Life In The Slow Lane...
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San Diego, CA, United States
This is a commentary about the slow lane, about the slowing of time since I suffered a severe brain injury while skateboarding with my dog. This is a blog about recovery; about our '82 VW Westfalia. It's about writing, surfing, camping, married life, bleeding ulcers that make you feel old at 32; about family, friends, and my dog Artie; it's about cruising in fourth gear, getting passed by every car and learning to appreciate every second of it.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

A Frightening Scene

"Do you want to hear the first email I sent the day you fell?" She asked from the over sized, leather chair in the corner of the living room.

I knew the right answer. I knew it wasn't something a person should hear before their first night out on the town since suffering a traumatic brain injury.

"Yeah, sure," I said, curiosity had gotten the better of me.

She began to read the email. Halfway through, she stopped after the words "blood on the brain," "induced coma," and"ventilator." Tears clouded her eyes. Her emotions became too much and she got up and went to the room to change for our night out.

AS she readied herself in the other room, I went over to the chair and picked up the laptop. I clicked on the email and scrolled through the responses and the daily updates full of ups and downs, the days when nothing changed, and the days when I became responsive but too erratic to not be sedated.

She came back into the room dressed in tight black jeans and a tight thrift store sweater. Her entrance brought a smile to my expressionless face. We left the house shortly after, on our way to see a friend's band play.

Bar Pink was already crowded by the time we arrived. We found two stools at the bar. I ordered a St. Pauli's Non-Alcoholic beer and she ordered a Guinness. We sat and talked about the emails. She told me that doctors were constantly telling her that I was atypical in every way; I didn't fall into a coma on my own, I required the sedatives of a person twice my size to keep me under, or that the swelling in my brain would not decrease even after doctors removed a portion of my skull, I was a strange case.

She told me about the day which my brother referred to as "Sunday Bloody Sunday." It was the day that I awoke, asked for my wife, and asked how my dog was. When I saw her, I gave a thumbs up. She left hours later to get breakfast in a great mood. She returned to see a pool of doctors around my bed, nurses chased her out of the room. My throat had closed up and I was near death.

As she told the story, some indie chick with jet black hair and neatly trimmed bangs yelled to her friend behind me. Her voice was piercing. Each word she uttered went straight through my skull and into my eyes. I felt myself squinting in response to her every word. A few seconds later some drunk dude nestled up next to me at the bar. He elbowed my stool and rubbed up against me. As the girl yelled, the dude elbowed. I stood up from the stool. The first band started to play. I could still hear the girl's obnoxious shrill. More people bumped into me. Sweat formed on my brow, I was dizzy, the whole thing was like a dream. Aimee asked if I wanted to leave. I said no but I felt yes. She sensed it and we walked out, two hours before my friend's band took the stage. Not exactly the big night out on the town. Judging by my reaction, it will be quite some time until I return to San Diego's music scene. I thought I was ready, but I learned I was nowhere close. I learned I can't separate myself from my surroundings.

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