Monday, October 31, 2005

Sunday 103105

10/30/05 Sunday
I am up now. It is 7:52. Woke up at 7:00. Cherie has been up for a while and is cooking banana bread which smells great. I woke up with a headache which doesn’t bode well. That isn’t always a precursor to a slow down. If I am lucky it will just be a headache. Right now I seem to be operating at a 6 or 7 on the Bob scale.
When I went to refill my pill minder I discovered that I have been taking the 100 milligram pills instead of the 150s. I have asked Cherie to help me track slow downs to see how they relate to taking this seizure medication. This week I will be going to the Ann Arbor VA hospital for the neurology clinic where we will discuss this. All I want is to have this brain work all the time. I no that will probably never happen but hey it’s good to dream.
We are getting ready to go to church and my brain function has risen to an 8. Kinda want to stay and write but won’t. We got to go now.

10/31/05 Monday
It is 4:00 now. I just got back from taking Fred to the store where he bought food for Barb. I did not hide my thoughts on how Barb is taking advantage of him and that he was buying food for Basil as well. Basil makes good money as a brick layer but he doesn’t contribute much if anything. When we took the food in Barb had an attitude and asked me to leave so she could talk to Fred. He says she showed him the TV in her bedroom that wasn’t there before. I personally think she asked me to leave because she was again going to take advantage of his blindness when she showed it to him. Who knows what she showed him but she sure didn’t want me around for it.
Fred asked me what was going on between me and Barb and I told him I don’t like being lied to or how she takes advantage of him. He asked if I could take her to the church on Sylvania Ave. for the food and I was till she gave me the attitude. I don’t have time to help those who don’t appreciate it at all.
I was up till late last night. Right now I can’t recall what I did after church. I think I went to see the movie Doom with Allen and when I went to Saturdays entry I see that was what I planned. I know I saw the movie with him just couldn’t place the day till now.
The movie sucked and after I went back to Allen’s we watched his satellite TV and talked. He is not doing well and as I watched him interact with his fish I could see how close to the edge he is. He told me that the fish are a godsend to him and may have kept him from suicide. He would sit there and talk to them like they could hear and understand what he said. Cherie and I do that with our cat Carmen in a way, and so do lots of people but it seemed different with Allen. He is so isolated that the fish may serve as his safe outlet to express himself. I didn’t find an opportune time to talk with Allen about the pain pills but will try when it is right.
I am tired and in a negative mood. Don’t like it and will stay out of circulation for now because I can’t trust myself at these times to not cuss someone out for next to nothing. No tolerance for bull s--- now. I don’t like to even drive at these times because that brings the aggression out.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Did it work?

But Wait. I figured out how to do the picture thing that has driven me crazy for a week or two so I will do it again to help cement this into my brain.

Saturday 102905

10/29/05 Saturday
There was a time things were easier for me to figure out. I have just spent over an hour trying to learn how to post pictures to the blog. I want to have them as part of the post, you know right with the text. I can post them but not with the text. It is 12:26 right now. This has caused some mental fatigue or something. When things are tough this brain slows down. It is unable to process too much info quickly. At times like this I forget quicker and right now, five minutes after turning the picture stuff off, I don’t remember what I studied. I am not physically tired, just have a headache and am frustrated. It is Friday night and the apartment complex is busy with the kids drinking and stuff. Lots of noise and activity. I need to find something less stressful to work on. Perhaps the website. Perhaps not. I give up.
11:00 – It took me awhile to wake up. I had laid in bed wide awake till sometime after 3:00 this morning. Almost got back up and returned to this computer. There is much on my mind lately. I wonder about my brother and debate how to handle his lies and his stealing my inheritance from mom. The last time I talked to him he said that he would send me the money we had agreed upon over a year ago. He also had told Virginia he would be glad to pay this so I will get off his ass. I have only talked to him three or four times since January. He never sent a dime so I must add this to the long list of promises he never keeps. Part of me wants to report him to the state of Texas for forging mom’s signature on the truck he got. That has been an internal debate I have had for a couple of years. I really don’t talk to him because he always treats me like I’m some kind of idiot and it turns into an argument. I am sure he tells the story to others, perhaps my family included, so that he is the great guy putting up with his mental brother. That is how he portrayed me to the director of the nursing home Minnie Lee is in.
I should E mail my sister. I thought about doing that many times over the last few months but never remember to do it. I wonder if she reads this blog. Probably not. One of my hopes with the blog is that it might help my family understand who I am and perhaps talk to me. That is also what I hope from the website if I ever get it finished.
There is nothing on my schedule today. It is beautiful out though a little chilly. We had our first freeze last night. While I am tired the brain is working well so I hope to get much done today.
This computer drives me crazy. Right now the journal is titled Editing: “102305 Sunday” This has happened before and it took me forever to change it. Of course I don’t remember how. That’s one of the weird things about my memory loss. I can recall talking with someone but can’t always recall what was said. I am sure there is something I do that causes this but don’t have a clue what. I also found two other files with this journal on it and up to date till what I have written since I turned on this laptop.
Right now I am working on recovering things I wrote from Cherie’s computer and putting them on this laptop. It should be a simple task, one I have performed several times in the past, but as always I must learn how to do it again. If I perform a task repetitively it stays but otherwise it is always like the first time. That was hard and took nearly an hour. I didn’t find but one file that had not already been transferred.
I tried calling my sons, Bruce and then Adam with no luck. I really miss them. Not much I can do about it but I won’t give up.
I am tired of trying and not getting anywhere. I am surrounded by tasks started and forgotten. I think the depression is coming back. It is frustrating to not be able to perform what had once been simple tasks. When we were at Cedar Creek church I had the gall to ask for help. Those who talked about love just backed away, no worse than that they pushed me out, rejected me in no uncertain terms and my wife with me. Isn’t that just what Jesus would do?? I looked for God and could not find Him among those who represent him.
I think I will carve some now. That usually helps at these times.
I never carved, just went to bed. Cherie came home from shopping and could tell I was not doing well. It is so good to be loved. She fixed me some food even though I was not hungry. Of course I seldom feel the sensation of hunger because of the brain injury. She tried with some success to get a smile on my face and generally let me look at TV shows I could care less about. She is a wise woman and came into the bedroom asking me if I would like to go to the park for a walk. It sounded better than wallowing in the bed so I agreed.
There is something about being out in nature that settles my heart. We walked slowly as joggers ran past and I looked at the wonders of life that are evident in these settings. We watched the fat squirrels and chipmunks gathering what they need to last the winter. We brought our camera with the hope of seeing the deer but they weren’t around. It was peaceful and good to be there, even more because it was shared between the two of us. We walked farther than we had before and went through some areas that were new to us.
As we were heading to the car I noticed Cherie had stopped and was staring off into the distance. I turned back towards her and without taking her eyes off whatever she saw she said “I think it’s the deer”. Sure enough they were about one hundred yards away on the other side of the large mowed grassy area where folks could play ball and things. “Do you want to go see them?” I asked and when she said yes we headed across the field.
There were others watching from a distance but we knew these animals were used to humans so we slowly approached them. Again we were able to get within ten or twenty feet of them. It was getting dark but I took pictures anyway. The digital camera does not do well without lots of light as the shutter speed is so slow I can’t hold it still enough to not blur. Did OK though. Here’s a picture. What do you think?
I am doing much better but am still frustrated by this disability. It is hard when you can no longer accomplish what used to be simple for you. I built and ran three companies that at one time numbered 125 employees but now I can’t figure out how to do basic stuff on this blog. Eventually I will get it because I won’t give up.
I called Allen and will take him to see Doom tomorrow. I will again talk to him about his addiction to pain pills and try to convince him to seek medical help for his damaged back and neck which is the source of the intense pain he has. I will have to approach this delicately because he gets real defensive when I bring it up. I wouldn’t be much of a friend if I didn’t try.
I think I will end this days entry. My back pain is amplified by sitting at this computer. I didn’t get much done today which contributed to the depression. Good night all.

