One Month

Jan 26, 2013 10:19pm
In my whole adult life till this stroke I had one or two near miss, embarrassing bathroom stories. Typically, they involved travel to far off places, exotic foods, plus faulty plumbing, and made for hilarious, white knuckle anecdotes to tell. The main point here is that they were close calls. Narrow squeaks. Rarities.

One week as a partially paralyzed patient in a major metropolitan hospital gave me more mortifying toilet stories than an entire lifetime. And now, at the several week point, I have so many tales of horror that embarrassing is commonplace. Ghastly is standard. I have to go back as far as my memories of early potty training to find any memories as fraught with toilet anxiety as this. My ego undergoes a kind of breakdown at this point, as I push out to the other side. I mean, how seriously can I take myself when I cannot wipe my own arse?

The only thing that makes it partially bearable is that the staff are so blasé about it all. I get my showers much like a hippo might be hosed down at the zoo, with the nursing staff leaning on their mops with about the same attitude whether they are soaping my back or sudsing my undercarriage. Sigh….

Anyway, in other news, two days ago, I was doing some exercises with the physical therapists. Suddenly, when lifting my leg into a deep stretch, I felt a searing pain shooting down my numb, paralyzed side. It had been explained to me that I might not ever get feeling back in my right side but now, My face was a simultaneous mirror of pain and joy caused by this beautiful, marvelous pain in my arse.

And today marks another milestone; the one month point since I had my stroke. It’s a natural time to take stock of the situation. I feel some motion coming back and some improvements in my speech but there is still a long way to go. Will a complete recovery take six months or a year? It is anybody’s guess. I just have to take it one day at a time. But it is worth pointing out that this time last month I couldn’t actually string two consecutive sentences together, so things are definitely looking up.

40 thoughts on “One Month”

  1. Hey Jamie
    Just checking in again
    Great to read your update
    Jees it was obviously quite an ordeal and must have been terrifying for both of you So glad to hear about all the superhuman progress you seem to be making since hopefully you’ve got your pants on now too ;-)
    I’ve got a crap joke for ya..
    one of my team told me (hell yeah I have a team now!)
    your basketball partner* works me waay too hard to be just the one guy ! *a mental picture I’m struggling to form..then quickly remove ;-)
    Why did the Chicken cross the road?
    (I don’t know, why did the chicken cross the road?) To get to the idiots house

    Knock Knock
    (Who’s there?)
    A Chicken
    not quite a post-modern masterpiece but I did laugh so I guess it did its job…
    Was sorting out my books & comics last weeks
    I pulled aside my Baker stuff for a re-read at bed-time
    figured you would somehow feel the love…
    now my dreams are peppered with sassy girls in chunky boots and terrible puns ;-) …yes…that brain of yours definitely does work in a unique way…
    I assume this is why you respond so well to a constant medical poking
    Get better mate
    Put me down for a left handed drawing of a Cat in Y fronts… but only if its on pilfered stationary ;-)

    Best wishes
    Simon & Lisa
    — January 26, 2013

  2. You are a true hero, Jamie! Isn’t it astonishing how we can grow out of embarrassment when the situation demands? Hurray for your pain in the arse, double hurray for your sparkling humor, and triple hurray for your willingness to share your real experience with the throngs of us who love you!
    — January 26, 2013

  3. Many of us for too long have taken our undercarriage for granted, and I’m thinking yours is more spanking fresh than any undercarriage has a right to be, meaning whole new hygienic horizons are opening up, and me with my pitiful Dr. Bronners bottle, a limited view, and little to go on.
    I’m so glad to hear your voice here Jamie, thanks and please post something as often as you can.
    Yer pal, Scott
    —January 26, 2013

  4. Jamie! We read your updates and talk about you and Julia all the time. Your recent post about the adventures of your rear end was very moving. No, wait, I’d better say it was poignant. Anyway it’s a beautiful thing to read all those words you strung together to make a coherent and artful story for us all. And the best part – a VERY beautiful “pain in the arse”!! Thanks for keeping the updates coming. We send you lots of love as we clean our own little guy’s bum down here (yes, a baby. :).
    xxooAnnmarie and Dave
    — January 26, 2013

  5. Movement and tingles!!!!!
    Great to hear …Visuals, not so much No really … Pretty amazing news
    Love hearing the raw honest prose of adventure across your mind scape. Until more
    — January 26, 2013

  6. Jamie! I’m so glad you didn’t describe your bathroom stories in more detail. :) Also so glad to hear your voice on here. As always your sense of humor is the best and you are such a great writer. We’re always thinking about you and miss you! I can’t really bring myself to go to Joe’s Place often because I expect to see you in your office. Soon enough! Love to you and Julia,
    — January 27, 2013

