May 22, 2014

Here's a program guide I created for ACOG's Clean Cities Program.

May 10, 2014

So here it is...the x-ray of an injury that changed my life in more ways than one. It was a nice day at the skatepark, just like any other day. I've been on and off my board since middle school so this was probably the seven thousandth time I've skated. I'm no Chris Haslam (my favorite pro boarder), but my board is basically an extension of my legs at this point. I'm pretty nimble for a 6'3" 230lbs skater.

This particular day I was skating with my buddies Jack and John who I met the day before. I had just finished a small trick up a bank and rolled back into the park. Normally I would have slowed down a bit but I was just hitting a box I'd hit probably 100 times before.

I'm not sure what happened but I lost my balance and fell, going probably 10mph, directly on my shoulder. The impact was so intense I burst a blood vessel in my eye without hitting me head. I'll save the gory details, but just picture a guy with two elbows on one arm. One elbow in the middle of the bicep, the other where the elbow is suppose to be.

Jack fashioned a splint out of my shirt and John pulled the van up to the skatepark entrance. I felt like I was about to pass out and asked if anyone had any food. A nice guy we had been riding with that day bought me a candy bar and a bottle of water from his car. I didn't get his name, but that little gesture saved my life. It brought my blood sugar up and let me stumble to the van for what would be the most painful experience of my entire life. Shout out to the candy bar guy.

A dude told me on the way out he had just healed from the same break and said good luck. I had the entire park's attention at this point so I told everyone “happy holidays” and hobbled to the van.

The pain was more intense than anything I've ever experienced. I cussed the entire way to the hospital and apologized to the guys for my bad language. John told me studies show cussing helps reduce pain in intense situations so I let my inner turrets-sailor have at it, but I promised I wouldn't cuss once we got to the E.R....and I didn't.

I was admitted to the hospital after a short ride and told the lady who took my paper work my pain level was a 7-8  out of 10. I don't think she believed me because she didn't know the severity of the break and I was making jokes to help ease my tension. When you tell someone you have a "boo boo" they usually don't think of a major fracture of one of the largest bones in your body.

After paper work I was taken to x-ray. The tech asked me what happened and I told him I was pretty sure I snapped my arm (I could feel the bone click together like you can click your teeth together). He finished the x-ray and I heard him say "holy sh**" from behind the wall. He offered to show me my x-ray and then told me he couldn't believe I was as calm as I was. I guess I internalized a lot of the pain, as inside I was basically in shock and couldn't even process what was happening, but on the outside I was joking with the hospital staff and trying to be patient and grateful.

After x-rays I was given a crap-ton of morphine. My body metabolizes medication like the centaur of a horse that mated with Michael Phelps, so I had to be dosed four times the standard amount to get my pain under control. I guess "under control" means it's no longer bad enough that you want to puke, but bad enough to fear any moving object that comes within a three foot radius of your body.

My diagnoses was a fracture of my humerus. I was put in an ace bandage, told to follow up with an orthopedic doctor in seven days and sent home with some oxycodone.

What made the emergency room visit bearable was Jack and John. These two strangers I had just met the day before and they not only rushed me to the E.R., but they stayed by my side the entire time I was there. I knew they were hungry, but they wouldn't go to the cafeteria. They kept my shoes, clothes and even helped the doctor get my arms wrapped up.

Jack and John, if you're reading this, you guys showed me the single, greatest act of kindness any strangers have ever shown me and I will not ever forget it. You treated me like any one of my five siblings would have. Be great to people in need; this was the first of several life lessons I learned that ultimately started to change the way I see my life.

After signing my papers and leaving the hospital, we went to Franklin Street in Chapel Hill for some burgers. I bought dinner, made change and somehow managed to eat. I had a long conversation with the store manager about my arm and he asked me how long it had been broken. I told him it was that day and I just left the hospital. He couldn't believe I was on crazy amounts morphine and pills, as he couldn't tell any difference in my actions or attitude than that of a sober person other than the fact that I was 75% shirtless and probably looked like I has just escaped a concentration camp. Thanks Centaur Phelps metabolism.

Reality set in that evening after another rough ride home from the skatepark. My buddy drove me home and helped me get my bed setup and made sure I had everything I needed. He gave me a small hug and I immediately broke down. At this point the 10 hours of pain I had been in combined with the discouragement of my impending three months of recovery was too much to take. I was fairly new to Durham, didn't have a ton of friends in the area and was far, far away from any family. My pain and inability to move was so intense I couldn't stand up, sit down or even walk slowly without excruciating discomfort. This lasted for over a week, even with a large dose of meds twice a day. I wasn't going to be able to bike, go to run club, play tennis, lift at the gym or skateboard. I was facing a mountain I didn't think I could climb and life seamed very bleak.

