Soft Brain Tissue and Warm Blood

First off, let me start by say I’ve never had any serious car accidents where I was hurt. I always felt too young to be impacted by such a commonplace event, as if I were in control of my own destiny. Well, recently my perspective on that changed.

I didn’t take it very seriously…

What happened was I was driving home from work and an elderly lady ran a stop sign and broad sided my car, making it quickly spin then come to a halt. The whole process is harder and harder to recall, but we’ll get to that later.

I got out of my car and looked around, a lot of people had stopped and were on their phones, blocking traffic. I then looked at my car:

Honestly, it looks fine.

All-in-all, things seemed okay. The other drive came running up exclaiming how it was their fault, and I made sure they were okay. Fade to black.

Now I’m in a rental car, shortly after the accident, driving with Emily to see a doctor. But we get there and they tell me in a muffled, distant voice, that I need to go to the Emergency Room. I’m starting to hurt more: Neck, back, and head are all ranging from fuzzy to painful. Somehow the whole body no longer felt like parts, but more like a collective mess, a confusion source. Fade to black.

I’m in the local Emergency Room and they’re doing a CAT scan and I am in pain. Fade to black.

There’s something about whiplash, but my head, why does it still hurt? It’s common I guess. 8/10/2017 ends.

I wake up on 8/11 and don’t remember sleeping. I must have though, because I wasn’t tired. The coffee I make is okay, it’s just coffee, and I’m ready for work. In and out of my own world again. I find myself at work, taking to my Director about my accident and that I’m forgetting things. Darkness.

I’m in the same hospital as the prior night (was it really last night?) and I have a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) along with whiplash. They give me a note saying take 3 days off and then return to work on Monday. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday I’m at work, somehow I’ve worked the previous 2 days, but I don’t remember what I did. Was I even there? Darkness.

I’m standing in a hallway in the main hospital campus, meeting coworkers to do something, and I think I might cry. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t remember anything. All I feel is pain and shame, for having shown up and not knowing why. A flash of light, I’m in the Emergency Room again, but it’s a different one. I have a concussion and memory loss. But I should be good to drive.

I end up at my primary care doctor’s office, and am talking to her, but the voices are distant, and I can’t make out what we’re saying.

I can’t work for 2 weeks and I need to see a neuropsychologist.

Everyday after is in and out, with no real remnants of memory, just a lingering pain in my head. People say I’m happy, and I forgot who or why they say it. I’m not. My mind and body are a cage now.

 

 

Today, Thursday (8/31/17) we have three appointments: 2 for Emily and one for Me. My coordination is back, my memory is stronger, but the pains I have are like nothing I’ve ever felt, like an itch I can’t reach that slowly turns to a burn.

I look the same, I act pretty much the same, but I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m so sad knowing a part of my life is missing, the days I never lived, but was there for.

 

Oh Well.

 

~Tim

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Working for Verizon Wireless

I know it’s been far too long since either of us has posted on our blog, and to anyone who is reading this and cares: I apologize. Emily has not been finding the right treatment for her illness and I have been without a job for a while, except in February I started working for a hospital as IT Support! It’s an awesome job, and one which involves me doing what I’ve always wanted to do, ever since I went to school to study IT programming. But I digress; I’m here to talk about something I don’t think I’ve really talked much about, and that’s what it was like for me when I used to work for Verizon Wireless.

It’s a huge company, and one which pays well to do one thing: Sell. I only worked there for 6 months, 1 of which I was in training outside of the store I was to work in, so really 5 months. If you’ve ever worked retail, and I’ve discussed this, you know the deep down hatred you feel/felt going to work. But Verizon Wireless is a special monster to me, because, though I’ve spent most of my life working retail, Verizon Wireless taught me that everyone is a mark and there are core rules to this:

The Rules:

  1. No one should leave the store with less than $150 in merchandise. Should they: you are a weak person and unworthy of the job
  2. Everyone is a potential new line, because everyone (whether they know it or not) always has the need for MORE
  3. Verizon Wireless is the best network, no matter what you hear
  4. We are not sales people, we are leaders, bringing people to a better life, and one which benefits all parties

These ‘Rules’ may seem basic, and expected, but how they were used will always leave a dead place in my heart.

