Stuff and Junk

Hey there buckaroos and buckaroodettes! I’ll skip the usual “I haven’t posted recently because…” and just say “better late than never!” Much has transpired since last I “flogged” you –

Professionally: I am once again gainfully employed as a library assistant at the Piner library. I very much enjoy it – it’s quiet, I get to leave work at work, and I get to organize and categorize all day! My inner bureaucrat is taken care of 🙂

Medically: I am now part machine (that’s right, I was all man before). I wear a black helmet, breathe loudly and sound like James Earl Jones and enjoy pinching my fingers together to choke strangers (I’m a RIOT at restaurants! I make people think they’re choking on alfalfa sprouts!)… But seriously YOU DON’T KNOW THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE!!! Sorry, that just sorta pops out every now and again. Long story longer and more convoluted – YOU DON’T KNOW THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE!!! Err… Lets assume you do know the power of there dark side so we can move on (for the record, it’s eh).

Listen: I had a pump implanted in my abdomen (left side), connected to a tube leading to my spine. This pump releases Baclofen (muscle relaxer/ joy juice) directly into my spine. Take that blood brain barrier!… I’m back! You may continue reading. Bet you didn’t even know I was gone! Being away doing chores as I just was, I’ve decided that I’d like to address one or two things not related to my brain. I will call these reflections “Prosaic Musings and Stuff” or PMS for short. Firstly, why is it that when you (or maybe it only happens to me? Do comment.) take a full trashbag out of your trash can, another empty bag doesn’t magically appear in its place? I come back to throw some sh.. away but there aren’t no bag! As if that’s not bad enough I have to put a new one in! It’s like a gift that keeps on giving, only it’s bad. It’s an “ungift”.
I have to go to bed now, next topic – Sunchips and the weirdo that names them (i.e. “harvest cheddar” how does one harvest cheddar? Doesn’t that imply that you have to grow cheddar? Even if that were possible, where does one acquire cheddar seeds?)…to be continued.

Miclog #8 ("The Exorcist, part pee")

Happy 4th of July, Internet! I am slowing down on the Miclogs – sorry, so many video games, so little time. I’ll just jump right in: I had the baclofen trial and it was found not guilty by reason of it being an inanimate object. It was, therefore, set free to continue not doing anything. When I last checked, it wasn’t happy or sad about the decision, because pills don’t have emotions, or the means to express them if they did. You want more medicine humor? Or am I being a pill? The trial was deemed a success owing to the fact that my left leg was easier to relax and my left hamstring started to work (no more circumduction or hyperextension!). The “installation” is scheduled for July 28…coincidentally, Abraham Lincoln’s birthday – actually, I’m lying…chumps! Banks will be open that day, so your transactions should post just fine. I’ve gotta throw in one more wisecrack about the trial – the trial, a shot in the spine to inject baclofen, was done by a radiologist named Dr. Scott. After the injection, I shouted “Dr. Scotty, I need more medicine!” He abruptly replied, “I’ve given you all I got, captain!” Not sure why he called me captain, maybe it was the sailor hat they gave me so I’d stop crying.
In other news, I got a job as a sea captain; which is strange considering I’m nowhere close to an ocean. I’m that good, I guess. Jess and I finally exorcised the “poop in a diaper” demon from our daughter by *gasp*, not providing diapers. Listen, demons – like the “PiaD” demon – thrive on the inconsistency of humans. The SOB called a friend in to fill the void, though: the “pee in bed” demon. I’m pretty sure he’s a dude, so we call him “Mr. PiB”. Oh well, as I like to say, there are no problems, only solutions; we’ll figure this out, we can call the local priest – Jebidiah Pepper, Ph.D, or Dr. Pepper – to exorcise Mr. PiB.

I go now!


