brain injury, cavernoma blog, Reflections

Excavation of the Psyche or a Haircut?

Hello, internet!

As an aspiring writer, I find myself looking for connections and metaphors in the profane dribble of everyday life. Is their actually something there? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. As WI Thomas once said and I’ve since parroted roughly 16,852 times, “What we perceive to be real is real in its consequences” – that’s more of an approximation of what he said, but the profundity of the message is retained. I come to you today, the internet, with such a scenario.

Recently, thanks to the influence of time and human physiology, my hair reached critical volume, taking on dense, yet small objects as satellites (batteries, nails, die cast cars and planes, etc.). Therefore, I sought a haircut.


The details of the cut itself are unimportant. Suffice it to say that it was my stylist was a very pleasant woman named…uhh, I forgot. She and I discussed the bleak conditions of public education opportunity in our proximity.


The important thing here is this –

Picture 46

That is the scar from when a dark wizard tried to ki…wait that wasn’t me… this scar is from September of 2009 when a guy sawed into my skull and removed a lesion from my brainstem.


Here I am, nearly nine years later still going on about it.


That’s what that scar is. A timeline. Along its path are regrets – missed opportunities, divorce, unfulfilled professional and personal goals. But, here and there is found a ray of hope – a daughter with boundless virtue, an unwritten future taking shape before my eyes, greater understanding of myself and what it is to be human than I ever thought possible.


I think I’ve arrived at the significance – Nothing is what it seems. My stylist thought she was just giving me a haircut when she was actually exposing an artifact of a life never dreamed of, but very real. You might say she’s an archaeologist of the soul.




Dialectical Menialism

Dialectical Menialisms #II: Before and After

We often reckon time in terms of before and/or after some remarkable event. Notable examples include B.C. and A.D., the civil rights act of 1964, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall in 1989; and 9/11 of course.

For me, my Being Until Transformative Trauma, or “BUTT”, includes everything from Thanksgiving Day 1980 (birth day) to around May 23rd, 2009.

Twas on or about that day that a lesion in my brainstem began to leak blood like so much pee-pee from a baby’s untrained bladder.

Life with the Awareness Subsequent a Stroke, or “ASS”, began, as I reckon it, on September 3rd, 2009. I’ve started calling September 3rd my “rebirthday”. This is not to say I strode from the hospital after surgery like so much John Travolta a la Saturday Night Fever. Surgery on the brain bestows no alleviation of symptoms, rather it visits more trauma upon the already sensitive cogitation apparatus. The significance of this event was not the surgery itself, but rather the decision to have surgery.

Now that I think on it, ASS could also be Awareness Subsequent Surgery. Either way, my BUTT had no idea of the impending ASSery.

Reciprocally, any account I…uh…recount, about my BUTT is anecdotal. That is, my ASS tends to glorify my BUTT because I’ve had my ASS for a long time. Therefore, the time of my BUTT has been elevated to the level of golden age, when it may not have been so great. That’s the thing, I try to get my ASS in gear, but my BUTT always gets in the way. In a manner of speaking, my BUTT is a pain in my ASS.

I tell you what though, I recently read Laura Bruno’s BLOG, whose compelling argument for the improvement of life after a catastrophic illness has…uh… compelled me to believe that myself. That is, my BUTT believed that I’d continue on much like I had been. Think about that, Internet; my ASS, your ASS, his ASS, her ASS doesn’t have to be the same or worse that the BUTT. This may seem obvious to you, but this has been a revelation to my ASS.

By comparison, I was a lazy BUTT, but my crazy ASS never rests. I think my BUTT would’ve been fine cruising through life as a spectator, but I’ve a joy joy feeling of significance taking shape in my ASS (relax, I’m not about to take a dump).

I speak, again, of a singularity (mentioned, briefly in the last paragraph HERE. Methinks I’ll be using this term often, so allow me to offer a more complete explanation. Quite simply, a singularity, as I employ the term, is when seemingly unrelated objects and/or events come together in such a way that providence seems not only possible, but probable.

The beauty of a singularity is that it both transcends and affirms one’s faith. Christians may give all credit to God, Muslims to Allah, Jedi to the Force, Donald Trump to money and nonsense (or I guess that would be Money and Nonsense (Monsense?) when they’re deified); but the way I see it, a singularity is simply a sign that there are powerful forces all around us.

