Suicide is Painless (The Sad Clown, Part 2)

mork-orson

A friend of mine posted a statement this morning, in reference to the article Being Suicidal: What It Feels Like to Want to Kill Yourself“, which said simply “Honestly, cannot comprehend.”

This was before the more vivid picture arose of Robin Williams’ passing. We were left with so many questions, but this is one I had experience with, and could answer with some authority.

The closest example I can give you, … , is that one time you were so tired that your chest aches. All you wanted to do was close your eyes, and the very act of being upright and awake seemed like a Sisyphean task.

In a suicidal depression, your heart hangs like a heavy weight and it is almost impossible to lift it off the floor. At that point, every error and failing comes swooping in like a vulture, and even stupid things gain a soul-crushing gravity. The errors and sins pile in, more and more, until the idea of laying it all down sounds so sweet and peaceful. The self-preservation mindset is overridden with the idea that killing yourself is not nearly as scary as facing tomorrow. There is a gasping relief in the idea that it is almost over, and a peace that it is all in your control. The act gains urgency as the realization settles in that it had always been in your power to end it and there was really no need to suffer as long as you have already.

That is the tipping point. Sometimes, it can be held at bay with goodbye letters as you struggle to explain why this course makes the most sense, and the unexpected return of a close friend or a well-timed phone call can make all the difference. Even then, though, the sirens’ song of self-destruction lures you back to the rocks and it takes continued, pointed resistance to stay focused on staying alive.

When you are self-destructive, killing yourself is the easy part. Staying distracted enough to keep going is an almost impossible task.”

His reply is typical as a normal person, with a genuine love of life, grapples with this issue. He compares it to the most awful thing he can remember, but finds a way to hit the nail on the head with the following statement “Maybe I haven’t been miserable enough for long enough…. Even with that, I knew that things would improve, or that, at the least, I could manage to tolerate them. If I couldn’t, who knows what I might miss out on…? You can always kill yourself tomorrow, and I’m a bit of a procrastinator anyway…

I don’t seem to have the psychic makeup to be suicidal, too much curiosity, maybe. I mulled it over when I was younger — don’t all teenagers at least mull it over at some point? — and dismissed it when it realized that what I _really_ wanted was to both be dead and somehow get to stick around and see just how put out by the whole thing everyone was.

That clearly is unfeasible.”

That’s when it came back to me. I was horribly suicidal for a long stretch of my young adulthood, but there was a point when I suddenly got it to stop. The stupidly simple epiphany that lead me out of that particular darkness, and I haven’t returned for 14 years.

That was when everything changed for me. A local evening radio show (back when they were still competing with Howard Stern’s all-day radio stuff) played a comedian with music in the background. He started off by stating all the really good reasons for killing yourself before shifting gears and listing everything you’d miss. “You know how the Beach Boys say ‘Two Girls for Every Boy?’ That means that there will be four for me. A job would open up. An Apartment. Yet, you won’t get to see what the next marshmallow for Lucky Charms would be.” His list went on and on until I was weeping with the need to see what was next.

I gave it up then. I realized that, if I was willing to make such a drastic change, a less drastic change was to simply change everything. I still made a lot of bad choices and felt a lot of pain, but goddamn it, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been, because I was still alive. I packed a bag and walked out on life. I joined the carnival, of all things. Anything, just to get away from that life that nearly drove me to suicide. Sure, I still packed the biggest problem I had, which was me, but I learned to make peace with it.

You’re right. Curiosity is the perfect foil to suicide. Learning that depression is your psyche’s way of dealing with too many emotions at once is another.

I have spent 14 years searching the internet for that recording and I have never found it. I am starting to wonder if it even existed outside of my sad, dark little psychosis.”

The Professor has deep understanding. “Doesn’t matter. Clearly, it’s what you needed to hear at the time.

There have been times when I wished I could share it with someone else who needed it. It worked for me. I have become desperately, painfully alive, and I am going to live forever if I have anything to say about it.

… and that is one thing I can say is an “Absolute Truth.” I want to see where this thing goes. The world is full of awful and things seem at their absolute worst, but then something amazing happens, and you’ll want to be there for it.

From there, the best part is the sharing, as we spin the legends of our specific tribe. They grow in the telling as you realize that the listener is hooked so you had better make it good. Maybe I cannot make people laugh anymore, but I can still spin the lights of the universe and leave them in the dreams of children.

