My Brother Has CP; I’m Almost Kind Of Normal.

I think having a disabled brother has screwed me up. No, not in the way my parents were stupidly warned that it would turn me into an angry delinquent. Things are fine in that department. What the naysayers failed to predict was that after 25-plus years with Dustin I am completely disoriented as to what, exactly, is “normal.” Luckily we in the family find this hilarious.

I’ve actually heard myself chatting away that “when my brother was a baby he was told he wouldn’t make it but he turned out to be a super genius that writes poetry, you know, but uses a wheelchair to get around and communicates through Morse code translated by a laptop,” stopping only after my audience began looking at me like I was Nell. Other times I’ve horrified people by cheerfully describing my dad’s vintage motorcycle with the sidecar that’s “so perfect for Dustin because this way they can just pull right up to the bar and the bikers can come out to greet him without ever having to load a wheelchair.” (As it turns out, if your listeners are freaked out by the idea of a quadriplegic man knocking back beers at a biker bar it doesn’t help to remind them that he won’t be driving.) There’s also the whole world of medical issues; I often totally forget that other people may find it icky.

Dustin’s medical file must read like a trick question, and doctors are sometimes so bewildered that they record things regardless of relevance or veracity. I once found a page of his records from a bout with pneumonia. All the doctor wrote was something like, “Has above-average intelligence; drinks one to two alcoholic beverages per day.” “Damn straight,” I thought, “but what does that have to do with his pneumonia?” I had a good time teasing him about that one. Sadly, in repeating the story to others the humor was lost. Perhaps my compassionate listeners thought it was bad enough that a handicapped guy had to get pneumonia, he didn’t really need his sister mocking him. Very well, then.

When I stop to think how this all must sound in a world where people’s minds are blown by the fact that I don’t have cable, all I can do is laugh. And thank Dustin for making life much, much more interesting!!!!!

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1 Comment

  1. marcys said,

    May 2, 2008 at 9:53 am

    Great, great stuff! And good for you with your attitude! I’m going to be reading your blog more.


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