Careful on that ladder...

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Careful on that ladder...

Postby ghost » Sat Dec 03, 2005 1:32 am

I grew up in Northern Illinois. I'm 28. I moved to the Fort Worth/Dallas area of Texas two years ago to live near/with my girlfriend who grew up there. Texas isn't my favorite place, and I was working average low-paying jobs the whole time. I was in the hiring process for the Fort Worth Fire Department, and it seemed like I was going to make it. On September 8th I was working at my $9 an hour carpentry job, and I fell off a ladder...right on my head. I don't remember any of that day, and I don't remember the three weeks afterward that I spent in the Texas hospital. I guess I was near death and filled with tubes, but I can't recall one second of it...in this physical world or anywhere else. My parents and my sister came to Texas from Illinois and were there the whole time. My girlfriend was there the whole time too. I flew back to a hospital in Illinois for a couple weeks, and then I went to The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago for about three weeks. I've been home at my parents house in Illinois since November 1st. I'm getting better, but it just takes time. The doctors said six months to a year. I have physical therapy three times a week, and I do other exercises and stretching at home the rest of the time. I have a big scar on my head (from falling on a wooden fence on my way to the concrete.) I have double vision, dizziness, and some brain damage...and too many other injuries to list. Regular physical movement (walking, etc) is coming back. I feel pretty much back to normal mentally (which kicks ass), but the physical stuff is harder. A lot of physical stuff is not the way it used to be, but my ears are still 100%. Listening to some Phish at the rehab hospital a couple months or so ago brought a smile to my face. I have plenty more to say about this, but I mentioned Phish and that's what I was moving toards. Music, especially Phish, is great.
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Postby gregradiohead » Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:15 am

Wow, I'm sorry about that man. I have this big scar on the left side of my head from when I was a kid. I was born with this weird hairy patch of skin that the doctors thought might be cancerous, so I had surgeries to remove it and then shrink the size of the scar. I was also in a car accident this summer which could have killed me if conditions were slightly different. I was only out of comission for a week but I think I have a slight idea what you're going through.
Anyway, the Oh Kee Pa is pulling for ya.
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Postby vernixx » Sat Dec 03, 2005 2:40 am

Damn.......I'm from Dallas/Fort Worth originally. You were proably at Baylor Medical, right? Or Parkland.

Hope you get well sooon. Drop in here often and let us know how you are!
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Postby themezzotint » Sat Dec 03, 2005 5:56 am

oh man, sorry to hear that, hope you get better.
good (((vibes))) to you man.
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Postby grabs666 » Sat Dec 03, 2005 7:34 am

glad to hear you are feeling better! Keep digging the tunes.....they can bring you to some fantastic places.
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Postby Cletus Awreetus-Awrightus » Sat Dec 03, 2005 8:54 pm

Wow, that's some story ghost! I'm sorry to hear that happened to you. It's great that you are recovering, I'm sure every day will bring better things. Keep on keeping on and keep spinning Phish!
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Postby ghost » Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:16 pm

I read stuff on this message board pretty much everyday. I've been a member for awhile, but I don't post much. This message board is great. Lots of cool people with cool stuff to say. And, of course, Phish is incredible.
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Postby ghost » Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:32 pm

Here's my post from months ago when I first joined Oh Kee Pa:
I first heard Phish the summer after I graduated from high school ('95). My cousin had a tape with some songs from Junta on it. I bought Junta soon after that. I liked it, but I didn't "get" it yet. The following summer I went to the show at Alpine Valley. I didn't know any of the songs (except for the few covers), and I wasn't into it at all. (I couldn't figure out why everyone was yelling, "Wilson.") I tried again the following summer at Alpine and again that fall at The University of Illinois. I still wasn't "getting" it. ('97...I know...I was crazy...I look at the setlists now and wonder how I was sitting right there and completely missing everything.) So I decided that I didn't need to go to anymore shows. I kept buying the studio albums, and I listened to them once in awhile. Around the time of the hiatus I started listening to Phish all the time. I read about them in books and on the internet. Finally, I "got" it, but there were no shows to go to. When they came back I saw both shows at Alpine that summer. I went to both shows at Alpine again the next summer for the last tour, and I saw the first show and the last show of the tour at a movie theater. Nothing lasts forever, and we still have tons of recorded music to listen to. I like the Trey Band too. I saw them at Austin City Limits Fest last year (right after the end of Phish.) They kicked so much ass. I was right up front waiting for the show to start, and people around me were saying that they never had a chance to see Phish live. I just smiled and knew that I was lucky to have been there for the full experience.


