Yesterday marks 6 weeks and 1 day since my surgery. The absolute worst 4 weeks of my life here at the “Bitch Carlton.” Somehow, I made it through. I will be transported home by ambulance today at 4pm. I will be on another special mattress at home – but at least I will be home. I couldn’t have made it without all of the people who have stopped by, brought me food, coffee, even showed up in Reindeer costumes – you all made me smile. Thank you to everyone, you know who you are.
I have been just woken up (11:30pm) for my 2nd to last IV antibiotics. I started reflecting on the last 3 years of my life since the day that my life changed me. The last 3 years have been the worst 3 years of my life. Recently I was talking to a friend of mine Wayne Rainey. To this day, I still can’t believe, I can call him my friend – it’s just so cool to even say that. Thank you Wayne and Shea Rainey . Wayne, said to me, “you have it the worst out of all of the paralyzed people I know.”
I’ve had this horrible pressure ulcer on my sacrum, that has literally limited everything I was able to do. Pressure ulcers on both heels, that at one point, my tendon was out. Heterotopic Ossification removal surgery and subsequent life threatening infection after HO removal surgery. Not to mention, the silent fear of urinating or having a bowl movement in public at any given time. The worst part is, my beautiful wife has had to clean and dress my wound every day for the last 3.5 years. It is a long and involved process that has to happen every morning before I got out of my special bed. If done incorrectly, I could have gotten a horrible infection that could have killed me. Thank you baby, I love you.
The hardest part about the last 3 years has been the extreme mental exhaustion, frustration and constant disappointment. It has put immense pressure on me and my family. Honestly, I do not know why they still talk to me after I was such an asshole to them at times. I think it was because I was so angry all of the time! Everything was a struggle, or something that I couldn’t do by myself and had to ask for help. It’s hard going from being extremely independent and self-sufficient to needing help for almost everything, and especially not being able to help with anything. It really kills me inside.
When I laid in bed wishing that I had just died in the accident, I thought about Eric Arnold – and the same things that he must have gone through, it broke my heart. When you are that depressed lots of bad things go through your head. I knew exactly why Eric chose the path that he did. Honestly, I contemplated it myself at various points for the first 2 years. Ultimately, I concluded that it would be such a selfish act for my family, friends and everyone that supported me. I needed to concentrate on trying to regain some independence and find a purpose. Everything that I knew and loved to do in life had been taken away from me. I miss you Eric Arnold and think about you often.
Anneliese and I have our fingers crossed that this surgery will give us some sort of our lives back. Thank to everyone for your support, contributions, visits, calls and help in general. I will update my progress in rehab etc..
I am going to post a link to a picture of my wound and subsequent surgery scar if you want an idea what I have been dealing with. (It’s not that bad to look at) Thank you to Dr. Chen, my surgeon, who has been methodical with my care.
Today, like every day, I awoke around 4:30 which seemed like 10:30am – because all the lights in the room were on. My roommate IS AN INSOMNIAC and likes to read all night then promptly at 5:49am he shuts off the light. When breakfast arrives at 6:30 he is snoring like a chain saw clear cutting the Amazonian rain forest.
Meanwhile, while I was trying to go back to sleep at 4:54 AM (with my ear plugs in) – across the hall, Pavarotti’s parents’ – illegitimate tone deaf half-sister – begins her rehearsal for her upcoming musical. After 30 mins of warm up, she mellowed out. Just when I think it’s good, her bed alarm starts going off (which means she is getting out of bed and shouldn’t be.) At this point, I’m afraid she is going to start belting out, ‘there’s NO Business like Show Business”! Thank God, the nurses gave her some shot that would knock out an elephant.
After all the shenanigans – it was 6:00 am and time for shift change. When shift change occurs – it means nurses, vitals and time for pills!! So much for getting any sleep, as breakfast arrives at 6:45AM.
Now that I am up, it’s 10:00AM – it’s time for my physical therapy. Yesterday, I went to see my surgeon, who issued new orders for my Rehab. These included – a protocol of sitting up for longer periods of time every day and different booties on my feet – as I NOW have blisters on my heels!! As, I am going through the motions – the PT guy leaves, I realize the new orders were never followed. I called Anneliese, who went ballistic!! She proceeded to call the Ombudsmen, the Social Worker and spoke to the head person for Kaiser who handles their Skilled Nursing Facilities. I have to say, I feel sorry for the nurse that had to deal with my unhappy wife – boy, is she pissed. As she would say, I would be fired if I made the mistakes on my job that they do here. On my end, I told the nurse that I haven’t had Physical Therapy for 3 days – until today and I am pissed!! My release from the Bitch Carlton is dependent upon how I do on this sitting protocol.
