Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Beauty of Small Towns

Last week my brother called.  Since Mom and Dad died this past year, both from cancer, we have stayed in much closer contact.  He's my only living sibling and six years younger than me, so we really lived separate lives.  When I left for college at 18, he was just starting middle school.  It was not unusual for him to call now, but the conversation quickly took a devastating turn when he broke it to me he had cut his golfing vacation short to come home to see his doctor.  

I worked hard and tried not to watch the clock the following day and as the time for his appointment came and went, and went, and went, I became a little worried.  When the phone rang I answered before the first ring and then I heard the news I had dreaded all day, "I have cancer."

My first reaction was disbelief, then grief.  That gave way, in a few hours to complete anger.  But once all that emotion was spent, my research mode kicked in and soon I was a walking testicular cancer encyclopedia.  

The doctor fast-tracked the surgery as the tumor was already pretty large, and of course, the idea would be to remove it before it had spread, or at least get it out before it could spread more.  

I moved my operations to the small town we had grown up in.  Packed up my laptop, my reference books, a bag of clothes, and headed west in Myrtle, my Focus, making a drive that is so familiar to me that I could close my eyes and make it.  

Surgery was done, and the first night my brother had to be admitted because of the serious pain issue, and I moved my operations into a hotel room for the night.  Working kept me busy, and I called the hospital every few hours to check on him.  The next day, after a lot of groaning and moaning, I got him into the car and headed home with him, and he was uncomfortable, too.  Ha!  But here's what happened.  Friends of his were waiting at his house to help get him out of the car and into his house and into his recliner.  All afternoon guys were here, talking, encouraging, and just being available.

Then, the food started rolling in.  I had gone to the store, thinking I would have to cook a lot, but even at this point, I have yet to cook our first meal.  Now there is a fight:  Two people think they are responsible for tomorrow night.  We told them to both show up with whatever they wanted to bring, and plan on joining us for dinner tomorrow night.  If the house was a little bigger, I would just set everything out and open the front door.  We could feed families of four right now...what an awesome problem to have, don't you think?

The beauty of a small town.  Everyone still cares.  Everyone still seems to have the time to care.  Everyday I am counting my blessings! 


Tracy said...

Makes you almost sorry you left, huh? Nah!

Magpie said...

Oh, Kathy, I am sorry that was what kept you from your blog. I hope all is well and you and your brother should both just bask in all that love and glorious human are both blessed.

Kathy said...

We are blessed. The other part of this story is that I took him to the hospital last Tuesday for his surgery and half the town showed up. I was very grateful for all that company. When they had my brother ready for surgery, they called me back to the holding area to sit with him, and time just dragged on and on because they were running behind. But I was a little tense and I forgot to go back out to the waiting area and tell everyone what was happening. Finally, the OR nurse went out there to get the family of another patient and she came back and said, "I opened the door and your whole family attacked me!" LOL. I said, "Yes, our whole family is out there." None of them were blood relatives, or even cousins or 2nd cousins...they were our support system from our little town, and they had formed a caravan and driven over to support me while I waited. Now, I haven't lived here for about 30 years, but that is how close-knit this place is. You just gotta love that, you know?

But, like Tracy said, I'm pretty glad I ventured out into the world!

Thanks, Nancy, for your words.