Sell, Sell, Sell: The Time I Went Against My Own Morals

I had a manger, his name was Nick. He was short, with greased back black hair, and the demeanor of a rat, except he was able to make older woman love him. Nick used to be the top sales person in the region, until they brought him on as a manager, thinking he could teach others how he made these sales. ‘Lucky’ for me, I ended being something of a project to him. I hate Nick, I hated Nick, and this story will make you hate Nick.

One night, we were about 2 hours from closing and Nick, myself, and a few others were working. The night had been okay, relatively slow, but we had a few new lines and our sales were on the lower end of good. I was set to take the next customer, and Nick was always watching over me, because I had weak numbers. So, in walk an older woman with her daughter, and I chip up, thinking, “Maybe she’s getting her daughter a new phone?” Then the customer walks in, the person at the door leads them too me, I had on my best smile, and then I saw their faces and my smile faded slightly: They had been crying.

I started by asking how I might be able to help them, “…on this fine night” (it was actually after it had snowed, so everything was a plowed mess outside). The older woman began to talk, but faded without saying anything, so her daughter explained to me that her father had just died (the mother stifled a cry when she said this) and, with a slightly weak voice, they needed to disconnect his line.

I kind of stood there, slightly disappointed, but overall filled with sadness for how there two looked, and the state they were in. I started playing with my tablet, looking into disconnecting a line, but the line was only 6 months in, and disconnecting required a manager’s approval.

Nick, like a vulture, came over to me as I was headed to the back to see if any other manager was still in. Nope. He asked what was going on and I explained. By the time I was done you’d think I’d told him that he’d just won the lottery by the expression on his face. I remember the next words quite well, he said, “Tim, when people are in high emotions they’re more willing to buy things; this is AWESOME!” He then lead me out to the people (the second he turned he put on a fake expression of grief, almost as if he were mocking theirs, and proceeded to talk to the people.

The mother and daughter, soon were tearing up, I felt awful and tried consoling them. Nick told them that disconnecting the line would be no problem, and how sorry he was for their loss. Then, he quickly turned into a different person. While typing in the approval to disconnect the line, eyes on the tablet, he began talking to them about how, with the line gone and the money to be saved, maybe tablets would make sense (since, at the time, a phone line was $40 per month and a tablet line was only $10). In his snake like words, ones which I still don’t remember, he convinced them that they needed 2 tablets and cases, along with screen protectors and anything else they might need, “…because, I know it’s hard now, but these things will help you, even distract you, from all that’s going on.” I was stunned, but he was doing all of this under my sign in information, so it was going to be my sale.

I nodded dumbly, agreeing with Nick and even backing him in certain instances.

The mother and daughter left that night, still weak and sad, but with bags full of tablets, accessories, and enough money to make my days sales put me in great standing. I went home that night and slept soundly, but within a month I quit, because of Nick.

This was not the only instance of anything like this happening, but this was my experience working there, and how I know Verizon Wireless stores work.

So if you’re ever in the need of anything tech or phone related, go to Best Buy or, better yet, do it online. The coercion and greed that drives companies is normal, and this story isn’t unique.

 

~Tim

The Cosmic Joke

I’ve tried to kill myself many times over. I cut, burned, and mutilated my body for many years. One of my earliest memories involves me lying in a bedroom alone and crying, thinking about death. The memory is so strong not because of the content, but the feeling; It wasn’t fear, but more of an envy. Death, for a younger me, was a goal. I didn’t want to overcome death, I just wanted to achieve it on my own terms.

I’ve always felt somewhat outcast in my family. My dad is a psychologist of sorts, my mom held multiple positions in colleges and has spoken all over the country, my brother played trumpet, even in the Lincoln Center and in a few places in this country (though he stopped cold and now holds a government job that leaves him well off), and me? I had a brain, but maybe was born in the wrong time or place. At a young age I thought a lot about science.

I used to come up with theories pertaining to time, gravity, and the history of the universe and beyond. My parents saw me as intelligent, but riddled with depression and my ideas were manic obsessions, rants of the insane. Years later (and I mean over this past year) I came to learn a lot of my theories were now being studied, and were known as quantum theory involving superstrings. Science lulled my depression into a minor buzzing, but my parents quickly quashed those dreams. At night they used to talk about me, worriedly, and I would listen.

My ideas, to them, were a sign of me becoming a schizoid. Through multiple hospital trips, in which I spent months of my life being watched by doctors, I lost the fascination I once held and simply became just another over-medicated person. The fact of the matter is I do need medicine, because if I don’t take it I will kill myself (I still have suicidal thoughts, but more like bad dreams than like the serious ideas they once were).