Well, that was my Wednesday morning, I might need to take a sip of the Tequila that was smuggled in here for me!
Oh hell, maybe the bottle at this point!
I have decided to write this blog because Dave is just…. well… busy…
We had our appointment at the Surgeons this past Tuesday. Another fun Ambulance ride, I even got to ride in the jump seat in the back this time and not on the bench! Exciting Of course Dave travels on his stomach on the gurney – this ride was a bumpy one.
We arrived and anxiously waited for the Surgeon to give his blessing. We anticipated the words…. “It all looks great!” The Doc said, “The massive Shark bite” – looks good except for this bright green stuff coming out of your drainage tube. He and his assistant proceeded to remove the 84 stiches. Of course, Dave had them count ALL 84 of them.
I then asked, so what do you think? Do we look good to go home (to another special bed) in a week or so? His response, “well, if things looked perfect, and we didn’t have this Green stuff in his drainage tube – I would say, maybe 2 weeks
or so, but I don’t like this green stuff. I’m not sure what is going on underneath all of this – we will get some cultures.” The green drainage started about a week ago but nothing like it was in the past few days. No one mentioned that it might be a problem at the “Bitch Carlton.” Of course, we thought it was odd.
When we got back to the facility, we visited with our awesome roommate, who Dave, of course has taken a liking too. The nurse, Desiree, came in and told us the infectious doctor called from Kaiser, they want to start Dave on an IV antibiotic to get things started while the cultures grow.
I decided to head out for the evening. I was invited for a much-needed cocktail and dinner at our next-door neighbor’s home. Thanks Kelly & Christina!! A couple hours after I got home – I received a text from Dave saying he was having a reaction, his face was swelling, arms, chest, back were bright red and itching – even his elbows were starting to peel, it was odd; most importantly his chest was getting tight. At the time, I was reading his text, Desiree called and told me they called 911. I got out of bed, and headed over to the ER. By the time they allowed me in, Dave was asleep on his stomach on the bed. They had given him a shot of Benadryl in the ambulance which helped the swelling. They then gave him steroids, this immediately starting fading the odd peeling, and overall redness/hives on his body. They stabilized his reaction and put him back in the Ambulance, back to the “Bitch Carlton.” I’m going to have to get a 2nd job for all of these Ambulance rides!
Dave slept most of Wednesday off and on, it was a bit of a blow to his system, plus being transported twice during the same day. I felt like I was in a fog. I told my sister in law, Theresa, you ever been hungover and your head feels like it’s in a fog? (we both laughed, not sure if that’s a good thing lol?) Mine was from a lack of sleep. I fell asleep at 4AM and Eddie called me at 7AM, bright eyed and bushy tailed. My body and mind felt like an out of body experience… just overwhelmingly tired. I had to get up and answer over 200 work emails from the day before, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed as I was having a hard time keeping up at work, functioning on little sleep and worrying about Dave.
I stayed with Dave Wednesday night until the first round of the new antibiotics went through his system. It appeared all good, so I went home. Dave has been so tired, and we have such bad cell service where he is.
Wednesday was a big day for him, he started his sitting protocol. The Physical Therapist came in and raised Dave’s bed so that his head was at 30 degrees – he could do this for only 5 minutes. They must check the incisions right after to make sure there is no pressure appearing. He will be allowed to raise his bed 10 degrees each day, for 5 minutes, until he reaches 90 degrees’. Thanksgiving dinner will be eaten quickly as he will be at his 90 degree goal!
After we see how he does with this protocol the surgeon will, hopefully, begin a sitting regime after Thanksgiving. Our next appointment is this coming Tuesday. I’m no doctor, but I think it’s looking better!
