A Look Back at 2023 Before Rolling Into 2024

Since this is my last article for 2023, I decided to write a little about the past year.

This year has been challenging for everyone, including me.

Last January, I had to spend twenty-four hours in the ER just because nobody was available to take care of me. I spent the entire time in bed, and I had no way to communicate with the outside world, including my family and friends, who I needed. The nurses and RTs didn’t know how to help me. The whole experience was very traumatizing, and my anxiety continues to rise every time it comes close to happening again.

Also, in January, my step-grandfather passed away. We were very close, and he was a big part of my childhood. He was a big inspiration to me and taught me a lot about life while we played board games together and played with my remote-controlled car. In later years, I’d visit him and my grandmother at their place for Christmas, and often just to hang out and have a good time. After I moved out, I mostly just saw him over the holidays,

His wife (my mom’s mom) passed away several years ago now. She was also a big part of my childhood and taught me many valuable things about life, Many of which I still use today.

The one good thing is that they can be together now, wherever they are.

At around the same time as my grandfather passed away, so did my rabbit. For ten years, I had a rabbit named IHop. IHop was very friendly and calming in her way. She had a personality and was a perfect fit for my environment. She was beautiful and was very loved by all who knew her.

So, I had a rough start to the year.

In April, everything changed regarding my 24/7 care. Instead of having nurses come in for eight hours in the evening, I now have PSWs 24/7. The only downside is it’s a little more challenging for me to get out and about after 3 p.m. When I do go out, I need to hire someone privately. It has its challenges, but, for the most part, it works.

I could always use more staff, though. That by itself is a big issue and a never-ending battle. There is a shortage of PSWs, plus it’s harder for me to hire someone because I’m ventilator-dependent, and each shift is eight hours long. If you or someone you know might be interested, please contact me on social media.

Let’s talk about a few positive things that happened this year.

I was able to go to Bluesfest in July, which was amazing. I saw Billy Talent, Weezer, Foo Fighters, Robert Plant & Alison Krauss, and more. It was a great experience. I battled through the crowds and got close to the stage every time. While doing so, I met some very cool people, with people cheering me on as I moved through the crowd.

It’s a fantastic feeling to do things like that and soak in the vibe and energy—one of the best feelings in the world for me.

After Bluesfest, I settled down for a bit. I love Bluesfest and the energy, but all that bumpy around takes a toll on my body.

At some point after Bluesfest, I went to see Avenged Sevenfold. A friend had tickets in one of the boxes at Canadian Tire Centre, which was awesome. The show was amazing, but a small crowd showed up. Hopefully, Avenged Sevenfold will return to Ottawa at some point.

In September, I went to CityFolk to see Iggy Pop. Unfortunately, my hands froze, and I had to leave the show early. Fortunately, Para Transpo could pick me up early and take me home. I saw part of the show, and it was great.

Iggy Pop has been on my concert bucket list for many years. It’s the same with Robert Plant; seeing them live was incredible.

As for the rest of the year, I laid low and semi-close to home. I spent a lot of time just chilling outside.

I also took part in a meeting with OC Transpo General Manager Renée Amilicar and, more recently, City Councilors Ariel Troster and Stephanie Plante.

In November, I met someone. Right now, things are up in the air, which I understand and won’t get into. I’ll say yes, I messed up, and take responsibility for my actions. I hesitated to say anything about it, but it was part of my year. I hope it will work out and we can roll forward in 2024.

Of course, throughout all of that, I’m still here every week attempting to educate people about the issues that people with disabilities face, as well as those with mental health challenges. I’m incredibly grateful to have a platform to do that, and it’s my actual job. Even after 175 articles, it still blows my mind.

As far as 2024 goes, I’ll still be here every week. I’ll be turning 49 in just over two weeks, another milestone for me. Thanks to a contest by Whimble, I won a full pass to CityFolk next year, so there’s that.

I’m taking a break from Facebook and, soon, all social media. I find it overwhelming, and it’s easy to lose focus on the things that matter, including myself. Currently, I’ve been taking time to reflect on specific areas of my life and also learn new things along the way,

After all, life’s an ongoing learning experience.

I’m looking forward to 2024. Regarding resolutions, I want to be kinder, gentler, and more understanding towards myself, my friends and loved ones.

It may sound cheesy, but I need to improve in all these areas.

Last but certainly not least, I want to thank everyone for your continued support. Your support means so much to me; I am so grateful for it.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and wish you all the best for the new year.

I shall return for more in 2024.