Monday, October 27, 2014

BFFs in the LBC

Everybody needs a good BFF. I'm so lucky I have three. "We are the four best friends that anyone has had ..." Zach G. pretty much wrote that song for us. Speaking of, if we were the characters from "The Hangover," who do you think we would be? I'm claiming Bradley Cooper right now. Dibs. Gawd I heart him.

Rachel, Katie, Erika and I have been some combination or permutation of best friends since the 1990s. Katie and Erika led the charges, rockin' the soccer field as Pumas. Katie and I befriended one another in 6th grade, her in a pouffy-sleeved white top, us getting into trouble for not checking in with our parents after school together one day. Rachel entered the WL picture sometime in late middle school. Erika and I "dated" the same guy (she dumped him, he asked me to prom as Plan B, I giddily agreed) sophomore year, and lived in walking distance of each other. Rachel and Katie sang to JC together at Willamette Christian Church junior year, and somewhere along the way I jumped on the God train to become their third wheel. And so the story goes. Eventually we all called each other our BFFs, and have been bridesmaids/maids of honor in each other's wedding. And now, despite the fact we live scattered across the West Coast (except me and Rach, just 13 miles apart and forcing our kids to be BFFs, too), we make plans to get together at least annually. As Erika and Katie make more trips to OR than we do to see them in Cali, we figured it was our turn to head south and soak in the SoCal sun. A girls' trip, and without kids AND pregnancy!

Day #1 - PDX to LGB
Rach and I met at the airport for our butt-ass early flight to Long Beach together. Initially, I kinda regretted booking a morning flight, but once we landed and were able to spend the WHOLE day all together, it was totally worth the 5 a.m. wakeup. We were greeted at the fab JetBlue terminal by a jumping and waving Katie, and then killed an hour before Erika landed from the Bay Area. We stayed at Katie's mom's condo in Long Beach, where Katie works, but north of where she and her husband, Scott, live in Newport. 

We spent most of our first day together at the grocery store. Kidding. Kind of. We did go to a few different markets three times in one day. We really did spend most of our time together at the condo (thanks for being so generous and sharing your condo, Cindy!); drinking champs; gossiping about everything (and everyone); researching micro-penises (peni? definition: more than 2.5 standard deviation below the norm, <3 inches erect), setting Erika up with an Instagram account ("awwthatssoerika"), and making sleeping arrangements, so that we would each get to bed each of the other three friends for one night, and vote on the best sleeping partner. Also? We watched Parenthood all together. The best.

Rach and Jo passed airport security bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and ready to rock the flight from Portland to Long Beach.

Katie's adorable mug, fresh-faced and waking up for our Long Beach arrival.

A photo for Liz Depriest's, Nora - "like a suitcase" - because we just thought that IG was the cutest. And Rach kept telling me I looked like a supermodel in this pic, so I want to be reminded of that :)

Drinking champagne on the patio. You know you're in California when you get to wear tank tops and sunglasses in late October.

awwthatssoerika's first IG post. Ain't she a beauty?!?

Quick walk to the "beach" in Long Beach.

Measuring it out. We needed visuals to make sense of the micro-p.

Day #2 - Bitches Be Hikin' in the Hollywood Hills, and Ridin' Ferris Wheels in Santa Monica

It should have taken us just 39 minutes without traffic (yay carpool lane mid-week!) to get to the Runyon Canyon interest in the so-called Hollywood Hills. For us? About 2 hours. And after acai ("ahhh-hy-ee) bowls. Between Rachel, Erika, and Siri ("I disagree"), we couldn't figure out which way to actually got us to the entrance, but did enjoy from the scenic route. On our brief walk uphill, I made note of many tattoos, lots of fake titties and possibly bad Botox or lip injections, and a whole lot of small dogs. We also had our first "celebrity" sighting, which meant Rach could go back to P-town complete. Apparently we were enjoying the view alongside Heather somebodyorother from Real Housewives of New York. I admit that I did notice the very fit lady doing tricep dips sporting a GIANT diamond ring, and then the girls filled me in on her B-list status.