It’s Friday, it’s cold and Dave just wants out of the looney bin. He sat up 50 degrees today for 5 minutes, no dizziness at all. He’s been lying down for 4.5 weeks raising his head only 15 degrees, so that’s pretty good. He’s DONE, he’s just over laying in bed 23 hours and 55 mins a day. Today he was quiet, opinionated and quiet……:-)
I appreciate all the amazing comments about Dave, but I truly want to tell you, I have never met anyone with the mindset he has. He focuses on the end and continues this path without complaining to any of us. His pain, I’m sure, he keeps inside. His perseverance is something I have never seen in anyone. I come home to our lonely house, and must focus on the big picture. He will be coming home at some point and I’m so grateful for that. XXOO
Thank you again to our wonderful friends and family who continue to check in with us, write us lovely notes, visit and take food to Dave. We seriously couldn’t do it without the incredible support from all of you.
The other night when the Shepherds came to visit, Jenny and I were joking around about my accommodations here. She said it’s definitely not the Ritz Carlton – then I chimmed in and said, it’s more like the Bitch Carlton. We had a good laugh – that is why I titled this post “Bitch Carlton”.
Overall, I have gotten used to the system here. Every day, I must re-train all the CNA nurses – what they can and cannot do with regards to moving me, wound care etc. Thank goodness I have had so many friends show up with food! It saves me from “prison slop” they serve here at the Bitch Carlton. Every week when I fill out my meal selection it goes like this….. breakfast: scrambled eggs, cranberry juice and salt and pepper, Lunch: I write in… peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Dinner: I write in… turkey sandwich. If anyone wants to lose weight – don’t listen to Oprah and spend money on Weight Watchers- come stay at the Bitch Carlton!
Yesterday, my luck ran out and I got a roommate. He is very nice retired man that lives in Orinda. He had a mild stroke, only his left arm is week. I’m thinking if you’re going to have a stroke that is the one that I want to have. He is really nice so, I totally lucked out!
Yesterday about 5’oclock Jenny shepherd…. AKA “TATE” stopped by with her daughter, Sarah, to drop off a sleeping mask that incorporates ear plugs. I would find out later what a blessing this was. TATE swears by these things, I would unknowingly put them to the test within a few hours. I was tired, I pushed my call button at 8pm – then promptly at 9pm the Bitch Carlton staff shows up to give me my meds. I went to sleep – at 12:15 my roommate was talking in his sleep. It looked like a Friday night football game at Acalanes High School in here – all the lights were turned on. I asked my roommate if he was ok….he said, “sorry I thought I was talking to my wife” Then…. I remembered the sleeping mask with ear plugs TATE gave me. I searched around on my bed, found them, I was off to see the sandman!
About 6:30AM the nurses come in and do vitals, meds etc. I asked them why the lights were on all night, and what the smell was in the room? I couldn’t understand the broken Pilipino response about the light, but I did hear my roommate’s urine bag was left open all night and there was a small lake of urine on the floor…. NICE! Now all I need is a nose plug! I would call the front desk to complain, but I don’t think the Bitch Carlton really cares. It’s been almost 3 hours now and we are still waiting for housekeeping to come mop the floor. I really can’t wait to get out of this shit hole. At this point, I think Scott Peterson on Death Row has it better than I do.
On the brighter side of things, I want to thank everyone that came to visit me so far and brought me food snacks and games.
Pete Doyle and EVERYTHING you do for me, thanks brother…
Deanna & Randy Beasley, you guys Rock!
Kim Rooney (Golden)
Leigh Parker Biega
Jim and Jenny Shepherd
Beth and Alan Cunningham ALL the way from Reno
Berto Wooldridge and Monica McFarland
Cathy Majaestic & Jen Smarts
Especially my wife Anneliese, Eddie, Jack and Alli
Its 5:30am and I can’t sleep. I have been here one week, Since I arrived at Gods waiting room, an overgrown Oompa Loompa is now President. Wtf happened? Yesterday was 3 weeks in my recovery, the half way point.
Only 3 more weeks to go, now if I can just keep my sanity I will be good to go! I tell myself every day to just keep a positive attitude. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask but….. having been on the other side of a non-positive attitude, it’s a damn scary place!. There is nothing much to do except watch Wendy Williams on TV or movies on my iPad. I choose the movies. I am limited since I am not allowed to move, get up, or raise my head past 15 degrees. It’s a shame, because after looking at the activities calendar that Berto made X-rated, I am thinking I could have kicked ass at jeopardy bingo night on Monday. Oh well maybe next week! I have to keep my Sony Ear phones on to drown out the screams from my housemates. My neighbor next door was yelling “Help Me” all morning, I stopped counting at 35 and it went on for another 45 minutes.
