March 5, 2012

The Winter That Wasn't

Living in Ontario, we normally have 4 months of fairly severe winter. Snowstorms and below zero temperatures are the norm throughout the winter, however, this winter has been exceptionally mild and we've had very little snow. The teachers at the school where I was a principal gave me a gift of free snow shovelling all winter. They hired a few students to come to our house and shovel out our driveway but, unfortunately for the students, this only happened a few times and each time there was not very much snow. We are very thankful to God that we were spared severe conditions as this made it much easier to get out and travel with the electric wheelchair. Our gas and hydro bills were also quite reasonable this winter because of the above normal temperatures. God has been good to us, also in this.

My shoulders and hips are getting weaker, making it difficult to get around and get dressed. My voice is also getting softer and more garbled in the last few weeks. Older people have difficulty hearing and understanding me and I often have to repeat myself and try to speak louder, which is very tiring. I find this frustrating and my wife says I should be more patient with the old folks. I still have lots to learn. God is so patient with me. This week we have an appointment to meet with the Technology Access Clinic (TAC) team. They will be assessing my speech to determine my need for assistive communication devices. A few months ago, they recommended that we start voice banking, that is, recording various common phrases in my own voice and burning them onto a disc for future use. We actually found out about this too late as by then, my voice was already changing but we did do some. It sounds like we'll be putting this to use fairly soon.
Yesterday my father celebrated his 91st birthday. This also is an unexpected blessing for our family because he had his first heart attack 21 years ago and has had 3 bypass surgeries. 

My mother is 84 years old and together they live in a christian rest home. It is very difficult for these elderly parents to see their son getting weaker every week. My father says that he would gladly trade places with me, but of course, those decisions are not ours to make.

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