Friday, October 28, 2005

figuring out this picture thing

 Posted by Picasa

102805 Friday

10/28/05 Friday
     I am sluggish this morning. Have no energy or motivation. Cherie didn’t wake me till 7:00 this morning. It took a while for me to wake up and I was grouchy, complaining because she didn’t wake me earlier because Friday is the day I meet Jeff for breakfast and I needed time to get ready. She also came back in with the newspaper and told me not to call the Toledo Blade because the paper did not make it up to our door. This time the paper delivery lady just threw it from the first or second floor and it landed on the steps. I told Cherie I would call the Blade because we pay to have the paper delivered to our door and the delivery person is paid to do so. Having a newspaper wrapped in plastic sitting on a stair step is a disaster waiting to happen. It cannot be easily seen and is slippery. A fall on stairs has the potential of causing serious injury and even death so I will call. Maybe I should write.
     I met with Jeff and as usual it is good to have someone to talk with. Jeff expressed the same thought. He asked a question that brings up an issue I need to address. I said something about my honesty with everything regardless of what others think. Jeff asked if I put down in the blog some of the personal things about him we discuss. I don’t think I do but I better look and see. I have contemplated writing a page just for the Blog but some days I do good to write anything. I am planning on publishing the rest of the journal which goes back four years and covers much of this incredible journey I have been on since waking from the coma. I will need to edit it to protect some of those I am close to. Perhaps change their names or something.
     We talked about my release from probation, the progress of his divorce, work, the court system, and other things like medical uses for marijuana. I also expounded on the church and my views of how the Christian religion has evolved over the 2000 years of it’s existence. I think it has, in it’s many versions, become easy street for most and only has a rudimentary resemblance to the early church.
     Cherie just came home for lunch. I am running at about a six on the Bob scale. Not fast, not slow. It is a beautiful day out. Sunny and around fifty degrees. That works for me and I am comfortable without a coat because of the change of my body’s temperature control mechanism or something from the brain damage.
     I watched Dr. Phil this morning and it was about addiction to pain killers, a subject near and dear to my heart. I beat this addiction and now hope to help Allen beat his. I was hoping to learn something that would help but I am already up to speed with what he covered. The people he featured were successful everyday moms. Not at all what you picture when the term “drug addict” is used. These are people who were prescribed medication for problems and it evolved into an addiction. They were generally able to hide their problem and few if any around them, including spouses, had a clue.
     Fred called and asked what I was doing Monday. I let him know it was a clear day so I scheduled him for a hair cut and shopping. He needed some basic groceries so I took him to the Pharm where I was his eyes as usual. As I would tell him “That’s vegetables, these are green beans, that is corn.” some  shoppers would hear and kind of give me their appreciation of what I was doing. That makes me feel good though I don’t care about impressing anyone.
     After carrying Fred’s groceries up to his apartment I took the request for financial help at YMCA to them and then went shopping. With Fred I was fine other than the headache but by the time I got to Miejer’s I was limping. This instability drives me crazy. I never know what is going to work or when. This is a big reason some of the church people thought I was faking. I would be sharp then I would seem like I was doped up. I walk fine and then I am limping badly. The assumption that I am in pain when I limp does not hold true. I am in varying degrees of pain all the time but the limp is not at all related to that at all.
     I started to slow down when Cherie came home and could feel the headache coming. I’m not too bad, about a five. That is another part of the instability that frustrates me. It’s like being on a roller coaster. There are highs and lows that can vary in their intensity without predictability.
     It is 3:19 now. I am tired and think I will take my afternoon nap. Those usually refresh me but sometimes seem to just make me more tired. I took my second pill.
     I almost went to sleep but not quite. Cherie had called earlier and told me how tired she was. We decided to go get Chinese at a restaurant near here. It is called Yang’s. I was impressed with the place. Their menu was four or five pages long with lots of stuff on it that sounded good. The service was as good as I have seen. Plates were whisked away soon after they were finished. The food was good also but my shrimp was a little salty. The problem with that is my sense of taste is dramatically affected by my brain damage. Some days I can hardly taste a thing and on occasion I taste every subtle nuance of the food. Kind of makes it hard for me to have a reliable opinion of food. Guess I won’t qualify to be a food critic in the paper. Oh well. Every thing tastes good to me with few exceptions. I did try a glass of Sake because I don’t remember ever having it before. Now that I could taste and don’t like at all. The problem is the next time I go to a restaurant I probably won’t remember ever having it or if I liked it or not. I always ask Cherie to remind me I don’t like something if we ever go back to a place.  
     We are both tired and laid down for a while. I seem to be renewed and the headache is moderate now. There is a show coming on at 8:00 or so about the political power of the evangelical churches. We both want to see that. I have my issues with that. Especially when politicians like Bush spout an ideology that appears to be designed to get that portion of the vote and then don’t practice what they preach.
     I now turn to the Christian TV station to study how many are fleecing the flock and the methods used. That station is infomercial city accepting anyone who pays for air time. These programs often are under the guise of Christianity and thus fool the viewers and gain their trust. Hey! These are men of God. They wouldn’t lie to us. (sarcasm is intentional) These are cleverly put together sales jobs that use every technique I used to teach corporations. Then Benny Hinn came on and he is one of the best when it comes to deception along with James Robinson. He had a guest on and I was amazed at how he twisted the scripture to convince the audience to call in and donate. I am sure that when you call you will get an operator who is well trained in sales and how to increase the amount of the donation. Having founded and built a telemarketing company I understand this better than most. As I watch I have to wonder at how stupid many Christians are to buy into this stuff. There is a reason these infomercial people flock to Christian stations across the country. Here is where they find the most gullible audience. This is sad.
     Now we are watching the program on NBC with Tom Brokaw called in God they trust. He is interviewing a pastor named Ted Hagerd who leads one of the new mega churches called New Life Church. One of the things Ted said is that they are making Christianity easy. Tom also pointed out how profitable these churches are.
     After the show Cherie and I talked about God and religion. I expressed the doubts I have about God and my observations of Christianity today. It was a good talk and one of the things we concluded was that no matter what the rest of the world does we have each other and find a stability in our love for each other that is more dependable than anything else.
     It is 11:00 now and I am wide awake and lucid. This is prime time so I want to get as much done as I can. Cherie is going to call it a night. I think I will go ahead and publish this and then investigate the trial program I down loaded that makes publishing photos easier. Good night all. God bless and thanks for reading this. If I can figure out how I have some pictures I would like to include on the blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

102705 Thursday

10/27/05 Thursday
     I started out OK. Cherie left a list of things for me to do. I appreciate that and have been encouraging her to do that as long as we have been together. It helps me get things done because if it is not written down it won’t happen. I just put sheets in the washer and then set the timer. With this short term memory loss that is necessary. Otherwise I just simply no longer realize that I’m doing laundry at all. The timer is a valuable tool. I have been slowing down this morning. There is much I need to write about the last few days. It is nearly 12:00 and I have not eaten yet. I did take a shower.
     I am physically tired. Walking the stairs up three floors from the laundry room was hard. Shouldn’t be. I was going to cook eggs and sausage this morning but just poured a bowl of cereal. Not doing good at all. Moving in slow motion.
     I got all the chores done. It is 8:24 right now. I am still a little slow but not as bad as earlier. When Cherie came home I asked if she was doing ok and was relieved she did not have anymore chest pains. I don’t mind admitting I was scared. We ate the dinner I fixed and are relaxing now.
     I called Allen earlier to see if he would like to see the movie Doom. Allen told me he hadn’t slept in three days which I have heard from him before. I told him he sounded awful chipper for someone who had not slept in days. This bothered Allen and he started dancing. “Oh I haven’t slept for days. I’m really worn out” he told me with a lively voice. He knew I knew he was doped up and was defensive as well as kinda belligerent. He told me he is going to a concert tomorrow so I said “Your finances are better now. Huh?” At this point he said he would have to call me back regarding when we can see the movie. He never did so I will call him tomorrow. He is one of the few I call a friend and I will do what I can to help him get free of the pills. It will be hard because of his pain but mostly because I know how addictive Oxycontin is. Allen is taking way more than needed for his pain. He saw how that drug and the heroin it led to destroyed my life four years ago. I will do what I can to help him but know it will be tough.
     Cherie and I went to the park to walk as we are trying to do more often. I was still slow and not walking good but that is OK. We both need to get out and exercise. I didn’t take the camera this time and of course the deer were out. They have no fear and we walked right up to them. They did not even start when a jogger would come running by with his headphones on, not even noticing the three deer. Cherie talked to the deer as she does and it was a peaceful time. I love being out in nature.
     It’s 11:00 at night now. Of course this is when my brain decides to wake up. Wish it would work when I want it to. Brain damage is no fun but I do good considering how much of it was destroyed.
     I got an E mail from Virginia. Minnie Lee is doing well for 99 years old. Larry showed up because Linda had called him when she called me to tell me how bad Minnie Lee was. He always grates on Virginia and makes M.L. nervous. A typical alcoholic.
     I think I will call it a night. My back has been killing me all day and sitting at this computer aggravates that. Time to publish this and go to bed. I didn’t get much done in the way of writing and website construction. Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