Miclog #567

Miclog #s 5, 6 & 7: I wrote 5 & 6 about a month ago 7 will be more updated, to simplify things, I will call this whole thing miclog #567, as I will probably never get that high. I am going to copy and paste 5, 6 & 7. Why? Because I can. Here we go –
Microg #5 (“Inception”) – After seeing the Hollywood feature with Leonardo Dicaprio, I thought to myself, “the landscape of my mind is a lot like Paris, and I would love to have Leo Dicaprio tinkering around in there.” Unfortunately, Leo was not available and dream invasion doesn’t exist *sigh*…guess I’ll keep dreaming of the day when Leo comes to sedate me and invade my dreams. The only alternative to that dream within a dream is to have a hypnotherapist “incept” the idea that it is no longer necessary for me to instruct my left arm to take action, the way you command your butt-cheeks to clinch when you need to abstain from flatulence at the dinner table. Listen, I waste an excessive amount of “CRAM” (Cognitive Random Access Memory), thinking about moving/manipulating my left arm/hand; resources that should be devoted to ending world hunger or pondering the age old question: Diamond Dave or Sammy Hagar? Actually, I have already found the answers to both – magic and Diamond Dave (period). I need more energy to anticipate the needs of my darling daughter and her tyrannical compulsions for juice and pancakes. To reprogram my noodle to devote a reasonable amount of “CRAM” to the critical tasks outlined above, I have enlisted the services of a hypnotist. At this point, I have done pretty much everything that modern medical science has to offer, why not try a little hocus pocus? To my surprise, the mind can overcome some daunting hurdles when properly channeled. I wrote this a month ago and like anybody (brain injured or knee injured or emotionally injured) I have lost my train of thought…more on my actual hypnosis is forthcoming, stay tuned!

Miclog #6 (“conception”): I am throwing out the name “Microg” because ‘blog’ is not fairly represented. Therefore, the ‘r’ is to be dropped in favor of an ‘l’, bringing it closer to the word ‘blog’. As a promoter of equal rights, the change makes me happy; I like to be happy : ) With that, I give you the first “Miclog”, Micro-blog #6 –
It seems that hypnosis works, at least for a little while; until my brain realizes it’s been hoodwinked, at which point the “CRAM” will again be dominated by my occupational therapist asking me, ”why aren’t you using your left hand?” I am by no means back to a point where I can puppeteer (as many of you know,I LOVE puppeteering, if you didn’t know that we’re not friends anymore, shame on you!), my left arm now acts more of its own accord, still clumsy and slow, but now my mind has more energy to devote to the important things, such as – birth certificate issues concerning our president and the royal wedding.

Miclog #7 (” No Country for Big Needles”): At this moment (5:25pm, Wednesday the 8th of June) – if you read it later, I’ll probably be getting Q a “happy juice”
or swinging her in the backyard – I am sitting up in a hospital bed at Zale Lipshy in Dallas. A little after the noon o’clock hour, a doctor jabbed me in the spine with two needles(!), the first to numb the area, and the second to pump in that sweet muscle relaxer known as baclofen. Other than fulfilling a lifelong desire to get not one, but two shots in my spine, the goal was to see how my left leg would react to a direct shot of baclofen. This ” baclofen trial” as it is called, was deemed a success in so far as it significantly reduced my tremors and improved my gait (no more circumduction or hyperextension, but I drag my foot). All this means I am eligible for pump surgery where they surgically implant a chair on my back where a doctor injects baclofen into my spine every 4-6 hours…I asked the doctor how I’m supposed to sleep, he shrugged and said, “not my problem.” and now…page 2.
Although you won’t have to wait to read this, I must wait to write more owing to the need to potty, you’ll never know I’m gone. I’m back, which is evident by the fact that you are reading…I don’t know that I have anything else of substance…go Mavs and keep fighting the good fight, Lynn! Ciao.


Microg #4 ("The Feats of Strength")

As my last microg was about grievances (complaints), this microg will be about my strengths (achievements).
The most significant achievement of late has been to brave the trap ridden cave that is the modern private disability insurance industry and come out with the golden idol (an approved claim).
In other words, I don’t work in the official sense. I spend my days cleaning the house, doing laundry, washing dishes and doing what my three year old daughter tells me to do. I have found that this stuff is work that chumps without disability insurance don’t get paid for; it certainly keeps me busy.
I also found the Ark of the Covenant and melted a bunch of Nazis (score one for democracy!).
When I’m not busy doing housework or finding religious artifacts that melt fascists, I’m working on my computer, messing with A/V in the living room or manipulating technology in some other way. This was a goal I set for myself long ago and can proudly say that my tech habit is back to pre-hemorrhage levels. If I may type a song to my wife – “I still love technology, but not as much as you, you see. Always and forever”. I wrote that after I heard it on a movie ; ).
Another significant “feat of strength” is passing the driving test and returning to the road. So far, I’ve only hit, four cats, two dogs, five mailboxes, one parked car (it was an Oldsmobile so, eh), three children and two adults (I honked. What do you want from me?). But seriously, I only hit three mailboxes : P.
That’s it for microg 4, hope you learned something.


