The flight was brief, the landing less than graceful


I was on my way for a hair-cut this morning when, at the corner of Sherbourne and Gerrard Streets, I momentarily took flight. Picture Peter Pan on his worst day. While still airborne I thought of Craig, of the 24th of April, 2007. But I was still conscious. I managed to land without breaking my wrist, as had happened in 2003 when I was struck by a cab. I rolled to the sidewalk on my rain parka and didn’t damage my femur,as I had in the same incident. Still thinking of Craig, but recognizing that my head was working, I yelled.

A man dragged me to the steps of the pharmacy and applied an oversized gauze bandage to the right side of my forehead. A nurse practitioner on her way to Mount Sinai Hospital on her bicycle rushed to our side. 9-1-1 was called by a female by-stander. The n-p took my pulse (100). The pharmacist came out and, with the others, helped me into a chair in the lobby of his business.

I laughed when I was asked if I was on any medication. I widgeted out a used blister-pack from my jacket which had labels of all my meds taped to the cover. (Medic-Alert in long form.)

The ambulance arrived, siren silent, and the interviews began anew. Had I eaten? Had I checked my blood sugar (it was now a whopping 24.3!) Where was I going? Day and date? A pain inventory was taken. My head, yes. Skinned knuckles, yes. A bloody knee under torn jeans. My civilian helpers said their goodbyes as the ambulance attendants strapped me into a chair in the back and rode off, again sirens quiet, traffic lights being obeyed like all the other morning rush hour chumps. This underlined how lucky I was.

Another indication that I was a low-priority arrival came as I waited to be seen by a doctor. It was not, notes this enthusiastic lover of Canada’s health system, an unreasonable wait.

I was given a couple of extra-strength Tylenols, when offered, and a tetanus shot was administered (“cuz you never know what was on that sidewalk”.) The attending physician, the son I never had, repeated all the interview questions and examined me from head to rolled up jeans, dabbed my head with a combination disinfect and adhesive.

“So I’m good to go?”

“Yes, pay attention to any lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea – but I think you’ll be fine.”

With the help of two of my own Tylenol-2s I have been.

Grateful. But thinking of Craig.

And I walked to get my hair-cut.

Do You Hear The People Shing?


This coming Thursday I am having a number of teeth and partial teeth extracted as my mouth make-over goes into high gear  (This is the work that is more typically done by the fifth year of one’s sobriety but, as I didn’t think I’d live long enough to bother, I’ve waited until the tenth.) Yesh to life, as it were.

I am reminded of an occasion several years ago when I had both of my front teeth extracted.  I distinctly remember going to see Les Miserables on stage with my friend William sans teeth and under the influence of a couple of Tylenol 3s.

No such plans this Thursday evening.  Perhaps I’ll rent the forgettable film version of Les Mis.

Thank you Rosemary Barton and MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes


Celina Caesar-Chavannes appeared tonight on CBC Power and Politics with host Rosemary Barton.  She was there to discuss her experiences with depression, before and since becoming MP for Whitby and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Parliamentary Secretary.

Rosemary’s thorough, careful questions brought out responses I could relate to in my own experience – and even in present circumstances.

Sitting around in my “lounge pants” and t-shirt, unwashed.

Recognizing the signs of depression in these and other ways.  Maybe I’ll do something about it, rather than wait for my scheduled psychiatric appointment.

It doesn’t seem like it’s enough to know what’s going on.

I do not feel like I am a danger to myself or anyone else. That’s probably important to note.

I really want to thank Rosemary and Celina.  In this approaching season of “Let’s Talk.”

Meanderings of a mental health client in good company


10 years ago this month, I was writing about my mental health, Andre Gagnon and Emile Nelligan – still fascinations all!

My journey with AIDS...and more!

Would it be much of a surprise, even to the casual reader, that I am a mental health client? I have been since soon after my conclusive HIV diagnosis in 1990, although I wish now that I had sought such accompaniment long before then.

It started out with a window-shopping spree of psychiatrist seeking. Word-of-mouth recommendations, even from friends, do not necessarily mean compatibility.

I was diagnosed as depressed or, at first, “severely depressed”. Treatment for this boosted the deep lows, to be sure, but – in hindsight – did nothing for periodic highs which, precisely because they were not low, did not bother me so much. Now, with that 20/20 perspective, some of the highs were pretty destructive, and had been for a long time before I was HIV-positive. Could it be that they even led to my being infected? Such is the speculation of one who can spend…

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1,013 followers – questions?


I don’t know who you all are, but the blog machine tells me there are 1,013 of you following me here.  You can also find me, Kenn Chaplin, on Facebook.

You’ll know that I haven’t been writing much lately so, might I ask, if you have any questions for me?

No offence to ‘black dogs’ but I got real today


Bright and early this morning, before I could slip into dishonesty, I volunteered to my diabetes specialist that I was depressed.  Actually it was more like joining in conversation with her as she wondered aloud if any ‘black dogs’ were about.

There’s always something cathartic about admitting this after circular self-arguments about whether I am or am not.  What’s with the shame? Jeez, I’ve been treated for major depression for over twenty-five years – what’s the big deal if I have a flare-up that meds, at least temporarily, don’t seem to be helping?

She asked if I had a friend I could talk to when I’m feeling down.  Several came to mind.

Not unrelated, my diabetes is not controlled at this time (it would help if I did what I was told).  I promised her I was already back on track and showing positive results. That’s true.

My weight is down about three kilograms.  This is not good as my bony ass feels tremendous discomfort in typical meeting chairs.  I can’t find a good cushion.

I’ll see my HIV doc on Friday when more of my blood test results will be revealed.  I can’t say I’ll be surprised if there’s a problem.

Affirmation: I deserve to take the best possible care of myself.