Saturday, January 12, 2008

if i never see spurting blood again, it'll be too soon

My brother's 937 miles away and on his way to the emergency room. Again.

After so many re-routing of blood vessels throughout his young life, the venous pressures in his body are all out of whack. You know, how most of our heart chambers pump with the right amount of pressure so that there isn't extra blood backing up in any one place? His are still a little off. So sometimes, if he's been standing too long or taking too hot of a shower or if the wind blows the wrong way or if the cable goes out, a vein in his left leg will spontaneously burst, spurting blood everywhere. And I don't use the word "spurt" lightly. When he calmly called to say he was going to the ER, he said his roommate, Mark, was fascinated by the blood. "He's never seen it come out like that before."

Unfortunately, this isn't the first time it's happened. In fact it's the latest of several. But every time is just as scary. This is what I wrote on July 12, 2006:

at about 9 a.m. tuesday, my brother (who is home on college break but taking summer classes) was screaming for me to help him. a vein near his left shin had burst and he'd soaked through an entire towel before he could wrangle a bandage on there tight enough to hold it back. of course i was in so deep an exhaustion that i didn't even hear him. finally he limped into my room to tell me to make sure the blood and bleach were completely washed out of the bathtub and went to class...

...after i got to work, i tried calling my mother to ask about the family, and got no answer. however, she called me shortly thereafter from the emergency room, where she had to rush my brother after she got home from work. it seems when she went to check his bandage, the blood started gushing out -- this is actually what she said, as she showed me her pinkie finger to demonstrate the thickness of the stream-- "like a watergun" and she was unable to stop it. my mother is a nurse.


Most people his age are worried about what club they're going to at this time on a Saturday night. Life is just so unfair.

16 comments:

lilalia said...

Your brother sounds amazing. I send you and your family, and him most especially, healing thoughts. Please let us know how he is doing.

Aimless Wanderer said...

That's crazy!!! I've never heard of that happening before. He must be some guy to take it all so calmly.
I'm with Lilalia in sending him healing thoughts!!!

WORDofRYE said...

I can't imagine witnessing something like that, and I definitely can't imagine going through it myself! Your brother is a very strong person!

My younger brother has been in and out of surgeries and the hospital as well recently for problems usually associated with people four times his age. So I understand the feeling that life can be unfair.

My sympathies are with you all.

cadiz12 said...

thanks, guys, for the good vibes. i tend to freak out a little when it comes to him.

my bro called about two hours after he said he was going to the emergency room and said they got the bleeding to stop. they put gunpowder on the site of the bleeding. now he'll just have to keep it elevated and wrapped up and we just have to hope that it doesn't happen again anytime soon.

SupaCoo said...

Yikes, that is horrible. Poor guy!

Teej said...

Oh my, Cadiz, how scary. I'm so relieved to see that he's doing OK now. Is this something that is going to continue happening periodically? Do they keep trying to fine-tune things to prevent it?

Michelle said...

Gawd what a shame. That just makes you realise how lucky you are to have your health. Hope they can find some sort of solution to it. Best wishes to him =)

cadiz12 said...

yeah, it's so unpredictable what'll happen. even the doctors have little idea what his body will do.

i sat down once to try and write up exactly what he's got going on, but it was long and there were so many twists and turns. basically because he was born with his heart on the opposite side and without a left ventricle, they've done several dozen procedures to make sure that his body will pump blood properly. however, much like the man himself, it totally has a mind of its own, and even though they may provide a vessel to carry the burden of the flow, sometimes it'll make its own path through smaller, less-able vessels, which can't take the load and sometimes burst; with so much pressure that it spurts out.

i guess they'll always be trying to fine-tune his system; they did a surgery earlier b/c there was too much blood pooling in the liver and damaging it and now it seems a little too much hangs out at a time in that left leg.

the great thing is that he's never let this stuff keep him from living his life. we're all hoping it strikes the right balance very soon so he doesn't have to worry about it so much.

Lia said...

I hope your brother is doing better. From everything you've said, your brother is an incredible person.

jinius said...

my thoughts are with you and your family. your brother sounds like quite the fighter and he's lucky to have such a strong and supportive sister.

and sometimes it helps to just blog about these things. it's like free therapy and your readers are free therapists!

Lisa said...

"the great thing is that he's never let this stuff keep him from living his life."

That's strength. I have such admiration and respect for that. And yes, life is unfair. But he's incredibly lucky with his family. Keeping you guys in my thoughts.

Librarian Girl said...

Your brother and your family sound like amazing people. I am thinking about you, all of you.

Anonymous said...

Scary stuff.

Thing about blood is that a little seems like a lot. I used to give blood regularly and you can lose a pint without too much to worry about.

Every time I cut myself a few drops of blood seems like a gallon, but you gotta remember that even arterial spurting from a wound isn't as much as it looks like. A cool head in these matters is what is most needed and it sounds like your brother knows what to do.

weebug said...

i am keeping you and your brother in my thoughts. how scary for all concerned. i agree, sometimes life is unfair, and there is no rhyme nor reason to it.

Sphincter said...

Gaaahhhhh! That's horrible! Hope he gets straightened out ASAP!

Beenzzz said...

That is horrible. You and your brother are very strong people, indeed!