Jarrett = Four Years Old

Hello, Internet!

Welcome to a very special edition of this blog (I know I say that a lot, but this one is more specialer, I promise).

Today is my “rebirthday”; it was on this day in that foul year of our Lord, 2009, that I underwent brain surgery. According to my calculator, that makes me four years old.

To commemorate this day I thought I’d list four positives I’ve experienced in the last four years –

1. Parking: I’ve a handicapped placard – I’ve found that the real advantage to having this blue piece of plastic is not so much parking closer, but narrowing the selection of parking places.

You see, most of you chumps have to drive around the whole parking lot to find a space; I need only check the front few spots.

Moreover, you’re more likely to get stuck behind that assclown that plugs up a row to wait for a spot (if you’re one of these people, I hate you).

Occasionally, someone will swoop in and take a spot before me. I find myself sizing this person up – Are they really handicapped? I think he/she’s just using his/her grandma’s placard.

I’m starting to sound hateful, let’s move on…

2. Helpful people: I often get asked if I need help with this or that. Writing about this makes me want to redact my previous comment about “you chumps”. But I don’t want to change it, so just erase it from your mind like so much Men in Black flashing phallus thingy.

Speaking of Men in Black, a fella that looked just like Will Smith came to help me fight off some aliens that were trying to steal my cheese grater.

I jest. He actually looked more like Puff Daddy (or P. Diddy, whatever he goes by these days).

Back to the point, seeing a person hold up a row in a  parking lot gets me thinking that people are self-centered, then a nice young lady asks if I need help carrying a large box to my car and shatters that perception.

3. New friends: I’ve met some pretty awesome people that I wouldn’t otherwise know. I’ve been lucky to have very lucky to work with very knowledgeable, caring therapists – I feel so honored to have met these people, I’ll attempt to name them all –

  • Emily x2 (OT, PT)

  • Laura (OT)

  • Heidi (PT)

  • Steve (PT)

  • Samara (PT)

  • DJ (PT)

  • Jennifer x3 (OT, OT, speech therapist)

  • Elizabeth (OT)

  • Leslie x2 (PT, speech therapist)

  • Leslynn (speech therapist)

  • That red headed (OT) whose name I forgot

  • That blonde (speech therapist) whose name I forgot

  • Kenya (speech therapist)

  • Paula (counselor)

  • Joni (PT)

  • Bonnie (PT)

I can’t think of anymore. If I forgot someone, I’m truly sorry. Wait, I’d also like to mention Sandy, my driver from my days at Pate. A very heartfelt and genuine thank you to you all!

4. Continuous possibility for improvement: The medical community says the optimum window for recovery from a brain injury is 18 months or so.

That same community also endorsed the use of leeches to suck out sickness, I can and will continue to improve.

I don’t make improvements as quickly and dramatically (dramatiquickly?) as I once did, but I’m certain that one day I’ll be able to do many of the things I once did (if not, at least I’ll look good as I fail 🙂 ).

So, not only is the being alive a nice part of waking up, but I also get to face each day with the possibility that I will finally (insert activity) again.

There you have it, folks! Having a TBI is no bueno, but there are some perks.



This Day(ish) in History

Hello, Internet!
Welcome to a very special edition of this blog! The theme for today is “this day in history” – when someone says ‘this’ or ‘day’ or especially ‘in’ or ‘history’, you have to do an obnoxious yell and do your best Peewee Herman impression – example.

You see, on August 7th (or 8th, can’t remember exactly), in that foul year of our Lord 2009, I was released from inpatient care at Pate (brain rehab). This ended three long months of inpatient care; two months at an acute rehab hospital and one month at Pate.

My time in rehab was only about halfway over, I’d spend the next four months as an outpatient at Pate. I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I go into detail about that day, I thought I’d discuss a few other famous events from August 7th, err…8th. The only way to settle this is to discuss events from August 78th.

Wikipedia and every calendar ever tell me that August 78th never has, or ever will exist. How am I to proceed? Obviously, add 78 days to the first day of August in that foul year of our Lord, 2009.

If my understanding of the calendar and the sequencing of numbers is to be believed, the magic day would be October 17th or 10/17.

Historically, October 17th has been a very busy day. It was on that day in 1777 (roughly 1,000 years ago) that GW gave the British what for at the Battle of Saratoga.

A few years later, in 1781 (roughly 1,000 years ago) the British said, “To hell with you, pompous Americans!” and surrendered at Yorktown.

