Monday, June 24, 2013

Chapter 107 - June 18, 2013

I'm gonna call this blog "Good Food, Good Friends." Man, I have some good friends. I'm putting a party together and my good friends are helping me. It's gonna be a good party.

Hi everybody. Welcome to day 829. I miscalculated. I added a year before. I guess time goes by when you're having so much fun. (I said this sarcastically.) Anyway, welcome to another day.

It's actually been a tough week. I've been aspirating a lot. It's when liquid goes into your lungs. It's not fun. Who knows why this happens. But it makes things more difficult. You know, like talking, eating. Just another Traumatic Brain Injury moment. The good thing is, my walking is getting more fluid. I've been using my Up & Go device to walk. It's working out really well. Sleeping has been great. I sleep like 9 hours a night. I no longer have to sleep with a light on. What a big boy I am. Maybe the light was keeping me awake, and I finally turned the light off. All in all, things are moving along. When a doctor told me to be patient, I had no idea he meant this. It's been about 4 years now, but who's counting. You know, when I was in the hospital, the food was such a drag. I remember one day a friend showed up with a bunch of food. Her husband had a couple of restaurants in New York City, and a restaurant in St. Bart's The food was Italian. Anyway, I had a great feast. It really makes a difference. All this TBI stuff is getting monotonous. I'll tell you a few stories.

I could write a whole book on the assistants I had. Oh my God! It was unreal. This one guy I worked with, he was something else. Actually, I could write a whole book on him. When I got divorced the first time, I moved in with him. He graciously gave me a room. I mean closet. I mean room. I'm pretty sure it was a closet. Anyway, I was just grateful to have anywhere to stay. But living with him ranged from getting in fights with small people on stilts, to cats and dental floss. I'll let you use your imagination, but I can guarantee you I didn't get much sleep.

My friend here reminded me of a cartoon I did from Djurba. Djurba was in Tunisia, and it was an island where they stuck all the tourists. Anyway, this assistant and I used to always play tennis. He was French/Vietnamese and we would always kid around. I mention that he was French/Vietnamese because we used to sneak up on each other and scream "Whataaaa" like in Inspector Clouseau and the Green Hornet. Never a dull moment. Actually, I worked with that assistant for a long time, so I could do a whole book on him as well. Never a dull moment.

Sorry, I'm getting distracted because we're having a big lightening storm right now. If you haven't noticed, I get distracted easily. I could be shooting and someone might yell "Brian, watch out! There's a big truck about to hit you!" And I'd say, "What a pretty butterfly." Some people call that distractedness. I call it creativeness. Anyway, back to the assistants. Man, I could go on and on. It's bringing back bad memories, I mean good memories, I mean bad memories. Yeah, I could do a whole book on assistants.

I mentioned good food before. You know, in my line of work, I vowed as long as you fed everyone really well, they would be generally happy. I tried to do this as often as I could. Man, we had some great meals, at some great restaurants. One time, we were in New Guinea. The locals invited us over for dinner. This consisted of them digging a hole into the ground. Heating some rocks, throwing them in the hole, throw some ferns in, throw a dead pig in, throw some more ferns in and some yams, some more ferns and some more heated rocks. They would cover the pit and let it sit all day. At the end of the day, the locals would dig everything up, put it on the table and have a meal. It was, well, disgusting, but you know, I was polite. I finished what I could and one of the locals came over to me with a bowl. I said, "Oh, dessert?" She said, "No, it's dope." I said, "What?" She said, "Dope." And I said, "Dope?" She said, "Yes, dope." I said, "Dope?" with a question mark. "Yes, you've had a hard day. It's time for you to relax." And she rolled me up a giant joint. Well, I didn't want to be rude, so I smoked some. It was very strong. I passed it to the driver. He said, "No thanks mate. We've got to make it home alive tonight." Well, I started getting really paranoid, and then the same woman who gave me the dope, wheeled out a video player and a TV. She went to the back and started up a generator. She played a film of the first time the white man came to visit. It showed an old DC-3 landing. It showed the locals in amazement and shock. It then showed some people, white people getting out of the plane. The locals went crazy. Then one of the white people came over to the locals, grabbed a pig that was on a leash, took out a revolver and shot the pig in the head. What a lovely introduction. Anyway, that was the start of that relationship. It's been like that ever since. Where was I? Oh yeah, after she showed us that film I got really paranoid and started freaking out. I couldn't find the door to go outside so what did I do? I went through the wall. The house was made of grass. I immediately saw a campfire and went over there to sit down. I sat down to get some air. After a while, my eyes adjusted to the darkness and then I noticed the whole village was there staring at me. Just another day. It was a beautiful place. It was the first time I saw rain forest come down to the water, and then coral reef go down into the water about 100 feet. The water was so clear. It was an amazing place. I'll never forget it. 

