Wednesday, January 18, 2006

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1/18/06 Wednesday
I woke up at 4:40 this morning wide awake and alert. I debated turning on the news to see about the ice and snow but knowing Cherie gets up at 5:30 decided to let her sleep. I woke up again at 6:30 and Cherie was rushing around late. She had turned off the alarm, planning on getting up in a few minutes but she fell back asleep. Being in a hurry when the roads are icy is not good so I told her to slow down.
I will make it to the YMCA today come hell or high water. Cherie said that the smell of pot was exceptionally strong in the hallway this morning. For people to be partying at seven in the morning is not good. It will be nice to have a house and be out of the apartment scene.
10:22- I am up and showered. The cognizance level is at an 8 this morning. I went online to begin studying wind power to see it’s efficacy for the farm. There are many things I need to study on in order to do as many things right regarding the farm. There are problems with the well which is on the far side of the original ninety acres. There is plumbing that is deteriorated and who knows what else. One of the first things I need to do is crawl under the house and into the attic to inspect the house. I will look for structural problems because this house has been added onto at least three times. We will need to insulate and seal up the house and do some reconfiguring of the house to expand the bathroom and the bedroom. Lots of stuff to do and learn.

I turned on Dr. Phil and it is about how families fight over inheritances. How coincidental. It really illustrates the greed and selfishness that comes out when money and property are on the table. Usually I love to be right but not now. So far Larry has behaved exactly as I told Cherie and Virginia he might. I hope this will end with Larry and I getting along.
It was fascinating to watch how a mother, who had taken her nineteen year old son’s inheritance “For his protection”, rationalize her behavior and seem unaware of how obvious her greed was. So many of us lie to ourselves and pull the wool over our own eyes so we think we are doing good when the opposite is true.

I made it to the Y. I was supposed to drop some paperwork off at Express personnel but didn’t remember till I was halfway to the Y. I turned around and got that done. When I called Fred to let him know I was taking the car to go work out he asked me how I was going to take Barb in to get her cat fixed at 8:00 and still meet Jeff. Glad he reminded me. I called Jeff and rescheduled. I need to make sure I put it in the calendar.
When I got to the Y I walked in not at all sure what I was supposed to do. One of the reasons I had put it off was that I don’t do well in unfamiliar situations. I saw a sign that said “Member check in” so went to that window. Fumbling around in my wallet I found the handwritten membership card and handed it to the girl. “When do I get my regular card?” I asked. She looked and looked then asked if I had my picture taken. “I really don’t know” I told her so she asked if I wanted to take it now. “Sure” I said so she directed me to the camera. It was malfunctioning, everything was green so I will have to do it later.
She buzzed me in and I walked through the doors with the green Paramount bag Cherie had given me to hold the gym clothes. When we joined up they gave us a complete tour of the facilities. That didn’t matter. Now everything was strange and new. I started walking around with my green bag trying to figure out where the locker room was. I didn’t find it but at least was able to see where the fitness room with the machines and weights were. I never found the Olympic size swimming pool so will look for it next time.
After making a complete circuit and not finding the locker room I headed back to the front desk. The locker rooms were right there. Because they had your standard bathroom type silhouette signs up I thought they were bathrooms. Nope, it’s the locker room. I went in hoping to find it empty but that’s not reasonable. I chose a row of lockers that had only one guy changing and began to get ready. I don’t know how to act because I haven’t been to a gym since I woke up. I have had to relearn what is appropriate in every social situation and still have to learn when I run into a new one. I watch how others behave as I always do. It’s little stuff like do you get undressed in front of the locker or take your stuff towards the shower. I am sure this is comical to some of you readers but think of it like this. Imagine you are six years old and placed in unfamiliar surroundings with everyone a stranger and nobody there to tell you what to do. When I woke from the coma with much of my memory gone the whole world was new to me. I didn’t know how to act and thus acted inappropriately many times. You all have a lifetime of experience to draw on but I only had a jumbled bag of fragments.
I got into the workout shorts and shirt Cherie had gotten for me and went back out to find the fitness room again. I am going through the same feeling I get when I am in a grocery store and have much information for this brain to process. Kinda overwhelmed but not. I go slowly to make sure I don’t do something stupid. In the fitness room there are maybe fifteen people, most of them on the running and stair step machines. I walked to the last one which was empty with nobody exercising near by and studied it. There were all kinds of buttons and programs on it and after staring at it a while I decided not to get on. I was afraid I would do something stupid and go flying off the thing, embarrassing myself in front of all there.
I carried the small notebook and pen I had brought to record what I did for later reference and went to the weight machines. Most of these had clear directions with pictures on how to operate them. I investigated the machines one at a time and decided to start on the one that was the most remote. I carefully wrote what machine it was and where I set the weight at. Then I sat on it and started working out hoping I was doing it right. Finishing up I went to the next machine. A guy got on the one I had just left and started his workout. It figures. I had sat on it backwards. Oh well.
After that I stuck with the machines that were easy to figure out and watched how others used theirs to learn. I only worked out for half an hour and kept everything lightweight. After laying in bed with a coma and then being fairly sedentary for the last four years I don’t want to tear anything.
I went back to the locker room which was now full of guys who had finished a basketball game and got out of the sweats. I hadn’t worked up a sweat at all and wasn’t comfortable so I decided to shower at home. When I left I asked at the desk if they had someone that would show one how to use the machines. They set up an appointment for tomorrow at 9:00. It will be allot easier with someone there. Once I get used to things and learn to relax I will be fine. It’s always like this for me. Whenever I am in a new situation it is like I am the new kid at school on his first day. It’s the I don’t know where my classes are and I don’t know anyone here feeling.
Getting out of there I called Allen from the car. He answered quickly which told me he was at least out of bed. I can here that he is not doing well in his voice. Asking him how he is doing Allen says “Not good”. He wasn’t in the mood for me to come over so I went home. At the house I called him back and asked if he would like to go out and see a movie. “I don’t have any money” was his response. “That’s OK Allen, I’ll buy. You need to get your butt out of the house and get your mind on something other than your troubles”. He said he appreciated that but was waiting on a phone call from someone else that owed him money. “I need the money bad so I can’t miss this call” Allen told me. I know the pain meds he buys are eating him up but he is not doing the things I told him to get medical help for his back pain. I guess I will have to lead him by the hand.

