Support for Kamil's recovery

$10,727 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 138 people in 6 months
Created August 25, 2018
This is an urgent call to help our friend Kamil (A Death Cinematic / Simple Box Construction), who, in a terrible accident on August 24, had the four fingers of his guitar fretting hand completely severed.

The saw cut his fingers off at the knuckles. Fortunately, a coworker had the presence of mind to dig them out of the dust and send them to the hospital with Kamil. After a nine-hour surgery, his fingers have been reattached, but as you can imagine the physical and psychological trauma is almost indescribable. 

His doctors say the fingers look as good as can be expected, given the severity of the accident. Obviously our best hope is for a full recovery, but it's going to be a long and difficult road for our friend and his family. While he has medical insurance and workers' compensation, neither will provide full coverage for the accident and lost wages.

I have known Kamil for over 15 years now, and I can honestly say that he has given me so much during that time. If you're reading this, I'm sure you've had a similar experience. Kamil is one of the most generous, hard working, and passionate artists I know. He needs us now. 

Anything you can give to help Kamil and his family through this extremely difficult time will be greatly appreciated. My sincerest hope is to see him back on stage, making his beautiful, fucked-up sounds again soon.

Please give whatever you can, and share this with friends.
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Day? Home day?

I'm going to put this up here. I have been meaning to and writing a more detailed update of the specific improvements of my hand and the experiences of being back at work, etc. etc. That is still in the works and if it hasn't lost its relevance will hopefully be up soon. I am exhausted by perpetually being out of time.

I suppose it's not uncommon to feel a shortness of breath and the coppery tinge of panic when your brain slows down the replay of your trauma and terror. Even though the event itself was mere seconds, it becomes elongated in memory, dragged out abnormally. All the details become vivid and vibrant. Agonizing and unrelenting. You see yourself trapped and flailing, not unlike an animal, pulling and bucking against the unyielding indifference of pneumatic pressure. Knowing full well what's coming, a terrifying inevitability. It will not let you go, not until you endure its passing in and all the way through, physically separating that part of you from you. The only way out is through that specific violence of severance.

Now, I know there was security camera footage of the accident. I have not seen it but it was described to me. I can only imagine what it looked like and its images replaying in my mind are unbelievably convincing even though rationally I know it's a complete fabrication. It's a curious amalgam of memory, pain, trauma, and imagined images transcribed into a whole new viewpoint, almost like an out of body experience. I see myself, I ’remember’ it, from an impossible vantage. It fucks with my mind, it does it intermittently but often. Just enough so I can't get quite used to it.

It's been six months since the accident and I suppose it's within the realm of normal to meander through these memories. To try and make sense of it. To accept and try to adapt to the changes and uncertainties of how far I have to go in the recovery. The progress is there, glacial and minutely incremental but undeniable.

There are many things I have meant to write and still believe that I will. I wish I had more time to do it and to finish all my pressing and promised projects. For now, I do as much as I can, scraping as many minutes as I can from each late night and early dawn. I put on my bravest faces. I straighten my spine and pretend to walk upright because there are days when that seems beyond the realm of possibility.

Thank you.
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Day 132. Home day 123.

I've been struggling with the writing of this and other updates. I can't seem to organize my time or my thoughts. I'm having a rough time with the fact that this flu I just had destroyed my creative momentum and stripped me of time. A bout of the flu and things got real shaky. All of a sudden I'm back to the beginning. That seems to be happening a lot recently.

This is the first time I had the flu this bad in a long time and it's the first time I've been sick since the accident. The had injuries become way more uncomfortable and the fever seemed to focus right in that very spot where the saw carved its path. In that delirium, an anger started to spawn and I got real sick of all this bullshit. I got fed up with this useless hand and I got tired of constantly being reminded of all the things I can’t do anymore. It got really ugly and I got worried that I'm undoing all that I've done since the accident; that somehow I lost the ground I've covered.

A few days in the black pit and it’s more than enough. It’s hard to climb out of it, it’s hard to write about, it’s hard to wanna recalibrate my course. I have overlooked how fragile my positive momentum really was. Being taken unawares, especially by something as miserable as the flu is quite unnerving.

