It’s September 11, 2013, about 11 PM. I’ve made an emergency trip all the way from Arizona where I was filming to my birth state, Wisconsin. I am deeply stressed and exhausted from the rushed trip after my nephew called in early Sedona AM to tell me my brother might be dying of bleeding ulcers and loss of blood.
I gaze in wonder around the Kenosha ER where my little brother’s life hangs by a thread is a Catholic run hospital. So I suppose I should not be surprised to see many of the ER staff praying for my brother to pull through. I am spiritual but no longer a Catholic. Nonetheless, I am deeply touched and feel the ER staff’s prayers are of great help keeping my brother alive.
I am asked by my brother’s surgeon of his first surgery that’s failed as the ulcers are wicked, a Dr. Needle, to be at my brother’s side amidst the sea of crash cart personnel. Dr. Needle is not a fictitious name, but one so contrived it made me think for a split second that I might be dreaming all this somehow as part of one of my screenplays. This doctor looks a lot like Kevin Spacey. It’s all freaky. When writing I often dream of my stories in great detail. It’s what makes me a unique writer. I once wrote a story set on 9/11 about a shut down of all American air space… but that was four years before the fateful disaster.
My brother’s irregular and rapid heartbeats on the clanging monitors snap me back to harsh reality. A short blonde nurse, who a few minutes ago had been telling me I was worrying over nothing — when suddenly we discovered my brother’s two ulcers had ruptured from his first near death experience in a cauterization, bathing his bed in thick clotted black blood — is in charge.
Dr. Needle warns, even sounding like Kevin Spacey’s no-nonsense manner, “Even if the ER team can stabilize your brother — odds are he’s going to die from lack of blood — he must go straight into surgery for stitches to sew his bleeding ulcers shut. The ulcers erupted from alcohol addiction combined with Excedrin. Your brother must have used Excedrin to deal with massive hangovers.”
Dr. Needle went onto warn me further, “If your brother survives this, the surgery, the coma he must never drink again or he’ll end up right back here. And next time, I doubt we can save him.”
The young nurse shouts, ” We’re losing him! Where’s the blood?”
My brother’s body racks in a seizure from a near total lack of blood. Plasma is keeping him alive but he is slipping away as clock keeps ticking away. I can feel him going to the light. “Wait!” I say tearfully to my contorting brother straining at his bed restraints in agony, “Stay with us, bro. Your son is on his way here. Don’t leave without him getting to say goodbye.”
At last, for what seemed an eternity, the much-needed blood cart arrives. The blood runner gives the precious red to the short young attending nurse. She struggles to insert the needle into the feed. Her gloves are slippery from the plasma work and it’s not happening. I see all this in a flash and shout to another nurse, “Get her some fresh gloves!” The staff anxiously complies but now the young nurse struggles to get fresh gloves on.
It’s maddening as my brother’s life force teeters on extinction. My spirit guides tell me silently, “This is the moment of passing for your brother unless he gets blood now. Be calm and you will help save him. He has important work to do. Save him.” Time slows as I watch the young nurse fight to get the fresh rubber glove onto her right hand.
My mind flashes back to my brother and I in Vegas to visit our 80-something mother for Thanksgiving 2012. My brother angrily downs one beer after another in a constant flow. I worry he’s not even getting high. This means his tolerance was so high he’s alcoholic mode. Self-medication is what the recovery experts call this. We both suffered a horrible childhood at the hand of an abusive father, only I had rejected booze and drugs, choosing therapy and meditation to calm my shot nerves. My brother barely speaks to me on my brief visit on the way to Antarctica. He seems jealous of my adventure and does not spare me even a little donation for the expensive trip. This is not like him at all.
Time snaps back to the real-life ER show as the short young nurse hops up and down trying to get the blood insert into the IV cart. “Someone, please lower the cart for her!” I bark again, the brotherly visitor now in charge of the panicked ER team.
