The Crawl – Recovery


My second home. The soul.

My second home. The ocean…my soul.

The ocean for my life has been my friend. My surfboard was attached to me like a worn pair of jeans. As a child, I spent most of my time in the water. Swimming down between the canyons of coral. Weaving like a turtle.

I was happy to be in the ocean again. The sun was bright and the nice sets broke on the outside sand bar. I was in my element.

I paddled. My frail arms barely pulling me. As I tried to duck dive, my hands could not grip the rails and my arm slipped away causing the board to violently smash me in the chest. I came up for air and like a lost sailor at sea pulled myself onto this board.

More hits and more times falling into the turbulence. Yet somehow I made it all the way out.

Then came the sets. My weak arms flapped at the surface. I lifted up and began to slide forward. “Stand up!” “Stand!” my mind commanded. But my body did not respond. I rode down the face and caught a rail. My body hit the water and the wave came down upon me.

Finally, I just hung on to the board and washed ashore.

Dragging towards the car, I ran into an old friend who knew my father. Mike looked at me for a second and scanned my condition.

“Geez…What happened to you? Are you OK?”

“Some problems, Mike.” “I’ve been really sick.”

Outing with Friends

A few months earlier I went canoeing with Pete and Wayne. Canoeing consisted of Pete and Wayne paddling the canoe. I felt the beams of light shining down through the forest canopy. I could only lay like a pile of cargo inside the boat. They occasionally reached back and handed me something to eat.

When we reached the dock, one grabbed my right arm and the other grabbed my left arm and they pulled me up onto the old wooden dock. Then I could only lay there like a drunken homeless person.

Out of the corner of my eye I could see people waiting to go into the restaurant. They seemed to be wondering what was wrong with this person. Why was he just laying there? Pete and Wayne tied off the boat and I just layed on my back. Waiting for them to pull me up to my feet. Even standing back up was not possible without help.

Turning Point

My friend Rob had entered the E.S.A. contest in Satellite Beach and I went with him for support.

“That guy is a pro” I heard some of the kids whisper in the group. My board was adorned with stickers from my many sponsors. I limped to the reef and made my way across the rocks.

I could stand up faster at this time and even pump down the line. Then I saw the wide shoulder.

“Open your chest up” I thought to myself. The board slung a long, lazy arc and connected with the white water. I smiled. It was the first time I could do a real turn. Progress.

On this day, I could see all the hours of exercise were paying off and my mind was able to focus in and get a response from my body.

I walked in with the same off stride but I felt like something of myself was returning.



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Noise to Note! #46

This is to make up for last week and my failure to post anything.

I saw The Bunnymen many years ago. Sometimes it easy to see why the cream rises to the top.

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The Crawl – Part 2. Hospital Stay

“Mr. Zima…wake up!”

I was yanked out of my sleep by the voice of the nurse.

Time to have blood drawn. It was 4 a.m. and my skin had that sticky feeling of being in a bed for a week. I just wanted a shower.

Later, my friends came and something seemed off when they spoke to me. As they spoke, I put my hand over my ear. Hand off – loud. Hand on my right ear – all was normal. Hand on my left ear…the voices went mute. What was going on?

On the few times I did try to stand up, I noticed other problems. My right arm seemed to be stuck like a chicken wing.  My mind thought out the command for the arm to move but it just stayed in place. I grabbed it with my left arm and pulled. It moved like I was in an arm wrestling contest against myself.

“How much longer until I get out?” I asked the doctor.

“Maybe in a few more days”.

5 days came and went and I was still there. My beard now covered the healing sores on my face.

Finally came the big day. Freedom! The IV tubes were removed and I was helped into the wheel chair. The doors opened and I could finally see the sun. After I was escorted into the car seat and belted in, we off for home. A slow parade of buildings moved by just outside the window. I was never happier to see the strip malls and fast food restaurants in my life.

Now came the second phase: recovery. This is what I knew. That somehow I contracted Spinal Meningitis. My body was unable to process commands due to my brain being damaged by the swelling. I had lost a lot of weight and was very weak. To top it off, my hearing was gone in the right ear.

The good news: I was alive.