  7. Thank you for your updates and your directness. It is a relief to know that these accomplishments have actually occurred.
    Recovery is at hand, even if it is slower than desired. So glad to hear all your news. Yep. All of it. Lou
    — January 27, 2013

  8. Jamie my good man, good to hear you are making big strides. Wiping your own arse is a good goal, and hearing your stories I’ll not take that pleasure (?) for granted.
    Keep at it — and come back to us soon! We need your wit and comedy jokes around the place.
    — January 27, 2013

  9. Jamie and Julia –
    What a great update, I guess I’m very happy to hear that you’ve got a pain in your arse. I think a milestone like this deserves the honor of a Profanisaurus entry, ahem:
    fart on one’s weetabix euph. To spoil one’s chances. A less vulgar version of piss on one’s chips.
    — January 27, 2013

  10. Three cheers for Jamie’s bum pain! The strangest part of all this must be discovering good Star Wars films are on the way, Judge Dredd is number one in the home entertainment charts and the Xmen are getting back together for a Bryan Singer movie. Your stroke has somehow realigned the balance of the universe . Geeks everywhere must now worship your bum!
    — January 27, 2013

  11. You know, there are probably a lot of people in the fair city of San Francisco who would pay good money to get their undercarriage swabbed by insouciant nurses.

    Just sayin’
    — January 27, 2013

  12. Terrific to read your missives Jamie!!!Very exciting to know of any positives.The agony/joy of new nerves waking up sounds powerful.
    And going by your dunny anecdotes, it sounds like you’ll need a great deal of brown paint for your next graphic novel….”Backside To The Future!!!” …Follow the arse-grippingly intense heroics of our hero Jamie Baker as he re-knits his neurons back into submission!!
    GO JAMIE!!

    love from LondonPhil
    — January 27, 2013

  13. Yay. We’re praying for you daily. Praise the Lord!

    Incidentally, we’re praying for LOTS of pains … in the arse, the legs, toes, fingers, hands, and arms.
    — January 27, 2013

  14. Jaime,
    Obviously nothing can stop that Baker humor. Bring on the arse pains!
    Thinking of you and Julia a lot. We all miss you. Get like a boomerang, and come back here…for a different type of arse pain-age.

    — January 27, 2013

  15. Crazy times when we are all cheering about the pain in your arse!! I’m humbled on your behalf. So happy to know you’re doing so well.
    — January 27, 2013

  16. Hi James! The boys found this story particularly amusing. You are such a wonderful and gifted writer!! I feel confident that there is a book deal at the end of all this! We are sending lots of love from snowy, chilly, windy Blacksburg.
    Priscilla, Tyler & Jack
    — January 27, 2013

  17. I never thought I would be cheered up so much by stories of bottom tomfoolery . Stroke of genius( pun intended)
    Keep the feelings of pain coming, as well as your twisted take on them! Miss you chumley.
    — January 27, 2013

  18. Hi Old Mate Sorry to have been slow in writing to you. Really shocked me to here what happened but good to see that your sense of humor is carrying you through the challenges.

    Sounds like you are making progress toward reocovery that I hope will be well advanced by April as I will be in the US with my family on a trip and was planing to catchup with you then.

    Still just bounching around the world treasuring hunting. I have been in Vancouver for a few days at management and investor meeting and then down to Chile to check out the latest find – moon walking at 4500 m in the Atacama. Some day soon Ill be too old for this shit but not just yet!!!
    Keep your head up and you humor in gear mate! Ill keep checking in with you as often as I can.

    Saludos Stephen
    — January 27, 2013

  19. Go Jamie!I’d like to be hosed down like a hippo. You make it sound like its something bad.I’m glad you’re feeling pain on the right side of your ass – no, really! :-)That sounds like you are moving in the right direction.
    That’s awesome!Love, hugs, laughs, from the Richardsons -Kevver
    — January 27, 2013

  20. Jamie,
    Reading your words is indeed giving us all perspective and reminds us of your sharp wit, but when the day comes that we can hear the words stream from your mouth – now that is gonna be epic!
    I read somewhere that the hippo eventually turns the hose back on the zookeeper. After that the hippo went on adventure hosing down different places around the zoo and the zookeepers thought that it was quite helpful…
    I don’t know how the story ended, Sorry. Anyway, keep up the great progress my friend!
    — Tom Rubalcava, January 27, 2013

  21. Dear Jamie,
    Get well soon mate, thinking of you here in London and wishing you a speedy recovery. And to repeat Joy Taylors words, you must be one special guy from all the well wishers and love that’s flying around, and to your lovely partner Julia who’s been right by your side during this difficult time, what an Angel! your truly blessed.
    All the best,
    Dino x
    PS, I’m learning to draw with my right foot, someone else in Ireland cornered the market with their left foot!

