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.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Singing The Blues

I am working on a brief article about a blues musician who was diagnosed with Esophageal Cancer last year. On September 22, the same day my wheels stopped at a crack in the sidewalk, this blues guitarist had his vocal chords removed. He has spent the past five months undergoing radiation treatments and learning to live with no voice.

Through the whole thing, he has continued to strum on his guitar, absent of any harmonica and no accompanying vocals. He has appeared at benefit concerts meant to help him pay his large, outstanding medical debt. In a few weeks he flies to Prague to attend another benefit show.

In our back and forth emails you could almost hear his excitement and respect for all the support as well for his second chance at life. He used phrases like "happy chappy" in his message. This man, learning to live without a voice, seemed so grateful.

Just another instance where I am left feeling like an ingrate. I cry about my lack of control, about my fleeting focus, depression, and temper brought on from this injury. I feel sorry for myself and hate what this accident has done to me. Meanwhile here is this man, unable to speak, sing, or play the harmonica but still upbeat and positive.

It's sad to think about this lifelong blues musician left with no voice to sing the blues, the one thing he truly loves in life, while I sit here singing the blues to myself everyday, every chance I get. It's a tune I need to change but am unsure how to change keys.


  1. well, lucky for him, while what he is going through must be emotionally traumatic, the way his brain processes and generates emotions isn't fundamentally different.

    so i would say don't beat yourself up over it, but again, that's just part of your injury, so i guess you have to beat yourself up over it.

    i know that when i was emailing with rachel, who's step dad had had a brain injury, about you, she couldn't over state the value her step dad had found in his neuropsychologist. over a year after his accident he was still seeing this doc on a weekly basis, and had said he couldn't have done it without her, she was a VERY important resource. just because something is EXPECTED with your injury, doesn't mean you can't use help dealing with it.

    I only offer all this since you ended with being unsure how to change. :) I will be quiet now in fear of a swift retribution.

  2. Don't fear the retribution, there is none. Besides, I would be worried what the re-retribution would look like if I did try!

    If only the points you made didn't sound so similar to the ones Aimee has made in the recent past than I just might consider them. I kid! I'm considering finding a neuro-shrink. I just hope he or she is prepared.