The rest of Wednesday

I filled in some of Wednesdays entry so here it is to make that day complete.
I see that I did not get far with yesterdays entry and I know why. Cherie was home all day and that pretty much takes up my mind because I love being around her and we do things. We went to Swan Creek Metro Park and walked. I took the camera and told Cherie that we would see deer. Sure enough, as we walked the path strewn with the falling leaves, admiring nature and the speed of change two deer ran across the path ten feet in front of us. I was fumbling to get the camera out and Cherie started calling “Here deer” in her talking to the cat voice. That did nothing to coax the deer closer though they did stop and kind of look before they continued the journey.
     Today I take Fred and Barb around. It is always fun when they get together. Now I’m being sarcastic. Sometimes it’s ok but not usually. I picked up Fred and we headed over to get Barb. She had four bags of cans she was going to turn in for the aluminum. I had told Fred a while ago that I would no longer take Barb in for the cans because she got less than what the gas cost to drive her there and because her lack of money was due to the drugs.
     Dawn came with us as she sometimes does. I listened to her and Barb talk as I drove and heard Barb telling Dawn about how she had to turn on her TV by putting her finger in the hole where the switch used to be. Dawn asked Barb why she got rid of her good TV and I looked in the mirror to see Barb shrug her shoulders and give Dawn a look that said “You know, be quiet”.
     After turning in the cans for four dollars I drove them to the Trilby church for their food handout. I asked Barb how her TV was working and she said “Fine”. When I got them home I carried a bag of groceries in for Barb even though she was trying to get them before me. Walking in her apartment I see the nice 24” television she bought new just a few months ago was gone, replaced by the old funky one that used to be in her bedroom. “Where’s your TV Barb?” I asked. “Right there” she said so I said “No, the good one.”. This set her right off so she told me the good TV was in the bedroom and that I should mind my own business. I already knew it wasn’t in the bedroom because I could see in when I put the bag of groceries down. She knew she was busted.
     Fred took us out to Red Wells as he often does because Barb talks him into it. Barb wouldn’t say a word to me, even when I asked her directly “How you been?”. I waved my hand in front of her and said “Earth to Barb, come in please” and got a “I’m doing fine”. I didn’t want to get Fred all upset so I held my peace about the TV. I know what happened to it. The same thing that happened to her other new TV’s, grills, bike, and everything else that gets stolen. It is amazing how someone can crunch a TV up and fit it into a crack pipe and then Poof, it’s gone. Just went up in smoke.

102505 Tuesday

10/25/05 Tuesday
     Right now I am at Burger King. It is 10:45 in the morning. Fred’s car is across the street getting it’s winter check up and oil change. Cherie called in sick to work this morning. She is hoping the medication she got from the doctor will start helping. She has a bump in her wrist and the pain hinders her job. I asked her if she told the doc about it when she went yesterday. She said no and then started telling me how she can only talk to the doc about what she set the appointment for. I got upset and told her to call the doctor right now and set an appointment. I know Cherie and suspect she isn’t telling the doc stuff because she doesn’t want to be the cause of financial drain. That I can’t allow because medical conditions only grow if not treated, turning into a monster. It is also usually easier and cheaper to catch something early.
     Well Fred’s car is probably done so I suppose I should walk over there and see. First I want to note that this is a hot spot for my wireless. It is cool to be sitting at Burger King and check your E mail. I looked at some blogs and found one that interests me so I bookmarked it.

10/26/05 Wednesday
     Today I take Fred and Barb around. It is always fun when they get together. Now I’m being sarcastic. Sometimes it’s ok but not usually. I see that I did not get far with yesterdays entry and I know why. Cherie was home all day and that pretty much takes up my mind because I love being around her and we do things. We went to Swan Creek Metro Park and walked. I took the camera and told Cherie that we would see deer. Sure enough, as we walked the path strewn with the falling leaves, admiring nature and the speed of change two deer ran across the path ten feet in front of us. I was fumbling to get the camera out and Cherie started calling “Here deer” in her talking to the cat voice. That did nothing to coax the deer closer though they did stop and kind of look before they continued the journey.
     3:51 PM. I am at Toledo hospital with Cherie. When I came home from trucking Fred, Barb, and Dawn around I saw her car in the parking lot. It was two something so I know she is supposed to be at work. I go in and find Cherie laying down on the bed. She had started having sharp chest pains while driving from lunch so came home. She wasn’t feeling good still and the pain had turned into pressure. I took her to the emergency room here and now we wait. They have taken an EKG and blood. The RN or doctor explained that if there was a heart attack the dead cells release enzymes that can be detected in the blood. I am keeping Cherie cheered up best I can.

Monday, October 24, 2005

102405 Monday

10/24/05 Monday
     It’s Monday and looking I see I did not record much of yesterday. We never picnicked. Cherie went to K&J and got some meat. She was tired when she came home so I told her I would cook. I don’t think I was doing well at the time. I broiled the bacon wrapped tenderloins in the toaster oven. I will have to get used to the broiler function on this machine. It cooks a lot slower.
     I fixed rice and some of my flour gravy that Cherie told me she liked. The rice was some boil in the bag stuff I hadn’t used before. Looking at how much uncooked rice was in a bag I decided to cook two. I’ve made lots of rice since I woke up but still forgot how much rice swells when cooked. I only used one bag leaving the other unopened.
     I have been craving rice pudding for a while so decided that would be a good use for this leftover rice. I looked in the computer recipe book but out of 18,000 recipe’s there were only seven for rice pudding. Non of them worked for me so I got on the net to find one. I printed that up and started on it.
     Of course I missed one little detail in the recipe. It said to use Minute Rice but I just put in the rice I already had cooked. With that I poured in the amount of milk called for and set it to boiling as directed. After 30 minutes I had a thought as I stirred this soupy mix. Uncooked rice absorbs tons of fluids as they cook so this cooked rice isn’t doing that. Now I began to look for something that could thicken this up. Ah Ha! There’s Tapioca. That will soak up some of this milk. To my surprise it worked. In fact more than worked. I whipped up the egg whites left over from the two egg yolks, into foam and mixed it in the rice Tapioca pudding. Then I sliced up kiwi’s and strawberries to put on top and that was it.
     It amazes me how I can come up with a home run after screwing something up. This stuff was way good. Goes on the list of things I need to do again. It is 9:00 this morning. Today I go to probation. If I am lucky they have finished the paperwork and I will be free but I won’t count on luck. I’m running about a seven this morning. Average.
     OK this was a day were lots happened. I went to see my probation officer today and was wondering how it would go. When I got there and went up to the front desk I did as I always do. “Bob Westbrook to see Julie D.” I told the receptionist. She looked at me and then at her desk. Picking up a piece of paper and looking at it she goes “Oh yeah, I’ve got a message for you”. Of course I worried that something was wrong but she read the note. “Your not on probation anymore and Julie’s not in today.” I asked her if there was something I should sign and she said she didn’t have a clue. It was good news for me of course. The one officer who had come to the apartment several times to check on me was outside. He asked me how I was doing so I told him I was released from probation. He said that was good because I didn’t belong in the system.
     I called Cherie and left a message on her work phone and then called Eileen to see how she was doing. She sounded much better than the last time I talked to her. I asked her if it was ok to come by and visit and it was. Eileen was glad to see me but was not to animated. Come to find out she had a hysterectomy four days ago. I knew that was a possibility but didn’t know if or when it would  happen. They found several tumors and I presume none of them was cancerous because Eileen didn’t say.
     Eileen said she reads the blog daily and it is her entertainment. I figured it would be boring but what do I know. She did say that she had a hard time following because she didn’t know who was who. Now that I know I have readers I should write this accordingly.
     Just for the moment I will give a brief rundown of the characters in this play of my life. Fred is 87 years old with emphysema. It is his car I drive most of the time. He lets me do this in exchange for driving him around and being his eyes. You see Fred is legally blind, which means he can see but not well. When I take him to the store I must explain what he is looking at because he can’t even make out the large letters on the products.
     Barb is a woman who has a brain injury incurred some fifteen or twenty years ago. She operates at about a fifteen year old level. Fred had promised her dying mom he would look after her. Barb lived a life that was troubled. She was a heroin addict, went to prison, and has children she can no longer see. I don’t get into that with her because it’s not my business. I just try to help her not be taken advantage of by those around her. That includes the alcoholic who lives with her and all the crackheads who live there. It is a losing job but I got to try. She is part of what I call the forgotten people. You know, the ones all the church people talk about helping but few are willing to be within touching distance of. It doesn’t matter what her life was like or how many mistakes she made. She is still human and needs help. I can’t walk by.
     Wayne is someone I met at St Paul’s homeless shelter when I stayed there. He is a veteran and has Multiple Sclerosis. Because of how that disease affects mental abilities Wayne was in bad shape. Like me he was totally unfamiliar with the resources available for him. Because I had been learning these things through trial and error for over a year I was able to help teach and guide him. I got him into the system and into section eight housing. This took some time. I then fought Family Services to get him benefits such as Medicaid and foodstamps. I took Wayne to Social Security and had him apply for disability. This is on its third appeal after over a year and the first hearing. I got Wayne to a lawyer who specializes in Social Security and he gave me a good idea of what I need to do.
     Sharon lives upstairs from Wayne and also has a traumatic brain injury. Hers is from being beat by her husband with a pipe. Cherie and I help her when we can. She is trying to get her license back and also would like to move to a safer environment. I also would like to get Wayne out of there. It is major drugs and prostitution there and is dangerous with gunfire not uncommon.
     Allen is a friend from before my accident who is one of the few I could remember from before. It took me several days of walking around to find his place when I first returned to Toledo. Allen has lots of problems which include severe depression with suicidal tendencies. His back and necked are messed up to the point the pain keeps him up for days. Not having medical insurance Allen has no choice but to try to medicate his pain with whatever he can buy on the streets. I am convincing him to get in the system thus giving him access to the rudimentary medical services offered by the state. This includes getting him to the Zeph Center which helps so many of those I serve. He is not keen on that as he has had or heard of bad experiences others have had when it comes to mental health. He needs surgery or something more permanent than taking pills.
     There are others but these are the main players. Oh yeah I almost forgot Eileen who pointed out to me the confusion caused by my not explaining who these folks are. Eileen was my secretary for about ten years and has seen more of my life than most. She holds in her head many of my memories and helps me fill in the blanks often as I still research who I was. While I visited her today she was doing what she always does. Despite her hysterectomy she would jump up and run every time her husband Glenn would yell her name from the couch he lives on. She takes care of everyone else but only a few of them return the favor.
     It is 1:00 in the morning now. It would be smart to get some sleep but I wanted to finish this.