    — Dino Athanassiou, January 27, 2013

  22. Bathroom jokes reminds me of this one time…
    It was my first job. I was 16 learning to bag groceries and stock shelves. As a grunt worker I also mopped the store, took out trash and cleaned the bathrooms.
    Doing my rounds, as usual, and it’s time to clean the bathrooms. I figure one toilet and one sink for each room and I’m done! Well, I find, someone has left the girls room destroyed. What i mean is some ones business has stopped the plumbing. All my usual tricks didn’t work and I had to tell my boss.
    My boss is a white haired older gentleman. I alert him to the ‘out of service’ bathroom problem. He says “ok” . and I start to walk away when it occurs to me that I should be clearer. I turn to him and add “By the way, I didn’t do that” He belts out laughing!!
    I hope you’re laughing too :)
    — Charlene Kelley, January 27, 2013

  23. Things ARE looking up Jimmy. With an attitude like that it’s anybody’s guess as to how long it will be until your back to normal. What’s normal anyway. One of our friends who was the best storyteller of all time, Tony Gordon. I don’t think you ever met him but he was the best, anyhoo he had an accident while filming a doco up in Queensland.

    His ultraglide crashed and he broke his arms so he was underwater for a bit and he then was in a coma for some time. He had slight brain damage but you would have never known, that was until he told one of his stories that went on forever and ever. He could never remember the ending but for some reason it was always hilarious and that’s the result he wanted. That was his new normal and we loved it just the same. XXX Joy
    — Joy Taylor, January 28, 2013

  24. James, fantastic! I never thought I’d be so happy to hear of a friend’s pain, but you, you brought tears to my eyes. Good on you!!! Well done James!!!!!!!! This is great news. Keep going!!!!! :-) love a great poo story too :-) I’m sure all of this is being stashed away somewhere in your terrific mind, to turn up one day in a story or comic, lively re-enacted anecdote or something,…ah, the material!!!
    Carry On James :-)
    Love you lots & big hugs, go gently xoxoooo
    — Janine Dawson, January 28, 2013

  25. That pain in the ass you felt was sent – with love – from Philadelphia, my friend. Glad you are receiving it well and SO GLAD to read your words and hear that you are getting better! Thunder Nerd – RISE! My thoughts are with you Jamie & it’s great to hear your wit and humor in your posts. Just a side thought: I think you could make a lot of money setting up an online Poo-Cam. The internet loves recovery stories and also loves poop stories. Combine the two & you are set for life! Just sayin …
    Wishing you a speedy and healthy recovery Jamie! I love you and will be in touch! xo,
    — Mark Fiorenza, January 28, 2013

  26. Jamie–So great to hear about your searing pain. For real. You are a master of grace, intelligence and humor and all of that is still very much intact. Yay for you! I’m sorry I couldn’t see you when I was down there last week but so glad you are getting better. Lots and lots and lots of love to you!!! Are you allowed to eat chocolate?
    — Anne Smith, January 28, 2013

  27. great now I’m thinking about your arse again
    …though a brisk soapy broom to ones Spitfire of a morning does sound bracing…
    I will put it to the gardeners Thursday
    If your rehab nurses do get too rough with you or don’t appreciate that Baker humour.. try to befriend the big Native American. He’s a bit quiet but I’m convinced he can lift that thing…
    the sink pedestal that is.. not your arse
    209 / 305
    My next poop will be just for you buddy ;-) Cheers
    — Simon Dunsdon, January 28, 2013

  28. Hey, Jamie. Did you read about the 81-year old Brit who woke up after having a stroke speaking only Welsh? The catch? He never learned Welsh. Fortunately, his wife speaks Welsh. Maybe he caught it from her.
    The article also mentions people who begin speaking with a different accent. Have you checked this?
    — Don Lundman, January 28, 2013

  29. Just had to share this, half of Queensland is under water soooooo much rain and I think a cyclone in there somewhere.
    On the news tonight was this bloke in singlet and shorts wading through the flood waters and he’s pulling and esky behind him and in it is his little dog. It was sooooooooo cute, you would only see that in Australia.
    X Joy
    — Deane Taylor, January 29, 2013

  30. Jaime! A pain in the arse never sounded more sweet! Wishing you a speedy recovery so you and Julia and I can make it out to Dr. Sketchy’s again for an evening of drawing Burlesque Clowns and the Ladies of Thunderdome. Love hearing about the progress! Bring it on!
    My best to you and Julia.

    Oooh, also we still need to get all artist buddies together so we can all go to the de Young en masse and sketch flagrantly in front of security! Charge!!!

    best, Nadine
    — Nadine Takvorian, January 29, 2013

  31. G’day Jamie, Julia and Robbie,
    All this rather lewd talk of pains in the arse, initiated by the man himself and criss-crossing in trajectories through the ether, and various suggestions for comical subjects, prompt me to put in my own two cents’ worth.