So you see, October 17th is a day to celebrate freedom! Be it from tyrannical mother countries or inpatient rehab facilities

If you need more proof of the freedom that is October 17th, know that Al Capone finally got convicted of income tax evasion on that day in 1917 (roughly 1,000 years ago); freeing the world of a cheapskate tyrant. He was shipped off to jail where the taxes he didn’t pay didn’t go towards its construction.

Being the law abiding taxpayer that I am I was released home that day (August 7th or 8th).

I remember feeling ecstatic that that day had finally come, but upset that I missed all of that time. Truth be told, I still feel robbed of that time.

Anyway, Jessica (ex-wife), Quinn (daughter) and Priscilla (ex mother-in-law) put up welcome posters on the garage – a very nice homecoming.

Excuse me for not making with the funny, I’m in sentimental mode now (sentimode?).

I still went to neuro rehab, I got there by using my newfound ability to fly. That’s a lie, I only fly to run short errands in town.

I was close enough to Pate that they’d come and get me. My driver was usually a very pleasant lady named Sandy .

That name turned out to be very fitting for her – she ate more candy than anyone I’ve ever seen. You see, candy and Sandy rhyme.

Candy, err… Sandy would chauffeur me to and from Pate for until the end of January – at that point, I had been back to work for about a month – I was either going to sink or swim.

I can keep going in this fashion for a while, so I’ll just stop here and say I’ve been very lucky – excellent doctors/medical facilities, caring and attentive family (that definitely includes Jessica), proximity to rehab facilities and top notch therapists.

All the above mentioned happiness is possible because a). GW turned the tide of the revolutionary war 1,000 years ago and b). Al Capone was brought to justice.




Pating to Go and Motorized Dairy

How many shots in the foot this time? I’m sitting in the lobby of the doctor’s office contemplating how many new holes my foot will have. I can’t say I’m terribly upset about it, the last round of Botox wore off long ago.

Two. I got two shots in the foot. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again – it.

I jest. You’d think that the first shot would prepare you for the next one so it won’t hurt as bad, but it don’t work that way. My advice to you is this – don’t get a shot in your foot, but if you have to, just get one.

Let’s continue revisiting the early entries on this blog. We pick up at the “bridge”. I’ve not been told otherwise, so I’ll assume that my…uh…assumption is correct regarding the Pons as a silly doorman.

I’m going to skip over the entry entitled  Thank You”– my divorce is still a sore spot for me. Which gives me more time to write about a place that I hold very close to my heart (and my brain)…
The Next Step
 On Monday, July 7th, I am going to another rehab facility in Anna, TX (closer to home WOO!) called Pate, which specializes in brain matters (pun intended). The projection is 6-12 weeks…then (hopefully) home!!!

After my bridge done flooded I went to an acute rehab center. After that, I started rehab designed for people with brain injuries at Brinlee Creek Ranch – the Anna, TX arm of the Pate rehab racket.

Despite the circumstance, I think back to my time at Pate with great fondness. I don’t want to say that I am an outcast or something like that, but sometimes people don’t understand why I’m peculiar and they’ll treat me differently (i.e. the guy at the oil change place that I no longer go to who would speak AT me very loudly and very slowly). At Pate, I didn’t have to worry about that – I was surrounded by people just like me.

We were all there for different reasons, but we all shared the same battle – trying to get along in the world with our newfound disability.

I have some very fond memories of that place such as: clicking at dots on the VMR like so much Pavlov’s dog – TWICE! Tyrant therapist (tyrapist?) made me do it before surgery and after. Another sad yet funny memory is having to tell this dude that had a brain tumor removed my name EVERYDAY! I can’t seem to remember his name now, how poetic. Please know that I’m not laughing at this guy, he’d laugh about it too, but I’d never slight a fella in his shoes.

The most useful, yet still frustrating thing is the way everything is so regimented. Useful = No surprises. Frustrating = When a surprise does arise (surparise?), I feel like I’ve gotta rearrange my entire schedule. For instance, when I have to shave (I do this in the evenings), I feel like my entire evening is shot. You see, I usually make an evening to-do list during the day, I never add shaving to that list. I’ve heard that a neat appearance helps one attain/keep a job. Knowing this, I occasionally shave. You’d think that, having shaved since I was 13ish, it wouldn’t (side note: we have a contraction for it would – ‘it’d’ and a contraction for would not – ‘wouldn’t’. I propose a contraction for it would not – it’d’nt. Wait a minute, what about ‘twouldn’t’?) Starting over – You’d think that, having shaved since I was 13ish, ‘twouldn’t’ come as a surprise, but it does. I’m not sure why this is the case, but it is.

