Darrel N has lived at The Lighthouse for a little over a year in the Complex Needs Wing. He’s easy to recognize- usually dressed up in a shirt and tie (when it’s not too hot) and always sporting a single, dangly earring. Darrel is a huge fan of Star Wars and loves drawing in the art room on Saturday mornings.
Born in Wadena, Darrel’s family originally comes from Fishing Lake First Nation. They moved thirty-four times before he was twenty years old and on numerous occasions Darrel and his brothers tried to run away back to their reserve.
As an adult, Darrel was always on the road. He’s lived everywhere from Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Alberta and B.C., usually finding work as a labourer. Darrel lived in the states for over five years and hitchhiked through Utah and California, making it as far west as San Francisco.
While living in Ottawa, Darrel was in a pedestrian-vehicle accident while crossing the street. “I was hit twice and this last one, I was in a coma for a month,” he explains. Darrel doesn’t remember the accident, but the insurance forms stated that he was thrown a few feet, “I was surprised I didn’t go under.”
He had to stay in two separate hospitals while recovering and the nurses contacted his sister through the band office to notify her of the accident. “She had to come all the way to Ottawa to pick me up,” says Darrel, “she was surprised and kind of angry because it had been a few years since we had seen each other.”
After flying back to Saskatchewan with his sister, Darrel was forced to go back to Fishing Lake. “A health nurse on my reserve came to the place I was staying and we filled out an application to stay here.”
Since coming to The Lighthouse, Darrel enjoys living in the Complex Needs Wing because the staff help him regulate his medication and he can enjoy meals with his friends in the dining room. Sometimes he likes to go over to the Cameco Community Kitchen on Fridays for dinner.
However, the most helpful aspect of being at The Lighthouse is getting assistance with his legal issues. Following the accident, Darrel has had legal proceedings and Nurse Practitioner, Jeannie Coe, has helped him by talking to his lawyers on his behalf. He’s still recovering from the accident and has been going to a physiotherapy clinic on 8th St. for the past five months.
In Complex Needs, Darrel loves having his own room to himself, “It’s somewhere to kick back and relax, just to avoid people. When I’m here I just want to be left alone, just relax.” Sometimes he’ll visit friends in their room for coffee, but most of the time he likes to watch his Star Wars DVDs.
A collection of Star Wars bobble heads is proudly lined up on his coffee table and Darrel says his favourite character is Darth Vader. When asked what he likes most about The Lighthouse, he quickly replies, “Everything! I have my own room, my movies that I like, my stuff in my room. And when I move I get to take all of this. This is all of my memories, this is all good memories.”