Why “No” Means “Yes” to Me, and How That Saved My Life…Twice (Part 2)

I’ll repeat the disclaimer from Part 1. I’m not a rapist, or anything with this no means yes thing. It’s more like when I was filling in for a guitar player on tour for my really good pals, Dun Bin Had, back in 2007. Touring is the best thing in the world (I’ll elaborate in different posts), and I jumped at the opportunity. 10 days up and down California, Oregon, and Washington – uh, hell yes, I’d do it! Little did I know these twin brothers bickered like a 90-year-old married couple. Jesus Christ – by day five, I was over it. On the way home, we stopped for gas. As Jake was pumping, I lit up a cigarette. Wow, that was like the end of the world. The guy explodes on me like I was killing his pet dog or some shit. I go on to explain to him about the flashpoint of unleaded gasoline and how, as a firefighter, he should know all of this and he finally gave up as the pump filled the van and we were out of there. It really was a blast those 10 days and I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat, but the moral is I really hate being told I can’t do shit.

Back to the story…….

If you’ve never been a junkie, or in my case the victim of an insane car accident and on Demerol for 4 straight days, and then come out of it, then you have no idea. After 4 days of this shit, I was all fucked up.

Quick reminder if you’re too lazy to ready Part 1 (you really should just subscribe to the blogs). I had just had major brain surgery (like minor brain surgery exists – it probably does) and was told it could possibly take up to 6 months (if ever) before I could return to work, and that was IF I could regain things like memory, being able to speak correctly, and the ability to even walk again was in question.

I was puking almost constantly, I couldn’t hold down any of the all liquid diet shit they were feeding me – I was miserable. This really wasn’t any way to go out at all. When the Demerol was in full force, I was on cloud 9 and didn’t care, but Jesus, how can junkies handle the detox? It’s just like they describe in the movies, but 100 times worse. Tack on the fact that I had just broken my skull and face in over 100 places and my brains had managed to get a glimpse of the light of day, and I was about as low as you can go. FUCK! Then the pain….oh Jesus, the pain is indescribable when the pain is INSIDE your fucking skull. I really wanted to just give up and die at that point. Besides, I was in no pain with the Demerol, plus the doctor said it was a distinct possibility so, why fight it?

That’s when a switch went off inside my broken ass skull (I have the weird capability of coming up with some of the most lucid, clear thoughts when I’m completely fucked up out of my mind and this was the gold medal winner here) – that fucking doctor told me I CAN’T go back to work, I CAN’T leave the hospital for a month. Dude, this guy was telling me NO. FUCK THAT. Pretty much from that point forward I was all about getting the hell out of that hospital. I cut down (a little – the shit still hurt a ton and hey, sitting in a hospital bed all whacked out on Demerol isn’t THAT bad….) on the drugs they were giving me, and I was up walking around a little bit 24 hours later. Pfft. That was cake. Well, as cake as it gets with a catheter and a zillion wires and tubes hooked up to me. I got around using the IV thingy as my crutch. Not really anywhere to go in a tiny ICU room, but I was determined to get the hell out of there as fast as possible. 12 days after that horrible car wreck, the doctor checked me out of that hospital and I walked from the front door (they MAKE you take a wheelchair out of the hospital doors) to my folks’ car. 30 days later, I was back at work. Don’t ever tell me I can’t do something. Sometime shortly after, I started playing in punk bands and I even got the chance to make my ex-girlfriend eat her words when I ran into her at a party a couple years later….“There’s no way YOU could ever be in a punk band,” was what she said to me way back when, and now she was there saying, “So I heard you sing in a band now. Good job.” Again, don’t ever tell me I can’t do something.

Last September, I came down with what I thought was the flu, or a bad sinus infection. For 10 days, I was in and out of the emergency room in Costa Rica trying to tell these doctors that something was seriously wrong with me and their diagnoses were way off. Given the fact I had spent years drinking like a fish, I figured it would be kidney stones, liver disease or something related to my drinking habit. “You have congestive heart failure. The prognosis is not good, you are dying.” WHAT THE FUCK????? Wow, that was definitely NOT what I envisioned. I was so in denial (Or maybe just resigned to the fact this was how it was going to end and my ticket to ride was already punched) that I got out of the ER and went straight to the bar for beers and shots. I couldn’t handle this shit. My family in the states were in panic and I didn’t give a flying fuck. At 42 years old, how really do you handle insane news like this? I had no idea. My father bought a ticket down to Costa Rica, and I was a fucking hot mess.

The conclusion comes in a week. Stay tuned…it’s worth it, trust me.


Johnny Shitbird

Playa Dominical, Costa Rica

June 17th, 2018 1:15pm

“It’s no new revelation, I’ve been doing this too long

I’ve seen a million bands, heard a billion songs, and most of them just sound wrong

most musicians just don’t have it, they’d sell their souls to buy a tune

they buy a nice guitar, get told they’re better than they are, and their egos start to bloom

but your band really doesn’t matter, it’s only rock’n’roll

it won’t pave your way to heaven, but hell it moves my soul

so, keep it all in context, don’t think that you’re the next big thing

be grateful for every gig you have and for every song you sing”

The Arrogants – “Why T.A.N.G. is My Favorite Band” – 2002

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