July 2006: Unfortunately, most of the following still applies, two years on.


8th June 04, RNRU

Bigs up: Tig for the pig and Waterfall for getting me there and back and practically carrying me to the bog after I talked so much I couldn't walk. Mr and Mrs Kauf for getting hitched, Thea for loading me into (and out of) my suit and everyone for being helpful and patient but not straying into patronising territory, especially Abi, the lanky bloke in the grey suit with the hearing aid, everyone at the table and Tig'n'Ali for a super Sunday afterwards. We did the Eastbourne thing i.e. went to the front in a wheelchair and did FUCK ALL in the sun.
And then there's Chris, who kicked off the whole whip-round thing, Waterfall (again) and Tig (again again) for taking care of business. Rupesh, that cheque should have been one of those six-foot ones lottery winners are presented with. I'll get you for that. Good luck with the New Beast. Which brings me to everyone (picture Gary Oldman hamming it up to the bridge in Leon: 'EVERYONE !' Or was it 'Everybody'' ?)
And who is P. Palmer ? Presumably not Patsy, formerly of Eastenders. V. Palmer doesn't know. And Sue Hill ? Anyone ?
Well. I don't need to spend it all on drugs 'cause I get those free. As you probably know, I'm going to get a new laptop. Not that this one's mine but as New John said, 'That's got valves in, hasn't it?' I decided to get a Mac because life's just not hard enough. It has something called an iFuckoffdrive that plays and records DVDs, CDs, MP3s, HGVs, STDs, 10-inch vinyl, wax cylinders, 8-track cartridges and Betamax although you have to chisel out the slot for some of those. It also has a screen and Word, although if that's all I'm going to use I may as well get a nice Smith Corona golfball. Chk chk chk DING
chk chk etc.
Apparently you can download a demo version of Rhino so I can finally, if virtually, finish that stupid bike I've been boring on about for years and prove to the world that I am, in fact, a complete idiot.

Enough jollity. Let me explain my absence for the last month-and-a half; apart from the floppy drive going squif I've been on something of a downer. Here's something I wrote for some of the staff here at Center Parcs:

OK, here are the facts. A couple of times in the last two weeks I've stayed in bed until lunch. Attempts were made by Dr. Cheesman among others (why has Word underlined that as a grammatical error?) to ascertain a physical explanation. The reason, according to my amateur, subjective diagnosis, is psychosomatic, and pretty straightforward: I want as little as possible to do with my life.
Getting out of bed means immediate entry to an existence which is more horrible than you can imagine unless you've experienced it. Every single aspect -washing, dressing, moving, going to the toilet, eating, drinking, talking - is overshadowed by fear of falling, being misunderstood, choking, not getting to the toilet in time, dropping or throwing drinks, covering my face in food or having it fall out of my mouth. Overshadowing all this, however, is the much greater fear that this is it, that I've stopped improving and I'm going to spend the rest of my life in this state. But there's also the uncertainty; it's difficult not knowing where I stand or what possibilities my future will hold, if any. Such is the nature of brain injury. In the last three months there has been no improvement in walking, speech or manipulation, despite constant effort. It must be hard to understand the extent of my removal from my previous life; this unit is full of people who have lost the abilities to walk, talk, eat, drink and manipulate. But who's lost all of those? Me. And Manoj. Let me assure you that however many cases you've seen, however imaginative you are, you have no idea what it's like.
I spend all my time with my head bowed, looking at the floor, the muck that passes for food here, or my left hand which only functions close to my body. If I could be told that there was no question of any further recovery, while at least the uncertainty would be removed, I would much rather die than spend another day in this pathetic, fumbling, stumbling, mumbling existence. There's always some little scrap of hope, though; the upcoming Botox clinic, tiny hints of increased arm movement in physio. That's about it.
So why don't I want to get up? In short, DUH, why the fuck would I? I believe that on those two particular occasions, my body received a simple message from my brain: Don't bother. You're OK here.
I cry every day. I'm fully aware of what each day will be like. The question of why I might not want to participate in it doesn't really need to be answered, does it?

Ooh, gosh. All a bit melodramatic, isn't it? No, it's not. Really, I would prefer to die rather than spend my life in this state. Everything I enjoyed has been taken away; so I have to get better, don't I?
Much to my surprise the Botox thing went ahead just when I'd become resigned to it being jam tomorrow and it was fascinating. First they stuck a probe thing in my biceps (singular) which presents electrical activity as sound; the constantly active muscle made a noise like an idling scooter. Botox-Botulinum Toxin-relaxes muscles. They pumped a load in up there, then came the fun part, the muscles that close the fingers, which are in the inner forearm. A long thin syringe went in with a mild electrical pulse running through it, then the doc manoeuvered it around until a finger started to twitch, synchronised with a beep and a little yellow LED. Bosh, in went the stuff. Five injections later and I looked like a smackhead.
Then they put Raquel Welch in a submarine
did you see Ren and Stimpy when Ren had to venture inside Stimpy, but instead of miniaturising Ren they inflated Stimpy to giant size?

STOP PRESS Woodwork John just visited, bringing a huge card with an extra sheet stuck inside covered in messages from about a million students. Nice one, CSM crew ! Hopefully the current 2nd years will see me return to my position (sitting on my arse with a cup of tea) next year. There was also a stack of HMV vouchers so I can buy lots of Dido albums and three CDs of cover versions from Nik (sp?) Green; I particularly like the Bran Flakes ad by Snuff.

So, this new computer, what will I use it for? I'll say this quietly: I'm going to write a book. I know, that always sounds like a load of Billy, but I'm going to be utterly unemployable for quite a while so why not? Oh, if you've read this site's content and think I've got no chance, I'm aiming for truth rather than style here. John told me about a scene from a film in which two blokes who haven't seen each other for some time meet:
A: What are you up to?
B: I'm writing a book.
A: Yeah, me neither.

Hm. Well. In case you haven't guessed, I'm absolutely sick of being a raspberry, an invalid (have you seen Gattaca? An in-valid), being miserable and frightened all the time and so totally dependent (sometimes on people to whom I wouldn't entrust a shopping list); it's all getting... no, it's got on top of me. This constant negativity can't be good for my mental health. I'm starting to hate the unit; whereas it was the condition necessitating my presence here that pissed me off, now it's the place itself. I'm not sure that this supposedly cathartic purge (love that word. Least favourite? Cum. Ugly piece of phonetic shit) is working, so I'll leave you with the wisdom of Mr. D: Did you see that kid at the wedding who flailed his limbs like a nutter until he fell over, then just got up and flailed more, landing on his arse every 30 seconds or so? Chris watched him for a while, then leaned over and said 'I see they've put the tartrazine back into Ribena.'