Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Chapter 55 - June 19, 2012

World's End.  I'm sitting here in my wheelchair looking at World's End.  It's a spot on the Hudson that they named.  It is the narrowest and deepest part of the Hudson.  World's End.  My parents house overlooks this spot.  I'm on the porch looking at it.  How apropos.  Sometimes I feel like my world, as I knew it, has come to an end and a new one is starting.  Remember when I said before, one door closes, another opens.  The only constant in life is change.  You have to adapt.  You see, my world has changed.  You look at it with a different point of view.  I try to be positive.  I'm here at home where I live with my parents.  I'm spending a lot of time with my parents.  Painting with my Dad.  Overlooking the cooking with my Mom.  It's cool.  A lot of fun, but I do miss my daughter.

When you have Traumatic Brain Injury it's really important to have friends and family visit you.  The other day my old track team and coach stopped by to say hi.  We sat around all morning just talking.  Then we had lunch.  At lunch we started talking again.  I had to stop the conversation.  I said, "Whoa, whoa, back up.  We used to sit around and talk about girls.  Now we talk about our ailments and poop.  Man, we are getting old.  Let's talk about girls.  I don't think I have the energy."

Let's lighten things up and talk about an action adventure story.  It happened when I was young.  I was with my family flying from Brussels to New York City.  We were on a 747 fully loaded.  Halfway down the runway, on takeoff, we had a bird strike on engine #2 (bad timing).  Anyway, the pilot was amazing.  We barely got off the ground, and with a series of dips and turns, with the engines revving, he managed to bring the plane around for landing.  But before we landed, a guy sitting next to engine #2 started screaming.  He freaked everyone out.  They all started screaming.  Next thing you know, the flight attendants are telling us to take the emergency position.  You know, put your arms on your legs, put your head down, brace yourself for impact.  I remember my father saying I love you, don't worry, it will be quick.  I thought, what the hell is he talking about?  What's going on?  I was only 11.  Anyway, we landed safely, took the emergency exits off the plane which smelled like fuel because the pilot had to drop all the fuel before landing.  We went back to the departure lounge and reluctantly waited for the next flight home.  Well, it wasn't my time to go.  Just luck.  I guess you would call that good luck.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Chapter 54 - June 13, 2012

Hi everybody, sometimes we're our own worst critic.  I keep hearing over and 
over and over again Brian don't be so hard on yourself. I have to be patient. 
Last week I saw my new neurologist that specializes in seizure.  I've picked a 
neurologist that's closers to home. The best news I got out of the meeting was she 
said I could drink regular coffee and have chocolate now and then.  Other than 
that, it was pretty much the same thing.  She wants me to do a blood test to check 
my medicine levels.  She didn't change anything.  If anything, I'm on the minimum
amount of anti seizure medicine.  

I wanted to include an email I got from a friend.  He's a cinematographer who 
went with me to Greenland.  Pace Editions sponsored a father son trip to 
Greenland. My father and I did the trip together.  He painted the icebergs and I 
photographed them. It was a great thing to do. We had a show of the work after 
we came back.  I'm going to include the special video portrait of what was shot there.
First,  Here's his email:

Brian, I printed out your entire blog and read it all at once
 yesterday, it was a really amazing experience.  Various themes stand 
out more clearly when you read that many posts all together, such as 
Water, Patience, Calmness.  

It made me remember some things from Greenland through that prism:

 the blue, the neon blue of those icebergs on that first overcast 
afternoon.  Floating, drifting along and all we had to do was breath the air
 and paint and photograph and film.  It was so quiet and calm, awe 
inspiring and peaceful like I'd never 
felt before.  I think of that whenever I need a moment of clarity.

The water dripping off the melting ice, running down the side of a giant berg 
as we held out a flask to catch it and brew up some coffee.  I mean, 
come on, Iceberg Coffee?!  Unbelievable.  

Stopping randomly because Don just had to paint the view of Ilulissat 
and you telling me that this is how it always was, even when you were 
growing up.  You'd travel around Europe and as an antsy little kid you would 
have to sit there patiently while he whipped out his watercolor sketch 
book and threw down another masterpiece of whatever happened to strike 
his fancy.  

I loved seeing the cartoon you posted, it reminded me of the ones 
you did during that trip, I have such a vivid memory of them even though I 
haven't seen them since.  If you could post them someday that would make
 me the happiest kid in the city. 

Adam Hall
The email summarizes the trip. It makes me realize how much fun I had with my 
father. It all went by so quick. 

I'm going to make this a short one, but tell a quick story. I'm going to go off on 
a tangent here.

I was living in Australia off Manly beach. I had a big dinner party. I got 
really drunk (how unusual) anyway I promised all my friends I would give a big 
Thanksgiving dinner. When I woke up the next morning (with a big hangover) my wife 
at the time reminded me I promised to cook a big Thanksgiving dinner.

