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.