MY ACCIDENT JOURNALS
These are my Journals, which I wrote for assignments, in a communication at the N.S.C.C. in Truro. My thought afterwards was, that maybe I wrote these journal more for me, than the teacher,,, I have been sooooooooo thankful that the teach gave us our choice on what to write about. I hope that you will gain insight on the turmoil that my God has brought me through, as well as enjoy reading these “life since the accident” journals, as much as enjoyed writing them.
Fight for Life
January 11, 200
Ever since my accident on June of 1996, I have been in a fight for life, the life I used to have. I guess it is true when they say, that you don’t appreciate something until it is gone. I did not appreciate all the things I took for granted, like independence and self-sufficiency, until I lost them. I hope you will learn this lesson I don’t bore you with the story I will tell you about my case.
I was driving home from Halifax on theTrans Canada Highway 102, at 3 am one morning in June of 1996. I fell asleep at the wheel, and was in an automobile accident. I lost all memory of the accident, including six months befor and after, so you will have to excuse the lack of details. The truck flipped over end for end a few times, and I had to be cut from the truck.
I died once in the ambulance, and then again at the hospital, thankfully they brought me back both times. After this they thought I was brain dead., then only brain damaged and not trainable, and finally trainable. I guess I had to prove most of their predictions wrong by passing courses at college. It was not the first time I proved them wrong though, and hopefully not the last. They said that my left hand, after being clenched in a fist for 2 years, would not come back. It is an ongoing process, but I have must of the use of it, and I plan on full use eventually.
I had to get the doctor to change my eating menu, from ground to solids, and from gels to liquids. I even had to lean to learn to write my name. Pretty bad, considering I was once a pretty good artist. Now I have a rough time writing even a sentence. That is just another thing I will have to fight with, if I ever want to even write again, let alone draw and pant.
I’ve still had to prove myself though, it seems like almost every day. I had to prove that I was responsible enough to handle self-meds. I managed to get off of the medications I did not absolutely need, like painkillers and anti-depressants. I had to get my doctor to allow me to sign myself out. I guess that is something I will have to live with the rest of my life on earth.
Communications II (A)
January 29, 2001
Mobility use to be no problem for me, I usually ran instead of walked. My modes of mobility use to be many: walk, run, bicycle, motorbike, snowmobile, rx7 sports car, 4x4 ¾ ton truck with plow, and 2 1952 Willies army jeeps. Now, I find myself confined to driving something with a lot less horsepower, a wheelchair. First off, I drove a one-arm drive, then an old electric wheelchair, and now an almost new Quickie P200 electric wheelchair. Eventually, I would like to improve my left hand and arm, and get use to a regular wheelchair, to improve on my upper body strength and dexterity.
I find I can’t always go where I want to, mostly because of the weather: rain, snow, cold, and yes, even darkness. I’ve also discovered that most of the sidewalks do not have ramps at intersections, causing wheelchairs to go to the nearest driveway to get out on the road, then cross the road, when there is a break in the traffic, and go up another driveway on the other side. This is one thing I’ve thought about writing to the town about, but I figure they have enough people complaining about the streets, let alone the sidewalks. Besides, I heard that maybe they are waiting for the natural gas lines to go in before repaving the roads and fixing the sidewalks, but who knows how long that will take.
Eventually, I hope to be back driving, one of my 1952 army jeeps, but I will have to improve my strength, to transfer myself from wheelchair to jeep and back. They now have hand control devices for gas, brakes, and even clutch, for those like me, that prefer a standard. Figuring out how to get myself into and out of the jeep was not a problem, with the roll bars and a couple of straps; I should be able to pull myself up into and out of the drivers seat. But I still have not figure out how to load and unload the wheelchair when I’m in the jeep. Just another challenge, I know of others that manage to do it, so I should be able to, with practice.