I had had a long dark winter that year. I had gone completely insane the year before, and I was having trouble putting that back together. I was writing goodbye letters and listening to the radio, every song a personal reminder of some failing. At the time, the evening show DJ’s were doing their best rip off of Howard Stern and played that piece I mentioned. The timing was perfect and I realized that I ran the risk of missing all the wonder that life promised.

I still lived a completely haywire life. I have been in fear for my life and have felt like the world was shitting on me and me alone. I have been the Atheist who prayed in the foxhole.  I have made awful decisions and left destruction in my wake as I burned bridges.

… but I never considered suicide again. When all is lost, suicide is a drastic change. It is less drastic to just drop everything and leave. If everything is lost, then everything can be changed.
robin rehab
What if Robin Williams had simply said, “Forget this,” and went to work at that Dairy Queen in Lindstrom, Minnesota? What do you think would have happened? I believe he would have been inundated with people who love him.  I can see people driving across the country just to meet him face to face. Shake his hand. Tell them how much he meant to them.

I would have been one of them. Without a father, I imprinted on Robin Williams, using him as the model for how I interacted with the world… and it worked. I did not find fame with it. I was not expected to always be the funny man, and did not alienate anyone when I couldn’t make them laugh anymore.

It was easier for me to walk away from who I was. I could find my way out of the darkness because there was no one demanding that I go back to retrieve any of it.

My wife is facing a second brain surgery for Geniculate Neuralgia, and my spinal bone spurs have to take a back seat until that is done. This leaves me in twisted pain as I try to find anything to make the pain stop. Sometimes I am left panting and weeping in misery, and I wonder if I am dying.

… but I can’t die yet. I have two daughters to give away if they decide to wed. Someone has to make sure to hold a shotgun and put the fear of the Godless into their Prom Dates. I have rediscovered old friends I had missed dearly and discovered new friends that fill my life with joy and love.

There is also my wife, who I first stood in the cold November rain for three hours with, just talking. She’s the cohort I always wished for, and the co-conspirator in so many good memories. We know each other’s humor and share each other’s dreams. I met her four years after I was going to kill myself. If I hadn’t heard that recording that night, we would have never made the connection that saved us both. We’ve broken each other’s hearts, and thought that all was lost, but as soon as we are together again, the bonfires blaze and we can’t stand to be away from each other, even for an hour, our heads bowed together as we snicker at the world that we hide from together.

I think Robin Williams felt that he had drifted away from too many of the people that he shared that with. In 2009, we heard that he was trying to reconnect with his first child from his first marriage. His failed TV show recently repaired him with Pam Dawber from the original series that launched his career. He was newly remarried, but so much of his life was behind a wall of pain and constant apology that he felt was impenetrable.

Why didn’t you just run off and have a crazy religious experience somewhere, Robin? Grow your beard out and become a rapper or wear a bag on your head and claim to be no one?

Just tell us that you quit, Robin. We would have preferred that to this.

So if this is some twisted version of the Celebrity-Protection-Program, when a star drops off of the map to hang out with Andy Kaufman, Tupac and Elvis, you win. My sappy farewell will be added to the clamoring and weeping that would make us all feel foolish if you poked your head up again to say, “Just Kidding,” but I deserve at least a post card one day, OK?

Otherwise, farewell Robin Williams. If there is more than this, I’ll look you up when I get there.
Robin_Williams_Canada

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To contribute to my wife’s second brain surgery, here is the link: http://www.gofundme.com/likeaholeinthehead

For The Sad Clown, part 1: https://grimmjest.wordpress.com/2014/08/12/the-sad-clown/

The Sad Clown

Mork calling Orson.... Come in Orson...

Mork calling Orson…. Come in Orson…

Robin Williams death hit me a lot harder than I thought it would. The trigger, of all things, was the local radio station playing Aerosmith’s ‘Dude Looks Like A Lady.’ I went from remembering Mrs. Doubtfire to weeping in my car.

It is an argument against sheltering your child.

Robin Williams was always quite open about his sheltered childhood. His parents were rich and doting, and kept him hidden from the world. When you get out of such a situation, everything you discover is “What else were they hiding from me?” It also can become scary and unknown.

