Suffering

Suffering

You hear the term “pain and suffering” in relation to accidents and injuries, but it really hit home today.  I told myself earlier this year if I didn’t have any jobs booked during Photo Expo in NYC, I’d take the bus and go spend the day at the Javits Center and attend.

Then this happened.

Today, I’m looking at Facebook and seeing many of my photography colleagues having fun at the Expo while I can barely make it to the bathroom and back.  Now, that’s what I call suffering.  Pain is what I feel in my knee, shoulder, hip and back, but suffering is seeing your pals having fun while you just get to look at the pictures.

Life isn’t fair.

I received a ton of paperwork from the insurance companies.  One was an application for disability.  I thought, that’s odd.  So, Elizabethe called the 800 number and they said you have to have an employer in order to receive disability.  (i.e. the self-employed don’t qualify).  They also sent me forms for Medicare and a bunch of other forms that don’t apply.

Since it is date night and since going out doesn’t sound fun, I suggested we order a pizza and hand out candy.  We ordered a pizza and just waiting for the first trick-or-treaters.

 

Discoloration

Discoloration

There is starting to be some discoloration around my knee.  Given the amount of hemorrhaging, I’m surprised it has taken this long.  After all, they removed 55cc of blood from my knee, and after that, the doctor said the rest would be absorbed in to the body.

I am discovering I use my abdominal muscles a lot more in an effort to avoid putting pressure on my right let.  I feel like I’ve been doing sit-ups all day.  I even feel the strain on them when using my crutches.  I guess they are used to lift the legs as you use the crutches to walk.

We have been getting so much propaganda from the Democratic Party it is ridiculous.  None of it is to promote their candidates.  It is 100% smear propaganda.  I hate it.  I will never vote based on smear campaigns.   We have an ineffectual congressman who cannot blow his own horn, so his party has to denigrate the opponent.  It’s disturbing to say the least.

Politics on the national level have  got quite bad.  It is so sad that there are few politicians who you can actually trust.    We’ve done it to ourselves by not being vigilant in keeping an eye on their votes.  We have also contributed to our own blight by not understanding the future ramifications of various policies and laws.

My grad-school economics class was taught by the chief economist for Bank of America at the time.  We used Samuelson’s book, Economics.  The class had one huge message, and it was this… When government does anything to interfere  with the economy, it’s short-term effects might be good, but its long-term effects are always bad.  We studied example after example in that class.

Finally, one student asked, “So why doesn’t Congress read this book if it is considered the “bible” of modern economics?”

I love the professor’s answer.  It was to the effect, “Because they only care about one thing — getting re-elected.”

Perhaps term-limits would solve that problem.  Or, as one friend suggested that you can only run for one public office once.  I guess that would be the extreme term-limit.

I have a real problem with politics as a career.  Here’s why…

When we elect someone, we elect them to represent us.  In order to represent us, they must live and labor amongst us.  The idea of making a career out of doing that which, in all intent and purposes, should be a voluntary service, is disgusting to me.  Putting money in to the equation sets them up for graft and corruption.  Add to that how we provide our state senators and congressmen a lifetime pension, and you remove all motivation to serve the people.  I think I have said this before that any representative who votes contrary to the will of his constituents is not doing his job.

These next two major elections – 2014 and 2016 – will decide the quality of life for the next several years.  I’ve put up with a lot for the last 6 years and we’ll be paying for it for years to come.  I’ve talked to 3 people recently, who, like me, have had a major increase in their health insurance. Of the 4 of us, it sounds like the average increase is around 40%.  That’s pretty drastic since the ACA was supposed to make health insurance “affordable”.  Again, just think of the ramifications in the years to come.

Day 10

Day 10

It is day 10 since the accident.  While I’m still feeling the aches and pains, they are not as constant as they have been.  I’m feeling an increase in upper-body strength since I have to lift my body using the crutches.  Right after the accident, it was really hard to stand up.  Now, I grab those crutches and pull myself right up while keeping that right leg off the floor.  Pretty impressive.

