Since my last actual blog posting, prior to my 9/11 post, I believe it was May 3, 2021, my brother, Joseph, lost his battle with small-cell cancer. I was silent and did not blog about this experience, however much I wanted to. I should have, maybe. But I did not want to bring others down, or appear to act like we were all the only ones going through it. Or that he was the only one dying. Truth is, really, that if I did post it here and made it public, it would be true then. Facing his loss in silence might just make it go away. The truth actually was – if I had shared my experiences, maybe it would’ve been helpful to not just me, but anyone else suffering the losing of anyone they loved. And another real truth…I thought about at the time…was why am I moaning? After all, I was not the one dying. I did not know what to do.
Joe died about two months short of his 57th birthday. He could not take the treatments he needed to extend his life with any quality due to he had Rheumatoid Arthritis. It was explained that the immunotherapy he needed would severely cripple him if the RA was not in remission. He was able to take the treatment once due to the RA was in remission. But the treatments caused the RA to make a comeback, thereby being a main cause of his death. He fought this, and I could do nothing to help him. I just did what I could to take other burdens from him. I focused on what I could aid him with, or what I could fix, to make life easier for him so he could concentrate on other things. I think it helped him a small bit. He told other people that it did, and that he was grateful and he “didn’t know what I would’ve done without her.” That’s what I was told. It makes me feel better that I was able to do something to ease his burdens, since I could not save his life.
My brother worked his whole adult life as a commercial truck driver. 18-wheelers mostly. He had good jobs, decent pay and usually had perks and benefits with most of these jobs. But, when he could not work any longer – which was immediately at the time of his diagnosis. He was already sick for a long time before it got to where he could not close the doors of a container; even turn the large steering wheel. Well, he ended up on state benefits for the 11 months he lived after. Blue Cross Blue Shield, who I will call out right here, gave him few options for his treatments. Always denying, denying, fighting, fighting. But not fighting for my brother who paid taxes and worked his whole life. No they fought AGAINST his doctors and his treatments. I hate that company. Trash. I often wished I was a millionaire so that I could have taken my brother to a place like Cancer Treatments Centers of America, or even just over to Rush. I do not feel that the care he got at the medical system he was in was so great either. My brother was very ill the last week he lived. He had symptoms his girlfriend – who he lived with – could not find reason for. She called and called the cancer doctor. Over and over again. She got nothing from them at first. Then doctor said — there’s no reason for a particular symptom he was having. And that was it.
Well, yes there was – it was liver cancer. The day of his last cancer doctor office appointment, he ended up going to the emergency room, being admitted and dying two days later. Of course, there would have really been nothing they could have done during the week before. But, WTF! Sometimes, I think maybe it was better that he never knew what hit him. But, I know. I remember. I will remember forever.
Joe’s cancer was diagnosed in early June 2020 and he was told by his cancer doctor that it was absolutely cause from smoking cigarettes. Our story as siblings is a long one, but in short he was estranged from me and some other family for over two years. It does not matter at this point whose fault it originally was, but we all had chances to fix it and did not take those chances. Everyone is guilty, so let us just let it go at that. In the end, for the last year of his life, we were together. That’s what mattered most.
He was ill for quite some time before he was diagnosed. Thereby giving him a lesser chance of better treatments for a longer life with quality. He and his doctors attempted to fight this disease as it spread throughout his body. They were successful at shutting it down with chemo and radiation each time it hit somewhere, or some strange seemingly non-cancerous lesion showed up in a place. The cancer started in his lungs, and they got rid of it; it never returned there. Small-cell is just everywhere. It travels all around like a train running full-speed ahead with nothing to stop it, and only, and just maybe, able to slow it down here and there at a curve. It just keeps rolling, boldly, during the light of day, even right smack-dab at high noon…like a villainous gunslinger. You can just barely catch up to it, but you can never get in front of that filthy bitch.
Due to not being able to get life-extending immunotherapy, liver cancer took him out. The toxins crushed him and destroyed his body in a short few days. The day my brother died, hospice was supposed to come to the hospital to care for him. The cancer doctor wanted him to have in-hospital hospice. Well, the hospice called on to care for him did not take his stupid, worthless state-issued Medicaid Blue Cross – that insurance not accepted anywhere, by anyone who could have truly helped him during the last year of his life.
So, in the last hours of his death, starting at about 5pm on Friday, 05/21/21, his long-time girlfriend looked at me and my sister, and our mother, and said, “Well, it looks like we’re hospice.” It upset us all at first. But as the minutes rolled on, we would not have had it any other way. The hospital staff at Christ Hospital took good care of him in his final hours, and I commend them – the nurses who made his dying easier. I wish that I could describe to you what my brother went through that night. All I can say is that if you smoke – stop! And, while my brother was not a drinker, I’d recommend that if you drink too much. Stop it! It was so horrific I nearly had a nervous breakdown. Our then 85 year old mother, now 86, watched her only son dying and could not do anything about it. Do not let your parents or children see you die like that. Stop smoking! It was awful to see.