The common thread can be seen in nearly every character he has ever played. He began as extraordinary but out of sync. He is mistaken for other than what he is, and he’s able to use this to ease people into realizing what he was, though the whole situation is doomed to spin out of control. You are given the reassurance, though, that there will be daily accountability.

In ‘Mork & Mindy,’ Mindy first mistakes Mork for a priest. Hijinks ensue, people laugh, until it ends up with them raising Johnathan Winters as a child. You are always promised an interesting ride before it inevitably goes off of the rails. He took this insanity on the road and it made him a star.

Now people are watching and you have to be ‘on’ all the time. Robin found that intoxicants could help him be ‘on’ longer. Quicker than you think, it becomes the ‘on’ before, inevitably, not being enough. Then, you’re in the dark again, alone and afraid.

Alone and in the dark, Mork is held accountable to Orson.

From pure insanity, Robin’s career began to try to explain him. The child who never grew up, forced into adulthood. He was crazy, but he meant well. There was always something different about him, slightly off. It was as if he were always hinting at the idea that he was some kind of fraud.

All that seemed to be lacking was the accountability.

Mrs. Doubtfire seemed to be the start of his apology phase. He had been a lousy father but he really does love his kids and would do anything for them. He went on to mad genius, winning awards until ‘What Dreams May Come.’ Sober and contrite, his popularity waned as he delved into more serious roles. His theme became revealing the darkness beneath.

Eventually, his dark introspective phase ended and he wanted us to invest in him one more time. He promised us he could be funny again, if we gave him one more chance.

Instead, his show, “The Crazy Ones,’ was cancelled after one season.

Being able to make people laugh is a powerful feeling. Your own heart bursts with joy and it feels like young love. It is a hard superpower to lose.

When my father left when I was four, I lead a sheltered life as my mother always feared that he would return to steal me away. I imprinted on this strange man as there is a slight family resemblance. I have been stopped on the street, all over the country, just to be told that I looked like him. As a child, I learned his routines to make the other kids laugh, so that there was some reason to like me when I never ran around the neighborhood with them or came over their houses.

Solitude can be a great peace to some, but to live in constant apology is another. The all-seeing eye of Orson is always there, waiting to see where you went wrong, reminding you of faults. There is not time in that empty place, and no hurt has healed with time. Time goes backwards there, and you feel the greatest regret for the safety of childhood, when all mistakes seemed so minor and the cares fewer.

We heard back from the mercy flight service, and my wife is cleared to fly across the country for her second brain surgery. She’ll be making this trip without me, it appears. For the past week, my pain has lessened, getting my hopes up, though it spreads to other parts of my body now. At least it is out of my head. Then another storm rolls in and I am dumped into twisted pain again. I can hear a -ping- when I turn my neck, like running your thumbnail down the teeth of a comb, when I turn my head the wrong way.

I needed cheering up, so I went online. Something told me to check the news, something I haven’t done in a week or two. Despite checking, I heard about it 15 minutes afterwards, from a friend. Robin Williams: Dead by Apparent Suicide.

I immediately had the thought, “If I had a time machine…” I have never done that before. Suddenly all the emotions on the screen from various films flew through my head as I reconstructed the final scene. It didn’t seem real. I double checked to see if it was a hoax, as it was in 2012.

If I could have talked to him, what would I say? Should I have written him a letter? Should I have watched his show? Didn’t he know how important he was to me?

You taught me that redemption was always possible. Why didn’t you believe it yourself?

Farewell, Robin Williams. The world is a darker place without you.

Further reading: Childhood – http://www.freep.com/article/20140811/ENT07/308110195/1996-interview-Robin-Williams-movie-Jack

Apology- http://www.theguardian.com/film/2010/sep/20/robin-williams-worlds-greatest-dad-alcohol-drugs

Chronic

skeleton
I am pretty sure I was dying today.

That is really the only way to describe it. Imagine you are experiencing the mother of all hangovers, and you’re pretty sure you fell down a few flights of concrete stairs. Also, you might have been lit on fire at some point.

Perhaps I have become the Narrator from ‘Fight Club’ and my body regularly goes around getting into bare knuckled boxing matches all over town.

I am Jack’s Concussion.