After our hike, we decided to keep the tourist train moving and hit up Santa Monica and the pier for lunch. Rach finally got her cocktail - a disappointing margarita. I, too, had to nurse some disappointment after the Zoltar fortune teller character charged me $1 THREE TIMES IN A ROW and never did read me an actual fortune. Fucker. Who's the idiot now?!? Seriously though, we got to ride a ferris wheel - and watch Erika conquer her fear of heights - and watch some really terrible street performers. It was the best. And then Rach got her first handbag and changed her own life right in front of our eyes. I might have bought another pair of cheap sunnies.

We made yet another trip to the grocery store, and took advantage of the hot tub time machine at the condo complex for continued clucking like hens well into the evening. Oh yeah, and drank more champagne.

Fearsome Foursome at Runyon Canyon, with just the "teeeensiest" bit of the Hollywood sign in the background.

Katie's excited about the back of RHWoNY Heather's head

Girls gabbing to a view.

Rachel, Jo, and Erika above LA.

We turned right.

Santa Monica pier.

Ferris wheel! The 9-year-old in me was ecstatic to ride high with my homies.

On the other hand, Erika wasn't so much into it.

"I look like Charlize Theron ... from Monster!" Second celeb sighting - laughs for days.

Day #3 - Catalina or Bust

Plagued with a disordered sense of direction, I kept asking Katie where LA was, where Orange County was, where San Diego was, etc., until I finally just looked at a map (on my iPhone, god I miss atlases). Perusing the massive land that is Southern California, I spotted an island with a familiar name. Inspired to explore somewhere new and touristy, I asked if we could go there, like LC and Lo from The Hills. Yeah, that's exactly why it's familiar to me. Katie, ever the secretary that she is, immediately phoned the ferry company and booked us rides to and from the next day. So. Excited.
Catalina Island is 22 miles off the coast, where we caught a fucking fast ferry from Long Beach to make the windiest of trips west to the island to my tourist heaven. It seriously took Katie at least 5 minutes to brush the squirrel's nest tangles out of my hair. That shit was intense. Erika went for a run (long to me, very short to her) in the hills, and the rest of us shopped around, tempering our excitement about the upcoming golf cart rental. Starved and unable to wait another 30 minutes to eat lunch with E, I grabbed a quesadilla on the little pier. And then we got hit on. Like, full-on hit-on. By men in their 40s. And 50s. I was not flattered. Quite the opposite, I was almost a bit offended that we seemed old enough to be on their radar or in their sights! They had Rachel at "our yacht and cook and bartender," Katie at "yeah, I know that law firm; because I'm divorced," and lost me at "we all met at the country club." All I can say is - thank.god.I'm.already.married.

The afternoon found us carting around a small portion of the island, listening to top 100 music and acting like 20-somethings, then sipping cocktails on some little beachy resort cove. So. Much. Fun. The boat ride back was spent mostly exhausted and trying to hide from the wind, warming ourselves with Instagram posts.

Bitches be on a boat.


Hello, land. Catalina's main harbor.

Just some girls and a gold cart.

View of Catalina from above.

Sharknado faces.

Besties and boats.

Sooooo tired.

Day #4 - Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Wake up, lollygag and eat yet another acai bowl courtesy of Rach's current obsession, and then to the airport for goodbyes :( Happy to see my family, sad to say bye to my BFFs.

I love these ladies like sisters. Or more than sisters, because I don't have any and don't know what it's like. Point is, they're called "best" friends for a reason. Because they truly are the very best!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

(31 Months) - 2 Years and 7 Months

Over two-and-a-half now, and full of both sweetness and sass. My little Bean is a full-blown toddler, with the independence, occasional tantrums, and moodiness to prove it. She is nothing but delightful at school and with her grandparents, and mostly sweet with her mama and daddy, but saves anything sassy for the evenings. And her poops for during dinner.

My dad, whom we call Beebee, watched her for the majority of September, and they're super-homies now. He made us feel like lazies, because all in one day he would watch her, mow the lawn (maybe even a few times), fill cracks in our driveway, bake bread, and visit the coffee shop for a steamer.

Francie then started at her new "school" (known as daycare to us working parents) - Vermont Hills Family Life Center, right in our neighborhood - and seems to be prospering there. Interestingly, her main teach is male, Josh. "Teacher Josh nice to me," she said in the car on the way home from school last week. There are a handful of same-aged kids in her classroom, although none of her "friends" can she name when asked. She has not once cried at drop-off, and is none too eager to come home with me at the end of the day. She apparently likes to play trains and to drive the cars outside. The teachers have briefly described her as "talkative" and reported that she likes to sing to herself.