My father died in 10/2000. He went peacefully. Without moving. Without sound. Not my brother. I was NOT expecting this horror. I learned then that not all of us will go peacefully or quietly into the night…or day…or winter…or summer.
Our mother was tired, and after the medical staff calmed my brother’s body down, I took Mom home. Traveling at night with little traffic, the hospital is only about 20 minutes from our house. I was only gone a little more than 45 when he left us. I was on my way back to the hospital, unaware of what was happening there as I raced back. I made a right turn and then there it was. The smell of stale cigarettes on a hot summer day. It caught me off guard and then I recall saying aloud, “No. Wait for me.” But he did not wait, as by the time the spirit visits us, the body has stopped working.
When I arrived back to the hospital room, he was still. Our sister and Joe’s girlfriend were just sitting there, quiet. They told me the staff was in to check him once but thought they heard vital signs. Then the charge nurse came in soon after I arrived, and then went to get a doctor. Doctor came in and looked at the clock. She checked him for several minutes, then called his time of death at 11:11pm, 05/21/21. And I will never be the same.
I wrote the following poem quickly to read at Joe’s graveside during his funeral. I have tweaked it a bit since, but I will share it here. It might not make sense to you, but it does to me.
I will miss you, Joe, for the rest of my life. Until we meet again…….
SUMMER CAME EARLY
(a tribute to my brother, Joe: August 20, 1964 – May 21, 2021)
Born in the summer
Summer turned into spring
Spring imitated summer
Because summer was really not meant to be
In among the daylight
Daylight out by dusk
Dusk turned into a balmy night
When spring imitated summer
Out before daylight
Light up among the stars
Stars shine bright
In the balmy spring night
Night be damned
Damned be the light of day
Day of the passing of a summer’s star
Star gone by quickly
Too quickly burned out
Gone out to light up
Up before the stars
Star amidst the galaxy
Galaxy of stars of that balmy spring night
Born in the summer
Summer stolen by spring
Spring then imitated summer
Because summer was really not meant to be
Copyright 2021 Wanda S. Paryla
My big brother, Joe, and I – January 2021.
20 years. I still weep.
WARNING: POSSIBLE FOUL LANGUAGE AND STRONG POLITICAL OPINIONS AHEAD…
I have not been to my blog in, oh, so long. I did not abandon it purposely, but as I noted in some previous blog posts, I had some health and medication issues which prevented my from writing and keeping my mind on reading books, etc. It was a long battle, and the doctor took me off that medication a year ago. It’s been a long journey back, especially while on the road to resolve, bam!, fricking Covid-19 invited itself into our lives. That Asshat popped up and just took us when we were already down…and heading for out.
It was not just going on here in the USA, but issues plagued the World. Each country with their own. Then, here She came, Covid-19. I refer to Covid-19 as a She. No one or no thing has killed so indiscriminately than She in a very long time.
Let me concentrate on the USA. We had Trump. Now I usually do not wax political on WordPress at all or get involved in political blogs here, and I never have on my blog before with the exception of maybe a fleeting word. I have on my personal Facebook and also on Twitter. Another reason behind my abandoning writing and this blog has to do with the severe depression that the Trump administration’s failure and disinterest in the American public caused in my life. I swear if I could sue Trump for it, I would. I am not adding Trump and his disgusting attitude here to start controversy, arguments or anything else. So if anyone tries to engage me in such…I will not respond. So don’t bother to rant. I am not a Trump fan, he is a disgusting failure and I wish we could wipe out his failure of a presidency. All he ever did was spread hate, inequality, and anger.
I was so dead set again Trump regaining Office, I would have voted for Kanye West first before seeing Trump in Office. I’m not kidding. Kanye West, Snoopy, Scooby, Shaggy, Ben Stiller, Jack the Ripper. I don’t give a crap. Anyway, that foolish person’s fool is gone now.
Not right on Election night, but the night after, I went to bed without taking an anti-acid pill. However, it still took until after the Election fiasco of counting and counting, and recounting and recounting, listening to Trump’s foul, mealy mouth cry like a whiny creep, and the constant beating dead horses and the waking sleeping dogs for me to finally get a good night’s sleep. One thing I cannot stand, is a male who acts like an inky-binky-dinky-titty-baby.
But, hell…he’s GONE. And i pray to every God in history he never returns to the Oval Office. He is pathetic excuse for a human. Putin’s best bud. I don’t really blame Putin…he likes male cowards he can bitch-slap.