I often feel concussed. Either my head aches as my equilibrium lurches about, or it feels distinctly like someone has taken a hold of my spine through an incision in my neck and they are shaking me like a bad dog. My balance has always been pretty good, so I haven’t fallen or thrown up on myself yet.

When I say headache, though, there is no consistency. It’s a hammer strike suddenly on the side of my head, or it is elephant tusks rammed through the base of my skull, coming out above my eyebrows. Sometimes, one of my eyes is gouged out. Sometimes, all in a row, and sometimes all together. Sometimes, it won’t hurt, but that part of my brain is just gone. Answers are missing and speaking in complete sentences is almost impossible.

My spine likes to join in the fun, either aching between the shoulders or at the base. The VA intake nurse was the first medical professional in years to notice that this is affecting the strength in my right arm and my left leg. Sometimes my knees give out, but I can catch myself before I hit the ground.

None Dare Speak It’s name…

Scoliosis has been mentioned as it does appear in the family history. No one wants to say spinal damage, but there are bone spurs. Then, there was the car accident three years ago, and the fact that I am a disabled vet whose finally getting older. There was also working at any back-breaking job I could get to provide for my family.

‘This ole house is a-getting shaky, This ole house is a-getting old

So far, the answer has been to inject me with enough poison to kill every person in the city. Twice. Strangely, my body isn’t taking that well. The medication they insist on now literally leaves me drooling on myself. The one that was working stopped working when I quit smoking… You know, for my health. Without the smoking to raise my blood pressure, the medication would lower it to dangerous levels, like a toy whose battery was running out.

The FDA just put out a warning about epidurals the other day. Apparently, the tons of epidurals I have had recently could have killed me, and here, I didn’t jump ship on neurosurgery until they started talking about radiation. Silly me.

“Serious adverse events included death, spinal cord infarction, paraplegia, quadriplegia, cortical blindness, stroke, seizures, nerve injury, and brain edema,” the FDA said in announcing the warning.

“Many cases were temporally associated with the corticosteroid injections, with adverse events occurring within minutes to 48 hours after the corticosteroid injections. In some cases, diagnoses of neurologic adverse events were confirmed through magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography scan. Many patients did not recover from these reported adverse events.” (http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/BackPain/45394)

I was also stuck in a traction machine that made my migraines increase from twice a week to everyday, which is where they have stayed since. That is in fact, why I left the VA system, originally, and sought help elsewhere.

So, who really knows? It seems now, in retrospect, that I should have gone back to what I have done since I was first discharged 18 years ago: ‘Suck it up and drive on, Soldier.’

“Just let go…”

When the pain is at its worst, I hear that. Not like voices in my head, but more like the realization of futility. I sit with my pain, all alone, sometimes. When I come to, I discover that I have been staring, mouth slightly open, as if in religious awe. Not to worry though, I know when these are coming because they climb up my neck, like a creeping doom, sometimes taking hours to fully blossom into a personal hell.

As always, I claw my way back for my wife and children. I so desperately, selfishly, want to grow old with them. My children are my joy. The only light I have in this darkness. My wife is the other half of my soul. The poor woman keeps dragging her own cross, and if she can keep going, then I have to keep up.

If this means that, sometimes, I am a shambling mess of pain, like some magically animated skeleton in a movie, then so be it. I do what I can.

Plus, I am afraid at this point that not enough people like me enough to carry my casket. I have to work on that, but it is hard to schedule a social life around this. Maybe the Stagehand’s Union would be willing to cut me a break on pall bearers….

Just to put this out there, I would like to try medical marijuana, as it is legal in my state, but I cannot afford to do the application even at a discounted rate. This is odd because I have had medical professionals recommend it, and it is available, but not to me, apparently.

There is no way it can be any worse for me than what has already been tried.

Plus, as a former ‘self-medicator,’ I cannot help but wonder if that is how I was able to keep this mess on the road as long as I did.

Something to think about, I suppose.

Here’s what else we’re dealing with now: https://grimmjest.wordpress.com/2014/05/15/sharp-stick-in-the-eye-or-a-hole-in-the-head/

… and here is a fundraiser for my wife: http://www.gofundme.com/likeaholeinthehead

With that, here’s Willy Nelson covering Stewart Hamblin’s ‘This Old House.’

Sunrise in the middle of the day.

