chapter 67: coming soon…

today is sunday, may 22nd.  it’s almost exactly 3 weeks and 3 days since the fluid raced through my veins, the liquid which took me out of consciousness and underneath the great depths of anesthesia, so that my face could be slashed, a quarter-sized hole cut into my skull, my brain lifted, and a mass cut out of the center of my head, where my brain and brain stem meet.  i’m happy to say that i’m writing this from my own bed, in wonderful Toluca Lake, in the North Hollywood/Universal City area of Los Angeles.

as i become more cognizant and functional, i will be returning to this blog, to continue my narrative where i left off–at USC for my cardiac MRI, as part of my pre-operative clearance for surgery.  i will recount my way from there to here in much greater detail than the previous sparse reports from Phoenix…and i will log my recuperation and trajectory from here forward.


but for now, a song i wrote, a little more of me…

me, and a piano.

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chapter 66: WHERE’D YA GET THOSE PEEPERS? saturday, may 7, 2011

at this point, these are not necessarily “chapters”…i’m not the most prolific novelist while bobbing and weaving between percuset, vicodin, and oxycodone.  creativity sometimes surges when the brain is stimulated, but not by a knife.  i’ve been sleeping.  a LOT.  and hurting.  yesterday was very painful.  today was so bad, i came close to going back to the ER.  i took some extra vicodin, and then upon my return to my last-year’s-favorite oxycodone, my pain subsided and i fell fast asleep.

it’s strange how things happen.  i planned for one year, researched, thought, prepared and came to the world’s greatest brain surgeon for my procedure.  but even with all the planning and an outstanding doctor, i still made a will.  i still designated a Power of Attorney.  i still prepared for death.  and yet one day before the high-risk procedure–with me amidst life’s-end preparation, while all the people back home in alabama were well and safe with their families–suddenly the wind swept down, and killed hundreds of the healthy and previously safe.  in an instant, the scales tipped violently.  tornadoes ripped lives apart, less than 24 hours before a blade ripped apart my head, with a steady hand and every possible precaution, keeping my health and safety perfectly intact.

you never know what’s going to happen…

i’m not having fun in Phoenix, but i’m thankful to just be here.  with people suffering at home, do i deserve to be concerned with less frivolous things, like my eyes?  to some degree, i have to, because it’s my job.  especially since i’m not on my friend’s aforementioned church prayer list (see Chapter 63)–no support there.  on the plus side, i suppose my absence from that declaration of god-worthy needs frees up my own time for personal concern; i don’t have to bother with the list’s extracurricular prayer challenges, since i’ve renounced them out of protest.  i refuse to pray, “god, please don’t let me die in surgery; please don’t let my eye become infected; please don’t let me lose my vision.  oh, and also, when my friend covers his toast in a tasty artificial spread, PLEASE make sure he Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.”

being freed of that marginal (or margarine?) obligation, my primary interest, therefore, is my eye.

we all know our assets.  for me, it’s always been my eyes.  that’s what girls tell me.  EYES.  that’s what i got.  my arms are good too, and i’m glad to have them on both sides; i’d like to keep the same two-of-a-kind pairing for my blue marbles.  but for now, i’m wall-eyed.  my left eye goes to the far left, while my right eye looks straight ahead.  not my preferred look.  the doctor has told me everything will return to normal within 2 years.  i can only hope he’s right.  for now, my eye is shut, and it’s sealed constantly with fresh goo.  if the doctor is correct, eventually my eye will open; also, ultimately my eye will return to its normal axis.  however, if my lid opens before my eye is normal, then i will have to wear a patch, because my open, jilted eye causes double vision when combined with my good eye.  SO:  i may be patch shopping soon.



yes, i use a lot of colons…

ummm, that didn’t sound right.  anyway:

when i go back to L.A., and as i begin to make public appearances, i may have to choose between being two people.  i can either be the guy with the eye stuck closed, or i can be the guy with the eyepatch.  now, upon first thought, an eyepatch guy looks like a pirate, which i am not.  but, i sort of think people will only look at an eyepatch ONCE, think “weird,” and then move on.  however, if it’s an uncovered eyelid inexplicably set to the “off” position, people may be more inclined to continue to stare, wondering what the crap is wrong.  if there’s one thing i hate, it’s scrutiny.

so, what do you think?  which should i choose?  weird guy with the eyepatch?  weird guy with the bafflingly sealed eyelid?  hope to hear from you.




