Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Meanwhile Back at the Back-story

Back to the back-story: Though I wasn't there when Paul fell off his bike, I was able to catch a ride with him in the ambulance to the hospital. It was surreal. Paul in the back, the EMT kept asking him questions and he always answered with his name, Paul. About a block into the ride the guy in the back said to the driver "lets take him to trauma". That was a decision made due to Paul's quality of consciousness, which wasn't very good. I couldn't believe how calm the driver was, she explained every move to me. Like, why the sirens weren't on while driving down the freeway( something I'd never really noticed before) and how they don't drive too fast and what made them decide on the trauma hospital. 

At the emergency room the doctors aids calmly took Paul out on his gurney and whisked him off to another room. I sat in the waiting room answering questions about our health insurance in a daze (Paul had just received his first Kaiser card in the mail two days earlier). Presently the neighbor that had ran up and fetched me when Paul took his fall, arrived and sat with me in the emergency waiting room. She was an astrologer, but a compassionate one. She asked Paul's birthdate and did some quick calculations. Apparently there was a planet that made a transition of some sort that day, April 15th, tax day, and it was a game changer for some people, like Paul.  

The good news was there was no for-see-able death knell. 

When the brain doctor came in a few hours later to tell me the results of the MRI I thought I was ready. He started the conversation with "sit down". That's always a bad sign. The good news was he would live. The big question was, what kind of life could he live. They wouldn't know until the brain surgery.  He asked if I felt faint. No, but I was having heart palpitations, I had to bend over. He had me sit on the floor and proceeded to tell me how they have to take precautions with loved ones as heart attacks are known to happen. That was unnecessary information. He would send a Companion Volunteer in to see me so I'd have someone to talk to. 

Now I had to wait. Of course at this point I got on the phone to everyone I knew that was close to Paul. It was one of those old wall phones and you had to have coins or a phone card. I called his ex wife first, then his oldest son, then my band members. Hours later, who knew what time it was- I was in that Las Vegas Casino land of timelessness, several of my friends came by and stayed with me that night. 

The compassionate astrologer had left hours back. I saw her only once after that, she moved away by the time Paul and I were back at the apartments almost a month after the accident. A day or two later when I was waiting to see Paul in ICU, the waiting room TV sputtered acres of footage of the Oklahoma bombing and then another day Christopher Reeds spinal injury from the fall off of his hunt horse. It must have been that bad bad planetary transition. 

Monday, September 28, 2009

No One Feels At Home In Them

Today, I felt the best I've felt in about a week. Some may say it's because Mercury is about to un-retrograde. I think its because I felt an inkling of hope today. 

I took Paul out for breakfast at 8:30 this morning we went to the Panakin Cafe. Paul has this weird thing he's been doing for about 5 years now and that is bending over like he's bobbing for an apple but there's no reason for it. People always look out the corner of their eye at him like 'what's wrong with that guy? He got a really bad back?' At any rate its just a compulsion he has nothing wrong with his back. So we got some of those looks. 

It was great getting him out of that life sucking nursing home, not to get me wrong, he lives in a relatively nice one where I and his friends can visit him regularly, but there's something innately wrong with nursing homes. No one feels at home in them. That seems like such a simple fix. 

I could see Pauls mood lighten being out in the sunshine, er overcast sunshine, and seeing all the regular folks waiting in line for their morning coffee. While eating I texted our friend Lenny Kaye who's in the studio with one of my favorite musicians Patti Smith. So Paul dictated a nice hello to them and rah rah in the studio sort of thing. That was fun. 

Sure its great knowing a well known musician like Lenny but the real fun of it for me was the comm exchange with someone outside my daily routine someone in that fun place of all fun places New York City. (I used to live there, it really is that fun). It made my day just picturing my friend tooling around on the subway heading up to the studio in the city. 

I think the hardest thing for me in my life has always been to put my name down on a dotted line and commit myself to a person, place or thing. A contract. A paper or statement of responsibility. I didn't even want to sign with the first tour booking agent back in the late 80s and my manager made me do by saying, "contracts are made to be broken" and hey he was right the booking agency broke the contract a year and a half later. 

Now I'm under contract with myself to be a "good  person", make sure my son goes to his school each day and stay in a town where Paul can be in a nice nursing home where a few of his friends can visit him. 

A few years ago I imagined myself moving to the east coast where a musician like me can tour easily because the distances between big cities aren't so  huge. Now I have many reasons to stay here in this town I've lived in for 15 years. But I long to venture elsewhere. 

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More back-story another time

Today was a difficult day. I dropped in to see Paul this morning at his nursing home near our home and Alexanders school. I worked pretty hard for many months convincing the local nursing home to admit Paul, but that story is for another time....I like the home pretty well the staff are nice and seem on top of things mostly, but today I came in to find Paul's glasses gone. Not on his face. They were nowhere to be found. Me and a social worker looked everywhere for them. Nowhere to be found. Paul never goes anywhere without his glasses, just takes them off at night and puts them on the floor by his bed. Then, first thing, back on in the morning. 

It really bummed me out. He can't see a thing without those glasses, he's NEVER without them, blind as a bat. So dang sad. I am not a highly emotive type but that got to me, I mean Paul's glasses are a sort of iconic representation of him and his brilliance. That sort of Issac Asimov, mathematician, horn-rimmed nerd guy thing that I always found adorable. Gone. 

Where do things go when they're lost at nursing homes. I've heard others tell me its a common occurrence. I know Paul, even in his current state of dementia, is not far enough gone to throw them in the toilet. Where do they go? Who would wanta pair of Issac Asimov, coke-bottle lens with prisms glasses? 

The rest of the day was better. I finally did find an old pair he can use temporarily. And now, too tired, must sleep now...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

First a hello and then what...

Hi, my name is Cindy Lee. This is the first of a hoped for, batch of thoughts and musings on this weird life I've been living for well, a whole bunch of years. 

My husband Paul Williams(more on the cool stuff he's done later), had a bicycle accident in April 15 1995, he was riding his bike home (with no helmet) and it was tax day, he'd finished our taxes and his ex-wives taxes, delivered them to the post office on time and fell off his bike going down a hill too fast. 

It was a weird day, I'd been at a band practice with my group the Garage Orchestra, we were preparing songs of the next album. Afterwards I drove home and had the inclination to stop for a bite to eat, I was starving but something told me to get home sooner. These were the days before rampant use of cell phones, no one I knew had one, expect my booking agent John in England.  But I wanted to wait to eat with Paul and see what he'd been up to this day.

I arrived home and no one was there (we've lived in the same apartment building by the beach since 1994.) A neighbor came by and hollered for me to go see Paul at the end of the street, he'd fallen off of his bike and an ambulance was there. I  ran down the hill just in time to catch a ride with the paramedics. Paul looked dazed and there was blood coming out of his ear. The EMT's decided it was the job for the big hospital which has ICU's and big time surgeons. Remarkably, Paul and I had JUST started taking Kaiser Health insurance and were accepted a week before his traumatic brain injury.

A couple of friends just now came by and waylaid me from the finishing of this here first blog, now I'm tired and I've gotta get my son off to school at 8AM so I'll sign off for now. More to come.