~Rather interesting date.

I have been told repeatedly by my parents that this day five years ago was when I first regained consciousness after my coma. Life support was pulled on the 12th. I just thought I would share that bit of information.

To anyone keeping track, this marks five years and eight days since I last died.

I started to write this post hoping that I would come up with some humours take on the whole thing. I guess I am sorry that you are stuck with me a bit longer?

So, my ending will simply be enjoyment of my fourth cup of coffee, cuddling with one of my six animals, and continued pensive waiting for my wife to come home from work. All the while, I will continue muscle training and walking practice.

***

I did a phone interview for Tell the Bartender PodCast. The release for the PodCast is soon, but I will post a reminder for that when it comes to the date in a week.

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You’re Not Dead ch.1: The Rude Awakening {ANEWSIN VOL. 4 — Jason Garden}

The Hero awakes from a deep slumber. He is not in his bed. He actually has no clue where he is.

There is an intrusive beeping of monitors and hospital equipment all around him. The room was not black, but it was dark. Lights flashed on machines and noises echoed in the room. He notices a cup of water a few feet from where he lies, and thinks how his mouth feels rather dry. The cool liquid would feel fantastic at this time.

He tries to lift his arms: no luck, for some reason.

He then tries to call out for someone.
Anyone.
He has no voice.

He strives to run out of the room and down whatever hall is in front of him. He wants to flee from the threat of something he does not understand. However, his legs are as lame as his arms.

Confused. Alone. He cries silent tears for what feels like an eternity.

Finally, his mother and father come into frame. Their faces gleaming with joy, tears in the crevices of their faces. This made him cry harder. He tries to ask what happened. He tries to offer some form of condolence. He tries to do pretty much anything to gesture that he is okay.

He is unable. His arms are paralyzed and he is mute.

Defeated, he closes his eyes again and hopes that either everything changes when he awakes. That, or, he never comes to consciousness again.

The Hero awakes from the quick bout of overwhelming reality. He is still confused, but his parents are around him.

They explain how he died.
They explained that he is physically unable to do anything right now.
They show him the tube coming out of the front of his throat his throat and explain that is how is breathing now.
They try to keep their spirits up, but the Hero can see their confidence faltering in their expression.

They explain that something happened. He got sick. He was asleep for a long time. He died. Twice. Now he is back and they were happy. They explained how the medical personnel wanted to pull life support weeks prior but they refused to let them. Then, they explained that life support was pulled anyway, but he did not die after a few hours. They explained that hundreds of people have been through the room to either wish him condolences, or wish him back to life.

The Hero still just wanted a drink of water.

His parents finally try to explain the beginning. Apparently, he contracted some sort of flu and his body reacted by inducing encephalitis.

Encephalitis is where the fluid surrounding the brain collects and crushes the grey matter. In his particular case, it crushed the cerebellum and effected a good portion, if not all, the major motor and health functions. Primarily, those dealing with limb control, nerve reaction, heart rate, and heat regulation. In a way, the Hero was lucky. If it had been the frontal cortex or any of his memory functions, it would have destroyed who he was. Who he is. His memories, personality, and humour would all be lost.

Legally, he was a quadriplegic. He has no ability to move his legs or arms. Even the movement of his neck was very difficult, if not impossible. The Hero was unable to swallow. He dreamed of drinking water, but was then informed that he would most likely choke. Even the movements of his tongue could be fatal.

That is when the Hero noticed all of the metal. He counted four long bits of medical steel jutting from each of his forearms. They punctured on the perfect angles to avoid nerves, so they did not hurt.

Maybe he could not feel them, anyway.

The Hero was not new to the idea of metal piercing flesh. He had received over fifteen body piercings in his life: something he was quite proud of. It was a kind of identity for him. Everyone was the same, but he had shit in his face.

Enter the health care professional. They just came in to check the Hero’s vitals and breathing machine. They were surprised that he was as responsive as he was, and started immediately asking a million questions. That was when the Hero was unable to move his middle finger to gesture them on their way. They left, eventually, and immediately the Hero started silently crying again.

The Hero was an hour from home, laying in Toronto Western Hospital. He remembered that he was somewhat close to people he knew. He wondered if they would know where he was or what state he was in. The door burst open at that point, and Luka ran in.

Luka was the Hero’s greatest and longest friend. She had lived in Toronto for a number of years at this point, and he had attempted to make it out to see her and her dog at least once a week before he wound up in hospital.

He was ecstatic to see her, and tried his best to put a smile and a brave face on. She took one look at him and immediately burst into tears of celebration.

It turns out that she was informed the Hero had died about a month before this day. Then, she discovered that he was alive not a week later: close to death, but also down the road. She had been there most days, talking to the unresponsive body. Wishing him back to reality. She told him over and over again how she couldn’t bare life without him. When he was informed of all of this, he cried again.

