On a wheeled horse I ride. i.am.rollerman

Archive for the ‘spinal cord injury’ Category

You Can’t Kill Me, You Don’t Have the Paperwork

In Life, spinal cord injury, wheelchair on November 6, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Since no "paperwork" was filed that the dog on the left might have been dangerous, please ignore the picture of said dog knawing on a human leg while a man on crutches passes to the right.

Wait, did I just read that?

An Ulster Dutchess County NY man has been sentenced to six months in jail for killing a dog.   PLEASE: I am in no way condoning this guy’s behavior, but the Judge’s “key point” (his words, not mine) on his verdict in this trial was whether the dog was dangerous.

Quote  from the Kingston Daily Freeman:

“…The justice said that, while there was ample testimony that the dog was mean and aggressive, there was no finding by the court that the dog posed any danger.

Earlier in the article, the dog’s owner states:

“…Humphrey (the deceased) was kept chained in a garage on the property because Sturgess (the dog’s OWNER) had said the dog was aggressive.

Further from the Judge:

“The fact is there was no complaint, no paperwork filed on that dog,” Smith said. “A citizen cannot say, ‘That’s a dangerous dog.’  …”  

So,  since no one saw a rationale need to report this to the authorities, thus their justification is baseless?

“Hello, I’d like to report an angry dog.”   Authorities: “You’re calling…why, Sir are you high?”

“Hello, I’d like to report an angry dog.”   Authorities: “Sir, did you realize calling on a frivolous matter is a felony?”

“Hello, I’d like to report an angry dog.”   Authorities: “Tell him to lick himself, I do that when I’m angry…or I wish I could, at least”

Maybe I should have fallen on the pavement

After five years with the same wheelchair cushion (aka “fart magnet”) and seat back, it finally needs to be replaced.  I receive an email from my wheelchair supplier, “…the new cushion and seat back will be $365.00.”

Now, i’ve already met my annual $2K out of pocket deductible AND $2K out of pocket medical durable goods deductible (yes that’s $4K in ADDITION to my $6.5K premium, so I’m well past $11K, that just ME individually) so I’m thinking this most likely be covered at 100%

Silly man!  Up charge! I must pay a premium of $365 in order to get the item prescribed to me.

You see I apparently made a poor decision six years ago to get a higher end more durable wheelchair than the insurance company felt necessary.   I figured, I’m only going to be in the thing ALL DAY, that I’ll spend $4K of my OWN money to UPGHARGE to a better model. (Finally tally: insurance company $1.8K + me: $4.5K = Wheelchair: $5.3K)

So the same hypocrites that stress preventative care want to fiscally punish me again for having selected a chair that has most likely prevented a $20K surgery on my clickety-click clavicles?    Throw me a bone, as in two clavicle replacements.

Ignore the Man behind the curtain in the wheelchair

I’m not supposed to be in the blustery NY MSA this week.  I’m supposed to be in Southwest Florida.  Back in the business travel saddle again after a six year hiatus.

It was not in the cards.  My mind the victim of a vicious slap flight with my bodies’ auto immune system.  My Left Foot?  Hell, my entire left leg, bigger than Oprah’s during season three.   My left heel currently playing fresh air parent to a tennis ball sized blister.

I’m on the mend.  3X daily hits of Keflex and Carnation Instant Breakfast taken orally, not topically you big silly.

Fun Paraplegic Factoid

You can take an air gun and drive a nail through my leg, no pain here. Run a 747 over my foot, nope, can’t feel it.

It’s cold and blustery out, I can feel the cold, so shut the f’in door already!

Four Festering Future Posts

I’ve got four topics that I’m now working on now that warrant dedicated blog posts.   Tell me which one first:

Hair-icuda.  My home is overrun with them.

Sallie Mae. No, not a mentally challenged former girlfriend, rather Freddie Mac’s stalker sister.

The Land of Tat: The magical final destination of many household items

WTF with all the packaging? I’m congested.  Now I’m congested, have a gash on my thumb and think I have carpal tunnel syndrome.

Scratch a dog behind the ears, they love it.  Send me A COMMENT below.  C”mon it only takes a minute and you don’t have the paperwork to put me down.