Motorcycles are out of the question, because I could not lean, with my lack of back or stomach muscles, or should I say, control of the muscles. I still want to try driving a snowmobile though. They have hand controls built in already, and as for the back muscles, I do not have to lean, witch means I could just have a back mounted onto the seat, and straps to hold me from falling forward or sideways. The only other downfall is the cold, because I cannot feel how cold my legs and feet get, I would have to only go out on mild days. It would also be nice to have a way to check the temperature of my legs and feet, a thermometer might work, as long as I could see the gauge.
Please excuse my tendency to write about subjects related to my accident four years ago. I tend to dwell on the difficulties one has as a disabled person, and the methods one has to use to overcome them. I tend to prefer to write about things that I think about a lot, and being human, I think about what I have lost. I could and will, write about something else, just tell me next class, or email me.
February 19, 2001
The accident that caused a break in my spin, and left me paralyzed, also caused a closed head injury, which is just a technical way of saying that I took a hard hit on the head. The knock to the brain affected a lot more than my brain power though. It had a serious affect on the control I had of my body.
Tone is the affect that occurs when you’re not using mussels for a long period of time, and they tighten up on you. They said it has a lot to do with the brain, as you loose the ability to use something, if you don’t keep practicing. But I think it has more to do with the mussels and tendons shortening up. It happened to my left hand and arm, because that I had the hand caught up in the frame of the truck, and from the scares on it, I think it was in bad shape. I heard that it hurt so much to use it, that I refused to let them do any physiotherapy on it, which would have lessened the tone. Since then I have been on a steady struggle to get the use of the left hand and arm back. They say I will never get full use of it back, but I have already gone further than they thought I could, so I guess they don’t know everything.
. Clonis is close to the opposite from tone, it is when you have involuntary movement of a mussel that, because of nerve damage in my case, you cant control. It happens in such a way so that it causes the limb to vibrate or jump continuously, until you apply pressure to it, in a certain way. Every shake has it’s own special way to remedy, usually with applying pressure in a certain way, which you have to learn, or go around with a part of your body vibrating. One of the medicines I take, is to relieve the shakes, I think it is called Hytrin.
I also had a lot of problems with how my mind works, or should I say, does not work. There was a lot, and still is a lot of short-term memory loss problems, which is the remembering of the things you just learned, which does not help much with school. Thankfully, most of my long-term memory, of things that happened in my past, was not affected by the damage. Unfortunately it was not untouched by the incident, for one thing, I have no long-term memory of the accident, not of 6 months before or 6 months after. They are a blank to me, I guess that is lucky in some ways, I do not remember how much of a big pain I was to the people who were only trying to help me.
The memory of faces that I meet is still “up to snuff”, I never seem to forget a face, but the memory of names has gotten worse. It use to be, that even though I might not remember a guy’s name that I just met, I could always remember a girls first and last name, as well as her phone number. Now I have a hard time remembering even the first name of a girl, no matter how nice or good looking she is, I definitely forget her likes, dislikes, and age.
Comprehension is not what it use to be either, instead of catching on to things right away, I now have to read them two or three times. I realize that I don’t have the brainpower I use to have, not that it was much then, but I notice the decrease in my thought process. I realize I will probably never, not in this mortal body, here on earth, get back my brain processing power, and I will just have to deal with that. I still like math and science, because of the logic and absolutes, and I still like to learn new things, I guess I will just have to work at them harder now.
So I guess, in a sick and sort of strange way, there is one good thing about what happened in the accident, I now have a legitimate excuse, for doing all the dumb things I tended to do, and still do, I seriously am brain damaged. On a more serious tone, there are definite advantages to being disabled, the government pays for your room and board, and they even pay for you to go back to school. I hope to gain an education that can get me back into the working class, so I can return to paying into taxes, instead of taking out from them.
Communications II (A)
February 26, 2001
You would think that everybody likes to eat, but that’s not true. There are people like me, who don’t like to eat. It’s part of having a brain injury, it happens to a lot of people that have a serious hit on the head, or at least that is what I have been told. Seriously, I don’t feel hunger any more, don’t enjoy eating, and even would much rather go without eating, but that is not possible.
