Every day that seemed too difficult to endure closes, and the next opens again with a rising sun.
When I was in the ninth grade, I came home one day and ran upstairs to tell my mother about my Geography class. She was lying on her bed and I babbled incessantly for a little while.
I went downstairs to make a snack and called out my brother's name. Ten years old, five feet tall, my autistic brother was nowhere to be seen nor heard. I knocked on the white wooden door of the downstairs bathroom.
"Adam?" I called.
I tried the door and, to my surprise, it opened.
There on the toilet sat my brother slouched forward. The smell of feces was overwhelming. His head hung down, his jaw slack, the air soundless.
"Adam!" I cried, looking down and seeing the awful mess that his misaligned body had made all over his pants and the floor.
With panic rising, I did what any thirteen-year-old would do: "Mom!" I shrieked at the top of my lungs. Fearing him dead, I raced upstairs and cried, "He's not moving! Something is wrong with Adam!"
My mother's body, mind and mouth disconnected in that moment. Her feet carried her swiftly down the stairs while her voice evenly asked me to call my father. I called my dad while my mom found my motionless brother in the bathroom and carried his limp body upstairs. She put him in the bathtub and we cleaned his small, vulnerable body even though we realized he was unconscious.
Carefully, we put underwear on him and laid him on my mother's bed. My father had instructed us to wait until he got home and then we would take my brother to the hospital. I remember gingerly touching my brother. I kissed his cheek and hugged him, then leapt back in fear. I hadn't yet understood all of the intricacies of my brother's high-functioning autism, but I knew that he only let my mother touch him and that 'normal' Adam would have shoved me or screamed had I hugged or kissed him.
I thought he was dead, but my mother and I both confirmed his chest was slowly rising and slight breaths were coming out of his mouth. Ten minutes later, my dad was home and we were buckling my brother into the front passenger seat and jumping into the car. I had never seen my father speed nor weave like he did that day.
Thirty minutes later we were in the ER; thirty minutes after that my brother was hooked up to IVs in a private room; thirty minutes after that hospital staff sent a chaplain to talk to us. That was the moment I cried. That was the moment I realized that experts, not Mom or Dad, were preparing us for my brother's death.
A nurse took my mother aside and I overheard her say that there was currently more toxin in my brother's blood than there was blood in his blood. They were pumping fresh blood into him and trying to remove the highly toxic blood from his body.
My brother regained consciousness the next morning and we breathed relief and whispered prayers. He remained in intensive care for a week and then in the hospital's pediatric ward for another three weeks.
My brother's misdiagnosed strep throat (a doctor had told us it was the flu) had led to a 'stracto-cockal' (as I told my friends) infection which had spread to his kidney and started poisioning his body. He would have been aware that something was wrong and that it hurt, but he was unable to or did not wish to express it to us in a way that indicated the severity of his situation.
My brother lived and I was given a chance to re-value my autistic brother with all his quirks. I donate blood dilligently every 56 days which is as often as you can donate in Canada. Over 70% of Canadians will require blood at some point in their life, but only 4% donate. People in that 4% kept my brother alive that night, kept toxins from killing him. Donating blood back to my community is the least I can do to ensure that the sun also rises for someone else.
I believe the sun also rises, dries our tears, bringing the blue skies of day. I believe the sun also rises, lighting our path, driving the darkness away.
This is my submission for therealljidol Season 6, Topic 7: Sunrise. I hope you will consider voting for me in this week's poll.