Gabby’s TBI

There was jubilation last night when President Obama announced that Rep. Giffords had opened her eyes.  While this is a good sign we must not delude ourselves into thinking she will recover or be alright.  Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head.  She suffered a very serious traumatic brain injury and her recovery, assumes she recovers, will be long and hard.  Her days serving her constituents in Congress are over.  We should all be realisitc about this and not adorn rose colored glasses thinking some magical recovery is around the corner.

Recovery from TBI is long and hard.  I know because I went through it.  My TBI happened on November 21, 1984 and I am still not fully recovered, I never will be.  My injury paled in comparison to the one suffered by the Congresswoman and I have terrible memories of the struggle to recover enough to do what I do now.  Even now I have bad days.  When you don’t see new content on the blog sometimes it because I am having a bad day.  Gabby Giffords faces some terribly long days ahead assuming she can recover at all.

Watching the reports from UMC in Tucson and listening to expert commentary takes me back to 1984 and the road I embarked upon.  Not being able to remember the simplest things for even scant seconds, speech and hearing losses, personality change, major depression, cognitive functions which were extremely poor and the impulsive drives from my brain which I had to learn to control.  Those are only the major issues I dealt with.  To this day I have trouble listening to shows such as WHYY had on this morning because it brings back all those memories.  Marty Moss-Coane had guests speak about TBI and how every patient reacts and recovers differently.  The brain is very complex and not even the best doctors and surgeons can say if the Congresswoman can ever recover.

It is very early in the process for her.  It took me well over twenty years before I could really function well enough to get back into the real world.  I didn’t have a bullet go through my brain.  The neurological tests being administered thus far are only on the most elemental level.  Until she can say who she is, what she does, where she lives, works, etc. we won’t know if basic functions remain.  If not (she may be unable even to speak) she’ll have to learn everything completely as if she were a child.

The problems with TBI are legion and complicated.  Realizing what has happened to you causes major depression but that can be treated.  As the docs on this morning’s show stated this is actually a good sign because it means one understands what has happened to them.  Accepting it is an entirely different thing.  My life took a very dramatic turn that day in 1984.  Today my life is rewarding and productive but it has taken time, effort and the work of doctors.  Hopefully Gabby will see dramatic improvement but this is likely to be a very slow process.  Let us celebrate each positive sign but also realize these are but the first steps in a very long journey.

News & Notes October 12, 2010

I’m finally feeling better thanks to Dr. Jim’s antibiotics.  My voice remains a whisper and the Doc says that’ll be the last thing to come back much to the consternation of those who know me.  After five boxes of tissues, ten containers of OJ, untold quantities of cold and flu medicines and too many nights sleeping like a baby (up every two hours) I’m grateful for the wonders of modern medicine.    I hope to be able to begin covering local events Wednesday but please remember I can’t talk except in a whisper.

Jim Gerlach has a strange new jobs program.  Remember the primary when Doug Pike insisted on no audio/video taping of debates and then denying they insisted on the policy?  Now Gerlach is doing the same thing.  Maybe it was contagious?  At Sunday’s Gerlach-Trivedi debate one of Jim’s staffers forced a WHYY reporter to turn off his recorder.  “How am I supposed to do my job?”  Gerlach doesn’t care.  I suppose his idea of a jobs program is getting the press fired from theirs.  They should refuse to cover tonight’s event.

Remember all the right wing hoopla when some Chinese citizens tried contributing to President Clinton’s re-election.  Those involved were properly investigated and prosecuted.  It is against the law to knowingly use foreign contributions to affect U.S. elections.  The U.S. Chamber of Commerce  is doing so by mixing foreign contributions in with domestic to finance an onslaught of television ads misleading voters. They are but one of many groups flooding the airwaves with bold lies about Democrats cutting Medicare (they didn’t), blaming them for unemployment rates caused by failed conservative policies and other sundry, ugly myths such as the fact both TARP and the Stimulus Bill were unsuccessful programs.  In fact they were wildly successful.  If you used a bank lately you can thank TARP.  If you still have a job thank both programs.  If you’re unemployed remember who voted to end your unemployment insurance.

Poor Peter Diamond, good enough to win a Nobel Prize but not good enough for Republicans to support fore the Federal Reserve Board.  It’s time to end these ridiculous holds in the Senate and begin moving this country forward.

Ohio Congressional candidate Rich Lott’s hobby is dressing up in Nazi Waffen SS uniforms for re-enactments.  I credit Republicans for finally coming out of the closet.  In the past they insisted on wearing those white sheets with pointy hats when doing their re-enactments.

