Saturday, July 15, 2006

he knows just how to handle it

on friday i managed to wrangle my way in on my brother's doctor appointment "with the three-headed monster": his cardiologist, his longtime surgeon and the pacemaker specialist. he absolutely didn't want my mother to go, but i convinced him that he might want to reconsider facing off against those people without some kind of moral support.

yeah, so as soon as we got to the waiting room and partook in the usual pleasantries with the nurses and staff, they called him in. and he told me to park my ass in the waiting room.

so i had trekked all the way to the faraway hospital just to enjoy the likes of 'phil of the future,' 'timon and pumbaa' and seven THOUSAND commercials for the new disney channel movie about some girl whose diary gets her in trouble, in the children's waiting room. sorry Ian McEwan, your flowery, turn-of-the-century turn of phrase doesn't stand a chance with that kind of nonstop pop going on about six feet away. (those cheetah girls have got some moves.) it's a shame we had to go just as 'that's so raven' was starting; i've heard good things about that one.

however, the best entertainment during those three hours was the nonstop parade of little kids. there were chubby ones, hyper ones, sleepy ones, drooly ones. bored big brothers, snotty sissies and, of course, the wanderers. i began to realize how comfortable i have become in those waiting room situations. i grew up frequenting those joints. and i started to see a little bit of me and my brother in each of those kids; you can tell the ones who've been around that block a couple times already. they wait patiently through the paperwork. they'll share turns at the little ship-steering wheel mounted on the wall or bust out their coloring books and crayons. and you can always pick out the patients by their resigned lack of activity and abnormal attachment to a parent. everybody knows the score. they know that resistance just makes the whole thing harder for all.

it's crazy that something like a visit to a cardiac surgeon could become routine, but i think a lot of it has to do with my brother and his attitude toward life. basically, he takes shit as it comes and makes the most of it. he doesn't waste time secondguessing, feeling too guilty or wondering what could have been, because he's going to live his life, dammit, and no one is going to make him do anything he doesn't want to do. i sincerely believe that spirit is what has kept him kicking so long. and i hate to admit it, but if roles were reversed, i probably would have given up and succumbed in round one.

when he came out of the consult room, i carried the white box with the telephone hookup for his pacemaker. with it, he can put the little bracelets on and plug into any phone, anywhere, and they can get a reading on how the thing is working for him. he nonchalantly says that he told them he didn't have time for a chest x-ray, he'd get it later. and most likely there will be two surgeries before he goes back to school in august; one to repair the vessels in his leg and reroute them to bigger ones that can handle the load, and the other to adjust the pacemaker placement, which his body has decided looks better protruding out from his chest in a big bump.

at that news, i started showing the beginning quivers of freaking out. he cut me off at the pass very matter-of-factly with a 'let's get out of here, i'm hungry,' then he took me out to a fabulous sushi lunch.

i'm not sure what the age is when the lines between big sibling vs. little sibling get blurry, but i'm pretty sure we're past it.

8 comments:

Radioactive Jam said...

Seems like your brother had found - or more likely, developed - the strength and perspective he needs to stay on top of burdens that could easily crush an unprepared person. That's pretty cool.

And - "wanderers?" Are these kids in a dreamy fog, or explorers, or...?

*~mad munky~* said...

:o)

Ale said...

holy crap.......

(btw i'm with you on the whole droping of at round one)

Guyana-Gyal said...

Your brother is definitely hero material.

Is he much younger than you, Cadiz?

I have such fear of illness that just hearing the work 'sick' makes me tremble.

R2K said...

: )

cadiz12 said...

yeah, it didn't take him long to get that attitude. he's four years younger than i am. but you know, to me, he'll always be about six years old, no matter how much facial hair he has.

the wanderers seemed to just walk off in any direction with no provocation. well, usually in search of some kind of toy. their siblings or parents had to run after them. that was the most interesting. watching how long it'd take them to realize it and then how they reacted. (we were in a confined space, so they weren't in any danger).

piu piu said...

he sounds like a cool guy..

Lia said...

I think God gives people the strength they need to deal with whatever comes in their lives, so that there is no way to compare you and your brother. If it happened to you, it's not "I would drop out" - you'd have become a different person, and you'd have grown from the experience.

Still, he sounds like a pretty incredible person.