Picture of a circular sign with a red border and black text on a white background, reads “30.”

On 1 Dec 1989, that’s thirty years ago today, I died.

I was driving home from work, getting ready to make a trip to Indiana, PA, where I had a group of friends (mostly college students) waiting to hang out with Me. I never made it. I was broad-sided by a little old lady in a big Buick, which completely destroyed My little Ford Escort.

I remember very little of that day, or the preceding week. I had just gotten My car out of the shop though. From witness accounts I pulled out in front of the other car, so no charges were brought or lawsuits pursued.

What happened, though, was My death. I had cracked ribs, a punctured lung, closed head injury, both bones in My left leg were shattered, and yeah, it hurt until I died. I hadn’t been wearing My seat belt which I’ve been told is one reason My death wasn’t permanent. I was able to scoot over away from the main impact on the driver’s side door.

I was life-flighted to Pittsburgh, PA, and I remained in a coma for about a month and a half. My parents came to visit Me every day I was there, making the hour and a half drive from home to the hospital just so they could be there for Me. I remember only snippets of being in the coma, mostly toward the end when I was starting to regain consciousness. My mother would be teasing Me and I’d be trying to hit her or grab her hands or whatever, she was doing anything she could to get Me back.

For My part, being a twenty-something boy with nurses taking care of everything about Me, I would constantly try to be grabbing their butts or … other parts. Sometimes they let Me, most often not.

I had dreams, dreams that merged reality with some sort of imaginary reality. One I remember that I was laying in a hospital bed but I felt that I had to get up to go and take part in a pro-wrestling match. Another time I was in a hospital bed (common theme, natch’) but somehow I was in the middle of a beautiful field with a Greek Orthodox priest there talking to Me. I didn’t remember much of what he said (he was probably praying in Greek) but I did remember how he smelled, with the Greek cuisine mixed with the incense and such from the church. He turned out to be real, actually, and visited when I came out of the coma … and I immediately recognized the scent.

Eventually though, one day, My mother failed to come and visit. She stayed home because she was tired, so only My father came. That was the day I came out of the coma.

Maybe it was because I wanted to go and see Mom. Maybe I wondered where she was, maybe I missed her teasing Me. No matter what, though, that was the day. The first thing I remember seeing was My father leaning over Me, and that’s when I knew it was real. My father was the type of man who had this presence about him that let you know that things were real and he was there.

I was recovering well, I was on a regular diet, I remember somebody bringing Me a hamburger from Burger King I think it was. Maybe a chicken sandwich, I always enjoyed those. I was soon transferred to a rehabilitation center in the Pittsburgh area.

They actually had to tell My parents to stay home most of time because their being there was interfering with My rehabilitation. So they ended up visiting on weekends only … then on 1 April 1990, My father didn’t show up. He had died in his sleep the night before.

I can’t help but wonder how much of a toll visiting Me every day while I was in the hospital took on him and how much his death was because of Me. I am grateful though that I had the chance to get to know him before he died. Before that, he and I had been typical father and son, My asking for favours when I needed them but not talking to him much. I grew close to My father in the rehab center, We got to know each other again, and for that I’ll always be happy. I got to go home for a few days to attend his funeral and be with My family.

I was released from inpatient care on 3 May 1990, which was My 23rd birthday. A month or so later I returned for outpatient rehabilitation, which essentially just meant that I wasn’t living at the center, I was living in a house right across the river from the center and they took Me back and forth every day. Same thing, although I was allowed to leave the house and walk around the town a bit. I even took a bus into downtown Pittsburgh a few times, mostly to visit the porno shops. Even though now I realize that I was asexual, it was still fascinating to Me.

I was in rehab for nearly a year, then got released. The aftermath of the accident still haunts Me to this day. Running is entirely out of the question for Me, though I can do OK on elliptical machines. I’m pretty sure that there were some neurological problems caused by the closed traumatic brain injury I sustained. Then, drinking alcohol so much really took that to the next level. That’s what led to this fatal brain disease I have, hepatic encephalopathy.

So thanks to HE, I’m dying again, and this time I probably won’t get better. I had a big relapse about a month ago and drank a lot, ended up in the ER ICU vomiting blood and again nearly comatose. I’m very weak, can barely walk to the bathroom without getting out of breath, My little sister works as My paid caregiver, and I have therapists and nurses coming by almost every day to help Me get better.

That’s not a question. If dying couldn’t kill Me, this little setback is nothing compared to that. I push Myself as far as I can but I know when to stop. I’m not as young as I once was so maybe it’ll take a while, but right now getting better is pretty high on My list of priorities.

So is moving out, but I’ll save that discussion for another time!