Thursday, September 5, 2013

Good Stuff

Sitting in my turquoise living room, Robert Earl Keen is playing on my computer as I sit and type. "It feels so good feeling good again" takes me to so many places and so many people. Music has that ability and I love that.

How fortuitous that this song landed on the play list as I opened my computer, because that's where we are right now- Feeling Good Again.

The other day, I went back and reread those blogs about Brother. Those sad, difficult blogs about my hero. I told a friend that I had done so and it finally set in where we were a year ago. As an example, I wrote about how we were elated that Brother could move his arm -- no direction to his actions, but his brain could tell his arm to move- and it did.

At the time, that was the greatest news. Now, I look back and see how truly terrifying that is. When you are in the throws of a situation, sometimes the terror has to sit on the sidelines until it can be processed.

Husband said it would be at least a year before Brother would have any true recovery. Everything in those next 12 months would lead up to real progress. I scoffed. This was Brother. The strongest man I know. The bravest. The toughest. He has battled many great things-- a year? Whatever.

Husband was right. But, so was I. Brother made remarkable progress and the doctors were dumbfounded that he made the strides he made with the stroke he had. As Brother would take these tiny baby steps forward, things would push him back. Whether seizures, medicine side effects, or just... life, those tiny baby steps that Bennie has yet to take were mountains for Brother. And those mountains came with avalanches.

For instance, the steroids were doing their job- helping the kidneys heal. That being said, the steroids come with their own box of problems. Cataracts are a very common side effect for those that use them for an extended period.

Brother is the very definition of an extended period.

And, yes, he has two cataracts. One in each eye.

On one hand, I was sad at this- on the other, had there been no steroids, there would be no Brother. There would be no eyes for cataracts to be in. And... here's the thing- Cataracts are a relatively easy fix.
Especially when you know people. And we know people. Good people. Good people who do good work with all kinds of eyes. Good people that tell you both the good and the bad about the surgery, speaking in even and easy words for this sister who does not speak Medicine or Doctor. Something better, after speaking to those good people, I saw a silver lining about cataracts. Once cataract surgery has been performed, it never has to be done again. They remove the lens where the cataract is and replace it with an artificial one. Done and done. Steroids be damned! She did share some bad news, he might have to get reading glasses sooner than had he not had cataracts. [insert a sarcastic, "Oh Gee" here]

The steroids that wreak havoc on the body are diminishing. What was once a prescription for 60mg (and yes, that's a lot), was cut to 30mg, to 20mg... and now 10mg. He still takes a dozen or so pills a day, but those steroids that can be so cruel to the mind, physique and spirit are slowly dissipating. Because of the reduction in steroids, his body is starting to become more normal- his swelling is slowly going down.

And the doctor reviewed those dozen-plus pills and made some changes. Good changes. Great changes, actually. In the past two weeks, we have seen that charm emerge and start to crawl from the cocoon where it was resting. It has taken a year, but he is slowly starting to unwind this knot and find the end to the tunnel. There is still a lot of work to do and lot of healing to be had, but in my heart, I feel the sun shining at the end. The warm sun splashing rays on all of us.

For the first time in a year, Brother asked SIL if they could have "chicken wing night," a Thursday night tradition on the Man Porch that was once a thorn in SIL's side. She agreed and the usual band of outside screaming at the football game. SIL lay in bed hearing them laugh, talk, eat chicken wings, and have more than one beer. I picture her in the middle of her king size bed, under her blue monogram with her hands behind her head and looking up at the antique brass chandelier with a smile on her face and happy tears in her eyes. She got a text from one of Brother's dearest friends, who was a mere 30 feet from her- on the Man Porch- with three simple words:

He Is Back

He still cannot drive as he has to be seizure free for six months, he still cannot see- the surgery has yet to be performed, He still has rehab therapy four days a week, he still has a mountain. But, his personality- that personality that makes people either love him or hate him. That personality that I truly wish I had, that made his wife fall in love with him every single day- is slowly emerging.

I watched him play hide and go seek with his daughter and niece yesterday at our house for twenty minutes and felt my heart grow in love for this man, my brother.

He Is Back.


Jeanie said...

Chills, tears, & thrilled for you all - one of the strongest & most loving, positive families I know!

Wanting What I Have said...

I am so, so, SO happy for y'all!!! xoxo