Orval had a massive stroke December 1, 2014 which affected his left hand function physically and more significantly, major changes in his cognitive functioning. This was a man who was a “jack of all trades” -all self-taught.
He lost all of this and, more significantly, his memory of this. He had been actively working until the day of and is stroke ended his occupation within the Department of Highways.
Through a marvellous program, called Community Stroke Care Program, Orval qualified for an occupational therapist to assess him at home and then to receive five times a week, a home care physical exercise program with a worker.
Andrea Nazarewich, his occupational therapist, was very professional, innovative and very knowledgeable about programs offered in the community. Among the information was a thing called Mensheds. I contacted Doug Mackie, was very warmly received over the phone and recall the very words he said to me, “We are saving men.”
Orval began going in July of 2015. Right from the very start, on a Tuesday where socialization, coffee and crib occur, these wonderful men, at every turn, literally took him – a former cribbage shark who had lost his knowledge of it – under their wing. On Wednesdays, an eclectic mixture of wood carving, stained glass work, music improvisation, home-schoolers, a game of crib here and there, again, Orval was greeted warmly and given guidance, assistance and above all, connection with other fellows, who accepted him, just as he was.
I have nothing but praise for Doug establishing a chapter of Mensheds in Winnipeg and the men who attend: a diverse group of people who, in my opinion, all have sterling characters.
Mensheds, does, indeed, save men.