Where’ve you been?
I don’t talk about my family much cuz, well, I’m 40 years old. My focus is more on my immediate family; Taylor, the kid, our pets. I love my family and am very close to both my parents and my brothers but I probably see them all once a month or so. We’re busy, we live separate lives, we’re all grown ups with families of our own.
Except my middle brother. He’s… a hot mess. Has been for a long time. He’s 37, still lives with my parents and is an alcoholic. He’s functioning, has had the same job for 18 years. But he’s still an alcoholic and the last few years has gotten… bad.
You know when you see movies or hear warning stories that seem too unbelievable to be real? That’s my brother. He drinks a liter of booze a day. He has alcoholic hepatitis. He has pancreatitis. He shakes in the morning before he’s had his booze. He drinks at work. (Of course, so do all the guys. Not excusing him, just sayin’… bad environment) He’s 6 foot 2 and has always been lanky and thin. Recently? He’s emaciated.
A bit over a week ago my mom went to wake him up for work cuz he wasn’t getting up and he was unresponsive. She called 911. He got taken to the hospital. Turns out his blood alcohol level was .54. He should have died from that alone.
Thank gods, he did not.
He’s been in the hospital ever since. First few days he was sobering up. He was as lucid as someone that messed up can be, kind of violent, kind of pissed off. It takes a few days to get rid of that much alcohol. By the fourth day, he started to detox.
Do you know that alcohol detox is really the only one that can kill you? That your body becomes so shocked and messed up that you can DIE, just from the symptoms of withdrawal?
On top of his health issues, he’s malnourished. He weighs 124 pounds. The withdrawal made his heart rate and blood pressure climb so high they thought he was going to have a heart attack or a stroke. So they had to sedate him. The sedation causes repressed respiration. He couldn’t breathe, wasn’t getting enough oxygen. A week in the hospital and he ends up in ICU, with a breathing tube and a feeding tube and a few IVs and a heart monitor and listed as being in critical condition.
The nurse who took care of him on Wednesday said yesterday that she expected to come back to work yesterday and find him dead. No one thought he was going to make it; not the nurses, not the doctor. He has gotten lucky. Yesterday they took out the breathing tube. He drank coffee. Sat up. Talked. Crazy talk, but it was talking when two days before he looked like a breathing skeleton.
He has a long, hard road to travel to wellness. He cannot walk right now. Between the malnourishment and being in bed for 10 days, his muscles are not capable of supporting him. He’s got a lot of hard work in his future.
Pray god no more booze.
But this is not all.
Wednesday night we found out Paul was in bad condition but that we could finally go see him. (they were discouraging it at first because he was so agitated) At three in the morning we found out one of our best friends died on Sunday and the funeral was 3 hours away on Thursday. At five in the morning we found out my OTHER brother was in jail for having beat up the guy his wife is cheating on him with. At nine on Thursday morning we found out Paul was moved to critical condition. Thursday was not a good day.
Between the hospital, bailing the idiot out of jail, more hospital and worrying about Taylor taking the bike up north for the funeral and if he’d be safe, being so emotional and running on only a few hours sleep… It sucked. It really fucking sucked.
One thing I will say, however. My family? Is close. We may not see each other every day but there is a bond between us all forged from love so strong it’s nearly visible, nearly a tangible thing you can see and feel in the room. I will never, EVER again let a hospital tell me I cannot see a family member, that it would be better for us to stay away for now. ONE day with his family around him and Paul was doing better.
Can you blame him? How would you feel, a family that close, lying in the hospital half dead and no one comes? You wait, you wait and no one fucking comes? Never again. Love heals. Faith heals. Strength transfers from one person to the next, fills up the person who needs it.
He’s not totally out of the woods yet and he’s got a lot of hard, painful work in front of him but never again will we be told he can do it without us. Ever.
So that, in a nutshell, was my week. If I’ve ignored comments, emails or neglected some work stuff, I apologize. I shall get to everything I missed on Monday. I swear it.
Today, I slept in. Caught up on the sleep I’d missed most of the week. Last night we had amazing, life affirming sex. This morning? Cuddles and love words and so much relief, all around. Today, I shall clean a bit – my house is wrecked. And I shall head to the hospital again, to share my love and strength. And tomorrow? Is the bike blessing.
“ Never ride faster than your guardian angel can fly.”