Anyway, that's about it for this week. My friend here will include some more cartoons and the link to my next project. Remember, if you're going through a TBI, stay positive, and don't set any time limits. Talk to you next week. love, B. Nice

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Chapter 106 - June 11, 2013

Hi everybody. Welcome to day 1201, four hours, six seconds, but who's really counting. Anyway, my friend here was reading my last blog. I mentioned the word "tired." Man, at the end of the day, I get so tired. You know, the thing that makes you the most tired is just talking to people. When you're like this, you'll find it affects people differently. So just talking makes me real tired.

I guess I'll benchmark where I am at the moment. It really helps to look back and, who knows, it might help someone who's going through something similar. You know, that's why I do this blog. It's to help anyone that might be like me. Right now, I'm starting to walk with a bracing and the Up & Go. I still need assistance, but I'm getting better at walking. I think I mentioned this before. I'm feeding myself with 2 hands. My eyesight is still double, but it's getting better. I mentioned all this before, but it's good to benchmark where I'm at. At the end of the day, I still get little, I call them "mini moments." I get real tired, but as time goes on, this gets better. I'm gonna tell a few stories because it really helps me remember things. You know, I've been on my back so long, it's good to think about what I've gone through in the past. Some things I can't tell, because I don't want to freak my friend out right here. She has 2 boys. I did some pretty crazy stuff when I was young.

When I was living in Australia I felt compelled to, well, let's say, have a laugh. for example, when my friend was shooting on the beach in front of me, I'd break out my 6 foot long mirror and just as he was about to take a light meter reading, I would reflect it with sunlight. It drove him crazy, but I did have a good laugh. Another time, I took the skin of mulch huntsman spider. It's about the size of my hand, and I put it in the film case. I told my assistant to get some more film. He screamed like an old lady. I got him pretty good. I would do stuff like this to pass the time. One of my favorite things to do was to make my assistant wear a fart machine. When he'd lean over to get some film, I'd activate it. It was very amusing. I could go on and on, but I'll talk about some other things. Mom, if you're reading this blog, you might want to stop here. I'm gonna talk about some really gross things.

One time I had a rabbit named Andrew. I think I talked about Andrew before. It's a few blogs back. Andrew was a great pet, but a little wild. One day I called him and he didn't answer. he didn't come to me. I started looking for him, calling out, "Andrew, Andrew where are you?" I walked into my roommates room and I saw Andrew's legs sticking out from beneath the bed. He was convulsing. I grabbed him by the legs and pulled him out. A red satin rabbit is big. Anyway, I cradled him in my arms. He was continuing to convulse. I was saying "Andrew, Andrew, what's wrong?" and I noticed he had a little string coming out of his mouth. He couldn't breath, so I pulled the string. What was on the end of the string? A used tampon. He started breathing, shook his head and ran away leaving me standing there holding a used tampon. I guess my roommate brought some girl home and she just chucked it under the bed. How charming. Anyway, I nailed it to the door by the string with a note saying, "you hang out with some really classy girls. You almost killed Andrew." Well I guess I started a bit of an argument because the girl was my other roommate's sister.

Another gross story took place when I was in college. I was dating this girl. I really liked her. She was cool. We were sitting on the bed. We had just met and we were talking and then I went in for the kiss. She closed her eyes and got closer and then she vomited all over my face. All down my shirt. It was a mess. Then she went for round two. Picked up one of my boots and threw  up in the boot. How lovely. She was actually a nice girl. Maybe too many shots.

Another gross story was when I was a kid. My friend had a pet monkey named George. Anyway, one time George sat on my head. I thought, how cool, George is sitting on my head. Well, George peed all over my head. I said, George, get off me that's gross. I threw him into the curtains. Well, George didn't like that so George shit in his hand and threw it at me. I dove for the floor. I yelled at him "bad monkey" so what did George do? He started beating off. What a lovely creature. Anyway, my friend's father left the window open by "mistake" and George got out to explore the great outdoors. Never mind that it was February in upstate NY. We never did see George again.

I'll go back to Australia. I just remembered a story I forgot to tell you. One day I was driving home, I guess I pissed someone off. I must have cut someone off or something because in the morning I went to get my car and on the hood, someone used a screw driver to carve in the letters CUNT. I thought, oh man, this is really not good because I had to go pick up my client at the airport. Well, I went to go pick up my client. She was there. She got in the car, I drove off, we didn't say a word to each other. She looked at the hood, she saw the letters. She said, "Brian, is that for me?" I said, "I didn't even see that!" Actually, Australia was really cool. I've got countless great stories. I wish I could go back there. It's a great place. If you guys ever get a chance to go there, don't pass it up.