In My Dreams I am a Dancer, that’s just the Impression That I Get

In spinal cord injury, wheelchair on October 28, 2010 at 12:21 am

Not the ballroom dances that I learned attending classes with our dinner club back in the mid-90’s or the graceful moves that I could make on ice skates.  I could out skate anyone….not bad for a guy now 6’2″ and 225+. * (*Truth be told I’m self taught. I’ve got the movie “Ice Castles” in my DVD collection)

I don’t dream that I am Fred Astaire, Baryshnikov or one of the pillow-biters on Dancing with the Stars.

No, in my dreams I am Ben Carr.  If you don’t know who Ben Carr is, you’ve probably seen him but never knew his name.  Carr is the dancing guy for the Boston based Ska band the “Mighty Mighty BossTones.”

Carr is not exactly graceful, but he is inventive. His interpretation, I believe, is based solely on what he hears. His inspiration, most likely the joy he feels when listening the BossTones.

Carr, then a follower of the BossTones was added to the band one evening after a club owner wanted him to leave after helping the band setup because he was under 21. Frontman Dicky Barrett told the club owner that Carr was “with the band.” Thus Carr’s stint as the band’s dancer began.

See Carr’s dancing through out the Bosstones’ video “The Impression that I Get.”

My days are not spent worrying that I won’t walk again. I know I will. Friends tell me they have dreams of me walking again.  I just don’t want to walk, I want to dance like Ben Carr.

A Shotgun Marriage of my a**hole and my neck

In spinal cord injury, Spinal Cord Pain on October 26, 2010 at 4:36 pm
“…People say ya look like M.C. Hammer on crack, Humpty
That’s all right ’cause my body’s in motion
It’s supposed to look like a fit or a convulsion…”

It’s either 20 of 12 or 20 of 6.  I doesn’t matter.   I feel it.  I taste it. It’s my a**hole being pulled up towards my belly button.  It’s also my neck being sucked down into my a**hole.  An unseen force is trying to wed my a** with my back, and I don’t take too kindly to this shotgun wedding.

Guilty as charged.  I’ve unleashed this beast.  When you poke a big dog with a big stick, expect it to bite back big. Full bore unencumbered muscle spasms. My mid-section is shaking more than Michael A. Fox on a Celebrity Cruise to Alaska.   I feeling like that dude in Digital Underground’s  Humpty Dance video. (shout out to Mike Finch for this).

This all a byproduct of my weekend regime aimed at core fitness.

“Take things slow” the Mrs says.  I reference the “1983 Christmas tree incident.”  That piehole shuts quickly.

Metaxalone.  My current cure for the civil war between North and South.  Finally peace returns to my body…until 5:40 when the thrill ride begins again.

Calling in enforcements from Dr  C.   I can see Baclofen at 40 clicks.

Post Script:   Mrs. Neidermeyer arrived with the Baclofen.   Peace is returning to the kingdom

Shepard of an Invisible Pack of Kittens

In Friends, spinal cord injury on October 17, 2010 at 6:25 pm

At the suggestion of any old friend/college/co-handicapper/yes u BobJ, I am reading the 1997 autobiography of Jean-Dominique Bauby,   “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” on my Amazon Kindle.


Jean-Dominique Bauby "dictating" his memoir and dinner order to Claude Mendibil later seen below in the 2007 film



"Go on, I dare you, pull it..."


I have only read the preface and the first chapter and feel the need to put my Kindle down and state, in my best Bill Clinton finger wagging tone: I have never read this book and only have seen only seen the opening moments of the movie.”

I do remember the book’s title, as it is an awkward pairing of two words:

“The Toilet Seat and the Hummingbird,” or “The Frenchmen and the Bar of Soap.”

“You got chocolate in my peanut butter” “No, you got peanut butter in my chocolate.”

There are no similarities in our injury, vocation or lifestyle, yet we have one bond.


He suffers from an ailment that I’ve never heard of: “Lock-In Syndrome.”   Although in my single days I have seen many suffer from “Locked Together Leg Syndrome.”   Yes, thank you, I do write my own material.

I only suffer from a bad case of Caucasian “I Can’t Walk” disease, the subject of a 1992 Phil Collins video.


He is a Foreign News Correspondent.    True, I do work for a news organization, but my job is to herd undetectable chunks of data to and from different destinations,  fore which I earn the job title of:  Shepard of the Invisible Pack of Kittens.

He is a writer. I am not a writer (yup, here it comes. “Although I play one on TV“). I merely work for a company that employs writers.


