Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Preparing for work

So the kids don't walk all over me when I go back, I'm in the process of putting together a class management plan (my first thought of making an example of one kid per class with a baseball bat Al Capone style might not sit well with parents). Apparently, asking them to go easy on me would be asking too much of an eighth grader :D I'd give you some details, but then it won't be secret :/

On the therapy front, I continue to make strides in all my trouble areas. The biggest concern is my voice. It gets stronger by the week, but the question is if it will be strong enough come January? Typing is coming a bit easier, but still slow as christmas. The mac and cheese at Panera is frickin tasty!

Yesterday, I got seven in a row on VMR level 4, the program I must pass to get a referral to a driving eval. I'm on the last level; you have to get 10 trials in a row with no errors, an average time of 0.6 and no instances over 1 second. All this means I will be driving again soon, so if you're going to be around north Texas WATCH OUT!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Getting Back to Normal

Bless me Interweb, for I have sinned. It has been over three weeks since my last blog.

Since my last post, I continue to progress. This last weekend, I watched Q solo while Jess rested (she wasn't feeling well). This is significant for two raisins -
1. Jess wasn't there to change diapers, etc.
2. Q actually let me watch after her without hitting me and shouting "NO DADA".

The issues on my left side are still there, though I am using my left hand more and moreeeeeeeeeee; such as to hold down buttons on the keyboard.

My voice seems to be coming back, but it's still pretty weak.

I had my second visit in two weeks with a neuro-ophthamologist today. I finally got a new prescription, Eyemart is cooking those up right now (unless you read this more than 30 minutes after I type this, then they cooked them up at the current time/date minus Tuesday 11/10 at 6:30pm).

Yesterday, at Pate, my therapist and I discussed the conditions under which I would go back to work - they pay me, while I complain of a headache and stay home...as nice as that would be, it's a lie. The real discussion concerned me going back for teaching only, no athletics, working 3-5 hours a day, and if possible, working as an assistant to another teacher and gradually changing roles. Hopefully, I will be ready for the full schedule and independence by tennis season in late Feb.

That's the skinny for now!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Holding Nothing

I am sitting at Panera bread right now, where I've had several delusions of normalcy. Yesterday, my physical therapist took me off the cane, so when I am just standing or sitting I tend to forget my deficits without the cane to remind me.

Anyway, my left leg twitches, and my left arm hangs as if I'm holding something (but I don't hold stuff in my left hand unless I want to drop it). I've asked several people if they would just cut off my left side, I've even offered cash! Alas, no takers, my left leg lives to twitch another day and my left arm continues to hold nothing.

Quinn and I went to a pumpkin patch outside Chandler, Ok Saturday. We both had a good time. Q got to ride a pony and pet lots of animals. There was a corn maze that could've been very traumatic for some kids had I not had the cane. My left arm up carrying nothing, my short, punctuated steps, I looked like a zombie! I refrained from eating brains though (Ryan's looked tasty).

Hands hurt,see ya!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Life After Surgery

Sorry I haven't posted in a while; my left side kinda crapped out after surgery, so typing has been a bit of a pain. I'll get right to it -

The procedure went well, the surgeons are confident they got the whole malformation out, though we won't find out for sure until December. Several of the deficits I had before surgery have returned with renewed vigor21- Quinn says hi, she rolled a train over the keyboard.

Aside from the left weakness and neglect (I tend to run into stuff on my left, so make sure you pass me on the right or I'll run into you), my eyesight has gone from double to blurry (with or without glasses), My balance and coordination took a hit, but it's about back to where it was, and my voice sounds more strained and tired sounding.

Plenty more to say, but typing is getting frustrating. Talk to you later!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tomorroweth iseth the Bigeth Dayeth

Today being the eve of my official uncapping, I went through all the tests today. First, they made us wait for a long time; don't know what that was testing. Then, they sucked out a bunch of my blood to test my pass out reflex...somehow, I stayed awake. Then, they asked me my name, birthdate and doctor's name over and over to test my patience.

All the professionals there seem very apt and knowledgeable. They speak as if they do this every day (which, I suppose, they do) and its common procedure. This made me feel much better about the whole ordeal; I didn't have to run off screaming (although, I can't run, so I wouldn't have gotten very far).

I have to report at 5:30, so it being 7:30pm, it's way past my bedtime. G'night, all.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


As I mentioned in my last post, I have brain surgery on Sept. 3rd.

I am taking the week leading up to the date off from rehab.

