Saturday, November 29, 2008

Personal Recall - 8 years later: October/November 2000

October 1, 2000. A day that for me lives forever etched in my brain.

And the intervening 5 weeks after that also remain etched...what I can recall through the drugged stupor I was in for the first week of that anyway, and about everything since.

I'll attempt to go through the first two days each as I either remember it or was told that it all happened, then continue with a recap of what I do recall of this time period.

October 1, 2000

I went to church as I normally do on a Sunday. And yes, I remember it being Sunday. Anyway, I recall several people asking me if I was okay; my shoulder had been hurting and I told them so. But got worse. I began turning blue. I wasn't getting oxygen and I didn't even know it.

I was run to the pastor's office while they called my mom down from the 9am service. After minutes of discussion, I was rushed to Children's Hospital in Cincinnati (I was 15 at this time). As soon as my mom got me to the ER, I remember staring up at lights, and that was it. Nothing after that registers from that day in my own personal memory. I was later told I coded, or went into cardiac arrest, for about 10 minutes that Sunday morning. They did emergency surgery and discovered I had ruptured both bowel and bladder, which had allowed large amounts of toxins to be released into my blood. That had choked off the oxygen supply, which explained why I had turned blue.

October 2

I was still in a fog. I don't remember much of anything, except that church staff came to see me in the hospital. I was extremely weak at this point. Meanwhile, back in Florence, massive amounts of information were being sent out about my condition. At Ockerman Middle School, my sister and brother spread the word. At the Boone County Bus Garage, when word was received I was in the hospital, somehow, someway, they found out just how critical I was, and this was passed on to Boone County High School, which I attended. The word went around the school like a wildfire.

October 3-13

I continued to drift in and out of consciousness until October 7. At that point I began to slowly come back to life. Additional visitors came to see me, including a few of Boone County High's staff. Steve Horstmeyer, who was then at LOCAL12(then branded as 12News, WKRC-TV) and is now at WXIX-TV 19(and by the way, this is one of only TWO media references you'll get in this blog, I promise), also came for a visit. I was released October 13. I also received a LOT of cards and well-wishes.

October 14-29

I was home schooled during this period. Continued to receive visitors to my home here in Florence, and also received I don't know how many cards and things from fellow students both at BCHS and OMS. (AUTHOR'S NOTE: One of these even contained about 50 dollars)By 10/21, I was beginning to target October 31 as my comeback date.

October 30-November 6

On October 30, I made an appearance on 12News First at Four (second and final media reference) following a doctor's appointment, to tour their studio. This came about because of a personal interest in meteorology that, as WIXY will tell you, continues to this very moment. This was to test my physical endurance. The question wasn't if I was a tough guy, I knew I was that. The question was: Could I handle being out of the house for 8 hours? The answer: Yes, I could and I was ready for a return to routine. I returned to BCHS the next day, Halloween, and was greeted with an unbelievable welcome back. My fellow students didn't let me forget how much they were glad to see me and that I had returned in one piece. This continued for almost a full week before I had a...

November 7-16

...setback. I had to be hospitalized again. This time, it was for a bowel obstruction which had to be flushed out, I would return on the 16th, and that was that.

Special Note: If I had never taken the time to thank you for the well wishes...I am now. I know - I am HORRIBLE at this stuff. But, I do mean this from the bottom of my heart. Especially those of you who I went to school with in that time period of my life.

Blogging about my disability, part two in what will be a 3 part series.

I decided to parlay the blog from last weekend into a three part series. I told you last week about the perspective I see things through, being in a wheelchair for sixteen years and not having use of my legs for all 23 years of my life.

Today, I have decided to let you have a peek at some of the things I have had to endure over these 23 years, separated into 3 segments: Birth to 10 years, 10 years to 14 years, and 14 years to today. This isn't a complete medical history, but it DOES give you a look at some things I have had to deal with in 23 years.

Birth to 10 years:

1985 - Shunt placed in my head, correction to spina bifida, tendon releases for club foot. Also a broken foot.
1986-88 - Bladder infections, but that was really about it.
1990 - Attempt to use a walker. Didn't go over too well.
1992 - First use of a wheelchair.

