Help Injured Protester Recover from Spinal Surgery

Hello, comrades.

Im admittedly wracked with shame and anxiety writing this, but surgery is in six days and I am running out of options, resources and hope.

My name is Aasir, but you can call me Matapaco. I have been involved with the BLM movement since mid-2014, and have been blessed to be involved with Detroit activism since 2017.

On May 26th of this year I woke up with the rest of the world to the absolute horror in Minneapolis. The murder of George Floyd was a booming call back to the streets for me. That Friday I put together a backpack of basic medical supplies, water bottles and healthy snacks for marchers, and a P100 respirator. I went to downtown Detroit, where I live, to gather in peaceful protest against the murder of George Floyd and the culture of systematically racist violence in police forces.

Around 6:15PM we were at the corner of Michigan and Rosa Parks. Four Detroit PD cruisers, one marked and three unmarked, began creeping through the crowd. I was trying to walk near the front of the group.

All of a sudden I heard screaming. I turned around and the marked Charger was gunning it right towards me. I turned and tried to get to the sidewalk but, as I am fat ungraceful boy and had a heavy backpack strapped to me, I moved too slowly. I was struck in the hip/lower back/upper thigh by the cars bumper. I rolled to the gutter, got up (thankfully I had on my helmet), and rendered aid to a young woman having a severe panic attack. We left the area and travelled back east, then I went home.

Later that night, around 1050PM I began vomiting blood. They rushed me to a resus room in the ER, concerned about internal blending. They ripped off my clothes, started an IV in my hand, it was scary how intense they were. They ruled out any severe injury, and of my diagnoses several bulging disks (L3 thru sacral) and two pinched nerves were the worst and most persistent.

Since this injury was exaccerbated at the Seige of Woodward on August 23rd I have been rendered disabled. It is painful and difficult to bend, sit, stand for long periods, walk for long periods, lay in a normal bed, lay on my side, lay on my belly. Im struggling to the point it is crushing my quality of life and my mental well being.

On Sept 14th I had an epidural and steroid injection in an effort to alleviate the pain. It did not help. Its time for a more major procedure.

This upcoming Monday I am having a double lumbar discectomy in an effort to solve this pain once and for all. I will be recovering for approximately six weeks.

I am struggling with some necessary items for comfort, safety and well-being leading up to and following the surgery. I lost my amazing job at the start of COVID and had been surviving on manual side jobs since then.

In order to recover successfully I need several things. The biggest (literally) is a bedframe. I currently sleep on a mattress on my floor. Getting into and out of bed is currently extremely painful. When I bend forward at the waist it exaccerbates the pain significantly due to the direction of the bulges. The bedframe I'm planning to get is the perfect height for comfortable sitting and standing, has a backboard (helpful for being bedbound) and below bed storage for easy access to things from bed.

Besides that there are several comfort items such as bedding and pillows, a between-knee pillow and a lumbar cushion, a stock of easy to prepare food so I dont have to stand long and cook, several specific pairs of thermal tights and two pairs of bib overalls (pressure from a belt pushes tight on the bulges and its very uncomfortable), queer- affirming massage therapy for the muscular spasms in my lower back, and a stock of medical cannabis supplies to decrese post- operative pain and reduce the need for strong painkillers, something that has me admittedly more scared than the actual surgery.

In addition there is the cost of one month of rent and two months of utilities, as I do physical labor for work and am on a strict lift limit for 6+ weeks.

Thank you so much for taking the time to hear what happened to me.

If you can donate to this effort, every bit truly does help. Additionally it costs $0 to share, and if no one sees this its just been a good thumb workout! :p

Much love to my comrades, my siblings on the street, my brothers and sisters and friends, and so much love to the strangers who care enough about what I went through to want to help.

In soreness and solidarity,
aka Matapaco


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Aasir Newton 
Oak Park, MI

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