Mind is Under Construction, Sexy Asian Neurologist and Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)

May 11, 2012

Sorry for not filling these pages for a while faithful and infidelic readers. My mind and body have been under major construction and most of my creative focus has been drained on the artistic outlets that I make money on and the rest of my energy is kind of lost. I’ve been lost yet searching while waiting for my mental, physical and spiritual portals to show me some light and it’s been found. Perhaps the following will explain a little so be patient or skip to the good parts.

As always- thanks for reading.

Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal)

I recklessly take new medications with out reading the label and the big slip describing all of the side effects. I take the pill then either the pill works, doesn’t work I feel the side effects or I don’t. Then I read the side effects if something feels wrong.

I finally went to see a neurologist after 5 years of being diagnosed with Trigeminal Neuralgia, a facial nerve disorder is how I describe I to most people but it’s much deeper than that or it wouldn’t be nick-named as the “suicide disease”.

 

It took 5 or 6 months of waiting for this appointment because having Medicaid as my insurance I am on a lower priority rank at the office. Medicaid even provides me with rides to and from my house which can be nerve racking and a God send at different times depending who the driver is.

I met with a beautiful Asian Dr named Dr Tracey Wang. I was expecting an old unattractive woman for some reason. I don’t even know why this was an issue-I guess it was more of a passing observation. She did a lot of standard physical tests like reflexes on my legs, knees, arms, legs and even my face. I was in pain when I got there and purposely didn’t take any of my pain meds so she could see my pain if possible. The cold medal of her small reflex tool did cause pain on my face.

When she was finished checking my pain she moved on to tell me what steps I need to take next. She wrote a referral for an MRI and another brain scan of the face that I can’t remember what it’s called, a referral to pain management who may be able to write prescriptions for pain medications because this doctor my new family doctor do not like to prescribe pain medicine. Hopefully I won’t need pain medication with the new anti-seizure medication.

I filled my prescription for the new medication Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) on my way to stay at my mother’s. I stay there every Friday night in case my uncle needs me to help him with work on Saturdays doing minor office cleaning a few blocks from my mom’s house. I was planning to stay at mom’s until the following Tuesday in case my sick aunt needed watching over if my uncle had to go anywhere like his Doctor appointments because my mom had preplanned a vacation. I watched some television and did a little writing and went t bed at a decent hour because I was called into work for 8 am Saturday morning. I took the Oxcarbazepine (Trileptal) for the first time that night.

I woke up late with little time to get ready and have coffee the next morning and I couldn’t get off the couch I normally sleep on. My face was half numb and half hurting. My arms were numb and semi seizuring. My eyes were blurred and swollen. I made some quick instant coffee and could barely hold the cup. I took all of my morning medications and debated skipping the new one but took one anyway assuming this was all just a side effect that will pass. I sat on the porch and tried to steady myself for a morning smoke and coffee with shaking hands and face. I called one of the other workers to let him know that I was running late. He made a sarcastic remark about me hurrying up that I took serious and sent my anxiety through the roof. I eventually settled a bit and got my ass off to work. My co-workers looked at me like I looked the way I felt. I felt like I had the worst hangover ever. I haven’t had a drink in a while either. I went to work slowly but found myself feeling better once the pain medications kicked in. I made it through work and then a visit to see my uncle and aunt. Great aunt and her “man” of almost 20 years. That’s another story. I eventually made it back to my mom’s and was in and out of it for the next 4 or 5 days.

Every day I’d wake up at different times with various symptoms and deal with it the best I could. I watched a lot of television and barely did any drawing, writing or reading. My mind and body went through changes each day. I did manage to check the side effects each day to make sure most of them were normal ones and I didn’t need to go to the hospital or stop taking the new medication. Since I had to stay at my mom’s anyway I stayed “on call” until Thursday when I had a group therapy thing that night with rides set up through medical insurance . .bla blah.. If you’re still with me folks keep reading. I might actually have a point to these 3 pages of 16 point type.

What I thought was going to be a mini-vacation at my mom’s house for 4 days turned into a 5-day rehabilitation and medication adjustment. The seizures and numbness lessened and now I am just numb in the tongue for some reason. The pain lessened the 2nd day and my dizziness and sleepiness continued but that’s understandable because I take several pills with the same side effect.