102305 Sunday

10/23/05 Sunday
     It is starting out good this morning. Cherie was asked to work today and when she asked me I encouraged her to go or something like that. She may have already told her boss she would work and was checking to see if I would object. Anyway she’s at work and I decided to stay home instead of going to church. I fixed some sausage and eggs and forgot to make coffee. I think I will skip coffee today to see if that helps the headaches. Actually I already have a headache.
     I didn’t write in the journal after Cherie came home. I suspect that if I looked through my journal entries I will find that it is not unusual for them to stop after Cherie gets home. That’s because when she walks in my attention is on her. Not always Bob, lets be honest here. OK but that is pretty much true. I’m going to hit the shower.
     It’s 10:00 now. I took my medicine. I don’t know what I will do today but it is beautiful out. I think it would be nice to picnic. Take that Q Grill we got suckered in on and grill some steaks. Actually the Q grill is pretty cool but overpriced. Enough of that. I forgot to shave and brush my teeth so must do that. Nice thing about shaving for me is that it tells on me when I forget. Better go shave before I forget.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

102205 Saturday

10/22/05 Saturday
     I woke up lucid, a good start for the day. Cherie came in and wanted to talk so I muted the sound on the TV. She asked about long term plans regarding going to Texas.  Will we stay? Will we live on the farm? When would we go? These are important things that we need to make plans for. I got us on a budget now and we will tighten up and start saving for this. We also know there will probably be several trips to Texas and that will cost. With all that and things like the bankruptcy going on we need to be organized and ready to go. It was good for us to talk and I thanked Cherie for bringing it up cause I would most likely never think about it.
     I told Cherie I would write the letter to YMCA this morning while she is out shopping. Of course Fred called and being very apologetic asked me if I could take him to the Dollar Tree. I will be happy to do that but hope he is not getting something Barb guilt tripped him into getting. If so he will bring it up after he purchased the item and we get back in the car. “Would you mind stopping at Barb’s” he will say.
     There are times I like being wrong and this is one of them. Fred did buy some stuff for Barb but he never asked me to take it to her so that worked. He needed toilette paper which would warrant his urgency but beside that he was looking for some horseradish that he thinks he bought at a dollar store. I took him to two stores and he never found the horseradish. At the last store he went over the same isle several times, picking up bottle after bottle and peering at it would wait for me to tell him what it was. He was picking up the same bottles we had gone through before and I was getting a little short. “Fred we’ve been through everything in this row. There is no horseradish.” I told him so he went down a different row. I went into Radio Shack and got Fred the light bulbs he needs for his reader. I was glad he wanted to go home when I got back to the car. Now I am here writing and tired.
     I took some of that herbal stuff that helps clear up the mind a bit. Now I need to write that YMCA letter before I go off in another tangent and forget. Now to you millions of people reading this, I know much of what you find here is boring dribble but it is much more than that to me. I use this journal to overcome the problems that come with my brain injury. I come to this laptop many times during a day and look to see what I was doing or going to do. These reminders keep me on track on slow days and for that matter every day. Now, TOO THE LETTER…..
     I wrote the letter. In fact I think I will put it here in the journal cause it may explain a lot to my readers.

To:       Executive Director of the Southwest Family Branch
            YMCA of Greater Toledo.
From:     Bob and Cherie Westbrook
     2541 Key St.
     Toledo, Ohio 43614

     This letter is to explain the reason for our request for assistance. I woke up from a coma December 2001. Because of my traumatic brain injury I have severe memory loss and partial paralysis on the right side. Adding to that, I broke my neck for the third time in the accident. The only family found willing to help me was my brother who took me to St Louis and put me in some dump. It took me two years to make it back to Toledo where I had been a successful businessman prior to my accident. It was then I understood how much memory was lost and wandered the streets looking for memories. I was homeless till I was featured on Channel 13 as Toledo’s John Doe. Then friends I knew I had but couldn’t remember came forward to help.
     Among those who saw the program was my first wife, Cherie. We had divorced twenty years ago after I went through a drastic personality change after falling from a tree, breaking my neck and back, and getting a concussion. We now understand the personality change is a common symptom of brain injury but little was known about it 20 years ago. Cherie called in to offer assistance and we saw each other for the first time in twenty years. We remarried nearly two years ago. We never should have divorced.
     Cherie took on a burden with me. I did finally get approved for my veterans disability pension which helps financially but we run tight. Being in the coma took a toll on me and I was unable to get the exercise needed to regain strength and muscle. Now that I have a kitchen and am sedentary I am getting fat. We are in the middle of bankruptcy made necessary to unload the massive medical debt I have and that freezes up our finances some. We would be happy to pay $35.00 a month for the basic membership but the initial fee is a hard hurdle for us to leap right now. We expect things to improve after the bankruptcy and will go to the regular rate.

So whatchya think? It’ll change when I have Cherie review it. I think I will lay down for a bit.

Friday, October 21, 2005

102105 Friday

10/21/05 Friday
     I woke up fairly clear headed. Went to meet with Jeff at the Waffle house. We talked about what I’ve been doing and then we talked about some scriptures Jeff had been memorizing.
     I just got home from there but am having a hard time writing this right now. This is one of those quick slowdowns that was preceded by an equally quick headache. I just took my pill and the vitamins Cherie set out for me. There’s a good chance I will go back to bed. I took the garbage out because it was smelling pretty bad.
     When I got home from meeting with Jeff and picking up Cherie’s check Fred came out to talk. He asked if we got our paper delivered to our door cause he had seen it in the mailbox. I told him no but Cherie probably picked it up on her way to work. Fred started working himself up telling me several times “That’s not right. You tell them your paying to have your paper delivered to your door. Call them right now.”. I said I would and managed to walk backwards up the stairs as he kept on about it.