Jean-Dominique Bauby died two days after his book was published on March 9, 1997, of pneumonia.

True, I am physically still alive, but I am an idiot,  my spirit dying on July 2, 1987.  (I’m safe, the Mrs. doesn’t read my blog and doesn’t think I remember or anniversary date…what, oh Hi Honey, what, no stop, stop please, can someone please call 911?).


Nous aimerions une pizza avec une paille d'alimentation s'il vous. Translation:I would like one pizza with a feeding straw please.



Our connection is purely in writing style.

For me it’s like riding in the backseat of my parent’s station wagon with the French brother that I never had, playing the age old children’s game “Je sais que vous êtes, mais ce que je suis?”

“I know you are but what am I?,” I would say.

He would repeat: “Je sais que vous êtes, mais ce que je suis?

It would continue until my Mother grew weary.

Leaning into the back seat, with a Benson & Hedges 100’s dangling from her lips,  she would scream (“remember, it’s the 100’s!” she would yell as I rode off on my bike to the convenience store with her permission to buy cigarettes note in my pocket.) “…you two need to cut the merde!!!

Yes, fond memories of the family that I never had.

La Fin

I Died & Went to Heaven 3 Times and All I Got was this Stinkin’ Goatee

In spinal cord injury on October 15, 2010 at 1:18 am

Wait, what, is it my breath? Come back, wait...

December 2005, my first of three months at Helen Hayes Hospital (HHH), East Nyack, NY.  I am there to rehabilitate after a life altering climbing accident that has left me dead three times.

During those days leading up to Christmas Eve, I cannot get an odor out of my nose. My three ward mates “J”, Dave and a Mr X, all claim they smell nothing.   What do they know; none of them had bathed since I arrived three weeks prior.  (Truth in advertising, none of the four of us was physically able to bath.)

The smell is a constant as I’m wheeled into different treatment rooms.  Was someone left strapped into a standing frame too long and lost control of their bowels?  Is the staff wiping down the therapy mats properly?  Unlike a Jennifer Lopez movie, this stink stays with me longer than two hours.

Looking for any clue I ask a ward nurse to flip me and see if I have “…any black friends visiting…”  Dave, a barber from Harlem, shot six times during a robbery hears my request, bursts into laughter, pops two staples and then defecates himself.  (All we have is each other and our humor, yes true story)

During final rounds I ask my SCI Doctor if she smells it.  She says no,  but she tells me something that I’ve heard all too often throughout my life.  “…You’re the one that stinks.”  No, not like that stink on a monkey type stink, but much deeper.

Two things in short supply on my wing at HHH, self-respect and accessible mirrors.  True, there are mirrors, but none I can see into.  Having two “still fresh” titanium rods shoved up my backside, I am unable to pivot my head much past center.

Circle get's the square, I'll take Charles Nelson Reilly to block please.

The following day I am provided with a hand mirror.  Funny, I don’t remember leaving my face this way.  I have a series of scars on my forehead, reminiscent of the forehead artistry of late 60’s Charles Manson.  True, I am German, but neither from that era nor mindset.

My lip reminds me of Angelina Jolie’s, but “lip” is a singular, as in “Willis, don’t give me no lip” or “Willis, give that man the rest of his lip back.”

My top lip is puffy, my bottom lip is not, as in “not all there.”   It’s grooved in the middle, like the mark a garden hose leaves in grass.  The groove is later identified as being from a drainage tube.

I have also grown what appears to be a full dark black goatee.   I’ve attempted to grow goatees in the past, but never a keeper. I am a Kraut, but resemble black Irish and have thus always grown a cornucopia of different facial hair colors.  Now I resemble Clairol color “Che’ Guevara.”  (…Perhaps that explains why I’m having dinner with the Castro brothers.)

Che Guevara

The nurses on the floor admire my goatee.  “Yo Poppi, you so handsome” the Dominican staff would remark. The source of their pleasure, I sooner discover is the source of the stink.

“Honey, I don’t think they told you but you were left on the prone-ing table too long without being turned,” the Mrs. told me.

Back at Albany Med Center, I am in an induced five week coma, in an effort to stave off the ill effects ( see “death” in the medical dictionary) of a full blown case of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

I am strapped face down, buck naked into a device called a prone-ing table.  This allowed the doctors to rotate and turn my body to achieve the optimal treatments results, not unlike a chicken on a rotisserie grill.   Why not, I already had the titanium rods shoved up the backside.