This is the first time that I am giving new medications for my Trigeminal Neuralgia and my bipolar a chance for more than a few days in a while. Usually, if I don’t like the side effects I stop. Also, having jobs and many commitments I had to stop taking come meds or I’d lose my job and relationships. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have the freedom and time to give medications the proper time to work through my system and adjust to them and see if they will work. It’s also the first time I feel hope and faith through the temporary side effects to feel better. If it means a few weeks or a few months to find out so be it.

I might end up stop taking some of them and trying it again and that’s ok also because I’ve learned that treating rare neuralgic disorders and mental illness is not an exact science. Sometimes faith and hope is the most important ingredient to the recipe of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual wellness.

Oh yeah -Doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists therapists, group therapy and 12-step meetings are also part of the mix to my personal recovery. If I keep it all balances and don’t let myself get overwhelmed then I might even grow up and out of whatever it is I am now and was before

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Dreams of Stains, Refrains and Delorians on Film

May 4, 2012

Yeah. I haven’t had writer’s block per say. I’ve been busy having my 19th nervous breakdown and drawing to pay rent. I love drawing but I miss writing as much as I normally do.

So, here’s a well something I wrote based on a few dreamses.

It was group therapy. It was forced therapy. It was a family reunion of the family that never was but perhaps should be. Grammar school orgy. Grammer school orgy. It was a film making table reading in a locked room. Forced filmmaking. Script reading. It was confusion. Both of my, well 3 of my (2 are brothers) friends who made make write score create direct films -William Hellfire and the Martin Brothers-Andy and Jim Martin were there as counselors or doctors or caretakers or leaders or patients taking charge. They had their latest cast or character actors who belonged here with me along with Kat Dennings with the personality of her character Max in the non-hit TV show 2 Broke Girls, another friend Cherie, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Andy’s friends Rick and Pat and Hellfire’s latest young hot sultry actresses ready to do anything. Anything. Non of the other girls mattered. I liked Kat. I was really into her this time and not the average young skinny wild ready for anything models (although she was young and not fat-she was older than and heavier than most girls I dream about and the ones in the room).

 

The reading was tedious. Repetition and such. Words. Just words. I kept thinking. The padded walls became more apparent. Was it part of the set or part of the prison? The cell. The reading? The words. There was a window in the corner left right over the top wall. I was padded and bars decorated the outside. I think it a was plastic window. No glass for the loons. This loon.

 

We could hear the heavy storm a coming. Rolling round the bend. A hurricane. An avalanche? The doors were bolted shut and we hung out in the lobby of the built in movie theater we found though a secret compartment and sneaked in and ate popcorn and drank coffee and soda. Mr Hellfire always had a stash of liquor with him to share and some took some and some turned it down. This was our scared straight therapy I proposed in my mind. The party was just beginning and I felt like I just begun as well. I never began. I never stopped or started. No one understood why we were there and most of us didn’t care or cared too much. We fluctuated back and forth. An orgy. An evening of days spread across the calendar of my subconscious or maybe I was part of someone else’s dreams.

The storm subsided eventually and I dreamed my way onward onto a floatation vehicle. A car. A Delorian. A delirium. Ruins of the storm maintain the balance somehow and the roads –Who needs roads?- I see foreign flying vehicles. Ed Woodian saucers like whipped by me on the way to Gary’s house. Flight attendants offer my navigational gal Friday pills for the ride and I steer along seamlessly despite the nausea.

 

“Go ahead and vomit” I tell Gary but Gary never gets sick.

 

We arrive in his underground tavern. Cavern to find his equipment ready to go. We park. Hang out forgetting the therapy of filmmaking and ballet dancing. When he’s ready for me to leave the BitchCave Gary confidently hands me a package. I knew what to do as I climb into a new flight device. Airplane maybe?

Flight of the dead. Dead musicians, friends, loves and my own life obliterated into one pile of ashes from the exhaust flames of a flying saucer. I’m still high from the flames and the guilt.


Hillen Prison Blues – I Feel the Fluids Rushing

March 29, 2012

I feel the fluids rushing

Up and down

And back

Up and down

My back

Spine

Light headed

Heavy hearted

Ears fuzzy disoriented

Vertigo

Bones crack every time

I move

Elbows

Knees

Hands

Feet

Fingers

Toes

FACE

My facial affliction

Nerves explode

Fireworks of the nerves

Side of my face

I seek relief

Scream in agonizing

Torture and terror

I chose

Sleep to

Escape

Forget

Awake

Remember

Impairment

Then depression

Sleep

Forget

I want to forget

I don’t want to sleep

I want to sleep

I love my sleep

But not much

My dreams are pleasant

And my reality is a

Nightmare

But

I’d rather have the bad dreams and the good life

“Sleep. Those little slices of Death. How I loathe them.” Edgar Allen Poe said.