Her sleep has changed, in that she ends up in our bed every single night. For a week or so she was fighting even going to bed

Her favorite toys right now include those wooden nesting dolls that a friend of Papa's gave her last week; "Molly," the horse on a stick that she pretends to ride around the kitchen; and babies, always babies. She is still an avid reader, although lately has been choosing only the most familiar or easy "baby" books, which she likes to read to herself.

She still calls her stepstool a "stoof." She regularly responds to things with, "Because I love you." And she constantly asserts her independence with "No!" and "Me do it!" She sings, sometimes a capella, sometimes accompanied by her "ookalady" (aka uke). If she's feeling particularly sassy, she'll even host a concert, featuring hits such as Baby Beluga, Happy Birthday, the ABC Song, or Twinkle Twinkle. In fact, she hasn't added any new tunes to her repertoire as of late.

Girlfriend is still rockin' that proud ass belly, and her stems have somehow turned into sticks. Where did this little chicken-legged Bean come from? Certainly not this thunder-thighed mama. Her hair is getting longer (duh) and she'll willingly wear a clip each day, but generally refuses a pony or piggies. She has opinions about her clothes, and will only wear whichever shoes she deems appropriate for the weather/occasion.

She is still a great eater, preferring morning and afternoon meals to dinner time. Favorites still include cereal, all things dairy (e.g. milk, plain yogurt, cottage cheese), fruit, and any kind of "bar."

Francie, Logan, and Max at WLHS before a football game. High school kids seem so young, don't they?

Playing in the sand at Gearhart with the Hubbard's.

Toddlers and trucker hats.

A visit from Emma and Sadie. Time for dress-up!

Driving the "rocking ship" her daddy built her from wine barrel chair remnants.

Beebee dominated FrancieCare this month.

Spawn of a Lena Dunham super-fan. I pre-ordered that book and read it in less than a week.

Tutu-clad visits to AuntieCuzzie Laura at work at Christopher David.

Wearing mama's dress that Grandma Nancy probably made.

Mama time.

Friends are those who help you balance on the big-kid potty.
Fun at Kruger Farms with the Flynns.

Bath time with Beano.

First day of a new school. She's killin' it at Vermont Hills Family Life Center. And the 3-minute commute ain't so bad either.

This is my daughter playing soccer. Not sure she'll follow in her daddy's athletic footsteps.

Mimi and Papa time. The family that sings together stays together.

Francie's main man.

Baby Beluga on the strings.

Nobody loves her like Mimi does.

My favorite face.

She's set up camp in our bed. She hasn't made it a night alone in her bigkidbed in several weeks. She seems to be well-rested, but the rest of us are needing an extra shot of caffeine to make up for the midnight waking and the toddler sleep-kicks.

Monday, October 20, 2014

3 Years s/p TBI


Three years ago today I received a telephone message informing me that my brother had been hurt. That he was "okay," but "in the hospital."

The other day, rather serendipitously, I found the black and white composition book that I had taken with me to Rhode Island, scrawling obsessively in. What the doctors said about his traumatic brain injury. Who came by and when. Potential insurance and legal information. And quotes, mostly quotes, from Brian. Fortunately, although he was quite agitated and combative, he was also humorous and totally quote-worthy. I was able to glean only a few laughs in the moment, mostly haunted by the possibility that he would never be the same. But now, with a full recovery and hindsight on my side, I can re-read the things that he said, and chuckle sincerely.

The initial pages of the composition book that is nearly filled with info regarding my brother's accident, contains notes from house-hunting, mortgage numbers, HR info for starting my fellowship at the VA hospital, and a few random baby thoughts, like name ideas written illegibly in the corner of a page. I was in the throes of starting my "big girl" life - pregnant with the Bean, looking to buy our first house, slated to start my SLP fellowship specializing in working with people with TBI literally the next day. But I was interrupted with a trauma, one I wasn't sure at the time was survivable, or at least, recoverable.

Following that voicemail, and with limited information by way of his girlfriend at the time (he was flown overnight to a trauma hospital in Providence, RI, he hit his head but seemed alright), and after the threat of a full blown panic attack subsided, I jumped into action, tracking down the hospital, eventually demanding to speak to a doctor involved in his care.