All this is to say that Pate has turned me into Rainman – I have to have things just so or I’ll flip out and start banging my head against stuff.
Allow me to quote Rainman in this very contrived segue – “I’m an excellent driver” when I drive…

TBI is…The Buick Ice-milk: my car, a Buick Lucerne, shares its name with Safeway’s own brand of dairy products.

This one actually does very loosely connect to my TBI. I don’t care to elaborate, but about a year ago I needed a car. Serendipitously, my pater got a promotion that included a company car. Neither my mother or my father can drive two cars at the same time (amateurs!), so they sold the dairy product/motorized conveyance to me.



More Time Travel and Jean Claude Van-Damme

I’m not sure why, but in my early entries I’d post multiple times in one day. This vexes me verily (vexily?). Granted, there was a lot going on at the time, but could I not gather my thoughts enough to include everything in one entry? I picture myself going back in time to find out why. I get there and say, “Dude! Why do you post multiple times in one day?”
I look at myself, puzzled, and reply, “Dude! You had the opportunity to travel back in time and you choose this time and place?”

Feeling like a dimwit, but wanting to redeem myself, I ask, “When/where would you have gone?”
We get into a long discussion about orangutans and breakfast cereals, etc. Eventually, I insist that I answer my question. Just as I’m about to speak someone walks in with a box of donuts; we both reach for the maple cake donut, Our fingers touch, we both turn into big blobs of flesh, coagulate into a puddle that shrinks until it disappears (watch Timecop, it’s based on a true story of a corrupt, time traveling senator and how Jean Claude Van-Damme is a weiner. I can’t find the scene itself, but here’s a TRAILER). Anyway, I never find out why I posted several entries in one day and I blot out my own existence.

Moving on, recall from my last entry about the second part of my first entry, which had six entries on the first of July, being the seventh month of the year 2009…uhh…backfire – in my cute attempt to confuse I confused myself…I ran into a doorway at the Target and went back to a hospital (not because of the doorway).

During my stay at the rehab hospital, I’d make frequent trips to Dallas to see my neurosurgeon, Dr. Jonathan White, when I say his name or picture him in my head I hear the angels singing; this man is a god as far as I’m concerned. Here are the particulars –

The Doctor Visit

On June 30th, Jessica, My parents and I met with Dr. White, a neurosurgeon, at UT Southwestern. I also got an MRI. The doctor (and the scans) suggested I wait a while longer as there is still too much blood in my head. BUT, surgery is possible given the current location. I will go back in two months and do the same thing and hopefully the blood will have absorbed (enough to operate anyway). The surgery itself is risky and will likely send me back to rehab (if not worse). The tradeoff is a lifetime without fear of this recurring with some permanent damage or the possibility of recurrence and the fear that that possibility brings. I am opting for the former (surgery)

Dr. White looked at the pictures born out of the loud noises shot through my skull and reckoned we wait until the bleed site becomes not so bloody. I was a bit upset about this, I was ready to have that thing out of my noodle. If I may borrow the tone from the JG Wentworth commercials – IT’S MY CAVERNOMA AND I WANT IT OUT! I do worry about it growing back, but I’m glad I don’t have to worry that it’s gonna erupt again. I sometimes think how it might be if I hadn’t had the surgery, then I think about not walking and paralysis and that thought quickly goes away. For those of you contemplating surgery, many will say “it’s a very personal decision.” To me, that part is implied, my advice is this – if your doctor is confident he/she can cut it out with a minimum of residual damage and you trust in this doctor after having done your research on him/her – cut that sucker out of there; don’t wait for it to bleed again. What’s next?


Location, Location, Location

My cavernoma is located in the Pons region, located on the brainstem which controls (from what I understand) –


– Autonomic function (breathing, heart rate…stuff that just happens automatically *gulp*)

– Sleep (This I know)

– Messages between the cerebrum and cerebellum

– Hearing

– Fine motor skill (This I know)


There are more, but these seem to be the most prominent. Again, this info. is from my limited understanding.