 

“Sleep. Those little slices of pleasure. How I adore them.” Rich Hillen Jr said


Existing in Pain – Daily Rant 2 Days Late

July 15, 2011

Note: I wrote this on Friday but haven’t had the chance to post it. I’ll give you an update at the end.

Woke up way too early. Trouble breathing. Asthma? Then the stomach turned and I had to go. To the bathroom. Funny. I have no bath but I call it the bathroom. I went. Felt a little better.

Face hurt. A little at first. It always starts with a little. It got worse.

Trouble breathing. I was smoking. Maybe I smoke too much. Then the racing thoughts and the heart followed. I made coffee. Good for asthma. I heard. I heard a lot of things so I drank coffee and a lot of water with my 4 morning meds. The stomach and heart beating anxiety kicked in as I tried to watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

I had to be somewhere to help a friend with a ride this morning. The meds were kicking in. I started to feel a little better as I got dressed and mapped the address of my friend. The breathing was like hyper ventilating. It came and went. It went when the pills kicked in. Pills. Have to take ‘em if I don’t want pain or anxiety. I did.

I got a text just as I was psyching myself up for a long ride. It was my friend’s boyfriend canceling the ride I was to give. The long trip. Over. Now I can stay home and try and relax. Or feel pain and anxiety.

It goes away eventually. Drugs kick in. Feel better. Wear off. Feel worse.

Need a nap. No nap. I guess the stress is up there. Anxiety.

Watched a couple of movies. Did a few tings on the internet. Hurt. Can’t breathe.

All over the place. God. Bad. Breathe freely. Breathe naturally. Breathe short and slow. Loss of breath. Chest pain. Face pain. It’s all running together.

I look up the symptoms and talk to friends that have similar conditions. They confirm that it’s just a panic attack. Combined with my face pain. It hurts.

Don’t want to complain. Complain. Complaints. Revealing my pain to you and everyone else is  . . .  like getting a mew therapist.

Just repeating my day out loud. No answers. Just venting.

Conclusions come after solutions after diagnosis. Am I sure it’s not just  another panic attack in a way I haven’t experienced.

Experienced. Weird pain. Something different.

Do I need a hospital or not?  Go to bed and sleep. Get up early tomorrow to do some work for my uncle.

Good. I’m falling asleep as I write this.

Note: Aftermath- I was hoping that a good night sleep would be the cure. It wasn’t. I woke up at 6:30 am with the deep breaths and panic for no reason. I was tired but that was normal. I drank less coffee and took my morning meds, More face pain. I took pain pills. Everything kicked in by the time I got to help my Uncle at cleaning offices. I was just tired from all of the pain and anxiety the day before. I made it through the work hours. Then I had to go home shower etc and pick up a model for a photography project. It was an all day event but now and then I felt the anxiety and shortness of breath but had to keep going and took anxiety meds. I got through the day and went to sleep early. Woke up today feeling a little bit of the breath thing and anxiety and it slowly went away and I helped my Uncle again and now I just feel emotionally hungover. Tired blah. I made it.


Epiphany Shmiphany

June 20, 2011

 

I’ve been waiting to sit down and write about an “epiphany” I had a little over a week ago. Epiphany. For such a soft word that is almost pretty as it rolls through my mouth it is a powerful word. I’ve had these changes in attitude and  realizations ( a harsher sounding word that’s way less powerful). I was basically going to tell you about the “epiphany” that I have told you about and have experiences over and over. I guess I should mention it briefly then move on, huh?

 

I was watching a documentary about Hubert Selby Jr, author of classic novels like Last Exit to Brooklyn and Requiem for a Dream that were made into fantastic movies, about a week and a half ago. Learning about the struggles of the life of an artist is just rehashing what I already knew. An artist is born that way. Born to struggle through life so he can create art. That is his purpose and contribution to life. In a world of money oriented and materialistic people, we the artists, are giving instead of taking. As soon as we share our creations with at least one other person our art is art.