I spoke with a Dr. Sullivan about Brian's TBI (traumatic brain injury) and associated facial fractures, big scary medical words and numerous brain contusions scrawled in a list form:

"admitted to ICU
sig bleeding, L parietal lobe
central bone fracture
L temporal bone fracture
L frontal, L parietal, L temporal
R midbrain
subdural bleed
L small subdural
epidural hematoma
mandible - R side
intubated b/c can't protect airway
currently sedated
neurosurg on board
meds to reduce pressure"

At some point I asked the doctor point-blank about whether or not I should hop my fear-of-flying-pregnant-ass on a plane and rush to my brother's side, to which he responded, "if it were me, I would, yes."

One of the most salient memories of that time was calling to tell my dad the news of Brian's brain injury. "Nooo, nooo, nooo," my dad wailed. "I just can't figure out why I can't seem to protect my family."

In grade school, I was terrified of being kidnapped. And then along came Polly - Polly Klaas, that is - and her terrifying murder. My fears burgeoned, with the awareness that I could not only be taken, but taken in the MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT, from my HOME, and during a SLUMBER PARTY no less. For a while I told myself that "god" wouldn't let me get kidnapped because my parents had already endured the death of a child. As if their previous tragedy insulated my family from future threats. This was often the thing I hung on to in the middle of the night, difficulty falling back asleep, afraid of bad dreams and bad people. As I got older - aware of my mom's battles with cancer, of the parental difficulties related to having a teenaged son on drugs and living on the streets, and later the death of my mom - I started to wonder if, in fact, my family might be cursed. The fact that used to aid my security had since turned into a reason that things would always go awry, that the other shoe - and there will be one - will always drop. I could see why my dad might feel as though he couldn't protect us.

I was on the first flight I could book to Rhode Island and from the airport called my supervisor at the VA to tell them I wasn't able to start my fellowship/job on Monday after all - an ironic twist of faith, the person with a brain injury who most needed my help was my own brother. As noted, I am a fearful flyer, and rely heavily on both the intake and the possession of drugs such as Xanax and Klonopin. However, baby-growers have not been approved for these medications, so I had to embark on not only a transcontinental flight - but a cross-country flight for an emergency - sans anti-anxiety meds. I sat next to a very nice older woman on the plane who, aware of my sniffles, asked me if I was sick. I informed her that, no, I was not sick, but was in fact crying. My brother was assaulted. I'm worried about my dad. My mom died years ago. I'm just now in my second trimester with my first pregnancy. It doesn't seem fair.

"No one promised it would be," she said, sweetly, patting my leg.

Quite obviously, my "dead mom" issues immediately bubbled to the surface. I wrote that I wanted to wear a sign explaining the state of my emotions, something to the effect of "pregnant, motherless, and headed to visit my brother in the trauma ICU."

I journaled about the grief that reared its ugly head, about "the past that haunts me, and the future that seems harrowing." Reminded of the time, 10 years before, flying in the opposite direction, with Bri by my side, traveling from Rhode Island to Portland to watch my mom die. I worried that now, traveling instead from Portland to Rhode Island, this time alone, wondering if I was also going to have to watch my brother die.

On the plane, I made a list of traits I loved about my brother, of memories that came to mind. I hoped with all hope that the little Bean growing in my belly would get to meet its Uncle B, get to know the man I was privileged to call my brother. Or if he, too, would simply be a name, a story, a figment of the future's past.

Before boarding the plane, Alex rightfully worried about me and our growing family, instructing me to "remember to put on your oxygen mask first, then assist others." I didn't know how long I was leaving for, whether just a day or two, or several.

When I first saw Bri, it was late late at night, and he was sedated and intubated in a trauma ICU room by himself. He looked terrible. Like maybe he was in a coma. Or dead. He was battered and bruised. He only sort of resembled himself.

His girlfriend and colleague had picked me up at the airport and brought me directly to the hospital. I, maybe childishly, brought along a few photographs to place around Brian's bed, in case he were to wake up, to see a familiar face I hoped. Or maybe I brought them for me, for the family support that I had left in Oregon.

Although his girlfriend at the time stayed every single night with Bri in the hospital, I made the effort to "put on my own oxygen mask" and retired each night for sleep in a hotel.