It sure takes a lot out of life, when you don’t enjoy eating. I guess it’s true what they say about people not appreciating what they have, till it’s gone. Missing hunger is something that kind of sounds like a good thing, at first, with the entire problem with weight gain these days. It kind of makes me feel foolish to want to feel hunger, with all the people in this world that have to live with the feeling of hunger every day, because of lack of food. But that still does not diminish my wishing I could have that feeling of having your mouth water at the site of something you really enjoy eating.
It may sound like a lie, but I never feel hunger, and have not been hungry for almost 5 years, since the accident. Unfortunately it is not just the lack of hunger; I don’t like to eat any more, not even the foods I use to enjoy a great deal. It even makes me feel sick, every bite I take, I have to choke it down quickly or I fell like throwing up. If I take small bites it is easier keep down, also if I drink a food supplement, they don’t tend to bother me very much. The good news is I don’t have a problem with weight gaining; I actually have a problem with weight loss. It use to be my weight was 185 pounds when I was my heaviest, now I just keep loosing more weight, the least weight I’ve been since the accident is 143 pounds. I now try to keep my weight up at about 155 pounds.
The doctor has tried me on different medications to help increase my appetite and stop the sick feeling, but none have worked well. I still take multivitamins for appetite and Zantac to help the sick feeling, without much success though. The only medication I know of that can both increase your appetite and ease you nausea, is a common street drug known as pot, or marijuana. But even if I could find a doctor to prescribe it for me, I do not want to go around stoned all the time. It would not help my social life, and I think would probably not add to my learning abilities at school. So I guess I will just have to live with this inconvenience until someone comes up with a solution, either that or they design a marijuana plant that has the effects I want, without the “stoned” feeling.
Communications II (CISN A)
March 19, 2001
Most people, who are candid, ask me how I handle living with my disability, especially with all the loss I’ve been through. Loss of movement of legs, loss of feeling below the waist, and the loss of bladder and bowl control, things that are part of being paralyzed. Loss of short-term memory, higher thought process, and even the ability to put things into words so there understood, things that are part of having a serious head injury. Well I can only think of one thing that has helped me keep going with a healthy attitude through it all, faith in God, Jesus Christ to be exact.
Coming to realize that becoming born again was the most important thing that happened in my life. It happened about ten years ago, with everything going my way, a nice wife, a great job, great friends with similar likes, and a great family. I guess I felt that there was something missing, more to life than what I had. I guess I was looking for the big picture. What ever it was, it had a hold on me, so that I, or anybody else could not shake it off. Being the scientist at heart, I was determined to discover something that tied everything together, and gave a purpose to everything. I don’t think I ever really believed in the big bag theory, and chance, or evolution.
I first came to know God, Jesus Christ, when I, like many others, was interested in knowing the future, and wondered if people really could know the future. I read quite a few books on the subject, with no luck. Then I found the book called “Armageddon” by Grant Jeffrey, and it stated that only God could tell the future, which made sense to me. But which god, there are so many out there in the world. That is when he went into a ton of already fulfilled prophecies, which had been proven right. Of course, being the skeptic I was, I thought, “this could not be right”, and tried my hardest to find a flaw, a chink in the armor. I think I fought it for weeks, before coming to the realization that everything the author was saying was truthful. The bible could tell the future, and if so, the only reasonable explanation, was it had to be written by God.
It was the prophecy about when the Jewish savior was supposed to enter the city or Jerusalem, which stuck in my mind. From hundreds of years before Jesus was born, that a profit named Zechariah (Zech 9:9), wrote about how the savior would enter the city, riding on a donkey. Daniel even predicted the exact day this was going to happen (Dan.9:25). I had to do sum calculations, but the prophecy work out, not just to the year or month, but to the exact day. Of course I thought about how that someone could have wrote it, after the incident happened, and just said that it was written before. But that was proven to not be the case, since the scrolls were found, and dated as being BC, in Israel in 1948. These books were almost exactly the same as the ones found in the bible, that almost every North American has, tucked away somewhere in their home.
