Thursday, February 26, 2009

Okay I'm biased For Good Reason

Thursday, February 26, 2009
After a week we finally received our van from Shoppers Home Health Care. For some reason the two side doors decided they would no longer operate automatically which meant you could open the door manually and unfold the ramp yet I could not utilize the van on my own besides they required repair.

We brought it in at Shoppers Home Health Care, of course the diagnostics pointed to an electronic module which was not in stock and had to be ordered from Braun the company who modifies the vehicle. My wife picked it up yesterday after work and everything works fine.
I've always loved Toyota vehicles "I'm on my sixth" because quite frankly I've never had a serious problem with them, you turn the key and they return the favor. Maintenance is predictable and breakdowns are a rare occurrence. Since we've had this modified Toyota van we've experienced two malfunctions the first one well it simply wouldn't start, made a clicking noise but that was it. When CAA opened the hood to boost the vehicle I noticed the original Toyota battery was replaced by another manufacturer's battery.
The first thing I did was go to Toyota and have an original battery installed, you can't tell me both are compatible when one carries a two-year warranty and the other a seven year warranty. There is a difference there, apparently the cheque for the Toyota battery is in the mail.

The automatic door and ramp problem was caused by a module manufactured by Braun or a subcontractor and not an original Toyota part.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that from our brief experience with this vehicle it appears that the majority of problems we will encounter throughout its life will be caused by parts not manufactured by Toyota.

It is difficult to turn on the television today and not here something about bailing out our North American auto industry, GM is looking for an additional $10 billion and I'm not certain what Ford or Chrysler are doing. I can't help but wonder why we should pour billions into the automotive industry while companies such as Norton are permitted to go bankrupt and lay off thousands of people even without severance.

The way I see it if you build reliable products you may suffer a dramatic decline in sales during a recession yet your previous customer base and reputation will support you. On the other hand if if you build unreliable products you will fail plain and simple no matter how much money is injected into your company, couldn't our money be spent in a better way?

Over 95% of Toyota owners say they would purchase the same vehicle if given the opportunity, if my memory serves me correctly the percentage for North American vehicles from the big three was something like 60%. Doesn't that say something?

There I've vented and feel better for it.

As for the MS side of things we are still trying to raise funds for our walk, it amazes me how people will send you $50 + bouquets of flowers when you die of a disease yet they have a hard time coming up with two bucks to sponsor you when you're living and need it most don't understand I just don't.

On the construction front apparently all the parts and items have been ordered, work should start in approximately 2 weeks. I'll believe it when I see it.

Have a great day

Friday, February 20, 2009

My Fundraising Picture

Friday, February 20, 2009

I could have possibly selected a nicer picture for my MS fundraising MS Society of Canada page least that's the feeling I got after my wife saw the picture.
Of course I have many so-called normal pictures you know the ones that you see everyday of people at special occasions or just everyday pictures depicting life as normal.
My goal in selecting this picture was to show something out of the ordinary the different faces MS can have. I have to be honest and admit that not too many people had seen this photo as most would think it's quite embarrassing to post yet it is MS and what I live with each and every day.

MS is unpredictable, most peoples symptoms come and go. The common theme or comment is "I Have MS But MS Does Not Have Me." To which I say bull.
I will be the first to admit that having a positive attitude when dealing with this type of disease is essential it provides strength. If you believe that you can overcome this disease by following special diets, using bee sting therapy or any one of the many so-called cures out there I tilt my hat for your efforts. Yet let me tell you from personal experience that when MS decides to strike by shutting down organs in your body well I don't care how positive you are what diet you are following or to what you credit your well-being I can guarantee you it will bring you down.
Plain and simple when your brain does not receive signals from your organs those organs will not operate or function the way they should and as a result you will have to bend or succumb to the limitations placed upon you. That is not to say that you should not remain positive and optimistic yet try to remain realistic.
I know enough about this disease to understand and accept its course. It comes as no surprise to me that one day I am fine and on another day I'll take a fall and end up with a bruised aching body. Even worse a while back my bladder stopped functioning the way it should as a result I was forced to wear a Foley catheter first to empty my bladder which had accumulated over 1000 mL of urine when the normal quantity is less than 400 mL. After reading and studying yet another part of our anatomy I found that there are multitude signals which are transmitted to and from the brain by way of the spinal cord, these signals encompass everything from giving you a sense that you must go and when you're ready opening the passage for the urine to be expelled and finally constriction of the bladder to force the fluid out. Simple enough yet if any of signals goes astray you are left with a full bladder, an extended bladder finally a UTI or urinary tract infection which can lead to serious complications.

They installed the Foley catheter to first empty my bladder which provided immediate relief, the Dr. decided to leave it in for several days in order to provide time for my bladder to regain its normal shape as it had been stretched. After five days the Foley catheter was removed yet two days later I was back in emergency and I had it reinstalled. This of course the week before my spouse and I were planning on spending our 30th wedding anniversary in Las Vegas.
I requested the catheter be removed and to receive training in self catheterization I had no intention of going to Vegas with a bag strapped to my chair. The training went well although it is somewhat intimidating and believe me if you have any sense of dignity it is lost at this time. Under the watchful eye of a nurse you begin by disinfecting the area in question then you lubricate the catheter which is basically a hollow tube approximately 1 foot long. It must be kept sterile so it is important that you insert the tip of the catheter into your penis without touching anything if you do you have to start all over again.
The tube is inserted very slowly, very slowly until which time as the tip of the catheter forces its way through the opening into your bladder. If there is any pain it is at that moment yet it only lasts for a second or two, once the tube has entered your bladder urine immediately starts to flow through the tube and hopefully into a receptacle you are holding with your other hand. Once done you extract the catheter very slowly in order to capture all of the urine then it's a matter of removing the catheter throwing it out if your insurance plan is good or keeping it to wash it for reuse if your insurance plan is cheap. I was fortunate and I wouldn't have cared either way the risk of infection far outweighed the cost of a catheter.