Well, in the meantime, at the Capitol, we had those anti-Americans nearly destroy our beautiful Capitol. Running around, dressed up like clowns and soldiers, screaming and hollering…and assaulting, even killing, the police they and their bitch-slapped leader claimed to revere. Oh, wait…no they only enjoy police who choke the life out people like George Floyd, not those who serve and protect equally – whether they like it or not. To Hellz those cops, right? That’s what they think: Screw those police that do their jobs as best they can in the correct manner.
But, I won’t stay on that subject because I could speak on it all day. In the meantime, we have a president now that makes some sense and speaks in complete sentences, as one should and doesn’t make up words like a First Grader. Biggly…bigly…bigley…you dumbarse. Enter V.P Harris. She was my first choice for president at the start. I know some people will not agree with Biden’s choice of choosing her as a running mate, but I am glad. Again, I am not posting my position on that here for debate.
We got rid of Trump…who did not give an f*ck about us, or anyone else in the World. All he did was take vacations to play golf on tax payer money. Again, not up for debate. He did very, very, very little presidential work. Pence and Melania Trump were probably making most of the decisions.
So, Pfizer created a vaccine and Trump touted he is responsible…solely and only him…for the creation of that vaccine. Of course, that was after he addressed a top doctor, live on television, stating that maybe we should inject or ingest bleach (or whatever that nonsense was…).
I did not try to drink bleach…which, by the way, all bleach brands that I’ve ever encountered has a note on them advising not to ingest, and other warnings. I am educated and can read. Also, even if I could not read, I would not have attempted to drink bleach or inject it. Lucky for me, those Pfizer people created a vaccine swiftly. Next was Moderna, next Trump got the hell out of office, and then Mom got the Moderna. A couple months later, I received Pfizer. I was considered Essential and was eligible in Phase 1B and I am in the high risk category, but waited for elderly and those of more risk that I to get vaccination. I received my second Pfizer does on April 21. I rarely go out and stay at home a lot…unfortunately…this is mentally hard. I have to protect myself in order to protect others. I have been working from home since 03/19/2020.
I guess some people, especially those still milling over whether to get a Covid-19 vaccine, might be wondering if Mom or I had any side effects or symptoms after either vaccination. Mom, who is 85 years old, took Moderna. On her first dost, she got chills about 6 hours after the vaccine. They last literally like 5 minutes. After that she had zero issues. She did not even have soreness at the injection site or arm discomfort as is known to accompany just about any vaccine for many folks. The day after her second injection, she had itching at the injection site. That’s it. Lucky Mom.
I got the Pfizer. Believe it or not…I was glad to due to Mom getting Moderna. I felt that a mixed-vaccine household would be more effective and protective. No, there’s no science to my knowledge to prove my theory. It’s just my own mind playing with me. It makes sense to me. But, who cares?
About 15 minutes after my first dose of Pfizer, I felt a little light headed. I would compare it to how one might feel being slightly “tipsy” from a couple of drinks. I was still in Walgreen’s where I received the dose. Seeing how all this Covid-19 stuff is still new to us all, I waited my 15 minutes to be safe. The tipsy feeling came and went within a minute’s time. I did not feel anything else afterwards, except a bit of soreness at the injection site which was gone within 24 hours. I received my vaccine at about 12:30pm on a Wednesday. I woke up the next morning with a sore tonsil. I have this rebel tonsil on the right that is slightly larger than the left and whenever I get some upper respiratory issue, or a chest cold, or Flu, things settle in it and it becomes sore and/or inflamed first. When I woke up Thursday morning, I thought I’d been snoring and that is why the tonsil was sore, as this happens to me sometimes as well. But by 10-am the left tonsil was sore too. Now mind you, this was not a sore throat, it was my tonsils not my actual throat. The soreness was nagging but not terribly uncomfortable. I could talk, eat and drink without issue. It was just more annoying than anything. I kept this slight aggravation Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I had no other symptoms until Saturday about Midday. I got a headache and found I had a fever that reached 99.8 and stayed there for a couple hours. Then it went to 100. About 30 minutes after I logged that temperature, a coolness came over me. The headache and sore tonsils just literally disappeared. My temperature dropped to normal. I felt like nothing had been wrong at all! It was a very strange experience. I also never took any acetaminophen (like Tylenol). When I received the injection, the pharmacist instructed to not take an NSAID (like Advil or Aleve). I never took any pain medicine or fever reducer.