I am scared, very scared. Yesterday in the education group, we discussed the parts of the brain. For me, that was a reminder of the vital functions the brain stem performs.

On the plus side, I get a haircut...more like THE haircut, as there won't be any hair left. I would say it's free, but it's anything but.

The evil Internet informs me of the immense pain after surgery, the deficits afterward and the grammar problems I will have when it's over ( or so it appears, people on the Internet have lousy grammar...they say it's only the Internet, but where else do people publish writing for such a wide audience?).

The idea of having this surgery inspires a great sense of loneliness. I know many of you would do whatever you could to see to my recovery, but I have to face this obstacle alone. When I go under I will be in the hands of the surgeons (I hope they sleep well and have a nice breakfast!). This should not suggest I don't appreciate all the help I have received. I owe it to many of you for making it as far as I have.

Thank you.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home and Inpatient

Sorry for the delay...if I don't think people are reading this blog much so I am more reluctant to post on it, holla if you wit me!

Everything has gone according to schedule so far, I couldn't have asked for a more punctual rare brain disorder. I came home to stay on Aug. 7th and have been riding in a Pate provided transport (a Chevy Venture) to therapy everyday.

I have moved to the ILS (independent living skills) area for more distraction and "real world" type setting. I spend my day preparing lessons, being psychoanalyzed or working out. We also have a once daily education group, where we learn about brain injuries (and promptly forget, because we all have brain injuries :D). What was I talking about? Oh yeah; every Thursday I give a movie synopsis and review...I already forgot the films I reviewed. Okay, I have really beaten the "brain injury forgetfulness" act to death. Last Thursday I did Julie & Julia and this week I reviewed The Watchmen. Both are great, go watch them, dammit.

To answer everyone's yet-to-be-asked question the answer is "yes, if you fight for me you get to kill Englishmen." Oh wait, I mean, yes, I am happy to be home. I do what I can to help out, such as eat up all the food and flush the toilet when I'm done...you know, but there is a lot to be done. Jessica has been very gracious and supportive through this ordeal and is always thankful for the things I do manage to do.

At this time, I get around using a cane. I can walk without it, but need it for those gusts of wind that only I seem to feel...strange. I still have double vision. I wear a patch most of the time to single everything out. Lastly, my voice sounds like I just ran a marathon; I sound winded and tired. The latter two are the most bothersome.

Next up, surgery. I have brain surgery scheduled for Sept. 3rd...I will blog more about it shortly (preferrably before surgery, b/c my brain seems to have a profound effect on thinking and typing).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The (Near) End of Phase Three

My time at Pate and away from home is coming to a close. This Friday, I will go outpatient. As far as I know, I will be picked up and brought to Pate every weekday at first and gradually taper off.

I walk with a cane or independently now. Without a cane, I would look like a mummy if I stuck my arms out...but it's walking. I do mostly physical therapy as cognitively I haven't lost much if anything. Physical therapy consists of whatever my therapist cooks up (lately its been lunges), leg biking, treadmilling and what I can best describe as yoga (contorting my legs and midsection into various uncomfortable positions).

Otherwise, I make preparations for the coming school year or test my reaction time on the computer on a program called VMR to earn driving privileges back (this way I don't run into the little yellow block).

I have another MRI and appointment with Dr. White on August 18th.Hopefully, I'll be ready for surgery at that point and can get it scheduled ASAP. After that, more rehab (yippee!)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Pate is Great

Sorry for the long duration between posts, i have a brain problem :D Anyway, things are progressing well here at Pate. I walked with a horse, I do water therapy twice a week (this is where they tie you up and drip water on your head while screaming "GET BETTER!!!"), I practice walking with a cane during therapy and I get around exclusively in the walker (haven't used the wheelchair since Friday). I am set to go oupatient (i.e. get released home!) on August 7th, after which I will only come up for therapy. My follow up with Dr. White was rescheduled for Aug. 18th, so I get to be home for a week or so before anything major could potentially happen. Pate is super-great because it's so much closer to my girls, Jess brings Quinn up just about everyday (thank you, Jess). Other than that, I spend my time reading and preparing for the next school year, when a computer is available.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Progress at Pate

I have been at Pate for a week, and things seem to be moving right along. During therapy, I have to get around in a walker (as opposed to a wheelchair), walking is becoming more fluid, and typing is coming a little easier. I get to work-out in the treadmill pool tomorrow, and I walked with a horse on Friday. At this point, I am fine tuning basic skills I once had. I have almost gained a functional level of independence.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I arrived at Pate on Monday, July 6th (whoops on the "Next Step" post) at about 10:30am. I was assessed and evaluated in many areas, a process that continues. It's a nice facility, very rigorous. So far, in therapy, I have -

