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.
Aimee's Siamese cat, Milosh, and I have had a long, tumultuous past. We became enemies shortly after I moved into Aimee's apartment in Gainesville, Florida ten years ago. Shortly after moving in, I remember waking up in the middle of the night after Milosh jumped on my midsection from the nearby dresser. A few nights later she did the same maneuver, only this time landing on my throat.
Despite the dive-bombs, I still tried to get in good with Milosh. That ended one night while Aimee was at work and I was in the small apartment, bored. I got the brush out and tried to groom her, thinking she would enjoy the pampering, like most cats do. I stroked her coat gently. On my second stroke she hissed and swiped at my face. I reacted and yelled, swiping at her face. We sat eye to eye and declared war.
"You're move Milosh," I said to her.
Milosh, now more than 13 years old, is still making moves doing her best to defeat me.
Today, Milosh implemented a new strategy, this time focusing on my weaknesses; namely my lack of smell.
I came home to a cat turd lying on the kitchen floor. There were stains across the linoleum. I did my best to clean Milosh's mess, but without a sense of smell I don't know where that mess is. I left the house and am now waiting for Aimee to sniff around when she gets home. She has officially figured out a way to chase me from my home. I've had enemies before, but never one as clever and as strategical as this Siamese cat.
Jane: I've heard police work is dangerous.
Frank: It is. That's why I carry a big gun.
Jane: Aren't you afraid it might go off accidentally?
Frank: I used to have that problem.
Jane: What did you do about it?
Frank: I just think about baseball.
Frank: It's the same old story. Boy finds girl, boy loses girl, girl finds boy, boy forgets girl, boy remembers girl, girls dies in a tragic blimp accident over the Orange Bowl on New Year's Day.
Frank: No, the worst.
I can't get the image out of my mind; the scene in Naked Gun with Leslie Nielsen is in the fertility clinic. It's in my mind and has been all day and not just because Naked Gun was a great film but because that is where I will find myself tomorrow.
The visit to the fertility clinic is long overdue. My diminished libido has been something that I kept hoping would improve. My doctor told me to get my testosterone levels tested months ago but it was one of those things, that much like the act itself, doesn't come up often.
I'm not sure, neither is anyone else, what stopped the drive, whether it was losing the sense of smell or if it is a direct result of the injury. I read something that said one-quarter of asnosmiacs (non-smellers) lose their sex drive. Another site, says brain injury can reduce sex drive, and bring about impotency.
So tomorrow, I go to give blood and a sample, and do my best Frank Drebin.
We made it back from our road trip without aid from a Uhaul truck and trailer. Yet, three days removed and the fatigue will not let go of my mind.
It's such a weird thing to try and explain to people, even those closest to me, how tired I am after any mental or physical activity. It sounds as if I am just some lazy guy who wants to do nothing but get high on the couch and watch reality television...oh shit...maybe I am lazy.
But this fatigue is different. It's debilitating and it screws up my emotions. It allows weird, disturbing thoughts to enter my head with ease. It's like my emotional defenses are down once the fatigue sets in.
For instance, I happened to be on the couch watching some show about whales. A group of activists found out that they had located the mother ship. Big news. They cheered and hugged each other. I sat there crying from excitement.
I told this to a friend and the immediate response was: "Wow, you are so girly."
It's pretty sad when a day of driving results in three days of crying fits on the couch and the tears aren't from some unfortunate events but from a group of salty whale activists celebrating some good news.
The screen flashed 'Excellent.' My thumbs scouted the screen looking to match three similar-colored jewels. I was fixated on the game.
Just then I heard a loud belch over the shuffle of flip-flops. The light turns on. And there I sat, on a toilet in the stall of a bathroom at a campground deep in the heart of the Sierra Nevadas.
This would have never happened before I lost my sense of smell. I would not have lasted a minute sitting on the pot, unless it was some kind of an emergency. I definitely wouldn't have been able to put all my energy into some stupid android phone game, that's for sure.
I am now that dude, and will always be that dude, unless my sense of smell miraculously returns. It's pretty crazy to think that the fewer senses I have the more I am at ease and can get lost in the moment, even if that is on the shitter in a shitty campground restroom.
I've been absent for a bit from this blog. There's been some getting used to the prescription-drug free life. We have also been busy looking to buy a home.
Two weeks ago we decided to call the bank for a home-loan. A few days later we went to see this house in San Diego. One day later we submitted an offer.
Yesterday as we were climbing up the Grapevine outside of LA in 90 degree weather, headed for a camping trip in the Sierras, we got the call from our realtor.
"Doe (my nickname), we got the house," Aimee said before licking a bead of sweat from the top of her lip.
"We got the house!"
"I think I'm gonna cry," I said. I did- I now have the emotions of a female a few days before the menstrual cycle begins.
For the next four hours, on our way to Shaver Lake, we talked about the house, about how our luck may be changing. We were so thrilled with the news, that the small puddle of oil that formed underneath the van in the grocery store parking lot barely even fazed us.