posted on Jul, 12 2012 @ 11:38 PM
and I want to tell his story. This probably won't be organized. I just need to write this - I need to get it out of me. I don't expect responses, I
know you all care (feel free by all means, but don't feel like you need too). Also - it probably won't be a happy read so feel the need not to read
this. It's more so I can get some stuff, and the circumstances, off my chest. I need something I can look back on.
We grew up very poor. We lived in a trailer park that was very impoverished, to the point that to take a bath we'd start our water 2-3 hours ahead of
time because there was no pressure. We had one vehicle that could barely climb a hill, and some of cloths were made from scratch. Despite this we were
a very close family. My dad literally worked 60-70 hours a week to barely make it, and I respected him for it. He started doing this at 18, and has
not taken a real break since. Our first family vacation was when I was in high school. His free time was spent with us. I remember as a kid my parents
trying to have a third kid, and being really upset when my mom had a miscarriage. I don't know how long it was between that, and her becoming
pregnant with my brother. I had a sister that was 3 years younger than me. My brother was born in 1989 (for those that don't want to do the math!).
He was just under ten years younger than me. Something about the age difference has instilled this protective instinct in me that I've not had with
anyone else. As a teenager/young adult I would sometimes lie awake afraid of what would happen if something where to happen to him - it was almost
stiffling the way it would hit.
Michael was a little spoiled being the youngest, and seven years younger than my sister. As we got older we had more - though that was still not much
- and he didn't realize the poverty we were at when we were younger. Despite this, he was a really good kid. He was into trouble as a kid, but always
in a boyish way - not because he didn't care. He was very soft hearted, and went out of his way to help anyone that needed it. He was clever in every
way that I wasn't. I had book smarts to spare, but little practical application - he had all the practical application and didn't care about school.
I'd have swapped him. There were times I'd close a door in the house and every door in the house would slam closed - he had rigged them at the age
of 7 or 8. I would walk outside and he would have a stake in the ground with a rope going over a very high limb, and weights attached to the other
side. He'd be standing there with a machete or knife jokingly waiting to cut the rope - another trap he had made. One time I caught him and his
friend trying to make a bomb - they had a mason jar and gasoline - it was very lucky that I caught them. He was always into potentially harmful stuff
like that, but never malicious stuff though I guess I make it sound pretty bad. When he was about 12ish I remember he had figured out how to slice
into our phone lines and hook up a tape recorder to "bug" our conversations. I could go on for hours about memories of him as a kid, but I don't
think people would want to read it. As he grew up we had an amazing chemistry in social settings. People often thought we were twins - which was
awesome for me, but not so awesome for him. Everytime I would come home to visit it seemed we had the same hair/facial hair style.
About 3 years ago Michael was in an accident. He hit a tree straight on at about 50-60 MPH. He had just turned 18 and moved out on his own. He had
also just had a fight with his long term girlfriend. I was studying with a few people from class for my first mineralogy (our weedout class) exam when
I got the call. My mom's voice still haunts me - makes it hard to scream at night. At first we heard the car had exploded with him in it, all we knew
was they had air evacc'ed him from the local football field, and it was bad. i was in Arizona, and the helplessness was overwhelming. I spent my rent
money (everything I had) flying home first thing in the morning. As the story developed it turns out that someone was walking by, and pulled him out
of the car before it went up in flames. He suffered a chip broken in his hip, and a severe head injury. To see him it didn't look like much. He was
in a coma for over a week - I guess officially they don't call it a coma at that point, but to me that is what it was. He was unresponsive. We took
shifts to be with him 24 hours a day - none of us could sleep though. It was a week of hell. i was there when he woke up finally, but it was only for
a few minutes. Eventually they transported him to a better hospital (an entirely different story), and then a rehab facility. Every day he would wake
up not knowing where he was, and we'd have to explain the accident all over again. The MRI showed extensive brain damage in every lobe, but the
frontal lobe was severely damaged. They told he would never be the same, but they didn't know how he would be different. I stuck around for a few
days into his rehab before I finally had to return - he was improving daily. I was very hopeful that he would get better, and thankful that we didn't
lose him after how bad we thought things were that first night.
The first hospital was horrible. They would come tell us important things 4-5 days after the fact like "oh yea he could have removed his neck brace
no damage there" when we had spent 4 nights in a row fighting him to keep it on while he cussed us from his partial reality (he was slightly
responsive at that point to things like that, but not fully aware). They did an MRI one day, and when they brought him out they said they were going
to wait on the throat specialist to remove the ventilator, but then came out and said he was waking up and pulling on it so they took it on out. A few
weeks later he couldn't breath right, and we had to take him to the emergency room. It turns out they had damaged his windpipe during this, and the
new docs said there was about 2 inches like hamburger. They had to install an emergency trach and thought he'd have it forever. He had diffculty
talking for almost a year with the trach, but we finally found him a specialist in Pittsburgh, at the #3 throat place in the nation, that thought he
could help. He did a surgery that has never been performed before - it was supposed to ake an hour or so, but they encountered more damage than they
thought from the MRI and it took about 8. The doc was shaking when he came out, but they had completed it. They had successfully removed over 2 inches
of his windpipe and reattached it. After this he was trach free.
During all of this Michael hated the doctors. I don't know what caused this, but he wanted out constantly. He wouldn't stay in rehab more than they
made him, and honestly they sent him out pretty fast. He definitely hadn't recovered, but the doc said he was good to go with a smile. After this
Michael came home to stay with my parents. They had spent the last 25 years dreaming up their dream home, and had finally finished it. My dad was a
contractor. I came up with the idea of adding a 2nd floor to my brothers suite - so he had a huge "apartment" basically within the house. He stayed
there for a time, but having just turned 18 he really wanted out.