It’s 11:17. I just checked my e mail and did the eight or nine surveys or whatever it was. Hard to do when I’m slow. Answering questions is tough for me at these times. I have to look at five or ten potential answers and then look back at the question because I forgot it. I forgot to take something for the headache so will grab some aspirin. Probably some Tramadol also. One of the surveys I did was for 20/20 on caffeine. It talked about headaches and stuff so I have to wonder if that contributes to this. It is chilly. I want to keep going but may crawl under the covers till the headache relaxes. I keep forgetting I can take this laptop to bed with me and thus do some work as I think about things.
     NO! I’m going to stay up and get something done. I was thinking breakfast because I forgot I had met Jeff and ate at the Waffle House. Not feeling the sensation of hunger means I try to eat by the clock but not remembering if I ate may contribute to my weight gain. Hell, I might eat three breakfasts and not know it, at least not till later. I know I have taken multiple showers because I forget I had showered earlier. Then there are times I wash my hair twice during one shower to make sure I did. It is no problem being too clean but when I forget to rinse soap off and have a rash later it becomes a problem.
     What makes this so maddening is sometimes I remember fine but then have these moments. I was watching TV the other day when they mentioned senior moments. Sounds like me at 49 so what will I be like at 65?? Statistically those with TBI’s show a much higher likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s. I just learned something cool with MS Word. If a word is underlined indicating a misspelling I can right click and it will give me spelling suggestion without me having to click on the ABC icon above. I hope that writing this down will help me remember it. Once I use this a few times it will stick.
     I took about an hour siesta. You know, where you’re kinda in and out of sleep. I watched the news after Cherie went back to work and would find myself opening my eyes and see I had missed about ten minutes. I turned off the TV and helped Carman find away under the covers. I think I will put a picture of Carman on the blog. I am sure there is some way to put it at this spot but I haven’t figured it out yet. I do know I can post the picture as a separate entry cause I have done it twice now. Don’t know how but the directions must be easy enough for me to follow cause I succeeded twice.
     I am still slow but much better than earlier. I know I have many things to do but I will try to just focus on one so it may happen. I could look around to discover what I need or would like to do but I have something right in front of me so that is it. No, wait, I told Cherie that I would cook dinner so I must plan for that so I can schedule what needs to be done. Otherwise I will forget. I need to cook some sweet potatoes so I will go get the other computer with the recipe’s on it fired up and searching now…
     OK got that done. Now once I get dinner figured out I will go back to my project for the day. That is to transfer the outline or map for the website that I wrote when sharp in just a few minutes to the computer. I knew I had drawn it up but had forgotten what I put down. When I looked at it earlier I was astonished at how much and what I had written.
     I have the easy listening elevator music on. That is probably not an accurate description of this play list. We have a wide variety of music from nature new age stuff to Boston Pops orchestra playing Celtic music on this play list. It really helps me when I am slow. In general my taste in music is dramatically mellowed out since the accident.  
     I really love this computer stuff. It’s a shame I learn slowly, you know, learn it till it stays. I got to use the spell correction thing I discovered just now so that will help me remember it. Here is a poetic irony. The more words I misspell the better I get at spell check. Aug…Sounded good in my head but when I wrote that down it’s dumb. The kind of thing I say in conversation where I don’t have time to think it through. Time to check the search results for sweet potatoes.    
     Well I solved the dinner thing. I won’t cook it. I love a simple solution to these complex problems. I called Cherie and she decided we will maintain our Friday tradition of going out to eat. I always look forward to seeing Cherie. Just last night we repeated the words we say so often. We look at each other and say “I still can’t believe your here with me, that we’re back together”. Every time I talk about it, whether to others or now as I write, I get watery eyes. Enough of that. Time to work on the outline.
     Got some stuff done on the outline then Cherie came home. We went to Don Pablos and enjoyed an excellent meal then came home. It is 9:37 and we are tired so I came out here to finish this entry and publish it on the blog. Night all.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

102005 Thursday

10/20/05 Thursday
I woke up cloudy and with a headache. Am moving in slow motion. I looked at the calendar and it tells me today is when they have the MS luncheon. Hope I get better by then. I got out of bed to take my pill and use the restroom. I feel like crawling back under the covers. Carman kitty crawled under the sheets. He hasn’t done that since last winter so it is a sign it’s getting cold. I really don’t notice the cold much, just the heat.

Still slow. I called Wayne to let him know about the MS luncheon. I am still shuffling when I walk cause the right leg is not there this morning. Last night I couldn’t publish to the blog from word and never did figure it out. I think I will try now despite not being up to speed.
I don’t have a clue what I did but after thirty minutes of poking around I finally got yesterdays entry posted. I think this happened before. I am still slow and will be leaving in a half hour to get Wayne. I think I will leave early because I will be driving carefully.

I hate being out in public when I am slow. I picked up Wayne and headed to the restaurant for the MS luncheon. There was no one else there so we sat down and waited. Wayne could tell I wasn’t “feeling well” and said he understood why I had been crabby a lot lately. It is harder lately for me not to have patience or tolerance or whatever it is I need more of.
I was having a hard time keeping up with Wayne’s conversation getting distracted and having a hard time following the train of thought. We went ahead and ordered wondering if we should have come here at 11:30 instead of 11:00. Some others began to come in and asked if we were with the MS group.
As more people came, tables were pulled up to each other eventually reaching four. (I think) With each table came an increase in the amount of information my brain had to process and I was less able to keep up. I pretty much retreated and just sat there with my hands folded, listening to learn what I could. I would ask a question on occasion but don’t remember what about. I got Wayne to fill out some release forms for a study but didn’t know what the forms were till later. There was a pretty big group. I only recognized one girl, the one that has a muscle control problem that made simple things like eating a battle. She is a sweetheart and really an inspiration. Next to her my problems are nothing but she fights on, refusing to bow.
I was pretty much nonfunctional and glad to take Wayne home. By now my ears are ringing (as they are now as I write this) and I really can’t listen to Wayne as he talks about everything and drive also. I just focused on the road and Wayne’s voice just kind of became background noise. It was a good thing cause some guy stopped at a green light to let some little old lady cross the street. I hit the brakes hard and that stopped all conversation.... For a second; and then it was Wayne unloading his mind and me wanting to listen and help but having to focus on the road.
I was glad to get him home. I took his bag that contains all the paperwork he owns into the apartment, intending to go through it, organize it, and pull out the stuff pertinent to his social security appeal. I tried to concentrate on that simple task but Wayne couldn’t stop talking and ask questions despite me asking him for a few minutes. I could feel the frustration coming up and was pretty slow so I told Wayne I needed to go home.

Now I am home and don’t think I will do much for a while. OH yeah, for the record incase I forget, I slammed the car door on my finger at Wayne’s and just got the tip of it. I had to put on a band aid. I hate being slow.
It’s 8:38 now. Cherie made some chili which we enjoyed while watching TV on the bed. After that Cherie just conked out and started snoring when Alias came on. I got up and put the left over chili in a Tupperware bowl and then in the fridge. Cherie is starting to cook like Bob, making way more than two people will eat at one setting. Chili is better as it ages, at least up to the point it spoils.
We’re done for the night.

