memoir "Surviving Death."
"He said, 'Steve's been in a terrible accident,'" Gary Farnham said. When they arrived on the scene, Steve had been removed from the car and was unconscious in the fetal position. His brother had been told he was dead.
crash shattered Simi man
The scream of brakes was followed in a heartbeat by the crash of metal as the Fiat 128 flipped off the road on its passenger side. Gary Farnham heard it all from his back patio in Newbury Park just before dinner on a July Tuesday.
The coma lasted seven days and segued into a waking nightmare about the accident. Steve screamed for his mother to hold his head.
His life is an open ended exercise in connecting the dots. Signs, notes and technology cue him on phone numbers, appointments and his duties shelving books at the Simi Valley Library.
The note in smeared magic marker, stuck to the refrigerator door with a magnet, tells Steve to eat his leftovers before they grow fur. A scrap of paper on the arm of the couch offers a reminder to buy pants; his blue jeans are too tight and no longer zip all the way up.
"My life ended then," he said. "I'm not ever going to be who I want to be. I can never have any large life goals of my own. It's so strange having the same intellect, the same capacities but not being able to progress, not being able to do what I want with it. "
Steve thinks the images are still there, just tucked away some place he can't access.
Steve's a little different. He can remember much of what happened before the accident. He remembers people he meets repeatedly, though their names are a challenge. He can master things like his new iPhone by drilling himself on its functions.
That man's short term memory was a locked door. An hour after having a conversation, it was gone. Porcella worked with him for three years, and the only way he could remember her was by writing down her name.
Steve Farnham wakes each morning remembering, at best, blurred images of the day before: Faces without names, daily routines but not conversations, dreamlike sequences stripped of detail. The 44 year old Simi Valley man with the constant smile has an IQ of 136. He reads Nietzsche for fun. He talks in nonstop rambles about romance, punk rock and the car accident that injured his brain 28 years ago, limiting his short term memory to two hours. Meet him on a Wednesday night and he may remember your face and voice on Thursday but little more. With a handful of exceptions lyrics and science fiction books among them he remembers only what is ingrained through weeks and months of repetition.
That flash of horror was the only time he remembered the accident. He knew who he was and recognized his family, but all conversations and most new experiences were lost.
"There's no way to form relationships because you can't remember anyone. It's erased," she said. "The person is basically living in this place of being completely alone."
was just one more accident on Wendy Drive. He looked at his watch to measure how long it would take the ambulance to arrive.
A college student who works as a caregiver visits Steve several times a week. They go grocery shopping and almost on a daily basis monitor his checking account because he can't remember when he last used an ATM.
Other people marvel at his constant smile and his ability to find ways around the maze of walls thrown up by his disability. But like the similarly injured character in the movie "Memento," Farnham often focuses on the gaps in his life.
Then his 10 year old son, Jeff, came running to him from the accident, just a block away.
still there. But his future, like his memory, had slipped into a black hole.
And if his brother thought he died in the crumpled Fiat, Steve's not sure he was wrong. It's why he calls his long, work in progress 2016 Air Max 90 Releases
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A neuropsychologist said the brain processes conversations differently from music and literature. That may be why Steve can reference Nietzsche or, in the middle of a conversation, chant lyrics from the punk band Black Flag.
His condo in Simi was purchased through the approximately $250,000 settlement from his accident.
"The psychologist from rehab explained that aside from the damage to my brain, my subconscious mind is afraid of the past," he said. "It's got a blanket block or a permanent block on the past."
He didn't think of his 16 year old son who had been playing driveway basketball until he left for a ride with a friend. Instead, the now retired Los Angeles police officer remembers thinking it Air Max 90 Mens Sale
In the accident, the rolling car forced Steve's head and shoulder against the ground, Nike Air Max 90 Digi Camo his brain sloshed against the cranium, damaging the frontal lobe and his memories.
He receives what amounts to a living allowance from his brother and sister in law, who control his finances.
"What I miss is being who I was going to be," he said from the easy chair of a condo decorated with chalkboards, scraps of notes and a poster that says "Courage." "This is not anything near the life I would have. Right now I would be a scientist. I would be a father. I would be a grandfather."
In nearly 30 years of working with brain injuries, speech pathologist Nancy Porcella has worked with one person who had severe memory loss but retained other abilities, lived independently and held down a job.
The basket is still there but many of the reminders, to do lists and schedules are also filed in the iPhone that functions as sort of a trail of bread crumbs to guide him through the day.
"I asked him what they were and he said his thoughts," said Martin, regional manager of People Creating Success, a group that helps Steve live independently.
When Tammy Martin first visited Steve's home, she saw a basket overflowing with scraps of paper.
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