My brother was always sick with earaches, sore throats and we both shared an atrocious case of the chicken pox together along with the rest of the neighborhood kids. Thank heavens there wasn’t a shortage of oatmeal for our baths and calamine lotion or our suffering would have been even more unbearable.
Mom would tell the story of when the adoption caseworker brought brother home for the first time. She said he didn’t have very good foster parents, his clothes were filthy, he had a bad cold along with a runny nose and when she gave him the first diaper change he had a small opening on the end of his spine.
If this wasn’t enough, as brother got older he seemed to have the misfortune of having mishaps, so you never knew what to expect.
I remember the uproar one late evening when brother wouldn’t stop crying. First mom went in to comfort him, then dad. He kept telling them he had a blue airplane pilot in his nose. They thought he had a good imagination and told him to go to sleep. When that didn’t work dad squeezed the bridge of his nose to prove there was nothing wrong. Brother let out a painful scream!
Immediately a flashlight was procured, and the search was initiated. A red airplane pilot that had fallen out of one of his toy planes and was wedged deeply within his nasal cavity. Brother’s screams were ear piercing as I looked on in horror! Mom held his head securely and dad used the tweezers to maneuver the obstruction. They got it, as we all sighed in relief and all was well for a short while.
Dad put up our new swing set in the backyard. It was the kind that had the two-seated metal bench. Brother got to close while it was in use and bam, right in the head! I stayed at the neighbor’s while he had his head examined and stitched.
Shortly after this incident, the neighbor took down her large antenna that was secured to her house and it was laying in her backyard awaiting disposal. Brother planted his face in it and ran it through his chin. This time the parents left a note on the door, “had to take your brother to the emergency room again, stay with the neighbor until we get home”!
This had become my life as my brother was always getting bonked, stuck, or cut!
The one thing that left an indelible mark on me was when brother would hemorrhage from his nose.
He didn’t need to bump it for it to start bleeding, it would just let loose. Mom and dad would keep a good eye on him during the night just to make sure he was OK because they were so afraid he may choke and die in his sleep if it started up.
One early evening after dinner mom, myself and Aunt June were sitting at the kitchen table. Now, Aunt June was a big lady. So big in fact on a previous visit she took the arms off a wooden kitchen chair when she sat in it.
Brother rounds the corner with his hand cupped under his nose telling mom he was having another nose bleed. Mom springs into action and grabs a dishrag and ice and sits him on the counter. In a matter of minutes, the dishrag is full. Mom grabs another and brother fills that one up. Mom yells at Aunt June to grab towels from the bathroom.
They laid brother down on the kitchen table trying to get this bleed stopped. This is the first time I saw panic in my mother’s eyes, plus I had never seen my Aunt move so fast in my life, so I knew this was getting serious.
Mom and dad had taken turns running brother to the hospital emergency room countless times in the past where they would pack his nose and that would usually be the end of it.
This time was different and one of the worse things I had witnessed.
I remember being so scared as I watched my mother and Aunt try to attend to brother as he laid helpless on the table, blood soaking through everything. I stayed huddled in the corner trying to stay out of the way and sobbing.
I truly thought I was going to lose my brother that evening and as things started spinning out of control all we could do is await the ambulance’s arrival.
Two emergency workers came rushing in. They sat brother up and started working on him as I pleaded through tears to please save him.
30 minutes later they had gotten brothers nose to stop gushing. We were so grateful and celebrated the fact that the crisis was over.
The kitchen looked like a bloody scene from a horror movie. Mom and Aunt June looked like hatchet murders and me with my face streaked with tears and a sore throat from screaming trying to digest all that had happened!
The emergency workers felt things were well enough to leave, and out the door they went with mom and Aunt June thanking them with an undying appreciation for their heroic efforts.
Not two minutes after the EMT’s walked out the door brothers nose started gushing again! I remember mom telling Aunt June to look down the street to see if she could flag them back, but they were already gone.
Panic-stricken again, the whole scenario plays out as before.
This time when the emergency workers came in they scooped brother up and I remember mom trying to calm him by telling him how lucky he was because he was going to get to ride in an ambulance.
I was left with Aunt June and I remember how soft and cozy she was as she took me in her arms onto her lap to comfort me. We sat together embraced for a long while as panic turned to worry.
Hours later brother returned home from the hospital. Dad was with them as mom just sat down in a plop at the kitchen table that was already cleaned up and the soiled towels were soaking downstairs in the laundry tub.
The Doctor had cauterized something in brother’s nose to stop the bleeding.
After this incident, he had several more nose bleeds but nothing like what I saw that evening.
It didn’t make me feel any better and I would go into a panic anytime there was a trickle under his nose.
He finally outgrew whatever was causing it, but I will always remember the way I felt, thinking I was going to lose him forever.