Jody mclennan
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My So-Called Life

And How I Ended Up Here

I don’t know how I ended up here. I mean, I know physically, but in the grand scheme of things, it’s a huge question. If there’s some grand plan or someone in charge, like playing house with billions of people, then why?  I’m 41 and back living with my parents. I have a room across the hall from them where they monitor how late my light is on & I worry that my vibrator will be too loud and they’ll hear. Or I’ll squirt and my mom will think I peed the bed again... how did I end up in this situation? Oh yeah, I got doored by a car while biking. Let’s rewind a whole bunch and I’ll tell you the whole story...

I guess to get an accurate idea of everything, you need to come even further back than the accident with me... where to start... I lived in Toronto. I was a seamstress for film & TV. I either worked for a friend who had a large studio just north of me and took contract work or I was on a production. I’d only worked two of them but they were such positive experiences. I worked a TV show and a movie. Met the celebrities and did fittings with them. They’d try on clothes and I’d pin them where they needed alts and if they got approved for scenes I’d fix them for the following day. That and I’d make clothing from scratch at the designer’s request for the actors. It was a fun job. Long hours but the pay was great and overtime just meant more money. Great people to work with and doing what I loved. Kinda perfect. 

At the time of the accident I was working for Melinda (the girl with the large studio north of me who took contract work). I’m not certain (as my memory has been affected by the accident), but I think we had food after work at the pub next door to the studio we frequented. Then I biked home. Along the way, I decided to take a detour. You see, my husband had recently died. Like quite recently. He was staying with his aunt & uncle at the time (who he’d lived with since he was 12). He was Nigerian and moved in with his aunt & uncle when he moved here for boarding school.  I woke up one morning to find him sitting in front of the computer “sleeping.” I shook him to wake him up and tell him to go to bed. I was heading to work. But he didn’t move. He was dead. I called 911 and I remember stammering into the phone “I think my husband is dead.” Paramedics came and I hid in the bathroom crying and shaking while they attempted to revive him. It didn’t take long for them to declare him dead and leave with the body. I texted my work and said I wasn’t coming in and asked my friend to come walk my dog and went back to bed crying. I remember the front door opening and Vanessa (my dog) leaving but otherwise, the rest is a blur. 

He’d died from fentanyl in cocaine. I remember the empty baggie in front of him when I’d found him but didn’t think too much of it. We both did coke sometimes and I figured he was just blowing off some steam. It took them a few days but I guess they got the bag tested & it came out positive for fentanyl. I still don’t understand why it’s ending up in cocaine since it’s a downer, and a powerful one at that. A couple grains of it snorted can kill you. My heart was so broken I have a hard time remembering what I even did that day.  Maybe nothing. I don’t think I went anywhere because it was too hard to leave. People probably came to visit me, check on me I guess but I just stayed with my misery.

Eventually I had a memorial for him. Essentially a big party instead of a funeral which I thought he’d like and I had his body shipped back to Nigeria to be buried wherever his parents wanted him. A friend started a GoFundMe campaign and I used the money to send him home as well as get my life in order since I wasn’t really working much.  

Around this time I started to go a bit crazy.  I started thinking I’d gotten texts from him and he was back living with his aunt and uncle and just ignoring me because he was mad at me.  

That night I got doored, I thought he’d texted me.  I became convinced he was somewhere close to home (I have no idea where exactly but I went to look for him). I was somewhere near a park near my home, but past it when I got doored. In my memory (which has proved very unreliable) I remember getting doored, flipping over said door and getting doored a second time which grounded me.  In reality, I only got doored once and fell to the ground, fracturing my skull.

I was rushed to the hospital where apparently I was a 3 on the Glasgow coma scale (which is bad). There they gave me a craniotomy to relieve the bleeding on my brain meaning they cut open my head, took out a saucer sized triangular piece of skull and evacuated the area, then stitched up my half shaved head right down the middle.  The skull piece lived in a freezer for eventual replacement.  

So I had a half shaved head, a huge chunk of skull missing where it was just skin on top of brain, and I couldn’t move my right side. The joy of a brain injury is it affects your whole body. I spent five months in a rehab hospital undergoing treatments/therapy. When I finally got released my parents had movers pack all my things and flew me back to Saskatchewan to their home. I never saw my apartment again. Here I go see therapists regularly but my condition hasn’t come a long way. I get around better than before and have more movement on my right side but I still drag my right foot when I walk (with a walker) and have difficulty writing, drawing, sewing, basically anything with my right hand which is my dominant hand. I think it’s been about a year and a half since the accident. My existence has become that of a child. And one with special needs at that. I don’t hold a driver's licence and my parents live in a rural place so I go nowhere without them. I don’t even walk my dog myself because I can’t take a walker down hills on gravel roads. My mom found somewhere that my antidepressants shouldn’t be mixed with alcohol so my non drinker parents have banned me from drinking ANYTHING. So here I am. No life, no income, no escape. Yeah, I think about suicide sometimes, but the only way I can figure to do it is by drowning myself in the bathtub which is pretty foul. I used to think drowning was the worst way to die but I guess life has made me jaded. There is a lawsuit pending against the driver of the car who doored me and I only hope that I can walk away with enough money to afford a home back in Toronto close to my friends. Maybe there I can work again. Maybe my skills will improve to a place where they’re useable again?  Who knows... I can only hope... For now, I live one day at a time not thinking too much about the future because it hurts too much.  I’m 41, living with my parents in their home, and life isn’t fucking fair. 

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