My brother is going through chemotherapy; he is facing up to the illness with amazing bravery. He still makes me laugh as he is as mad as a fucking squirrel on smack.
Mij has had drug problems for most of his life and lives on Methadone which is supposed to help wean him off heroin, who the fuck can wean him off methadone? No-one, is the answer.
My daughter Ashley and I went on the train today to go visit him.
He insisted I shave his entire head, giving him a number 1, by God he has a full thick head of grey-ish hair and it was heavy going. He knows all his hair is going to fall out and wants a head start on it! I felt like I was shaving a Shetland pony!
“Do you have a hoover to get all this hair?” I asked as the buzzing shaver ran through his scalp and thatches of hair dropped to the floor.
“No, see that big crack in the floorboards, just brush it all into that, that is where I brush all the dirt into” he answered me.
“What if rats come and use that hair to build a big nest with?” I suggested.
“Fucking hell, I never thought about that, lets brush it up and throw it outside in the bins” he quickly added.
His flat is less than hygienic to be honest, but he had made a huge effort to clean it for me coming along. His mad jumpy crazy dog Cooper, was trying to shag my leg as I shaved him….I was trying to kick it off and make sure I never cut my brothers head!
So then my brother told me that he had to shake the dog off yesterday as it bit his chemotherapy tubes that hang from a Hickman line in his chest!
“The dog thinks they are clothes pegs and because he goes out the back and jumps up and bites the clothes pegs off the line, he thinks my chemo tubes are for biting every time I bend over and they dangle” he told me.
“Fucking hell, keep them covered, you can’t have your crazy dog biting those tubes out of your flesh” I screamed.
“Yes, I know so that’s why I have clothes pegs in my pocket, it gives him something to chew…. look” he said.
In his hands were a selection of coloured clothes pins and the dog snapped them off him immediately!
He then went onto tell me he was in the street last week and half naked man in bare feet carrying a cup of tea escaped from the local mental hospital approached him and asked my brother if he was in ward 5.
“I told the mad bastard to fuck off; I mean he was the one in bare feet carrying a plastic mug of hot tea in the street, why would he think I was in a mental ward?” My brother gasped.
“I don’t know why he thought that, what were you wearing?” I asked him as I shaved his wee grey head into what can only be described as a ‘rapist’ hairstyle.
“I had on my pyjamas but I had a coat on top and my slippers, but I was only going to the chemist to get my methadone, so I never dress up for that, the pharmacist always laughs at me and we joke about my dress sense” he looked indignant at me.
“Well two men meeting in the cold wearing pyjamas seems sensible to me, God knows why anyone thought either of you belonged in a mental ward beats me” I added sarcastically.
It makes me sad; he lives alone and yet has all these posters and news cuttings of me on his walls. It is so touching, my daughter gulped when she saw them.
Ashley can play guitar and my brother has his guitar in the flat, so she sat with him and played songs and they had a sing-a-long to all his favourite tunes. It was lovely; he cheered her on and was so proud of her guitar playing.
My brother is clearly a funny mad character, he never stops making me laugh, he is very ill and I worry for him. He is lonely and too bloody faraway from me to keep a good eye on, so I can only get through once a week.
I hope he comes through his chemotherapy with the same sense of humour he has now._