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Posts Tagged ‘MS’

Today is Don Ho’s Birthday! (August 13) I know this because every year for as long as I can remember, I received a text, phone call or facebook message (sometimes all of the afore mentioned) that went like this. …

“Today is Don Ho’s birthday, my Cutes. Have I ever told my Cutes my Don Ho story?”

That message won’t come this year and it breaks my heart. We lost my “Cutes”, Harry Warner Reid, December 5, 2018.  Harry would often tell me he was still waiting for his miracle and my response was always the same…”You are the miracle.”

Harry Warner Reid • Photo Credit Judy Breadner

It’s hard to say when Harry became “Cutes”. I can’t say I remember either one of us calling each other anything else. Applying the perfect nickname to anyone he came in contact with was one of his special talents. If Harry was your friend, you had a nickname, and you were a friend for life.

Cutes & I • Out front of the Chimney Restaurant in the early ’70s

Harry’s best friend is “Wheelz” who in later years became “The Doctor”.  They had the kind of friendship that made them inseparable even when it was physically impossible to be together.  In December of 1973 they headed off on an adventure of a lifetime and spent nearly three months backpacking on a shoestring through Europe, Morocco and the Canary Islands. Actually, it was more than one adventure. It was many, many adventures and I received documentation of the craziness in the form of a postcard from every stop. But, those stories are best left to Wheelz to recount.

When they returned they went about their “normal” lives, with Harry eventually landing a high paying job at the Ford Glass Plant. He had a car, a motorcycle, a girlfriend and multitudes of friends. Life was good. And then, suddenly, not so much.  I don’t know if you can still do this, but in the ’70s, you could rent the ice dirt cheap at a local arena for use in the middle of the night. Friends would get together and play hockey. In July, 1975, Harry & company did just that. They played hockey with skates, a sponge puck and a stick. There was no other equipment, including helmets. Somehow, Harry was hit and received an unremarkable little bump on the side of his head. He left the arena and drove to his girlfriend’s. Early the next day he was rushed from our local hospital to a bigger city hospital in Hamilton. When Wheelz called me to come (I was away at college) nothing could have prepared me for the trauma I witnessed. To Harry, Wheelz and Harry’s parents. Things got worse before they got better and often it was one step forward and two steps back. Harry fought hard along with everyone who loved him. He survived, regaining all his faculties but not all of his physical abilities. There were some very dark times, but eventually, our Harry, with his big smile, breathless laugh and keen sense of humour returned to us.

I spent many hours at Harry’s home and became very attached to his dad, Earl, his mom, Lorna and his brother Stan. I’m pretty sure I spent more time there than at my own home. They were family. My memory fails me as to exactly when Harry’s Love, Linda joined him. That’s probably because it’s hard to picture her ever not there. She is the love of his life. He called her his “Serendipitous Angel”. I called her a Saint, oh, and also, Mrs. Cutes. My faith in miracles was restored when these two found each other. Linda’s energy seemed endless and because of her, Harry didn’t miss out on much. Even after his MS reared its ugly head, they lived their lives to the utmost.

Mr. & Mrs. Cutes

Harry kept a journal and made note of absolutely everything. He would often contact me and tell me things like, “Today is the day, when three years ago My Cutes brought me a Hard Rock guitar pin from Maui”, or “My Cutes visited me on this day five years ago”. I don’t know how he kept track of it all or how he remembered the things he did. There were times he would entertain me endlessly with wee stories in what seemed to be his own language. A few years ago He-Who and I drove to Florida. OK, I drove, He-Who passengered. Harry started texting me and because I was driving, He-Who had to read them out loud and respond for me. Up to that point He-Who had not been privy to what I like to call “Cutes Speak”. Harry had us laughing, tears rolling down our faces through several states. He was relentless with his tongue-in-cheek humour and often pranked me when I least expected it.

Many years ago I bought the first car that actually had my name on the ownership. It was a maroon Monte Carlo. I loved that big beast. It wasn’t new…just new to me. One day as I was making a left hand turn from St. Paul St. on to Pelham Rd. in St. Catharines, Monty just stopped in the middle of the intersection. The person I called for help was my Cutes. Somehow, he managed to organize a rescue mission with Stan leading the team. I say “somehow”, because this was long before cell phones. All I know is a tow truck took my car to the Reid’s house where it sat in the driveway, while I sat at their kitchen table. That’s where I was when Stan came in and asked me when was the last time I changed the oil.

