Greetings, the future!
This is Monday 2/11 Jarrett I want to make sure I’ve enough time to finish this entry, so I’m starting early. That said, this entry will be in the form of an interview. Monday 2/11 Jarrett will ask the questions, Monday 2/18 Jarrett will answer them. Monday 2/18 Jarrett might have questions for me; I’ll not be able to hear them, so I’ll summarize my current status in hopes that it might answer one of the questions he might have. First of all, I’m doing fine; alive and well, thank you (and you’re welcome). I don’t foresee any event in the coming week that will put us in danger. After work, I’m going to go work out – chest and shoulders, as per our routine. I/you get to hang out with Q this weekend/last weekend; I haven’t made any plans yet, sorry. If there’s anything else you’d like to know, you’ll have to invent a time machine and travel back in time to ask me – I hope you don’t waste your time (aside: can one really “waste time” if one can time travel?) doing that, go to the grassy knoll in November of 1963 or to some point in the mid-to-late 90s and order yourself to ask out that one girl. As usual, I’m having trouble with rambling; this problem is compounded by the fact that I can’t think of a segue, so I’ll just do this –
Question the first – *Monday 2/11 Jarrett stares very intently at his dog and imagines that she is Monday 2/18 Jarrett *Some people who read this are not aware of your condition and why you blog about it, will you fill us in on that? What kind of a name is cavernofmymind?
“I started this blog in July of 2009 after having a hemorrhage in the Pons regíon of the brainstem (read more about that here). The cause of this unsanctioned gush of blood is /was (mine is in a lab somewhere) commonly called a “cavernoma”. Hence the title of this blog – clever, no? Soon after starting the blog I had surgery to remove the cavernoma. I had three choices at the time:
I. Remove it, live a life free from worry that it’ll bleed again.
II. Leave it alone and watch it, risk another bleed but avoid any damage that surgery might cause.
III. Use magic to make it go away.
Unfortunately, scientists haven’t invented magic yet (what do these bums do all day anyway? Don’t they realize their jobs would be much easier with magic?).
I didn’t want to worry about another bleed so I opted for the first choice. I often contemplate what I’d be like if I didn’t get surgery, but I did and I’m glad I did; I don’t want to relive the months after the bleed again (unable to walk, feed myself, barely able to talk, needles everywhere…oh wait, I just got TWO(!) shots in the foot (more info on this terrifying event can be found here)).
I continue this blog because I like to write and I like to share my TBI POV with the good people on the interwebs.”
*Monday 2/11 Jarrett nods thoughtfully at what he is sure is a very profound answer, the dog continues to sleep*
Question the two –What is life like for you now?
“I’ve had to completely overhaul my life to adapt to the residual effects of my boo-boo. It would be too easy for me to talk about how I can’t do this, I can’t do that, Barack Obama hit me on the head with a whiffle (wiffle?) ball bat. I don’t think you want to read that (I’m talking directly to you, the one with pants and a shirt! If you’re naked, stop reading and go put clothes on, please). Furthermore, I try not to think that way. I’ll just say this. “This…”
And I’ll also add that I’m happy to be alive. Aside from breathing, I also enjoy working on computers and technology (this entry is being written on a shiny new Nexus 7). I’m not as dexterous as I used to be, so my tech endeavors typically take longer, but if there’s one thing I’ve gained from this experience, it’s patience. I still have minor balance issues and my left leg doesn’t function as it should – I walk with a limp and can’t run. I’d love to be able to play tennis and run amok with my daughter, but she loves me for what I can do. She recently discovered the joy of video games – glad to share that with her.
To sum up (sup?), there are things that I can no longer do and, I’ll admit that it does get me down at times; I choose to focus on the things I can do.
Question question question – What is your outlook on the future?
*Monday 2/11 Jarrett cranes his head, curious as to how Monday 2/18 Jarrett will answer the question*
In my mind, there’s no reason to think that l won’t be able to play tennis or run amok with my kid, just might take a while. Like I said, I have oodles of patience so I can wait (what other choice do I have?) I don’t say that to sound cynical, but as a statement of cold, hard fact.”
Question 2×2 (or 2+2, or 1+3, or 8/2…) – What color shirt are you wearing?
Coincidentally, I’m wearing my blue on blue “I had brain surgery, what’s your excuse?” long sleeved tee. What shirt are you wearing?”
“Fine, be that way.”
Question 7 (err…wait *scratches head*) – Is there anything else you would like to add?
“The good people at Blogger have made it so that you can put pictures on your blog – I really like my tattoos and I want you (yes you, I am now talking to the person with lightish dark hair who likes to drink from cups), to like them too.
|This is Xipe Totec – the Aztec God of birth, death,
and rebirth. I thought that this one would be especially
meaningful for me.