My neck is strapped down while my face poked through a 10 CM hole in the bottom of the table (yes, it is appropriate to think of a baby attempting to escape the clutches of the birth canal.)

Can I get an Episiotomy over here at table two?

The problem was the circumference of my head well exceeded 10 CM.  My face may have poked through the hole, but my chin remained pressing against the table’s vinyl surface unmoved for three days.  My chin had suffocated and then died.

Ever watch one of those documentaries on unsuccessful Mount Everest climbs?  You typically see a video shot of a climber’s frostbitten toes, feet, fingers, hands and nose, the darkened purple skin getting its hue from a lack of oxygen.

I hadn’t scaled any mountains, I climbed much higher.    On all three of my summit attempts I am turned back just before the peak.  Each time my Sherpa brother-in-law drags me from the gates, in a shopping cart no less,  and back down the hill.  Sherpa is also my CPA.  This reeks of symbolism.

When I awake from my coma, I am cloaked only is a large swaddly t-shirt that reads:  “I went to Heaven Three Times, and All I Got was this stinkin’ Goatee”

And back to the goatee.  Below the facial hair is a large area of necrotic skin. “Necro” as in I sleep with dead people “Necro”-philia.  That’s right I don’t see dead people, I smell them.  For the past three weeks I’ve been sniffing the early stages of gangrene, right below my nose.  It’s a smell best unsmelled.

Keeping with the “tis better to give than receive” tone of the holiday, Dr. Lecter returns to my room with a single scalpel.   Ever heard the expression “give me some skin?”   And with only the glow of my respiratory monitor to guide her, Dr. Lecter, without any numbing agents, anesthesia or drugs, removes my goatee and then some.  “Well Clarice, how does that look?”

Dr. Lecter

I can’t scream.  It hurts to much scream.  Nor can I speak; (see earlier excuse in this sentence. ) Unbeknownst to Dr Lecter who thought the room to be empty, behind her sat a young girl about eight years of age, the niece of Dave the barber.   I am scarred while she is now emotionally scared.

Post Script: In February 2007 I am at Albany Med Center for “clean up work,” their words not mine. Apparently there is actually a medical diagnostic code for handling the “mulligans.” I am there for my chin replacement surgery.  Soon I shall be free from the pointing fingers of Babes. “Mommy, is that Man Michael Jackson?”

As I’m being wheeled into the operating room, I tug at the Plastic Surgeon’s pant leg.  “Dr. M, can I ask you a favor?  I know we didn’t discuss this earlier, but can you give my new chin some character. I’ve also wanted a distinguished chin.”

“Why certainly Clarice” he replies, “Merry Christmas.”

Sore wa koko ga Itai

In college life, Spinal Cord Pain on October 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm


Exiled from PBurgh, on A Steel Horse I Ride....I am Gaijin hear me roar


A strange title for a blog post and something I am all too familiar with now.

The year is 1982 and I am “…a Gaijin on a motorcycle in Japan…”   The Judge’s words, not mine, during my court appearance to settle the civil damages.   I was a strange person in a strange land experiencing a strange sensation, a sensation that is still with me.

On my 100 cc Kawasaki motorcycle, I am late for Kokusai Bijinesu class.  I signal to turn right (a left turn in Amerika Gasshukoku). Speed forward ten seconds. I am wrapped around a stop sign spitting out a Pokey Stick.

“…I can’t breathe.  I’m late for class.   Did I just sh*t myself?  Did I turn off my space heater?  I hope she’s not pregnant. What is that running down my back? Damn it, I ripped my sweatshirt…”   Just some of my thoughts as I lay in a pricker bush waiting for assistance.

I am taken to a hospital.  The Doctors don’t speak English.   They don’t even speak Engrish.   I had more than the wind knocked out me.  I am missing nearly all of my Japanese.   Sore wa koko ga Itai, is all the Japanese I can remember and repeat as I point to my back, my chest and then my nose.  (It means I hurt here, sweat mercy crap..)

Damage Assessment: Four broken ribs, two jutting from my back, a cracked sternum, oku no stitches and a broken nose.

Destroyed: 100 CC Kawasaki Motorcycle and one pair size 32 JC Penney’s Brand white male briefs, no longer white.

Long Term Damage Assessment: Lower Torso Nerve damage.

