Chapter 43 – March 27, 2012

My Aunt and Uncle win the prize for the best answer to my question.  Yes, the device you see in the previous blog is worth every penny, every 500,000 pennies!

Imagine this, imagine you’re in the Bahamas on a beautiful beach listening to reggae, drinking a beer, working.  You’re on your last photograph of the day.  You get done with your shoot, give out a holler, “Yipee, we’re done!”  You throw down your sunglasses, your hat and your shirt, you hand the camera and beer to your assistant, kick off your flip flops and jump into the ocean.  The water is super salty.  You play in the waves for a while, come out, and the hair and make up artist pulls up a chair to give you a haircut.  You grab a towel and a beer from your assistant and you get an awesome haircut on the beach. After you’re done, you jump into the sea with the beer, of course, and you wash away all of the cut hair.  You come out, towel off, put your shirt on and go off to have dinner, cause of course, you’re shooting in front of your favorite restaurant and bar in the Bahamas.  That was a good day at work for me when I was a fashion photographer.  It’s moments like this I would think about when I was in a bad way, going through what I’m going through.

The other thing I try to think about over and over again was one specific day I had with a friend.  I was windsurfing in South Hampton NY.  The moon was rising and the sun was setting.  You would tack between a full moon rising and a sun setting.  The wind was offshore so the waves were super clean.  I was powered up on a 4.7 meter sail (which is small).  And I was on my fiberglass wave board.  It was a great day.  I guess what I’m saying is, when you’re going through crap like this, think about a good spot to be in, and try and stay in that spot.  Just a little break will make a big difference.

Hi everybody.  How is it going out there?  My week has been up and down.  I got another cold.  It’s in my chest, and man it’s kicking my ass.  I work through it but it’s tough.  I guess you gotta just work through it.  Same old thing.  I go to therapy all day.  I’ve been doing water therapy.  It’s great.  It’s a good way to start walking again.  I’ve been doing that and painting a lot with my father and cooking a lot with my mother.  It’s a good time.

What’s also good is to have great friends come by.  I’ve had many visitors and it’s really good for the soul.  Various people will help you out with different things.  I’ve got a few irons in the fire, a few projects going on and they help me with these.  It’s good to have projects to stay busy.  You’ll find staying busy is so important.  Do what you love to do.  Speaking of doing what you love to do, I spoke to Chuck Close the artist the other day.  I was inspired to call him because I saw his work at the Met in NYC.  I went to the Met with my parents the other day.  They both have helped me tremendously.  They encourage me to keep going and take trips like this.  It was a great distraction from my routine.  It was tough but great.  They have a new American Wing there.  I recommend seeing it.  The reason why I was inspired to call Chuck was, he always said, “Do what you love to do.”  He told me to keep the faith, keep going.  That’s why I do my photography projects.  I’ll keep you posted.  I’ll talk to you next week.  Have a good one.  Love, B. Nice.

P.S.  Below you’ll find some images I painted with my father who has helped me tremendously.  I like them because a year ago I couldn’t even move my left finger.  I can’t wait to see what next year brings.  Happy Easter.

Chapter 42 – March 20, 2012

Happy Spring everybody! and happy birthday to my friend Tim who’s out there somewhere!

OK, so I’m going to pull out my soap box and megaphone and I’m going to preach a little bit.  This has to do with a flashback I had.  It involves being at the rehabilitation hospital.  You see, there were a lot of young kids who had been on their cell phone, either talking or texting.  Now, I don’t want to see any of you texting or using the phone while driving.  I saw some pretty horrible stuff.  There was one girl, you ready for this?  This one girl, they had removed part of her skull and surgically put in her belly for safekeeping while they worked on her brain.  I would have breakfast with her every morning.  There was the same conversation over and over and over again.  She had no memory.  She was happy, but pretty messed up.  That was from one cell phone call.  You think it was worth it?  I don’t think so.  Anyway, I just thought I’d share that with you.  Don’t get distracted while you’re driving.  Remember you are a glance away from disfigurement or death.  Anyway, I just thought I’d share that with you.  Don’t get distracted and drive.

I had a nice dream the other night.  I was sitting at a table.  It was a simple wood kitchen table.  The morning sunlight was streaming in through big windows.  In the middle of the table was a glass of water and the sunlight was passing through it.  Because of my condition, I was forced to sit there and stare at it.  No matter what angle you looked at it, it was beautiful.  It was beautiful and yet, if you were normal, and running out the door, you’d go right past it.  I guess what I’m saying is my condition has forced me to slow down and really look at things, really appreciate.

