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Summer of 2012
Experiencing the worst feeling in the world is a time someone will never forget. This feeling of helplessness and indecision is exactly what I had when watching as my brother Matthew went through excruciating pain in the summer of 2012. Up to that year, he had already made several trips to the emergency room, and that statistic was about to go up rapidly. He had three main instances of tragedies along with other smaller ones.
One afternoon I was having an exciting afternoon of Madden on my GameCube, when the doorbell rang. Instantaneously, I paused the game and meandered on over to the door wondering who would be ringing the doorbell when no cars had pulled into my driveway. I nonchalantly opened the door and instantly I felt like I was going to pass out. Matthew had yet again shown me a dreadful surprise. This time there was no blood rushing down his arm, like when he had his hand caught in his snap-barrel rifle, but it definitely was another arm incident. With his hand drooping down to his elbow, the arm blatantly broken, and I hurried along and had my mom start the car and drive him to the emergency room.
Arriving at a record setting pace, we went in the hospital, and the lady at the desk saw the arm was obviously broken. She calmly spoke to us like it was her fourth time seeing this type of accident that day saying, “Well, I’m pretty sure it’s broken,” she spoke calmly to us. “How did this happen?”
Matthew spoke through his clenched teeth, “I was on the four-wheeler and fell.” This is when we realized we weren’t going to urgent care because the wreck was on a four-wheeler and that makes it an auto accident. All auto accidents require the emergency room, which is way more expensive and put my dad an even fouler mood. We finally heard the story as he explained it to the doctor. He let a foreign exchange student, Phil, drive, and he hit a washout, a giant hole, and went flying. Bracing himself with his arm as he fell, he broke both bones in his forearm, chipped a bone in his wrist, and fractured his shoulder. He claims he was only going ten mph, but judging from the road rash, he was probably going closer to fifty mph. The broken arm hardly slowed him down at all, as the only time he ever sat still with a broken arm was when he was knocked out because his pain pills were so strong. If Matthew is involved in any way, shape, or form, then sitting around not doing anything isn’t humanly possible. This was just the beginning of his excruciating summer.
A week or two after the broken arm, Matthew started to complain about another instance bothering him. He felt a rash was coming on under his skin and was always commenting, “It feels like knives are stabbing me from the inside out.” My family just kind of ignored him for a while until he was to annoying to ignore. By then, the rash had actually come to the outside of the skin and looked absolutely disgusting. It appeared as if 100 mosquitos bit him in a square-inch area and blistered terribly all around his waist. We took him the emergency room yet again. “Back so soon,” the lady at front desk commented. When they went in, I wasn’t so sure what the doctors were going to say about the rash compared to when I knew that his arm was broken. I sat there anxiously thinking of all of the worst possible outcomes. After what seemed like a decade, my mom texted me that the doctors said he had shingles. I, being the smart person I am, instantly thought, ‘Why would he have shingles? Those are the what people put on roofs to protect the wood underneath from rain.’ I decided to look up shingles, the disease.
I found out shingles is one of the more painful rashes someone can get, and it can only come if the person has already had the chickenpox. The virus just stays in the subject once the chickenpox is gone. The disease comes forth when the host is under extreme stress or is just getting old. Matthew was seventeen, so it wasn’t because he was old. He was stressed out from staying at home all the time and not being able to do anything since his arm broke. He took some extremely strong Vicodin pills, which knocked him out for sixteen straight hours. When he finally became conscious regularly, band camp began.
When he showed up to band camp, Mrs. Hayes, the band director, wasn’t even the least bit surprised at the sight of Matthew because he always ended up injured in some way. He immediately started playing his quads with one hand and still played better than what any of the other percussionists could do, so Mrs. Hayes let him march the quads.
In the following week, Matthew steadily healed but soon made a terrible decision that would set his progress back. After about three hours of standing on the steaming blacktop parking lot in ninety-degree weather, Matthew decided to let his friend Kendyl drive him up to the band room in the bed of his truck. Jimi rode with Matthew to just to save some steps himself. Kendyl apparently forgot Matthew and Jimi were back there and tried a burnout. The truck was to my back, as I heard screeching tires and the sound of the quads and bodies hitting the pavement. I let the snare and cymbals I was carrying fall to the ground and sprinted over to Matthew. When he made the quick, abrupt fall, the quads had smacked him upside the head and knocked him out. Freaking out that his arm would be broken yet again, I found he used his little intelligence to be smart enough to not brace himself with that arm and just land on his butt as the quads hit him in the face. Motionless, Matthew lay on his back for about thirty seconds before he became conscious again. The whole time Mitchell leaned over him screaming, “Matt, are you okay!” over and over again. Jimi just fell on his butt, and nothing really happened to him that was too severe. He just obtained a little road rash and immediately said, “Holy crap that hurt!” Matthew finally stood up, and Mitchell helped/carried him to the band room. I waited very anxiously in the band room with Matthew. When he felt he saw straight enough to drive home, we left the band room to go home. We decided at that moment that we should not tell our parents about what happened that day at band camp.
When we arrived at our house, Matthew instantly started his search for his Vicodin pills leftover from when he had shingles. He eventually stumbled upon them, and I had a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach because I knew he took more than he should. He downed five pills and instantly fell asleep. He slept for over thirty-six hours straight, woke up, used the restroom, and went back to sleep for another twelve hours. This scared the heck out of me; in fact, I didn’t sleep at all those thirty-six hours. I didn’t know what to expect or do since I still hadn’t told my parents about him falling out of the truck.
When he finally started to act like himself, he had the parent performance for band to do. We only missed one detail, the other band parents knew about the truck, but our parents still did not. When the performance finished, Matthew and I went to talk to our parents, and they looked ready to punch someone in the face. The other parents had asked about Matthew, and that’s how they found out about the truck. “How the heck can you fall out of a truck and neither one of you tell us about it?” questioned my dad.
We just murmured, “We thought it would be better if you didn’t know.” Matthew and I did not get to do much the rest of that summer because they were mad for quite some time. My summer was filled with terrible feelings of being helpless and not knowing what to do.