101905 Wednesday

10/19/05 Wednesday
     8:00 - I turned off the TV and am going to try and get stuff done. Cherie had her usual “I’m late” rush. I love her and want to help her fix that consistent problem but don’t think I will be able to. Of course her menopause makes this harder for Cherie, especially the hot flashes that are so strong they debilitate her. Anyway, I ironed her shirt and had just turned off the iron when I heard her voice coming from the bathroom “Oh no! Don’t turn off the iron! I need to iron my jeans.”. “Would you like me to iron them?” I asked, Cherie knowing she always feels bad to have me do things for her. “Would you mind???” was Cherie’s timid response as she felt guilty. This will always be there because it is a result of a her childhood, of always being wrong, in the way, or the cause of problems. I will spend the rest of my life helping Cherie set herself free from these things that shackle her mind.
     This morning I have to take Fred and Barb to the grocery store. When I told Fred yesterday, that Barb may have got her check and spent it, just telling you it didn’t get there to get you to buy food. “No, she would never do that. I told her that if she ever lies to me I’m done with her.” Fred said with conviction. “Fred, she’s been lying to you for over five years. Why would she stop now?” I told Fred. I left it at that. I don’t want to get him upset, just want to open his eyes a little.
     I suppose I should get ready for today. Taking Barb and Fred to the grocery store is seldom fun. I will have to stay with Fred to keep Barb from pulling one over on him, taking advantage of his blindness. I am Fred’s eyes.
     Boy the weather just changed. It was another bright cloudless morning and I had the blinds open to let as much light as possible in. As I was typing the previous paragraph it just got dark. Looking outside I see a solid blanket of cloud with a long clear edge where it is separating the beautiful blue sky from the earth. This is moving fast and with the loss of light comes a chill. There is also a change in me.. I can feel this change in my bones as the barometric pressure does it’s dramatic shift. It changes my mood and cognizance as well. I think I will close the windows now and get moving.
     It is now 1:00 and taking Fred and Barb to the store was every bit as fun as I thought it would be. My calendar said we were to go at 10:30 so I was moving accordingly, timing my actions so I would be ready at just the right moment. At 10:12 the phone rang just as I was getting my jeans on so I had to make a decision. Either I yank my pants up and hold them as I run to the phone or I waddle like a penguin with my jeans on my ankles. Or I could just let the voice mail take it. Hmm…but I know it’s Fred so I pull the jeans up and hang on to them as I scurry to the phone.
     “Hello Fred” I say after seeing the caller ID. “I’m ready when you are” Fred announced so I let him know it would be a few minutes. “I’ll just wait in the car” was Fred’s response and I know it was designed to hurry me. I’m not in a hurry.
     Fred told me that yesterday had been a hard day for him. He wasn’t doing to well today either. We stopped at Tom’s so Fred could cash a check and then headed to Barb’s. As I drove along I got to thinking about things and Fred’s voice woke me up as he asked which way I was going. I had been on auto pilot again and who knows where I would have ended up if Fred had not asked.
     We got to Barb’s and Fred went up while I waited. Dixie came out and got her paper so I yelled “Hi Dixie”. She waved and went in. She has not been doing to well lately. Hallucinating and isolating herself. Dawn came out also to ride with us so they all got in the car and we headed to Kroger. I got the Starbucks coffee that I lavish myself with on rare occasions and watched Barb and Fred start going through the produce area. Fred was already bitchy so I was glad to wait while they made this coffee concoction.
     By the time I got it and caught up with them Fred was kind of confused. Barb seemed upset that I showed up there and I know why. She wasn’t able get away with as much stuff with me there. I started helping Fred get what he needed and I had to check Barb when she wanted to hurry Fred so she could get what she wanted. Fred was trying to decide what kind of sausage he wanted and having a hard time making a decision. I would explain in simple terms what he was holding in his hands and he finally put both packages back. This would set the tone for the rest of the visit.
     They had both looked at the adds so Fred said “Where’s the black angus roast that’s on sale for $1.95?”. I told him it was back the way he had just come, he had walked by them. Then I directed Fred to the roasts in question and began to help him pick something out. He would peer at something intently and fondle it to see with his fingers. “It’s too fat” he would say so Barb and I would try to find another one. He wouldn’t decide and he wouldn’t decide again and again. “Fred, that’s the best one there is. Pick one and lets go.” I said getting impatient. He just looked at me holding the roast in his hand and said nothing. Barb and I started to move down the meat isle and then Fred put the roast in the cart he hangs on to and started to follow.
     Barb kept wanting us to go with her to get things she wanted like milk and ice cream. I told her to go get them and bring them back to the cart because I know Fred was not up to traipsing all over the store. Barb complained because she didn’t want to carry a half gallon of ice cream from two isles away. Tough.
     Fred kept throwing fits, worrying about his two or three items getting mixed with Barb’s. “No, That’s mine. It goes here, not with Barb’s stuff” Fred said as he took the TV dinner I just put in the cart and put it in the corner I had put his roast and Milk. After three or so of these events I told Fred “Fred, nobodies going to steal your stuff so just relax. I look after it for you.”. That mollified him for five minutes that we enjoyed.
     Fred wasn’t doing well and I could see him having a harder time walking. He would say “Lets get out of here” and then start peering into the glass freezer doors. Looking at some Michelena’s he asked “Is that Staufers”. Now it was lots of decisions he couldn’t make. We went through everything in the fifteen or so freezer cases with me saying “That’s Banquet meals. There’s chicken Alfredo, Salisbury steaks, Fried Chicken” and on. He would make a choice and say “Lets get out of here”. I would start walking towards the register and looking back see Fred peering through another door at what he cannot see.
     This time I just let him gaze intently and pretend to see, not going over and reading every package in the case as I always do. Fred bobbed his head up and down at the glass door for maybe five minutes till Barb then started to tell him what was in the case. There was nothing he was interested in so the job for me now was to get him to a register without to many stops.
     “Make sure my stuff is bagged separate from Barbs. Don’t let them get mixed up.” Fred yelled as I began to put his five items on the register conveyor. He sent Barb to get him a loaf of bread and she took forever holding up the line. Come to find out she had picked up a toothbrush kit and slipped it in with her groceries so He wouldn’t see. I was up front and didn’t see either but it was there after everything got paid for. Who knows. All I know is I was glad to take them all home and come up here to my home also. Home is a good thing. It is 2:00 now.
     I am to fix dinner tonight and had forgotten till this moment. I better go look to see what there is in the fridge and get focused or I will forget till Cherie walks in from work. I have a headache and do not feel good. Tired and a little thick. My leg is not working well also. I know what I will fix for dinner but will have to go to the store and pick up cream of mushroom soup. Don’t feel like going but will anyway. Need eggs also.
     Just got back from the store. Got cream of mushroom and cream of celery. I don’t have a clue what that tastes like but am curious. We have the meatballs left I made before and I was thinking of doing them in the mushroom but may try the cream of celery. I am kind of slow so it took a while for me to get through the store. I remembered everything with out a list. Drove home slowly. I stopped on the way to Kroger at the car wash. I had gone to Fred for the money and he didn’t bitch much. I used the auto wash instead of doing it myself. Then I drove off in the wrong direction and took the long way to Kroger. The store makes me kind of dizzy as I process the myriad of sensory input. It is at these times that decision making is hard so it took a while to decide and get the hand carry basket.
     You’ll notice I have a hard time finding the right words for things sometimes. I think I will have to quit writing for now. I washed the dishes and then vacuumed the rug in the living room. I know what to cook for dinner except which soup. I am a good house husband, or at least a high average. Of course the word sometimes should be in that last sentence. Now that I vacuumed I think I will wood carve which will make another mess. Time to do the relax thing.
     I never carved and don’t really know what I did after that till I went to the store to get cream of mushroom soup. I got cream of celery also and tried that with the meatballs. It was real good. It is 9:00 now and I am just finishing this before I publish it to the blog. Not real speedy. Oh yeah, Cherie and I went to the park to walk. Didn’t see any deer but we enjoyed the tranquility and each other. The leaves are falling and some of the trees are getting their fall colors now. We love the clean earthy  smell. Cherie laughs and looks beautiful. It is one of those moments I look forward to.
     I am tired and will go to bed now.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