I'd like to say Hi to all my old friends there. I miss them as well. That's about it for this week. My friend here will include some more drawings I did. You know, I used to keep journals in cartoon form. I'll talk to you next week. Love, B. Nice

Monday, June 17, 2013

Chapter 105 - June 3, 2013

Hey everybody. I'm gonna call this blog "A Little Motivation" and I'm gonna dedicate it to Dr. Death. Dr. Death was my tae kwon do instructor. The guy was quite the character. He drove a vintage red Ferrari. He was a hand to hand combat instructor at West Point. He was at one time the tae kwon do champion of the world and he was 80 years old. At one point he came over to me, and this was in the beginning mind you, he came over to me and he said, "Punch me in the stomach as hard as you can." I said, "No way, I'm not going to punch you in the stomach. You're 80 years old." He said, "Try to punch me right there," and he showed me where to punch him. I punched him a little bit in the stomach. He said to me, "You punch like a little girl. Punch me harder." So I punched him with all my force. It was like hitting a sandbag. He said, "You still punch like a little girl, now get to the back of the line. We'll have to work on that." I was in the best shape of my life during that class. I never did get in a fight.

The only time I felt compelled to use my talent was at a party. You see, I went to a party with my girlfriend. We kind of split up and worked the room, you know, talking to people. This guy started talking to my girlfriend and a few minutes later the same guy started talking to me. He was in the same business that I'm in so we talked for a while. After a few minutes he said, "Come on man, let's take some girls home. See that girl over there. We're going to have fun with her." And he pulled out a bottle of pills and showed me the pills. I said, "What the hell are you talking about? That's my girlfriend." The guy looked like a deer in the headlights, a deer that just got busted. The guy disappeared. He quickly left the party before I could express how I really felt. I should have taken the pills and made him eat them and dropped him naked on the West Side Highway.

Did you guys ever see that movie, "The Royal Tannenbaums"? You gotta check it out. It's an older movie, but it's exactly like the family I lived with in the early 80's. You see, the people that lived in the city came to one of my parent's parties and we started talking. They're real patrons of the arts. They found out I had no place to live in the city so they gladly opened their house up to me. They gave me an address where to go. I got to the address when I realized they forgot to put the apartment number down, then I realized they owned the whole freaking building. I rang the doorbell, went inside and all around the place there were french impressionism paintings and musical instruments. I was a side door room that had, you know, your average decorations like Goya paintings.

One night, I came home, I was the only one in the house. I went to bed, Oh, yeah, I'd been drinking, imagine that. I went to bed and all of a sudden I heard a noise. I got up, I looked down the stairs and I saw a flash light and heard some noises. I thought, "Oh my god! They're being burglarized!" So what did I do? I went and hid in the closet. I sat under some laundry and I thought, this is ridiculous. so I got up and went to the top of the stairs with a baseball bat and I waited. All of a sudden some guy came around the corner with a flashlight and a revolver. He pointed at me and he said, "Freeze. Drop the bat." And I dropped the bat. He started laughing. The guy was from the security company. I guess I tripped the alarm when I went to my bedroom. The house was heavily alarmed. Anyway, all the security guards started laughing at me because there I was in my underwear, wet, and the underwear wasn't wet from the shower. They all had a laugh. I told them I must have tripped the alarm. We started chatting. The head security guy said, "Man, I almost shot your cat." And I said, "What are you talking about." He said, "Yeah, I almost shot the cat and then I almost shot you." The cat was quiet and it would just come over to you and tap you on the ankle. Strange cat. Strange tenant. That's me.

You know, every time my friend comes over I forget what to talk about. It's kind of like getting a stage fright, so I'll just tell you what happened this week. And remember at the beginning of the blog I called the blog "A Little Motivation." Well, I called it that because the "Little" is my little one. You see, she came to visit me this weekend. She is my motivation. Probably why I stick around. Anyway, it's been 4 or 5 months since I've seen her, but she's so grown up, it's amazing. Kids grow up so quick. Either that or I'm getting old. Anyway, it was great to see her. It's almost like therapy. I was pretty exhausted by the time she left, but it was good to see her. Now it's back to work. I've been walking and each time it gets more fluid and easier. I've also been standing on the hour. It's good to get vertical whenever you can. My eyesight is also improving. My speech is getting better. I know this because my friend here has a hard time keeping up with me when I dictate and she types.