I thought, that if there is really a God, and He wanted us to get to know him, he would have left something, like road signs, that would point us in His direction. Prophecy has got to be the best, most attention grabbing sign I know of, to point us to the one that
He wrote, and He wants us to follow. How could God judge us, on doing something that was wrong in his eyes, and was not written in the bible, or rulebook? Prophecy has made me believe in the God of the bible is the true God. I now believe that the Holy Bible is entirely the true word of God.
Coming to knowledge of God, makes things seem a lot different. When people seem to cheat fate, and get away with things, it does not bother me as much now, I know they will eventually have to pay. And likewise with nice people, that never seem to get ahead, somebody is watching. I feel that I have a grasp of the big picture now. I will get a new body, which is not paralyzed. I will get to know everything about everything I want to, and I will live forever, hopefully with Jesus. I now wait for the rapture, “come up hither” of revelation 4:1. I only wish I could tell everyone else what I know, and have them not look at me strangely. God does win in the end, it all makes a lot more sense now, and I think I have grasp on “the big picture” now.
Here are some of the things I have come to believe:
- The end of the world is a mistranslation; it is supposed to be end of age.
- The world will never end (I cannot remember the passages, but there are a few)
- Bible code has history written down in advance
- Everybody lives for ever, GOD don’t make no crap
- Waiting for my new body
- The bible is the only truth
- Bible prophecy is always right, always the truth
- The Bible has everything everyone will ever do, written down in code
- We are made in His image: Father, Son, Holy Spirit = mind, body, soul
Communications II (A)
February 26, 2001
I have to admit, these journals have been more useful than I thought they would, but then I did not think of them as much more than assignments. I have since come to realize that they are also a written copy of my thoughts, at this point and time in my life, which is probably the most difficult and confusing time I have gone through in all my life, so far. I have already found them useful, in keeping a record of and reminding me of how far I’ve come so far, where I now stand, and how far I have yet to go.
This course has proven to be more than just an English class, which I never liked much anyway. I guess it was because I found it hard to learn, with some of the spelling and the grammar irregularities. It did not seem very logical, and tended to like logic. I always found it difficult to remember names and figures, because they were just stray facts, with no ideas behind them. Ideas are things you usually had to think about a few times to get them straight, which is helpful in memorization, and I need all the help I can get.
The practice I have gotten with learning how to design and organize the journals, has helped also. I luckily got a tutor for communications one an two, he has been a great help with getting it put down on paper in the correct. The two communications courses I have taken have, most importantly, helped my learning how to put my words in writing, in ways that are more easily understood. This is an important tool, when you are like me, and have a hard time talking to people. At least when you are writing something down, you can get a chance to look at your words, go back and edit them as many times as you need. This is different than speech, where once it is out, it cannot be taken back. I guess I like writing better than talking because I cannot always think of things in ways that are easily expressed in words. I guess I do not have the skill or training to convert the message into discernable language on the fly.
Then there is this presentation, in which I have to teach something to the rest of the class. It makes me very nervous to think about having to get up in front of the class and read my speech. I say read because, although I know the stuff, I don’t think I can remember how to word it, and what order to put it together, so I will have to read it. I guess I should just think of it as a training exercise for communicating with others, which I know that I need help in. I never thought much about teaching as a profession, although I can see how it could be a definite asset with most of the jobs out there.
In conclusion, I think that the communications courses in general, and the journals in specific, have been a definite asset to my CISN program, as well as me. It has not only helped me improve my writing skills, which were, and probably still are lacking. Going back to school was one of the smartest things I have done in quite a while. It not only gets me away from the stagnant place of my residence, a nursing home, but also gives me a chance to make new friends. Getting back out in the community feels great, after being in the hospital environment for 3 years. I will definitely look forward to next year, with the new courses and classmates.