This is a letter I wrote to a friend for our first donation. (http://funds.gofundme.com/index.php?route=fundmanager) Since she has not let me know if this is OK, I have removed all Identification except her Spirit name. I warned her that I might steal part of this as I had spent 3 hours writing it, and I think it is the clearest that I have been in a little while. The Botox poisoning itself was supposed to be cleared by last Friday, and I still feel the effects, or ‘side effects,’ as they are officially called. Poisoned and dyslexic, I have trouble stringing my thoughts together, let alone try to convey them in a manner that makes sense.

It seems as if this is clearing up, but that is why the blog had paused for as long as it did.

___

My sweet Aurora! You are a lifesaver.

I am absolutely shattered. I’d rather dig a ditch than wave a sign, and that I cannot throws me into panic attacks.

I figured out an advantage recently to a small farm. I invest about $20 a week into my chickens, and they give me about $40 in eggs. It all takes about half an hour, daily, for general maintenance.

Lately, I have been too sick to go outside at more than just a shuffle and my eldest daughter is apparently afraid of our coop, so the eggs have been piling up.

Mysteriously, every one of my hens went broody, even the ones that are raised to be non-setters. This is partially because, when it is 90 degrees regularly, they really only need a warm hen at night.

This happened right before my wife’s brain surgery last year. I am about to be buried in $5 bills that grow into $20 bills if I keep feeding them.

We do what we can.

My wife, recently, was gifted the big book of Essential Oils from her dear sister, which has given her confidence in what she already does well. I am hoping, through this donation process, to get her the certification she needs to consult on this professionally. She is amazing at it, here at home, but worries about messing about with people’s health without training.

For us, sometimes, it is any port in the storm. If _we_ can get some relief, we know it works.

I recently applied for a Bible Geek position. It does not pay well, but I was open and honest about both my history and my current state as a Buddhist Agnostic posing as a Zen Atheist. If I get hired (after that), I’ll finally be able to add ‘Professional Pharisee’ to my resume. I study the Bible with a voraciousness I never had as a Christian almost like some obsessive hobby. It might be a real treat to get paid for it.

I was going to take some classes on social work. My local clinic has a mental health department that cannot seem to keep anyone (except the vice-director) for more than 3 months. What can be so bad about listening to and helping crazy people? I have been doing that all my life. The last person who stayed the longest was discovered to not have the proper schooling for her pay grade, and had to step down until she could complete her schooling. I see a great need, and the world has little use for a minister without a god otherwise.

My heart aches for Becca, and I pray how I can. I don’t remember it ever raining this long before, but it seems like the world is falling apart for everyone. It can’t rain all of the time, but my neck is sore from looking for a break in the clouds. (Please check out https://www.facebook.com/TeamBeccaOhio)

Thank you again, Aurora. You have brought a little light into the darkness exactly when we needed it.

Sharp stick in the eye or a Hole in the Head?

It is a huge thing when you have a Neurosurgeon shrug at you. In the Western World, Brain Surgery and Rocket Science are the pinnacles of Intelligence, to the point of being cliché, so when a Brain Surgeon doesn’t know what to do, it becomes hard to be hopeful.

My wife has always been a miracle. Born three months premature, she was 28 years old before she realized that her Cerebral Palsy was going to push her out of the workforce. The road since then has been rough and fraught with shadows yet still she overcame.

The problem started soon after the birth of our second daughter. Through a series of mishaps we cannot legally go into, my wife formed a rare Neuralgia known as Geniculate Neuralgia. Neuralgia is, from what this layman understands, a nerve that has malfunctioned and begins sending notices of the most horrible atrocities. In this case, the Geniculate Nerve, a tiny nerve inside the back of your head, begins sending messages that you are being stabbed in the right ear with an ice pick that is also on fire. It is referred to, colloquially, as ‘The Suicide Disease.’

Strangely, this is treated like a bad ground in an old school speaker wire. You tap it and move it around, hoping you find the bad spot, and then you cut the wire and hope for the best. The problem is that, with each brain surgery attempt, the success rate drops: 80% the first time, 20% the second. After that, they expect you to wait a decade before attempting it again. Each time, they have to teach you how to walk again.

They have tried twice now, once through invasive brain surgery and another through a neck dissection. Neither of these was successful.

The timing couldn’t be worse, either.

