Chapter 1 - January 24, 2011


The reason why I’m doing this blog page is to update my friends as to what’s happening and to help other people that may have a traumatic brain injury like I have.  I’m not a doctor or nurse so everything is just my point of view, but it may help someone out there.

In August of 2009 I was working on a fashion shoot at a studio in New York City.  I started throwing up and was losing my yvision.  I thought it was the catering.  I managed to finish the shoot.  My assistant brought me back to the hotel.  I called my neurologist and he said to sleep it off.  My other doctors told me to go the emergency right away, which I did.  We called for a town car as it was faster than an ambulance, and it brought me to the hospital I wanted to go, NY Presbyterian Weill/Cornell.  Most ambulance will take you to the closest hospital.  That’s another reason why I took a town car.

Once I got to the emergency entrance of NY Presbyterian, I stumbled out of the car into my parents arms who were waiting there.  I had called them.  Some nurses that were off duty also saw my state, got a wheelchair and brought me into emergency.

They wasted no time at emergency.  They stabilized me, called my neurology team.  I was stabilized and prepared myself for an emergency operation to take place in a few days.  I almost didn’t make it.  I would have died except for the quick response at the emergency room.  That was to be my first time I avoided death.

They moved me to intensive care that night where they monitored me, stabilized me.   Two weeks later after a bout with two infections on September 8th, 2009, I had surgery.  I had a condition called cavernous malformation in the pons area.  Basically, in layman’s terms, it’s a slow malformed capillary thing on the brain stem.  Most people don’t live having this condition.  I got lucky.

The operation was successful.  It took 4 hours.  They managed to remove the bad malformation on my brain stem.  They also stabilized and put me back in intensive care where they did a few more procedures like; give me another operation where they put a feeding tube in, another operation to give me a filter to my heart because I had two blood clots in my leg and finally a third operation to give me a trac because I couldn't seem to be able to handle them taking the breathing tube out of my throat. I remained there for two weeks until they moved me to Helen Hayes rehabilitation hospital for rehabilitation.  I still felt like I was run over by a New York taxi and dragged down a block.  I felt like hell.

Rehabilitation is an amazing thing.  The people at Helen Hayes were so good to me.  I had to be taught how to do everything all over again.  It was like being a baby again.  But, with good therapy, I excelled and within five months I was fairly stable, but nowhere near normal.

I went home on New Year’s Eve and spent stayed at my parents.  It was a good New Year’s present to get out of the hospital.  Then my whole life started falling apart.  My life was like a bad country song.  My wife moved to Texas with my daughter, and she subsequently sued me for divorce. My dog died in my arms. My yearly check up showed I had to have another emergency operation.  So, my world was basically turned upside down.

After the first operation, and after 6 months of therapy at Helen Hayes, I was able to stand up holding on to something, walk with assistance, and more importantly, take pictures.  I wanted to show the world how I saw things.  The pictures are very abstract, full of color and have a lot of movement in them.  They are pretty close to how I saw the world.  I hope I can share the pictures with you one day, somehow.

The second operation really knocked me on my ass.  It seemed to be much more difficult than the first.  Though I didn’t have a trach everything seemed longer to recover from.  I was nowhere near to what I had accomplished after the first operation.  I felt like I lost the whole year.  It’s like starting over again.  Very frustrating, but like Winston Churchill said, “When you’re going through hell, keep going.”  So I do.

It’s been very difficult and the word I keep remembering, the words of my neurologist, “You have to learn the true meaning of patience.”  Take one day at a time and I do now.  I patiently wait for the day I can see normal and walk normal and play with my daughter at the beach.

It’s been almost 2 years now, and I’ve avoided death many times, but I’m still impatient.  I just want to get better soon.  Anyway, that’s pretty much my story.

With this blog I will update people on my progress.  Feel free to email me your comments or questions I’ll catch you when I can.  I still can’t type.  I need help from someone like my good friend Julie who is writing this for me.

B. Nice