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chapter 65: life

just a few hours short of a week ago, a team of highly skilled technicians gathered together, around me.  on a table.  they cut me.  they hurt me.  they went to the center of my brain.  they could’ve killed me.  but they did all of this, to preserve my life.

and it was good.

because life is worth preserving.

mine is worth saving.  worth holding on to.  worth cherishing.

and so is yours.

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chapter 64: more of me…a song

as i wrote recently, i will be periodically sharing some of my art, so that you may know more of who i am.

so here it is, a little piece of me…who i am, who i’ve been, and who i will always be…

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chapter 63: life with brain surgery, wednesday, may 4, 2011

living in a hotel.  it sounds pretty cool.  makes for a sustainable disney show…well, i have to say, it’s not that great in this context.  but i must also add:  it keeps things simple.  i’m here with louisa.  i have a king size bed; she has a giant chair and ottoman; i sleep here, she sleeps there.  i sleep pretty much nonstop, or i at least try.  the room stays dark; she has her ipod, and now her laptop, which her dad mailed her.  we don’t talk; she’s good like that.

last night, i bathed for the first time since the operation.  somehow i knew i needed a really hot bath.  it did me worlds of good.  so i did it again tonight.

i’m having a few issues, but thankfully no hiccups or puking.  in addition to feeling excessively miserable, like someone shoved a knife into my brain, my left eye is struggling.  for now, my left lid is dead and shut; i have no control over it.  and my eyeball is pointed toward the outside.  in a word, i am now walleyed.  but, my stuck eyeball with the blown pupil and blurry vision is trying heroically to re-establish the all-important neurological connection.  therefore, whenever my right eye looks to the left, my left eye–which is already ALL THE WAY LEFT–tries to follow.  it leaps toward the far left, a surge which causes immense, sharp pain in my eye.  it hurts SO BAD.  in an effort to minimize pain, i must minimize any looks toward the left.  but our eyes are our most instinctive parts, so a mere thought of an object to my left will cause my eyes to move accordingly, almost involuntarily, and BOOM–  pain.  i watched Zoolander the week before my trip to Arizona, and now Derek Zoolander is not the only one who can’t turn left:  i’ve had to stop even turning in that direction, because my eyes want to lead.  so if i feel even the least curiosity toward my left hand side, i must immediately go right, all the way around, to avoid the pain.  just a few minutes ago, walking from the sink to the bed, i had to spin right FIVE TIMES.  i looked like i was caught in a one-eyed New Kids on the Block routine.  New Cyclops on the Block.


also, i can’t see out of my left eye; it’s blurry.  and its misplacement in my eye socket means that, if i try to see with both eyes, i have complete double vision.  therefore, if my left eye opens before my vision is restored in that eye, i will have to wear an eye patch.  this could take 2 years, according to the doctor.  also, of course, there is an aesthetic reason to hide my eye, until it is moving correctly.  i love Marty Feldman in Young Frankenstein; but i don’t want to be him.

a friend of mine is a pastor; he sends out a frequent email of updates and prayer requests.  i get the email, because i gave him my email address when i told him about my brain hemorrhage last may.  and yet, from that day forward, i would always notice that i wasn’t on the prayer list.  two days ago, i awoke from a night’s brain-surgery slumber, to find his latest email.  and yet STILL, even with BRAIN SURGERY, i still couldn’t make that stupid list.  instead, the list favors requests such as, “pray that my wife’s bubble bath is extra sudsy,” or “we’re going to Six Flags; pray that the lines are short and we get tanned yet not burned.”  “pray that we don’t need dental floss after our next meal.”  “pray that Palm Olive does our hands while we do the dishes.”  even after the multitude of deaths back home last week, that’s the best you can do?  i had a knife shoved into my brain, pal; i’m not praying for amazing REM sleep for you and your family.


so there are a few thoughts.

i’m thankful to be alive; i didn’t know if i would be.  i’m thankful to still have my eye.  i’m realizing that this recovery is going to be more immense, and longer, than i had imagined.  please stay here, and go there, with me.  i love all of you.