After braving the ‘Worst Winter of 50 Years’ (2011. I used quotes because these snow records disappeared the next year) in my hometown in Ohio, my Arizona-born wife decided that we should move back to her hometown in the desert. While working 60+ hours a week trying to build a nest egg for the jump, I was hit by another car while parked on the side of the road. The damage to the vehicle was minimal, but the migraines I got starting that day were awful.

It was a year and a half before the bone spurs in my spine were detected. Due to this and my status as a disabled veteran (since 1996, which I had never taken seriously before), I needed a doctor to say that the migraines were related to the accident.

This word was officially delivered 7 days after the Statute of Limitations expired.

Our days are filled with a haze of pain that varies with the weather and the hiccups that are produced through Medical Bureaucracy, both of us weighing our next procedure on the balance between our pain tolerances versus the other’s anguish. When I finally could put mine off no longer, therapeutic Botox across my neck and shoulders in an effort to literally kill off some of my nervous system, we suddenly heard of a procedure to address my wife’s anguish, which had to work. It was the day after my procedure, a few days after my wife’s, which our daughter announced that three people had thrown up ‘right in class.’ Suddenly, we had to have both quarantined at opposite ends of the house, with my badly-poisoned self shuffling back and forth between the two, and washing well in between.

The delicate balance of my wife’s health necessitated us pulling our daughter out of school and struggle through a school online.

We had originally moved back to Arizona to start a little farm. Calls for massive cuts to Social Security let us know that we needed to become a little more self-sufficient. We began Dharmish Farms in 2012 and launched in 2013. Our goal had been to supply eggs, training and heritage breed chicks to the economically depressed. We never expected to join them.

After a lot of heavy predation, my heritage flock was finally up and ready for production when my wife’s brain surgery appeared. A responsible farmer takes care of his animals, even if that means selling them at cost to ensure that they are cared for quickly. You rebuild again on the hope that that was the last speed bump, racing to get things going before the next one, when I had a flock up and ready for production (a six month process) when the neck dissection occurred and I ended up selling them again at cost. I have reduced my flock down to the Prime Flock more times then I have cared to admit as the waves of pain spike and change all of our plans.

Sometimes, you eat the Bear and sometimes… well, sometimes the Bear eats you.

We ask for your donation today to address costs we have accrued up to this point and to address future costs. It will give us the opportunity to get the farm up and running far enough to weather the waves, allow my wife and I to further pursue the next operations and remedies to get ourselves back on our feet and allow us the leeway to complete vocational rehabilitation so that we can be as productive as we can be.

If you can’t give, maybe you can help in other ways. Perhaps you know the Star Neurologist Student or Neuroscientist looking to publish some papers and make a name for themselves. My wife’s condition is the type they write books about, and they sell especially well if they end with the correct answer.

We long for the days of playing in the park with our children, instead of telling them each day that mama and daddy hurt too much to play. Our disorders have affected them so much, as they wait for us to return from weekly doctor appointments and play quietly because the loud noises set off Mama’s neuralgia and Daddy’s migraines. They are our blessings, and we long to return to some kind of normalcy, be it through more procedures, experimental procedures… anything that can make the hurting lessen to some degree.

With luck someone will stop shrugging their shoulders in response to my wife’s Geniculate Neuralgia that causes her such extreme pain, every single minute of each day for the past three years, and they will perform a surgery that works, even a little bit. She doesn’t expect a miracle since neuralgia is incurable, but she still hopes that one day the pain will subside enough that she can return to doing the things she loves: baking and cooking for our family, crafting, raising our girls, and reading in the quiet moments before bedtime.

She has lived her entire life in pain due to the mild cerebral palsy, but Geniculate Neuralgia is a monster, causing the most intense, unstoppable pain beyond imagining. It is nearly impossible for my wife to make it through each day without weeping.

For myself, I’m just a beat-up old soldier, trying to soldier on. I ended up gaining a lot of people who depend on me back when they could, and I would like to get back up there. Perhaps one day, the VA will realize that it is more cost effective to give me robot parts or the Super Soldier Serum and I’ll be back up and running.

 

No one has the monopoly on suffering. We’re just hitting a rough patch and hope to be better soon.

Thanks for checking this out (especially if you read this far.) Any donations would be gratefully and humbly accepted.