He felt pathetic: crying three times in (what he assumed was) one day. He was just so happy to see her.

He was just so happy to be able to see everyone again.

Luka hugged him. He tried as hard as he could to hug back. He tried to call her a fool for thinking he was gone. He tried many things.

Luka was no where near the only visitor that the Hero was happy to see. While in a coma, he had apparently shut down the main waiting room with all of the people clambering to see him for, what they believed to be, the last time.

That is when the Hero had discovered that the idea had gotten around that he died. Many people came to pay their respects, to both him, and his family. When it was reported that he, in fact, did not die: more people came around out of celebration. Benefit concerts that would be held in his memory were simply forgotten due to redundancy.

A great percentage of the people the Hero had interacted with came out to wish him well: to remind him just how much he meant to them.

It was January.

The month was even lonelier than usual. People popped in and out of existence all the time. The Hero would live, for what seemed like days, alone. In reality, it was just a few hours. Time drags on and on when you are in a hospital. Even the sweet embrace of sleep would not save the Hero feeling truly alone. He spent a lot of time imagining fantastical worlds.

In one such day dream; he was a hunter. He would venture out of his holdings to find rare and mystical beasts to kill them. He remembered vividly thanking them before he ate them. He was a decent chef, but he would cringe when biting into the meat he prepared. A cool breeze would float between the sea of green leaves and across his face.

Once, while he slept, he dreamt that he was flying through the skies. Observing the world around him, drifting between trees and hills. He saw valleys that were coated in green grass, clouds as large as he could picture, and mountains that were red and towering. His speed never held much concern, for the air around him was always warm. He never got lost, for there was no destination. On occasion, his arms were massive wings, twice the size probably needed to hold one human. He rarely landed, and simply got sustenance while soaring around in the clouds.

The dreams reminded him a lot of what life was. He felt like life was just a series of events not narrated by anyone or anything. Everything happened by accident. All you could do was learn from an experience and move on.

Then he would wake. It was still a jarring resurrection. It often involved tears and frustration. When the dreams ended, he would have to face a version of reality that he did not want. He wanted to escape into that world that he was just in and get lost in it forever. He knew it would be an end, but that did not bother him. He just did not want to find that end.

The nurses would come in. Check vitals. Talk at him (never to him). Leave the room. This was a fate worse than death, he would think. At least if he was dead.

Oh; at least if he was dead.

Bad days seemed to trivial before. He would forget something important, do something stupid, or say something regretful.

Now, bad days were because his body would not let him do what he wants to do. Now, bad days were because he felt trapped. Now, he could not even escape to his old stand-by of driving for a great distance to avoid life. Before, he could leave if he got upset by someones arrogance or crude depiction of the world. He never saw himself as super intelligent, but he regarded himself as extremely open-minded and he was always willing to do research to elaborate on topics he was uneducated about. He had to accept what was around him. He had to endure the oppressive hate and malice that the world contained.

People pretended to be understanding about his condition, and the Hero could sense this. They would put on a brave face, say things that they thought were politically correct, and carry on with their interpersonal relationships.

The Hero could see through all of this. He knew that people were frightened, that they were curious how this would effect their life. Even his parents, who were nothing but supportive, were concerned about how their life would change. How he changed their life.

It was, after all, his fault.

I thought that I would share the rewrite of You’re Not Dead. Please support me on Patreon.

If you wish to support this piece, but do not wish to fight with Patreon, here is the PayPal link where you can offer what you want with no obligation.

Bad Cripple Day

What is a bad cripple day? It is a day where nothing works because of my condition. It’s a day where I have a hard time moving across the room, or boiling coffee, or making dinner. It’s always silly and stupid things, but never just one thing.

What I am finding awkward is how many people do not like that I use that phrase to describe my day. Yes: I know it’s offensively put, but it brings me joy in how blunt it truly is. I gain great entertainment from saying those three words.

Is there such thing as a good cripple day? No. On that note: I would not need an inappropriate phrase to raise my spirits if I am in the middle of a good day.

Please, buy my book.

How To Talk To People

I am not going to teach you the ways of being social. That is something I have and will always be awkward and terrible at. I am going to complain about how people talk to people in wheelchairs, though.

There is nothing more frustrating than someone assuming they have to condescend to someone who is in a chair. There seems to be a strange assumption that people in a wheelchair are “slow” or are suffering with some sort of deficiency mentally. Yes: I am aware that you are just trying to be helpful. but it is offensive. There is a large percent of people in chairs who are actually incredibly articulate and we (of course, I can only really speak for myself) feel horrible when you do this.

Instead of assuming we are less than you (yes; when you speak that way, you are demonstrating a form of superiority), talk to someone in a wheelchair as an equal. Talk to someone as you would with anyone.

I hate that I have to write this, but the idea that people in wheelchairs are lesser humans seems to permeate the societal norms. Speak normally. Speak fluently.

