They say bad things happen in threes, right? I know what you’re thinking and, yep: I am just a few days into my second decade of paralysis, and sh#t is already starting to get weird.
It all started late Tuesday night when, after catching dinner with some friends, I came outside to find that the my van wouldn’t start. We popped the hood and found a heaping pile of bluish white oxidation covering the positive terminal of the battery. Fortunately, we were able get a jump and make it home safely with a friend following us. Flash forward to Wednesday afternoon when we cleaned off the oxidation and found that the end of the battery cable was so corroded it was falling off the post, and I felt a resentment slowly starting to burn for the boys down at the local Oil Can Henry’s who changed my oil a couple weeks ago and failed to notice the problem.
We eventually managed to get the cable reattached enough that it might make it to the mechanic down the street. After another jump, we were ready to go. That’s when my garage door decided to go haywire. It started opening and shutting like it was possessed until it opened one final time and stopped, offering little more than a subtle convulsion every time you hit the button. Sweet.
Now, if you were to point out that both of those incidents are rather innocuous first-world problems, I wouldn’t disagree. It’s what happened between those events that compounded these issues as part of the not-so-awesome trifecta they became. So let’s take a step back.
I’m sure you’ve all seen those wire whisk-like head scratchers at Brookstone and on late-night infomercials, but can you guess it’s name? Spider Scratcher? Sounds about right, but no. If you took one look and said Orgasmatron, I’d be a little disturbed… Because you’d be right. With a name like that, it made me wonder if I’d been using it the wrong way this entire time. But on second thought, maybe a quadriplegic named it?
When you are paralyzed and wake up before dawn and are unable scratch that itch on the back of your head, there really is no better feeling than the little prongs on that sucker river dancing atop your skull. What doesn’t feel so great is when your half-asleep caregiver stumbles in attempting to put it to use in the pitch black and you turn your head the perfectly wrong way, sending a single prong a few inches deep in your left ear toward your brain, which is exactly what happened around 5 AM on Wednesday morning. Needless to say, van and garage doors issues become a little more pressing when you’re hemorrhaging out of the side of your face.
By the time we managed to resolve the various mechanical problems, I was able to make it to a local urgent care clinic to get a referral to an ENT, but couldn’t get an appointment until the following day. With blood still gurgling in my head I returned home to an epic attempt at making amends that came in the form of ear-shaped shortbread cookies with strawberry blood filling and a rather graphic card featuring a sign language apology. Turns out my
assailant caregiver has a flair for Photoshop and oddly themed baked goods.
As you can tell, I didn’t die. But man, can you imagine if I had? The obituary would’ve read like the result of some twisted game of Clue meets Cards Against Humanity – quadriplegic, in the master bedroom, with the Orgasmatron.
While I sat in a North Seattle specialist’s office next to some dude with a headlamp on having way too much fun vacuuming blood clots out of my ear canal yesterday, it hit me that this is about par for the acid trip minigolf course that is my life. After all, I am no stranger to the shocking and unexplainable when it comes to all things medical – anyone who’s spent more than a half hour around me and my pooch has heard “The Hank Story” which is very much deserving of it’s capitalization and quotes. I’ll save that one for another time.
The point is, I survived. Whether it’s a burst appendix, dog problems, rare skin issues, flatlining in the ER, you name it, I always survive. It’s the running joke in our family that every trip to the hospital ends with the doctor saying, “Huh. That’s weird.” It’s never, “Take two of these and call me in the morning.” It’s always something strange but, in time, I come out relatively unscathed. I suppose there’s a level of comfort in that.
To quote my favorite author, Hunter S Thompson: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Stay tuned for the more of the same… But make sure to stand on my right when you’re talking to me for the next few weeks.