Jeff
http://www.gofundme.com/likeaholeinthehead
american former goth

Badly poisoned

Image

I really hope that this isn’t what they do to old ladies. A grasp at immortality, 3 months at a time, utilizing the most deadly toxin known to man.

“Botulinum toxin is a protein and neurotoxin produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. It is the most acutely lethal toxin known, with an estimated human median lethal dose (LD-50) of 1.3–2.1 ng/kg intravenously or intramuscularly and 10–13 ng/kg when inhaled. Botulinum toxin (BTX) can cause botulism, a serious and life-threatening illness in humans and animals. Three forms of botulinum toxin type A (Botox, Dysport and Xeomin) and one form of botulinum toxin type B (MyoBloc) are available commercially for various cosmetic and medical procedures.”*

“Onabotulinumtoxin A (trade name Botox) received FDA approval for treatment of chronic migraines on October 15, 2010. The toxin is injected into the head and neck to treat these chronic headaches. Approval followed evidence presented to the agency from two studies funded by Allergan, Inc. showing a very slight improvement in incidence of chronic migraines for migraine sufferers undergoing the Botox treatment.”*

“Since then, several randomized control trials have shown botulinum toxin type A to improve headache symptoms and quality of life when used prophylactically for patients with chronic migraine who exhibit headache characteristics consistent with: pressure perceived from outside source, shorter total duration of chronic migraines (<30 years), “detoxification” of patients with coexisting chronic daily headache due to medication overuse, and no current history of other preventive headache medications.“*

(*http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botulinum_toxin)

Better than I could have said it. Starting in the front of my face, Botox was shot right between my eyes. The doctor then made a pattern of injections across my forehead, my head above my ears, across the base of my skull and down my neck, into my shoulders.

While he did this, we kept up idle patter about homesteading. It was distracting, but it still hurt.

I felt a little sick afterwards, though that could be the mildly scared crash after a bad scare. You think that you are out of the Halloween corn maze, but you heard people scream right about-

This was my second treatment. The first one had been hell. I was warned that, for the first 3 -10 days, I would feel like I was dying as the Botulinum attacked my nervous system. I marked the date on the callendar that I would be free, always tomorrow, but at two months, I got worried. It had changed, but it had changed to worse.

I have been a Disabled Vet since I was 19 years old, discharged in 1996. They just discovered the bone spurs in my spine last year. The whiplash that started the migraines was 2.5 years ago. Initially, I could maintain, but suddenly I was acutely aware of weather patterns. My migraines are daily, and only ease off to make my neck feel broken.

Supposedly, the answer is a second treatment…. With more Botulinum.

The first time, I spent the rest of the day of the injection wondering what the fuss was about, followed by three days of being too painfully sick to move. That eased off to a soothing ‘Who-hit-me-in-the-head-with-a-hammer?’ for two months.

There is a chance that, as you read this, I am wrapped in freakish misery, too pained to think.

The goal, a minor taste of Youth, of a time that my skull did not feel smashed. That, for me is worth the fear.

Links to deaths:

In September 2005, a paper published in the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology reported from the FDA saying that use of Botox has resulted in 28 deaths between 1989 and 2003, though none were attributed to cosmetic use.”*

“On February 8, 2008, the FDA announced Botox has “been linked in some cases to adverse reactions, including respiratory failure and death, following treatment of a variety of conditions using a wide range of doses”, due to its ability to spread to areas distant from the site of the injection. In April 2009, the FDA updated its mandatory boxed warning cautioning that the effects of the botulinum toxin may spread from the area of injection to other areas of the body, causing symptoms similar to those of botulism.”*

“In January 2009, the Canadian government warned that Botox can have the adverse effect of spreading to other parts of the body, which could cause muscle weakness, swallowing difficulties, pneumonia, speech disorders and breathing problems.”*

(*-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Botulinum_toxin)

People like to say that good or exhilarating things ‘make you feel alive,’ but that’s a lie. Chronic Pain reminds you that you are alive. Really grindingly awfully alive. Life in every breath, more in this moment that any Zen master alive can achieve.

_/*\_

 

Glimmers on the Horizon

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I was having trouble finding just the right farm hat without paying an arm and a leg. Not that I am adverse to quality, but in Arizona, we have ‘sun’ like nothing you have ever experienced. Being a Subtropical Desert (Zone 9a on the USDA charts) we are much closer to Equatorial sunshine than anything short of the Florida Keys, but it’s a Dry heat.