Built a swingset (out of pipe)
Walked with the walker
Prepared for stair-climbing
Read about the dangers of driving after a brain injury (I was a very safe driver before :D)

I don't even have a full schedule yet and they are keeping me busy (I think I left off a few activities to boot). I will have a conference later this week to determine goals, discharge date, etc.), I will write more then.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Next Step

On Monday, July 7th, I am going to another rehab facility in Anna, TX (closer to home WOO!) called Pate, which specializes in brain matters (pun intended). The projection is 6-12 weeks...then (hopefully) home!!!

Thank you

I want to go ahead and thank everyone for the cards, visits, prayers and all other contributions. Your support has kept me going through this and will continue to see me through the long road ahead. I especially want to thank my wife, Jessica, for all she has sacrificed to be with me and keep my spirits up. She is a phenomenal person, Quinn and I are so lucky to have her.

Location, Location, Location

My cavernoma is located in the Pons region, located on the brainstem which controls (from what I understand) -

- Autonomic function (breathing, heart rate...stuff that just happens automatically *gulp*)
- Sleep (This I know)
- Messages between the cerebrum and cerebellum
- Hearing
- Fine motor skill (This I know)

There are more, but these seem to be the most prominent. Again, this info. is from my limited understanding.

The Doctor Visit

On June 30th, Jessica, My parents and I met with Dr. White, a neurosurgeon, at UT Southwestern. I also got an MRI. The doctor (and the scans) suggested I wait a while longer as there is still too much blood in my head. BUT, surgery is possible given the current location. I will go back in two months and do the same thing and hopefully the blood will have absorbed (enough to operate anyway). The surgery itself is risky and will likely send me back to rehab (if not worse). The tradeoff is a lifetime without fear of this recurring with some permanent damage or the possibility of recurrence and the fear that that possibility brings. I am opting for the former (surgery).

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Back to (a) Hospital

Jess and my dad worked diligently to get me into inpatient care. After a few days, I was admitted to a rehab hospital in Allen called Twin Creeks. I have been there for about six weeks. The staff has been phenomenal (though there have been a few incidents) and the food is great. My progress has been steady...but still a ways to go. When I got to Twin Creeks I couldn't walk, barely talk and could hardly stand up straight. As of this writing, I am able to walk (assisted) with a walker, balance myself while standing, talk and type (obviously). I still have very disorienting double vision, wonky balance and slow speech. The battle continues!

The Target Incident

I have to post this because it's funny. On the way back from Zale, my dad and I stopped at Target to fill my prescriptions. We waited for what seemed like an eternity (I think it was 30 minutes or so), all the while, I was stumbling around like a drunk. On our way out, an employee was coming in through the out door, I just had to inform her of this. I told her then promptly slammed into the same door she was mistakenly entering. Gonna keep my mouth shut from now on.

Back at Home

I went back home where my symptoms got worse. I fell over a few times; walking became very risky and eating hurt (due to Strep), a great diet! The stairs were a deathtrap vehemently avoided (I slept on an air mattress downstairs). Fortunately, my dad stayed with us, he and Jess made sure I didn't maim myself. In the meantime, home health came out. We quickly realized that home was not a good place for me at that time. So begins the next phase...

The Diagnosis

The doctors at Zale told me I have a brain hemorrhage called a Cavernoma (more info here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cavernoma). My stay at Zale lasted 4 days, after which I went home...at this time I was starting to have major balance problems and Jess and I picked up Strep Throat.

The ER

An abnormality was found on the scans at Wilson N. Jones in Sherman, as a result I was flown (that's right, in a helicopter) to Zale Lipshy in Dallas. So my great adventure begins...at 1:00am on a Sunday morning.

How it Began...

Hello Internet! In the manner of my father and so many before him, this blog was created to keep my circle of people informed about what’s going on in my head (literally).

It all started the week of May 17-23. I noticed a slight headache on Monday that persisted the whole week. On Thursday night the pain became excruciating. Friday, I still had the headache and started throwing up. I skipped work that day and went to my GP. The good doctor gave me shots for pain and nausea/vomiting, he told me to go to the ER and get a CT Scan if the headache didn’t go away by the next day. It didn’t. Jessica took me to the ER on Saturday and I got my head scanned. By this time, I was having a little trouble with anything fine-motor related, my left side was going numb and my right eye was drooping (in addition to the headache).