I always liked that song. When I heard it as a child I immediately identified with it.
This weekend past my older brother Bruce was admitted to the hospital in Virginia Beach. Another bacterial infection formed in his lower torso. Same region as the last one, different side of the scar tissue. Once again, they have to stop his chemotherapy until he heals up.
Once again, I'm on my way to Virginia to help.
Every time he's taken a hit I've wondered if this could be the last time for him. He's endured considerable pain and suffering with nary a whimper. He gets depressed sometimes. I understand depression very well. We talk through it together when he gets like that.
I thought he was out of the woods after the beginning of June. His wound had healed suitable enough for him to be by himself during the day. We felt it was extremely important for him to have his independence back. A loss of independence would have meant another loss in the battle against his disease. Such will be the case again.
So here's what's going to transpire over the next couple of days. I'm going to drive down to Virginia. I'm going to walk into his home. He'll be stretched out in his favorite recliner in the living room. Once again I'll be stunned at his weakened state and appearance. Sis will fill me in on the routine and I'll get to work. At night, when he's finally at rest, I'll walk out into the backyard where he won't be able to see or hear me cry.
The next day "Air Traffic Mike" changes into "Brother Mike" and we get down to the serious task of healing. Protein shakes, solid meals, attempting (at first) to walk down to the corner and back. 100 feet doesn't sound like much, but to atrophied muscles it can be a marathon. Just being able to get up unassisted to go to the bathroom will take about ten days if it is anything like the last time.
Just like the last time too, we will have honest conversations about his present state and what could happen in the future. We both remember how Mom didn't want to talk about her condition when she was dying. I persisted with her. I'm glad I did. Because we worked out a plan, I was able to have the priest come in and adminster her last rights while she was alert enough to understand what was happening. Later that evening she slipped into a coma, never to awaken again. She died a week later.
To all my friends in Memphis, Pennsville, NJ, and across the country and Canada I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Your words, thoughts, and prayers are deeply appreciated by myself and my family.
I have some loose ends to tie up here in New Jersey, so tomorrow or early Thursday I'll be on the road to Virginia. Pending his outcome, I'll possibly return to New Jersey to finish a project, then head down home.
It has been a real roller coaster ride to say the least.
Until next time, all y'all take care of yourselves.
Air Traffic Mike, ret.