First Chapter: The Blood of My Brothers
I was lying on my back on a table in a hospital room and I don’t remember seeing anything. Absolutely nothing. I remember hearing a commotion to the left of me, seems like people were rushing out of the room and into the room. Someone was holding my right arm down, holding it between my shoulder and my elbow. I knew I couldn’t move my right arm because this person was so strong and I was young, not even four years old. However, I was able to fight the people holding my left arm down. They were struggling and I could hear their voices as my arm squirmed under their grip. And I finally saw something above me. A grey cloud, small and round near the ceiling of the room. It was the only thing I remember seeing. And within the cloud was a small white light. I stared at it and I lost all will to fight. I was transfixed and calm and even if I wanted to fight I couldn’t because my will was no longer in control. I could hear the two people to the left of me talking.
“What is he looking at”, asked one woman.
“I don’t know, but I’m glad he quit fighting us”, replied the other.
It was many years later when I was a teenager when my mother explained to me that I was so sick the physician had decided to do a transfusion. The medicine they had tried was not keeping my fever down. There were only so many treatment options in the early 1960’s. They didn’t know what was causing my extremely high fever, an allergic to some peanuts, an infection, they had run out of ideas and they decided on a complete blood transfusion. My oldest sister, Carmie, fourteen years older than me, asked her boyfriend to get some friends to donate blood. One after another they came to the hospital to donate blood that would save my life.
“You almost died that day”, my Mother would tell me years later. “You pulled the needle out of your neck while they were doing the transfusion”, she added. I imagined the blood spilling out of my neck. The blood of my brothers.
“I still remember Dr. Bryce running down those stairs and walking up to your Dad, he was so scared”, she explained.
“We almost lost him, but he’s going to be Ok”, said Dr. Bryce. My father almost lost his only son. My parents had four girls in a row and my Dad was desperately wanting a boy. We were all born in that hospital, St. Joseph’s Hospital in Parkersburg, West Virginia. We were all delivered by Dr. Bryce and I remember him to this day.
I had no brothers. My parents stopped after me. And I still think of those boys that donated blood as being my brothers even though I don’t remember any of them.
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