    Every now and then in the past I’ve offered Jamie significantly-named characters that he could build a comic or series around. Just lately I’ve been inspired by a whole gallery (a whole three of them!) of such.
    There’s Cath O’Dreagh, a wild Irish forensic scientist with a calling to save the world from baddies.

    Also Emma Royd, a little Miss Fixit private detective, who’s a pain in the arse to the run-of-the-mill flatfoot policeman.
    An example of the latter is Capt. Chuck “Pigsby” Hynde, a male chauvinist precinct-house police officer. “Pigsby” Hynde is the bane of Emma Royd’s life.
    There you are, Jimbo; these promising characters are yours to do what you like with: printed off as arse-wipe immediately, source of a Dad-reminiscent chuckle in the short term, or material for a future mega-project with pencil in restored right hand, or newly-taught left, or clenched between the buttocks (a topically novel possibility!?).

    But seriously, dear boy, no one has been more heart-warmingly moved and choked-up at hearing the unmistakably genuine James Baker voice in the recent missives about your big adventure. Keep fighting the good fight, dear son.
    Love to you, Julia, and Rob, Dad and Wendy
    — Rob Baker, January 30, 2013

  32. Hi JAMIE!!
    It’s me, the MIGHTY Steve! We miss you my brother. Me, Stew, Bosco, Wilson, Steve Mock, and the list goes on. I’ve been reading your updates and it’s very encouraging. You might not know this, but you’re mightier than anyone I know! I read where you want to start training to draw with your LEFT hand. Well, my dear friend, you come to the right person! When I was young, I was a right-handed person. In 1st grade I got my finger slammed between a car door and had to go to the hospital to get it cast and stitched. I wasn’t able to do any school work because of that, but my teacher gave me a challenge. She told me to start practicing using my left hand, and low and behold, I was doing it! When the cast and stitches came off, I continued to use my left hand and that my sir, was history! To this day, I can still use my RIGHT hand to throw balls, use a mouse on the computer, and still able to write and draw (but not as good as my left though), but the left hand is the dominant and it’s what I use to draw, but I still use the right here and there just to keep it moving. I know you can do it! If some doofus like me can do it, it’ll be a breeze for you!

    Jamie, I know you want your privacy, but I hope you can someday soon, let me and Stew come and visit you. I use to be a nurse and paramedic and helped many in physical therapy with support through their start in getting their motor skills up and running again. I would love to someday be there to give you some support. We all MISS YOU and want to see you, but we understand if you still need time to just be with your family. Remember this Jamie, Stew and I, Bosco, we’re your family, family away from family. So when your comfortable, please tell Julia so we can come and be with one of our OLDEST FRIEND in this time where friends is the richest thing to have! We look so forward in talking and seeing you Jamie! Take care and hope to see and hear from you soon! BTW, here’s a vid of Justin and Taryn tearing up the dance floor. I don’t know if you’ve seen it, but I thought this will cheer you up!

    P.S. Julia – Thanks again for relaying our messages to Jamie. You two are a couple made in heaven and he was blessed that you were there when all this happen. Please let me know when we’ll be able to see our bud. Thanks again!

    — Steve Lee, January 30, 2013

  33. Jamie Baker, a pain in the arse. That’s not exactly new news mate. But very glad you got to experience it too! I feel for you and your bathroom woes, that sounds like a dignity sapping ordeal.
    — Philip Dale, January 30, 2013

  34. Julia, Jamie – thank you for your updates, thoughts – sharing this journey with us.
    — Kevin Richardson, January 30, 2013

  35. Awwwww…..i never thought i could know that a pain in the arse could bring such hope to my heart. You’ve proven me wrong Jamie. I’ve got a new perspective on it. So awesome to read your stories and know that you’re making progress.
    — bosco ng, January 31, 2013

  36. Jimmy,
    I’ve had to restrain myself from commenting on your bathroom adventures. Although I’m 48, I still have the potty humor of a 13 year old boy and I have to be careful what I say lest I incur Stevo’s admonishment, “Come back over the line, pleaseDave”, particularly in a public forum such as this. So I won’t go there. Just know that whatever happens in a hospital toilet/zoo, we’ve all been there, even as adults, and if we’re lucky enough to live to 90, we’ll be there again, so you’re in good company.

    Oh, and don’t forget the time we were in Death Valley and I got sick at three in the morning. I took off all my clothes and ran a hundred yards from the tent and let it go out both ends, violently and gutturally. Much to my shock, the sound of my retching was a mating call to a horny wild donkey that was answering back and getting closer with each vomit sound…. come back over the line, Please Dave.

    Hope you’re improving each day and Susan and I are so glad you’re in pain where you weren’t supposed to be! love ya man
    — david gordon, February 4, 2013


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