Paul was a Registered Practical Nurse for 25 years; working in long-term care and palliative care. He first found out he was diabetic in his 20's when he was at work and started sweating, shaking and was almost incoherent. They checked his blood sugar and it was so high it didn't register on the equipment! While there is no history of diabetes in the family, it is suspected that when he had mumps as a teen it travelled down into his pancreas and damaged it thus bringing on diabetes.
Paul graduating in 1987 as an RPN.
Due to a worsening of his diabetes over the years, he had to resign from being a nurse in 2010. He went back to school and graduated from Humber College (Orangeville) as a Social Service Worker but was unable to get work.
Paul's graduation photo from Humber College in 2015.
He has a nurturing spirit and while he couldn't be an RPN any more he wanted to continue to be able to help people which is why he went back to school for his Social Service Worker certificate.
Showing up at interviews with bandages on legs, hands, arms, claw-like hands and using canes to move around did not help him find a job. Interviews always went well but no one ever offered him a job. Accommodating someone with disabilities can be expensive, and is usually a turn off for employers - but it is impossible to prove.
Over the last year and a half he has been hospitalized several times for various diabetic issues from septic wounds on arms and legs to surgery on his eyes for diabetic retinopathy and for that time has been housebound except for medical appointments. He has had to spend that time off his feet so the wounds on his feet could heal. His leg muscles have atrophied. He has moved from canes to walker, to trundle wheelchair and now needs a Type 3 Power Chair according to his physician and occupational therapist.
Paul has applied to the Assistive Devices Program (ADP) which (if approved) will cover 80% of the cost of the chair only. The Power Chair is estimated at around $4,500 because of modifications it needs so it will work with his hands because of his lack of fine motor skills.
My benefits only cover a manual wheelchair which he cannot use because of diabetic neuropathy in his arms from the elbows down. Meaning he has no feeling and can't control his hands. He had to fight the Canadian Federal Government for 5 years in order to collect CPP Disability which means he has gone through all savings and now is on a fixed income.
This go fund me campaign is to help him cover his portion of costs for:
- A Type 3 Power Chair;
- Ramps to go over the opening in the patio door so he can safely get out of his apartment since the building he is living in is not wheelchair accessible via the lobby. Ramps are not covered by the ADP Program. Estimated cost per ramp is $800-900 and he requires 2 along with a special insert for raised doors.
- Modifications to their van to install a lift in order to travel with the Power Chair. These modifications are not covered by the ADP program. Cost for these modifications is yet to be determined, but this document explains the type of modifications needed. Example of Short Side Entry Van Conversion.
This Power Chair, ramps and van modification would go a long way to helping Paul get back out into the community again! He was a social butterfly before these health challenges; acting and singing in musical theatre from Toronto to New Hamburg including being involved in set design and construction, props etc. Paul was also a portrait artist and cartoonist and has had to give that up as well.
Paul played the Cowardly Lion twice - once in Scarborough (pictured) and once in Guelph. His favourite part!
Here he is playing Marco Palmieri in the Gondoliers in Mississauga. He also played the same part in Georgetown and Guelph.
Now he is stuck inside in his home. I work in a different city so he can't get out when I am not there to drive him. Getting out of the house using the wheelchair would be great since he can take public transit or just drive there using the chair. Going anywhere with me in the van means that without the modifications, he has to use his canes or sit in the vehicle and wait for me.
Also, while we are looking for wheelchair accessible housing closer to my work, his ability to view potential locations is severely curtailed because he can't get in to view and most people look at him askance because he is not yet in his wheelchair.
Paul has been diagnosed and is suffering from depression - yes because of all the diabetic issues but also because of the forced social isolation.
If you can help by supporting this fundraiser we would both appreciate it!!
Thank you for reading and sharing this page.
- Deanna Clatworthy-Supple