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Postby ghost » Sat Dec 03, 2005 11:50 pm

Vernixx, I was at JPS hospital in Fort Worth. It's a county hospital or something. When I lived in Texas before I had a hard time finding other Phish fans. You advised me to go to Dallas and also catch the Dead radio show. I lived in Keller (about 15 miles North of Fort Worth), so I didn't get out the Dallas area much.
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Postby momamomma1 » Sun Dec 04, 2005 12:05 am

Ghost..., man you are one lucky SOB.. but I'm sure you know that already. Althought idon't know you from a stranger on the street... I'm so glad that you're doing well and are on the road to recovery.genuinely. Please stay in good spirts ghost... ( pun intended) and keep coming in here.. I know it has brightend up my life tremendously and I'm sure it will continue to do the same for you. :)

((((to you)))))) and I hope you feel better. :)
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Postby rastabilly » Sun Dec 04, 2005 2:42 am

keep listening to phish while you do your PT exercises. Music is powerful medicine, ya know? I had a year of intensive PT on my right hand after my thumb was torn off (and later re-attached) ... I hated every minute of agonizing stretching and flexing, but music channeled my focus away from the pain. I definately have some idea of where you're at and how frustrating things can be. Stay positive and keep kickin it on the OKP!
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Postby ghost » Sun Dec 11, 2005 2:47 am

I know that this was a 'bad" thing that happened to me, but I was extremely lucky. As far as falling on your head on concrete goes...it messes people up forever. I feel like I'm pretty much back to normal mentally. The whole injury experience didn't change me at all. I think and feel exactly the same. It's just the physical stuff (mostly related to the cerebellum) that are lacking and take time to heal. I'm not paralyzed. I didn't have anything amputated. Just taking time to get better is fine by me.
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Postby ghost » Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:12 am

Not having universal healthcare in this country is so wrong. I knew this before, but this injury experience has made it personal. I paid $120 a month for health insurance, so I was OK there. My parents have a good supply/savings of money that they are willing to spend on me, so I'm OK there too. (And my Mom was a nurse and my Dad was a firefighter/paramedic, so they know how to take care of me.) All this healthcare stuff is so expensive. Insanely expensive. I am so lucky to be in a situation where all of this can be handled. I am 28, so I could easily be married and have kids and have no insurance. People in that situation have to hurry up and heal and get back to work to make more money. Then they declare bankruptcy because they could never dream of paying their medical bills. When I got hurt the paramedics came and called a helicopter to get me to the hospital faster. About a month and a half later, when I was obviously still in the hospital, some woman from the helicopter company called to ask me when I could pay the $7000 that I owed them. How could they call injured people in the hospital to ask about money? My taxes should go towards universal healthcare. That money should pay for that helicopter ride instead of paying for a bomb to be dropped in the interest of "national security."
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Postby ghost » Sat Jan 07, 2006 10:45 pm

Just a day short of four months, and everything is healing slowly but surely. My hair is growing and covering up that huge scar on my head. (I have a sweet beard growing like crazy too.) The compressed fractures in a couple of my vertebrae are feeling great. The small fractures in my sternum feel fine. I still have double vision, but I'm just hoping that my brain healing will fix that. I had an MRI, and there are still some "blood products" around my brain. Just bruising and clotting that needs to heal more and be reabsorbed. I still use a walker to get around, but it's mostly for balance. I can walk on my own...just very slowly and unsteadily. My balance has improved very much, but it still has a way to go. I'm lucky enough to have all the time I need to heal, so it's all OK with me.
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Postby marley » Sun Jan 08, 2006 4:45 am

Hope the 5.8.77 helps!
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Postby zoot horn rollo » Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:37 am

glad to hear you're feeling better.

nice post above about universal health care... i worked as a union organizer in the health care field for a while. privatized medicine is a sketchy buisiness. the short staffing, cutting corners on equipment, and assembly line mentality makes for a pretty disturbing environment. not to mention the insurance system... man, i haven't had coverage for almost a year now... its damn nerve racking.

good luck with the healing. keep us updated.
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Postby Moma Dave » Sun Jan 08, 2006 7:50 am

Ghost, it was great chattin with you that one night! I hope you're feeling better and better every day.
I'm left in the now with a wondrous glow
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Postby ghost » Mon Jan 09, 2006 6:48 am

