Archive for phish

The Swedish Invasion begins

Year Zero. Live. Ghost. The band that had won me over ever since I started drifting away from phish for a multitude of personal reasons. It would be the band to bring me through to a breakthrough that is bringing me to the next chapter of my life. It was June and they had announced they were coming to Portland and at a venue I knew I could access in my condition. It wouldn’t be easy though. I knew, that if I went in a wheelchair, I wouldn’t see the band. For some idiotic reason the venue stopped letting wheelchairs be up front, which relegates the ones coming for healthy medicine to be sitting on the side.  They (the venue staff) don’t know that for someone coming to a live concert for medicine, hearing it and not seeing it, while it’s great, it just isn’t the same thing. To just hear a concert, not see it; I don’t think people really understand the power of music.

I went to my first concert as a young child. The first concert I chose to go see was a boy band wearing matching shirts playing to an adoring crowd of prepubescent girls screaming their heads off. Months later I found myself at a heavy metal show that would be my foray into other genres of music. This would be my salvation.

I knew, after we got front row, reserved balcony seats that I would have to walk up a flight of stairs. The year previous, I had seen ghost at that same venue. It is one of the only hazy memories I have of 2015. I started walking up that flight of stairs and it was so hard and tiring that I was forced to sit between the two sets of stairs.

I now had a goal. I had four months to get myself standing, and walking enough to park a few blocks away and stand in line, amped of course, up those two flights of stairs that would take me to my coveted seat for the best medicine there is. Live music.

The first few weeks home weren’t easy. My memory was fucked. I would get a phone call and forget what was said. This was frustrating to my poor hubby. He had nursed me from almost the entire time we’ve been together. I was able to some what nurse him when he suffered a diagnosis of congestive heart failure and a subsequent cardiac arrest a few months later but I had not been able to sustain that for very long

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Phish at the Gorge in 2003 – My experience

It all started when we arrived and were parked in the campground which was furthest away from the entrance that it could possibly be. The only way for me to get around at shows now is in a wheelchair, and the campground ground was made up of grass and gravel. We tried to start wheeling me to the show through the grass, but it tipped me over 3 times, then we tried on the gravel and that tipped me over 3 times. By this time I’m bawling my eyes out and my ankle had started to swell so we went to the first aid station. It was at the first aid station that we learned there was a gimp bus for those in need. The bus would pick up the gimps and take us the mile and a half to the venue.  I was happy about that, but wondered why I hadn’t been informed about this when we entered the campground and especially when my handicapped placard was hanging there plain to see on the RV.  We took the handicapped bus the first night of the first concert (there were two nights of shows) I was able to sit in the seats because there wasn’t a huge crowd at this point and i got to the show. When we arrived (they brought us through backstage), the guard there said, ‘hold on, ill find you a seat out there’ We couldn’t visually see the venue this well at this point, me because I was in a wheelchair and behind a large, tall fence. When the guy came back, he wheeled me out into the middle of the cement floor. At this point it wasn’t that busy but I had been on that floor without the chair at prior phish shows and know how bad it gets down there.  I was confused as i had seen at least 4 handicapped seating sections on the web page. When I asked someone about that, they said that they close the handicap sections during general admission shows. The whole show was horrible, people tripped over me what seemed like every 5 minutes. A few of the people around me bitched so much during the first set, that at set break I had Kris move me. We ended up at the back of the floor, but due to the decline of the ground, my chair would roll forward, even with the brakes on. All i needed was a flat space, but there wasn’t one to be seen, nor did the people who work at the venue let Kris or I know about one. The ride back to the bus was a fun one, but when we arrived back at the campground, we realized we still had to go up a hill made of gravel, and the bus driver and his helper refused to drive us up there. We made it up there but about 5 minutes later we saw the bus drive by!!!!

