August 4, 1947 brought my brother into this world. He left on December 13, 2010.
There are many things that I remember about Danny.
He had the best grin. He had the longest arms. He was all leg. And all heart.
Of the three siblings he was the smartest, the quickest wit and the most troubled.
His battle with Valley Fever when he was in junior high devastated him socially, emotionally and physically. He lay in a hospital bed in our family room for six months. Allowed only to go to the restroom or his room for tutoring. And the tutoring came at the end of his confinement.
I remember my mother reading a poem to him. It was one that I knew. Our maternal grandfather had read it to me when he was abed with leukemia. By Robert Lewis Stevenson….
When I was sick and lay a-bed,
I had two pillows at my head,
And all my toys beside me lay,
To keep me happy all the day.
And sometimes for an hour or so
I watched my leaden soldiers go,
With different uniforms and drills,
Among the bed-clothes, through the hills;
And sometimes sent my ships in fleets
All up and down among the sheets;
Or brought my trees and houses out,
And planted cities all about.
I was the giant great and still
That sits upon the pillow-hill,
And sees before him, dale and plain,
The pleasant land of counterpane.
I remember him there. Trying to smile. Trying to get up.
I remember him going into his room with Mrs. Edwards for his lessons.
I remember my mother crying.
I remember the tension in the air.
No one knew then if Danny would live through the ordeal. Little was known about Valley Fever. Little was known about how to treat it.
I remember being scared.
He never fully recovered. The impact on a 12 year old was to leave permanent scars on his psyche and his development. The scar on his lungs remained until the day he left this earth. His gift to humanity, his organs, did not include his lungs. They were too damaged.
For his birthday, to those who are reading this from your hunkered down positions, consider finding out about this disease. Consider helping find a treatment and cure.
If you can, donate to The University of California, Davis , Center for Valley Fever. Here is their link: https://health.ucdavis.edu/giving/
Danny, I miss you. Every. Single. Day.