Now, I'm trying to pull out of all this. I'm trying to not get discouraged by the constant restarts and setbacks. Or get stopped in my tracks by memories of a fingerless hand; bone and tissue exposed, veins frayed. It is doubtless what that jagged pink scar represents glowing across the back of the hand in the late evening hour. and when that Sisyphean boulder starts to roll back there is not much that it will spare.

I had a guitar modified and restrung for left-handed dexterity. As exciting as this prospect seems I am really back to square one. The fingers of my right hand are clumsy on the strings and the notes won't ring true. I know it will take time and I'm trying to be patient but I get overwhelmed seeing how far back I've been set. For years I've felt that I've been short on time and now I feel I have even less as I have to relearn and catch up.

I'm going back to my job on Monday. This is a big change as I'll be doing something completely different than what I was before I got hurt. It feels like another restart; a return to square one. I assume these restarts are normal in the course of recovery; that I'm having such a hard time with it is the surprising part. I'm trying to keep all that I've learned and gained after the accident from getting smudged into abstraction. This is an unexpected challenge as time and the healed appearance of my hand make my limitations illusive. I find that I forget how little I can do with my hand. Most of the time I think about how far I've come, how much I've healed, and all the improvements I've made but this also has a tendency to get disjointed from reality. I start to feel I can do way more than I actually can and it's that return to reality that is overwhelmingly disappointing.

Maintaining a realistic perspective is now my main focus as I go head first into the new year. I thought I laid to rest some of my bad habits but I see that that is also a constant maintenance issue. The exertion of a constant and unyielding pressure forward. I hope I don't tire out. With this, I take a moment or two to re-inventory myself and get behind that boulder again and start the slow push up that hill once more.

Thank you.
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Day 120. Home day 111.

At this point in my recovery, the occupational therapy sessions are quite routine and the progress is less observable, shifted into a realm more reliant on faith. This type of adjustment is not without its challenges as the point of continuation is less discernible.

I have not had any type of sensation in my fingers for so long that anything new doesn’t register in my brain right away. The biggest change happened a few days ago.

I was leaving a meeting in the late evening and as I was walking to my car I noticed that my left hand was cold. Colder than usual, colder than my other hand or my face. The chill was particularly on the fingers and the only thought I had was to keep my hand protected, to get it warm as soon as possible. I did not realize the significance of this, I went home and thought nothing more of it that night.

The next day as I was leaving for my occupational therapy appointment I noticed it again, my hand colder than usual and colder than the rest of my exposed skin. And then it clicked, the cold temperature I was feeling was on my fingers. The first time in months I could feel something on the fingers of my left hand. This seemed bizarre and exciting. I told my OT about it when I got to the clinic and she told me that this is a huge step, an unbelievably huge step. This development was not to be taken lightly. These are some major connections that my nerves are re-establishing.

She tested the credibility of my assertion by using a small frozen ball. She ran it over the skin of my fingers and in some spots I could feel the cold right away like a sharp needle gliding through the skin. On other spots, I felt nothing still and on some, the sharp burning sensation of the frozen ball took some time to become apparent. Since then the pins and needles that I’ve been feeling in parts of my fingers have become more intense and had spread into the tips. This is the strange kind of pain you get when a limb that has fallen asleep starts to wake up. The only difference is that in this case, it is perpetual. I feel it day and night. It has been spreading slowly over the rest of my left hand. Any contact my hand has with anything else intensifies the sharpness of those needles. The compression glove has become really quite uncomfortable. Putting it on and off is a wince-inducing ordeal.

I do not mind all this discomfort, it is a sign that my nerves are making connections and I’m glad for it. In occupational therapy, I keep telling them to go to the limits. I tell them to not hold back, I don't want them to take it easy. The therapist has been accommodating and I think she appreciates having permission to do more. It seems that most of the time she has to pull back on her procedures with other patients.

