baclofen pump, brain injury, brain surgery, brainstem, cavernoma blog, cavernous angioma, living with tbi

Two B minuses = A+ and the Pain Refrain

Sorry for the delay, I basically holed up in my apartment for a week to study for the second A+ certification exam – I passed with another B-! Now that I’m A+ certified, I can get on with my summer. I did so by swimming the day away with my kid.

That said, I was inspired to write this after a friend commented on my poem about medication. She called me a “tough cookie” (mmm…tough…oh wait…). I thought to myself that ain’t nothin! At that very moment, I conceived an idea for a poem. My head, being so impregnated with rhyming verbage birthed the following verse –

Medical procedures can hurt,

Notably with all the needles doctors insert.

The following words list some of my pains;

but despite the the hurt, I’ve made many gains.

Early on I was bound to a wheelchair,

now I walk freely from here to there.

One of the most painful procedures that comes to mind,

is when some nurses couldn’t find a vein and had to do a mid line.

They stuck a needle deep into my arm,

they finally found a vein from which to farm…

…the blood needed to patch a hole in my spine,

after that I felt fine!

Until the day came to remove the staples from my belly incision;

you see, I got an implant for a direct baclofen infusion.

I felt a small sting when each staple came out,

it’s a good thing I had painkillers, so I didn’t have to pout.

I raised a pretty big stink when a nurse placed an IV,

she stuck me several times before leaving it in the band of my arm, you see.

Whenever I’d bend my arm, the needle would stab and poke;

The pain I felt was very real, it weren’t no joke!

Speaking of poke, I frequently get 10 or more injections of botox;

the injections go anywhere from my arm to the place where I wear socks.

This list is certainly missing a few ouchies;

give me a break! I’ve had brain surgery, geez!

Technology, Topic not about Brain Injury, Uncategorized

Feel, Feel, Feel, Feel, Feel. Feel My Heat

You know what they say, “If you can’t stand the heat, get an after market heatsink/fan.”

This old adage influenced me to order a new cooler for my CPU. However, there’s a footnote to this sage advice that I uncovered after purchasing the cooler.

The entire thing reads thusly – “If you can’t stand the heat, get an after market heatsink/fan.*

Make believe this explanation is much lower in order to get the genuine “footnote feel.”

*Be sure that the heatsink/fan will use the current fan mounts on your motherboard. If you don’t do your homework and find that the new heatsink/fan requires an adapter, take care that you have an opening in your case that allows you to install the backplate.

Gosh, that’s a long footnote. Overly verbose story short, I bought this fan and these the materials  to remove the nail polish from my…err…old thermal compound from the CPU and current HSF –

...goes to the nail salon
…goes to the nail salon

To put into this computer –

"I'm no longer cutting the mustard"
“I’m no longer cutting the mustard”

The dog looks on with great anticipation –

"It is a little warm in here"
“It is a little warm in here”

Because the CPU is getting too hot, not because of my dog, because of the stock heatsink/fan. I was monitoring the hardware and saw that the CPU cores we reaching 50° C, or for us silly Americans, that’s 500°F (to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit you multiply by 10 right?).

If memory serves, 500° is the temperature of the surface of the sun . Naturally, an aftermarket HSF (nerd abbreviation for heatsink/fan) is necessary so I won’t burn a hole through the earth.

Does it require a universal adapter for the backplate? Yes (dammit!)

Do I have a space cut out to easily reach the backplate without having to take out the motherboard? Yes. A few years ago I drilled out holes for the motherboard backplate and cable management, see –

Notice the expertly placed electrical tape
Notice the expertly placed electrical tape

Is the hole better for an AMD motherboard or Intel? Intel (dammit!) At the time the holes were put in, I had an Intel chip, now I roll with AMD.

I can’t get the current backplate off to put the new one on unless I take the motherboard out. That’s a big pain in the ass.

UPDATE! Turns out that 50°C isn’t that bad. AMD says my processor is fine up until 62°C. I’m not sure how this is true, considering that 50°C is the temperature of the surface of the sun.

That would make 62°C about the temperature of a cup of coffee from McDonald’s (good thing it won’t be in my lap).

In essence, I read the Temperature Breakdown Incorrectly (TBI is…)


BTW, I know that Fahrenheit is not 10x Celsius. The actual conversion is boring.




Technology, Topic not about Brain Injury


ITEM! I passed the first exam for A+ certification (aka 220-801). This coming Tuesday, I’ll take the second part (220-802).

Having passed one of the two tests, I’ve half the certification. In essence, I’m A+ certifi…. I have half a certificate that says “This certifi…. [new line] Jarrett… [new line] has successfully completed… [new line] and is entitled to all…[new line] Signed, the 18th of…[new line] Jebidiah…[end of document half].”

I get the rest of the certificate when I pass the next test (and I get to know Jebidiah’s last name! My guess is “Ria” – get it Jebi-diarrhea? Comment with your guesses).

In addition to uncovering Jebidiah’s last name and the other half of the certificate (the “cation” if you will), you also get a BFF that always hangs around to compliment your outfits and finish your sentences (similar to a friend that has the other half of a BFF heart pendant necklace.)

