As a 12-year-old, Patrick Jones was on a swing when its chain broke; he fell down, head-first, and broke his neck. Decades and seven additional concussions later, cumulative damage has left the Scotsman with a traumatic brain injury.
"Once you have one, you're more likely to have another," he says. "A subsequent, lighter concussion can cause more damage than the initial injury."
Jones experiences chronic vertigo, fatigue and difficulties with attention deficit. He explains his condition as an inability to tune into one television channel; instead, he receives all the signals at once.
To avoid too much brain stimuli, Jones lives a bit like a hermit in Green Mountain Falls with his wife and 3- and 5-year-old daughters. His desire to keep things simple extends to his dress; he wears a kilt because it is "the most practical, comfortable garment a man can wear."
Yet Jones also creates detailed, fine art canvas prints fusing photography and poetry. Later this month, he'll debut his "photographic poetry" at the Brain Injury Association of Colorado's State Art Show in Vail.
His artwork attempts to capture "the spirit of the "now'"; since he lives with short-term memory loss, Jones has no choice but to be solely in the present at all times.
"I have the time and space to discover and play with whatever God's trying to bludgeon into my brain at this moment," he says.
Still, for a husband, father and artist, some days are harder than others.
"It's hard to be around my daughter because of the toddler energy," Jones says. "I usually remember the concept of, OK they're toddlers. But on hard days, I have no idea."
He feels he has "maximized therapy from the medical world," so he has turned to sadhana therapy, a contemporary alternative method that mixes yoga, chiropractic care, and deep-tissue massage, or Rolfing.
"It's like living in a Category 5 hurricane," he says. "But with therapy, it's a Category 4.5."
Photo by Jon Kelley
Brain Injury Association of Colorado's State Art Show, featuring Patrick Jones
Vail Marriott Mountain Resort and Spa, Vail
Thursday, Sept. 28, 6:30-8:30 p.m.