There is more improvement in all the passive motion of my hand and fingers. My OT does this stretch where she’ll grab my fingers and straighten them as far as possible, which in and of itself is quite a painful stretch, then she’ll bend my hand back at the wrist as she stands up. This elongates the tendons and the burn is extraordinary.

I’m focusing on more studio time so I’m not writing as much about this stuff. I don’t think there is enough new information to warrant a post daily, anyway. I want to get as many things done as I can before I have to go back to my job in January. Maybe even finish a couple of projects and break some old bad habits.

Thank you.
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Day 113. Home day 104.

This update was not so easy to post. A lot of divergent notions bobbing up and down made it difficult to articulate them clearly. I’m still not sure I was successful. There are things that in the past have not been comfortable to share. They still aren't but I'm trying to do better and go against my grain. An accident of this magnitude has the power to change my personality and uproot old entrenched habits that I've struggled with for years. This accident has presented me with a rare opportunity to improve and become a better human. It has made aspects of me more pliable, lessening the efforts required to make those herculean changes. I plan on not squandering the chance.

It now takes me several days to write an update as I try to get more done in the studio and in that time ideas shift and blur posing yet another challenge. Well, for better or for worse here is the update for the past few days.

Since deciding last Wednesday on changing my approach to my new occupational therapy things have improved. The last two sessions have been outstanding. They’ve been more aggressive and challenging. I feel my relationship with the OT has improved and in turn so have my interactions with the other patients. My attitude is shifting in the right direction. Eagerly, I will endure the discomforts and pains of therapy if it brings me closer, faster to a more functional left hand.

I made an appointment with a PTSD therapist. This was not an easy choice for me. I’d rather try to go it alone but I made some promises to myself and Autumn that I would accept help when I felt I needed it. I’ve never felt right asking for or accepting help. Even though I feel I could endure the rigors of my struggle to cope, I know it takes a toll on my family. I cannot be responsible for putting that burden upon them. And even though the past two days have been an improvement and things seem to be turning in the right direction, the past few weeks were challenging. So I will go forth with my commitment, I want and need to make sure I don’t backslide and hinder my recovery.

To see this therapist I have to fill out a bunch of paperwork about my mental and physical history. I have to admit that I do not see the point in divulging intimate details on a vague checklist, for the receptionist to read, with no space to fill in context and time frame. Those questionnaires look very unappetizing. It’s like drawing a picture of yourself using only kids menu restaurant crayons but whatever, it is a small obstacle considering where I want to go and where I need to be.

I am once again excited for the direction in which I am headed. To keep true to this course really is a maintenance issue. Without proper maintenance, there will always be a rough go at it.

Yesterday my eyes burned from lack of sleep. It has been a few days since I've really slept with any type of integrity. I try to nap during the day but nothing sticks. My exhaustion and sleepiness are diluted by excitement, hints of anxiety, and intermittent fears.

The excitement is due to a few opportunities that have arisen in my artistic/musical enterprises which have brought in new motivation, and some ruthful regret. Regret for not doing all that I could have before the accident, for letting trivialities take the best of me and strip me of my motivation; reducing my creative work ethic to rubble. Regret for not taking advantage of two functional hands. Although I haven’t been completely inactive I know in my heart of hearts I have not done all that I could have it should have. I allowed myself to get distracted by doubt and fear.

This horrible accident has done many things; some bad, some really good. At this moment, today, it has shown me a reality I’ve been blind to and with a ton of support and a few generous opportunities from fellow artists I feel I have a whole new footing on which to continue to build my creative output. I have unearthed a ton of projects and ideas that I have buried. One of the hardest things to do is putting aside this regret but if there is one thing I managed to glean from these months since the accident, it is that unexpected shit happens and cuts the time you thought you had to ribbons. Don’t carry around useless bullshit no matter how used to you are to the weight. A grand notion, sure and one that requires constant monitoring. It is strange how hard it is to give myself permission to make things easier on myself. I guess we stick to what we know when we aren’t sure what’s up ahead. Travel light, my friends.

Thank you.
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$10,727 of $12,000 goal

Raised by 138 people in 6 months
Created August 25, 2018
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