10 years to 2000

1995 - Cyst removed from spine. Also began having more and worse latex reactions.
(AUTHOR'S NOTE: To this day I cannot come in contact with latex balloons, toys, or anything containing latex. Otherwise, you'll be watching 3rd degree burn-type blisters sprouting on my arms and other areas)
1996 - Bladder surgery.
1998 - Surgery to correct scoliosis.
Early 1999 on to mid 2001 - Pressure ulcer issues. This is due to weight shift following the 1998 Scoliosis Correction Surgery.
2000 - Septic Shock - First major illness. Spent 13 days in hospital, another 2 weeks at home for this alone. Then in November, bowel obstruction landed me in hospital for another week, and in December, a broken leg put me in a cast for 3 weeks. I've suffered an additional obstruction since then but cannot recall the date. (AUTHOR'S NOTE 2: I will describe what I remember of the October/early November timeframe in the next blog)

2001 to today

2001 - Finally had correction of pressure ulcer from 1999.
2004 - Car crash. Destroyed wheelchair, but otherwise I was fine (incredibly, and by God's hand alone)
2005 - Mitroffanoff began to close off. Late December surgery to construct first ilial chimney.
2006 - Another bout of septic shock that June, caused by inadvertent clog in ilial chimney. I had severe pain in my stomach for two days and a very high fever. I was later told that if I had waited another 36 hours, I would have been killed. Two weeks in hospital leads to recovery by late June.
2007 - Another pressure ulcer becomes infected and results in 7 month bedrest, with surgery done in December resulting in the final month of rest. Also, early 2007 - depression diagnosis, but haven't had a significant episode of such since then.
2008 (Current to Nov. 29): Broke neck in April. Had surgery in May to construct a second ilial chimney. Another pressure ulcer led to 2 months of restriction which was lifted August 20 in time for a small 23rd b-day celebration. Nothing since.

Thoughts after stuffing myself with turkey for two days!

Greetings from the Northern Kentucky DJ who has stuffed himself with turkey, stuffing and potatoes and who does NOT have a regular on-air shift on Saturday! Let us get to the bloggage without further ado:

-- I have always wondered why it is that sometimes, the best meals are the meals that wind up making us have to undo a button or two? LOL...I ate too much, and my stomach has paid for it. I am at about 118 pounds, this may put another pound or two on me!

-- I never thought I would say this, but, I can't WAIT for the first snow of 2008! I want snow so I can get a picture of me and Doris in it...and it looks like I will get some beginning Sunday night.

-- I think my past is better left there than brought back time and time again. What brings this topic of discussion up? Several family members bringing up the subject of my ex-fiancee. I won't talk about it right now, that will just bring back the bad memories. Maybe sometime soon, when I feel like it's all safely in the past and won't hurt me anymore, I will do a blog about just that one subject.

That's it for another edition...I will catch everyone Saturday night sometime late, prob. after 12 midnight.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

One more thing...

I just took about 15 minutes to wish the readers of all the blogs that I also read a happy Thanksgiving...please, if you read this, show the same love to all the blogs YOU might be following!

A few Thanksgiving notes...

Just gonna drop a few thoughts on you, with Thanksgiving Day underway in the east and 3 hours away on the west coast...

-- I hate when people around me break down and cry. See, my hope had been to try and get a little housecleaning/straightening done today. And I got some done. But...about 5:30pm, I got a message from Doris, saying she needed to talk...she was in breakdown mode. Here's a little tip for all y'all who know me: I prefer visual and physical contact, to that established via the internet if the person lives within a short distance. Meaning, within 10 miles of here. Doris lives 4 miles away but was at the Boone Co. Library in Florence, 1 mile south. So...yours truly took the 1 mile sprint to the library in about 16 minutes. (EDITOR'S NOTE: To figure out how long it would take me to walk somewhere, simply take the amount of time it takes to drive there, and then multiply by 4.) And you should see how quickly I left. I left so fast, I didn't take my cell phone, or my bag, or nothing else. Just myself, a jacket, and the clothes that were on my back.

-- I do not mind at all being there for people. I really don't. It's just that it throws everything else into total chaos. (ADDENDUM 5:16PM: I don't mean for this to sound as though I am complaining. In fact, if I had Wednesday to do over again, I would in a heartbeat.)

-- I LOVE Thanksgiving and Turkey! Just seriously, yours truly plans to pig out, eat a lot, and just chill with family and friends. Which leads to my final point.

-- I won't be blogging until late tomorrow, if I do tomorrow at all. Tri-State Media Watch will be shut down for the day...that will allow me to spend the time with my family. I love my blogging friends, and I hope your Thanksgiving Holiday is blessed.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thoughts after The Hub...

I just got back an hour ago from The Hub...which was well attended. :-) I had a good time with great people...on to a few thoughts and reflections about Thanksgiving...

-- We talked tonight about being thankful. We should all be thankful that we have the things that we do...if you're a Christian especially, be glad for what God has done for you.