My sister turns 20 on the 16th. We have always been close. I think we are too far apart in age to fight. (8 1/2 years) She is a sophomore at Illinois Wesleyan University. She wasn't at school very long this semester when I fell, so she just took the semester off after being at the hospital in Texas for three weeks. So she pretty much took care of me and helped me out since I've been home for the past two months...especially at first. (My parents, of course, have been around too, but my Mom went back to work and my Dad has been doing his retiree goofing-off.) It was really cool to have my sister around pretty much all the time. She wasn't really looking forward to returning to all her schoolwork and stuff, but I know she misses her friends and the college fun. I wish I was 20 and in college. :)
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Postby ghost » Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:06 am

OK. Six months to the day. I'm getting better and feeling better everyday. I can walk without a walker now. I use a cane outside the house...mostly just to move a little quicker, but I am very slow. I still have double vision. (I saw a doctor who said that it will get better...probably on its own.) I'm still dizzy sometimes. It seems most related to changes in head position. It gets better little by little. I don't think there is much else regular medical doctors can do. It's just my body and mind healing. I started seeing a chiropractor this week. I really have come a long way. It's just not as apparent to me being in the situation everyday. I truly do appreciate life...every single moment. I did before, but this type of experience has taken all of that to a higher level. The human body is amazing. It all seems so basic and normal in daily life, but every breath, every moment is incredibly special. I have a million things to say about all of this. A million things relating to a million different ideas.
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Postby willbreathes » Thu Mar 09, 2006 1:24 am

Excellent ghost! Here is to MANY MORE 6 months!
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Postby dmcnul91 » Thu Mar 09, 2006 2:22 am

^damn straight. keep it going ghost. and i am intrigued about everything you have to say
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Postby acoopalypsenow » Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:20 am

Glad to hear things are going well, man. Hope you keep on gettin' better.
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Postby ghost » Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:29 am

So I guess I stick out in public. I'm 6'2", I was using a walker (now a cane,) I have a piece of black plastic clipped over one lens of my glasses, and I have a beard that is six months long now. People look at handicapped people, and they are really looking at me. Look...look away. Stare when they think you're not looking. Maybe the eyepatch contributes. I guess wondering if there is an eye under there makes you stare. I can assure everyone that both of my eyes are just fine, and a patch over glasses doesn't hide much. Kids commenting to their parents is great. "He looks scary." "He looks funny." "He looks like a pirate." I suppose the huge beard and the eyepatch look more like a Halloween costume. Hilarious. On average it's the younger kids and the older people that seem to have the best reaction to it. Everyone else seems hung-up on their personal views. I'm sure I was before too. The really young kids haven't been corrupted yet, and the older people (70s, 80s) learned that it doesn't matter. Now I just see everyone as who they are. (The glowing spirit in the head/shoulders area...Just ask Don Juan.)

Some people cut in front of me and get in the way. Some people stop and let me go first. It's very interesting to see different people's reactions. A couple months ago I was coming out of a movie theater, and a kid (about 10) opened the door for me. He was looking at me...puzzled. He said, "What happened to your eye?" I took off the patch and told him that the eyes are fine, but I have double-vision. He just said, "OK," and the the puzzled look disappeared from his face. That's how everyone should be.

I went to the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago with my girlfriend a month or so ago. About two weeks later I was at a grocery store with my Dad. (The aquarium and the grocery store are 60 miles apart. The grocery store is in my area...I was just visiting the aquarium.) This guy walks past me and says, "Didn't I see you at the Shedd Aquarium?" I didn't remember seeing him, so I asked, "A couple weeks ago?" He said yes. I said, "Yeah, I was there a couple weeks ago. Cool." It's weird that he remembers seeing me 60 miles away two weeks before. I guess I do stick out. Maybe he just remembers a hot girl with some handicapped guy...probably his nurse. :) (Really odd for us both to be in two completely different places at the same time as the other.)
Last edited by Anonymous on Sat Mar 11, 2006 1:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby kaktus » Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:43 am

hey ghost ... i read your posts for the first time now

here's to the healing power of music and to YOU
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Postby El Bastarde » Fri Mar 10, 2006 12:52 am

Much like the last poster, this is the first time I've read any of this thread. Holy crap, this is some good stuff. I mostly amazed at you not remembering any of it for three weeks. I had a friend who was hit by a van while getting his mail and he says he doesn't remember any of it either though neighbors claim they saw him staggering around on his front lawn. It's amazing how these things work and I have a feeling that it's your brain censoring this stuff for your own good.

Your story of rehab is fascinating. It's great that you don't appear to have any major paralysis. Keep on keeping on, man.

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