Wednesday, December 2, 2009

It ain't nothing but a twin Thang

So I'm interviewing my family this week for my blog. First up, my twin brother Charlie.

I couldn't get a phone or actual interview for my podcast since he is studying to be a priest (woo!) in Rome right now, so I just emailed him a list of questions. Here it is:

1.)When did you notice that something was wrong with me?

I first wondered whether or not something was wrong with you in late December, though in early January it was clear that something was up. I remember going to the Lodge with you in the first week of January: in front of the dumbell rack, you looked skinny, pale, and weak. Though I'm not sure how I remembered it, the first thing that came to mind was what Jillian described when she came down with diabetes—physical weakness and constant thirst. You seemed to match that bill.

2.) Was I acting any different during the months prior to being diagnosed?

During the months prior to being diagnosed, you were acting a bit differently: drinking an abnormal amount of diet Coke (7-11 became your second home), you were more lethargic than normal, and it seemed that you were experiencing repeated periods of a general zone-out.

3.) What was your initial knowledge of diabetes? Did you think I had it?

My initial knowledge of diabetes was two-fold: what I had learned from books, and what I had been told by others. I knew what the disease meant was wrong with your body, and I knew (from Jillian) its symptoms and treatment. In all, though, my knowledge was a bit limited.

4.) Where were you when you found out I was in the hospital?

I was in my seminary room about to go to class when I found out that you were in the hospital. Dad sent me an email, and then mom called my cell phone. I didn't even go to lunch after class got out; I went to the hospital as soon as I could.

5.) What was your initial reaction?

Since I had noticed the symptoms and had been afraid for a while that my observations were correct, my initial reaction was not one of surprise. Nevertheless, I'd say it was one of hurt; I felt bad that this had happened to my twin.

6.) Was there anything you wanted to know?

There was not much I wanted to know; I just wanted to be with my brother in the hospital.

7.) What was it like seeing me in the hospital?

Seeing you in the hospital was not easy. It was a mixture of relief—both closure on a fear of mine and assurance that you'd be OK once under the guidance of professional help—and sadness that you'd have to bear this burden.

8.) Do you think of me any differently now that I have diabetes?

No, in fact I do not think of you any differently now that you have diabetes. Remember that piece of paper in your wallet, the one on which I wrote, in case of emergency, "I am Henry Samson, I am a diabetic"? Well, I'd like you to take that out, rip it up, and write a new one. I say this because the line that you wrote on your blog early on—"I was now a chronic illness that before I could casually think I would never be"—made me realize the mistake I made in writing that note for you. You are not a chronic illness! You are Henry, a person with diabetes. That is to say, diabetes is not YOU; though indeed you have it, you are more than this illness, as your sense of humor and your attitude have shown. I am echoing Aquinas, who said that man is more than his powers, or lack thereof. Thus, I think your note ought to say, instead: "I am Henry Samson, and I have type one diabetes."

It fits you better.

9.) Has my disease affected your life at all? How?

Your disease has given me food for prayer and thought. I pray for you for good health and for success in managing your situation. I also try to be aware of your illness and make appropriate adjustments however minimal they are, such as when setting out snacks, making sure to set out also ones that you can eat.

10.) Now that I have diabetes, do you think about other people with the disease differently? How so?

With you having diabetes, I do think about other people with the disease differently. I see them no longer as being in a situation completely foreign to my world, since my twin brother shares their situation. You having diabetes has also helped me to stop judging others who have it. When I would hear that someone was diabetic, I used to assume—illegitimately—that that person could not control his appetite, or was too lazy to get enough exercise. Now, I know that you (still) eat a lot, and that you are quite fond of your pillow all the way until the late morning, but your situation has tempered my preemptive judging of others who have the disease, since you in no way did anything to 'contract' diabetes.

If you haven't guessed, Charlie was a philosophy major in college. I remember him coming into the hospital room and saying hi to him, maybe a little small talk, that's about it. I wanted to talk to him, but I was so groggy and back and forth between sleep and being semi-awake that I don't remember too well. The two biggest things I remember are telling him how much IV fluid I soaked up and how it was making my arms swell. (told him I had bigger muscles than he did...) Also, he decided to send a facebook message out to all our closest friends informing them of what had happened and that I was alright.

He's a pretty baller dude.

No comments:

Post a Comment