pear tree log: I started this blog to keep my younger son, Jonny, in touch with life in Lincolnshire, while he spent a year working in China. That year turned into five! Now he is home and training to become a physics teacher. This is simply a patchwork quilt of some of the things I enjoy - life in rural Lincolnshire, our animals, friends, architecture, books, the gardens, and things of passing interest.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

My Brother and Toby Too

My older brother, Steven, and his wife had come to stay for a few days.  This was the first night of their visit and his condition had rapidly deteriorated, he was struggling with the mechanics of breathing and was going into crisis.

It was 4am and it felt like a cast of millions were bustling about.   Someone was ringing for an ambulance, giving clear directions on how to locate us, decisions were made about who should go to hospital with him, mobile phones found up, loose change located.  

George took himself off to wait by the roadside, armed with a large torch, determined that the ambulance should not miss our turning.   Others were hurriedly pulling on clothes,  preparing to go in the ambulance to be with Steve - ready to explain his condition,  for speech was beyond him.

As everyone bustled about Steve sat on a bench out on the patio,  struggling to hang on.   His desperate need for air had driven him out there to sit under the moonlit sky.    The coolness helped, a little.

How he kept as calm as he did, I shall never know.

I sat beside him and I knew the end was very close and there was absolutely nothing which I could do for him.     I can honestly say that I sensed Mr  De'ath was waiting nearby.    I silently shrieked at him to keep away from my big brother.

I held Steven's hand and told him that it was important that he knew how much I love him, then I lost the use of my voice.        I found myself tracing a pattern of small circles on his knee - each being one and a quarter turns - unconsciously using the technique which is so soothing and calming for dogs.    I was completely powerless to help, useless.

Rapidly progressing Myasthenia Gravis (bulbar) is a cruel disease.

Luckily, Steve did make it and has received wonderful treatment, for which I thank the NHS.   It won't cure him, but it helps to bring a semblance of 'normality'.    He lives to tell the tale, and I am happy that he has more time.     Our younger brother, Owl, has been there for him all this time.    Visiting, entertaining, keeping his spirits up, driving, fetching, carrying, giving support and showing his love in the most practical of ways.

I have two wonderful brothers...we don't always see eye to eye, we have vastly different opinions and perspectives for we are three very different people, but there is an extremely strong bond of love.

Talking of love - I found this photograph, taken on the preceding afternoon.

Steve had just met Toby Too for the first time...

Toby Too likes to take his time to get to know people and yet here he is snuggling up to Steven, after just ten minutes,  as though he has known him forever.      Poor Steve looks dreadfully ill in this photograph.

Do dogs show empathy?   I think so.

Moving on, my next post will be somewhat cheerier.

Ming Ming very kindly gave me lots of photographs before she and Jonny returned to China, I hope to share some of these with you.    I may even get around to showing you some of the wonderful meals which she cooked for us - thanks, Ming Ming! x


  1. So sorry that you all had to go through this,but overjoyed that all is as well as can be now.
    My neurologist told me that most neurological diseases do not get the funding they need for research 's (in his words) 'they are not as sexy as other diseases'.
    Jane x

  2. that must have been so horrid!... but so glad he's hopefully on the mend a little... here for hugs if you need any x

  3. A bad time for all and I'm glad it's back to an even keel. I've met up once with this disease; the patient has been stable for several years--going on seven. It's just tough all the way around.

  4. I wish your brother all the best. I think he is very lucky to have such a loving family. Hugs, Deb

  5. I'm so sorry you're all having to go through this nightmare. Love and prayers go out to all of you.

  6. Very sad for Steve and for you and family . . . The feeling of helplessness is so difficult. I hope Steve continues to maintain comfort and ease. He is in my caring . .. as are you.

    1. Thank you, Lynne.

      Thank you, John.

  7. I am glad to hear your brother made it through the crisis. I can only imagine how you felt sitting with your brother waiting. I love the picture. I do believe dogs have a sense when someone is not well. I have experienced it with my own dogs. Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers for continued healing. Bonnie

  8. On this day when we hear that English scientists have made great headway with cancer treatment, it makes us realise that there are so many other ailments that need the same type of attention. Do tell him that there is someone in the bowels of the French countryside who is thinking of him.

  9. I'm so sorry you did experience this, it must have been frightning.So sorry your brother is so ill. So sorry for your brother having such a terrible disease. I'm thinking of you, and your brother,, groetjes, Gerda

  10. THey look like old friends! Still sending good thoughts for your brother and your family.

  11. In the short time you've had Toby Too, he has given so much comfort. This is a wonderful photo you will treasure forever. Have you sent a copy to Steven?

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