the Love of my life

101805 Tuesday

10/18/05 Tuesday
     It is a bright, cloudless, cool day. I opened the blinds to let as much light in as possible. I am excited about carving again and this would be a good time. Last night I kept carving as long as I could but even with all the lights on I couldn’t see well enough after 5. Right now the sun comes right in because our window faces the East.
(Note to self-You want to write about talking to Virginia and the effect of knowing someone reads this.)
     Alright. With that reminder for this easily distracted mind I will rush off and shower, shave, and eat. I’m running at a good seven on the Bob scale. I will be conflicted over setting priorities with what to do with my time. I want to carve but I need to work on Wayne’s stuff and I need to get stuff started on the website content.
     I haven’t taken my pill yet this morning and need to do so. It is 8:54 right now. I am feeling the sensation of hunger which is rare for me. One of the things that I lost along with my sense of taste and smell.
     What is strange is these senses come and go as they wish, kinda wander in and wander out. They seem to be working more nowadays than before but I don’t have as many spikes where these senses are amplified. I remember walking downtown during one of these spikes.
     There was a light breeze and it was sunny like it is today. As I walked past some flowering plants near the Catholic Center I could smell their aroma in a kinda crisp and clean way. Then I could smell everything coming in on this breeze. Trash, exhaust, food, I could smell it all and knew the trash was far away. Now, to add to this increase of information my mind needed to process my hearing starts picking up the noises coming with these odors. The cars as I walked into the heart of downtown, the noise from a restaurant kitchen, and as I passed the alley behind it their dumpster.
     It was nearing lunch time or something because there was lots of people on the sidewalks. They all had someplace to be and a time to get there so I maintained my pace so as not to get run over. I could hear the conversations of every one around, a cacophony of chatter that I was only able to catch strings of. I could also smell the perfumes, colognes, and the body odors in this throng especially from the street people.
     I am glad these spikes don’t come as often because they can sometimes be overwhelming. But at the same time it is fantastic when you are eating a nice meal to experience the flavors and smells in this pronounced way.
     Ooops. I got to writing that and never got to the shower and stuff. Today I will take Barb to the Zeph Center. That is at 3:30.
     Alright Bob, way to go. It is 10:00 and I am dressed, fed, and have no place to go. I’ll take any accomplishment. Now I face the same dilemma as before. What to do. I think I will opt for carving for the morning is when the light is best and I am not yet able to move the sun so I will take advantage of it while I can.
     I took the pill an hour or so ago and now am feeling kinda tired. I was pretty bright earlier and think this tiredness comes at around the same time each day. If it the pill I don’t like it. Perhaps they have something else that won’t dope me up. The Dilantin was worse. Perhaps I should reduce it. I don’t know. Having seizures is not fun but the reality is the slow downs, which are partial seizures, haven’t abated. At least not last week. Now I just want to lay down. Not good.
     Now I can feel the headache creeping around in my head. It is hiding behind my eyebrows and sitting on top of the eyeballs. If I ignore it and get focused on something else it slinks back but thinking about it is like feeding it giving it boldness and strength. Duh! So stop writing about it dummy, that’s thinking with amplification.
     Now I’m off to carve.
Never carved. Not yet. I laid down. The headache made it and I took aspirin and Tramadol but that won’t help this fatigue. As soon as I got comfortable for a long stay on the toilette the cell phone rang. Of course, impeccable timing, it must be Fred. I didn’t hurry to get to the phone as some things you don’t rush. Then the regular phone rang which made me sure it was Fred, in a hurry to reach me. I answered the phone with “Hi Fred” and it was Fred. I told him I was on the crapper when he called and heard the phone ring to let him know I was inconvenienced. He inquired when I was going to pick up Barb with his usual urgency that I get there early. I will pick up the package of stuff I took him to the store last week to buy and take it to Barb.
     It is frustrating to have this slow down in the middle of the day. To bad I can’t schedule them for when I sleep. Maybe I should try some of the herbal stuff that can help sometimes but not always. Just taking a nap sounds best. I need a Tums now for an acid stomach. That has been happening again.
     Good. The herbal stuff did help clear up my head a little bit and the pain is less noticeable as well. It didn’t touch the headache just the back and neck pain. I think I will try to carve now.
         Maybe not. I just got into a puzzle I noticed yesterday. It seems that the heading at the top said Journal,word-editing 101205. This was a change from the original title so I dug in to see what was up. Eventually I found the original journal which ended on 9/11/05. That was the time I was trying to back up this journal on CD with much difficulty. Somehow I did this mix up then and now have to figure out how to fix it. I pasted what was missed onto the original journal which is where I am writing now. The short cut takes me to the other journal that has “Editing” in the title. Hope I can do this without erasing everything. I should back this up onto the CD I finally learned how to make the last time. Unfortunately that means I have to learn it all over again because it vanished from this brain. Such is life with a brain injury, learning the same thing over again and again till it finally sticks through repetition. Then it still fades over time if not used.
     I am glad the brain is clearer and that makes me bold enough to try and fix this thing…… Now I know it is not really good to walk around bragging but I am impressed with myself. I was able to figure out and fix this little problem without losing my data. You know what that means???   I have graduated up to a third graders technical computer abilities. I want my teacher to paste a gold star by my name. Oh wait. I’m my teacher. Well I think I will have to put gold stars on the shopping list so I have some for these momentous occasions. Don’t want to put them on this laptop so I reckon I’ll have to paste them on my forehead.
     I love it when I get my brain back. It helps my sense of humor which I cherish. Humor has kept me alive and now helps Cherie. If I didn’t laugh I would cry and that is no fun. I love making Cherie laugh and Cherie is the same with me. When either of us is having a hard time the other works to get that smile even if it takes all day.
     I really wish I could record some of the antics we go through. We do some regular routines. Just yesterday I had Cherie laughing so hard it hurt. We are getting all kinds of mail because our bankruptcy is now listed on the computers. Some of the stuff is hilarious. One offer I began to mock, reading the many pieces that came in the big envelope with an uneducated country hick kind of voice.  
      The ad is a real slick piece that is well put together. The sad thing is I used to teach companies how to do this stuff and I recognize the techniques used. It started with the outside of the envelope. “We’re Looking for People to Test Automotive Products (And Keep All Test Products FREE!)” That’s the hook and then they put in a sense of urgency “We need to hear from you in 10 days”. Strategically placed in a small window you can just see your name embossed in raised silver letters on what resembles a credit card and the title “Charter Member”. Of course they threw in some letters and numbers to look like an account number.
     That’s the front of the envelope, turn it around and you see the bait on the hook.  All they want to do is get you to open this envelope. “Which Free Gift Could You Get?” it says in big letters across the top and underneath are two pictures. By this time I have gone into dumb hick mode. “HEY, lookie here baby, I can get lots of free stuff” I drawl in my best backwoods accent.  OH!! Look on the back, I gets a free wash mitt or a two in one AAutow duster…OOr maybe both. Just have to scratch to see. Hey lets hurry up and open this to see if we got both.” I said feigning excitement.
     Cherie is laughing and that encourages me to keep going. Inside there was a four page letter written on paper that is twice the size of a regular page. It is written at about a fourth grade level and I started reading it in hick mode, making comments all along the way. “Look honey…I’ve been nominated, and I can get some free aluminum rims”
     It was fun. You should have been there. Life is good because we decide to make life good no matter how bad it seems.
     That was not fun. I tried to get a picture of Cherie to put right here and though I had deleted them all. Fixed that but it took an hour. Now lets try putting that picture here.
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Hooray, there’s the woman I love. I got to get ready to pick up Barb. I haven’t gotten much done but I did write some. Just not what I need to be writing. I will take this with me as I may be sitting out in the car for a while. Then I can start organizing the website contents. I already did it on paper just have to translate it into computerese.
     Damn I forgot the written outline for the site so will create another one and in doing so will entertain some new ideas.
     It is 10:30 at night now. I am tired and won’t fill in the rest of the day. I did get Barb to her doctor and took her to the Pharm to get cat food. When I got home Fred was waiting. As he talked about Barb he got indignant. “You know they didn’t send Barb her check again” Fred told me in a huff as we set up a time for me to take him and Barb to the grocery store. I just looked at Fred and told him she could well have gotten the check and spent the money. “No, no, I know Barb. She wouldn’t do that.” Fred protested. It is sad to see his blindness and faith in Barb. And she could well just be a victim of those around her.
     Cherie can help me fill in the rest of the day cause I don’t remember it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

OK, that didn't work the first time so lets see if this will get the picture on.

101705 Monday

10/17/05 Monday
     Not doing bad except for fighting this cold. I seem to be typing well this morning and would say operating at a 7 ½ or so. Not bad, not good, but I’m grateful for what I get. Every day I wake up is a gift so I will make the best of it. There is nothing scheduled so I have hope of a nice day where I may get some things done. Just thinking about that reminds me I need to go through Wayne’s stuff and organize it as well as make a to do list for him. It bothers me that I take on projects, knowing what needs to be done and confident that I can do it, but it doesn’t get done. A part of me sees these tasks as simple for they once were but that part refuses to recognize this thing they call disability. I need to schedule these tasks for as always, if it isn’t written down it won’t happen.
     It is 9:00 so I am off to a slow start. There is a cloudless sky out there and was 33 degrees this morning. Cold weather is coming. I am debating making multiple small blog posts as I go through the day. It may elicit some responses as the day unfolds, a kind of ongoing conversation with the unknown millions who are following my every word. At least in my imagination. Hey, it sounds good. I think the odds are pretty good I have a rather limited audience but it’s nice to dream.
     Cherie’s gone to work now. I need to jump start myself and kick it in gear. Don’t want to waste good brain time. I think a shower and quick breakfast will get me moving. Right now my cognizance has increased to an 8. We are now approaching Prime Time, at least I hope so. These are the times this damaged brain operates at something resembling it’s former ability. These periods usually only last a short time so I like to make good use of them.
     I just spent the last two hours studying website hosts and related things. I only understand a portion of what they presented. I found a site that lists and rates companies and services. I put it in favorites so I can find it later. There are so many tools available that would tremendously help me with this disability. I just have to learn how to use them and then use them till it sticks in the brain. Right now I don’t even recognize words that are to the writer simple basics. What is Pop 3 E-mail? I hear about it but am clueless. It would be nice to find an educational site for dummies. I took my pill and now I am getting tired. Have to wonder if it is the meds dragging me down. They are mowing outside and I am getting a headache. I’ll close the windows to reduce the noise that is violent to my ears at the moment.
     It’s time. The headache and ringing ears are coming on. I think I will carve instead of trying to write. I haven’t touched my tools for quite a while. I would guess march or so. That would probably be good for me and help me to think. I better take some aspirin while I am thinking about it.
     I just looked at some simple stuff like removing the one toolbar above that I really don’t have a use for or know what it does. I am getting to confused to easily so I am slowing down. Definitely will try to carve. Everything else will just bother me. Hate this.
     Wow. I had forgotten about carving. How relaxing it is to focus on something while all your other problems fade, only cropping up on occasion. I had also forgotten how much pain it causes when I sit on the ground and carve. My legs become frozen and it is difficult to straighten them and that is where the pain really comes in. I sure miss my work bench. I still have one at my old warehouse but I can’t get to it and have no place to put it.
     I have started back on the carving I was making as a wedding gift or something commemorating our marriage. It got put away when I missed up the wolf but I have that figured out now. It will be good to do this again. I will now go back to carving despite the certain pain. Got to do what ya got to do. No good thing comes without a cost.
     Linda Holland (I think) called. She is the girl Virginia had problems with and was getting money out of Minnie Lee. I think this is the first time she has ever called me here in Toledo. She said that Lee is getting worse and is unresponsive much of the time. She was anxious to keep talking to me and would not let go. “Thanks for calling Linda, we appreciate it. I’ve gotta go now.” I said three times before she finally got it. She told a story about when she visited Lee told her that there was an old man who stayed by the bed and would pat her hand. Linda started going on about an angel and I had enough.
     I called Virginia after that and left a message on her machine. I am kind of wondering about Linda’s motive in her calling me. Her track record is not good. I just left an E mail for Virginia. I think I will get the picture of the woodcarving and put it right here.
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101605 Sunday

10/16/05 Sunday
     It’s 2:23 and I am just now turning on this laptop. We’ve had breakfast and gone to church. They had an older woman as a guest speaker and she was surprisingly good. I had sat down because of discomfort of the back as I usually do. Hope others don’t think I am having faith issues or something because I don’t get up and clap and dance. I do have faith issues as most do but it has little to do with my demeanor in church. Any way I was studying Balaam in Numbers 22 and the speaker caught my attention as she got down to basics. Usually when I get into reading Bible stuff I stay focused on the subject and don’t pay much attention to the speaker.
     Of course that is what I do, focusing on one subject at the expense of others. As I was writing I realized that I had been in the middle of making meatballs when I turned on this computer. That was a while ago. Time to get to the kitchen before I get distracted again.
     It was a good day and we were busy, I think. Can’t remember much other than a nice walk at Swan Creek Metropark with Cherie and that the meatballs were real good. My sense of taste was doing one of those peaks where every flavor is pronounced and distinct. I did not have a slow down and yesterday was good also. Perhaps even the day before but I will have to look at earlier entries to see.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

