My Brother’s Keeper

brother keeper

January 30th, 2016

0430

I opened my eyes, reached over for my phone and pressed the home button…430am… I put my phone back on the nightstand and closed my eyes. Today is going to be a long day. I am going to see my brother in Canada. I’m a bit scared, but after a few weeks its time to face the music. I opened my eyes again and I stare at the ceiling and say aloud “I can do this.” I push the covers off and sit up slowly. I swing my legs over the bed and plant my feet firmly on the floor. He will never know how this feels again, I thought. As this thought comes to my mind, warm tears start flowing from my eyes. I quickly wipe my tears from my face with my t-shirt and repeat in my mind, I have to be strong. I stand without assistance and make my way to the washroom. It’s time to sing the song and memorize the lyrics.

1205pm

It’s official, I have arrived in this small Canadian town or shall I say village. Everything is shut down, stores are closed, scattered people walking around with their heads down or staring blankly ahead. The weather is about 35 degrees and no sun, cold and overcast. This truly looks like a scene from The Walking Dead. Shit. This is the place where my brother getting his care from. I call for a cab and I stand on the corner with my hands in my pocket waiting a whole 3.5 minutes for my cab to pull up. I get in and tell the driver of my location. He looks at me and nods. Sitting in the cab that smells of curry, old cigarette smoke and a mild stench of body odor, I look at the run down dilapidated buildings and think, its 2016, people still live like this? We are literally a few miles from the U.S. border and things are so completely different. We are truly world’s apart. After a few minutes, we pull up to the hospital and I begin to carefully count my money and pay the driver, I know I am supposed to get $6 dollars back but he just handed me 3 coins. I sat there for a few seconds bewildered and decided to get a good look at the coins before going off! After careful inspection, I see each coin is worth $2. I gathered my belongings and said to my driver, “Have a good day sir and thank you” and he nods at me with no eye contact and shortly after I get out and closed the door, he drives off.

I took a good look at the building took a deep breath and sighed. I picked up my things and walked through the sliding door. I look around and I can’t figure out where to get to the 5th floor. I asked someone that looked like an employee and asked where can I find the neurosurgery floor and she pointed to the elevators and told me the 5th floor. I thanked her and walked down the hall to the elevator bank and I pressed the top button and I waited. This is it, I thought. I am finally here. I hope he isn’t mad that it took me this long to come see him. Finally, the doors open up and I get in and drag my luggage behind me. I press 5 and when I arrive to the floor, I begin to pay attention to the room numbers. 500A, 501A…the hallways are brown and old. Walls are brown, the floor is dark tan and the doors are brown. I walk past a soiled linen basket that is beige but with the stains, its pretty much brown now. Yep, The Walking Dead, I thought. I look up. 505A/505B, 506A…I take a few more steps and I stand before 508A. I knock on the door and I hear “Come in!” I grab the handle of the brown door and turn it and push the door slowly. I have a pit feeling in my gut and I begin to walk slowly into the room. I closed the door behind me and I turn around to see more light brown curtains, I walk over and slowly pulled the curtain back and when I look up I am greeted by the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

“Vanessa!” He said enthusiastically. And in that very second, all of my fears and my anxiety dissipated. My brother is ok. “Hey you!” I reply back to him. I dropped my stuff and walked over to him sitting in his wheelchair and warmly embraced my other half.

 

-V.

In A Blink Of An Eye

man in door

I stare blankly at the ceiling, just blinking. It feels like I am having an out of body experience. A few moments ago, the phone rang, and I got the worse news of my life. I shouldn’t have answered the phone. A few minutes ago, I was making plans with my coworkers to hit up a local sushi restaurant. I had sweet chili edamame and spicy tuna roll with a dab of wasabi on top on the brain and it was this close to being brought to fruition. Then the dreaded phone rang.

“Mrs. Daniels?”

“Yes, this is she”

“This is Dr. Lau from the county hospital, I am afraid to inform you but your child has been in a major accident, she is currently in the pre-op and we need your consent to perform surgery, she has major internal bleeding around her heart which is causing pressure and is going into cardiac arrest off and on…Mrs. Daniels? Are you there?”

I held the phone and I am not sure how I did. I was searching for air. Looking for that breath that will allow me to speak. This can’t be happening. No, this is a joke.

“Ok, you guys got me. Ha Ha. This has gone too far now.”

“Excuse me? Mrs. Daniels, this is not a joke. How long before you get to the hospital. This is an emergency. Is there someone else who can make decisions on your behalf? I am very sorry, but we will do our best to help your daughter….”

I can’t believe what I was hearing. The man on the other line continued to talk but I couldn’t make what else he was saying. At this very moment, I feel everything around me slow down, like a scene straight out of the movies. People are walking up to my desk asking me questions about the recent data, my iPhone is buzzing with texts messages about finalizing lunch plans

(Girl! You ready to leave?! I’m starving!)

…Another message from a friend who is venting on his failing relationship with his partner

(I don’t know what else to tell her? I don’t see how her not wanting to have kids is ok? That’s not what we agreed on! She knows I want children! Why is she so selfish!!! I cant! What should I do? I love her… 😦 )

I can’t breath. Now, I sit in this chair and I am not sure when I dropped the phone. But I hear the doctor yelling my name in the faint background. My only child is hanging on for dear life. Since my husband passed six months ago, I have been barely making it and she has been my rock. I can’t lose her too.

I can’t breath.

I am not sure when I started yelling. I am not sure when I slipped my chair to the floor. I don’t remember it happening. I hear muffled voices all around me. Someone is saying my name repeatedly. I hear it, but I can’t find my voice to speak.

“I’m ok.” I whisper.

Why don’t they hear me?

“She is slipping out of consciousness! Someone grab an AED! Who is calling 911?”

Why are they yelling? I said I’m ok. No one can seem to hear me. Forget it. I am tired of fighting. I’m so tired. I’ll just close my eyes and envision Marcus. He is smiling at me. Home. I’ll just go home to my husband. He always knows what to do.

 

-V.