Through all of this, a small part of my broken mind still considers grander things than my life, but I no longer hold that curiosity I once held. I hate this fact, and I hate that I lost something that comforted me so strongly. People say that ‘youth needs to be cherished’ or something along those lines, but not my youth. I chose a razor over a pen far to quickly, and for that I lost a part of me I loved.

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~Tim

Chasing Pluto

I guess I’ll tell you a little about Pluto: The dog that I almost got rid of.

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Pluto, as a puppy, had a tongue too big for his head. He would often wander around the house with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. When we first came across Pluto, I insisted to Emily that we don’t get him. And I mean I REALLY insisted… But she knew that he was the perfect partner for Tinkerbell. She was so insistent on it that she used her own money to buy him. So, Pluto became something of an adorable problem to me.

Hiya

Upon bringing him home, we kind of were under the impression that his bathroom habits would come naturally (and by that I mean he would learn from Tinkerbell about using pads and such). Nope. He had, from day one till about 1 month ago, pooped, peed, and threw up in any place he could land his feet. His biggest habit was staring me in the eyes while he peed on the floors of my apartment. When we first got him, we also brought Pluto and Tinkerbell to Virginia to visit my parents, where he was free to do his business outside, which suited him.

Naturally, I began to regret getting Pluto. As Edgar was to Pewdiepie, so was Pluto to me. I couldn’t stand the little thing, but, as it goes, Emily insisted that we keep him and that he was just a puppy (and at this point he was about 5 months old) and still needed to learn. I just wasn’t having it though.

After one particularly bad manic episode in August, in which I became furious with Pluto for again peeing and pooping wherever he felt like, I told Emily enough was enough, and we needed to give him to a home with a yard and a family with a higher tolerance than I had.

The next day we began looking for a family that would have him, and there were A LOT of people who wanted him. One family even came over and saw him. The children of the family had previously had an allergy to dogs, and hoping that a hypoallergenic dog would be the solution. But when the children were licked by him, they quickly broke out in a rash. All the while, Emily couldn’t look at me, and would cry when she was with him. I took this photo on the day we were sure the family was going to take him:

Goodbye

Seeing Emily’s sadness made me realize how ridiculous I was being. He loves me, and he loved me so much since he was a puppy, but I just am such a manic person that sometimes I lose focus of reality. Once the family left, I told Emily that we would keep Pluto and how sorry I was. That night he peed on the pad (one of the few times he ever did).

Since then, he’s still a little bit of a mess, but he’s adjusting to pads and loves walks. He’ll never fully commit to using pads, I know this, but I’ve seen him become close to me like Tinkerbell is to Emily. I have never felt more shame for my behavior than then. I soon adjusted my medications, taking anxiety pills more often and increasing my bipolar medicine.

Recently his become my companion. I love him, and I often have him asleep on my legs or beside me at night. He loves giving kisses and does something my old dog Goldie used to do: he leans against me when he wants me to pet him. The day I noticed this I kind of teared up, because Goldie was kind of like my Spirit Animal and losing her over 3 years ago still makes me cry sometimes. Pluto, though imperfect, is my friend, and though sometimes I say I ‘tolerate’ him, I love him beyond words. When Emily cries at night from fibromyalgia, he often licks her tears away. When I’m feeling upset, or just depressed, he’s always beside me, pushing against me, reminding me what unconditional love feels like when I’m too blind to see I’m surrounded by it.

pumpkin

~Tim

The Story Of Tinkerbell

As you can see, in the family picture that I drew, my puppies are a big part of my family. Since I was little I always wanted a little dog. I’ve always been a big stuffed animal lover, so at one point I had a Poodle collection, then it was Dalmatians, then it was red and white dogs, and then build-a-bears. I still love my suffies, and I still sleep with them shamelessly.  I could never get a dog when I was living with my mother because we always had cats. I love all animals, but I still had that longing for a dog. My Boyfriend moved to where we are and got a loft like apartment with lots of space so that when I graduated I could live with him.

In the fall of last year, he and I were in New Jersey Visiting family, and we randomly decided to go to a Pet Store that I pointed out. I fell in love with a male maltese puppy, and from then on Tim promised me that in November of 2014 he would get me a puppy. Now, with most people I’m used to them not going through with promises, but a quality that Tim has is he is a man of his word.

