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Das Auto

23 Mar

Guten Morgen Shotsis (poorly executed German for – Good morning sweeties),

Hello to all those sitting down. To those standing up, watch where you are walking, it’s a dangerous world out there.

It’s been a few months since we last spoke, and as I’m sure you can imagine, and as I’m sure you experience, things are ebbing ‘n flowing as life is known to do. I don’t know about you, but this passage of time thing really blows my mind. Not only that I’m nearly three years from injuring my spinal cord, but that it’s 16 years since MIB 2 came out. One of my former PCA’s daughter was 2 when I first met her in 2012, now that girl rocks, talks, and selects the most aesthetically pleasing sweatshirt for me in the morning. Kids, real cray, but that’s another story.

I recently hit a few milestones in my new life. As I’ve inferred before, regaining your habits and livelihood after injury is similar to restarting as a newborn. Wow, I really missed out on a transition there, I guess that’s where editing is valuable, but thats for suckers, it’s 2015, all about that live stream of conscious right? Anyway, I have become comfortable with the function of my new body in terms of knowing what I can and cannot grab, knowing what Reactions my body produces, and, most important, knowing that I can’t rely on my body in any way. For example – maintaining a consistent schedule is pretty difficult when you can’t control your bowels. When you sit upon the mighty pearl throne, you could be 10 minutes or two hours. Having that kind of floating schedule makes punctuality difficult. Not to mention when you get hit in your rugby chair and you s your p’s. Sitting on a stench of last night’s Chipotle is typically frowned upon in most business settings. Well, I could see having an organic TC aroma benefiting some negotiating circumstances. So, what I’m trying to say is, you can adapt and gain comfort to a certain extent, but the very nature of having no control of your body means you can’t predict certain things. Which sucks, but it’s not the end of the world. Sorry I just talked about poo that long. I’m now quite uncomfortable.

Milestones. We were talking about milestones.

First milestone– I bought a new manual, or everyday, or push, wheelchair. It was pretty spendy, but the benefits of having a manual chair that fits are countless. For a layperson looking at my new chair compared to my old, you notice it is about 70% the size of the first and it is murdered out. To somebody who sits in a chair most of their life, you notice it is 4” skinner, 6” shorter, and 12lbs lighter. I sit 5 inches closer to the ground and I can collapse the chair on my own. This is like leaving your dog in a kennel all day vs being off leash in an Irish sheep farm. The reason, beyond increased freedom and gaining strength by pushing my soul everywhere, this chair allows me to transfer into the driver seat of most cars, take off the wheels, lift the chair over me, and place it in the car. So what I’m saying is, the Red Viper, the 2004 Chrysler Town & Country minivan I was blessed with and have been driving for the past two years, has a mere two days left as my road companion.

Second milestone– Today I bought a Volkswagen (hence the German greeting) GTI. It’s a four-door hatchback that will fit both my rugby and every day chair. So now instead of relying on a power chair that: weighs 500 pounds, has 15 different manufactured components, and who’s electric power I rely on far too much, I will be using my manual chair 100% of the time. I will still use hand controls to drive, but there will be no other mods to the sexy car. Basically I am simplifying, which me like. Starting Tuesday I’ll push myself around everywhere in a sleek manual chair. I am now closer to being as full functioning a C-5 as I possibly can be.

Third milestone – I know I said I only had two, but this one is pretty sweet. For the past four months, the nonprofit with which I am associated, Get Up Stand Up to Cure Paralysis Foundation– – – has been working diligently to pass a research grant bill funding curative therapies for traumatic brain and spinal cord injury (that sounds far more convoluted than I intended). We’ve visited the capital weekly, participated in committee hearings, and met with countless state legislators. I’m excited that we have passed through all committees as of yet, and are now hoping to get on the general omnibus bill for the Higher Ed committee. We still have miles to go before we reap…the benefits…, but this is the farthest the bill has passed and it is encouraging to see advocacy work. Especially when that advocacy could assist me in not s’ing my p’s. You can check out our Facebook page or website to see the details of what we have done and to stay informed about our progress. You know, if you’re into that kind of thing.

