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Sunday, August 25, 2013

You Don't Buy Chai Tea, You Rent It

My sister has stayed with my brother the last two nights. I stayed home and tended to my dad's needs. Yesterday I brought my dad out to see Ben. He talked to Ben and told the nurse stories. Ben's nurse had been in the air force so he listened very kindly to my dad's stories of WWII.

I'm not sure how much my dad is understanding about what is going on. One minute he is very aware that his son is very sick. The next minute he refers to Ben as his brother. Not just mixing up his name, but really believing he is his brother. He has several times said that if Don, meaning Ben, passes away, that that will leave him the last one. The last one of what, I'll ask. The last one of the old people. The last one of "his" family. I try to remind him that Ben is his son, not his brother. Sometimes it takes, others it doesn't. Maybe Dad is protecting himself from the hurt by believing that it is Uncle Don in that bed, rather than his son. He knows, it is very possible, that the person in the bed may never come back. He just is very confused as to who that person is.

I got to the hospital today and bought an iced chai tea and headed up to the fifth floor where my brother lay fighting the battle for his life. When I got to his room, the electrodes for the EEG had been removed. That machine was out of the room. He was still moaning and still reaching to the sky. I thought once or twice he was trying to make words through his moans. Wishful thinking I'm sure. I talked to him. Told him the goings on of family members. Told him how excited his grand niece was to start preschool. I reminded him that he needed to be here to watch his nephew's upcoming excursion into fatherhood. I thought I saw a glimmer of response, was it real or coincidental?

My brother is a techy. He loves just about anything there is to do with technology. He built the website for his church, St.George's. He is very proud of the site and very possessive of it. He works hard on it. I'm pretty sure most if not all of the photos on the site were taken by him. A friend of his from church told me that every now and then he would offer Ben a photo for the site, Ben would politely say no for one reason or another. He apparently wanted the work to all be his. 

Ben loves his computers. He knows how to fix about anything on a computer. If he was told he had to give up either his books or his computers to survive, he'd probably choose not to survive. 

This all being said, Ben, has a flip phone. Yes, a flip phone. The only reason that he has that is because his previous phone, a model from 1988, fell in the toilet. Ben will trudge around carrying a huge computer, his iPod and his cell phone everywhere he goes, rather than buy a smartphone. 

In February when my father was having gallbladder surgery Ben was lugging all of those things with him throughout the hospital. The computer is not a light thing to carry. I don't remember how the subject came up, but we got onto the subject of smart phones. "I don't need a smartphone," he said, holding up his phone from 1922, "this one works just fine."

I looked at him. I looked at my sister. I looked back at Ben and his collection of stuff all around him. I held up my iPhone and said, "see all of that stuff all around you, that heavy computer, that iPod, that phone. I have all of that stuff, RIGHT HERE!" 

He looked at me, with the ever famous I know more than you look he has, "but if I want to edit a photo for the St. George's web site, I can't do it on that." 

I sighed, looked at my sister, and sat back in my chair. There was no winning this one. 

The Father from the local church came by again today. He said a prayer for healing. I thought I saw a little spark of my brother come through while he was here. It is just so hard to tell.

When the Father left I went to the bathroom for the fiftieth time. One thing good about drinking chai tea, you get your exercise.

Ben sometimes seems to listen intently to his music that I keep playing next to him. Especially prayers, and chants. Once in a while he seems to try to chant along. Then returns to moaning. I keep the music going, and hope that at some point his moans will turn into chants.


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