Location: left shoulder blade
|This is Fry from Futurama, a show that I have always
enjoyed. The lettering reads ” That Dog Won’t
Hunt Monsignor,” from the “War is the H-Word”
episode. Location: right upper arm
I’d also like to give a shout out to someone. Some people say that I inspire them – I always like hearing that, but I’m not trying to inspire, I’m just trying to live the best way that I know how. That’s not to say that I don’t understand where they’re coming from – I feel the same way about my older sister, Jessica. You see, Jessica has a young son, Tristan, who has a congenital heart defect. Quite a bit goes into raising a child with special needs (medications, therapists, diet, etc.), Jessica makes it look easy, and you can always see the joy she has for that child in her face.
There you have it folks, seven(ish) questions to get you up to speed on the Jarrett situation. This concludes Monday 2/11 Jarrett’s contribution to a blog that hasn’t happened yet. I will let Monday 2/18 Jarrett handle the rest of the conclusion. Let’s hope that he doesn’t ramble too much, I just hate it when bloggers ramble 🙂
HEY! This is Thursday 2/14 Jarrett with important breaking newses.
News bit #1 – It’s Valentine’s Day, so happy Valentine’s Day!
News bit #2 (Tews?) – I don’t know why, (TBI, living in Texas, playing in a nuclear waste dump when I was a kid), but I’ve been experiencing some strange time anomalies. These “chrono distortions” take place during two events –
A. (I already have numbers going, I’ll employ letters to minimize confusion): I will call this one the ” 7:12 dimension”. It only exists in my parking lot. Walking through this vortex results in arriving at the car at 7:12. Let’s say I leave my apartment at 7:05, even though it only takes 30 seconds or so to get to my car, invariably it will be 7:12. There have been a few occasions that I’ve gotten in there at 7:11, but the next day I’ll get there at 7:13; the two days will average to 7:12. I remember once I was running behind – doing laundry or some such chore, I left at 7:15, sure enough, I got to the car at 7:12.
Another temporal curiosity surrounds bedtime when I have my daughter.
Without fail, it will be 9:30 lights go out. I can start the bedtime routine at seven (bath, brush teeth, snack, etc.), but the clock will still say 9:30 when we go to bed. I can start their routine at 9:20 – same result. I’m pretty sure that if I start the routine at 9:30, will be in bed at around 9:30.
News bit #3 – A more thorough explanation of why I am so meticulous about saving time: We can divide spare time into chores and “happy fun time”. That extra 10 minutes will be subtracted from…I’m going to go ahead and stop here. I sound SUPER crazy! If I continue I’ll just sound SUPER crazier. Suffice it to say that I view time as precious and I’m willing to go to ludicrous lengths to save whatever time I can. For instance, there will be several occasions throughout my morning routine where I reach for a drink of sweet, sweet java and stop and say to myself I haven’t got enough time to take a drink. Most of the time I tell myself to shutup and take a drink. However, there have been plenty of occasions where I have indeed agreed that I don’t have time for a f’n drink!
I’m embarrassed now, I stop.
I started to write “Morning Fun Time with the Four Jarretts, pt. 3: The Jarrett That Was,” using the same template as Taskmaster Jarrett and Therapist Jarrett, but the only thing that TJTW ever says is some form of “the old Jarrett would’ve done that better.” I’m sure that would be as boring to read as it would be to write. Moreover, the more I thought about the things that I could say that might deviate from the replies, the sadder I became. It’s bad enough to have the “old Jarrett is better” thought popping up in my head at every turn, I don’t need to give it full conscious thought. Such thoughts were making me sad, and as a generally happy person, I’m against being sad! Even now as I am dictating this, TJTW is back there saying, “the old Jarrett would’ve been able to type this blog lickety-splits.” One small consolation of having such a prominent set of personalities in my head is that they use funny words too.
Now we have the question, what to blog about? I’ll just sort of throw things out there as they arise, like so much rising crust pizza (mmm, pizza)…Sorry for the delay, I stopped to go to Panera Bread for some coffee. I also got a bagel, which is delicious, I’ll be taking breaks for “bagel bites” (this blog entry is brought to you by Bagel Bites).
Now that I’ve taken care of the corporate plug, let’s get down to business. I’ve been advised to blog more consistentlier. To that end, I’ve decided to post a new entry every Monday. I chose this day because “Mon” is Latin for blog. The Romans loved blogging so much that they named a day after it. On Colosseum days (probably Tuesdays), not only would Christians be fed to the lions, they’d also throw in those that didn’t blog. These people would ask, “May I ask why I’m being fed to the lions?” The guard would reply, “no Mon.” To the soon to be lion chow, it sounded like the guards were doing a bad impression of a Jamaican; they were actually saying, “No blog.” I could continue in this fashion all day, but this blog is supposed to be about my brain, so I’ll stop the history lesson here. That history lesson was brought to you Bagel Bites 🙂
I meant to blog about my most recent Botox encounter, but I didn’t (the absence of that entry was (not) brought to you by Bagel Bites). The most notable events birthed from that appointment are thus:
1. I received TWO injections in my foot. I can’t adequately describe the pain, but let’s just say it hurt A LOT! Now take that level of pain and multiply it times two. To put it into words – it hurt A LOT A LOT! The only thing I can think of that compares to that level of pain is a tattoo on the ribs, such as this one –
The lettering is Hebrew, it says “This tattoo really f’n hurt.” Not really, I don’t know that the f word exists in Hebrew; It says “If you will it, it is no dream,” uttered by Theodor Herzl.
