Log in

No account? Create an account
July 2018   01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31
4 kittens

Broke the Neckdown

Posted on 2015.04.19 at 12:12
Jammies spent the week at the Long Beach Grand Prixe, with SS (this guy). SS was an IndyCar racer who was paralyzed from the neck down in a crash, fifteen years ago, and now he's the center of Jammies' work project: a promotional racecar that SS drives with his face. Steers by turning his head, blow and bite to accelerate and stop. (How does he keep from losing all his breath?)  Jammies works on some of the parts. Jammies met the SS's parents. SS's father was also a race car driver and also had a big crash and was also paralyzed, but from the waist down. The apple races around the racetrack just like the tree did.

Jammies got to ride with a racecar driver (not SS), in a full five point harness, millimeters apart from other cars, zooming around the Long Beach Grand Prix track:

On the straightaways, they got up to 120 mph, but these are very short straightaways. Then he'd slam on the brakes to take the corners - these are city blocks - all the while maintaining the millimeters separation from the other cars.

It sounds terrifying. Here is an odd detail: Jammies' driver was driving a Toyota Camry. The regular old four door sedan. Apparently Toyota likes to publicize what a racecar driver can do with their regular old cars. So it's both terrifying and odd. (Jammies also got to tour Jay Leno's warehouse of expensive cars. He has hundreds, neither terrifying nor odd, but interesting nonetheless.)


I told the kids about SS  - how he got in a crash, how he broke his neck. About spinal cords and spinal columns, and how the brain talks with your arms and legs. How his doesn't work anymore, and so he's paralyzed from the neck down. And that he can't feel sensation, either. They asked what would happen if we tickled him, how he goes to the bathroom, if he can breathe, and how the doctors reattached his head to his body.

The next day, they asked, "Tell us again how it happened? How did he break his neckdown?"

I chuckled and explained that neckdown is not a body part.  We went over the details again - the crash, the spinal cord, the wheelchair. "He can't move from the neck down - two words - from below his neck," I explained.

The third day they asked yet again how he broke his neckdown. This time I told them to save their questions for Jammies. When Jammies got home, I had fun with that. Yes, Jammies, why are you withholding? Tell them about the neckdown. No, the real neckdown. The one he broke.


On Wednesday, I had an appointment with the oncological gynecologist. First thing, he barked, "Stand up!" and I complied. His hand shot out and grabbed a healthy handful of my spare tire. "Oh yeah," he said, "You'd be fine for the flap reconstruction surgery." It turns out he was launching into his pitch about different reconstructive surgeries, post-mastectomy. I sort of interrupted to tell him that I was forgoing all that, but he talked over me. He's kind of an ass. (However: my outfit must have been exceedingly flattering if he had to physically check that I had enough body fat to make breasts out of; I was mildly pleased with myself.)

He steered me towards the full hysterectomy instead of just the oophorectomy.  The surgery will be ROBOTIC, a detail which they are bursting with pride over. I will be left with five tiny holes, and my uterus will be pulled out of my vagina. (That detail is kind of bothersome to me.) I have eight weeks left with my uterus and ovaries, before they are pulled out my vagina.

I had Wednesday scheduled to the minute. My normal breaks were replaced with meetings. Everything was critically important.

The oncological gynocologist was running about three hours late, and so I missed every last critical class and meeting. I was not amused.

On the other hand, there was nothing to stress out about. The events were clearly taking place without me, or were cancelled, and that was that.


At 2 am that night, Hawaii woke me up. Her skin was fiery hot. Her temperature was 102. I gave her some tylenol; she threw it up. And then threw up a few hours later. And then threw up as we dropped off the other three kids in the morning. And threw up all the way to and from Heebie University, because I had to pick up my computer and some work stuff. She was one sick kiddo.

At my office. To her immense credit, every single upchuck was squarely into a toilet or her bucket.  It was amazing.

So I worked from home on Thursday and Friday, while Hawaii watched cartoons. It was marvelously productive. Terrible for my students, but great for my backlog of grading.

Feeling better.


Saturday night, we found blood splattered up and down the hallway. And towards the kitchen. We'd been just about to go to bed.

"Where's Big Kitty?" we wondered, nervously. Big Kitty was sitting in a pile of my clothes, bleeding tremendously from the spot where I gave him IV fluids an hour or so earlier.  He must have stayed still, let a small pool of blood form, and then shake. And then repeat - blood pool, shake - in three or four different spots. My clothes pile had a small, soaked spot.

Super disturbing. I cleaned him up, and Jammies wiped down the hallway, bedroom, and dining room. It's not at all clear how to handle a cat that won't clot, at midnight on a Saturday.

I also took a photo of a blood-soaked paper towel, but decided not to post the gross thing.


Today is Hawaii's actual 6th birthday, and on Wednesday Ace will turn two. It's birthday week! Hawaii requested corn dogs for dinner, and Ace requested macaroni and cheese. The kids will be 0, 2, 4, and 6 for the next six months.

Turning two is hard in our house - no more bottles of milk, you have to eat your vegetables at dinner, and you have to start brushing your teeth twice daily.

We've been preparing Ace that the bottles of milk will end when she turns two. "I one," she says tearfully, "I not two. I one."  We agree, but tell her that her birthday is in three days. "We'll have macaroni and sing happy birthday!" we say, and she claps and says "YAY" happily, through teeth which are clenched around the nipple of the bottle of milk.  She's conflicted; it's a hard birthday.


Susan Dennis
susandennis at 2015-04-21 01:42 (UTC) (Link)
I just saw Jammie's work project on NBC Nightly News!!! They interviewed SS and talked about his neckdown injury. I was so excited that I rewound and watched it twice. They did not even mention Jammie, the slimebags.
heebie_geebie at 2015-04-22 13:10 (UTC) (Link)
No kidding! That's the one! I feel quasi-famous!
(Anonymous) at 2015-04-21 13:16 (UTC) (Link)

You seem like good parents

You seem like good parents.
heebie_geebie at 2015-04-22 13:10 (UTC) (Link)

Re: You seem like good parents

Thanks! We try.
Previous Entry  Next Entry