Brother-in-Log Days 6-8

The last few days have been kind of blur and all run together. Being a 24 hour caregiver is exhausting. When Brother first got here, he was very confused. They said it was from the ammonia on his brain because his liver legit does not work. I know I write about things in a way that makes it seem like I either don’t care or that I have it under control, but in this particular case, I care too much and have nothing under control. And when I say I care too much, I don’t mean about Brother.  I care about Flea Market Guy. I care that he wants to help his brother. I care that he wants to make a difference in his brother’s life. I care that he wants to finally be the big brother he could never be because he was drunk all the time. Now he’s sober and we are finally happy and we have taken on this huge responsibility and it is putting stress on our relationship. And it’s literally all because of one little drug. Well, not all, but mostly. I know that I shouldn’t worry about it because it’s prescribed by his psychiatrist but it’s not a drug that he was meant to stay on forever. And his primary care doctor said he should not even be on a full dose right now because of his liver. Now, a normal, more responsible person…a person who almost died of liver failure ten days ago… a person who has young children who he hasn’t been able to help raise because he’s been a drug addict for the last five years, might take this chance to go above and beyond and do everything in his power to get clean and get healthy and put himself in a position of empowerment.

And maybe I am being too hard on him since he has literally only been sober for 20ish days. And I mean sober from alcohol. He’s still on buprenorphine which is an opioid used to treat opioid addiction. Which means he’s still high every day. He doesn’t think he’s high, because he can’t remember the last time he was sober. And the denial runs so deep. And I feel like I am almost at my limit.

I have these moments where the empathetic person I usually am wears off and I become not only un-empathetic, I become un-sympathetic and it’s not a place where I like to reside very often because when I get there, I can be mean. Not even borderline mean, but just downright-hurt-your-feelings-mean. And I had a moment today.

The last few days have been very long. I’ve listened to brother re-tell stories of his glory days and his past. A place where he likes to live. But he does not or cannot recall the last five or so years. And of course I feel bad. He had a great job working for the government making over $100k a year. He got injured. Got prescribed pain pills. Became addicted. Started stealing from his job. Got caught. Had to pay the consequences via restitution and probation. Lost his wife. Spiraled out of control because he loves her to death. Literally. He thinks he cannot live without her. Started drinking after she left him on top of taking pills. Finally decided to get off the pills or so his family thought, went to a psychiatrist to get the buprenorphine and has been taking it and recreational pills and alcohol all while telling everyone he is not drinking or taking anything besides the psychiatrist prescribed opioid. But his story is not unique. Lots of people get stuck in that rut. Lots of people spiral and go down the opioid road. And lots of those people have no support system. If and when they get clean, they usually do it alone or have to find support elsewhere.

Brother has literally had more support even after all the stupid shit he has done than probably anyone on the planet. He’s stolen from his family. He’s not shown up for his kids. He’s lied. He’s been a real piece of shit human and they keep trying to love him. They keep giving him the benefit of the doubt. They keep trying to help him even if the line between help and enabling is a fine one. They just keep doing… And Flea Market Guy, now that he is sober, wanted to finally give it a shot. So of course I’m on board. I love him and I would literally try to help him do anything he wanted to do, because he would do the same for me. And so here we are.

Today we had an appointment with the Gastrointestinal specialist and then with an outpatient rehab program. His bloodwork is still in bad shape. He’s not critical and needing to stay in the hospital, but his levels are not good. His bilirubin is still 30 even though it is down from the 33 of last week, but he’s sick. And he could still die. He’s still yellow. His eyes are still yellow. He’s still taking medicine so he can shit 5 times a day so the bilirubin can get out of his system. And yet, with all of that, he’s vaping and still wants to drink cokes. And he says, “I’m doing everything you all have asked of me, I should be able to have a coke. I’m not smoking, my psychiatrist said I could have nicotine.” And it reminds me of a spoiled brat who always gets his way and so I went a little off the handle….

(To Be Continued….)

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