“What do you mean? Changed the oil? When the oil light comes on I put in more oil.”

Stan’s eyes did that bulgy thing and I could see my Cutes trying really hard not to laugh.

“No. I mean when was the last time you changed it?”

“What do you mean change? I told you every time the oil light came on I put oil in it.”

Apparently, “changing” the oil was a different thing from “adding” oil. My engine had seized. Monty was in a bad way.

Every day after work I would go to the Reid’s and Monty would be there with Stan trying to bring him back to life and my Cutes was in his wheel chair with his head under the hood. I would ask for a progress report and then go inside to commiserate with Lorna.

Finally the day came when Monty and I were reunited. Stan handed me the keys and made me promise to change the oil on a regular basis. Cutes had a grin a mile wide on his face as I pulled out of the driveway. Days later I stopped at a gas station on Lundy’s Lane and asked the attendant to fill the gas tank and to please check my oil. He did. When he closed the hood and walked towards me wiping the grease off his hands he had the goofiest grin on his face. I recognized that grin. I had to dig back, but that was the postman’s grin when he delivered postcards from Harry to me addressed in big bold letters to “Cutes”. When I got home I parked Monty and went around front and lifted the hood. There, in big bold letters, hand painted on the air filter cover, was the word “Cutes”. I can still hear Harry laughing.

Harry loved Rock & Roll, bands and guitars. The band he kind-of-sort-of organized was called None The Whyzer and he was always teasing me that He-Who was to join them on his banjo. Last year Harry was absolutely thrilled to be able to participate in Day of 1,000 Musicians in Niagara.

Harry at Day of 1,000 Musicians in Niagara Falls 2018 • Photo Credit Tim Shafley

This year his band, family and friends sported a specially designed designed T-Shirt in honour of Harry.

 

Day of 1,000 Musicians 2019 • Photo Credit Dave Wheeler

Designed by Zach Bury

Through The Harry Warner Reid Memorial Music Fund, Harry has been able to continue to share his love for music by donating cash &/or instruments to the Niagara Elementary Instrumental Music Program, DSBN Academy, Beamsville Secondary School, Eden High School, Thorold High School, Greater Fort Erie Secondary School, A.N. Myer Secondary School and Eastdale Secondary School.

Harry had the ability to make people feel like they were the most valued person alive. He made me feel that way every time I had contact with him. Being a part of Harry’s life was a gift. A gift, I for one will cherish forever. As I always said to him whenever we said good-bye, “I love you, my Cutes”.

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My “Cutes”

This is my lifelong friend Harry. I will love him him forever.

I don’t ever remember calling him by that name. We have called each other “Cutes” for so long that I don’t remember when we started or why.  Of course we were both pretty adorable back in the day.

My Cutes and I

Cutes & I back in the day

I am happy to say that my Cutes has as his partner in life one of the most amazing women I have ever met in my life. Her name is Linda. Of course I seldom call her that. I affectionately call her “Mrs. Cutes”. I love this woman!

Mr. & Mrs. Cutes

These are two of the strongest people I know and they fight for every moment they have together. They always have a smile, a thoughtful word and a hug. Their sense of humour (and irony) is unblemished. In fact, just between you and I, it is Cutes (Harry) that nicknames everyone. If you are blessed to know him then you have a nickname he has given  you. Wheels, Warner, Zeek were all Christened with a laugh and a twinkle in his eye. I don’t know how he keeps track of who is who but he does.

My Cutes has MS. It has been a struggle of proportions I could not do justice to here. I read the material he sends me and we talk about it. Sometimes I understand. Sometimes I do not. Recently, we found out that he was to receive a long awaited procedure that may help him. One he has fought for. One that is not available here in Canada.  Again, that is another whole blog. What I want to share with you is the note that Mrs. Cutes sent out yesterday. It is a simple request, one that I hope you will help with…

