Thursday, January 30, 2014

Connect the dots

One of my Sunday school teachers, Mike Mckay, first introduced me to the concept of stream of consciousness (the one-by-one steps of a thought process) by playing a game in which he gave us two unrelated topics and had us try to connect them and bring it back full circle. He was amazing at it and wowed us by picking up where we would get stuck. I find myself entertaining myself by doing this silently throughout the day. Geeky, I know; but also extremely satisfying for me as a TBI patient.

This game leaks over into all areas of my life as I am mentally making connections (with the books I read, people I talk to, mundane Mr. Mom moments, and even what I watch on TV) all day long. I have to remind myself that, thankfully, not everyone sees the world the same way I do, that the obvious connections from my point of view are only that because they are uniquely mine. Another great "ah-ha" moment for me, the narcissist in recovery. My most recent find has come by a recommendation by my Bishop: the online candeo behavior change program. I am loving it, but I am a Psychology geek. Step one: out of denial, CHECK. Step two: (my connection) Everyone has problems, but everyone has hope.

Maxwell brought home a connect-the-dot duck for homework today. I chuckled at the coincidence and the thought of me at one point in my occupational therapy doing connect-the-dots and missing the left side of the picture. I would often get to number 43, but could not find 44 because it was in my vision cut. Because I could not see the next step, I would move on to the number I could find. This usually resulted in a some sort of decapitated cartoon animal or a man with one leg. Obviously, missing the necessary steps didn't get the desired result. I have been repeating another one of my Pa's sayings, "49 to 50." I did that today after therapy and he responded that it was time to be at 50 and now go to 51. Connection: Sometimes I get frustrated and depressed at being at only step 49 and knowing how far I need to still go. Sometimes moving only one dot at a time feels like I'm not moving at all and I want to skip ahead and finish the pictures. But skipping necessary, though frustrating, steps will only end in a metaphorically decapitated  result.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

The Funnies

First, a disclaimer on these posts of my collection of finding humor in everyday life, I was asked by a therapist after my accident, "Curtis,what do you do to laugh?"  It made me realize that I was being to serious with life and although I have always been prone to worry, I was letting it take over my life, and become my personal definition of hell; a place or mindset with no laughter allowed. So, these have become my self medicating posts to help me find and recall the moments in life that help me laugh and let go of my worries. Laugh along with me, it has become for me the best therapy that life has to offer.
I grew up with and loved Calvin & Hobbes and The Farside comics.My brothers and I collected their books that we received at Christmas every year.

I was amazed to see how much My Colester resembles Calvin, when my Pa tried to do his hair before going to therapy. Coleman does not like being called anything but Coleman and cried, telling us "that was weird!"

While we were up at Bear Lake for Blake and Madd's beautiful wedding on the beach Shafe told the kids that he saw a moose and when Mindy, Aunty Em's little dog ran under his chair he yelled out,"there's the moose!" Now my kids call'Mindy,Moose'"Mindy,"but cannot say it without laughing.
He also told the kids that he saw a jackrabbit outside, I couldn't resist and asked my Max how Pappa(Shafe) knew that the rabbit's name was 'Jack?'

My Colester came downstairs crying that he couldn't go potty in his potty because there was water in it.I showed him the big potty and the water in it and found myself trying to explain to an almost 3 year old why it was not only okay that there was water, but in fact it was better because it was easier to clean. I gave in after a minute or so and just sat him down crying and shut the door.Another great parenting moment.Man, I am racking them up.

I was excited to tell and even more excited to show Matt Hanson at Neuroworx my new skill at doing the stairs at a normal one at a time speed there. Ever the therapist he gave in and watched me closely giving me the feedback, "Looks great Curtis, next time do it with your head up."

While working out,during therapy at Neuroworx, a good friend and therapist,Mike told me to continue to do reps, but he,"wanted to see my money-making face up and smiling." If he had not just got married,I would have given him a hard time for 'hitting' on me during therapy, instead he pulled the mirror over and told me to "show him the money!"Insert sparkling smile on my face here('ding' as the white star-like image appears on my teeth, I was going to say,'flashes, but thought that it may be used in the wrong connotation.').

Coleman gets up with Abby and Max in the mornings and wrestles with me in bed, saying things like:"Oh, Man, " and "My Mommy no go!"

At my Lacer's wedding, seeing my niece coach her younger, inexperienced brother Kyson on how to ask my Abby to dance. watching the kids dance, Maxwell and the Colester must have got some of the theatrical genes from their mom too.

