Friday 26 June 2015

Gary Is Home!

Almost exactly two years after Gary was struck by a mysterious illness that left him paralyzed, he has finally returned home to Port Carling! 

Those of you who have been following this blog know that this has been a long and difficult journey, one that will continue now that Gary is back in Muskoka. Returning home required a lot of preparation: renovations to make the house accessible, the installation of a backup generator to power Gary's ventilator, extensive training for family members, and the hiring and training of a great medical support team. It goes without saying that the support of the Muskoka community was instrumental in making all of this possible.  

Throughout the past two years Gary has remained closely involved with the running of Muskoka Chautauqua, and now that he's back at HQ he's right in the thick of things. With the help of an eye-operated computer he is able to work alongside Gayle and Chautauqua staff in the office. Given that we're just about to hit Chautauqua's busiest season, everyone is overjoyed to have Gary back home!

Chautauqua's signature culinary fundraiser event, Flavours of Muskoka Chautauqua, is happening this Sunday, June 28th at J.W. Marriott the Rosseau Resort & Spa in Minett. It features delicious selections from top local chefs and restaurants, as well as Ontario wineries, breweries and distilleries. Tickets are $75, and funds raised go to support Chautauqua's Kaleidoscope Arts in Education programs. 

Gary will be attending Flavours on Sunday, so if you haven't seen him yet make sure to stop in and say hi. Tickets can be purchased online at, or by calling the office at 705-765-1048. 

Sunday 8 March 2015

Visit With Gary

On Saturday, Feb 21st I had the pleasure of visiting with Gary and I'm floored by his enthusiasm for life and his commitment to his recovery! 

I personally witnessed Gary's tremendous progress, including no longer requiring assistance when speaking and his ability to remain upright for longer periods of time. He was enjoying life - free from tubes, monitoring equipment and the activity of constant oversight. 

Gary has made huge strides and I know he will continue to do so. Throughout our visit he asked many questions and spoke of his eagerness to return to Port Carling and the care he will require when that occurs. 

I left our visit feeling inspired by Gary's resilience and positive attitude on life! Life is truly beautiful and a gift and Gary's outlook exemplifies this! 

- Daniel Bradbury

Saturday 17 January 2015

Getting Close... Home Care Team Needed

Gayle and Gary are beginning to put together the team that will enable Gary to finally come home!

They are looking for several energetic and dedicated personal care workers to be part of a home care team. Team members are supported and encouraged to be creative, innovative and collaborative in their approach to deliver safe, integrated health care. Specialized and professional training will be provided. Start date April 2015

  • Provides personal care to the client
  • Utilizes proper body mechanics and transfer techniques in order to carry out safe lifts and/or transfers
  • Provides assistance with a variety of household tasks
  • Prepares nutritious, varied and economical meals and snacks and uses proper food preparation, storage and hygiene practices
  • Promotes a safe environment for both the client and worker

Qualifications and Position Requirements
  • Experience working with the vulnerable population, in a home setting
  • Available for non-traditional hours, including nights and weekends
  • Access to transportation/vehicle
  • RPN, RN, PSW, HCA Certificate an asset but not a requirement

  • Flexible hours and diverse assignments
  • Competitive wages

How to Apply

Please send resume and cover letter to MCI, Box 172, Port Carling ON POB IJO or email

Saturday 3 January 2015

Holidays at West Park

Gary's holidays at West Park were full of family, activities and a move to Gage House, a part of West Park where people live in a less institutional, more natural home environment.

Merry Christmas
Merry Christmas!

Gayle's family visiting Gary

Leading the carol sing

Yes, they even had reindeer!

Happy New Year! Gary with his mom, his sister Linda and Gayle

At The Gage: room enough for everyone to paint!

Tuesday 18 November 2014

A New Opportunity

Gary on his birthday at West Park

It has already been a long, and at times arduous, journey for Gary but he’s a very strong and tenacious individual who has weathered this life storm in a most admirable way. If you haven’t been keeping track, he’s been at Bracebridge Hospital, Toronto’s St. Mike’s, Barrie’s Royal Victoria ICU, Toronto’s East General, back to Barrie ICU and then to West Park. Things may be changing once again for Gary. Just when we were beginning to worry about how we were going to get the renovations completed and the nursing/personal assistant staff in place by the end of his West Park program (which would have terminated at the end of November), West Park began a discussion with us about another possible option.

