Word had been spread around town from my close relative and some of my past good friends that I was still drinking and that is what had caused these injuries. I had to spend three long weeks in the hospital because no rehabilitation facility would take me into it. They did not want an alcoholic being put under their care. The doctors in the hospital would wake me up by screaming in my face, “When did you quit drinking?” I would tell them the truth of 18 months, but, once again, none of them would listen or believe me.
I was having blood taken 6 times per day and night. They couldn’t get any more blood out of my elbow and started taking it from in between my fingers. Once again, I had always had people that believed in me and that seemed to disappear to where no one would believe in me anymore. I could not understand why this family member was doing this to me. That was the most frustrating and infuriating thing that I have every been through. I may never know, because all I get are lies in response or people blaming me or the drinking that I had quit doing nearly two years before. I never felt more alone!
The doctors in the hospital would also not listen to me on my drinking and would just keep looking at my medical records, making assumptions on what was written on these records and shoving Potassium and other pills down my throat. They even put me on several IV units of Potassium, which made me even sicker. I kept telling the doctors in the hospital that I thought that this was making me so horribly more sick and weak beyond belief, once again, and I would have to sit on the toilet at least 8 times per day.
I kept telling them that I thought that this was how I was losing the Potassium in my system, but they kept saying that was impossible to lose Potassium through diarrhea and they just kept pushing these pills on me. They kept telling me that they thought that I was peeing out my Potassium and they put me on fluid restrictions. I laid there dying of thirst, but the problem was persisting, and I kept having diarrhea 8 times per day. Every few hours, they would allow me to have ice chips and once again, nobody could understand what I was saying because I had no moisture in my mouth.
It was maddening, nobody would listen to me. So, I did what they probably never expected. I defied them and refused to take any more of those horrible medicines. They, of course, told me that I was going to die, but I did not care at that point. I felt so bad, could not get off the toilet and felt like a dried-up tumbleweed by taking their advice. I would have welcomed death at that point!
My father came to my room and read to me an obituary of a man who had died in one of the nursing homes that had a rehab facility in it. I asked him to visit them and get that room for me. I could not stand any more time in a hospital or the doctors that were not helping me at all. I was then allowed to enter this new facility, which was like a Shangri-la compared to the first facility. The food and the menu were very good, the rehabilitation center was top notch and the staff seemed to be very interested in my welfare.
This facility was much better, but I was still a 50-year-old man in a nursing home where 99% of the other tenants were in their 80’s or 90’s. I immediately started physical therapy on the unsteadiness that had taken control of my body, occupational therapy to help the healing process of my surgically replaced shoulder, and voice therapy to help me find my recognizable voice again after having a terrible brain injury.
I worked extremely hard at all these things, but something was missing and seemed to not sit right with me. I was basically learning how to talk and walk again and the thing that was bothering me the most was I felt like I had been put away and I do not think that anybody thought that I would ever recover and get out again. What was my future going to hold for me?
I started to try to walk without the use of a wheelchair and without falling from dizziness. My arm was becoming stronger, but was still extremely weak, and I was reading out loud again and the therapist could understand me. However, he did inform me that I will probably only speak at an 80% capacity again. That is when I started my own form of physical therapy.
There was a lone, communal computer in the cafeteria of this facility that seemed to cry out to me. Everyone else in this nursing home went to bed by 8:00 P.M. and that is when I would wheel myself down to this computer and start to do research on my own family history and do some writing on the subject. I started to think about my own distant grandparents and thought about the world that they lived in.
Slowly, a fascinating story started to control my thoughts. Every evening, I would go down to this computer and begin to write out this story. I started to get excited during the day thinking about this thrilling tale, because I did not know what would come out of me next or where the story would lead me.
I never had any thought about becoming an author. I started writing as a form of therapy to sharpen my mind and strengthen my shoulder. I also threw myself into the story and wrote as escapism from where I found myself living. Throughout the year of 2019, my life was spent in a nursing home and finding my only escape to be inside my own imagination.
At that point, I spoke with my voice therapist and we both thought that it would be important to show my own progress in my gaining health through my writing. I could see in the beginning of the novel that I was extremely screwed up and my writing shows some of that impact from the head injuries in my writing.
The writing is not perfect, and my grammar is not the best in the beginning. I will be the first to admit that. However, I fell in love with the characters and the impact of the story on how it affected me. I felt that both the hero’s battle to overcome everything thrown in his way, the love of family, and the adventures of trying to return to his loved one’s were incredibly strong.
When I reread this novel, it almost seems foreign to me that I accomplished this. I am still so proud of what I had done, and I really want to share that feeling with other people and make them feel that same way. I may have not been grammatically perfect in the beginning, but I can see the strength and better health build so much stronger throughout the novel. By the end, I am mesmerized by the world that was in my injury addled mind.