For example, the (initial) topic of this post is before and after or b & a. These two letters, over the course of the yarn I’ve here spun, have taken on new meaning. In case you haven’t figured it out, I’m talking about BUTT and ASS. Does this mean the powerful forces have conspired for me to tell you all about my BUTT and ASS? That question is irrelevant. I believe it to be true and as WI Thomas said, “If men define situations as real, they are real in their consequences”. At this moment that means that I believe powerful forces are aligning behind me, so from my point of view, it’s true. If it’s true, it must also be true that you, dear reader, was meant to read and comment and get off your BUTT, get your ASS in gear (I realize that some of you don’t have an ASS or a BUTT as I use them here, but you know what I mean), and experience the turning of the gears of life.

OK, I’ve put my ASS into this entry. Better quit while I’m ahead.

Dialectical Menialism

Dialectical Menialism #1 – Left vs. Right

Hello Internet!

I recently found myself balancing precariously on but a sliver of rational thought. In the chasm to my right, there was a tool essential to my progress, but I would be forced to use my weak left side. The mire on my left was more easily traversed, but I’d have to go back for the tool.

What feat of daring do was I engaged in, you ask? Surely you were braving the French Alps and came to a narrow path between a sheer precipice and a murky bog, or some other such harrowing errand (harranding?), you boisterously assert.

No no. Nothing so Indiana Jones-like. I was engaged in battle with a stair replicating mechanism. It was diabolical, Internet! I’d take a step, thinking I had bested the confounded contraption (contrountion?) and ascended as far as I could, when with methodical regularity, a new stair appeared in its place. I stared in wonder at this expert of the terraced walking surface. I bestowed the name “Stair Master” on this austere device.

Just as “StairMaster” conspired to produce an endless staircase, my forehead unleashed a torrent of perspiration. Being subject to gravity, my sweat fell onto this machine, giving it a briny glaze peppered with pooled workout juice here and there.

This microcosm of the water cycle produced enough moisture to require the courtesy of a disinfecting wipe-down.

I concluded that “StairMaster” could and would continue the onslaught of steps indefinitely. I ceased my fruitless ascent and fetched a disposable rag bathed in a solution to hastily dispatch any microbes that had taken up residence in the juice of my labors.

I was thrust into the balancing act recounted previously when I returned to the machine. You see, to the right of the machine was my water bottle (the “tool”); but this approach also meant that I’d have to use my left arm to clean the machine, and AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FO’ DAT!

The left approach was not wrought with perils so…uhh…perilous to the neurologically unbalanced, but I’d have to backtrack for my water bottle.

These are the things I think about. You might see the intense focus on my face and think he looks pretty smart; I bet he’s thinking up some solution to social inequality or a better way to dispose of old VHS tapes, or some other high minded notion. Well, dear reader, you’d have given me too much credit. At any given moment, two likely inane, inconsequential concepts are throwing down in an epic battle for a piece of Jarrett’s grey matter.

In this case, the combatants are the left vs. the right. In the future, you might see form vs. function, quantity vs. quality, nature vs. nurture, etc. (vs. and so on).

This is all to say that this will be the first entry in a blog series I call “Dialectical Menialism”, which is a play on Karl Marx’s “dialectical materialism”, or the idea that history propagates because people fight over stuff. “Dialectical” in that most of the time the conflict is between two parties (i.e. good vs. evil, bourgeois vs. the proletariat, aristocracy vs. peasants, cats vs. dogs, Coke vs. Pepsi, and so on).


“Menialism” isn’t actually a word. The roots are menial or “lacking interest or dignity” (thanks be to Merriam and/or Webster), and ism.

Adding ism to a word turns it into “an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or belief” (thanks be to Webster and/or Merriam. How come Merriam always gets to go first?). Ergo, “menialism” is “an oppressive and especially discriminatory attitude or belief [that is] lacking interest or dignity”.

So, “Dialectical Menialism” is a high stakes battle for supreme obscurity (sobscremicy? Obscuracy?) regarding my disposition.

Next time – an examination of my Being Until a Transformative Trauma versus life After a Sinister Sickness. I’ll tell you about my BUTT, then move on to my ASS. I tell ya, the whole thing really stinks! Bwahaha! Have I gone too fart?









brain surgery, cavernoma blog, Life, Uncategorized

It’s Good to be Alive

Wonderful MeHappEaster, interwebs! Or happy Easter if you’re not into the whole brevity thing. I come to you today because my heart has been stirred. I frequently listen to NPR via the NPR One app. A featured story today was that of widowed parents of young children. Rather, the widows did the talking, but the subject was more centered on how the children will turn out and how to best remember the child’s father (listen to it HERE).