Those Amish-kin with Ginger traits MUST HAVE A HAT AT ALL TIMES.

This hat is the Honorary Irish Rogue hat Kroger stores were offering for St. Patrick’s Day 2014.  Those that know me know that I, for reasons that have to do with being greatly displaced from my homeland, have designated ‘The Green Parade’ as a family tradition. We aren’t Irish, nor Catholic (obviously), but, after attending the our first in 2008 and being the only Gingers in attendance, I decided that it was something of a Civic Duty to attend.

Those that know me, as well, know that I am a cheap S.O.B. and that I didn’t wear this hat this year. I wore a green plaid round cap that had been discounted from the year previous. I did see this hat before St. Patrick’s, and ‘found meself sorely tempted’ (Did you read that in my bad Irish accent? You were supposed to), but I held off until I found it in the discount bin a few weeks later.

The center of the badge is where it proclaimed The Day, in the hopes that you would buy a well-made hat for use on just one day before discarding it. Tempting, as I could probably get decades of St. Patrick’s Day Parades out of this hat, but as I said, I needed a new farm hat. Here is #3 from last year, which handled about 3 months of straight desert chicken care in the sun:

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It had looked new when I bought it before leaving Cleveland. It was, of course, in a discount bin, too, because there is no shortage of Cleveland Indians hats in Cleveland, so the value on a free ‘Stuckie’s Ice Cream Night Stadium Promotion Hat’ is rather low. The Logo looks faded because such casual racism, while being OK in the microcosm of Ohio, doesn’t fly well with the Local Natives who have always been nothing but kind to the White Man who shoved his way in and dirtied the place up. I would regularly black the logo completely out with a Sharpie Marker.

The new logo I placed  on the hat is strangely fitting, though that was unintentional. It is originally from a hat that must have started life as Logo Practice Sheet at an embroidery shop. It had a logo I can only describe in order: “Flying Sacred Heart of Jesus Tres Equies Tequila.”  The ‘Tres Equies’ looked like the title screen from a Vin Diesel movie. It made absolutely no sense and it was awesome.

It was the hat I wore back when ‘Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.’  Kurt VonnegutSlaughterhouse-Five

In those days, I was a warehouse manager for a now-defunct Decor company, Don Yunker Design (RIP), doing a stressful but magical job with an amazing set of God’s original prototypes. My stressful boring bullshit made for more amusing recounting than yours.

“Where the hell is the Buddha Statue? I’m late.”

“I am pretty sure I can fit the third totem pole in this truck if we only move mountains to the other one.”

“Why are there going to be pink flamingos with the cowboy town?”

When your stress is pink flamingos, it is hard to take seriously, and ultimately, I believe, that was my downfall. It was long ago and far away, and I was already fleeing ahead of the pain back then. It just hadn’t caught me yet.

The hat was disgustingly crusty by the time it retired, but I saved this piece of it, The Flying Sacred Heart. It isn’t part of my iconory, and yet it is. To me, this is the logo of a time when I was happy and productive, and afixed to the hat, it looks like a Flogging Molly Song. I wonder if that will be enough to get the magic to work again. I have got a lot to do on a time frame, and I don’t have time for the pain.

(Sorry about the shakiness of the photos. Today was a very bad pain day. I have high hopes for my second Theraputic Botox on the 29th, but it is still a daunting thing.)

I wanted to take a moment and thank a few people.

This morning, we discovered that my wife’s participation in an Ultimate Homemaking Bundle contest had earned us a prize pack of books and materials valued at $700. I don’t know if I am supposed to, but I’ll be writing reviews of some of the materials here. I am very excited, as I am in desperate need of the entire homeschooling section. The rest made it like Christmas Morning! (http://ultimate-bundles.com/)

We were selected by the Teaching Mama to receive this prize, perhaps based on our recent Online Schooling woes. If you could, hop on over and thank her for me. (https://www.facebook.com/teachingmamablog)

I also need to give a massive THANK YOU to my favorite Sister-In-Law, Melissa Rich. My wife left for a much needed spa day, and came back with a lot of hope. That was a huge miracle and I don’t know how I can thank you.

Things are moving forward and looking up! Excelsior!