Well, I tried to keep to my promise and I did the Thanksgiving dinner.  My first 
step was to get a big turkey. Not easy to do in Australia. Never even thought 
about it. I couldn't find one anywhere. A friend finally suggested I call the 
American Embassy for advice.  They said "No way mate. We over ordered some 
turkeys. You can have one of ours. Go ahead and pick it up at the butcher." So I 
did. I went to their butcher and picked up the turkey.  It was huge, I asked the 
guy, "Are you sure that's not an emu?" I'd never seen such a big bird in my life. It 
hardly fit in my car. Then I got home and looked at my oven, and then at the 
bird, and then the oven.  I thought it's never going to fit. I took out almost all 
of the racks, put the bird in.  The door wouldn't close, so I got the tinfoil and 
bridged the gap.  It took 2 rolls of big tinfoil to bridge the gap.  The door 
was more than half open.  Well I cooked that bird for about 14 hours. I think we 
drank a case of wine waiting for it to be done.  By 3 am the bird was finished.  We 
were too.  We could have eaten the couch and it would have tasted fantastic.  
We were ripped but we had a great Thanksgiving.  By the way, the bird tasted 
real good, but I'm pretty sure it was an emu. 
I was awoken by a noise about 4:30 am.  There was something in the trash 
trying to get the turkey carcass I think.  I was inches from the window looking down 
trying to see what was in the garbage.  I had a funny feeling.  I looked up and 
about 2 inches from my face was another face. It was looking at me. It had its 
hands on the window it scared the hell out of me.  I screamed raised my hands 
up, it did the same thing. It screamed and raised its hands. It fell out of the 
tree, I fell on my bed.  It turned out to be a tree kangaroo.  It wasn't hurt. It 
helped its friend grab something from the trash and ran into the woods. I 
checked my shorts.
Please watch the video by Michelle Icahn and let me know what you think.  Love, B. Nice

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Chapter 53 - June 7, 2012

I feel I have to get this off my chest. Some things happen on photo shoots that I feel badly about.  Okay, here is some of my dirty laundry.
A.  One time I booked a famous model for a photo shoot.  She needed some swimwear shots for her book.  I said no problem I'll book you on my next swimwear shoot.  I never told her where it was.  It was in Palau - half way around the world.  It took two days to get there and six airplanes.  That's the least I of what I did back then.  Anyway, I went to pick her up at the hotel and she answered her door, she said to me "Where the fuck am I?" It was a good shoot anyhow, but she forgot to tell me she doesn't swim...
B.  We put a girl on an iceberg...the iceberg could have flipped.  However, we backed away and got the shot.
C.  I was in Paris, I met my friend for a drink in a famous hotel.  Then my wife at that time showed up and we had more drinks.  The bill got pretty high.  When the waiter came over, I asked for the bill.  He gave me the bill, it was out of sight and I was without my key at the time. The waiter said would you like me to charge it to.......(a well known magazine)?  Of course, I said, charge it to them.  I still feel a little guilty.
D.  I booked a helicopter.  We were supposed to go home by boat.  We were on Heron Island off Australia.  The editor came running out as I was about to take off.  She said, "Who's paying for this?" I screamed, "You are!" and I shut the door and took off.

Chapter 52 - June 6, 2012

Boy I sure could use those temple girls right now. You see you get a little depressed sometimes. Peaks and valleys. I'll get out of this funk soon, but sometimes you get a little sad. It's times like this you really need your family and friends around.

Last weekend my little one came to visit me. That was a great weekend. This weekend, some of my track friends from the past will come and visit. I'm really looking forward to it. I remember those times and the always make me really happy.  "B. Nice, you're a head case."  That's what my coach used to say. I was in the NCAA championships in Chicago.
It was the men's 1500 meter race. I ran a really good time to get there. As I was walking to the startling line my heart was in my throat. I was so nervous. We all lined up, the gun went off, and being the young idiot I was, I took the lead (I usually ran from the back). I ran 2 and 1/2 laps leading the race. I was doing good. Over the loud speaker I could hear them say "It's Brian Nice taking the lead in the 1500 meter race."  I was pumped up. Then all of a sudden every single bear known to mankind jumped on my back.  That was it.  I shot load
(locker room talk for "I used up all my energy").  My whole body seized up and when it happened, they all started passing me one by one.  Then I heard over the loud speaker "It's Brian Nice coming in last in the men's 1500 meter."  The only words I heard after the announcement were from my coach at the finish line. He just looked at me and shook his head and said, "B. Nice, you're a head case."  Maybe he was right. Yeah, he was right.

Anyway, I get sad and I think of times like that, times that get my mind off of what I'm going through.

I remember when I was at the hospital, there was an old man who used to just sit there and look out the window. He was there all the time. He would always talk in these native languages and it was beautiful.  Almost like poetry. I finally asked him what he was saying. It turns out, he was a sugar king farmer from South America.  He was praying in his native language.  And every once in a while he would speak in English and say words like, "From the valley of my heart," and "Your long blond hair."  "I like to watch you play in the long grass," and once in a while he'd say, "My son."  It was funny. He always thought I was his son and he just wanted to hold hands. So I would hold his hand and look out the window with him. Hey, it's better than tv.

But like I said, I'm home now. This is the third time I've had to adjust from the hospital to home living. It s not easy. You definitely need to have an aid. I keep doing my therapy and I go to out patient therapy every day.

Here is an example of what I used to draw.
That's all for now. I'll talk to you guys next week.
Love, B Nice

P.S.  Hey Chris!  It was funny when Julie was saying you contacted.  I had a dream about you me and Rob in a 4 wheel drive in a sand pit.  We couldn't get out. Weird, but kind of a metaphor for how I feel right now, except, I don't drink anymore.  Not right now at least.

P.P.S.  This is probably kind of morbid and not a great way to end a blog but I'm gonna do
it anyway.  You see, out of the many hospitals I went to, I saw a lot of people die and a lot
of them we're younger than me.  I'd be chatting with them one night and the next morning
they'd be dead.  It got me thinking, is that it?  Time goes by so fast.  Life is so short. 
Make sure you do what you love to do.  See ya next week. B. Nice