Micro- blog #3 -"Airing of Grievances"

*COWBELL!* I’ve decided that the term “Micro-blog” is too long and cumbersome; therefore, I have taken such liberties with the English language as is my right as an American (freedom of speech includes fabricating new words, right? Webster be damned, this is the land of the free!) to invent a new word. Henceforth, my short blogs will be called will be called ”microgs”. *COWBELL!*
*COWBELL!* So, without further ado, I present microg #3 (“The Airing of Grievances”) –
*COWBELL!* Being both handicapped and highly learned, I tend to overanalyze the way others perceive me. One very clear indication that I have an affliction is my leg brace; therefore, I get asked “what happened to your leg?”. Let me overanalyze this common exchange for you: The scar from my BRAIN SURGERY is clearly visible on my head, which, you might think would lead to a more interesting conversation. Alas, no. It’s always ”what happened to your leg?”. I don’t expect people to look at my leg, then my head and conclude ”oh, stroke/hemorrhage and surgery”. But it seems to me that the scar on my head would warrant more curiosity. This social anachronism has led me to postulate the “Proximity of Outrageous Ouchies to Prime Operation Organs” hypothesis (hereafter to be referred to as the “POOPOO” hypothesis). The main premise of the “POOPOO” hypothesis is, as your injury approaches an organ responsible for some vital function (i.e. The heart, the brain, the butt, etc.), the chance for it to get introduced into conversation by anyone other than the afflicted goes down. As such, there is a much greater chance that a conversee will ask about My leg than my head (my head is closer to my brain than my leg is to my butt, you might even say that my brain is inside my head, if modern science is to be believed). *COWBELL!*
*COWBELL!* As I am “airing grievances” in this microg, I must air the grievance with myself that I have spent so many words on “POOPOO”. To that end, I will move on to another grievance. *COWBELL!*
*COWBELL!* My next grievance is something that literally “rattles” me – spasticity. You see, after my surgery my brain rewired itself in such a way that it constantly tells the muscles in my left arm and left leg to contract. This results in tremors up and down my left side and arm/leg muscles flexing without end; I have to concentrate on relaxing them the way anyone else would have to concentrate to tighten said muscles. As you can imagine, with all the shiny objects out there, I get distracted pretty easily. Therefore, the constant shaking and contracting has led to some very sore joints and appendages, it also puts me at risk for arthritis. And as a guy who doesn’t have or like arthritis, that grieves me! *COWBELL!*
*COWBELL!* I have many other grievances, but if this gets much longer, I wouldn’t be able to call it a “microg”, and that would grieve me! *COWBELL!*


Micro- blog #2

True to my word (and the counsel of my ”blogtor”), herein are the words of the clumsy and wonky armed Jarrett, it shall be named micro-blog #2, so let it be done!
The girls and I went to a carnival fundraiser for a co-worker’s daughter. She (the daughter) was diagnosed with Leukemia not long ago and has already been through quite a bit. I’m not sure how old the little one is, but I’m sure she is less than 10. Now, I’ve gone through quite a bit also, but I got to live ~30 years free of major medical problems. This poor girl isn’t even a teenager yet and she has to contend with a serious illness. Moreover, her parents have to endure seeing their only daughter get ravaged by both the sickness and the cure. Life is unfair, but is unfairer for some than it is for others. I have every confidence that she will persevere and live a long and happy life, all the more joyful that she is alive to enjoy each new day, but I believe that the sadness, heartache and trials she (like me) has to endure to attain that joy are are not worth it. She has a good family and has every reason to feel joy without this contrast.
This largely holds true for me, as well. I have a loving and committed wife, a beautiful and vivacious daughter and three dogs that show their love by trying to knock me down the stairs every time I descend them, as well as a very understanding and caring network of family, in-laws and friends. I don’t need hardship to know joy.
Stay tuned for micro-blog #3 which, I promise, will have MORE COWBELL!


Micro-blog #1

I haven’t added to my blog for a long time because I haven’t made the time to add to it. Up until now, I (erroneously) believed that each entry had to be a long and exhaustive update on all things Jarrett. This misguided approach to blogging, coupled with my diminished ability to type and the concomitant frustration that results, effectively stifled my blogging gland (my “bland”, if you will). In order to de-stifle said gland (the “bland”, as I just mentioned), my blogtor said I should try writing less, but more often. Behold! The micro-blog was born!
Let’s get to it then –
I don’t work any more. The district approved FMLA starting back in January (the start of the spring semester), I have since resigned.
I am not without remuneration, the private disability insurance I auspiciously signed up for when I started working graciously agreed that I was indeed disabled and will pay me to be disabled for the next two years.
Therefore, I spend my days at home cleaning, cooking and physical therapy-ing.
Most of my time is spent as Qs (Quinn, my daughter) thrall. She says “jump”, I say “I can’t, I’ll fall down”, she says “I want a pop tart”, and I say “we’re all out, you ate the last one yesterday”, then she screams until my ears bleed (then I hear birds singing : D).
I think that’ll be all for micro-blog #1, stay tuned for #s 2, 3, 4…and so on, and in that order! Ciao.