2. The good doctor noticed my curling fingers during a previous visit, so she advised that she inject gobs of potent neurotoxin into it (she says to help with the hypertonicity, I think that she just wanted to stick me more). This means that I not only got injections of “sausage” (botulus = Latin for sausage, this translation is brought to you by Bagel Bites w/sausage) toxin in my leg, but I also got injections in my arm.
I didn’t count the number of shots after the two in my foot (I was busy despairing about life without that foot, I was sure it was going to fall off). I approximate 15 shots. Another thing about getting TWO(!) shots in the foot, any shot after that (so long as it’s not in the foot) feels like your being tickled.
Why do I do this? It’s not because I become so dexterous that I can play concert piano; to be honest, I don’t get much more function from these injections, but I do get quite a bit of relief (especially in my toes from the foot shots. Poetic, no?) You see, my toes constantly curl; it gets pretty painful. By deadening the toe flexors, my toes are much easier to relax.
“Timesaver” #4: I need to finish this entry, so I can move on to other things. Ergo, my Timesaver will be to not do a Timesaver. In essence, this Timesaver is a paradox.
After a long wait, here is the second part of the “Morning Fun Time with Four Jarretts” series. It is Therapist Jarrett’s turn; I’ll be using the same template as the previous Morning Fun Time entry. He speaks thusly:
5:15: Alarm goes off. Check the time –
Use your left arm to push yourself up. When you get to your feet, put equal weight on the left leg.
Hobble into the kitchen to turn on the coffee pot –
*Flip the switch on the coffee maker with my right hand*
Couldn’t you have used your left hand for that? To make up for it you have to get a coffee mug out of the cabinet with your left hand, don’t forget to open the cabinet with your left hand also. Do you ever want to get any better?
Go to bathroom to brush teeth and take morning meds –
Why not brush with your left hand? Also, grab your meds with your left hand too.
Finish brushing my teeth, go back to kitchen to get a cup of coffee –
It’s okay for you to pour the coffee with your right hand, but you need to hold the cup with your left hand. Also, you’re not putting enough weight on your left leg
Pour coffee, go back to the bathroom for a shower; check time –
*Stepping into shower*
Step into the bathtub with your right foot first; you don’t want to step onto a slippery surface with all of your weight on your left leg.
*In the shower*
Use your left hand to grab the body wash, pop the lid, pour some onto the sponge thing and use your left hand to wash yourself.
Taskmaster Jarrett: We can’t use the left hand for that! That would be an egregious waste of time!
Get done with shower, check time again –
Taskmaster Jarrett: 5:35! Have I fallen into some sort of warp zone where time moves twice as fast? This therapy stuff is really slowing us down; time to get on the ball!
Therapist Jarrett: Now now, Ta-Ja! Slow and steady wins the race.
Comb hair, put on deodorant. Gather phone and coffee to take into room –
Grab the deodorant with your left hand. I think you can put more weight on your left leg.
Walk into room with dirty clothes. Consider putting the dirty clothes in the hamper, but then I’d have to move something off the lid.
If you can get Ta-Ja to shut up for a second, you can use your left hand to take that stuff off the lid and use your left hand to open the hamper.
Start getting dressed – remember to put my leg brace on.
You need to stretch your hamstring and your quad first! Do you ever want to get better?
Put on knee brace and clothes – check the clock about 5 times. Time to walk the dog.
Remember to hold the leash in your left hand and focus on walking with a smooth gait – make sure you’re bending your left knee enough so you don’t hyperextend or circumduct.
Get the leash on, poop bag in back pocket and potty treats in breast pocket. Walk out the door, lock up (I’m very paranoid), start walking.
*Instinctively transfer the leash from right hand to left hand to lock the door with my right hand
Stop circumducting, bend your knee!
Stomach growls, I head to the kitchen to get something to eat and coffee.
Hold the banana with your left hand while you hold the coffee mug with your right
Ta-Ja: Best idea you’ve had all morning, slow poke! That way you can optimize consumption.
I think too much, that much is obvious. Therapist Jarrett is a culmination of the many therapists I’ve had over the years. Since I don’t go to therapy anymore, I’ve taken on the personality of a therapist in some ways (Norman Bates with his mother from “Psycho” comes to mind).
If I’ve learned one thing from this experience, it’s patience and the value of the “little things”.
That said, I tend to get upset with myself (“do you want to get better?”), if I miss even ONE opportunity to use my left hand, etc. I’ll have missed my opportunity.
“Timesaver” #2: “To smell bad” – I got stuck contemplating the eternal question: “deodorant in my room or the bathroom?” You see, I’d go through phases where I’d put deodorant on right after a shower, but there’d be times that I’d forget and have to break the flow of my morning routine by going back into the bathroom for deodorant; I just couldn’t abide that “egregious unsanctioned activity.” I took the logicrazy step and bought more deodorant – one for my room, one for the bathroom and one for my travel bag