On November 7th of 2000 my son was driving to work in Prescott, Arizona in his old VW van. A pickup truck smashed into the front of the van and my son was ejected through the windshield and into a coma.
He has been locked-in for some years now after having first nearly died in a nursing home in Phoenix and then flown by hospital jet to Kingston, New York to the only facility that would accept him in his state. We live 100 miles north of Kingston and I have a degenerative disc disease, bone spurs, arthritis, herniated discs and crushed vertebrae.
When Jon was first brought up I would visit him every other day. I’d take my pain meds, drop my wife off at her office in Albany and then drive on to Kingston and stay with Jon for a few hours before taking more pain meds and driving home.
I kept this up until between the pain and the drowsiness from the meds I had to cut back to weekly visits and then every few weeks. The pain got worse, Jon got worse. I would dose up, drive as far as I could until I had to pull over and walk off the pain, drive the rest of the way down to Kingston and then stay with Jon trying to get him to respond to my voice or touch.
After a few hours where he would occasionally look right at me I’d have to take more meds and drive home as far as the pain would allow and then I would pull over and cry for a while. On bad days Jon and I would cry together.
To deal with his pain and mine I began coming home and going straight to the studio and try to make something out of it all. “Jon’s Bad Day” is one of the results. I have approximately 30 masks relating to Jon and our pain.
This art is a courtesy of PainExhibit.org, an online educational, visual arts exhibit from artists with chronic pain who use art to express some facet of the pain experience.
The Pain Exhibit’s mission is to educate healthcare providers and the public about chronic pain through art, and to give voice to the many who suffer in silence.
Pain Exhibit recently launched its new Spanish language website at PainExhibit.org/es.