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Noise to Note! #45

Last week was a nightmare for my computer but I am back for the most part. So there was no “Noise to Note!”. This made me very weepy.

So I have to play catch up I guess!

As for today’s selection; I picked this song because a buddy and I were chatting about concerts we missed and that history would make us regret our decision later.

This was one for both of us.

When I saw the show being announced, I was elated! Then I saw the date interfered with something that I already planned.

“Oh well! They will be back soon and I will see them then!”

….they never came back of course.


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Noise to Note! #44


Sometimes life seems a bit unstable. You may be taking advantage of free wi-fi in a fast food restaurant.

Hey, Hey, What can I do?


Led Zeppelin

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The Crawl



How much can one endure? What is the point in which the weight that nails you into the dirt becomes to much?

When I am faced with bad times. I think back to 1994 and what I had to come back from.

This is the story broken up in segments.

September 1994

I had a good feeling inside of me. I took another swig of the beer and was laughing with my friends. Outside I could hear the rhythmic pulses of a light rain fall.

It was just me and my friends and that was fine. My girlfriend had left me. In fact, it took several days of nagging her to get her to admit that she cheated on me during her vacation. She also told me that her parents accompanied them to a beautiful local restaurant. So I was gone.

I felt great even though the rain droplets that were sliding off the freshly waxed hood of my car were not sliding off my beautiful Mustang. That car was reduced to a mass of charred metal and frame work at the end of the junk yard row. Now I was in a much simpler car that had to be purchased at the last moment to ensure I could get to work.

We ordered another round of beers. Pete and Wayne, my faithful friends were there but not the others. They were at home. Possibly thinking of what to do as they watched the small television set. The big television set sat in my room. My room at my parent’s house that I was returning to tonight. Along with the silverware, plates, and many other items that I supplied to the roomies. Long term friendships were fractured.

Despite all of these awful things, I was smiling. That is because a few days earlier, I had a few days of lucidity surfing at the NKF Pro and steamrolled through round after round. Even when I eventually failed to advance, I left the water feeling different. I did not feel like I failed. I had surfed the heats with a different kind of focus. I felt like the other competitors did not matter. I felt like I was 13 again. When winning was not even the reason to put on a jersey. That is why on this night, we were out celebrating. Also because it was close to my birthday and Pete’s.

Around 4 a.m., I suddenly rocketed out of my sleep with a sharp pain in my stomach. I felt a wave of nausea roll over me. I ran to the bathroom and barely made it.

“What did I eat?” I wondered.

The gagging continued for another hour. I had to call in to work.

The rest of the day was seemingly normal. I slept. I did occasionally wake up sweating but it had to be from the fever I thought. So I continued on watching television. Evening came and went. I went to sleep. My body still ached.

Once again, I woke up at night but this time was worse. The pain in my head was unbearable. My arms were weak. I knew I had to wake up my parents.

Waiting Room

“Mister! Lay down!”

These commands were repeated every few minutes by the frustrated nurse. I felt like a caged animal and I knew I needed some kind of help. Help that was not coming fast enough. My perception was beginning to warp. I had to get up.

“Lay down!”

The Big Change

My eyes opened to a light. The lens was refocusing to make sense of the strange landscape. I heard mutterings and odd sounds.

Enjoy your stay!

Enjoy your stay!

Then I began to make out the men in suits. Not business suits. Haz-mat suits. They saw me move and turned in my direction. One wrote on his clipboard.

My body tried to move but couldn’t. I turned to look at my arms and saw tubes that attached to me. Machines watched over my being. I noticed the bindings that kept my arms from moving. My body was aching.

Lifting my head I could see the sterile room. With windows to peer in on me like a display animal in a pet shop.

Then one of the white figures began to get closer to me and began to mumble. At first the words made no sense but as I shook my head and concentrated; they began to come together like a puzzle.

“Steven, can you hear me?”

I could only emit a groan.

“Steven, we are taking care of you. You are in the hospital. We will let your parents know you are awake.”



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Noise to Note! #43

Never saw Soundgarden live.

Maybe this will be my year.

Chris Cornell – Redemption Song.

Reversed image even!

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