It is VERY obvious when someone is doing this. Especially when we respond in a calculated fashion and the surprise on the perpetrator’s face cuts through an expression. There always seems to be a moment, an agonizingly long moment, of realization that they are following. There is genuine surprise when people can grasp situations. If you do this, you just end up looking foolish to the person you are talking down to. It may sound like this situation should be funny to the person in the chair, but it is not.

You are talking to the person in that way because you think you need to. We know this, and it is not a good feeling.

Again: I cannot talk for everyone in a chair. I know that when I am faced with the situation, I wonder if I do come off as slow. I immediately would have to talk to someone around me to make sure I can keep up with the conversation. I immediately start into religion, or international politics just to make sure I make sense.

PERSONAL EXAMPLE TIME:

I was tasked with this topic by Kelsey. She has always treated me as an equal and has exclaimed many times how she forgets I am even in the chair sometimes. She was actually caught off guard when she witnessed a person talking down to me while asking for directions to somewhere.

I was far from offended: it seemed like the person was just a patronizing neanderthal to everyone they comes across. It did not change the fact that Kelsey was completely flustered.

My reaction was, of course, “yeah. People are fun.” I really didn’t think anything irrational about the situation, for it was one I have dealt with before.

When it was clear Kelsey didn’t get my calm reaction to the situation, I started thinking. That was about the time I realized that there were a great number of people who were talking down to others while trying to be “caring” and “understanding.”

I get it. Oh good lord, do I get it.

I am in a very excellent position that I have people around me who do not talk down to me. It is strange, but they even view me as an equal.

So, it’s been about one year on WP…

I have had this URL in particular since April fourth, 2015. So far, I have had just shy of 3000 people view it and posted 70 times (this update is post 71). I want to formally thank everyone who has come out and supported this project, as well as give a boring update as well as an exciting update!

(I am well aware that I posted something back in February, but this is the one year of this website. One I feel very confident about, even if the information is, at times, very fluffy)

So, the boring update first:
Since I have started writing on here, I have received a great outpour of interest and love from the community that has built. I started writing this for myself, but continue to update because of the questions I have been asked regarding the wheelchair community as a whole. I hope that everyone has found this as interesting as those people that have come up to me voicing interest and such.
I have an apartment I will be moving into (crossing fingers) as of the first of July. Unfortunately, the move is necessary: I have been kicked out of school for doing poorly. It is something I find rather ironic, but it is indeed a fact that I have to deal with. Never fear (if you had fear for some reason), I will be fine. Always have been and always will be.

Now, for the bits I find exciting!
I took an unassisted step the other week! I keep pushing everyday, and I am proud to announce that I take at least one everyday! I am NOWHERE near walking for kilometres, or even ready to leave the wheelchair, but I thought I should talk about that!
ALSO: I got the go ahead from my publisher regarding my book! I am finally done the editing phase, and I will be going ahead with a digital distribution. I want to do a physical one, but I cannot afford it in the slightest. ESPECIALLY with the aforementioned apartment in the near future. I have plans, however, to do a physical release with some added information and chapters if I see there is interest in it. I just cannot go all in for a “maybe” at this point in time.

So, yeah! That’s my update. I hope you are all doing well. Again; thank you for one excellent and interesting year! Here’s to as many as I can do and as many as you would like to read.

Random Update About Things

I thought I would write about what is going on both health and life wise.

My muscles are coming back! The other day, I took roughly five steps in total! I repeat the process everyday. Sometimes, it is easier! Other times, I barely perform one. It has only been a week so far, but I have noticed some great progress already!

I have great weakness in my thighs due to atrophied. I am unable to stand without something in front of me. I have been working on that, however. I am proud to say that I can now stand with little help from my hands outside of guidance!

Now, if I could only do both at the same time…
Soon, I hope. Very soon if I keep on this path I am on!

I have also signed up for a wheelchair specified program at McMaster University called Mac  Wheelers. I have an assessment on the sixth and I am very excited. Very few people know, but I have actually been rejected from further physio-therapy. I have suspicions as to the real reason, but I have been told that I spent far too long in hospital and I need to look into private things to further myself.

NOW FOR PERSONAL STUFF!
I have started the process for an apartment. Natasha and I have decided to move in together, and we are 90% of the way through the paper work! A couple of things have come up to hinder our progress, but we are doing what we can to make sure everything moves smoothly!

As some of you know, I keep an independent music review blog over on Mind The Music T.O. and have for the last year almost every Monday. I recently came up with the idea of doing video instead of text reviews. Ideas? Comments? Recommendations? Please, hand something over. I really like the idea of doing a medium I have not experimented with, but I am terrified for the outcome.

BOOK NEWS

Book is with the editor now. I have written one revision, but the process is slow. PLEASE BE PATIENT WITH ME

Patreon.