Hello Everyone: I am sure that by now most of you know that Harry’s mom passed away on March 31st. She was cremated and on Tuesday, May 1st, which would’ve been her 95th birthday, they are having a burial at Lundy’s Lane cemetery at 2:00. She didn’t want a funeral. It will be a celebration of her life. Lorna lived a very long life. The other reason that I wrote is to ask every one of you to think of Harry this Friday at 11:00 and really pray hard for him. After a long wait, he is getting his veins done. Not sure if you all have heard of CCSVI where people with MS have collapsed veins? Anyways, Harry got his veins checked in Barrie and they are blocked which really is a good thing. On Thursday, we are off to Albany – where he is having the procedure done. It is not a difficult procedure. He will be awake the whole time and will know what is going on. He wants me to be in there with him but I am not sure if I can but I will try. We know a few people who have had it done in India and California and Mexico which is very expensive and most have had really good results. One lady that we met in Barrie is walking after 37 years in a wheelchair. I am hoping for a miracle for Harry and through prayer anything is possible. He has gone through a lot, poor guy, but really feels positive about this. He can hardly wait to get it done. Some get a little better and some get a lot better. It depends on the individual, Harry can get a little better or a lot better – at least he can’t get a little worse. No matter what, this will be a good thing for him. Some friends are feeling a little bit better and notice an improvement almost every single day. It may take a while for him – who knows. He’s just hoping for a chance that’s all. On Friday, April 27th, he goes in at 10:00 and has it done at 11:00. From start to finish it will take about 4 hours. Then we go back to the hotel and on Saturday morning we go back to the hospital and he gets his dopplers checked and then we go home. It’s something that takes so little time and yet he had to wait so long for this day to come. When he gets home, he has physio every day. We have a great guy named Dino who comes in and he’s strong and will continue to work with Harry and stretch him and he said that he will be working him hard. Yippee!!!!! If you want to know more about this procedure, you can ask Harry about it. He knows how to explain everything really well which could help you understand what this CCSVI is all about. I am not good at it. You can even look it up on the internet. Anyways, thank you so very much for praying for him and I will talk to you soon. Linda xo

Prayer. It is a simple request. If  you believe in the power of prayer I hope you will say one. If you don’t, I hope you will say one anyway for this amazing couple.

I thank you.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Note: Cutes (Aka: Harry) sent me this link this morning.  If you are interested in the procedure or the struggle for people to have it this may explain it better. Australia has the same issues Canada does.

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A month ago I decided it was about time to start blogging. I had procrastinated for some time because I knew (and had been warned over and over and over again) that it was very important to be faithful in updating a blog. If you truly wanted to have a successful blog you had to have fresh material posted at least weekly. The first week of March I finally bit the bullet and wrote my first blog, posted it and then sent out links informing everyone that I had “crossed the line and there was no turning back”. That was March 6th…one month ago. Well, as they say “timing is everything”!

March 11th I ended up in the emergency ward with the man of the house. As we all know there is no such thing as a quick trip to the emergency ward. We arrived at 5:00 pm and when I left at 12:30 am he was finally being given treatment. In the wee hours of the morning he was admitted to hospital. Three weeks, two surgeries, anesthetic, morphine, blood transfusions and eight catheters later he finally came home. That was two days ago. For those of you holding your breath he will be fine after some lengthy recoup time. But, as I said timing is everything…

Around Christmas time a close friend of mine who suffers from MS and is in a wheelchair sent out an email for help. He needed someone to watch over his blind 92-year-old mother in Niagara Falls while he went away for a much needed rest during spring break. I wasn’t working and was feeling the Christmas Spirit, and also thought it would give me a chance to catch up with people back home, so I volunteered. My friend’s timing for asking was perfect. Couldn’t have been better. The hospitalization of the man of the house, on the other hand, was really bad timing (although not his fault). Couldn’t have been worse. For 10 straight days I spent the day in Oakville hospital and drove to Niagara Falls each night to stay with my friend’s Mother. My first night I was able to sleep back in my own bed, I put my feet up and turned on the TV to veg. The phone rang at 10:30pm. My Father had been taken into emergency in St. Catharines. Talk about timing! The third week of March, First Toastmasters of Oakville, the club which I attend, had their theme set…”Timing is Everything”…Come on, you have to see the irony here. Really, it’s hysterical…perfect timing! It was also the week of my birthday (and St. Patrick’s Day). Lousy timing. Then of course, let’s not forget the “concert of a lifetime” that had cost us a fortune in December – our tickets for Fleetwood Mac were for March 26th. Hmmmmmm, timing.

Perhaps I picked a bad time to start a blog. Bottom line, you can plan, you can time. You can plan the time. But sometimes, no amount of planning can control the timing. My plan is to continue blogging, when I can… and when the time is right.

 -30-

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Tom Lucas

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