So yesterday my brother got shot.
I get a call from my Father, which immediately gave me that odd feeling you get when the thought of hearing bad news when you answer the phone. I’m sure many of you may have felt that way when you get a late night call from a loved one, but usually its something totally fine. Well this time my fears were confirmed as I answered the phone. “Your brother got shot in front of the house and he’s in pain.” my father cried over the phone. I immediately got up from my desk at work and begged my Dad to tell me he was lying, he wasn’t lying. He tells me my brother got shot in the leg and that he seemed to be okay, but just in alot of pain. By that time I was half way to the elevator on my way to the train stop to go the hospital. I just didn’t know what to think.
My wife picked me up at the train stop and we headed straight for the hospital. That trip felt eternal, and it was filled with surges of emotion and pain as we anxiously fought through Miami traffic trying to get to Jackson hospital. It’s the first time this has ever happened in our family and we didn’t know where anything was in the hospital. We imagined he was in the emergency room, as kids we were led to believe that was like the ultimate destination when you’re really fucked up. We get to the counter and I asked the nurse I’m looking for my brother and I gave her his name. She couldn’t seem to find his information anywhere so I just told her, I don’t know if he’s here, all I know is that he’s suffered a gunshot wound. The man behind her turned around apparently to see the face of a young man whose brother had been shot. I guess he was curious what that sight looked like to someone else. The nurse looked at me an told me he must be in the trauma center, down the street on the left. Turns out there is a place worse than the emergency room, but with less people in the waiting room. I spoke to the security at the entrance and she told me visitors weren’t allowed at the moment. I thought to myself what, why wouldn’t I be allowed to see my brother? She then told me that a social worker would come see us. I think those were the hardest 30 minutes of my life. Waiting to hear anything back about my brothers state. I didn’t know if he was okay or if he might have suffered complications on the way to the hospital. The anxiety was killing me. I began to imagine the worst. This is when I started shaking and crying along side my mother, neither of us ready to bury him.
At 11:09am a detective comes out of the trauma center to tell us that my brother suffered two gunshot wounds, one in the left leg and one in the left arm, as well as a laceration to the right side of his head (caused by the butt of the gun), but that he was in stable condition.
It felt like a huge pressure had been lifted off my chest. I could begin to breathe again. A few minutes later the detective called to tell me that my brother was ready to see me. Walking into the back of the trauma center was similar to any other emergency room except for the fact that every room was filled with all kinds of different people in horrible condition, covered in bloodstained clothes, and sheets. I’d never seen so much blood in person. It was a powerful experience being in a room filled with so much pain and suffering. Everywhere you looked there was someone hurt, and hurt bad. Gunshots everywhere, people with stab wounds, people recovering covered with bloodstained gauze. I didn’t see a singe family member though, everyone seemed to be alone. I finally reached my brothers bed and the sight was the same. A person in terrible condition, covered in blood and gauze. Hooked up to all kinds of tubes and monitors. Needless to say it was a tough sight, but I had to stay strong because it kills my brother to see me cry. Ever since I was a kid visiting him in jail, he always asked me please not to cry. But I really didn’t feel like crying. I was just so overjoyed he was still alive that any painful emotions we’re just sort of overridden, but I knew they were still there. I basically told him how happy I was that he was alive. He began explaining himself and everything that happened but I didn’t want him to. Fresh out of the situation, I felt like that would bring back a lot of the pain.
By this time they released my brother from the trauma center. All his vitals were perfect. He didn’t have the bullets in him, and he had everything cleaned up and treated so they sent him home. It was almost surreal to see my brother walking out of the same doors I walked through earlier to see him. My immediate thought was that I was looking at someone that had come back from the dead. I guess it’s because of that association most of us make between being shot and dying. I just felt like I was watching a walker waddling over with a limp and a hair full of blood. By the looks on the faces of everyone in the room at the time, they looked like they were thinking the same thing. Either way, it was true, they discharged him with nothing but a bag of bloody shoes, some orientation papers, and gauze. Shot, bloody, dazed, and confused we all went home to rest and recover. It’s just crazy to know what some people are willing to do for a bike and $50. Be careful who you deal with and who you are around.