9 July 2003
I can remember his face when my mother and father brought him home from the hospital. He is an angel, I thought. I was eight years old and to me he was a real live baby doll! My little brother Mikey!! I immediately fell in love with him. I have one older brother, too. Little did we know, three years later, there would be two more additions to our family. Although when I look back I felt like a little mother to Mikey, years later he would become one of my best friends. As well as my other brother and sisters. We have all had our spats and quarrels over the years. Yet, we are one of the closest families I know.
Mikey had his problems growing up. he was diagnosed with mono at age ten. He was very susceptible to infections. He had allergy and sinus problems. He missed many days of school, most excused with a doctors note. He quit school at sixteen. life went on. He fell in love had two beautiful daughters. In 2000, shortly after the terrorist attacks, Mike ended up in the hospital with a panic attack. They put him on the "crazy" floor and gave him a anti-psychotic drug and who knows what else. The doctors diagnosed him psychotic/schizophrenic. We soon found out they were wrong when the results from the cat scan came back. First they said he had a tumor. More studies were done and we were told it was an aneurysm. Mike went to University of Maryland and had the gamma-knife done on this so called aneurysm. Mikey had follow ups done. The doctor told him that everything looked fine.
I started seeing a change in my brother Mikey. He started to tell me that he loved me every single time he saw me. He always gave hugs. Things he had grown out of doing long ago. I never questioned it, Though I sensed something. I know now that the doctors must have told him something that he kept to himself.
June tenth I got a knock at my door. My family couldn't get through on the phone. A friend had come to tell me that Mikey was in the hospital. I was told the "thing" in his head busted and they didn't think he would make it. Immediately, I went into shock. I almost couldn't drive to the hospital. I got myself together and went to be there for him. It was a long night. He had a stroke. He was in a coma.
He pulled through that. Then he started squeezing our hands a little the next day. He was there two days then was taken to University of Maryland.
My family and I drove down that night. We talked to him. He was slowly progressing. We came back home and weren't here an hour before we were on our way back to Baltimore. We just couldn't leave him alone like that. Everything was positive and there were many trips to Baltimore within the next two and a half weeks. There were a couple of infections. He was giving antibiotics. He responded well to us. His thinking didn't seem quite right. They had a drain in his head. They took the respirator out but he had no swallowing reflex. Therefore he could not eat. He had a tube put in his stomach. It was devastating to see him going through that. There was talk of embolization. there was talk of a permanent shunt. Possibly it was going to be retreated with radiation.
Mikey was there about a week and my brother had called to check on him. Amazingly what we thought was an aneurysm was actually an AVM. (arteriovenous malformation) it took me two days to say it and a few weeks to spell it. This was all new to us. Everything I found out I found out on the computer. I haven't met one person (besides a doctor) who knows what this thing is. Now I know.
After the drain was put into Mikey's stomach he was finally transferred to the "recovery floor". That was great. It would take a long time but we were encouraged that he would recover. My family and I were planning to go again to Baltimore after I got off at work that Saturday. I got a call from my mother at work saying that she had received a call from the doctor to get there asap. The AVM had bleed again. we went quickly down there this time. They were doing tests when we got there. We waited about a half an hour. They came in with the results. there was no blood flow to the brain. My little brother was brain dead. When the doctors asked if we had any questions I had one big one. Was the drain still in his head. No, I was told it was procedure to remove the drain if you can.
He is again my angel. Anyone who can help our family get through this traumatic experience we sure could use it. Mikey's AVM along with most of the rest of him was donated for study and to save others. We will forever miss him and our hearts are always with him. I am glad to have spent the time with him that I had at University of Maryland. Again, everytime I got a hug from Mikey and he told us how much he loved us.
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