That is just one example of what can be encountered with MS yet there are so many. Shortly before our return to Gatineau from Toronto I started losing my eyesight from my left eye and lost it totally it took almost one year for my sight to return which it did with no medication whatsoever. Obviously there was no scarring on the optic nerve causing permanent damage.

Finally just because you see me and I appear well does not mean everything is working well, I know enough about the disease to understand that no matter what type of MS you have or even what type of medication you are taking you are only delaying the inevitable.

In closing I wanted to show you a real picture of what MS was like and I trust that this explanation may help you appreciate and understand it more than you did before.

Take care

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday, February 16, 2009

really wasn't planning on raising funds this year my wife and I have participated in the walk against multiple sclerosis for the past 14 years and felt we were pretty much deserving of a break from it all.
As this year's walk is just around the corner, turns out it's impossible for me to look the other kids as young as three are currently being diagnosed with MS.
My justification for not getting involved this year related to the lack of progress in the development of viable treatments for progressive Multiple Sclerosis. Most if not all of the advances being made are for relapsing remitting MS or secondary progressive MS, in a way I felt cheated, why should I raise funds towards something that will provide no personal benefit?
Coming to grips with what I was living through I recognized it as selfishness, a sense of bitterness not directed at those who work to find a cure rather a feeling of frustration since they haven't found anything for me myself and I. Realizing I am not alone in this fight does not negate the fact that every morning is a struggle, the simplest tasks are arduous at best and at the end of the day I am most always exhausted.
Turning a blind eye will certainly not help our fight against this disease, quite frankly it is impossible for me to stand by and do nothing. Personally I am resigned to the reality of being wheelchair bound permanently at least till the day I leave yet if by chance my efforts "your efforts" bring forth some type of treatment in the years to come it would be a tremendous victory.
You will never know how strong my desire was to put this behind me this year I cringed just thinking about it, I hate fund-raising and after so long you get the point where you lose hope. No matter what type of MS you are burdened with each form is one hell of a mountain which for me is proving impossible to climb so i'll hang on to what I have for dear life. If what we raise can in some small way serve as a stepping stone to a cure at least we will have given it our very best.

You can pledge and help me in many ways. First there is the MS website if you go to this site press pledge a participant then enter my name Michael Halashyn you will be able to enter the amount of your pledge.

A second means is to bid on my MS bear posted on eBay which you can find by copying and posting the following link in your address bar.

Finally if you are really strapped for funds you can send me whatever you can a dollar or two by using PayPal, my PayPal account is

If you still can't find it in your heart to make a donation then please keep your dollar there is no doubt that one day you'll be looking for help in some way shape or form you see if there is one justice in this world it is that we will all pass no matter what and the majority will encounter some suffering along the way.
God bless

Friday, February 6, 2009

Friday, February 6, 2009

Yesterday night I had a great dream it doesn't happen as often as I would like yet every once in a while I will dream that I have a life without the chair. In this particular case I spent time with a neighbor who lived across the street from us years ago we were standing in his basement talking about all kinds of things relating to housing construction. The second part of my dream I spent with my brother he would rip out old carpets from people's homes in order to prepare them for new flooring I have no idea where I got that one yet I was giving him a hand.
Those dreams are truly a release and even though they are just a dream I wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and good about having had the ability to walk and forget about the chair albeit for a short period of time.
In some cases I will dream that I am walking yet I can still see the chair even though it is not required it is still there almost as a reminder. Those are a bit scarier because I'm not certain what the meaning is or is there even is a meaning to it after all it is only a dream yet they can be so powerful.
One of my brother-in-law's passed away Thursday morning, he was 74 years old and had been sick for quite some time so I wasn't unexpected. This weekend will be fairly busy as they have elected to go the old traditional route where the deceased is exposed for a period of time at a funeral home which is followed by interment consisting of a family get-together at the cemetery. One certainly has to respect the age of the people involved and realize that this is their accepted means of dealing with death. Contrary to most people's beliefs today which seems focused on reducing the suffering for those left behind as quickly as possible by dealing with the situation quickly certainly not in an effort to lighten the importance their life meant rather to reduce the grieving process for those left behind. God bless him and his family.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

This morning started off pretty good my vampire just left after taking several vials of blood and a urine sample for analysis. It's done on a quarterly basis shouldn't complain since I don't even have to get out of my PJs and they come to me. It's not the type of service given to everyone especially in Québec I guess I was lucky.
Sponsored my youngest daughter for the MS walk in Toronto. I have definitely decided that Denise and I will be sitting on the sidelines this year. We may go as volunteers but that's it no canvassing for me.
I wonder what type of course nurses follow in order to draw blood? It seems some are excellent and others well you feel as if a freight train went over your arm.

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