Oh, my life!
Thank you to all of the people that have stopped and braved death’s waiting room. Each and everyone of you have turned to me and said, sorry you are in here, it is truly CRAZY. Anneliese as always, you are always there for me even sitting in an uncomfortable chair for hours typing away on your computer. I love you baby.
Is it Ground Hog Day? I keep thinking this because it seems like I am caught in a spin cycle of a washing machine and i can’t get out. One week ago, I was discharged from the hospital, on my way to “home sweet home” to recover. Now, I’m in a Nursing Home across the street from a place called Rossmoor. Rossmoor, if you don’t know, is a Large Retirement Community; I have called it God’s waiting room since I was a kid.
On Tuesday of this week, I was transported by ambulance to the hospital surgery center for a check up after recovering at home for a week.
The Surgeon was to inspect my progress on my Double Flap and how it was healing. When I say I was transported by Ambulance, I mean, I have to be rolled onto a Gurney onto my stomach, face down and travel this way every time that i leave the house. It’s an interesting way of traveling in an ambulance. If this doesn’t kill me, the ambulance co-payments will. When we met with my Surgeon, he simply said, you are not out of the woods. If you are doing everything right at home on your “Dolphin” bed, (special sort of fluid mattress) then it’s not working. The horrific scar that now looks like a football, traced on my buttocks is not healing like he would like. A 14 by 8 inch football scar with an unlimited amount of stitches has decided – it is pissed off. It doesn’t like the bed that cost me a small fortune every month but it wants to be on a Clinitron bed (only available in Hospitals and Skilled Nursing Facilities, aka SNF) Now, the Clinitron bed starts at $51k, nothing we could go out to buy nor would they even rent one for residential use.
My only option was to go to a nursing home, get on one of these beds, and hope for the best. When the Doc said this, I wanted to die. The tears started rolling down Anneliese’s face and I’m trying to keep it together with nurses and EMT personnel in the room. They immediately started looking for a SNF for me. I asked, do I have one more night home before I go? They didn’t know until they made their calls. Thankfully, they allowed us to go home until we would receive the call letting us know where I was going for the next month or so. We spent our last night hanging out together as a family, watching the CMA’s, painfully not discussing what lied ahead of us – laying still on this bed, not moving, raising my head only 15 degrees for 4 more weeks.
They located a place called “Kindred” in Walnut Creek. I immediately knew I was screwed. Kindred means, “ones family and relations.” I am very familiar with this place, my mom was here earlier this year after a hip replacement surgery. Let’s just say for a guy my age, this place is beyond awful. At 46 years of age, I am the youngest person, I believe, here by at least 30 years – or so I feel. The arrival was a Cluster. I arrived at 10:30, when they were expecting me. I was rolled in, they told my 3 EMT’s, Room 211, down the hallway through the doors on the left. We headed down there. Anneliese peaked in the room, no one in the room but a standard hospital bed and our special, ” GP motorcycle” of a bed. No sheets, no nothing. I sat in the hallway on my stomach, Anneliese paced the hallways ready to scream at anyone who would listen. She finally wrestled up someone to put a sheet over the bed, after them telling her, no sheet needed. She explained, this bed absolutely needs a sheet! She knew from the hospital – but even the instructions at the foot of the bed instructs one fitted sheet. After the EMT’s rolled me on the bed, and thankfully, left me with a blanket we were now here. We waited for 45 minutes for our nurse to come in and tell us her name and she would be back to assess me. 3 hours later, after Anneliese got me lunch and something to drink, we had action. The action started when the power went out in the whole facility. The frantic running around looking for extension cords, for those few, on special beds was amazing. Anneliese started taking videos, but after a bit was instructed to shut it down by the Director of the Facility. Anneliese responded to her, really? I’ve requested someone from management to come speak to me hours ago about our treatment – the Directors response, sorry we are busy and now we have a blackout emergency. Never did we hear back from her or did she ever come back to discuss our issues with the lack of care. The power eventually came back on hours later. I had to call Anneliese because the settings were all screwed up on the bed. I took a pic, she walked my nurse through what she was told the settings are supposed to be. As the evening approached, a lot of screaming from the patients down the hallways. I have to say, you become numb to it all – I believe I screamed as well at some point! Anneliese says, I screamed, Halloween was on MONDAY! See, we all get a bit “nutty” in here. Thanks Berts for the sony headphones, they will come in handy.