The man at the Pet Store in my town said that they were getting in Malteses at a certain day. My mom took me to see them because Tim was at work, and at this point I was not living with him yet. “Here she is..” the man said. Originally, I had wanted a boy maltese, but when I saw that tiny little girl maltese puppy, I did not care. He handed me her and she fit in my two hands. She lay there, belly up, and closed her eyes calmly. I knew that she was the one I wanted.

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A week later, Tim and I came to pick her up, and like he said, on his first check in November I was granted the company of my first puppy. I named her Tinkerbell, because I have a disney superstition about pet names, and because I’m obsessed with Peter Pan. I got her a little jingly collar and stayed with her sometimes at the apartment while Tim was at work, and sometimes at my Mom’s house. At this time in my life I was going through one of my depressed stages, and was trying out a bunch of new medications that were not working for me, so this was very therapeutic.

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A year later, I recently just celebrated her first birthday and made her and Pluto a pupcake. Soon a post will be made about Pluto, but perhaps I’ll get My Puffin to do that one 😉

Now that I live with Tim I get to be with my Puppies all the time, and it’s so rewarding. I take them for baths and showers with me every 2 weeks or so, and they sleep in bed with us. They are very cuddly, but also hypoallergenic, which is good for my health problems.  I never regret them, always love.

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XOXO

Emily

A Terrible, Beautiful Life

Lovey Dovey

Bloomsburg is a lot like hell, in the sense that you feel trapped here (if you have any sense about you). There are people I’ve met who considered it more home than any place they’ve ever been. Other’s, less fortunate I suppose, are home because they don’t know anywhere else can be home. What I’m trying to say is: It’s a small town in bumfuck nowhere that consists of people who are trapped. The people who are born and raised in the area generally don’t know how not to be shit-kickers, especially a small bunch in Buckhorn. That’s not to say that it’s entirely hopeless. Emily’s father, Darren, and step-mother, Jenn, hate me because I’m older than her by eight years and I’m also her second cousin. That doesn’t insinuate that if we had kids they wouldn’t meet social standard, but luckily we never plan to procreate. We’ve messed our lives up enough to know adding another into the mix would lead to catastrophe (maybe we’d create a little Patrick Bateman. Or something more broken)

Because I love her, and she loves me, and we live together, we’re a scandal. Emily compares us to one of the gay couples in the ’90s. I compare us to lepers. Either way, no one in this God damn town thinks what we have is worth the ground we walk on. Ironically, I don’t think this town or it’s people are worth the soles of my shoes. Beyond this town is my family in Virginia. No, I’m not a southern boy. I’m not one of those rebel flag waving, truck driving, tobacco chewing, gay bashing, George W. loving, church going kinds of guys. I’m more pragmatic and cynical than that. My family consists of my mom, who supports Emily and I, my Dad, who openly supports Emily and I, and my brother and his wife, who don’t like us being together and everything we do. Luckily my brother and step-sister are kind to no fault. Oh yeah, and there’s my best friend Will, who has some serious social anxiety.

So, I moved to Bloomsburg to work at a cell phone store and help support Emily and I, but that went south. I’m bipolar, that’s worth mentioning, and I dabbled in YouTube as The Bipolar Chef, where I cursed, cooked, and complimented myself. Bipolar disorder, maybe just for me, means I love myself, hate myself, want to die, want everyone else to die, and also am ambitious with relent.

Emily and I are currently, and will always be, in a war to stay in love without having to sacrifice people. Well, she is; I’m more willing to choose the ones I love over the ones I tolerate. I tolerated her father and step-mother, along with some other people who I forgot already, and you can only guess as to how much love those people have for me.

However, Emily is less like me than anyone, and for that she suffers quietly to maintain any kind of dwindling bond with the people she loves who hate myself and ‘us’. I am sometimes the devil on her shoulder, whispering that she should tell her father how she feels, but she is too good to listen to me when I become manic enough to do that. So, where do I begin with this? We love each other, and sacrificed so much too, but how can you express something like that?

In October, 2014, I told Darren about Emily and I. Henceforth, I was known in this town as a predator and, I guess, a pedophile (I’m not, I hate kids). Emily was 18, I was 26, I was getting ready to move to Bloomsburg in November, and what better way to show up in style than by making my friend (of the time) and his wife hate me? Sufficed to say, I do sometimes regret telling him, considering the circumstances.