This topic really resonates with me. You see, I nearly died (more details HERE). I’m not fond of saying that. It’s too dramatic and it smacks of hyperbole.

Still, I suppose I’ve come closer to meeting the reaper than most. At the time, I had a two year old daughter at home. By the expert skill of Dr. Jonathan White and the loving support of my now ex wife Jessica and my parents, I persist in respirating, masticating, cogitating, pontificating, etceterating, and most importantly, continue participating in the upbringating of my daughter(ating…).

It is altogether fitting and proper (thank you, Mr. Lincoln) that I would choose this day to blog on this topic. On more than one occasion (such as HERE and HERE) I’ve asserted the notion that, in a figurative way, Jarrett Wilson died from a brain hemorrhage in May of 2009. He was given new life in September of that same confounded year. The resurrection thing is the only similarity between me and Jesus; I have trouble enough walking on land, I can only change water into Crystal Light or coffee and my dad, as cool as he is, is not God.

I think I’m digressing here. What I’d like to relate to you, dear reader, is that I’m glad to be alive. I think I’ve said that before and I try to give the impression that I’m grateful, but sometimes, it just needs to be declared.

To be sure, being alive is hard sometimes. On the other hand, life is beautiful – there are beautiful people everywhere, the way they comb their hair, it makes me want to say… it’s a beautiful world… it’s a beautiful world…

That said, there are a lot of things that suck, another way to say it would be there are a lot of things that suck because of stuff I did. I let these things occupy too much CRAM (read more HERE). For today at least, I’m going to revel in the singularity off each moment. A singularity in that each moment is a culmination of a heartbeat, a breath of sweet, sweet air, some thought to move us about the day and being with good people. 🍻



Rhyme Time

Rhyme Time: Get a Job(s)

Teaching aboard the Millennium Falcon. Obi-Wan isn’t pictured, he had to go to the bathroom. The sign with the rooster reads “this isn’t the rooster you’re looking for”

My injourney

has led me

To many

Ways to make a penny.


My preservation,

Indeed, my continuation,

Rests on many a vocation.

A patched together living in summation


The latest of these

I do with ease,

Lounging in my jammies

Teaching English to Chinese…


…Children. Thanks to the internet,

I don’t get wet,

Or take a jet.

I Haven’t even been to China, yet.


Pronunciation and grammar are my trade;

American dollars are what I’m paid.

Fortunately, I don’t have to grade…

…Papers, and the lessons are already made.


I simply report to the designated digital place

With a smile on my face,

Speak at a slow pace,

And keep a clean workspace


“No, not ‘parsent’

“It’s pronounced ‘parent’

Don’t worry about your accent

I know what you meant


This pedagogical enterprise

Supplements my daytime guise

Where I mesmerize

Teach and civilize…


…local students at the secondary age

In order to engage

Them with sage

Advice for life on the world’s stage.


These jobs offer little remuneration,

But, keep in mind, monetization

Isn’t the only form of “job well done” dispensation,

Much of my efforts are met with adulation.


Indeed, the compensation is sufficient

For spiritual nourishment,

But the commercial payment

Won’t even cover rent.


Such is the way

I earn my pay

Allowing me to stay

Productive and bizzay (busy)


Life doesn’t stop because of brain injury.

I’ve still got to get out and feed the monkey.

I just never imagined I’d be

So busy…




brain injury, living with tbi

The More You Know…


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ve started substitute teaching. You probably remember crusty, old geezers teaching your class when one of your teachers was gone. These fossils were fond of telling students that they don’t know what hard work is, that they had to recite the pledge of allegiance in Greek and had to learn math with an abacus.


Whatever the case, there was always the assumption that, like teaching vampires who only came out during the school day, subs didn’t have an everyday normal life; when the school day was over they’d retreat to the school basement to read the textbooks for enjoyment before using them as a bed to sleep on until they were called to action again.


My point is that, with a single day substitute, there isn’t really a chance to get to know the sub.


I typically sub at the school where I once taught and assisted librarily, so I know most of the teachers and they know of my condition. Given enough notice, I’ll offer to give a presentation to the kiddos about me. This way the teacher doesn’t have to prepare as much and the students get first-hand knowledge of why I am the way I am. I’ve posted a version of this presentation before (LINK), but it was a raggedy old PowerPoint.