I've adjusted to the increase in medication. I'm not as tired as I was before. Overall, things are good. I've been getting ready for my trip across America. It sounds simple, you know, driving across America, but believe me, when you're like this, it's going to be tough. I mean, just trying to lay in bed is difficult. Taking pictures and going across America is going to be like an Olympic event. A month long Olympic event. I'm calling the trip, "My Point of View." Many of my friends are helping out. My friend here will include the link. ( I hope you can check it out. Oh yeah, some other people were saying they can't get to the main page of my website. So I'll give it to you. It's Make sure you do just that. If you don't do the "www" it won't work. You could always google Brian Nice and go to the blog. Anyway, that's it for this week. Love you guys. Oh yeah, Hi Lisa!~ Talk to you guys next week. Love, B. Nice

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Chapter 104 - May 28, 2013

Day 1198. That's how long it's been since I had my first bleed, approximately that amount. Anyway, it's been a long haul. It reminds me of training. I get up, I work out until lunch. Have lunch, and then I take a nap. I get up, I work out until dinner. I have dinner, watch some television then go to sleep. I get up the next day and start the whole process over again. It's like college training. You know, stuff I did as a competitive runner.

Man, it seems I can't catch a break. You know, when you have traumatic brain injury, it's good to stay away from stress. Stress, HA! Check this out. I get a phone call and someone I dearly love, and that is far away, is admitted to an emergency room. Not only that, but I can't get there because I can't fly, and driving might trigger a seizure. It's working itself out, but there are some things I can't really go into. Just another day.

The stressful event has brought on some mini-moments, I call them. I have little, you might call them seizures at the end of the day. You know stuff happens when you're tired. So bottom line is, you just gotta avoid stress. I avoid stress by meditating or drawing, or listening to music. You'll find your own way of dealing with stress. The other way of avoiding stress for me is I work on my trip across America. My friend here brought over a map of the United States and we're figuring out where to drive and how long. It's fun to do and fun to preoccupy my mind with the details. I'll see my daughter as well. That's motivation.

I'm 53. And lo and behold I wake up in a sea of pea. I'm 53 and I wet the bed. It's a good thing I don't have a girlfriend because she'd be pissed off (no pun intended). What a disaster. My dog keeps looking at me like "What the hell happened?" Anyway, just another Traumatic Brain Injury event. Something like this hasn't happened to me in a long time. I guess it's just because I've been so stressed. It'll pass. It was just an event that happened. No worries. A one time event.

I continue to train, for example, my eyes are registering more and more. I have moments when I don't see double. My vision has been improving which is great because I am a photographer! The other day, I started walking again. Mind you, it's a lot of work and a lot of bracing, but it's where you start. As I get better, I'll lose more and more bracing, and switch to a different walker. I've done all this stuff before, so I know what to do. It just takes time and effort. There are no shortcuts. Like my friend here said, "When you're going through Hell, keep going."

My friend here was reading me my previous blog. We were talking about the college days. Boy I wish I'd paid more attention to things. You know, in each class I had there was someone that was there to the left. They would always do a translation in sign language. They were there for the hearing impaired students. I should have paid more attention. I could have learned sign language. Now the only sign language I know is to flip someone off and I'm fluent in that. One of the most amazing things I did see was at a lunch table at the cafeteria. There were a bunch of hearing impaired students who were also blind. They were all excited to be with one another. They communicated by doing sign language and feeling what the other person was signing. They would sign and use their hands. It was pretty amusing when they all got in an argument at once. 

The more I think about it, the more I remember crazy times we had. One time we kind of "borrowed" the track team van. We thought it'd be a good idea to "borrow" the van to go to a bar, but after a full night of drinking after the bar closed at 4 am, we left to go home. We got in the van and started to pull out, but we saw a car was coming down the hill very fast. The car that was coming down the hill very fast didn't have his lights on. And what did he do? He ran right into us. And then went down the hill bouncing off cars side to side. Took out a few mailboxes, took out a few bushes, went around the corner to the right. Me and my friends jumped out of the van and started chasing him. We saw that he had run into a car and stopped. We went over opened up the drivers side, we were ready to beat the hell out of the guy. We looked at him and he had a big laceration over his face. The guy was clearly messed up. We called the cops. They came and took him away. All of a sudden, we noticed that we were on the lawn of a sorority. There were a bunch of girls in their bathrobes looking at the car and us. All of a sudden my knee really hurt. My friend's arm hurt and my other friend's shoulder hurt. The girls said, "Oh, you poor things, come in and we'll look after you." Well, it was all good, until we realized we had the school van and we had to call our coach.

Well, that's it for this week. My friend, my mom and I will look at the map of the United States. We'll plan our trip. You know, it's going to be in October. I have until October to get ready for the trip. I'm going to call the trip, "A Point of View" because I want to show you guys how I see. I said it before, but I'll say it again. I want to take pictures of the American landscape. I want to show you how I see the world. It's pretty wild. Talk to you guys next week. Love, B. Nice

P.S. My friend here has 2 sons. Boy, she has no idea what she's in for.