Friday, December 19, 2008

Holiday Herbal Gift Series #19 - I'm cheating today

I found a great source for instructions for 3 items that can be made just a day or two prior to the big gift day, and they'll be ready. You can learn to make Bath Bombs, Sugar Scrubs, and Glycerin Soap

I need to cheat today and use someone else's instructions. It isn't because we're in the middle of a big holiday rush here. It isn't because I'm too busy baking cookies or wrapping gifts... in fact our family has decided to celebrate sometime next month. The pressure was making us crazy, and other than the fact that solstice is on an exact date and time, everything else is pretty much a made up, arbitrarily chosen date. We'll just choose our own this year.

Our brother is in the hospital. Right now, he probably has some medical staffer in his room laughing. That is his goal these days, to make the people taking care of him laugh. It's as close to control as he can get right now.

Last year about this time, my brother who is afflicted with liver disease moved into the family commune. He lives in my house. It was not a pleasant adjustment for either one of us. We'd both been living on our own for years and didn't want to make room for anyone else. However, it needed to be. We've been able to find a delicate balance that allows us both to feel like we have our own homes and some privacy.

He's on a liver transplant list and needs to be looked after. He hates to admit that, but knows it to be true.

In Chinese medicine, the liver is the seat of health. It stands to reason then that a sick liver is a very bad thing. Let me witness that. It is a very bad thing. The number of ailments that spring from a sick liver are astounding, and it reminds me of when we were little, trying to build dams over the creeks near the house with sticks and rocks... how the water always got through and we'd patch and patch, and it would still get through.
Everything is affected by the health of the liver. No matter how many patches we make, something new keeps coming up and making him sicker.

Of course, on the transplant list you lead a double wish-life. On the one hand, it is horrible to watch a loved one continue to get sicker, but on the other you know that he won't get a transplant (at least with the liver) until he reaches a certain level of illness. And in between all of that, there is also the knowledge that perhaps there will be no liver and perhaps he will be too sick to receive it if they find one.

This year I've watched my brother withstand some things that none of us ever thought people would or should survive, and keep going with a smile on his face and optimism in his heart. He is the eternal optimist. Not having his stomach tapped of fluid several times, nor an infection of that fluid, nor gigantic hernias, nor renal failure, nor pneumonia, nor nosebleeds, nor rashes, nor encephalopathy can keep him down. Not giving up driving nor his beloved Harley stops him. He makes me laugh every single day. Sometimes he doesn't intend to make me laugh, it just happens.

A year ago I resented the hell out of this man in my living space. Right now, I think he's my hero. He's taught me an awful lot this year. I hope Santa will bring him a shiny new liver. If not Santa, we can hold out for the Easter Bunny...or if there's a Tooth Fairy, maybe there's a Liver Fairy too!


Maryanne said...

Wow! I know it's been hard on you both and am so glad things are somewhat better between you now - Who ever would have thought John would wind up to be our hero? Meanwhile... thanks, I guess I needed a good cry! Love ya...

Rosemary said...

Your candor and humor in this post are refreshing. Sending love and strength to you and your brother, and your entire family, this holiday season!

Just Me said...

I'm crying now. It's all so familiar already and we're only just beginning the journey.