By the end of the day, however, I could hardly do anything my arms were so tired.  About the only times I left the couch were to use the bathroom and that was about it.  So much for that upper-body strength.

Poor Elizabethe.  Not only does she have her normal tasks, but she has stuff that I would normally do.

For a diversion, I watched a couple of Bob Newhart clips on YouTube.  These are quite funny.  Just search for him on YouTube.  The one I liked the most was titled, “Stop It”.  Another really funny one was Bob Newhart Defusing a Bomb.   What a funny guy.

Another thing I accomplished today was downloading all of my bank statements and credit card stuff for my insurance company.  Although I can get on my laptop and do stuff there, I cannot take portraits or do weddings because (1) I can’t hold a camera while using crutches, and (2) I need to rest frequently and keep my leg elevated so it doesn’t get swollen.

By about 7:30pm today, I was pretty exhausted.  To think I have about 5-7 more weeks of this… well, I shouldn’t think about that.  It will only drive me crazy.

 

Soup is Nuts

Soup is Nuts

I know the saying is “soup to nuts”, but carrying soup is nuts if you are on crutches.  Elizabethe arrived home last night and has been helping me all day.  She asked if I’d be okay for a few hours while she went to the temple and I said, “Sure.”  She took some soup out of the freezer and told me it was on the counter and all I had to do was microwave it.

Getting around on crutches is very difficult.  I made my way to the kitchen and realized our microwave is broke.  I can’t microwave this.  I then went to get a bowl.  I can’t  carry this bowl.

Seeing a bowl on the counter, I went over and was able to move the soup to the bowl and dump it in.

So far, so good.

Now, how do I get this bowl of cold soup in to the oven to warm up?

Uhg.

Frustration.

Squeezing the bowl’s rim between my left thumb and the grip of the crutch, I managed to very slowly move to the oven.  Once at the oven I discovered I can’t open the door while holding this bowl and maintaining my balance on my good leg.

Ugh.

I managed to set the bowl on the stove top, and open the door.  Now I’m about 3 feet from the oven rack and the soup.

Double UGH.

This dance went on for quite a while and at one point, I almost gave up and went back to bed.  But, I knew I wouldn’t fall asleep because I’m hungry and my stomach would keep me awake.  Finally, I got the bowl in the over without harming myself.

45 minutes go by and the soup is hot.

How in Sam Blazes name do I get this hot bowl out of the oven?

I won’t bore you with the details, but it did involve the use of one crutch to steady me while standing on my left food, and the other to slide the oven rack out towards me.  The entire time I was thinking, “Brent, if you fall you could open the fracture!”

I ate my soup and left the mess for Elizabethe to clean up.  Basically, it’s like I have no arms when I’m standing or walking because they are used to walk.

I miss my mobility.

Elizabethe Returns

Elizabethe Returns

Elizabethe Returns home tonight.  Her flight comes in around 11:30pm.

I managed to sleep in until almost noon.  I’m sure the pain medication helped.

After getting up, Ron took me to the house to drop off my bag and stuff so we would have room in the car for Elizabethe’s bags.

The full-time elders came and taught a discussion to Nick (Ron and Mary’s grandson) and had dinner with us.  It has been nice staying with them.  They have treated me like family.

Around 11pm we headed to the airport to pick up Elizabethe.  We got there and shortly after pulling in the cell phone lot she called and said she had her bags and was ready.

We got home around midnight.  It is nice to be in my own bed, in my own house, with my wife.  Another trauma of the accident… I don’t want to travel without Elizabethe or visa-versa.  It’s pretty disturbing to be in an accident and not have your spouse near your side.

I could hardly fall asleep.  I’m not sure why.  My knee was a bit swollen and I had it propped, but for some reason, my brain just did not want to go to sleep.

 

Church After the Accident

Church After the Accident

Church after the accident was something I was anxious about.  I decided I should go and hope my body is able to keep up with the pace.

Many people came up at church.  Those who knew the details offered their sympathy.  Those who did not wanted to hear the story.  Everyone was very supportive and sympathetic.

