It’s funny how tables turn. Ironic, rather.
On March 16, two days before my brother’s 24th birthday, I had my reconstruction surgery. It wasn’t a super-duper major surgery, at least not in my World – the “healthy” breast was reduced to match the size of the “non-healthy” breast. No big deal, really. It didn’t even hurt and, about an hour after I woke up from the anesthesia, I was already drinking coffee and smoking with the nurses.
That same day, in the afternoon, I called my brother to tell him that I was alright and that everything had gone extremely well. He started crying and told me that he loved me. He told me that he was scared for his health and that he was concerned that we might never see each other again. I didn’t hear that well and asked, stupidly, why would he worry about me when the surgery is over and, I am right here, awake and feeling great? He repeated himself, saying that he feared for his health.
I felt my heart sinking.
He wanted to come and see me, but I told him that it was not necessary and that he might come visit me at home in the morning, the next day. And so, we agreed to see each other in the morning.
That morning came. I went home from the hospital and waited. I waited all day. My brother didn’t call me until 8 PM. He told me that he just got up and asked if it was alright to come. I told him that it was already late, that I was exhausted, and that I would pick him up the next morning and we’ll go at my aunt’s house to watch movies and do nothing the entire weekend.
What happened next still freaks me out.
He said that some people are “spying” on him, that he’s afraid of something, of some people, for his health. He said that he wasn’t sure if he’ll survive the night. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. It came as a complete shock to me. This wasn’t my brother. This wasn’t even a person I remotely know. I was horrified. I told him that he must take a cab immediately and that I’ll think of where to put him to sleep. The thing is, I had nowhere to put him to sleep, but that didn’t stop me waking up my partner and tell him that my brother must sleep somewhere near me. I was afraid. I burst into tears, while my partner tried to calm me down – causa perduta, if you ask me.
That night, I talked to my brother at least 15 times. After midnight, that Friday night, he was already celebrating his birthday and was drinking some beer with a neighbor two floors above our apartment. He didn’t come at my place that night. I appeared to have calmed down and somehow I fell asleep.
The next morning, even though it was only 36 hours after my surgery, I set out to start the car to get my brother for our do-nothing-drink-beer-watch-movies weekend. It turned out he wasn’t available during the day, rather, I had to pick him up in the late afternoon. Although frustrated that he didn’t tell me about his errands the previous night, I took the time to go pick up some stuff for the dinner I was planning to prepare for his birthday.
When we finally got to my aunt’s place, I noticed that he was lethargic, and didn’t seem to care about anything. At some point, he asked me to get the car and go to the nearby store to buy something, and when I told him that he will not drive my car, at least not after a few glasses of beer, he became defensive and went to the store on foot. When he returned, he brought nothing. I asked about it and he just said that he didn’t want anything. I, again, was shocked. It seemed to me that he didn’t know what was going on in his environment at all.
When I finally figured that something really wrong was happening with my little brother, he already had an appointment with my neighbor, a psychotherapist. After they met, he called me and told me that my brother was on the brink of schizophrenia, and that he has severe paranoia, which I had already experienced, heavily. I freaked out. I wasn’t prepared for this.
Where did this came from? And why?
For over a month now, my brother has been in Spain, with my mother. He’s taking medications prescribed by a psychiatrist. Those medications do not work. As far as I know, he is worse. My mother said that he had an episode recently and they rushed to the emergency room, as she suspected that he had a high blood pressure, because he felt his head was about to burst. That was not the case. The doctor at the ER told my mother that they need to seek “another type of doctor.” My brother now has the physical symptoms of a physiological illness.
I am scared. I haven’t been so scared even when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. It hurts me to see my baby brother being so scared and lost. My mom is scared. I don’t want any of us to be scared.
The war has begun. Rather, it has never stopped for us.