I had a Breakdown today.

It started over the littlest thing. That’s how they all start.
Then, eventually, you get to the truth of the matter. You figure out why you had the breakdown.
I began to wail out loud. It was intense.

I remembered that one particular surgery, my 30th-something surgery, when my late brother had to care for me daily for weeks.

— He was the one who took care of me after most of my surgeries. Don’t get me wrong; It isn’t because the rest of my family didn’t want to do it; It just worked out better if he did it.—

I had to have surgery on both my abdomen and
the perineum. (Taint)
Those are the medical terms, I believe.
It was no ordinary surgery. They were going inside me in two different ways.

At this time in my life, I wore a diaper. “Depends” extra-large. Embarrassing.

After the surgery, they stitched up my abdomen but left the incision to the perineum open and put gauze inside.
It would take weeks for the hole to close up.

In the meantime, someone had to change the gauze out and clean the opening daily.
I wasn’t in any shape to do that. Remember, my abdomen had been cut open and sewn back up. I couldn’t bend or anything. I was helpless.

My late brother cared for me daily.

I remember the first time he cared for me.
He took my diaper off. It was the first time anyone other than my mom and my doctor had seen me like that.
I thought he would laugh. He teared up.
I was embarrassed.

“Okay, I’ve washed my hands, I got my gloves on, I guess I use this thing right here to um… take the gauze out.”

“They’re called ‘forceps.’ You have to use that antibiotic or antibacterial medicine to clean the inside after getting the gauze out. Don’t hurt me, brother.”

“Okay, I’m gonna start taking the gauze out. Don’t move.”

I could see the nervousness in my brother’s eyes. I decided to look straight up at the ceiling.

He counted, “1 gauze, 2, 3, 4, 5… 10! You got ten gauzes in you.”

“You gotta put ten back inside me, then. But you have to clean the wound with that antibiotic cream or whatever it’s called.”

“Okay, I put the medicine inside the hole. Can you feel it?”

” No. I’m numb from my Spina Bifida. But remind me to tell you something after you finish.”

“Okay, I’m going to start putting the gauze inside the hole.”

“Take your time.”

“1 gauze, 2 gauzes, 3 gauzes, 4, 5, 6… 10. You don’t have room for any more. I guess that’s all I do.”

My brother then changed my diaper. —His Thirty-year-old brother’s diaper.

My brother cared for me daily.
He walked back to my bedroom, changed the gauze in my perineum, and changed my diaper. He wiped my butt.
Everyday. For weeks.

That’s love.

And that thing I was going to tell him after he finished:

I said, “Every time you put the forceps in the hole, I feel and taste metal in my mouth…”
— He laughed.

…And eleven years after his passing, I still have breakdowns.