The Invisible (Blue) Back Pack #2





Before I left home to visit my ailing baby brother in the hospital in Boston I  packed my suitcase and blue back pack.

In the back pack I put my laptop, wallet, passport, sunglasses, sheaf of essays to grade, phone with shattered face. Dave, the loving spouse, suggested I take the daughter’s social security card and birth certificate, as I would be seeing her.

I consider saying, “Is that safe? How can we trust me with them?” but it felt good to think I was trustworthy, so in they went.

Arriving at Logan I rushed to the Silver line bus stop, headed to the red subway line at South station. The bus arrived just as I did.

I  was frantic to get to the hospital. My previously healthy littlest brother, couldn’t see, couldn’t walk. His malady was still undiagnosed, but they had begun a treatment called IVIG– which Wikipedia says is:  “a blood product administered intravenously. It contains the pooled, polyvalent, IgG antibodies extracted from the plasma of over one thousand blood donors.” 

I had missed the worst moments. He was on the upswing, well cared for by hospital and family.  I needed to see him, to be a part of the healing process.  Getting on the right bus was a relief. I felt lighter.

Too light.

The bus was just leaving the last airport stop when I realized I did not have my back pack.

I walked back through no-pedestrian land, going through what I had in the my back pack. the laptop with latest version of my book, the passport – surely gone now. Emily’s birth certificate….

I imagined telling my students their papers were blown up by robots. Everyone gets an A.

A for absent minded.

Thirty minutes later I arrive back at the silver line stop.  The blue back pack was lying on the sidewalk untouched, right where I left it, with all of its contents.

My baby brother has now been diagnosed with the rare auto immune disease  Guillain-Barré Syndrome  with a side of Miller Fisher.  The IVIG treatment seems to be working quite miraculously.

“It’s like hair” the nurse said. “It will grow, you will get better, but slowly.”

The “village” is organized here. A meal train made up to 12 neighbors and friends begins tomorrow, scheduled to deliver  a meal a night. The cooler is outside the front door, ready to accept these gifts.


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