Brothers Can Change

Ever since I was old enough to walk and talk, my brother and I have been at war with each other. It was non-stop name-calling, beating, and making stuff up in order to get the other one in trouble or to hurt him. Then when I got my first cell phone, the irritating late night phone calls started. It would happen at least two or three times a week at anytime between midnight and about five A.M. some nights, I would get several calls. At our Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th wedding, we had a slap off. We slapped each other in the face as hard as we could for about 45 minutes, which is when our Grandma yelled at us. I thought the war would never end.


In early winter of 2008, I began getting tired very easily, so I started to just ignore my brother and live with the fact that he would not change. Because I could barely walk to my car in the mornings to start it, my mom made me a doctor’s appointment. The doctor said it was just a pulled chest muscle and to take three Aleve a day and come back in a week if I was not feeling better. That night I got pale and lightheaded. Therefore, my mother made another appointment at a different doctor. They did a stress test on me and my vitals went haywire. They told me to go get blood work done, and that they would call me in the morning. About ten o’clock that night they called and told my mom to get me to the emergency room. The first thing the doctor said when we got there was “Do you want to go to Wichita or Kansas City?” Since it was snowing out my mother vouched for Wichita. The hospital would not transport me because I was in too critical of condition and the roads were too icy. Therefore, my mom had to take me. She called my Grandpa and told him what was going on and asked him for some gas money. He in turn told my grandma, who called my brother and told him he had to go with us, in case my mother needed help driving. I did not really want him to go with us, but my mom did so we picked him up and we were on our way.


I was cold on the way to Wichita so I told my brother to give me a blanket out of the back seat. He told me to quit being a *#$$^. Then he gave me one anyways. I am not sure what time we got to Wesley Medical Center, but I do know that it was late and cold. The doctors there were all confused because there were no paramedics with me; they thought that I was being brought down by an ambulance. We finally got up to PICU and they got me settled into my room. When they went to take my blood, it was so thin that the needle shot out of my vein and made a pool of blood all over the floor and bed. They said that if my hemoglobin had been about two or three points lower, I would have gone into a cardiac arrest and probably would have died.


The whole time I was there, I was terrified because the first couple of days the doctors could not figure out what was wrong with me. Then they came in and told me it was Leukemia. That was one of the worst feelings of my life. My brother was in the room with me everyday, and I just could not figure out why he was there. Even when everyone else went to eat, we would just sit there and play games or watch TV. However, after time I now know.


It happened a couple weeks after I got out of the hospital. My brother called me late one night, and I figured it was just to irritate me. Therefore, I just ignored it. Then he left me a voicemail. In the voicemail, he was crying and said that he was driving home and a song came on the radio that reminded him of me. He told me that he loved me and that I needed to stay strong to beat this. He also told me that I did not need to call him back. Before he hung up, he told me he loved me again and asked me not to tell our mom about that voicemail. Hearing that sort of thing coming from my brother of whom I have been at war with my whole life made me tear up and cry. I saved that voicemail and listened to it for the next couple of weeks whenever I was down.


A short time after the voicemail he left me, he began to call me Sara Beth. I had no clue what he meant by it. I figured it was just another name he was calling me to put me down. Then one day one of my friends asked me why he called me that. I told her that I did not know and that she would have to ask him if she wanted to know. She then texted him and asked him what it meant. He told her it was a song called Sara Beth or Skin by Rascal Flats, and that she should listen to it because it is a good song. She then told me what it was, so I listened to it that night. It really touched me, and I got emotional. It is a song about a high school girl who gets cancer. It is really a heart filling song because it really shows what it is like to have cancer.


After that, my brother did not call me Sara Beth that much anymore; I figure it is because I know what it means now. Now my relationship with my brother is going back to the war it always was. I guess that sometimes bad things have to happen to show the real identity of a person.





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