Still here

Well, I haven’t posted in a while, not because I’m lazy, but because I have been ” busy”, but definitely not because I’m lazy *shakes head profusely*. Because it’s been so long, I have changed the background to a new spiffier design (you’re welcome).

Since I don’t have all day and I am very “busy” I will fill you in over the next few days over what has happened since my last post.

So what category should we choose today, Alex? How about we talk about the therapy for 10. I say 10 because that is the number of shots I got for my last Botox treatment. Four in my arm and six in my leg on the left side. Aside from the very unpleasant experience of the shots, there have been several very good outcomes –
1. My doctor prescribed more physical therapy which I hadn’t done for four months or so, it felt good to get back on that horse.
2. The tone on my left side, including my left elbow, my left ring finger and my left pinky have gotten significantly better. My left ankle seems to have benefited, but my toes still curl quite a bit and I still have a tremor.
3. I have no fear of improperly packaged food items because I’ve been pumped so full of botulism that I am probably immune by this time.
4. Mathematically, I have learned that one shot sucks times one; and 10 shots are 10 times worse. I think I should get math certification based on that simple formula. Think of it like this, if a toffee fudge blizzard is awesome, 10 toffee fudge blizzards would be 10x as awesome. There, I have applied it and taught it, SBEC are you listening? Also, here is a science lesson – if one toffee fudge blizzard gives you brain freeze, 10 toffee fudge blizzards will gives you brain freeze 10 times worse, assuming the rate of consumption is constant.

Therapy itself has been a boon for me, both mentally and physically. Instead of goals like walking and sitting up straight, I’ve moved up to goals like running and typing faster than a snail. While I haven’t reached these yet (snails type fast!), I feel myself getting stronger and stronger, I might even turn green soon. My PT sessions consist mostly of stretches and walking for two purposes –
1. Get the strength/balance to run.
2. Stop left leg circumduction (prevent the foreskin from falling off my leg) .

Actually, circumduction = swinging my left leg outward, rather than bending my knee; this problem along with knee hyperextension has led to the need for a knee brace. I haven’t gotten it yet, but I have high hopes. Apparently, Sherman is a geographical oddity as concerns knee braces, one week from everywhere. I have learned patience from this process, but when it comes to things that might fix me, I want it NOW!

Occupational therapy consists of regaining my former strength/coordination in my left arm and improving my penmanship so my writing doesn’t look like it was done by a drunken three year old.

I feel lucky with my team of therapists, they seem genuinely concerned with helping me reach my goals AND ensure my success in the classroom, they also give me candy!

I can’t think of anything else to report about therapy at this time, so I’m going to sign off, ciao!


Words of wisdom

Here are some words of wisdom that have gotten me through this tough time. This list certainly isn’t exhaustive, I know I have heard more quotes that were inspirational; and when I remember those I will post them. Until then, chew on these, and if you’re not hungry choke them down anyway, like someone on the nutrisystem diet.

“Siddhartha spoke with ecstasy; deeply, this enlightenment had delighted
him. Oh, was not all suffering time, were not all forms of tormenting
oneself and being afraid time, was not everything hard, everything
hostile in the world gone and overcome as soon as one had overcome time,
as soon as time would have been put out of existence by one’s thoughts?”
– Herman Hesse
*This passage gave me comfort with the idea that all I had to do was just wait and things would get better, which has proven true so far. Of course, I still have to work at it, but the only thing that separates me from a full recovery is time.

Festina Lente (make haste slowly)
– Augustus
* my younger sister told me this one at the very beginning which helped me realize that it would take a while to get better, but to always give my best effort at recovery.

The Lord of the Rings
– J. R. R. Tolkien
*Frodo must bear a burden that was unfairly put upon him, much the same is the situation with me. In both the films and the books, Frodo mentions that he wishes the ring had never come to him, and Gandalf replies that everyone in his shoes feels that way, but he can’t do anything to change it so he has to decide how best to deal with the cards he was dealt. This last part is especially meaningful for me, because I spend so much thought on how things used to be, but I always try to just deal with things the way they are, because one thing is for sure, I will not be back to my old self any time soon.

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