-- Other things I am thankful for this year:

-- Great friends, both on- and offline.
-- A hospital-stay free 2008 except for one surgery.
-- A wonderful family.
-- A God I love dearly and know is with me 24/7/365.
-- A wonderful girlfriend (Doris)

-- What are my plans for the holiday? I gotta do some cleaning up tomorrow, and then Thursday we have somewhere around 15 people coming to the house for dinner about 4-5pm. Oh and I DO have to be on air tomorrow 9-12 noon. (My on-air schedule is changing, I will be doing Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday 9-12, and beginning next week, Monday and Thursday nights 9pm to whenever the last person leaves. They didn't want me doing a double shift on Thursdays.)

That's it...I may blog tomorrow, but otherwise I will be scarce til Thursday night...Happy Thanksgiving 2008 everyone, from here in Florence, Kentucky!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Check this one out...

Our friend WIXY's Gone Bananas just informed us of somebody who's posed an interesting question. Head over to Remember Love Canal to check that out.

Thoughts upon finishing my best on-air shift in a while...

I cannot remember the last time I had 13 listeners. I did that yeah, even though we're really small-time, I still did great for a Monday night!

On to the randomly spun thoughts...

-- I am still feeling a little sad that I didn't get to see my girlfriend yesterday for our 1 month anniversary. For those wondering, I stand corrected...the big day was Monday, NOT Sunday. So yeah...

-- Am I seeing things, or is John Cena the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and Edge the WWE Champion again? Just wonderin'...because this looks like a couple years ago all over again.

-- Is it me, or did the weather change drastically AGAIN? Just sayin'...

-- I can't wait til Thursday. Thanksgiving...large dinner...YUM!

-- Heck, I can't wait til Wednesday either! I am hoping to see Doris that evening for a few hours.

That's all for this random thought bloggage. Be back tomorrow after church with a few thoughts from The Hub (for anyone wondering, and this is primarily for my SW Ohio/N KY/Southeast Indiana readers - on Tuesday Nights my church hosts a bible fellowship for singles/college-age folks, called The's from 7p-midnight. So if you know any single folks between 18 and 30, or anybody in college between 18 and 30 [ideally, you should live within 90 minutes' drive to allow time to get to Florence and NOT need to stay overnight to attend] who wants a place they can study the Word with fellow Christians or just have fun[as we DO have an open gym after the actual bible study]...hit me up here on this entry, or email me at, and I will hook them up with information!)

Monday, November 24, 2008

One more thought about hills...

I talked a few hours ago about hills and what happens if my brakes fail. I happened to mention Dayton, KY has one where if you don't hit the brakes, then what awaits is:

"...a street, a pair of railroad tracks crossing said street, then a flat stretch of road before you then run headon between a row of houses. And if THAT doesn't scare you enough, if you don't stop there, you also have a couple of steps to deal with before you finally run into a fence."

I forgot one thing about this hill.

If you don't stop at the fence...six blocks north is the OHIO RIVER! If you're going fast enough to break THROUGH the fence, you're up the creek and it's about to throw you in the river! (BAD PUN)

Sorry, the thought popped in my head, and after all, this IS my thoughts blog!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Day In the Life.

Well, seeing as I mentioned that I was out last's what I did. I won't go hour-by-hour, but I'll give you the gist of it.

My day started early (around 8:00). I began this blog after getting my shower(I don't feel right without it). Then I had to do my on-air shift. My computer began to lag a bit around 1 something. I was SUPPOSED to be off air at noon, but it dragged, and when my computer began to lag, I handed off to another DJ, and left shortly after.

I came to the library, and went to sit with Doris for a bit. I found out that she had to go to her sister's house for dinner with them...and soon found out that she was trying to set it up so I could go along. After swinging back home to grab some stuff, I ran back here(in case you're wondering, the library is where I am as I write this blog), waiting for her dad to come get her/us. It had apparently been agreed that I was going, so we headed over to Dayton.

Once there, I sat there and talked to her family, and then...Doris had to go to the store down the hill from the house.

"Wait...down the hill? Yikes," you must be thinking.

You're right.

I always disliked steep hills for one reason...if my brakes fail, what awaits me? In Dayton, that question is answered by a street, a pair of railroad tracks crossing said street, then a flat stretch of road before you then run headon between a row of houses. And if THAT doesn't scare you enough, if you don't stop there, you also have a couple of steps to deal with before you finally run into a fence.

Thank God, my brakes did not fail.

We went to the store, got what was needed (in this case, five cans of tomato paste), then went back up the hill. Along the way, Doris fell and twisted her ankle. But we finally made it.