101505 Saturday

10/15/05 Saturday
     This is the first morning that I woke up clearheaded in three or four days. I’m still tired. We had French toast to use up the last of the maple syrup this morning. The weather is perfect outside and it would be good for me to get out. I probably should call Fred to see if he would like to get out. I am going to try and schedule this day so I get some stuff done. It seems hard for Cherie to do that but she needs to work with me on that. She is going to the storage unit today.
     Cherie just pointed something out that I corrected. It is a classic illustration of one of the anomalies with my brain damage. I had written a few sentences ago “We had English toast” so Cherie told me to read it and tell her what was wrong with it. I didn’t see anything wrong even after she read it out loud to me. Then she pointed out that we didn’t have English toast and I still didn’t get it. “It’s French toast” She told me and added “Oh my God, you write the same way you talk”. This refers to the fact that sometimes my mind supplies the wrong word as I talk. It can sometimes be embarrassing and surprising. I think part of this is from when my brain tried to restore damaged neural pathways and some of them are still short circuited. Fortunately the brain often corrects itself as I become aware of the proper word.
     I will take Fred shopping in about an hour at 1:00.
I brushed my teeth to make sure I did. Cherie reminded me I had already showered so I wouldn’t, having forgotten, shower again. I don’t know if I had but can look in the mirror to see I didn’t shave. I got fifteen minutes before I help Fred escape so got to go shave.
     Fred was glad to get out and asked me where my coat was. I told him I was comfortable and it was a beautiful day out, a good day to get out. As we drove to the Pharm Fred said “Barb actually called me this morning, can you believe that.” I resisted asking him “what did she want?” because it would not help Fred talk. He doesn’t want to face up to the fact she uses him and knows how I feel about it so sheepishly states “She’s out of a few things. I might get her something.” I kinda feel bad about making him uncomfortable but will always be honest.
     At the Pharm I was Fred’s eyes as always. Because he is hard of hearing I must speak loudly. This can sometimes be a show for the other shoppers as I try to explain to Fred what he’s looking at.
     We went to Sam’s to have my new glasses fixed. It took quite a while before someone was able to help us. The guy was trying to joke or something when he looked at me and said “You broke them didn’t you?”. I said no I didn’t break it, it broke, but he seemed eager to hear me say I broke it so he repeated the question. I had been waiting for 30 minutes and wasn’t real patient so I leaned over the counter and looked down at him. “fix it” I told him and he decided not to kid around anymore. He had the nose pieces replaced as quickly as he could and we were on our way.
     Cherie and I looked through Sam’s and she showed me something she had been looking at. She was all nervous and exploring how I felt all the way through the store. I started teasing her pointing to things like the $2000.00 plasma TV. “Is that it, I’d like one of those” We came up to a telescope that was real nice and that was it. I loved looking at her face as she smiled when I told her it was cool. I said we wouldn’t get one till we moved to Texas cause you can’t see the stars in Toledo because of the city lights.
     As we left I asked Cherie what she wanted to do for dinner and we wandered to a place called the Brew House that looked interesting. It looked good when we went in and the menu looked interesting. I had shrimp and Cherie had some kind of chicken pasta and both sucked. The manager came buy asking how things were and I said I wasn’t happy. The shrimp were overcooked and tough and the corn on the cob was mush so she took what I had back and had a new batch made for me. That was good. Food was tired and had that precooked warmed up feel but the service was correct. We won’t go back.
     It’s 10:00 now and I am trying to stay awake. Lots of news today. A group of about 20 neo Nazis were going to march in the north end where there is lots of gang activity. They had come from another state and really just want to create a lot of tension so they can get attention and thus find gullible hateful minds to mold. They did that and really didn’t get to march, just stirred everything up while under police protection and then left town. What a bunch of cowards. They wouldn’t be there at all without protection. These are the kind of people who would gladly gang up an a lone hellpess person and after beating him would all pat each other on the back thinking they had done something to be proud of. F ing idiots.
     I think I will call it a day. Good night.

Friday, October 14, 2005

101405 Friday

10/14/05 Friday
     This sucks. I woke up worn out again. Cherie said she was up about ten times last night having to pee. This is a sign of something but I don’t know what. I am sure this contributed to my being tired this morning but I think there is more than that. Cherie has been fighting off something and she is sneezing and coughing and her sinuses are going. I haven’t been that bad but the headaches may be from sinuses or made worse by them.
     I woke with a headache so need to take something for it. I am not real slow but my head feel like it is pressurized and that makes it harder to think. I still lose my train of thought and have to figure out what I was going to write next. That’s right, going to see Jeff.
     Jeff didn’t make it to the Waffle House this morning. I called him after I finished my coffee. He had been up but it just slipped his mind it was Friday. He said he could get out of his robe, dressed, and be there in five minutes. That would be nuts and I really didn’t feel like putting him through that so I said “Hey Jeff, it’s not that big of a deal, how about we meet next week.” That worked well and is what we will do.
     I ordered breakfast and looking into my wallet saw I only had four dollars which just covered what I ordered. I told myself I need to immediately stop at the bank and get some cash. That was gone when I walked out the door. I went and picked up Cherie’s check and called Barb to see if she was up and still wanted to go to the church. She never answered so I headed home. Right when I turned onto Airport Hwy. the phone rang and it was Barb. She said she was up and ready to go but when I told her I would be there in fifteen minutes it was “Oh! I’d better get dressed”. I told her to get anyone else going up and ready.
     When I got there she was at Dawn’s door. She let me know that Dawn would be out soon and asked if I wanted some coffee. “No, we need to get moving.” I told her so eventually they both made it to the car. Barb had called yesterday and told me Dixie was hearing voices again and not coming out. I had advised her to call Dixie’s case worker. Forgot to ask about that but Barb said she couldn’t get Dixie up or didn’t want to go.
     I got them to Pilgrims Church and stayed in the car, enjoying the cool air and radio as I fought the tiredness and worked on ignoring the headache. I thought about all kinds of things to do and pondered problems of the world. Hell, I may of come up with some great answers and concepts but if I did it’s gone now. I’ll be positive and pretend I did do all that. Who knows, the deepest thought I may have had as I waited in the parking lot was wondering about the cat I saw in the upstairs window of the building across the parking lot.
     Dawn and Barb made it out so I popped the trunk so they could load it. They get a lot of stuff here. I tried to get Wayne to go but he was up till 3:00 in the morning feuding with the guy upstairs. I heard more about that later, when I talked to Sharon.
     I don’t know when but I called Sharon this morning and she actually answered the phone. I was half afraid she would hang up or still be mad but she wasn’t. I apologized to her and she said it happens and she was not upset. That was a relief and Sharon then said that she had the phone off the hook for days and had just turned it on this morning. I asked about bringing the Paxil Papers over but she wasn’t presentable so maybe later. Now I know when I called her. It was here in the apartment before I left this morning. As I write about it I became able to unlock the door behind which stood this memory. That is the purpose of this journal, to give me the keys to unlock memories.
     I got home and knocked on Fred’s door to give him a dessert Barb got from the church and wanted me to give him. Fred was glad to have company and wanted to talk. He asked me how I was doing so I told him we were fighting off something. “What, your fighting with Cherie?” Fred said. “No Fred, we’ve been sick” I exclaimed loud enough for Fred to hear but he still didn’t understand so I made it simple for him. “We’ve got the flu and I don’t want to give it to you so I have to go.” I said and headed up the stairs.
     We don’t have the flu, at least I don’t think so. It’s probably a bad cold. I don’t know but I have not been doing well for a few days (I’d have to check earlier entries to know for sure) and walking has been particularly hard for me. It’s 2:29 right now. I am not real slow like yesterday but not real speedy either. I’m running at a 6 right now. I think a lot of it is this cold or whatever and the increase of pain levels in both my back and my head.
     I laid down about an hour ago when Cherie went shopping and to deposit her check. Oh yeah! Cherie came home for the day at lunch. She is getting sick to the point it affected her work and they asked her if she wanted to go home. When Cherie was telling me about it she was laughing because of the antics of one of her coworkers. I think her name is Debbie but can’t be sure. It is so good for Cherie to work with people who are comfortable and fun to be around. This is a big part of her regaining confidence, trust, and self esteem. To be around others who accept her and can be trusted, coupled with work that is stimulating and rewarding is just what the doctor would have ordered. We are blessed.