Christmas fund: retired master welder spent part of the year in a coma

Daniel doesn’t know how much time he has left, but he’s not letting his health issues affect who he is deep down.

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As a master welder for many years, Daniel learned to repair or build almost anything. Planes, submarines, houses, whatever, he said, he’s worked on that.

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In retirement, his health has been failing him. First because of workplace hazards, which have wreaked havoc on his lungs, and then earlier this year, he spent a week in a coma after fluid accumulated around his brain. Daniel said there isn’t much more to do than keep a positive outlook.

“That’s life; you have to deal with the blows,” he said. “Doctors say my brain condition is slowly killing me.”

As a child, Daniel entered the family business, first working with jewelry before moving on to metals. His wife, who died seven years ago, had two master’s degrees, so the couple made sure to instill the value of education and self-reliance in their children, who went on to higher education.

“We didn’t read books when we were kids, we read blueprints and manuals,” he said. “We broadcast it.”

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Daniel’s family no longer lives in Quebec, so he spends most of his time alone. You need an oxygen tank, which you don’t have to pay for, but there are some prescriptions you need that are not covered by health insurance. Those expenses, plus a modest pension, have kept him below the poverty line in his later years.

He doesn’t know how much time he has left, but Daniel is pretty calm about his situation. He considers himself lucky, someone who dedicated his life to learning new skills and “doing the impossible” when it came to working with metals. And you’re not letting your current health issues affect who you are deep down.

“I try to find the humor in everything,” Daniel said. “Even when I was in the hospital, I wanted to make the nurses laugh.”

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