Jim Hale was there, and I could tell he was guarding his arm.  You could tell his arm is in pain.  He said he would be seeing his regular doctor during the week.

The biggest problem with sitting for 3 hours is the pews and chairs are not very comfortable for someone with limited mobility.  My butt endured the sitting and it was nice having gone to church.

On the way home, Ron drove through the Palmyra Cemetery and asked me to point out graves like Pliny Sexton, E.B. Grandin and John Gilbert.  Bob Ingold met us there and Ron pointed out some graves to him like Bishop Baldalf and the Beavers’ graves.

Last night was the worst night since the accident.  I think the emotional/mental trauma caught up and I had a night of nightmares and physical pain.  It is the first time I’ve ever woke from a deep sleep having an anxiety attack.  I can’t remember what the nightmare was about, but it really had me upset when I woke up.

How do insurance companies put a value on pain and suffering?  It’s one of those things where money doesn’t fix physical damage to the body, nor does it compensate for nightmares, anxiety, and other emotional pains as the result of an accident.  I guess it can be seen as a way to alleviate other anxieties by helping the victim feel comfortable that they won’t have to worry about future medical bills?  I’m not sure, but I’m writing this stuff down.

I have bruises on my right arm as if someone pulled me out from under the car.  I don’t recall how I got out of the way of the car, but I have a thumb-sized bruise on my bicep as if some unseen being rescued me from being ran over.

Harvest Dinner

Harvest Dinner

Tonight is the ward harvest dinner and I’m thinking of going with Ron and Mary.  It will all depend on how I feel.

I spent the day working on a painting of Natalie.  I worked on it until my hand got tired, and then I just rested.

When the time came, I went with Ron and Sister Wallace to the ward dinner.  When we got to the church, we got the wheelchair out and I used it.  I didn’t realize how uncomfortable a wheelchair can be.

Earlier in the Day

I had been invited to join a Facebook page about last-days revelations (a Latter-day Saint oriented page).  I finally had to leave the group because of the false doctrine being taught and the unwillingness for the group to sustain gospel-backed information.

At one point I posted asking for “chapter and verse”.  It was met with criticism.

When someone preaches things about the future of the world with no way to demonstrate its basis in the scriptures, well, most of the time it is false doctrine.

Here’s some stuff I read that just… well… curled my toenails…

  • Pre-mortal spirits procreated in the pre-existence
  • Everyone will be 30 years old when they are resurrected
  • Adam and Eve had regular sexual intercourse in the Garden of Eden, they just couldn’t have children
  • During the millennium we will all live in tents in tent cities
  • Everyone will need to pack-up for the move to Missouri so you better have a way to haul your food storage, camp stoves, sleeping bags, etc.
  • You should only store what you personally put away.  We are not to store stuff we bought in the store.
  • God gives people near-death experiences because the prophet doesn’t have time to tell us these things.

All of this stuff is unsupported by any scriptures.  And, when you have stuff like that, and it doesn’t come from our latter-day prophets, then it is most likely in the category of “false doctrine”.

This talk from a recent conference tells us where we should turn…Living Prophets

Another thing that really concerned me is most of the members of this group were quoting some lady who goes around the country talking about her near-death experience as though she was the source of information for what is to come.

Here’s some guidelines I’ve decided to follow.  They are largely based on what prophets have taught me during my life (notice, I said my life – not Brigham Young’s life, not George Albert Smith’s life, but during my life span thus far):

  • Store a year’s supply of food
  • Store water
  • Pay off your debts
  • Store fuel for heat and cooking
  • Be spiritually prepared

That said, here are some things people have read in to the command to store food…

  • Store guns
  • Store ammunition
  • Store automotive fuel
  • Have an alternative way to travel

I’m not saying it is wrong to store the above, but we have not been asked as a church to do those things.   But, whatever the future may hold, we will hear it first from our living prophet.

Overdoing It

Overdoing It

When you have a serious injury, you have to be careful to make sure you aren’t overdoing it.   I went out today with Ron to pick up some things at home.  When I got back to Ron and Mary’s I was pretty exhausted.

