Welcome home

We spent several hours in the emergency room that night. It was pretty surreal. I’m looking at my brother, closely, for the first time in 10 years but not in a sibling way.I’m looking at him like he’s my patient. Assessing his breathing, watching the monitor, asking questions about the tests he’s having and then asking about the results.

They are all interested in his time in China and the work-up he had there but everything is in Chinese or questionably translated into English to my brother who has no medical training. So all the tests get repeated. CT Scan, Chest Xray, ultrasound of his neck and heart, EKG, Swallow study and the most important test of all-laryngoscopy and biopsy.

My brother continues to hold on to the hope that the translator “got it wrong” or that “tumor” means something different in  Chinese. He vacillates between saying the breathing that sounds like Darth Vader is just a sinus infection or a really bad sore throat.

After they do all the tests and in a roundabout way confirm his diagnosis, they realize he has no insurance. While they acknowledge that he needs chemo-as soon as possible-he will have to go to a doctor that will start that expensive treatment on a patient who is “medicaid pending”. Discharge papers were ready when I went to visit him on the 3rd day.

But we have a secret plan, we had discussed this prior to his arrival and just got sidetracked by the CPR on the kitchen floor.

My brother is a veteran. Back to plan A-off to the VA.

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