I actually slept OK the first night after some meds. They woke me up at 6AM for a sponge bath. Oh, hell no! You can come back at 9 or 10AM. I typically wake up early, but have no desire to be awake for most of the day here. God, how I hate the extra hour I get to spend here this weekend when our clocks turn back.
I will check in later after my next surgeon’s appointment and yet another costly ambulance ride. I’m sure it will be entertaining! Here’s to the next 4 weeks or so in here. Hopefully I don’t lose my mind in here!
Dave would love to have visitors in the upcoming weeks. He will have to stay lying down to recuperate. Anneliese will be working from home and managing many things, in addition to taking care of Dave. We can help them, by providing a small lunch and/or snack for Dave, and just hanging out for a bit. Go to the Meal Train link below to help. This will be so helpful and appreciated! Dave needs high protein meals and snacks to help with the healing. He could also use some fun/quality time with his friends. By bringing food (for you and Dave) and spending time together, you will tremendously help in his speedy recovery. Thank You!
SO…… We thought we would write to fill you in on our lives and the progression or perhaps, lack of. Anneliese and I are together writing this as we both have so much to add over these past 6 or so months.
I would love to say we went to Cabo, Hawaii, LA, Washington, just simple places. We haven’t quite felt comfortable with travel. A bit afraid.. Friends of ours offered their Tahoe Home for the weekend of Thanksgiving – which was unbelievable. Our first getaway ever in this situation – we even spent the weekend in Los Altos Hills recently. The simple things we so appreciate now. It can be 10 miles away – as long as the surroundings are different. So nice!!!!!
We can’t even begin to explain the journey we have been on. This past year has been by far the worst mentally. Every day, every minute your mind thinks about your life previously. You don’t worry about dying every 5 minutes now. Life calms down and you begin to live and think. The dust settles – and people go away.
Family and friends go away, those you thought loved you – but decide to take this opportunity to abandon you. It’s beyond confusing, upsetting, hurtful, especially when I don’t understand why. It’s beyond frustrating. Your adjustments at 45, when you knew a different life with your family and friends are devastating.
I get sad, when I hear my friends went camping/riding for the weekend.
I miss that. Racing,…..I miss that! Walking hand in hand with my wife, I miss that, Being independent, I miss that.
I get sad when I go to a pre-party at a friend’s for Supercross and in the parking lot some A-hole is a dick to me about my wheelchair. How can people treat those that struggle so poorly? It’s really hard to understand how you abandon those that you love in times like these? I don’t get how it happens – and can only hope this raises awareness to those out there that might see a disabled person and feels uncomfortable or doesn’t understand? Maybe you are feeling bad about your day, hate your job, want to make more money, dislike your friends, life can always be tougher. There is always something much worse than what you are going through. It is our job to make a difference in someone’s life.
My friends and Family have made a difference in mind. Without them, these past 2 years would have been unbearable.
Amazing how life changes:
The circle becomes very small but that circle is strong and it’s amazing how they support us – no matter what the circumstances. I could text, call – or voice my concerns and you are there. Thank you to our dearest friends, you know who you are. Thank you to our friends for our wonderful getaway on Thanksgiving, a truly wonderful experience and so needed.
My daily routine is simple, Anneliese gets me up, I go to the computer and handle our personal stuff or I go to the garage and view what I think I might be able to do. I’m bored, depressed and truthfully sick of looking at these walls (even if they are re-modeled.) I search the Mustang Forums for ideas for my Mustangs. I make small talk with those online. My friends call, I make appointments for Anneliese or myself, I work on trying to find something to do. I lately, have been looking for a part-time job but I’m still searching…..
In January we decided to get the Hospital Air Mattress Bed for our last resort on my wound. It has proven to be a huge help. My wound has gone from, a Silver dollar to a Dime size. This last part of the healing that takes a long time to finally close At this point, I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.
I’m at a crossroads about my life and moving on. I want to but not sure how too. We talked this evening about transportation.
We have a friend, Nick Pappas, who has the most incredible system adapted to his truck. Anneliese told me tonight that is what I need. I will feel like a human being and be able to go see my friends or to the store without help. We decided tonight to spend the money and have me become independent. I haven’t been this far advanced in my wound card to even consider this – but truthfully I’m very excited to be able to be on my own. I’ve wanted nothing else since my accident but to be on my own.