 

Ok, I’m not going to go on on and on about my purpose in life and your role in it. Basically I was just reminded of what I need to remember and keep forgetting. The struggle is the burden and consistency and I have to comment, react and create from it then give t away.

 

“I am an American artist I have no shame.” Patti Smith

 

The past few weeks have been terrifying, incredible, amusing, and on and off weird.

 

I’ll start with right now. At this moment I am sitting inside a coffee shop in Collingswood, NJ. I just finished talking to a friend I’ve hung out with only a few times but when we see each other there is this bond we have and we end up in deep conversations about art, music, addiction and sometimes the meaning of life itself. Ha. He’s in a similar situation as me and we always get along.

 

I went to the welfare office at 7 am this morning and spent over 2 hours trying to get some kind of assistance. I followed it up with a visit to unemployment to waste another hour or 2. It wasn’t a complete waste. My unemployment is back on. I just had to fight for the weeks they held back. This is fantastic news after waiting almost a month without the money and bills are adding up.

 

When you’re broke. Really broke. You start thinking about every coffee, donut, dinner out, pizza delivered, soda, etc and you over analyze what you wasted money in the past while still spending the same money on the same things. Oh yeah, the air conditioning is killing my roommate and me. Both he and my landlord suggested I turn it off and leave the house each day and hang at a coffee shop or somewhere with internet connections. These days that’s pretty much every coffee shop and eve restaurants and bars.

 

I went home after the unemployment office. It was about noon. 5 hours spent on trying to get help and it was semi successful. I still had the entire day ahead of me. I still do. I rubbed one off watching Judge Pierno or whatever her name is to relax. Not long after I got a phone call from the lady I spoke with at the unemployment office to tell me that all of the past money owed to me will come through. I was more floored by the fact that the woman called me back as soon as she found out than I was about the money. That was just really nice. I was ready to get out again and head to the pharmacy and then relax at the coffee shop. I am relaxed despite the caffeine.

 

I just ran into a girl I knew from a group I used to attend. Young, beautiful and great body and she is a fellow writer. A talented writer. I had such a crush on her a while back. I had so many fantasies about her in the past few years. I haven’t seen her since this past winter when I fist grew my beard and hair long and she called me a Wooly Mammoth and I was embarrassed and I was already anxious borderline agoraphobic. Weird. It was just a cute little name-calling and borderline flirtation that helped speed up my already progressing reclusiveness.

 

Irony. Now that I am leaving the house I run into the girl that I not only had a crush on but made me not want to go out anymore. I have to admit when I first laid eyes on her I got a little anxious and I pretended not to see her. I wanted to hide and jump up and call her name. I didn’t. I went back to writing what you just read. What I just wrote. I felt comfortable when she approached me on her way out. She was actually working, looking for a story to cover for one of the publications she writes for.

 

We talked a little bit about writing and how good it was to see each other then she left and here I am. This is the message of my writing today. Random events that mean nothing and mean everything to me.

 

When I got here I randomly started talking to a guy I never met before about misery versus happiness. I happen to be learning and relearning that life is a struggle and it’s what you put into it. This is before I met the others here today.

 

Last week I went to Philly to sell my cds to a shop where I’ve known the owner for a while. We had a great talk and he gave me a great price and I left a happy man. I wandered to a coffee shop I’d never been to greeted by 3  barista angels that worked the registers and coffee machines. People talked to me and greeted me like I was someone. I grabbed my drink and tipped then sat right outside so I could smoke. Huh… I haven’t had a cigarette yet since I entered the coffee shop. Usually I jump right out side and smoke. If I did that I wouldn’t have run into my friends. Shit. Now I want a cigarette. . .  .

 

*Dramatic pause for Rich Hillen Jr’s cigarette break*

 

Great smoke break. I’m texting my friend maybe girlfriend that lives in New Orleans all about my day. She’s another story. We’ve been talking about moving in for a while but we can’t afford it yet. A long drive and she has a pooch.

 

Just 3 weeks ago (maybe 2 and a half weeks) I was so desperate and stressed about my financial condition and it’s slowly pulling itself together.

 

Once I had my “epiphany”, I felt better over all and knew things will work out if I make the effort and try not to feel or come off desperate. I was ready.

 

My roommate told me about a music shop in Collingswood that would probably give me a good deal on my amp I’ve wanted to sell. I headed out one night to sell the amp and I ran out of gas within 4 blocks from the store. I laughed. My gas gage isn’t always working right and it says that there is less gas than is in there. I was on empty and was planning to get gas after I sold the amp.