I need to buy my brother time as my spirit guides have warned me, This blood infusion going very badly. I don’t want a malpractice lawsuit. I want my brother back. My brother, only 18 months my junior, and I were raised like twins. He has a strange reflection he does of my life, being up while I am down and down when I am up. I’ve been working for the past year on ending that connection with him. Telling him my success does not mean his failure or my failure his success. To let go of all that. I say to my brother telepathically. “Alright, brother. One last time I will reflect you. I am going to take myself down health-wise to balance you up. Take my energy.” Instantly my brother begins to stabilize on the monitors. He lack of blood seizure abates some. I’ve bought my brother a few extra minutes of life. I feel drained but happy to have enabled my brother to live. A few months later I will get sick with walking pneumonia, my first illness in over five years, the price for saving a brother.
At last a taller nurse lowers the IV rack. Finally the short nurse gets the replacement blood was flowing into my brother. Life signs instantly improve on the monitors more. We’ve all done it. He’s rapidly stabilizing the seizure is over.
I see my nephew, my brother son’s worried face in the ER hallway. I leave the crowded ER room to comfort my horrified nephew.
My nephew’s handsome face is filled with worry as I step into the hall. I give him the Sheetz family bear hug and tell him, “Your dad’s a fighter but not out of the woods yet. He’s going straight into surgery for stitches. The cauterization surgery didn’t hold.”
At that moment my brother’s best pal, local auto repair shop owner and Kenosha alderman joins us. “Came as fast as I could.” I repeat the explanation about my brother’s condition. “Feel like I was just here, ” he says referring to my brother’s first near death and surgery just two days ago.
My brother’s best friend rapidly fills in some gaps, “Your brother was in bad shape when I got him here. He called me in the middle of the night and said he was bleeding out his ass and it wouldn’t stop. I got to his apartment and it was a mess. Empty beer cans, Excedrin, Pepto Bismal everywhere. He was afraid to go to a hospital because he’s been unemployed so long his insurance ran out. I told him, fuck that, if the ER room is good enough for the Mexicans and Blacks (he used the N word, still popular in old school racist Wisconsin), it’s good enough for you. So after some hassle I got him here. He wasn’t himself in the ER waiting room. He tossed a water bottle at a freaking nurse!” My brother’s buddy, a tough Italian who carved out a life in a tough town, looked shaken. He only knew my post 1990 recovery brother, not the abusive character my brother devolves into with the gateway of drugs and booze.
I recall how my brother had been slipping away for a few weeks. This after he’d been claiming a spirit awakening and speaking to angels and ETs like I do. Only the spirits he described sounded dark, perhaps even demonic. His was a dark awakening. My brother, with no skills at meditation or past therapy, was channeling the dark side of the awakening of humanity. All this dark energy pouring through my brother was ripping him apart. So the account of my brother’s pal fit. I had chewed my brother out for calling me drunk in the middle of the night just a few days before his bleeding ulcers sent him to this hospital.
I share my observations about my brother’s dark awakening with my nephew and my brother’s best pal and how I helped him survive long enough for the transfusion with Reiki energy, I am a trained Reiki master who does planetary healing after all, and the pair of Wisconsinites look at me like I may be as crazy as my brother. “I am not in Sedona anymore, Toto,” I tell myself and make a note to cloak the rest of my talks in Wisconsineese on this healing mission to save a brother.
Now here we all were, a broken family and friends converging on this hospital to encourage my brother to live on. For the past twenty years of being clean and sober my brother had been the glue holding the family together. This despite his epic fall into jail and booze and drugs in the 80s. My brother had regained all of trust of the Sheetz family despite his crazy behaviors that had terrified us all those years ago. My brother’s 1992 recovery is a thing of the distant past. The abusive drug crazed brother of the 1980’s was back, mixed with a twisted 21st century dark awakening, is on his way into surgery for two bleeding ulcers. I find myself wishing there were also a Catholic exorcist on hand. The smell of evil is as strong as my brother’s clotted blood soaked bed in the air.
END PART TWO
To be continued…