I want my independence in certain ways. I know that I will not be completely – but I can’t believe how much I took for granted in my life previously. I read something on Christopher Reeves website by Dr. Dan and I wanted to share it because it’s my life completely and how I feel.
I am often asked the most difficult part of living with a spinal cord injury, and my answer is always the same: it robs me of time.
In general, our society does not know enough about spinal cord injuries — in fact, I freely admit to being the same way prior to my accident. At best, our perceptions are formed through the most convenient of examples: select entertainment characters; designated ramps, automatic doors, and parking spots in our neighborhoods; or possibly, a personal connection to someone affected by paralysis. But these, particularly the formers, do not tell the whole story.
The loss of autonomic functions — not simply the inability to walk — robs people living with paralysis of time. The ongoing management of body temperature, sexual function, bladder and bowel shave hours off our days; sometimes full experiences from our lives; and if ignored, the possibilities of far more permanent loss.
The fact is paralysis alone will not kill me. The secondary conditions of paralysis, especially without steadfast management, can kill me, and, because an injured spinal cord struggles to communicate with the brain to operate a host of bodily functions most of us take for granted –too often, they do contribute to death.
Time is not on our side.
If this sounds like uncharted territory when discussing spinal cord injury, I understand. Explaining that I cannot walk is not terribly difficult because you can see it with your own eyes.
Explaining that my body cannot regulate temperature, sexual function, bladder or bowel, without some combination of supplements, medication, equipment, and strict timetables, that’s more difficult to understand given the general public’s current level of awareness.
A lot of folks don’t want to discuss the graphic details of acts that happen in the bedroom, or the bathroom, or the act of perspiration seeping (or not seeping) through your skin. Yet, no one can deny the important roles these play in daily experiences and personal health. For most people, these actions are simply a part of daily life, but for many people living with spinal cord injuries, these activities never stray far from the forefront of their mind. We never fully conquer secondary conditions. We manage them.
This is my life – I wanted you to read what I could not write. This is my life and those with Spinal Cord injuries. This part is not often talked about but it sucks. #reality
Anneliese wanted to say a few things as well,
Hello, Life has been really rough the pat 6 months, managing the family, job and Dave’s emotions. I worry constantly about everything. I thank our friends who help me get through everything. Our lives have forever been changed. We are working through these raw emotions that have been overwhelming lately. Dave and I are in family therapy. The counselor mentioned that Dave should have never tried to white knuckle this experience by himself. He waited too long for help.
Our lives have been such an experience since the accident.Our emotions on a daily basis – few can understand. Dave deals with so many intense emotions every minute of the day. He is angry, cries and can be irritable.
It’s been an amazing journey. It certainly awakens you to life and how fragile it can be. So many things have changed for us. We lost relationships near and dear in our lives with family members. It’s been a lesson in the “Real World” for our kids. They certainly don’t understand, nor should they have to.
We are almost 2 years into this. When some people think… just get on with it. I challenge you to get in a chair and live it for 12 hours. Learn how your 43 years of Independence ( and most importantly what he talks about above) is horribly hard, frustrating, depressing. You have no control over many things. It’s frustrating.
A Huge Thank you to all of our Friends and Family who chose to stick by us through this life altering experience. Without you, life wouldn’t be the same.
Well… it’s been awhile. I haven’t had much too much to say since my surgery.
My surgery went well, my wound to continues to heal…..slowly…………
I went on IV antibiotics for 6 weeks. After those wonderful drugs, I went in for weekly iron transfusions. This past week I got my PIC line out – I am happy to have it out as that son of a bitch ITCHED! I’m hoping my lab results come in showing that I’m doing good, so no more IV.
I have been lying in bed for the last 6 weeks; I am able to get up for about 20 percent of the day. I won’t lie it has been really rough. Your mind goes crazy when all you see is the 4 walls in your room. My wife makes sure “I’m not depressed”. She asks me constantly – it almost becomes comical. I was able to make it through those rough days with some help from all of my great friends that occupied my time with small talk or other talk – Kenny, Berto, Michael, Mike, Jimmy, Jason, Barry, Joy, Jennifer L., Kevin, and Steve.