Within the West Park complex there is a facility called Gage House. Gage House is a place where people live with other folks in a less institutional, more natural home environment. Residents may share a room or co-pay and have their own room. There is a living/dining/kitchen area where residents eat their meals at the table together, socialize and most importantly there is a nursing station right outside of the residence if someone needs assistance. If accepted to the program Gary could be in this facility for an undetermined length of time. We all welcome this opportunity and are hoping Gary gets this chance to take yet one more step toward greater independence.

Because there is still much to do to ready Gary and Gayle’s home for his return this extra time would take the pressure off when it comes to getting everything in place. The generator has been installed thanks to a generous donation, so there will be an uninterrupted source of hydro to run his ventilator constantly. But there are still many things to be done and as usual many of them are related to money. Gayle has applied to all the agencies and she and Gary are working with the various government agencies to overcome these obstacles.

The other issues is finding the nursing/personal assistant staff we need to augment the care Gary will get from his family. If Gary lived in Toronto there would be no problem getting help but it seems there is a serious shortage of nursing staff in Muskoka. Please, if you are an interested retired nurse, or a new nurse who needs to gain some experience, consider giving Gayle a call to let her know you might be interested.

We would be remiss if we didn’t sing the praises of West Park and what they have done for Gary. This facility is absolutely amazing. Rather than a place where paralyzed people on vents sit around and feel sorry for themselves, it is a place that helps them learn how to live again. The staff are wonderful, caring folk who obviously love what they’re doing. The facility brings in clowns, drummers, speakers, Swiss Chalet, Mandarin, etc. They have already trained Gayle, Gary’s three sisters and two friends on how to suction him and drive the wheelchair if he gets tired. As if this isn’t enough West Park has generously offered to train the nurses and personal assistants who will be working with Gary when he returns home. How great is that?

Please keep your fingers crossed for us.

- Judy

Sunday 26 October 2014 article details challenges in Gary's quest to return home

A recent article on details the challenges facing Gary and his family as he works towards returning home to Muskoka. He is currently at West Park Healthcare Centre in Toronto and is halfway through the Transition to Home program. He's due to be released in time to make it home for Christmas, but a lack of available nursing care in Muskoka may make that an impossibility.

Gary's partner Gayle and his sisters have been trained at West Park and will be Gary's primary caregivers once he returns home, but they also need support from nurses and PSWs. Click the link below to read the article by our friends at Metroland Media:

Froude's dream for the holiday may not bring him home

Saturday 18 October 2014

More Progress!

If you've been watching the blog you will have noticed an absence of new information for a while. That's because Louis completed his contract at Arts in Muskoka and is now pursuing other avenues. We thank him so much for managing the blog and for being such a great addition to the team. He was truly a blessing. All the best in your new adventure Louis. We miss you.

When you last heard from us Gary had just received his wheelchair. That seems like a hundred years ago now and he's become quite the expert at driving his chair using only his right thumb. We were a little concerned about his altercation with a door casing but we're sure that by the time he gets home he'll be doing wheelies. 

Speaking of driving, he actually drove himself down to the hairdressers and is shown here with the hairdresser and his Occupational Therapist Emelda. Sporting his new haircut and shave, he later took his first trip to the cafeteria for a cappuccino.

It's not unusual to see Gary, Gayle and Rafi outside on the grounds of Westpark taking in the great outdoors. They recently attended the Westpark Fall Fair and Gary was in his element - surrounded by people to talk with. This chair has given Gary some hard-earned independence and the ability to see something more than three walls and a curtain.

Gary's days at Westpark are busy. He gets out of bed and into the chair, usually has some sort of therapy, goes off the respirator (currently twice a day for two hours each time), visits with family and friends and talks with a myriad of folks who are working hard to get him prepared to go home. In addition to the chair Gary has been working hard at strengthening his body. Part of that effort is spending time on the tilt table which, although he's strapped in, allows him to put weight on his feet again. He loves doing this and it is strengthening his body.

He's also adding some communications tools to his agenda so this will allow him further independence.

Our thanks go out to all the folk who are rooting for Gary. Your questions about his health, your good wishes, your cards, your donations and your prayers are most appreciated by Gary, Gayle and family. You have been such a comfort.

Thanks also to Jen Morgan Anderson who is now managing the blog.

- Judy