Now, before receiving my first Pfrizer dose, I had four other vaccines between October 2020 and February 2021: Influenza, 1st Shingles vaccine, 2nd Shingles vaccine, and Tetanus. I rarely have side effects or symptoms after Flu vaccines. But I did in October. I am beginning to chalk it up to age progression. The symptoms were not bad. Mostly fatigue and the “feeling” that something was about to happen, but I never got ill. I took the 1st Shingles vaccine in November. I reacted like crazy. My arm was killing me. My armpit area hurt. I got a headache and felt generally sick. The 2nd Shingles found me with complete flu-like symptoms. It was bad. But not as bad as the Tetanus. I thought that Tetanus vaccine was going to kill me. I take Tetanus vaccine when it’s due and never had issues outside of a sore arm and tender arm joints. I saw an animal suffer with Tetanus once.. They could not save the poor thing. I’ll be damned if I’m going to get that shit.
Let me put it this way. Some of these vaccines may have been hard on me, but the possible alternatives could be much worse, even fatal.
So due to how I reacted to the 2nd Shingles dose and the Tetanus, I was afraid that the 2nd Covid-19 dose was going to knock me off my feet. I slept well the night before. I ate a nice breakfast and had a mid-morning snack. These are some of the things to consider when planning to go to get a dose, and it is recommended by medical professionals. Sleep well, and do not go there hungry! Try to be calm. I got no tipsy feeling after the 2nd dose. My arm was barely sore. I got no other symptoms or side effects of the vaccine that time, outside of soreness at the injection site for a day and little fatigue. Yippee!!
Bear in mind, we each can react differently to a vaccine. And, individually our reactions may vary from vaccine to vaccine.
My take on every vaccine I’ve had in the last seven months is this: I’d do it over. I watched my mother suffer with the Shingles over the right side of her head and face. She was struck with it twice in the same area in less than a year of each infection. They left scarring. It looks like her head and forehead were burned and she STILL has terrible nerve pain and takes Gabapentin and sometimes, Tylenol with it. The skin flakes off her scalp where it’s scarred, and her hair is thinned where they struck. Being human, she is still self-conscious of how she looks. She has even cried recently stating how terrible she looks and feels. She got Shingles June or July 2012 the first time, and the 2nd time was probably less than a year later. She’s had the complete Shingles vaccine since.
People misunderstand vaccines. Even the older ones, some of which we no longer take. Like Polio vaccine. I recently had a crazy Trump-supporting, anti-vaxxer say to me after – after I asked her why she and her children have no need to fear Polio right now: “Because we do not live in a filthy country, drinking dirty water.” Really? Wow. And that dirty water comment – she should talk to the folks over in Flint, MI, about that. She has little chance of catching Polio in the USA because of the vaccine – which is no longer used here. Wide-spread vaccination eradicated it in this nation. There has not been an original case of Polio in the USA since about 1979. Polio has been eradicated from most World continents with the exception of a few, Asia being among them. Wise up, people!! Seriously.
Measles was also declared eradicated in the USA in 2000, however, international travel causes it to still rear it’s ugly face.
Please note. I do not want any anti-vaccine propaganda posted under this blog post. Vaccines have been proven…well, some beyond a shadow of a doubt proven, to be effective against disease. Anti-vaxxers like to argue ridiculous, petty stuff…. like how they are not getting Polio because they are special and do not drink dirty water. I know three elderly living persons born and raised in the USA and lived in clean households and drank clean water. They all got Polio as children. If you are going to argue….please have real data to back arguments. Not…well, Grandpa died after taking the Influenza vaccine in 1965 so the vaccine sucks and the chance of dying outweighs the benefits. My opinion is, that is just pure silliness. What I know about humans is we like to pretend that we are more special than our neighbors and will go to ridiculous lengths to prove so.
On the hate crime front, I’d like to quickly speak about the Asian hate and crimes against Asisans happening lately. Just bluntly…WTF do you people think you’re doing? Oh yeah. We have not forgotten The China Virus as well, as Trump put it. That pathetic loser. First of all….there is NO SUCH THING AS CHINA VIRUS. So go F off. Next, yes… it takes a younger 200 pound man to sucker punch…or kick…an elderly Asian woman. Hitting from behind like a f*cking coward, you pathetic excuse for human beings. You should be put in solitary confinement for the rest of your miserable lives. People who do these things are scum. Bunch of screwballs. End of that rant. Or I will write for another hour.
Anyway, I am glad to be back on the blog after being gone so long. Sometimes I felt it better to stay away so as not to rant regarding the state of the USA in these last few years, like many other bloggers. I know we can’t turn a blind eye, but complaining and hollering, or arguing and fighting, about it is not helping anyone. I prefer to not write blogs that cause arguments among blog readers. I just had to write today and say how I feel. It will not be brought up again.
My next entry will be better and back to the basics of writing and other stuff. Thanks for reading.
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