Today's Featured Biography
It has been a very long, painful, wearying road to now.
Immediately after graduation my folks and I moved to Virginia Beach, VA, and I’ve lived in Virginia ever since. It was NOT a good time for me to get uprooted again and have to learn how to get around and get along in a new place. Virginia has not, in my estimation, been terribly good to me. Moving here seems to have indelibly marked the point in time at which things in my life just started going wrong, and my "destiny" (whatever it may once have been) fled into hiding and obscurity from me. My 20’s and 30’s went by in a lonely blur. I’ve done all sorts of jobs – some technical, some really physical and blue-collar, some in-between. My best years were spent as a cab driver in VA Beach from about 1996 to 2003. I never married (just never found the right gal, or she never found me – not sure which), and now because of my present condition I don’t think it likely I ever will. I probably only have a couple years left to me anyway.
It was after 2000 that things really began to change in ways that just haven’t really added up to anything good. I’ve faced nearly certain death six or seven times now, and I don’t have any earthly idea why I’m still here. I certainly haven’t grown as a person, gained any particular insight, found any sort of faith that comforts or fountain of internal strength and fortitude that lets me overcome, adapt, or find peace and sufficient reason for daily suffering. All I know is that I’m tougher than I ever thought I needed to be, that I can take more torturing pain and agony than I ever thought possible for a person to endure, and that I for whatever reason stubbornly refuse to die. If I had had my druthers, I’d have died on the operating table back in 2008 rather than having to endure survival – because survival in and of itself is a mighty empty, hollow existence, and that is exactly what my continued living, day by day, has become.
Below is a timeline of salient events:
2000 – Robbed at gunpoint by cab customer
2001 – Mother died just before 9-11
2003 – Stabbed and beaten nearly to death by cab customer. Most of the bones of
my face were broken (they have since healed satisfactorily enough) and
I lost a great deal of blood. No more driving cabs.
Received Pell Grant and Nat’l Science Foundation scholarship to enroll in ECPI
College of Technology and complete my degree in Network Security.
2005 – Graduated Summa Cum Laude from ECPI and began IT work for the Navy/Marine Corps Intranet (NMCI) contract in Norfolk, VA.
2006 – Suddenly and from nowhere began to suffer from very severe rheumatoid
arthritis. Over the next two years this would essentially destroy most of
my joints (knees, ankles, hip, shoulders, wrists, etc.). I have become rather
disabled in a general sense (can still walk, but barely, etc.) and cannot do any
other work than sedentary, IT – type jobs. This is excruciatingly painful
and progressive. There are no very good treatments for it; it will not get
better, and only gets worse with time.
2008 – Started a brand-new job in Information Assurance/Network Security (my actual field) with the Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC), and on the very second day of the job I was hospitalized for several crucial months from complications due to treatment of the RA (arthritis). Due to the RA medications I developed a “pleural
effusion”, or a sac of fluid 2.5 liters in between my left lung and my heart.
This, unbeknownst to me at the time, collapsed my left lung and gave me a massive heart attack, which I barely survived. In draining the sac, hospital personnel introduced a life-threatening “MRSA” infection, which then had to be treated with a dangerous antibiotic called Vancomycin. The Vancomycin treatment caused a necrotic shock reaction to my body called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, which caused all of my skin to die and fall off more-or-less at the same time (it has since grown back more-or-less satisfactorily, too) – this was scary, gross, and nearly did me in. I received a triple bypass to the heart, and a week after being discharged from the heart hospital I nearly died (again) from congestive heart failure. It took the heart hospital another 3 weeks to stabilize me properly. Recovering from this set of sudden issues really took its toll on me over the next 18 months. Being out of work for so long at a brand new job left me at a grave disadvantage conceptually and politically with the command and with my coworkers and supervisors. It was nearly impossible to get access to good projects and responsibilities that would have helped me grow in my new career after this.
2011 – Again, from complications due to treatment of the RA I got a perforated
peptic (stomach) ulcer which (again) placed me mere hours from death. I was
bleeding and leaking stomach acid, air, and other materials directly into my
chest cavity. It apparently wouldn’t have taken the acid much longer to eat
through my aorta, which would have killed me instantly. It was the most outrageous pain I’ve ever felt or suffered, and it must be what being “gut shot” feels like. I was immediately wheeled into surgery, and it took months to heal and recover from this. I really started to change after this surgery, and my emotional and mental outlook truly began to suffer.
I now know that I began to suffer from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, due to all of the things that had happened to me over so few years. My fears, anxiety and debilitating depression drastically, but subtly, affected my relationships with my roommate, my father, and at work. Also, having so few friends and such a limited “support network” left me with essentially nobody to talk to or to do anything with anymore. I started to feel that God, the Universe, and Everything really seemed to want me dead, and to suffer greatly before it eventually killed me. I still feel like this, though I’m more aware of it, and am being counseled about it. I had a PTSD episode in the fall, during which I got a DUI and lost my job, and I’ve been unemployed ever since – though not from lack of trying to get another suitable position. It just seems that time and again when I come hobbling in for an interview I’ll see the same look on an employer’s face that tells me they’re not going to hire me – before they’ve even spoken to me. I’ve gotten used to this, but it’s forced me to deplete my savings, sell most everything I ever owned, and apply for SSI (disability), and other forms of aid. I hope they come through soon.
2012 – I now have a full-length "zipper" down the front of my "human suit" (as well as various healed holes and cuts from tubes and things) to remind me daily of what has happened to me. I walk (barely) with a cane (but it doesn't look so cool on me like it does for "Doctor House" on TV). Still looking for work, relief, and the Reason for my continued existence. I’m not seeing resolution to any of the above. If somebody thinks they know what God’s plan is for me, then I’m certainly open to hear it, ‘cause I sure can’t figure out what it is. I don't know what I'm good for anymore. My sense of self-worth and self-confidence have completely fled quite some time ago. What should have been the best years of my life have been ripped from me, as have all the best things about me that used to make me feel like a man. I can't do any of the activities I used to enjoy when I was healthy, and my health continues to decline. From what I gather, hopefully I won't have to suffer much longer, as people with my combination of issues tend not to live much more than two to three years. That would be fine with me. Heck, if I didn't wake up tomorrow morning it would be doubly fine with me.
Well, here's to all the things that have happened to me NEVER happening to you.
Cheers. Be well.
Kevin N. Kaskey -- Aug 2012
412 Draper Dr.
Norfolk, VA 23505
VIEW ALL BIOGRAPHIES