Brain Injuries, Chronic Pain and Lives Ruined

I’ve had many people in and out of my life over the years, some were friends, some were aquatints, some were just people I would recognize from just from riding the bus, there are some I’ll never forget. This is about a couple of them.

When I was in High School my locker was next to a real geek named Brian, he was alright, nice to me but not a person I’d hang out with, weeks before Grad we heard one of our classmates were in a car accident, it was said they crashed their little Toyota pick-up truck into a telephone pole, it was my Locker buddy Brian. I never saw him again until I was about 23, in a different town and on a bus.

Brian was a regular bus rider on one particular route, he used an electric wheelchair to get out and about and give his parents who back then took care of him 24/7, selling their Motel in a popular tourist town to pay for Brian’s healthcare. He would sit at the front of the bus and talk to anyone that would pay attention to him, he was physically disabled, bones broken and not put back together the same, his brain lacking oxygen and taking an astounding blow.  Brian wasn’t the same smart, aloof guy I knew.  As I sat on the bus Brian recognized me right away so I politely sat near him so we could talk, I was able to get a few questions answered but after that I wanted to stick my head in the sand. Brian seemed to like rhymes and say the most irritating things and he would not stop no matter how many times you asked, i hate to say it but it was a relief to get off the bus. I ran into him a couple times after that then I heard he got himself banned from all the shopping centers in town, I never heard or saw him again.

The next person I will never forget is Joe, he came to the Chronic Pain Support Group I ran back in my  hometown . Joe was a large hulk of a man and smiling came easy to his face, he seemed just as sweet as could be. He was in the middle of a nasty divorce and custody battle for his 6 kids. Joe had had a car accident a couple years before and had major chronic pain he also suffered a brain injury which left him as he put it ” hard to live with and very angry” that was why his wife wanted him out of the house and away from the kids. He was living with his mother when I knew him, we would talk at least 2 to 3 times a month and at meetings and we would run into each other on the bus, I really liked Joe, he was just that kind of a guy.

I hadn’t seen Joe in a while, he had moved out of his mothers house, quit coming to meetings and moved into a real slum pit with some questionable people as new friends, the next thing I heard about Joe was he had been arrested, he had been arrested and charged with murder.

Somehow Joe was able to rent a car,(he had no drivers license) he purchased a gun and followed his wife around until he had a clear shot of her, he shot his wife at a gas station while she got out to pump gas into the van, all of his children were in the vehicle and saw their mother die before them. He Plead Guilty and was sentenced to Life.

The news of my friend doing this shook me to the bone, I wanted to go to his lawyer and tell him Joe was in Chronic Pain and his brain injury was to blame, I wanted to be in the court room and hold his dear little Italian mothers hand but I couldn’t. I felt guilty as if I should of seen this coming, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it all or fathom the pain he was feeling and causing and what the brain injury did to his train of thought, he was so nice and gentle towards me but turned into a monster in the end.  I’ll never forget Joe or forgive what he did but deep down inside I have to admit, I still like him, maybe one day I’ll write him a letter or maybe not.

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