Now I am home and tired. The exercising has aggravated my back pain. I will have to watch that. I feel a headache coming. Think I will just take aspirin to see if I can fix it cheap.
Aspirin didn’t work so I took a Tramadol. The phone rang in the kitchen so I went to answer it. It was a collection agency looking for someone else. Getting up helped me notice I had slowed down. Running about a 5 now. I was looking at websites for rain water collection and storage. Before that I looked at wind power stuff. When I do that I can’t tell how slow I am and time just goes by but when I have to interact with someone or something requiring me to process information I become aware of how slow the brain works. Writing is a good marker for how fast this brain is working.

5:46 – The headache has grown to migraine level. Took a Zomig for it. Not doing well. Down to a 3 on the Bob scale.
It is an hour later, 6:38 and I am down to a 2. This is stuttering level where I stutter when I try to talk. The headache is bad and my ears are ringing. I have an equilibrium thing where I need to be touching something so I can tell if I am falling and correct it. Putting these sentences together is tough.

8:41 – I am doing much better. To help those reading who are not familiar with my disability (Traumatic Brain Injury) these slow downs are partial seizures. These are not like the epileptic seizures most think of when they hear the word. They are pretty much what I call them, slow downs. Often triggered by stress, though not always, it can be compared to what an old computer goes through when it is given more to do than it can handle. With portions of my brain dead it had to rewire itself to function, reducing it’s speed and ability to handle multiple tasks.

I will call it a day now. Cherie and I are so in love and grateful to be back together every moment is good and treasured. I wish I could convey what it is like. There was a time I would have considered all this to be sickeningly sweet and I had lots of company. Now I understand that this was my jealousy and skepticism labeling what I didn’t have to make me feel better. Now I am there and love every minute. I am in wonder every day. I have told Cherie many times “Why me? Who am I to be blessed like this? I lived badly much of my life, I rejected God. I should have been struck by lightening but look at me now. I was dead yet now I live” Every day I wake up is a gift and I return that gift to whomever I can.

This is the car I was ejected from as it rolled end over end at 80 MPH. I was declared dead at the scene but brought back in the emergency room. I broke my neck and rattled the brain a little. I was only in a coma for a month, thats not to long compared to some.

Here is the beautiful woman I married in 1979. We were divorced in 1985 when I had a drastic personality change after I fell from a tree, breaking my neck and back and sustaining a concussion. Unfortunately doctors were not up on brain injury so didn't recognize the symptoms I displayed. 25 years later we see each other for the first time since the divorce when I am featured on TV as Toledo's John Doe. This was because I was wandering around with the severe memory loss incurred by the brain injury. We remarried June 20, 2003. Brain damage tore us apart and brain damage brought us together. I am blessed

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