between the things that I have always wanted, and all those concessions which I must take into account under the “things I no longer have the physicality for. “ Still—I never learned to dance.

I am alright with wheeling onto the dance floor with very intention of doing what I have traditionally done…bust a proverbial move, as it were.

It grows wearisome, this never-ending game of keep away which  I have no choice but to play. Learning the most effective way to relegate myself to amending my traditional understanding of dancing Is just one more thing that I must adapt to. It doesn’t require much effort- I have always tried to just help people. I maintain this attitude to this very day. I suppose I have being brought up Parker to thank for this. I have no idea how many times we discussed identifying root causes of problems, advanced problem solving tactics, and watched as a fortune 500 company made concessions to keep our customers happy. Consider this a corporation of such stature making concessions to a Mom & Pop Shop! Did I ever take that lesson in, eh? Because it is that Mom & Pop Shop who pay the bills. I liken such a viscerally corporate entity making concessions to end-use account to me making concessions to my disease (any reading this who may be engaged in business practices with Parker may have noticed a comparison between my end-use accounts and my disease. I apologize for this. The fact that I have taken pause for even a second should show with the utmost clarity what kind of company Parker Hannifin is.

While I may have been forced redefine something as casual as dancing, it is brought to me in the only way that I would possibly make a concession such as this (words are very important to me—they always allowed for flexibility in my high-school years, which was always a pleasant change from the rigidity of Science.) The familiarity I have been building over a lifetime with all these words that I am now forced to redefine is difficult for me. It is a bitter pill that I must take–those definitions are comforting to me, but like everything they’re fleeting.

I’d like to say that I do not like the word handi-capable. I find the hybridization of these words (handicapped and capable) borderline offensive. I know that i am disabled. And I also know that I OWN MY DISEASE (in the words of one Jesse Pinkman: “bitch.”) My disease doesn’t own me. Instead, we have a 60/40 split. Trust me; I was left out of the negotiations.

I also know that the final truth is that I must respect my disease–otherwise, I pay the price. And just as it is with many things in this world, the price follows the societal trend and only increases with time.

But still, in the depth of experience that I have been amassing is all part & parcel to the person I am, love me or hate me. I suppose that in the end, whether I can dance is irrelevant. What all this writing has culminated in is the realization that I must concede. In parts of life beyond what I have known for a lifetime vis-à-vis the practical definition of words. And thus, I will adapt. It’s i. It’s in my nature. My professional background has fostered experience dealing with the most irate customer I have ever known—my illness. That’s it. There is so much seemingly grim finality when many are living with a chronic illness. I chose, therefore, to just think of it as another bad day at work.

With my most irate customer who persistently has me making concessions.

-A.D.

Resources:

Fatigue, sleepiness, and physical activity in patients with multiple sclerosis, Merkelbach S, Schulz H, Kölmel HW, Gora G, Klingelhöfer J, Dachsel R, Hoffmann F, Polzer U © 1984, Heinrich-Braun-Klinikum Zwickau, 08056, Zwickau, Germany. stefan.merkelbach@hbk-zwickau.de

Statistical data courtesy of StatsCan.