Tuesday, July 29, 2008

For Your Viewing Pleasure

I have spent July studying for finals, worrying about my brother, and preparing my grad school application. Last week I took some time to enjoy the fair with my sister and her kids.

Mercury polishes his bouldering skills on a tractor. I was so proud, he actually didn't care that he got dirty.

Dolly, more mountain goat than monkey, amazes her audience on the climbing wall. Could this be the beginning of her professional rock-climbing career?

Blaze tackles an obstacle closer to his size. He tried so hard to follow his brother, but his arms just weren't long enough. He'll have to settle with being one of the world's cutest children.

Not to be outdone, Baby Bunny conquers the lawn mower.

Friday, July 18, 2008


Tuesday night I took a final exam, grabbed some cards and ate a slab of cheesecake, then rode to Indianapolis. I got about three hours of sleep and then a large chunk of my family took my brother to the medical center. We were there for 15 hours. His surgery took twice as long as they thought it would, in fact, they weren't able to start tumor removal until four hours after the initial incision. A nurse came through the waiting room every 90 minutes to update families on their loved one's condition. I tried to study for my next final, but gave up after a few hours and bought a terrible $5 novel from the gift shop to pass the time. The gift shop sold maybe 50 different books, half were Insipid Christian Inspirational and a third were Crappy Romances. The rest were Pieces of Shit that made Midnight Warrior seem like a jewel in a dung heap. That's bad. Anyway, after a seemingly interminable wait we finally got to see him in the ICU. He had about five tubes coming out of him and was retaining water. I was enormously relieved to see him conscious and talking, but I didn't know quite what to say so I showed him cards and made fun of him. We drove home that night, and I got a few hours of sleep. I job shadowed at a hospital and took my final right afterwards, all while the worst headache I've had in a year ate my brain.

He'll be at the medical center for at least a week. His treatment is still being decided. If it's one type of cancer he'll get chemo. If it's the other the doctors will cross their fingers and throw pennies in a wishing well. The only thing for certain is he'll never have full use of his right leg again. If he's lucky he'll be able to use a cane in a year instead of crutches.

Right now I would settle for him being cancer-free and alive.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

No No No No NO!

Nearly everyone has to experience the death of a parent. I watched my mother's body waste away over the course of months. I watched her take her last breath. I watched the casket lid close over her empty vessel. For years I knew I would outlive her. It is still painful, but I can accept that this is how it has to be.

My brother has been in pain for a year, he was misdiagnosed with herniated disks and received treatments that would not assuage the agony, that would not save his life. A year ago he carried 220 pounds on his handsome six-foot frame with barely a scrap of fat on him, and over thirty pounds has slipped away. In high school he held the bench-press record for non-football players, and even more impressively he was the fastest soccer player in the whole city. A year ago he could still pick me up over his head as if I weighed nothing.

Now we know he has bone cancer. An insidious disease is wrecking his very foundation. I can't accept this.

Of my five siblings, I shared the most active relationship with him. We climbed trees, skated on the pond, hiked in the woods, caught crawdads in the creek, biked through the stripper pits, rollerbladed through downtown, played flashlight tag on the farm. He made life an adventure. No one knows what long-term effects the treatments could have on his body. No one knows if there will even be a long-term. I can't accept this.

There aren't many people I love as much as I love him. Part of me died with my mother. I can't face losing him or any more of me. I can't.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This Isn't Supposed to Happen

My brother has bone cancer. That is not cool.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Fuck It to Hell

It occurs to me, after this fucktastic day, that law enforcers are the biggest hypocrites of any profession. One could argue that priests fondling children sure are high on the list, or physicians that self-medicate and smoke or what-have-you. But lawmen, it's the blind clusterfucking the blind. I can't fathom that there is one single cop that has never broken the law. Technically I could fathom a life-long coma victim being deputized, but that's beside the point.