AND THEN…last summer – I went to a writer’s conference to pitch my memoir. I wanted to stand out, so I put together a presentation. I had just given the students a crash course in PowerPoint presentations and Prezi, so I thought I’d give that a try. I didn’t get a book deal >:(, but my presentation was pretty sweet. Find it HERE


AND THEN…a new school year started and the sub jobs came pouring in. So far, I’ve presented to about 250 seventh graders, most of the eighth graders saw it last year.


AND THEN…my younger sister, a Latin teacher (She teaches Latin, she’s not a teacher who is Latin, no one is or really has been since the Roman empire), asked me to come talk to one of her classes. I thought that this nexus of presentation opportunities called for a revamped presentation.


AND THEN…I combined the raggedy PowerPoint with the fresh, shiny Prezi to create a PreziPoint (PowerPrezi?). The svelte can be viewed in all its smoothly transitioning glory HERE. Or, for your convenience, I’ve reproduced the presentation here in slideshow form.


AND THEN…actually, ‘AND THEN…’ doesn’t work here, but I’m nothing if not consistent, the frames with a 🌟 in the lower right corner were adapted from the original PowerPoint. This means that the ones without a star make up the original Prezi.


AND THEN… If you don’t notice, apart from the book excerpts, it rhymes! Isn’t that delicious?




AND THEN…@JarrettLWilson


Fun with Healthcare, Uncategorized

Jarrett vs. Health Insurance

output_0fhCWAGreetings, the internet!

I apologize for my overlong absence from posting here. This here story I’m about to unfold gives some insight into why I’ve neglected this beacon of organized nonsense. Before I get into the reading portion of today’s entry, we’re gonna do some math –

#1. Affordable Care Act + dude with extensive medical needs = grumpy insurance company.

#2. Grumpy insurance company + dude with extensive medical needs = sub-par coverage and service

#3. Dude with extensive medical needs is due for an annual MRI + sub-par coverage and service = dude pays for MRI

#4. Dude keeps records of all the times he tried to contact the insurance company + dude pays the bill anyway = legal action against insurance company.

#5. Legal action against insurance company^2 = 11…

#6. The square root of 11 is 3.31662479 – on a phone, these numbers could spell “DEMOBIPY” or “FENMAGRY”…which kinda rhymes with “gravy”, a delicious substance that clogs arteries, thus leading to more claims for the insurance companies, making them more grumpy.

I digress…

…Listen, part of my ongoing upkeep is a once yearly visit with my neurosurgeon. That annual visit is preceded by an MRI. When I was employed and insured through a PPO, I didn’t need a referral. Having an HMO (stands for Has Many Obstacles) through the Affordable Care Act, I need to get a referral to blow my nose. As if that bureaucratic labyrinth wasn’t enough, math problem #2 takes form in the…uh, form of unreturned messages and “health assistant” buck passing…hmmm, if you are a health assistant that had been passed a buck, you shall henceforth be called a “health passistant”.

Gosh, I’m all over the place, let me summarize – I need an MRI by mid August. I started the referral/prior authorization process for this about a month ago (after already having it approved, then losing coverage, but that’s a horse of a different color). All I’ve gotten in response is “I’ll reach out to your doctor’s office to see where they are in the referral process”. Three things about this –

1. The way they talk about trying to get in touch with my doctor’s office, you’d think they were trying to contact Santa Claus on Christmas eve.

2. The doctor himself told me that the paperwork was sent on June 2nd.

3. Every time I’ve called, I’ve spoken with a real person in the department I intended.

Here’s what I’m getting at – MRIs are expensive. I had one last year before paying my deductible ~ $1800. Call me paranoid, but I believe that when an insurance company is looking at paying that amount of money, there phones stop working, emails get sent to spam more often and the fax machine works maybe half the time. After all, HMO stands for Healthy Monetary Outlook. So I would have you bare witness, interwebs – I’ve done and continue to do my part to ensure that the MRI will be covered.

One more thing – I’m not slamming Obamacare here. I’m grateful that I have insurance, limited though it may be. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, you are your best advocate. Even the best insurance companies can’t get inside your head, even if they do pay for an MRI of your brain, and decide what’s best for you.

Also, I thought of one more meaning of HMO. For this one you need to use a salty New Yorker accent – HMO = Healthy?!? Meh, Oh well.