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chapter 62: TAG TEAM — happy barfday

from louisa:

hmmm, not a very happy way to spend a birthday. unless you count being alive as a gift. which i guess i do, especially if the person celebrating had brain surgery four days ago. the birthday day started off well enough.  pain meds at midnight along with a snack of yogurt, chocolate milk and vanilla pudding.  sadly at 3:30am, said snack was puked back up through mouth and nose into a motel garbage can along with the pain meds.  after spending the rest of the day puking, we finally decided mid-afternoon it was time to return to our phoenix stomping ground: st joseph’s hospital, this time the ER. apparently brain surgery patients are royalty in the ER.  as soon as we sat down we were called to go back to a room.  tell me when has this ever happened in a busy ER?  serious VIP! next time i’m gonna try that trick too!  anyhoo, after giving the doc the 411, they hit wade up with a hefty dose of morphine, anti-nausea drugs and a bag of fluid.  his barely healing poor arms were poked again to make way for IV lines.  once a sufficient amount of fluid and morphine had hit his deprived system, they rolled him back for yet another scan to rule out swelling on the brain.  thankfully this scan was clean and the patient patient was deemed well enough to leave for the motel.  so after more than five hours, we hopped in the car and headed to a 24hr CVS to fill his anti-nausea meds.  the pharmacist with the indian accent explained how the suppositories are supposed to work.  what? yep.  i said suppositories!!  so lucky wade on his birthday gets to shove a bullet shaped vaseline coated projectile up his butthole.  he’s lying on the bed as i type, begging to go crap it out. he’s got 20 minutes to go.  happy birthday to wade, indeed!!


from wade:

okay.  well, that was considerably more explicit than i was counting on…  and i’m really against the use of the word “anyhoo,” too, but i told her she could type whatever she wanted.

i’m too out of it to type much, or even read hardly anything.  here are the videos i took today.  and let me leave on this note:  why is it, in hotels and motels, that they use a light above the toilet that would take Paul back to the road to Damascus?  why is it so bright?  that’s one situation where i’m fine leaving a little to the imagination.  but “bright” is the lesser of two problems; it’s 130 degrees in there with the light on, and i just can’t understand it.  the only explanation i can even imagine, is if someone had thought, “hey, i bet we’ll have a large contingency of customers who’d like to take a dump while they’re tanning.”

Dear Hotels and Motels:

We don’t need an extra reason to sweat when we’re on the toilet.  Thanks.  

–Wade Haynes, representing all humans.

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chapter 61: sunday; videos; and– A BAD PERIOD: THE DISCHARGE

this post was supposed to be typed by louisa.  i’d taken some video earlier today, which i’d planned on linking here; but once I’d gotten “home” to the motel (yes, MOtel), I’d no longer felt good enough to link videos, type, or even speak.  but i am typing now at 9:48 p.m., because as louisa was logging into the blog, i began puking, and i didn’t stop ’til there was nothing left to vomit out of me.  at one point, i said, “hurry, and you can type that you are actually watching me puke right now.”  but she wasn’t fast enough.  that’s a statement of her lack of laptop prowess, not my regurgitation shortcomings.  anyway, i’m more awake now, for obvious reasons.  so let me just say:  i feel horrible.  hot one moment.  sweaty.  cold the next.  chills.  can’t sleep.  desperate for sleep.  headache.  eye ache.  desperate.  made request for hospital-advised “stool softener,” which i won’t explain.  let’s just say my brain feels very sensitive to every move i make.

here are the videos from earlier today, when i was feeling better.  and in case you’re wondering:  yes, i must admit, puking has lessened my agony, although only by a small amount, not nearly as large as the amount of barf itself.

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