Thanks for reading guys, and especial thanks to my family for all the help. Shout out to mom and dad for helping me get dressed all fancy to be with politicians. Much appreciated I’ll post some pics of my new ride and wheelchair in the coming days. Oh yeah, and in two weeks the Minnesota Wheelchair Rugby Club will begin our run for the national championship in Louisville. I’ll post some video and pics as well.

Stay true, stay real.

Much love– T daddy

Happy Honda Days

9 Dec

Hey All,

I’m waiting on hold with Medica right now. After stumbling through an explanation which I think I can now summarize as – needing an authorization for my non-PT fitness and health Program at Courage Kenny – I’ve¬ been placed on hold for about 20 minutes. Because it is not traditional physical therapy – I’m not working with a physical therapist – It is not historically covered by insurance. This is my first month on Medica, so hopefully they will flip the script and hook it up. Again, I’m on hold right now so if I have to abruptly stop, I do …….

~~~~82 minutes later~~~~

Wow, I know there’s no way to verify or corroborate, but I Homeboy who put me on hold just picked back up when I was Voice-to-texting that.

I know it’s en vogue to throw shade at health insurance companies right now, and I certainly was transferred three times to different siloed departments where I explained my story of need, told it was understood, then transferred to another person without any record of who I spoke with before. But. I expect that. On my last callback I reached somebody in the Prior Auth department who went beyond her duties to help me out. Nothing was resolved, but it sounds as if she is going to champion my cause. At least until 4:36 when she closes everything but her email and hopes she doesn’t get any more calls until five, but I can’t hate on that.

Okay, enough of the cuttingly honest malarkey.

There might be a few more typos in this post than in the past. I am using my new laptop + Dragon dictate (thank you cousin), but this is a learning computer, so it needs to form an ear for my specific flow, which is understandable. Much like when you first witnessed Die Hard, you didn’t fully grasp what it was. Not until your 10th to 18th viewing did you fully appreciate the genius.

My life is still a fairly tumultuous existence of up and downs. The strange thing about a traumatic and unwanted life changing event, and I always struggle to explain this clearly, is the inherent challenges and obstacles in attempting new things. With every step I take towards more independence I naturally run into increasingly difficult situations which then make me want to turn back. I’m sure there is some psychosocial term for this paradox, but it’s basically like a baby learning how to live on its own. Or a quad grocery shopping and struggling to be cordial to the 20 people that ask if they need help…I’m not helpless people, I’m just hungry. I really have made bounding leaps in terms of just being a regular dude again: I put myself to bed whenever I want, I don’t need to wait around trying to coordinate a PCA, even little things such as fixing my rugby or manual chair. I now, at least attempt to do on my own where a few months ago I would automatically ask for help.

Digression dive.



There are two things I never thought about or possibly believed that I commonly said before I got awulll messed up. The first is that the only way to learn is to do – It sounds so obvious, but really, you can explain something to Joe Bag O’Doughnuts 15 times but unless Joe puts his head out and does it for himself, there is no way anything is getting done (Also a free TDaddy parenting tip). The second is that you need to work to make yourself better every day. Now, I know you already read that in some fancy script displayed on a teenage girls Instagram, but now that life is more of a struggle, I really see the need in working to be a better person. Consciously thinking every day to be more patient, more empathetic… basically less of a dick. The one sticking part for this is when it comes time to be a dick, you are not really thinking about that cutesy little ode you made that morning, you are thinking about the most cutting thing you can possibly say to the person that just offended you.

So, besides being an early American (working on independence), you can see I have had time to think about things.

I have also begun to throw my tentacles out in search of fulfilling employment. My desire is to get back into the electronic medical records/healthcare IT game. It is the work I did before I was injured, and it will allow for the past two and a half years of my life to be beneficial work experience. I have run the gambit of the healthcare industry, from demanding the A-teaM neurosurgeon at 2 AM a.m. on a Sunday to sitting on the phone with Medica for three hours to get some prior authorization form for an investigational health program. This has been quite exciting, the thought of making fat stacks and being a reliable and beneficial member of society really gets my blood flowing. This thought about work has also gotten my travel appendage tingling; I love Minneapolis, but the snow and cold are quite literally a roadblock in my day-to-day life. I’m not sure where, but I feel a permanent residence relocation down the relatively relaxed road. Damn. Forced alliteration.

