It was December 5th, 2013 when Shelley and I made a plan to meet for one of our regular Work & Wellness Retreats. These times together are always productive, inspiring, and at the same time give us that “kick back” time that is much needed from the busy lives we lead. We firmly believe in the importance of taking time for ourselves. We hope that each of you is able to build such moments into your lives as well. This particular time, we stayed at a beautiful lake home called Moose Lodge on McKellar Lake in Northern Ontario. We had lots of work to do and “dug our heels” in immediately. The setting was inspiring and proved to be very therapeutic. Our business getaways always consist of beginning our day with a walk or run (check the picture of us returning from one of our long walks), followed by hard work and planning, finishing with relaxation time and fun (and great food!) at the end of each day.
This particular retreat involved making plans for what would be a bold move for me to resign from a position I had for many years in order to dedicate my full efforts to DS Consulting. Shelley would be going on a one-year sabbatical from Laurentian University in 6 months, so we would both be able to put our best efforts forward in our consulting firm. We could work together in making DS Consulting what we always envisioned “a quality service to individuals, agencies and families where people with intellectual disabilities can live their best lives”. This plan was laid out by the end of our 4th day. Little did we know during this incredible 4-day journey, what the next year would lay ahead for both Shelley and me. In less than 3 weeks, Shelley was in for the fight of her life, a struggle that would continue for many months. On Christmas Eve, Shelley developed a sore throat, which turned into much more.
On December 27th, Shelley was admitted to the ICU of the Sudbury Regional Hospital, diagnosed with Group A strep, resulting in strep throat, necrotizing fasciitis, toxic shock, and sepsis. She stayed in the ICU for 13 days and was released from the hospital 3 days after that. Shelley was on medical leave from both Laurentian University and DS Consulting from January to June, 2014, but after several surgeries, intensive occupational and physical therapy, as well as lots of perseverance, she is back!
Despite the seriousness of Shelley’s health and the treatments she is challenged with even today, we have remained true to that initial plan we set back in December 2013. My efforts in balancing 3 different roles for the months that lay ahead in order to eventually be completely dedicated to DS Consulting occurred just 2 months ago. Shelley and I have been eagerly working on improving and making DS Consulting the quality firm we have been striving for since day one. Yet, up until recently, our obvious concentrations were on Shelley’s health. In saying that, speediness in addressing some of your concerns has not always been ideal. For this appreciate your understanding. This is not who we are or who we wish to represent. Today, DS Consulting is working at or above 100% in all areas. In fact, I was able to officially resign from my long-standing employment in the community living sector and am officially dedicated each day to DS Consulting. We are both so excited to be able to present to you our new website, a brochure and this Newsletter. We anticipate sending this newsletter 4 times each year, with the possibility of special editions.
In this newsletter, we will provide an update of what DS Consulting has been up to over the previous few months. We will also include resources that will help you in your respective workplaces, such as public speaking tips or intervention strategies. We are also excited to have several psychiatrists agree to contribute to our newsletter, speaking to an issue related to intellectual disability. Please let us know if there is a topic you want addressed –be sure to read Dr. Robert King’s column in this edition, dealing with PTSD and individuals with disabilities.