When we got back, we sat down and a bunch of us played dice before supper. After supper, we all just chilled some more (I don't think we ever finished the game), and then that was pretty much it for me...I fell asleep and slept off and on until we left around 11:30, got home at midnight and crashed in bed.

So there ya are. That's a day in the life of Jeremy(aka Your Tri-State Media Watcher - cheap plug for my other blog).

The Promised Perspective Blog...

OK I promised last night I would do a perspective blog about what it is like to be disabled. However, I got home at midnight last night from dinner with Doris and her family, and quickly crashed into bed. So here it is...

I am 23, but have spent all but 7 years of my life in a wheelchair. Why? I don't do it for kicks.

I have Spina Bifida, which occurred when my spinal cord was still exposed at birth. It was surgically closed within hours after my birth; however, doctors could do nothing to save my mobility. I am paralyzed from my waist down. So in 1992, I started needing a wheelchair. I pretty much have had one since.

So why is this a perspective blog?

You'd be surprised at the number of people who tell me they're "sorry". (NOTE: I know they're not sarcastic, I'm quoting) They shouldn't be sorry.

And you'd also be surprised at the number of people who, every day, ask me if I need help. Sometimes, I need it (ever try to push a wheelchair through snow? Doesn't work well). But most of the time I don't. It is nice of them to offer. But then, other times, people come up behind me and just start pushing my chair or trying to carry things for me. I don't appreciate people just doing things for me. I really appreciate it MORE if you ask.

The thing I hate worse than people trying to help without asking, however, is the "C" word. To be specific, the word "cripple". I LOATHE that word. I despise it. It sounds like a word you say when you don't give a hoot about a person who has a wheelchair. And to be honest, that's pretty much what it says to me if you say it to me. You don't care about me. You don't care that I have feelings, or a heart.

So the next time you see someone like me, and you want to help but aren't sure what to do...ask. And don't tell us you're sorry about our condition. We don't all want pity. And if you ever see me, or anyone like me, and you want to use that "c" me and everyone else a favor. Don't. It makes us feel better about the world.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

PREVIEW - Blog TONIGHT about Spina Bifida and my experiences with it.

Tonight after I get home (I am currently sitting in the Florence, KY library while my girlfriend looks up a couple recipes), I will post a blog about my experience as a man who's had to use a wheelchair his entire life. What's it like to spend a day in my shoes? I'll tell you that and more, tonight.

First Thoughts on Waking Up - 11/22/08

Random thoughts from a DJ who has just 30 minutes before an on-air shift, and who's looking forward to seeing his girlfriend later today...

-- It looks so nice outside this morning. But, I didn't let those looks deceive me. It is COLD...butt cold out. As of this writing, 14 at the airport four miles away...10 near where my dad lives in Hamilton, Ohio, and elsewhere sitting between 15 and 20 degrees. BRRRRR...

-- I really think sometimes, people need to realize that the things they say, do hurt. Case in point, my Christian friend Natalie Simpson had someone tell her, upon revealing that she voted for Obama, that they now see her as "pro-choice, pro-abortion", when the opposite is true. (FULL DISCLOSURE on two counts: One, I am a Born-Again Christian myself; Two, I am a registered Democrat but vote with my heart - if I see a Republican I like, I'll vote for them. If I see a Dem candidate I don't like, I'll pull for the Republican.) Folks, we base our electoral decisions on single issues WAY too much. Abortion happens to be that issue in this situation. And I think it's sad that someone she looked up to, could turn around and say something like that because she voted Democratic.

-- Does anybody else think OCTOBER was too early to drag out the Christmas stuff at the retailers such as Sears, K-Mart, etc.? I sure do. If they had been waiting til this week, I'd be a little more excited about it being out there right now. But they dragged it out before Halloween candy even found its way into the baskets of American kids...or before our elections were even decided, and expected me to still be pumped about Christmas by Thanksgiving? No.

Now granted, I'll probably be psyched all over again on 12/1 when I do my holiday gift shopping...but until then, I'm already fatigued of Christmas!

Those are just a few of the random things in my head. Come back tomorrow afternoon for much, MUCH more!


Hey everyone:

I have decided to create this BRAND NEW blog to talk about random thoughts and observations that DON'T have anything to do with Cincinnati Media. For information regarding Cincinnati media, please visit my other blog at Tri-State Media Watch. This won't be updated AS frequently as TSMW, maybe once a day. And news won't be the only thing to spur an update either...if it's important to me, I'll blog it.