Brother

This was painful and difficult to write, and once written, I wrestled with posting it. No one’s family is perfect, and there’s hardwired Asian shame about making the family look bad, but I had to share this and unravel it. I think I’m going to have to write on some lighter, less fraught topics soon, or I will risk losing my small audience. I don’t want to bring people down or give the perception I’m perpetually gloomy.

I have 3 brothers. We’re not very close- 2 live on different islands in Hawai’i, and one lives in California, and is 18 years my senior.

I have a brother I haven’t seen since 2006.The last time before that was 2002, I think.

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Aside

Forward motion

Things are finally settling after our move- I feel like I’ve regained a sense of equilibrium and ritual.

In March, I got serious about wanting to live better. I sought professional help for my depression and PTSD. I’ve done a few counseling sessions and started medication, which has helped tremendously. I debated whether or not to share this, but I got help after being advised to do so by people who have shared their struggles with me. I feel I can do more help sharing, kind of like a mental health bodhisattva. I feel more resilient, but that is also due to getting more sleep at night and having better self-care habits.

We took a trip, driving to Portland and then flying to Hawaii. We started out trip to PDX the day after my blog post about communion. A friend posted a comment about the beauty of communion residing in the mystery. Right as I got the comment notification, we were driving through the rolling scrub hills of Eastern Idaho, and the song “Ride Captain Ride” by The Blues Image came on the radio. The refrain was:

“Ride, captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
Be amazed at the friends
You have here on your trip.
Ride captain ride
Upon your mystery ship,
On your way to a world
That others might have missed.”

I enjoyed both destinations tremendously. I had not been home to Hawaii since 2007, so my dad had not met the youngest 2 of my little punks. We spent a lot of time with family. I wish we had done more with friends, but we were able to connect with a few people that are very important to us, and that was nice.It was a very restful trip for the most part, save for a little scare toward the end.

Iconic North Shore sign

Iconic North Shore sign

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Careful

I accidentally overdosed the baby with one of her meds. She’s fine, it just had a sedative effect, but I feel awful.

Getting medicine ready requires concentration, with this one I was supposed to grind up a tablet and mix it with 5ml of water, then administer 4ml of that suspension orally via syringe. I was distracted, putting another kid on time out, so I mixed the powder with 4ml water, and gave all 4ml, which means it was 250mg instead of 200mg.

Hypervigilance-having to be on point all the time is exhausting. Sleeping lightly because seizure monitors go off all night when baby is turning over or reaching for her pacifier is exhausting. Not being able to have a sitter, because normal people without medical experience can’t watch Paloma, is exhausting.

I’m not complaining, simply stating facts. This is my adventure, and I embrace it. Some days are tougher than others, and those tough days can be linked together like a horrid train. But, today, as Paloma takes an early nap as a result of being drugged, I can draw a breath. I can be in this moment, resolve to  never let it happen again, and celebrate the good.

An old friend visited with their wonderful baby, who I got to wrestle with and love on. It was a nice visit, and great to still feel connected despite not seeing each other for 8 years. It was odd but satisfying to see they had grown not only into being fully an adult, but a wife and mother.

Paloma just finished her wean off phenobarbital, which is an awful drug, sometimess taken recreationally for its psychoactive properties. We started the wean in June. At first, we were going too aggressive, at the advice of her Doc. We saw an increase in seizure activity as a result of the wean. Its counterintuitive that a side effect of a seizure med is seizures, but the human brain is a complex, marvelous thing, and isn’t fully understood.

I can control what I can control, and more than anything, I can control how I react. As a warrior, I am not privileged to have obstacles or opportunities. Those are reserved for normal people. I have challenges, and whether they are good or bad is relative; they simply are.

I will focus on the good. I take responsibility, but I will not dwell in my error. I choose joy.