I grew up in the 1960s and ‘70s in the village I now call home. Our modest house was a bit crowded for my four siblings and me, but we made the best of it. We lived well, but it wasn’t fancy. According to my dad, we had an air conditioner in every room. It’s called a window.
Explore This IssueACEP News: Vol 31 – No 07 – July 2012
The kids were spread out pretty far. My oldest sibling can collect Social Security soon. There is enough space between the first three kids and my next oldest brother and me that it was like having two separate families. Most of my memories growing up involve my parents, my brother, and me.
Pete and I had a great time as youngsters with a lot of neighborhood friends and wonderful family times. The rule was that we could go as far as Talmadge Road as long as we made it home for dinner and back home again by the time the tall, green street lights came on. It wasn’t Mayberry, but it was close. We still have the cleanest two jail cells in Ohio, but no town drunk.
Pete and I lived in separate cities for many years but reconnected when my family moved back here 10 years ago. We became especially close over the past 18 months since his diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.
I have cared for tens of thousands of patients, but I didn’t really know how to be fully present with someone who is ill until now. This is a gift from my brother.
I have coordinated quite a bit of his care and helped with explaining all the things that can be so difficult for patients and families to understand. I tried to offer as much emotional support and encouragement as I could. I was half doctor, half cheerleader.
I had hoped that his doctors would take a more active role in coordinating his care but was disappointed. I arranged the second surgical opinion, multiple procedures, and diagnosed his cholecystitis after two visits to the cancer center. I was happy to do it and sometimes wonder if this is the true reason I found my way back home.
He did very well after the first series of aggressive chemotherapy. It bought him a year with his wife and two teenagers. I had no expectations of a cure. The next two series did little but cause suffering. This spring a cancerous catabolic cascade made him age 30 years in a month. We went away for a week, and it was like we returned in a time machine.