I’ve written about the Pons more completely HERE. For the most part, the functions listed above are accurate. I’m starting to suspect that most of the issues I’ve experienced and continue to deal with have more to do with the bridge function of the Pons rather than the functions it controls. Here’s a better explanation: let’s say the the Pons is a silly doorman at your apartment named…Pons (I couldn’t think of anything else), the apartment building is the cerebellum, the area outside the door is the cerebral cortex, and you are a message. Pons is a pretty eccentric dude, he wears sunglasses all day, and once tried to give a swirlie (swirly?) to a solicitor. You’re not concerned with his personality, you just want him to open the door. One day, he decides he doesn’t want to open the door anymore. Now you have trouble getting from the building (cerebellum) and the outside (cerebral cortex).

TBI is…Tempest Blows Indoors. I tweeted this one earlier in the week, but I’d like to give it more explanation. Here is the original explanation – For no reason, I’ll flail my arms about to regain my balance after thinking about tacos or something. You see, I often have to think about walking the way most people would think about math. That is, I have to think pretty hard about the terrain, wind, fatigue, etc. As I’ve mentioned before, there are shiny things everywhere. If/when I get distracted I can lose my balance pretty easily. Luckily, I still have a pretty good reflex to keep me upright. This comes out to – Jarrett is walking down an aisle at the store, Jarrett spots a fancy, yet useless gadget in the “As Seen On TV” display, Jarrett loses his balance, it looks like Jarrett is swimming through the air as he tries to regain equilibrium.

Gas is Good!

Happy June 30th to you all! This is a very special day. Today is the fifth anniversary of the June 30th that happened five years ago! Why is that day so special? I can’t say for sure, but being the “glass half full” kinda guy that I am, I think it’s entirely possible that something awesome happened that day. Perhaps I had some donuts or I found $20 on the ground. 

ITEM! We interrupt this trip down possible memory lane tO bring you breaking news. It turns out that cars need gas to function properly. My older sister, Jessica, and I decided to put this “fact” to the test. Turns out, the conventional wisdom on this subject is true; much the same as a sandwich needs mayonnaise (not Miracle Whip, dammit!), a car needs gas (not Miracle Whip, dammit!) Fortunately, we were very close to my parents’ abode and a source of that precious fossil fuel. We hoofed it to the nearest station of gas and other modern conveniences (Twinkies, air fresheners, Miracle Whip (dammit!) etc.), and procured the world’s most expensive gas can and filled it with dead dinosaur juice. A very nice fella by the name of Cornelius (I don’t know his name, I just thought it’d be cool if that was his name), offered to drive Jessica back to the car. I waited while Cornelius drove her to the car. Moments later she drove up and picked me up at the gas station. Isn’t gasoline great? (statement sponsored by Exxon Mobil). 

Fast forward to today (Saturday, June 30th). Jessica and I made it to my parents’ house and are celebrating the fifth anniversary of me possibly eating donuts or picking money up from the ground. To help commemorate this (potentially) awesome occasion, family has come from as far away as Kansas City(!)
The multitude of visitors might have something to do with an annual fourth of July celebration at casa de Wilson and/or all the food and booze. Either way, we have to “Stack” people on top of each other bc there are so many! (You see, that’s funny bc my mother’s half of the family has the last name ‘Stack’. As such, Stack has a double meaning – to make a pile as for storage purposes and people with the last name ‘Stack’.) Why did I explain all that? Bc I’m trying to make this blog entry longer through artificial means, a technique known as “rambling”. For instance, did you know that Shel Silverstein wrote “Boy Named Sue”? 

The problem I have when I start a blog entry is that I don’t know when to stop. So I’m going to try something new.


The ER

An abnormality was found on the scans at Wilson N. Jones in Sherman, as a result I was flown (that’s right, in a helicopter) to Zale Lipshy in Dallas. So my great adventure begins…at 1:00am on a Sunday morning.

How it Began…

Hello Internet! In the manner of my father and so many before him, this blog was created to keep my circle of people informed about what’s going on in my head (literally).

It all started the week of May 17-23. I noticed a slight headache on Monday that persisted the whole week. On Thursday night the pain became excruciating. Friday, I still had the headache and started throwing up. I skipped work that day and went to my GP. The good doctor gave me shots for pain and nausea/vomiting, he told me to go to the ER and get a CT Scan if the headache didn’t go away by the next day. It didn’t. Jessica took me to the ER on Saturday and I got my head scanned. By this time, I was having a little trouble with anything fine-motor related, my left side was going numb and my right eye was drooping (in addition to the headache).

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