The hardest part was next. I spent 12 days in my house alone. I had company from time to time, but was alone 90% of the time. It was very dark. I was extremely depressed and basically sat on a couch with a space heater and only moved to eat small amounts of food, take meds and use the restroom. I was on the couch for almost 12 days that seemed liked three months. I had to sleep sitting up, my arm throbbing constantly and occasionally I had spasms in my bicep an tricep that would clench my muscles around the break. I cussed then, too.

The darkest part of the entire process was night number four. I decide I would try to lay down in bed at about a 45 degree angle and I ended up laying too far back. I felt my bones click together at the place of the break and I got stuck in bed. My arm from the break down was hanging like a limp noodle and was so off, it was visibly crooked. I laid there in pain and didn't have the strength in my torso to raise up. I felt trapped and panicked. My phone wasn't near to call someone and I didn't have Life Alert so I did the next best thing, I laid in pain with tears in my eyes for probably close to an hour, then I took a deep breath and rolled over to my left while holding my right arm in place.

Now there were some glimmers of hope during this 12 days. I had some very unexpected friends come to the table. Visitors brought me groceries, cooked me a few meals and even cut my hair. When I was fearing surgery that would keep me from being able to make it home for the holidays, my neighbor's girlfriend invited me to her family Christmas and I had a total stranger from couchsurfing.org who I was suppose to take to the airport offer to bake for me and watch movies with me until I was home with my family.

Being in such a vulnerable place is humbling. You have what seem like total strangers coming and going from your home, doing you favors and taking care of you. I didn't deserve any of their help, but they took care of me regardless. Again, life lessons learned.

A week after the break I visited the doctor and they elected to let my arm heal naturally and braced it with this plastic cover.



They can't cast a fracture of this type so I was doomed to be a shirtless robot with a sling for several weeks. Christmas Eve Eve, I packed up my computer equipment, camera gear and a suitcase and left for OKC on Christmas Eve morning at 5am. I traveled by plane and had one of the best flying experiences ever. Security, flight attendants and passengers were so kind to me. The airports were decorated for the holidays and it felt like the true spirit of Christmas. When I landed in OKC I went straight out to my Grandmother's for the biggest family gathering of the year. I was in pain from my travels, but overjoyed to be around my family.

I was in OKC for almost a month. I stayed with my mom and grandmother the majority of the time. During my stay, I had six project kickoffs, two video shoots, four photo shoots and prepped taxes for my company. Somehow I managed to do all this work with one hand and still found time to hang out with my family. My favorite part of the trip was spending time watching the entire Harry Potter series with my cousin Andrew, breakfast in the morning with Grandmother Tucker and all night video games on Saturdays with my brother Joey.

I spent more time with my family and friends than I have in years. It's crazy how the smallest things like having tea with a friend on a patio or playing cards with your family become so vibrant. Many times during my visit I was so overwhelmed with happiness I could barely stand it. This is probably the greatest lesson I learned. You don't have to be a 60 something-year-old retiree who's neglected their family for 30 years for their career to realize that the small things in life are what really matter.

I'd say I'm the type of guy who grabs life by the horns to begin with, but because of the kindness of strangers, the compassion of my family and the strength of my friends, I have a renewed sense of what is really important in my life. And if it takes a severe injury and trauma to my body to get it stuck in my head that humanity is something to believe in and that life is too short to let things idly go by...then so be it.

Shout out to Jack, John, Cody, Micah, mom, Bo, my siblings "the kids", the Wards, Grandmother Tucker, Anna and each and every one of my friends who were with me in OKC. I couldn't have made it through this without you.

April 09, 2014

Here's a case study I created for ACOG as a follow-up to the idle reduction letter.

 

March 04, 2014

Here's a letter I created announcing the completion of ACOG’s idling reduction case study.

 

March 02, 2014

Promotional video for Oklahoma City web design company Studio FJ. More information at studiofj.com.

Video Specs

Camera - Canon 5D Mark II
Lens - Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 Aspherical | Canon L-Series 17-40mm f/4
Audio - Sennheiser ew 112-p G3 Wireless System into Zoom H4n
Tripod/Track - Oben AC-1310 | Opteka GLD-400 Slider
Edit - Premiere Pro CS6
Color/Animations - Exposure/Curves/Levels/Noise Adjustment Layers in After Effects CS6