My friend Joe Fernandez making me a YELLOW T-shirt that say,s "CurtIS CHAMPION "

Lex asking me to give her feedback on her student's performance of Bye, Bye Birdie and me first telling her that she is amazing, to which she responded, "No really." I laughed and told her that she has ruined me, I cannot go and see a show without dissecting it. I told her that there was a part at the end where her two leads are singing their love duet and they were to be going up the stairs on the same step, but were off by just one and that I could not help to think, I know my Lexy and she would never direct you like that!

My grandparents getting up from their seats to get me a dinner plate and give me a place to sit.

Maxwell singing the 'Jingle Bells song' with the words that I remember getting in trouble for substituting in: Batman smells, Robin lays an egg, the Bat mobile lost a wheel and joker got away." Now there is an updated verse that he sings something about smelly Potter.

Going to Disney's 'Frozen' with my family and laughing so hard at the snowman's song about summertime that I was crying.

Getting to therapy early to see a few of the therapists doing the 'Insanity'  workout video. I told them that I was excited to see them suffer and to be able to relate to the 'insanity' that us patients go through there. I spoke too soon because Jan told me to start in on the abbs segment -What is the difference between a terrorist and a therapist? You can negotiate with a terrorist.

Matt and Jenn bring dinner over and being serenaded by their Lizzy doing her job in the bathroom and my Cole-Cole screaming at me from the stairs

Laughing at the 'Firefly' series that my brother and sister in law let me borrow and at every outburst my kids running over, climbing on me to get a glimpse at what I found funny.

Not having therapy the day after Christmas, Neuroworx was closed, I did go on Christmas Eve.My Abby girl came in and jumped on me in my bed to wake me up with a concerned question, "You are going to miss therapy dad, it's Thursday, you got to get up!" Since she hears that from Lex and I all the other weekdays about her and Maxwell getting up for school, I should have been expecting it. I was able to get into a tickle fight with her and tell her that it was closed. Exhausted, we both went back to sleep for a bit.
I had a bad experience with bacon when we went to the roadhouse to cook breakfast and it was my job to cook it. Since then I have been a bacon banner in my home. the smell of it cooking makes me nauseous and I have had enough nausea in my life. To my surprise the little hell raiser  of a daughter that I have, Abby loves bacon, and she is the kindest little girl I know

At my extended family Christmas party, my uncle Alan was helping spot me while walking to our car and we laughed at my brother Matthew's comment that here comes "grease lightning,"a nickname that I picked up from him a few years ago from my amazing ability to beat him in bowling although my bowling ball was the slowest one out there. He has also added "Thump-drag" to his roster of nicknames for me. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the spooky scout story of thump drag, ask your scouts as with every good story there are varying editions.

Maxwell has been home sick from school with me this past week, with a darn cold. He has gotten used to me babying him and I was surprised to hear him whine and ask me to put his plate in the sink for him, being to tiered and all -something about 'learned helplessness' dings in my BS degree in Psychology holding brain
I was able to go 21 days without the use of my wheelchair, thanks to my wife for getting a Christmas break, therapists who put up with me, and kids who cheer for me when I stand or walk without the use of my hiking pole!

Saturday, January 11, 2014


For walking or doing much in my life, does not exist anymore for me. I find that if I do not control my thoughts, they will control me, from depression and anxiety to wishing for world peace. I cannot help to reference 'Batman Forever' on my autopilot post .
I have taken the challenge, that I gave to myself, to give my yellow beauty of a wheelchair Christmas break off.I find that everyone has had those moments of driving and not knowing how they ended up where they were going or where they ended up. I do not have that luxury with walking let alone driving. My brain is on constant overdrive to coordinate the 'kenomatics' of walking, the correct movements and balance, from hitting your heel first and transferring weight on the foot to swinging your opposite arm with that movement. I tease my therapists, shocking I know, when they ask me to walk and give me a list of things to remember to focus on while doing it, that they should be asking me to learn to juggle while they are at it.
I got carried away and spent 21 days wheelchair free and was exhausted, but CHAMPION. I did get a open sore on my ankle from all the walking and am letting that heal before I go a round of time off for my wheelchair, I just asked my Abby what we should name my wheelchair. I thought that since my left arm and left leg have names from her I would not get to weird of a look from her. I was right, she came up with "Lucky." Lucky it is.
Now that I am using lucky today, I could use some mental energy and post here. I have missed this, but I am a DW