The next day dawned and we make it down to where the bus picks us up. We ask about the person they took up in the bus to the campground and they said, oh, he had an electric chair. We shook our heads in disbelief about being left there and someone else being taken. I was put into the back of the bus this time around. At the back of these buses are seat belt straps, attached to the floor. These straps are used to hold the wheelchair in place while the bus is in motion. When I was put in the back of the bus, the gentleman (the same one from the day before) didn’t put these safety restraints on. I touched him as he left and asked ‘will i be ok?’ and he said yes. I at this point was so new to using a wheelchair that I couldn’t have imagined what would be happening next. As the driver started up the bus and headed out of the campground he hit his brakes at the entrance of the campground and the wheelchair I was sitting in flew forward  and smashed into another wheelchair. To make a long story short, the same thing happened at the venue the second night, but less people tripped over me, and I was able to keep space with the help of a few friends. When we returned home, we realized that something was VERY  wrong with the wheelchair from the crash. Physically I was alright but the entire frame of the wheelchair was bent and parts had snapped off that were welded to the frame (the crash with the other wheelchair was a big enough impact to break the wheelchair). The second night ended and the most horrible time I have ever had at a concert in my entire life was finally over. I was so scared and upset and worried about being bumped (anytime someone would bump into me it would cause me pain)  most of the time that I was unable to enjoy the show, nor could i even SEE the show. There were no screens, and due to me sitting in the chair, when everyone would stand around me, I was blocked from any view of the stage.

Now that it’s been a couple of years,  I have finally been able to let this go. I thought about suing the Gorge, worked with the  Attorney General of the state of Washington and the Washington Human Rights Commission for awhile about the case, but I wimped out. Now all I have are the memories and a broken wheelchair in the basement. I don’t know why it’s there, why we never got rid of it after the decision to not sue, but it’s there. It’s there for a reason that I don’t know yet so I’ll get back to you later on that one.

The beauty in the pain

music is playin..the lights are low..the wind chimes are outside..the wind is blowing..the night is here..it’s time to tell  a story and this is how it goes…

Gene Ammons/ Satin Doll

Smooth Jazz…..soft trumpet, pure jazz..sirius radio 72..I highly recommend it…

Getting a tattoo is all about the pain and can you and do you want to handle it. For me, it’s a meditation of sorts. I use meditation and breathing techniques because I know what I’m doing is going to have a life long affect. This is something I am putting into a part of my body, into my skin, for the world to see when I want them to. It’s also very much for a reason, and a purpose that is completely and soley my own. No one makes this decision for you. You don’t just get a tattoo because it’s cool. This is something that has to be very much an alone me kind of decision. I remember when I went to my first one, I reacted in this exact same way. It was somewhat of a ‘turning point’ in my life since I remember it so well.  This time around, I am even happier then the last time. This tattoo is brighter and better too. Even though the other tattoo is still kickin and is bright in it’s own right, this one, this new one, it’s loud, proud and speaks to me.  It’s a very intimate yet public tattoo. I told the internet world as best I could. I don’t know yet who I want to know about this at work.  The roommate has work of his own and he was very appreciative of what we got. The ginger is too ‘heady’ for ‘ink’ and so even though I showed it to me, I don’t think he cares. There are tattoo people, and there arent. No big deal. Doesn’t matter if it ain’t your thing, don’t get me wrong.

This new tattoo is an homage to the 12 years of my life that I dedicated to them.  It’s been 2 years since the last show. 2 years of a new life.  While they aren’t around now, because they broke up with us of course. but even if they were to start playing again, which I know they will, they just have to, it won’t be the same for me. I will go to a show or two, but it will never be what it was, just like I won’t be what I was in those years. It’s time to let go and stop being all dramatic about it. The tattoo is the last. It’s the last number in the 13# program of letting go of something in your life that needs to be let go. Well, maybe not that serious, but that’s sometimes how it feels and this is really me sharing this much of my thoughts. . That part of my life is past now. And this tattoo is there to tell the story for me when I can’t tell it. It’s to tell the world, loud and proud what is a part of me and a part of me forever. When I am 90 years old, I will still be telling stories about driving next to the tour bus and seeing Page open up the curtain and wave at us. We were in two cars, with walkie talkies and pulled a switcheroo so that the other car could see the boys too. They saw us do it, I know they did and so they opened up the curtians for the other car too. It was things like that that made it all so special. They were able to talk to us all. In small and non verbal ways 😉 and we got it and so yea, that is the reason why I got what I did.