I have also placed myself as a potential candidate for a few clinical studies around the country, testing how best to restore function. I can’t get into specifics, and I haven’t heard anything back, but there are a few studies going on as we speak that have had tangible success in bringing back function to a spinal cord injured person. The most famous, the implanted electrode study In Louisville, saw all six of the patients regain some sort of function. I don’t know the specifics or the levels of that restoration, so it could be nothing..but it’s not. I am more confident than ever that I will at least be able to pee and do all other bathroom/bedroom stuff by the time I want to have kids. Because I don’t think my highly talented and smoking hot wife will want to change a newborn’s diaper along with one of a bald, bearded, ridiculously good-looking, grown man.

I wish all you the happiest of holidays, and try to not take for granted being happy. Happiness in the now is better than any kind of potential happiness in the future. You never know what will happen, at least probably that’s the case. I’m pretty clueless about stuff.

T Storm

Golf Anyone?

7 Jun

Buen Dia mis amigos,

I hope you are all doing as well as this morning is. 72 degrees, low humidity, and just enough breeze to kick out those floating little cotton-but-not-actually-cotton floating eye destroyers.

I’m sitting at a corner coffee shop hydrating on $10 of blended coffee, Naked Juice, and lemonade. I believe hydration cures everything while preparing you for a functional and effective day. But you know this, you intelligent and physiologically sound reader, so I need not delve deeper into my unintelligible policies of healthy living.

-Insert Game of Thrones reference to sound relevant

What I really need to do, or so says the extremely helpful organizing team I have behind me, is get all of you wonderful people to sign up to come and party with me and/or play golf in front of me. You can sign up on my website at The 2nd annual TC classic is going down June 20th and 21st.

Friday night starting at 7 p.m. my apartment will host an extremely classy shindig complete with beer pong and bean bag tournaments, all you can eat food and all you can consume libations. The winner of the beer pong tournament will win a righteous celebrity signed gift donated by Red Bull , no hints, but the celebrity may or may not have stared in “Field of Dreams” and “The Body Gaurd”.

If you cannot make the golf tournament, don’t like golf, hate golf, or simply don’t want to drive out to Monticello, you are welcome to attend this gathering of a large and diverse group of good people. For more details on the party and to purchase tickets visit my website –, unless you’re reading this on my website in which case look up and to the right.

The flagship event will be held Saturday June 21st at Monticello Country Club. The golf tournament will be similar to last year with foursomes playing 18 holes starting at noon, with a pig roast and raffle to close up the evening. Again, those who don’t see themselves as a Rory or Daly are welcome to come and simply enjoy some GnT’s on the deck while watching your friends get frustrated at 75 yard drives. We had a great time last year and plan to have an even better time this year.

Everyone is welcome and as before, the info is on my website –

Life is trending up for me. I recently received my new rugby chair (thanks to the amazing help of the OLG student council..more on that later) which allows me to really kick ass on the court and almost more importantly I now can push around my neighborhood and down the river pathways for some good cardio exercise. Though I still don’t know the appropriateness of my pushing a sports chair shirtless through Edina neighborhoods with a tattoo and the weird faces I make when struggling to push up hill. I think people might consider me a sickly, deranged, and definitely psychotic individual. Actually, yesterday was my first time going on a legitimate bike path and it was very normalizing keeping up with other people running and actually exercising without others staring thinking I need help. Granted, people still stare, probably because I’m moving around in what looks like an assisted device fabricated by Tina Turner in the Thunderdome. In addition to the shirtless weird face situation, I can’t blame them, just as long as they don’t pity me.

*pro-tip* don’t offer to help or try to help a person in a wheelchair unless they ask you. Especially if they look like they’re prepared for the situation at hand.

Thank you to everybody who has donated, volunteered, and told me what to do to make this event a success. We are already doing well but I’d love to see more people come out to the party and/or golf tournament. Any questions you can email me through the contact info on my website, or send a raven to my apartment.

Okay, that covers the necessities for now. I hope all of you are watching Fargo on FX and Penny Dreadful on Showtime. Both are phenomenal shows on a cinematographic and awesomeness level. Catchup on both and we’ll talk about them next time.