I recover quickly from my rib and chest injuries.  I don’t have a choice.  Even onara o suru is painful.  I have one no one to take care of me and I need a motorcycle for transportation.   You’re not in Tokyo Dorthy-san, “you’re in the jungle baby.”  This is the boonies of the main island, think upstate New York.

The Judge awards me a replacement 150 cc Yamaha (score! 50 cc more! schwing!)  and  words that I remember to this day “…あなたは日本でバイクに乗って、外国人であるが、この事故の障害で50%となっている。

Translation: “You being a foreigner, in Japan and on a motorcycle are 50% at fault for this accident.”

My dreams of becoming a Japanese Defense Attorney… gone.

Translation key:

oku no: Many, as in too many

onara o suru: To break wind, not the Bob Seager song.

More to follow.

It’s Amazing What Those Little White Pills Do.

In spinal cord injury on November 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm

From the depths of despair I have returned. For me, it’s typically a five minute stop every two weeks. For those longer layovers, it’s caused by an imbalance of chemistry.

I beat the odds. Like I’ve stated in earlier posts, most who fall from that height don’t live. Death is immediate and sudden. In my case, being a Type A personality, death was not feasible. It was like getting an “F” in a course that I normally received an “A.” It just was not acceptable.

Hurdle number one: ARDS, Adult Respitory Distress Syndrome. Only one in three adults survive. I got an “A” on this test with the help of a two month coma.

I’ll pick this up later….

No pain in my A** Epidural Day

In spinal cord injury on April 9, 2009 at 8:43 pm

I wanted to start this blog on a day that was hopefully a big event in my life. Today I am getting an Epidural. The purpose of the Epidural is to hopefully lessen or eliminate the pain provided by my T8 paraplegia. (I’ll circle back later in my blog and cover the incident that made me a paraplegic.), but first the Epidural.

I had been complaining to my Spinal Cord Physician, Dr Inocencia Carrano, (I call her Dr. C) that my two painkillers were losing their effectiveness, and I needed to up either of my dosages in order to function.

I define “not to function” as that physical and mental state where I can not think of anything other than the pain. It’s a fairly broad definition, but think about it, if you’re in pain it’s difficult to think of anything other than the pain you’re in.

Hospitals are now attempting to measure or quantify your pain by asking “…on a scale from 1 to 10, what number would you say your pain is?…” What number would you assign “it f*ckin hurts” to?

The procedure will be performed at my physician’s office in Middletown, NY. My Wife and I arrive promptly at 10:30 a.m. and I wheel into the procedure room.

Problem #1, the table is approximately one foot higher than my wheelchair. I can elevate myself out of the chair, but not that high. Two of the male Doctors and a nurse lift me out of the chair and onto the table face down, right onto Problem #2.

Problem #2 can be a whole other chapter, I am wearing a “Holter.” No, not a cross-dressing halter, I said hOlter A medical holter is a series of electrodes and wires connected to a silver box the size of an IPhone. Not unlike an IPhone, the holter is used to record your heart beat and rhythm to a recording device for a 24 hour period.

It’s not the fact that I’m wearing a holter that is a problem, actually it is. I’m lying face down on eight bulking electrodes. They are bulking and they are cold, and boy do I feel them. However, I am soon distracted by the discomfort of the holter by the beginning of the Epidural.

Going into this, I thought an Epidural was similar to a Spinal Tap. I am familiar to a Spinal Tap since I had two when I was sophomore in high school. I was wrong. An Epidural is not a long needle that goes up your spine; rather it’s a needle that’s plunged in to your “whale tail or “anal taint” region. (…”it ain’t yur butt hole..’ thus anal taint) of your back side. Fringe benefit of my paralysis, I don’t feel the needle going in or coming out.

Five minutes after the first needle was plunged I was done. Would I now feel a true by-product of being a T8 paraplegic? Would I now have no feeling from the belly-button down?

Truth in advertising: being a T8 paraplegic does NOT mean you have no feeling from that point down. I have feeling, it’s what the Doctors call neuropathic pain. It’s what I call the “phantom pain.”

Even though I could have one of my legs hacked off by a black bear with a hatchet (quite prevalent in my neck of the woods) I would feel no pain. Some time later, after my stump has healed up, I would develop a throbbing pain in BOTH legs.

No explanation for it.

…more later.