By the time I returned the following day, the tubes had been removed and he was breathing again on his own. He was still more or less bed-ridden, had a "sitter" to help ensure he wouldn't pull out his other tubes and IVs, and was occasionally in restraints.

"Is it your head or your jaw that hurts?" the nurse asked him.
"Ouch," he replied.

The doctors told me they would keep him in the ICU, to continue to monitor him for at least the first 72 hours, worried more about brain swelling than bleeding. I tracked his injuries ("left frontal intraparietal hemorrhage, subdural hematoma, left temporal/maxillary fracture, right mandible fracture"). I noted his Glasgow Coma Scale ("12"), and recorded my impression of each of his neuro checks ("2 p.m., some changes, L droopy eye, difficulty focusing"). His follow-up CT scans were unchanged. He was made NPO (nothing per oral, as in, no food or drink) and slated for jaw surgery that evening.

I spoke with my dad frequently, stressed and sobbing, worried about a possible future as my brother's caregiver. My dad commended me on my bravery. For flying to RI, for supporting Bri. "Bravery is not simply being unafraid, but having fear and heading toward it anyway." He's always been a man of wise words. But I certainly didn't feel brave.

By the third day, I was ready for Bri to be better again, to return to himself. Instead I got an agitated, combative shell of my brother. During the night his girlfriend woke up to him standing next to his bed covered in blood, as he had ripped out all of his tubes. He was once again assigned a "sitter," again ordered to wear a lap belt and wrist restraints.

The jaw surgery didn't happen as planned, and Brian continued to be denied water as we continued to wait. This particularly upset him. "Why can't you give me any of that shit?" "I got it last time I was here." "What the fuck?!? They let me drink it last time. I just need to finish the joint." Talk of thirst and hunger dominated conversation.

Later in the day, he first started to be able to answer orientation questions - about where he was, the date, why he was in the hospital. Occasionally he would even answer correctly, but mostly he said weird stuff.

What's today's date?
"Day and a half after yesterday."

Where are you?
"I need to go back to our place, in Telluride."

How would you get there?
"Same way as yesterday."

His confusion continued well into the night.

"I just want to go home."
Where's home?
You live in BI now, Bri.
"That's what I meant."
Where do you work?
"Lotus Petal. Honga."
Bri, you work at the Manisses now. Who do you live with?
"My girlfriend."
Which girlfriend?
"My MAIN one."
What's her name?
"The one who's here."

They relocated him from the ICU to the neuro floor overnight.

Do you know why you're in the hospital?
"I just finished it."
Do you know why you're in the hospital?
"Because I had a couple days off."
Where are you?
"At the wire place."

He hated his new roommate, an elderly man with a severe Rhode Island accent and several demands of his nurses. We repeatedly asked to have Bri transferred to a private room.

The dietitian came to discuss the impact of the upcoming jaw surgery on his diet - full liquids for at least six weeks.

I spoke with the Block Island police chief, informing him about the state of my brother's health, inquiring about legal issues related to the assault. They had arrested the suspect, he was being charged with felony assault, and there was no difficulty proving that he had punched Bri, unprovoked.

Brian continued to be miserable, in pain, and generally confused.
"This sucks."
"Can I please have the dynafite, dynarite, dynamite?"
"I'm gonna lose it."
"It's been one hour but like nine."

I made lists of questions for the neurologist, the physician's assistant, the social worker.

Bri, again, ripped out his IVs to go to the bathroom. He relied on morphine to help with his significant head and jaw pain.

"I hate feeling this sour."

He remained "on call" for his jaw surgery, and I was told he would discharge home from the hospital following surgery. I couldn't imagine taking care of him myself. He was like a 175-pound toddler with a conduct disorder. His girlfriend didn't appear to understand the current situation (uninsured, brain injured) and the potentially lasting ramifications.

The next day, he remained somewhat surly, but also became emotionally labile, apologizing and crying intermittently.

"I can't do this another day."
"Get me out of this booby trap."
"Why are you here?"
"Is your brother here?"
"I want Billy."
"I really miss Alex."
"I'm not gonna make it, it's 1 o clock not 5 o clock. I don't care. Let's just walk around the beach."
"You coming out to BI? Because you didn't last time. That's sad."
"I'm glad you still like me."

During his evaluation with the physical therapist, he required a lot of redirection. When asked his name, he responded about stresses at work, had a difficult time coming up with the date, but was able to more or less participate the throughout the assessment. His language continued to be impaired.