Our July 4th was not too eventful, I mostly laid around – as I wasn’t feeling that great. The next day, I felt better and we invited Kenny, Lisa and Kyle Norman over. We hung out and BBQ’d, sat by the pool, and had a good time. I went to bed early, Anneliese visited for hours with Kenny and Lisa – they reminisced about things. Anneliese and Kenny will forever be tied together for that walk down to the start/finish line on June 2, 2013.
In July we had 2 parties. Eddie had his 12th birthday and he wanted a party at our house. We rented a 30-foot tall water slide and enjoyed the fun. Eddie’s dad catered the whole party with food from the Greek Restaurant, Opa. It was fun to have everyone at the house celebrating his birthday. Eddies uncle Youra and his Dad made it really special. Thanks Guys.
Alli’s graduation party came a week later and it was such a good time. All of her best friends were there. It’s been a hard transition as each one of her friends are going to different college, Alli being the only one within a couple hours. We attended her orientation and couldn’t be more proud. She was accepted to their nursing program and is living on campus. It’s very exciting for me, as this is my little girl, and I am so proud.
Jack and Eddie have started school. Jack started Monday, August 25th and Eddie, Sept. 3rd. Jack is a junior, Wow! He’s enrolled in Autoshop at Acalanes with My Autoshop teacher, Q.
Eddie began a private academy in Los Gatos. Anneliese commutes a few days a week and will share with Eddie’s dad. Kids back in school Whoo Hoo!
We got invited to go to Cabo by Eddie and his Dad, such an amazing offer. I wanted to go so desperately- but decided to hold off until I’m a little stronger. I really wanted to let Anneliese just sit at the Villa and look at the water. My goal is to get strong enough so that we can go next year.
I have had a few amazing days with friends that have come over to sit and visit with me, Mr. Boring…. Or take me to AFM Board Meetings, coffee, lunch , lunch, lunch, car shows, shooting guns, spirit tasting and dinners with family and friends parties. Thank you.
My life is pretty good. I stay at home 90 percent of the time because I need to heal up. I’m up for a few hours, but believe it or not, I get tired and need to get in bed in the afternoon. I take naps everyday. My body is still adjusting. I don’t have enough energy right now to have a “regular day” like I use to.
This is a big adjustment for me. I look outside and everyone is having fun on a summer day, I do want to partake but I just can’t hang like I used too. It’s hard because,I was tough before and now not so much.
My wound is slowly getting better. People often ask, what my hold up is…. It’s my wound. I’m working hard on getting this bed sore closed. Unfortunately, it started out pretty bad so it will take some time.
I occasionally sneak out to a small party or bigger events…AFM Races. I so look forward to the races and seeing all of the great AFM’ers. I am embarking on DS53 Coaching with the help of Brian and Valicia Bartlow. I am really looking forward to it so stay tuned for some exciting announcements coming up.
A couple weeks ago we had a little earthquake, and my wife woke up screaming…. Oh My God! She finally confessed… She immediately thought of me. How could she get me out? She yelled for Eddie…. He was right there at her feet at 3:23am. Of course, I told her, just leave me and I will bed surf if it got worse.
So, our year has come and gone. Why doesn’t it feel so much easier? Everyone said it would be! Doesn’t a magic wand wave over you and everything gets easier? Darn.
That’s not our story – but that’s ok. We can seriously handle a lot! I know we are being tested, but we haven’t failed yet.
We went to thunder hill for the Anniversary Round, it was very therapeutic and hard for Me and Anneliese. Saturday night, we decided to have a ceremony of sorts. We decided to go out to the bottom of turn 5 with our friends; my trustworthy mechanic over the years, Kenny, and his wife Lisa and their son Kyle Norman. We took my helmet that I was wearing that day. It had tire marks on the base of the helmet and scratched up where I hit my head – but overall, amazing.
We finally got out to the turn… Anneliese stopped and began to sob. Lisa quickly put her arm around her to console her. I, was taking it in. Taking it all in. This was the turn uh? The turn that changed my life? What was so special? What went so wrong? It looked like the turn I had done hundreds of times before without incident. Why, on this day in 2013, did it decide to challenge me? Why couldn’t I pull out? Why did I have to be in the right place in the absolute wrong time? Why couldn’t the bike behind me miss me? Instead, it would ride directly over my spine. I always want to tell the docs and nurses, it’s not racing that did this to me! It’s a really unfortunate accident, someone was directly behind me and had nowhere else to go- but over my back. These types of accidents are very rare.