The other thing I really appreciate as well is the fact that my daughter came to visit me.  It really makes my month.  It reminds me why I keep fighting to get normal.  It was great to have her here.  She’s growing up and you can actually have a conversation with her now.  She’s 25.  Just kidding.  She’s a little one.  Anyway, it was great to have her here.  Other than that, it’s been the same old routine.  Just working at getting better.  I’ve been spending more time up in my sister’s theraputic riding center.  It’s fairly ironic that she started a theraputic riding center right when I needed therapy.  The horses are great for the soul.  I’d like to just hang out with them.  It’s a great project she has.  I wish I could help her more.  When I get better, I’ll try and help more.  If there’s anyone out there with some spare time (ha ha) or ideas, let me know.  It’s an hour from New York, and it’s in a beautiful location.

My friend here just asked if I had taken pictures there, and no I haven’t, but I plan on it.  At the moment, they have a website.  www.myfeettakewings.org  If you have time, just google it.

My other project I’ve been working on is my cross country trip.  I plan on going across America and doing landscapes.  I’ll show the world how I see things.  It’s pretty wild.  I’ll keep you posted.  Oh yeah, a guy came with a van the other day, a demo.  A van similar to the type I’d take across country.  It was pretty exciting.  I can’t buy a home, but I can buy a car.

Other than the unusually hot days, the random forest fires, the wild bees, everything has been really normal.  My friend here said I’m getting used to a normal life.  I’ll never get used to normal.  Have a good week.  All the best, B. Nice

P.S.  I included a photo of me at therapy.  How much do you think this piece of metal cost?  Send me your guesses.  You won’t believe it when I tell you.

Chapter 41 – March 6, 2012

Once upon a time, there was a prince that lived on a hill above the sea.  One beautiful summer morning, he awoke and decided to check out the surf.  He grabbed himself a coffee.  He grabbed his dog and he walked down to the cliff to see the waves.  On his way, he crossed a bridge, and on the bridge was a big green frog with a gold crown on her head.  The green frog said, “Kiss me.  I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.  We’ll make love all night, get married, have a happy life together.”  He put the frog in his pocket and walked down to check out the waves.  She said, “Hey, aren’t you going to kiss me?”  He took a sip of his coffee and he said, “Listen, after what I’ve gone through, and the condition I’m in right now, I’d rather have a talking frog.”  Oh yeah, and by the way, the surf was up.  It was a good day.

Hi everyone.  I’m not sure if I told you, but I’ll share it anyway.  I met my neuro surgeon the other week.  After meeting with him, he put his pen down, pushed back from the desk and said, “Brian, you give me hope.”  That’s cool.  You see, when you’re like this, all messed up, it helps to have positive reinforcement.  For example, I had two friends come by last week.  They hadn’t been here for three months.  They said they noticed positive and good improvement.  I don’t feel it, but they say they see a good difference.  It’s really encouraging.  Although, one girl said I had a big belly.  She even gave my belly a name.  It was kind of cute.  Weird but cute.  Thank God she didn’t see my belly six months ago.  She would have given my belly a name and a zip code.  It was big.  When you’re in the hospital, your body changes into some weird form.  I looked like Golum in Lord of the Rings.  They fed me thickener in my liquids to make it easier to swallow.  The drawback was that the thickener was very starchy.  It gave me a belly and stopped me up.  So now I use a juicer and drinks like mango and peach.  You know, stuff like that.  It’s all natural and good for me.  Try banana juice in your coffee.

Speaking of thin liquids and swallowing, I’m going to a special class, one that teaches me how to swallow without aspirating.  Aspirating is when liquid goes into your lungs.  Anyway, they put electric charge on my neck, they put the charge on certain muscle groups.  I’ve been taking the class for about a month now, three days out of the week.  I notice a good improvement.  It has helped me get better at swallowing things like coffee, water, you know, stuff like that.  I highly recommend it.  I’m not sure if it is therapy or torture.  Either way, it works.

It’s been fairly quiet this week.  I continue to go to water therapy and do therapy at home.  My days are long and tedious.  It’s the same thing over and over again.  Wake up at 7.  Have some breakfast.  Use the bathroom.  Then my therapist comes.  I take a shower.  Do therapy until noon.  Have lunch.  Take a nap.  Do more therapy from 2 to 6.  Have dinner.  Go to bed.  Really exciting.  It’s been like this for almost 3 years now, but I am getting better.  I was thinking the other day, hell, I couldn’t even move my finger.  Now I’m feeding myself.  It ain’t pretty, but it works.

I uploaded a photo of me at therapy.  It’s pretty exciting to be able to walk again.  It’s no mile run or 10K run, but it sure feels good.  I’ve been on my back for a long time.  Feels good to stretch my legs again.  I’ll make it a short one this week.  Have a good one.  Love, B. Nice