"You're lucky you got me at bedtime. I'm trying to be asleep because I'm pissed off I've been here five days now."
"I think you waited for me to be in the spilled milk."
"I'm in the cootie."
After getting blood pressure measured: "Was that a good number? Did you like it?"

Later that day he was relocated to a single room on the neuro floor. While he slept - the only time he sort of seemed okay - I journaled about my worries:

"Things I'm afraid for:
- anomia/language issues
- continued alcohol use
- decision making and impulsivity
- sense of humor changes
- frustration/anger with self or assailant
- him being far away from me"

Despite my having tried to monitor his cell phone use, we did manage a few visitors. He (mostly) passed his OT assessment. And his SLP assessment was interesting enough for its own blog post at the time. My favorite memory from the whole endeavor - of which I still need to make Bri a t-shirt - was when he was asked to name as many animals as possible in 60 seconds.

"Ancient polar bears. Old VW bus. Vice grip."

When provided with a cue, to name animals on the farm at his restaurant.

"Ox. Lemur. One hat not two hat (camel)."

When being assessed for comprehension, asked both simple and complex yes/no questions, the SLP questioned him: Do pigs fly?

"If you like pigs a lot."

I think my mom would have gotten a kick out of his reply.

At some point he was finally called to get the surgery to wire his jaw shut. He had to sign a bunch of paperwork, and I wondered how they could allow a person who clearly lacked capacity to make such decisions. As if he had a choice. He was a mess as he was coming to, crying and trying to speak, so pissed his mouth wasn't moving the way his brain was telling it to. He kept repeating something to the effect of, "If I had known this is what you would do, I would have never agreed." He blamed me, or so I thought, and felt terribly guilty. If only I had gotten him a hamburger before the surgery.

He continued with significant pain, a hunger that couldn't be satiated by a liquid diet, and said peculiar things.

"I got a weird impact on my teeth. I spent four or five days before they said we need to tie you up for a week."

"I think a lot of my words are gone because I'm glued together."

After 10 days in the hospital, he was finally discharged home, with recommendations for 24/7 supervision. No baths, no driving, no ladders, no bikes, no alcohol, no work. The neurosurgeon cleared him to fly, but my dad and I ultimately agreed that Bri would likely heal better at his own place, and his girlfriend at the time agreed to help care for him. This alone scared the shit out of me - I considered Block Island to be a toxic place, and the fact that my brother was hurt so severely in his home, after bar-close, was further proof of this to me. I worried his friends wouldn't understand. That he would want to drink. That because he more or less seemed like himself (brain injuries are often considered to be "invisible" injuries), his friends would treat him as such. That they would trust his judgment. Defer to his wishes. Think that his only problem was his broken jaw.

My journal is filled with incomprehensible notes about insurance, medicaid, "intractable damage," state and federal unemployment, unemployability, SSI and TDI. I relayed all the bureaucratic and financial information to my dad, as I knew he would be the one handling those components after I escorted my brother back to the island where my dad would soon meet us. I stayed on the island another fews days, making note of the dozens of voicemails, texts, and emails I needed to reply to. Those offering me comfort, those inquiring about my brother, or those related to the job I had yet to begin. I finally returned home, and remember this as the first time I felt a bit of relief throughout the ordeal.

Today, three years after the assault, I still remember those weeks as one of the hardest times of my life, at least of my adult life. I think about how things could have been. I think about how lucky he is, about how lucky I am. How lucky he is to have made a full recovery, with very minimal residual effects (changes in smelling and jaw pain). How lucky he is to have had a family that was able (financially, emotionally, logistically) to run to his side. How lucky he is to have a sister willing to advocate for him in the bureaucracy that is our healthcare system, to be that persistently squeaky wheel, demanding care and information. How lucky that my brother's girlfriend had the idea to call me immediately. How lucky that I was able to be there for him, for me. But mostly, how lucky we are that he is truly fine now, that the B-Love we all know and love is the same person today as he was 3 years and 1 day ago. That he got to meet my Bean the day we returned home from the hospital, flying halfway across the world to meet her. That I got to dance with him at his wedding last month. That I continue to have the brother that I have always adored.

I was already blogging at the time of his injury, so there are posts written from that time, here, here, herehere, here, here, here and here.

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