An hour or so later the new part arrives, and they install it on my vehicle. The bill comes to $1004 exactly for all the parts, and labor. I pay it, and am rolling just in time for Atlanta rush hour. Awesome, I tell myself, and myself tells me to shut the fuck up, at least you are now rolling south you fucking ingrate. The rest of the trip to Florida is uneventful, no problems with my car the two weeks I am in Tampa. No sign at all of the horrors to come. I spend two weeks in Tampa with my brother, learning some stuff on how to help him with his transfers, and some minor things. I mostly just stay out of the way, and let the staff do their thing with him.
My brother, and I butt heads a few times while I’m down there, as I’ve never been one to entertain his delusions of grandeur with him. I call bullshit when I hear it which often puts us at odds. There is really no point in going over the different arguments we had other than to say he’s still the same egocentric, delusional, douchebag he’s always been, and having a 3000lb tree limb fall on him didn’t knock a lick of reality or sense into him. An example, just to put one out there, is that he doesn’t want a hospital bed, he wants a regular bed so he can sleep with his girlfriend. We all mention that he doesn’t HAVE a girlfriend, but he’s looking to the future, and concerned about having a sex life that ain’t happening anymore. That is his priority. Not housing. Not looking up resources close by to help him. Nope. Worried about having sex that he is physically incapable of having with a future, as yet to be determined girlfriend. As I said, delusional.
He also informed us that he’s once again a full blooded Christian, and his best pal is Jesus. None of my family is religious, and my brother didn’t “find Jesus” until he was serving some time for prescription drug fraud. None of us. My mother was, and we were made to go to church as children, but most of us long ago left that shit behind us in the same pile of horseshit with the belief of Santa Claus, and the Tooth Fairy, or Easter Bunny. I laughed in his face after his talk about his belief in an imaginary Sky Wizard, told him it was fine, but I don’t want to hear the bullshit. Just spare me the bullshit, please, if you, and Jesus are so tight, why did he let a 3000lb tree limb fall on your ass leaving you permanently paralyzed from the chest down leaving you at the mercy of others huh? Get real man, you don’t have time for fantasy bullshit right now. It’s bad enough I gotta deal with these whacko nutjobs in the public arena, I truly don’t want to deal with it at home.
He was also fighting us on going to The Shepherd Center in Atlanta. That’s where the workman’s comp people wanted him to go in the first place, and he refused so they sent him to Tampa. Once at Tampa they still thought that The Shepherd Center in Atlanta was the best place for him to be. It was my job to convince him that going to Atlanta would be in his best interest, and that he needed to do as the Workman’s Comp people asked. They could seriously come down on him, and deny him some benefits if he isn’t going along with the recommended care. I made that argument to him, appealed to his sense of reason, and logic, and when I left we were of the agreement that he would be going to Atlanta when the next bed opened up there for him in the next week or two. We could easily come see him in Atlanta, they provide free housing for family members of their patients, which I must say is totally awesome on their end. They aren’t anything fancy, but it sure as hell beats paying $100 pr more for a shitty hotel room in Atlanta. There was some push back from the chief PT lady who kept filling his head with bullshit that they could do everything for him there that they could at The Shepherd Center. I called bullshit on that, and we were at odds from there on out. I wanted to punch her in the face over that, and over the course of the two weeks I was there that feeling never really left me. Of course, being a gentleman I didn’t lay a finger on her, but boy did I want to, a slap at the very least. If TSC wasn’t the best option, people like Christopher Reeves of Superman fame wouldn’t have gone there for treatment. It’s one of the best if not the best in the country. I get having a sense of professional pride, but that PT lady had me pissed off with her bullshit. We talked to the WC case manager about this, and he said it’s a common problem among these places, as each day a patient is there, it’s more dollars in their pockets rather than a place like The Shepherd Centers pockets. Goddammit! Am I to struggle with everything, and everyone on this trip? I’m fighting my car, my brother, the hospital…..who’s next he asked stupidly…..
Can’t forget about this part.
The reason I stayed as long as I did was because there was talk of me flying out to Atlanta with my brother. They could fly me back, and then I could drive my car home. That didn’t pan out at all. Thinking that I would be getting on a plane, I (allegedly) gave a good chunk of my cannabis to my kid brothers roommate in the hospital. I got to know him, and his family over the time I was there, and they were cool folks. I didn’t need the hassle of getting nabbed at an airport with cannabis despite the fact that it’s legal in my home state, and I use it for my chronic pain on my surgically repaired(?) back. Sgt. Goober don’t give two flying pig farts if it’s legal where I’m from or about my back, or the Cochlear Implant in my head he would be beating on with his nightstick, so it made sense to be a cool dude, and at the same time prevent trouble in the future for myself. What’s the worst that could happen? I’ll be home in 24 hrs, I kept enough to get me through that easily, this ain’t my first rodeo….
We say our goodbyes, agreed that next time I see him, it will be in Atlanta in a couple of weeks. I head on out on the open road, eager to return home, I miss my furry babies, and I’m sure they miss me as well. I’m making good time out of Tampa, it’s a sunny day so traffic should be relatively smooth. I get about 3 hrs out, and it’s time to get a cold drink so I pull into Lake City. I get my Coke, take off, and my car dies as I get on the entrance ramp for I-75. It just up, and fucking dies. It dies just as it did before. No warning. No sputtering. No coughing. Just a simple fuck you, I ain’t doing this shit anymore. I’m telling you kids, I surely must have been the devil himself in a past life to deserve this shit. I can’t even imagine what crimes I must have done. I get it towed off the road, and they take it back south to Gainesville. Fuck. I’m going north fellas. Shit. I get a hotel room in Gainesville, and break off some cannabis so that I can medicate, and shrug off the days troubles. Once medicated, I check in with my dad only to find out that my kid brother is once again balking about going to The Shepherd Center in Atlanta. I nervously eye my stash, and take note that it’s getting conspicuously low…