Hey everyone! Sorry for the hiatus; I was back in New York for a Syracuse’s homecoming and a mini vacation. I got back to Texas on Tuesday and while I usually have quite a bit to say, my potential blog was stopped in its tracks yesterday afternoon. As I was heading into a conduct hearing with a particularly difficult student, I saw a missed call and voicemail from my mom. My mom doesn’t usually call me unless I’ve called her, so the fact that she left a voicemail was even more odd. I asked the student if she minded that I check my voicemail (she didn’t) and when I listen, it was just, “Hey, it’s mom, call me back.” Now I was REALLY alarmed.
Upon calling her back, I found out that my baby brother was headed from one hospital to another across Buffalo because of spots of some kind on his frontal lobe. I was stunned. I had JUST seen him 3 days earlier and he was his adorably-goofy-potty-mouthed-self. I went to my remaining meetings and class but was basically in a haze because I had no idea what was going on and there was nothing I could do about it.
I immediately flashed back to last September. We got an email sitting in class that one of our Area Directors had gone to the hospital with a headache and was going into emergency brain surgery to remove some clots. She never left the hospital and ended up passing away 5 days later. She was young and had no idea she was sick, and all I could think was that this was what was happening to my baby brother. Additionally, on October 9th a year ago, my mother’s goddaughter died in her sleep at 14, so it was already a tense day.
When my mom called me back to tell me David was having his MRI done, it seemed that all was well. This morning I woke up to a text saying they were just bruising and nothing internal and that he was being discharged. It was a relief, but this whole experience was eye opening for me. This is the first time since I’ve been gone that something so serious happened so close and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it. I couldn’t even console my middle brother. I know, I know…the tough guy needed consoling?! Well as much as he wouldn’t want me to tell you all this, Hugh cares more about people than he ever lets on. I knew he was upset and all I could do was tell him I love him and hope for the best.
In retrospect, we have now realized that this was a dodged bullet. David has had a total of 4 concussions in his 18 years of life, starting with one while skiing, the second when he flipped a race car he was driving, the third during high school wrestling, and the fourth 12 days ago in a rugby match. When the doctor talked to my family, he told them that the injury to David’s brain and the demeanor of the young man sitting in front of him didn’t match (David who insisted on wearing the gown the wrong way and who laughed and cracked jokes through all of this). The damage done to his brain should have left him with more lasting damage than the headaches that sent him to the ER to begin with. We’d all seen David get into these accidents, but it didn’t really add up that this was a concern because they were all pretty spread out. I was the only one of the three of us who didn’t participate in any kind of contact sport (swimming was about as low contact as it got), so when we saw a hard hit or something, we kind of shrug it off. Not anymore.
So why does all this matter? It matters because it was one hella close call for our family. David’s home now with my parents and taking the rest of the week and the weekend to recuperate. I was just home laughing and joking with the boys and 3 days later, I’m back in Texas without the ability to help at all. My wise words to you all from this experience: love the people you love and tell them as often as possible. I always end phone calls with my parents with an “I love you,” but not so much with my brothers. Yesterday, I told them both how much I loved them and from now on will do that daily. I don’t care if they’re too cool to hear it at 20 and 18…yesterday scared the pants off me.