I’m the lucky one, as I have been accustomed to say now. I sat there, took this all in. As the sun set, we held each other and said our goodbyes to the pain of that day a year ago. We looked at Kyle, who was holding the helmet. We said our peace, in whatever form. He threw that helmet as far as he could – into an empty field. There it sat, alone. A part of our lives we need to move on from. That fateful day a year ago that would shape my families lives forever.
Racing was tough on Sunday – as there were many Red flags as well as the wonderful air transport. I think Anneliese saw that more times than she wanted to on this anniversary. Truthfully, it was more than most races, what really was in the air?
Overall, we had great racing – FP was an incredible battle once it got going. Thanks to Ricky Corey and Chris Siglin for the continued support. I can’t tell you how great it makes me feel.
We stayed in a hotel and it actually went fine. After the long day of racing on Sunday we made our way to Chico. We arrived around 6:30 and went straight to dinner.
We went to dinner at Crush- what an incredible filet mignon we had. The next day it was a lot of…
Showing me where everyone lived while I was in the “coma.” I was so interested in seeing where Anneliese ate, shopped and stayed (when she wasn’t sleeping in the room with me.)
The day of the anniversary, we drove around Chico and Anneliese showed me the route to the hospital. We went to the beautiful and humble Enloe Hospital. We went through the front doors – Anneliese remembers how she did a year prior, screaming……” they airlifted my husband here, where do I go?”
This time, we walked right through, right back to the elevators, up 3 floors to the Neruo ICU. Here, we rang the buzzer to be let in, to see where I spent the most critical 3 weeks of my life, Anneliese recognized nurses and respiratory therapists. We went in and thanked those that helped our family get through so much. It was pretty emotional – I had a moment – and realized a fellow racer, who was at our race and involved in one of the critical accidents, was in a bed near. I rolled away immediately to speak with his father. It was all too familiar- his son was laying in a bed in the same Neuro ICU. It was nice to comfort him – with the little I could – this was a young boy, 15 – It could be my son. It definitely hits home and you want to help in anyway you can.
We again went to Crush for dinner and had an incredible meal. We sat and reflected about our 3 weeks last year in Chico. For me, no recollection. For Anneliese, memories that she will never forget.
We enjoyed our couple of days in this little town- this is where -Anneliese heard the words, “Your husband is a paraplegic and will be for the rest of his life.” (According to my wife, he will be wrong about that- she believes in our lifetime, I will walk)
We drove home enjoying our therapeutic few days. It was nice to be away. We hadn’t ever been gone this long together since the accident.
Our Kids took care of the house and the puppy, they continue to amaze us.
Speaking of that, my daughter, Alli, graduated last Friday. How incredible is that to see your daughter walk across that stage. So many emotions go through your head. I’m so proud of my girl. She will attend Dominican University in the fall and intends on becoming a nurse.
She will follow in my family’s passion. My Grandfather and Father were Doctors, my mother an OR nurse. My mom is very proud of her granddaughter – I’m sure my Father would be too – if he were alive. I turned out to be a racer, not sure how that happened! This “gene” must have skipped a generation!!!
Father’s Day was great. Anneliese made us Crepes with Fruit accompanied with sausage, We then ventured out to see a car show. That was fun and looking forward to when I can get my mustang done and driving to one of them. I saw a friend from high school there. – Rob. He had his 66 Mustang Converible there. It was beautiful. Get ready!!! My mustang might be coming back in the next couple of months – I’ll need help putting the interior back together. If you want to help, let me know!!
This week is filled with doc apps. Bone scans, spinal doc appointments – spending 2 days to work out at SCI fit. Friday I will go in for another surgery on my wound. I will stay in the hospital for a bit – pumping me full of antibiotics to ensure no infection. I’m ready, I want this surgery over so I can try desperately to move on from this part of this stressful journey. My right leg has been more swollen the past few days. I tried not to think about my 3 blood clots sitting there. Unfortunately, they teach you. You have to be aware, aware they can break off any minute and kill you. It’s a great thing to think about.:-)
At this point, being “just paralyzed” sounds good! Give me the Bird Legs!!!!
It’s amazing I could ride/race at 180 mph at Daytona… but- this crap scares me.
Crazy how life is.