The content of the next test concerns…

Oh yeah, I don’t have a BFF to finish my sentences yet.


Topic not about Brain Injury, Uncategorized

I Still Love Technology, but Not as much Cleaning, You See; Always and Forever

I’m going to be pretty busy tomorrow, so I’m counting this as my Tuesday blog. I might still post something tomorrow, BUT I PROMISE NOTHING!

TBI is…Tidy up Break from my Investigation. I’m almost ashamed to admit this. I’ve been studying (“investigating”) for the A+ certification exam for the past few days. What is A+? It’s a certification that says that I am qualified for handling/troubleshooting the common technology of today. Easy enough for a guy like me, right? Actually, no…there are plenty of questions about not so modern technology and details about modern technology that would bumfuzzle even the nerdiest of nerds.

First off, there are questions that I do know, such as, “What is your name?” I should get that one correct.

There will also be questions like, “A client just got a computer with an AGP slot and would like to know what it’s for, what will you tell the client?” I can’t write in an answer, but I’d put something like this if I could – “I’d go back in time and tell this person not to buy the computer because AGP (Accelerated Graphics Port) is outdated. I’d then advise this person to buy a computer with a PCI express x16 slot.” The answer to this question is something like, “It’s an expansion slot for video cards.”

The real difficulty comes in when they ask a question like, “Your computer needs RAM with 240 pins, what kind will you get?” I know what you’re saying, “It’s DDR3, you dunce!”…

Seriously, look at all the notes I’ve taken –


Most of these are front and back with another notecard stapled to the back. I should note also that THERE ARE TWO FRIGGIN TESTS! The notes you see here are only for the first test.

I’m getting off track here, the point is that I’ll be studying pin counts and sockets and whatnot for a few hours and think I could use a study break.

Then I start thinking about all the wonderful things I can do for a break – play video games, watch tv, read a magazine.

For whatever reason, none of those sound as appealing as *cue dramatic voice* CLEANING!

What’s worse is I’ll get so into cleaning, the cleaning and the studying switch roles – I’ll clean for a few hours, then think I better take a study break.




Topic not about Brain Injury

Thanks, Dad

Today being father’s day, I’d like to write about my dad –

2012-06-09 12.11.00

There are lots of things I can say about him to demonstrate how awesome he is –


– Waking up early on Saturday mornings to take me to bowling. He came in one morning that I was very sleepy, I straight up said, “I don’t wanna do it anymore.” He said “ok” and walked out of my room (none of that, “son, you need to see this through.”) He never forced anything on me, he allowed me to be myself.


– Taking me to the sporting goods store to buy me a new tennis racquet on the very day that I broke my old one by throwing it.


– The best advice I’ve ever gotten from another human being: when I was in my early teens, he told me “never apologize for who you are.” I think I understood this before the hemorrhage, but I really get it now. What you see is what you get. It may not be what you like or expect, but it’s me.


Thanks for being my dad, dad! If I’m a good dad it’s only because I learned from the best.


Happy Father’s Day!




cavernoma blog, Topic not about Brain Injury, Uncategorized

What’s behind that friggin door?

UPDATE! The Skylander racket has sucked me in as well. It’s not enough that it sunk (sank? I know – saunk!) Retry – It’s not enough that it saunk it’s foul teeth into my beloved daughter, who now answers everything with “Skylanders.” For example –

Me: “Q, what would you like for dinner?”

Me: “Q, does Lily (dog) need food or water?”
Q: *Stops playing Skylanders to check* “ugh, Skylanders.”

Anyway, the Skylanders racket is thus – beyond the innate need to diversify the gaming experience with more characters, said characters are divided into “elements.” Occasionally, a guy that reminds me of a skinny Santa Claus comes on and says “Skylanders of the [name of element] element are stronger in this zone.” In essence, the game is enhanced by possessing more elements. Near as I can figure, there are exactly n+1 elements, with n being the number of elements you have. This means that it is impossible to possess every element because if you do, your kid won’t be an icepick in your ear until you get him/her that last elusive element. Then, those assclowns at Activision might lose money and the employees might have to *gasp* drive domestic cars!

Anyway, I bring all this up because there are spots in the game where you have to have a character from every element to open a series of doors to get what I can only imagine are the winning lottery numbers. I HAVE TO KNOW WHAT’S ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THAT FRIGGIN DOOR! It makes me think of the case in Pulp Fiction, you know it has something shiny and wonderful, but it never gets revealed.



brain injury, cavernoma blog, living with tbi

One Pair of Glasses to Rule Them All!

ITEM! I picked up my glasses with the prisms for double vision. I don’t really have double vision anymore, so when I wear them everything looks like it did when Frodo put on the ring in LOTR. A HUGE eye stares at me all the time, even when I’m in the bathroom – RUDE! I wonder if I’m invisible? Come to think of it, there’s a strange inscription on one of the arms/ear-pieces. ; I’ll just look a little closer. WHOA! It says “One pair of glasses to see real good, one pair to focus. One pair with prisms in them, don’t forget to pay us!” Actually, they somehow help. Not sure how, like all things I can’t explain it must be some sort of magic.