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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

To Ween Or Not To Ween...

Today was day one for finding out what I am like without anti-depressants. I'm curious. I've been taking them--Zoloft, Lexapro, and WellButrin-- since a few months after the injury.

On the pills I act erratic, impulsive. One moment I am energetic and the next lethargic. If I look up too fast I become dizzy. I've often wondered if it was the pills or the injury. I know it's probably the latter but I look forward to see what condition my condition is really in.

I spent today running around like a crackhead. My doctor advised me to up the Adderall intake to combat the withdrawal from the Wellbutrin. I worked, washed the van, met a friend, got a haircut, went to the store, and worked some more, all at a frenetic pace. It feels good so far but we'll see in a few days. I just hope that when I find normal I won't find the same thoughts, only more intense.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Elliott Smith is playing in the background. I listen to him on my dark days, I have since I was a teenager. Back then I used to put his music on when I was bummed out about a girl, or just bummed out about life. Today, I listen to him to remind myself of those times when I could control my emotions, my thoughts. Back when I had a choice. Today, that choice is gone and I spend days like today trying and make sense of senseless outbreaks. On these days, I wonder if it's possible to make relationships work and how long it will take for someone to find something or someone better. I wonder how I can change but don't find any easy remedies.

Lately I've been thinking about people that have been hurt or sick and have overcome their ailment or injury. Those people do good things. They try and make some kind of difference. But mostly, they appreciate all that surrounds them.

I'm not like them. I never have been one of those people. But, I never had to overcome anything major until now. The first time around, I'd say I was failing; falling into an abyss that I'm not sure I can climb out of.

In the past year and a half, I heard stories and met people who were further along in their recovery. Some of them talked about separation from their wives or husbands, from family members, troubles at work, suicidal thoughts, and an unrelenting depression. I am beginning to see a pattern and now I find myself checking one after another off the list.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Cannabis Conundrum

About five months ago I went to my local marijuana dispensary and got my medical marijuana card. It didn't take too much convincing, the doctor, or whatever that dude is sitting in that tiny room, took one look at my discharge papers from rehab and signed off.

I thought weed would help improve my appetite, from not being able to taste, and help me relax at the end of the day and stop the constant stream of thoughts. It does both.

Today, I visited my local weed shop.

It's always such a strange experience. There I was standing at the counter. A young-looking girl on the other side. She asked what I wanted. I said something motivational but relaxing. she leaned over and pulled a glass jar full of green buds. She opened the jar.

"Smell that," she said.

"Oh, I lost my sense of smell. It looks good."

"Okay. Well, at least it will taste good," she said.

"Yeah, I lost my sense of taste too."

She looked confused. She asked how. I told her from a head injury.

On my walk back home, I thought about the exchange and why I couldn't just inhale deep from my nose and let out a big satisfying sigh afterward. There would be no awkward silence, no need for explanation, but for some reason telling the truth is my immediate reaction. At first I wondered if it was some ploy to get sympathy, or a desire for attention. I'm not sure if it is both, or if it is neither.

I never thought I'd say this but I'm going to start really trying hard to lie, the next time I'm in a similar situation.

Monday, June 13, 2011

San Diego Uberalles!

It's been one week since we returned to San Diego. The week has been spent recovering from what will go down as the worst damn road trip I have ever been on. Sure there were no medical emergencies, no missed meals, no time spent in jail, there was just three weeks in limbo, a hot, miserable limbo. Honestly, I wish there was some major malady, at least then there would be a reason to have undergone the torture that Texas inflicted on us.

I know, it sounds dramatic, but I still am unable to sleep. I have so much to catch up on, work, chores around the house, with so little attention span. I sit down to work and a few minutes later I find myself staring at the lawnmower, or joining volkswagen vanagon groups online.

And even though my battle continues to get things in order, at least I am comfortable in my own home, familiar surroundings, and at least I am not sweating like some old, fat, bald man.

Tonight I sit down for what will be my first book review. The book, "Season To Taste: How I Lost My Sense of Smell and Found My Way," is about this woman who lost her sense of smell after getting struck by a van.

I hope it tells me how I can find my way after losing my smell. I highly doubt it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


We are still in Austin, now waiting for the third mechanic to fix a leak and prevent the van from overheating. Tomorrow will be one-month since we sputtered out of San Diego into the hot, hot heat. Looking back there were so many piss-poor decisions on my part. We should have stopped in El Cajon when the oil pressure light first flashed. I chose to continue. Of course, we could have turned around in Tucson when oil shot out of the engine. Again, I chose to keep heading east. Then, of course, there was Ozona and Caprock Diesel.

Now, one month later we sit in a friend's living room, trying to work and trying to survive. My mood has spiraled downwards in the past couple of days. It's such a strange feeling, this mood. I'm upset but unable to deal with it. I want to think things through with a clear head but my head isn't clear. My thoughts, ideas, feel like they hit a brick wall inside my head.

The mechanic tells us that tomorrow is the day.