 

This teenager appeared out of nowhere and started pushing my car. We couldn’t budge it for some reason. I was a foot from the corner street wedged on the curb. I called my close friend that lived in Collingswood and he was on the road going to a show and couldn’t help. I was pretty far from a gas station. I racked my brain finding someone in the area that could and would help me out.

 

I called my filmmaker friend who I’ve worked with on a few projects and he came through for me. I was still in a decent mood. I was also lucky enough to have had a gas container. So my friend picked me up, took me to the gas station and back to my car. It worked out because he wanted to talk to me about his upcoming projects. Just as we pulled up near my abandoned giant red beat-up 1994 Lincoln Towncar there was a Mini-Cooper in front of it and my cell phone rang with an unrecognized number. I just said to my friend that it looks like my mom’s friend’s car and it was my mom on his cell phone. I laughed again. My mom and her friend were parked there checking to see if I was ok. I was. They left. It was starting to get windy and a storm was on the way. I gassed the car up, thanked my friend and drove off to get gas.

 

I debated going to the music shop because of the gas problem and the storm brewing. I went anyway. It was a great decision. There were 2 women sitting in there with a guy that worked there. I jumped right to business and didn’t even check out the ladies. I wanted money. I knew exactly how much I wanted for it and the guy looked at and tested it. He left to get the owner to look at it and appraise it. While he was gone I looked at one of the now noticeably pretty women and she said “Hi Rich.” I knew those eyes of hers. It’s been over 20 years but you don’t forget her eyes. I said hi and I was a little uncomfortable yet happy. Memories rushed through my head of all of the nights I hung out with her, her friend and my weirdo friend. Many drinks and many other things. I tripped on acid with this girl at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She was at my college graduation party. One night we got really stoned and went back to her place to look at her art (she was an incredible artist). We had a most memorable passionate night that we agreed not to tell anyone about. I wonder if it made it special because it was a one-time deal. It doesn’t matter. Here she was face to face 20 years later and looked the same.

 

I knew she lived in the area for years and heard about her musician boyfriend/fiancé through a friend of mine. I did run into her once 10-12 years ago and it was a brief conversation because we both had somewhere to go. So you can probably guess who owned the music shop I was standing in hoping to make a buck from. It was the infamous boyfriend/fiancé or whatever. Then I talked to him about the people we had in common. We talked after he paid me righteously for the amp of course. I left feeling good.

 

Then came the storm as I was leaving. A physical storm followed that Sunday afternoon after “helping” out my uncle who is really my great aunt’s live in boyfriend clean offices. I pulled muscles in my arms and shoulders. This triggered my infamous Trigeminal Disorder. The pain was at its’ worst since I was first diagnosed with it in 2005. I was running out of pain meds and I couldn’t refill them for a week. I took migraine aspirin and sleep aids. I spent most of the next 3 days away to escape the explosions in my face. I was in extreme pain for 3 days then the recovery took a day or 2. I was finally back in the world and that’s when I sold my cds and hung out in Philly.

 

This past Saturday I did my usual “helping” out my uncle whose not my uncle. Afterward, I met up with my adopted mother, the one that raised me, to have lunch in honor of my adopted father whose 2nd year death anniversary that also fell on Father’s Day. We were supposed to meet up the next day but she changed her mind and we had a great dinner and conversation.

 

On my way out I ran into another friend I’ve known for years sitting on a bench and I voluntarily joined him. This is a big step for me to be social and I hung out with him for an hour in the hot sun drinking an iced coffee from Starbucks. I was in a good mood. I headed home and watched some movies and did a little writing.

 

Sunday was Father’s day and my adopted father’s death anniversary. It was an awkward day. Having 2 dads can be difficult. My focus was on the dead one who raised me and not my biological father who came back in my life as an adult and has been there for my for over 20 years now. I called him and text him. We decided we will celebrate when I can afford it. It ended nicely.

 

Shit. This was a random bit of writing that went on forever. If you’re still reading, God bless you and thank you for sharing my life as it’s still spinning in and out of Epiphanies, pain, poverty, good memories and hopes of tomorrow, meanwhile, living in the moment no mater how good or bad it gets.

 

Ride on.

 

Right on.

 

Write on.

 

 


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