I missed the President and Veep at Sunday’s rally in Philadelphia.  I also missed the Prez by one day when he went to Albuquerque.  I was still in Oklahoma.  Coming home last Wednesday I watched the hot air balloons doing their dawn mass ascension, something really really neat to see, flew across the country on three flights and landed in Philadelphia to see Citizens Bank Ballpark lit up as Roy Halladay pitched his near perfect playoff game.  Quite a beginning and end to a day!

My article on foreclosure fraud last week has had a major impact nationwide.  I realized how much when watching TV the other day a financial analyst referred to something I wrote in it.  I do have more follow-up and now that I’m feeling better you’ll see some more news there.  

VP Joe Biden was in the state yesterday to do a joint fundraiser for Mark Critz and Kathy Kahlkemper.  Congresswoman Dahlkemper appears headed for defeat in PA-03.  A more mainline Democrat in that seat, someone who supports women’s rights for example, might have been a better choice.  Her standing up for the horrible Stupak-Pitts Amendment sealed her fate.  Don’t let the door hit you in the butt on your way out Kathy.

Sen. Eichelberger Unapologetic

Sen. John Eichelberger said on a debate on WHYY’s Radio Times about gays and lesbians:  “we’re allowing them to exist.”  This outrageous statement which echoes of the holocaust and genocide of Jews, gays and other minorities is resulting in further embarrassment for Pennsylvania that so many bigoted people exist in our state government.

Eichelberger responded to the outrage over his statement by blasting Mike Morrill of Keystone Progress for publicizing his remark.  That’s always a bad startegy for damage control when one says something truly outrageous:  insult the messenger rather than apologizing.  Here’s what the Senator who is sponsoring legislation to enshrine his bigotry said:

“This group [Keystone Progress] is a politically active group that goes around the country targeting people that are involved in this issue. If this is an example of how they conduct themselves then it’s difficult to continue dialogue and discussion, if people intentionally misportray the truth.”

Tomorrow Keystone Progress will host an event at the Capitol to protest Sen. Eichelberger’s statements and ask for an apology.  It is at noon.

Eichelberger: “We’re Allowing Gay People to Exist”

Two Pennsylvania legislators squared off in a forum on WHYY’s Radio Times show Friday morning.  Sen.Leach has introduced a bill legalizing same sex marriage in the Commonwealth and Sen. Eichelberger has introduced a bill enshrining discrimination and bigotry into the Pennsylvania constitution.  Host Marty Moske-Ewen had both on her show to discuss the bills.

Eichelberger went through the usual right wing and White House talking points equating gays and lesbians to pederasty, incest and such then topped it off saying “we’re allowing gays to exist.”  What’s his alternative the “final solution”attempted by Adolf Hitler?  Nazi Germany sought to kill not only Jews but homosexuals and the Roma (gypsies).  The pink triangle became a symbol of gay pride because Hitler’s Germany required all gays and lesbians to wear one.  Does Eichelberger propose a similar action now?  When he says “we’re allowing gay people to exist” this strikes me as meaning he can simply decide NOT to allow us to exist.


Leach:   How would he [Eichelberger] want to encourage stability in gay couples?

Eichelberger: I wouldn’t.  I mean they can practice whatever sexual activity they like to practice, but there’s no reason to give them special consideration.  We don’t give them special consideration in Pennsylvania for any reason.  Why in the world would we allow them to marry?


Leach:  How would he want to encourage stability in gay couples?

Eichelberger:  There is no reason to encourage that type of behavior in Pennsylvania.


Eichelberger:  That comes back to the definition of family and that’s where we differ.  We can call all kinds of things families.  I mean, we can say a 3 party marriage is a family, or 7 or 8 people or marrying younger and younger children these days .


Host:  Are you saying that by their very nature homosexual relationships are dysfunctional?

Eichelberger:  [Pause] Ummmm.  I guess I would say that.  I would say that.


Eichelberger:  This changes the definition of marriage, allowing same-sex, and then like I said, 5-10 years from now it’ll be polygamy, marrying younger people, it’ll be whatever…It won’t be a 6 year old, it’ll be a 15 year old, then it’ll be a 14 year old, then it’ll be a 13 year old.


Leach:  Should our only policy towards [same-sex] couples be one of punishment, to somehow prove that they’ve done something wrong?

Eichelberger: They’re not being punished. We’re allowing them to exist, and do what every American can do.  We’re just not rewarding them with any special designation.

This is why Sen. Leach’s bill is important.  There should be no separate classes of Americans under law.  There have been for too long under American jurisprudence.  Women, African Americans, Hispanics and GLBT people have long been subjects of discrimination.  Gradually we have eroded (not erased) much of this.  What remains is a system of sexual apartheid.  Two separate classes exist under law:  starights get the full benefits of the law while GLBT people do not.  Yet we all pay the same taxes.  Marriage equality, non discrimination bills, hate crime laws and such would establish equality and legal protections similar to those which were enacted to protect other minorities and women.