Fearby Jason Hulme, Scituate, MAOn a warm October night last year, my friends and I were carrying bundles of wood down to Humarock Beach for a bonfire, while my brother Josh stayed behind empty-handed because of his hard breathing. The night before, he had slept in our basement, which had mold in the air, and he had an allergic reaction to it. Because there was a light breeze off the ocean as we started the bonfire, we needed a little help from lighter fluid. My brothers' cheeks expanded as far as they could on every exhale. You could hear the wheeze from his lungs. Josh's face started to turn red and he went up to the house and lay down on the porch.We were still on the beach when a big storm came. It started to rain hard and we were very cold. We ran back to the house and went inside to dry off. Josh was staying dry under the roof on the porch, but his breathing had become worse because of the cold. Everyone asked him how he was. He said that he would be fine. It was 11: 30 p.m. when we asked Mr. Hughes for a ride home. He asked Josh if he wanted to go to the hospital. Josh said, "No, I am fine."When we arrived home at midnight, my mom was still at dinner. When she returned at 12: 30, my brother told her to call an ambulance because he had a pain in his chest. The EMTs put Josh on an oxygen tank, placed him on a stretcher and settled him in the ambulance. Ten minutes later, both lungs collapsed and he had a seizure. The EMTs said if they had arrived 10 minutes later, Josh would have died. The doctors at the local hospital put two tubes in his chest, but did not have the right equipment to treat him, so they flew him by helicopter to Children's Hospital in Boston where they put him in the Intensive Care Unit. The doctors put him on a machine that would breathe for him. Josh gradually got better, but it took three weeks for him to breathe on his own. He was at the hospital for another week until he had the power to walk. He was home for two more weeks before he had enough strength to go to school. He had physical therapy and took steroids for a month.Until Josh regained consciousness, I thought he was going to die. It was hard being his twin because we are very close. When you know a person very well, you never think that something bad will happen. But when something does, it hits you very hard and you don't know what to do. You feel helpless because you didn't prevent what happened and you can't help that person in any way. I had the fear of death. tf
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.