Ron and Mary went to the temple tonight and I volunteered to help Nick, their grandson, with his math.  His math turned out to be two equations, two unknowns.  Good algebra problems.

I showed him that each equation would create a line.  All he had to do is find two (x,y) pairs that work, and then draw a straight line between them.  Then, do the same for the other equation.  Where the two lines cross is the answer.  I then showed him how to subtract the equations from each other and solve for x and then plug in x and solve for y.

I’m still feeling pretty beat up and sore.

Insurance Claim

Insurance Claim

I spent the majority of the day dealing with my insurance claim.  The biggest worry when being injured is dealing with insurance.  Are they going to have enough insurance?  Will they pay my claims on time?  Will it be a nightmare?

My insurance company called me and asked questions and interviewed me about the events of Sunday night.  The adjuster suggested I called the driver’s insurance company and open a claim.

I called them and I was very surprised that a claim had not been opened by the driver.  In California, there was a law that gave you so many working days in which to open a claim and file that claim with the Department of Motor Vehicles.  If memory serves me right, if you failed to do that, you could lose your license.  They might have the same thing here, but if they do, it must be longer than California’s filing period.

When you open a claim, they put you on a recording and ask you to tell the story.  It is amazing how good you get at reciting what you remember from that day.

It is also comforting to know they don’t look at the pedestrian victim as if trying to place blame on them.  I guess, in a sense, I’m the victim of an assault.  Because of that, the people at the insurance companies have dealt with me with compassion. After all, Jim and I were in a crosswalk with a “walk” light.  As a pedestrian you do expect that to be a “safe” place.

Already a Friend

Already a Friend

Social media is a funny thing.  Imagine my surprise when I went to find someone and discovered they were already a friend.  Such was the case today.

This story begins when I was asked if I wanted to join my hosts for dinner at Olive Garden.  I thought I could handle the trip to the car and from the car to the restaurant as well as the return trip, so I accepted their invitation.

We arrived at the restaurant and after getting a large table where I could spread my broken leg out (without people bumping in to it), our very pretty waitress began serving us.  She was an absolutely delightful waitress — kind, polite, quick and attentive.  When told I had been hit by a car Sunday night, she even showed empathy.

Halfway through dinner, Mary and I had a conversation about sexual harassment by clients to waitresses.  At the end of that conversation, I jokingly (but have serious) asked Mary, “So would it be sexual harassment if I asked our waitress if she would pose for a painting?”

Mary laughed and responded, “Probably.  Would you like me to ask her for you?”

I said, “Sure.”

As we were about to leave, Mary explained I am a painter and artist and her pretty face has caught my attention and asked if she’d like to model for a painting.  I wrote down my contact information (because I had no cards with me – dumb mistake) and told her she can call me if she wants to take me up on the offer.

Everyone was heading to the door when the waitress asked if I knew a certain photographer.  I told her I did.  She said she thought she recognized me.  I’m thinking, “Really?”

As we talked, it came out that she’s a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  I recognized the last name, but that’s all.  I introduced her to Ron and Mary, and they told her they know her parents.  I asked if she knew Paul O’Donnell and she responded, “Yes, he was my seminary teacher.”

What a small world.  But, it doesn’t stop here.

Later in the evening, I go to find her on Facebook, and there’s no “Friend” option.  Strange.  I poked around thinking I’ve never seen such a thing before.  Then it hit me… we’re already friends!

Sure enough, I check my conversation history and we had talked via Facebook last summer about doing a shoot, but it was Pageant time and things didn’t work out for either of our schedules.  We had never met, and our

I believe everything happens for a reason.  Sometimes the reason may not be revealed to us.  Other times the reason is perfectly clear, while other times it is up to us to figure it out.  In any event, if that reason was simply to being a little happiness in to my situation (my broken leg, that is), it served its purpose.

I do hope I’m able to do a painting of this young lady.  It will serve as a reminder of God’s tender mercies and how in the midst of one of life’s trials, our Heavenly Father still has a way show that life is still good.