Taking an unexpected trip to our hometown. Incomplete
|It looks like my husband and I are taking a trip.We did this before, last year. That was a true vacation, hanging out with friends and doing lots of nothing. Another vacation wasn’t in the cards for this year, but a text I received from my sister-in-law may change that.|
My brother, she said, underwent surgery for a brain bleed. It was the result of a fall he took on July 5th, but delayed affects are not unusual. SIL said he should be getting out that day. She sent the texts on Saturday, and my brother JG followed up with an email to all of us on Monday. He gave details and had excellent treatment, but write he has a “large, long scar of stitches on my right skull that is quite ugly and a bit scary.”
He’s not the only one who’s scared. He has other concerns with his health—sleep apnea and diabetes—but those are known and expected. A bleeding brain and surgery are not, not for me. My brother isn’t supposed to have trips to the emergency room or unplanned surgeries. He’s definitely not allowed to have blood clots and brain bleeds. I haven’t given any permission for such occurrences, and refuse to start now.
I recognize, though I don’t want to, he is aging. It had been an abstract before, birthdays marked by greeting cards and well wishes. He would take a long time unwrapping his gifts, contemplating the structure of the present, the quantity of tape, and the type of paper used. We would sit there, growing increasingly frustrated by the production he made, and wind up threatening him if he didn’t open it right now.
Two other family members, my mother-in-law and a brother-in-law, have fallen and injured themselves this summer. They and JG are all within five years of one another in age. The other two, family by marriage, did not strike deep in m6 heart. It’s awful, and I worry about them, but their health has been an ongoing concern for decades.
JG is different. He was there when I was born. He created hand-made birthday cards for me, and taught me to play backgammon. On my ninth birthday, he gave me an opal necklace. He tried teaching me to drive.
Because of this blood clot, JG and I have an altered reality. There may be another blood clot someday, another trip to the emergency room for sudden illness. He may fall again, precipitating more surgery.
One day it may be me.
My brother-in-law, a few months back, fell and could not get up. He was trapped for twenty hours, until the Meals On Wheels driver found his previous delivery outside, and checked on him. My BIL moved out of his house, and it is on the market. He’s happy I’m his new home, and safer as well.
Additionally, my mother-in-law fell a few weeks ago. She hit a wall, which resulted in injury to her shoulders, back, hips, and knees. It took one trip to the emergency room before she began investigating retirement communities.
My brother’s recent surgery, all because of a fall, woke me up. This blood clot could have been fatal, if my sister-in-law hadn’t insisted he go to the emergency room. I now have been reminded that death comes for us all. It forced me to see that my brother, brother-in-law, and mother-in-law are within five years of each other’s age. JG is at risk.
I am frightened. Who is next? JG is the oldest, but not the first of us to die. My oldest sister passed five years ago, from Alzheimer’s disease. It was beyond my control, as all our health problems are. I had no vote in what happened to her, nor do I have a say in what happens to any of us.
My husband proposed a trip home, to see my brother and sister, and a few friends. Most times I see them, it’s an event that brings us together, such as a graduation. Most recently, it was our Mum’s funeral.
I’m going back. It isn’t home anymore—I’ve been gone for twenty-eight years—but part of my heart lives there. I refuse to sit around waiting for life to come to me. I’m grabbing this chance to leave my usual life and see the people I love. I don’t want to squander the time I have left.