Wednesday, January 16, 2008

My Brother

Just got back home after a long and difficult two weeks. My brother passed away and I have had a difficult time piecing it all together. Just going to leave all the story here so if you don't want to hear it just skip on over it and you don't have to. I did finish a knitted hat for my son while gone.

We got a phone call from a hospital in Miami (FL in case there is more than one) that my brother was there and was very ill and unable to sign his own papers and need us to sign for him to receive treatment. My brother was 37 and has been HIV positive since before he graduated from high school so getting this phone call was not a surprise. Jonny has also refused all contact with any one in the family for years. None of us has had any way to contact him in several years. Anyway, someone saw him fall from a bridge and have a seizure, they called ambulance and took him to the hospital on the 30th of December. It took them nearly a week to get his name out of him due to his confusion. They then searched through old hospital records and found my sisters name as next of kin. The caseworker had to do an internet search to find us. It was a lot of work above and beyond on her part. It appears he has been homeless for last several years. We had papers he had filled out years ago, living will and stuff listing who was to decide what and all. He was unable to and it did not take them long to realize he was terminal. He had many (uncountable - 50 to 100 maybe more) tumors on his brain, many of them fairly large. as well as one on his lung. After we got there and were able to sign release records from another hospital we found out he had been diagnosed with metastatic melanoma in December. We found out the tumors were cancer and they could not be treated. They were so far advance he had an extremely short time. Doctor said at absolute most 2-3 weeks, but didn't see how he could possibly last that long, didn't understand how he was still speaking.
Actually he was speaking some. Answering small questions, but he did not recognize any of us. He was very agitated and even angry at times. He was better in the morning, even able to feed himself, but grew worse as the day progressed.
We arrived down there on a Wednesday. Radiology knew they could not change his prognosis and lengthen his time, but they could maybe reduce his confusion. They would do 5 treatments. They started on Thursday. Friday morning he knew all of us and was much improved, less agitated. They did another treatment that day and were not to do another till Monday. Saturday, the doctors were real pleased to see how improved his mental state was and encouraged us to be with him. He fed himself breakfast as usual, talked with us, and moved covers around. He ate some lunch, but after lunch he began to deteriorate and passed that afternoon a few minutes after 4. He only expressed pain for a short time before he went into a coma. He never suffered that way.
I am glad it was not a long drawn out thing for him and us. He has made many difficult decisions in his life that we could do nothing about and have just had to live with. When they took him into the hospital he had nothing, not even an ID, even an outdated one. (He had one the previous month in other hospital.) The only things he had were his shoes and an anklet and bracelet that the hospital asked me to remove right after he passed. His clothes appear to have been destroyed. If they were in condition of his shoes they needed to be, besides they cut them off anyway.
My sisters will pick up his cremated remains the weekend after the 22nd and then I will go down and pick him up. Our plan is to take him and put him next to mama with Randy. Her boys meant the world to her and that seems to be the best we think.


Blogger Marilyn said...

Patti, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. It sounds like he has been suffering in one way or another for a long time. It was a blessing he passed quickly with out a lot of physical suffering.

4:04 PM  

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