It's been a good ride so far!

Since I was just a kid all I have ever wanted to do was to make people laugh or just smile. As a child, an educator sent a note home to my parents. It read; If your son thinks he is going to get through life making people laugh he is in for a RUDE AWAKENING! He is not living up to his potential. WELL, I'M STILL NOT! But at this site you will at least see me try. From the heart, thank you for even being interested, it means the world to me. I always say, I have not a single fan but many a friend!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fortitude, strength and dignity barely describe it!

The above photo was taken at 4:30 in the morning.  That is my mom, my sister, her seeing eye dog Dorothy and myself.  I had taken a late night flight and arrived only moments before she had to leave to go to the hospital to have surgery to try and beat cancer.  It's a few years now and it looks like it was a success, thank God.  I know, how can I only have pics of my mom and my sister that are a few years old in this day and age when damn near everything we own has a camera built in to it?  I have not seen them in that long.  Yes, I am a monster!  I don't know how the time goes by but somehow it does.  They still live in New Jersey and I have not been back since this emergency trip. 

As you guys know from my facebook post that some bad shit came down on my big sister yesterday.  So here is the deal and it will help you to understand a bit more and then when I tell you that I spoke to her today, she is fine and laughing you will not think that I exaggerated or am nuts!  My sister, Colleen, yes the Shit family has Irish roots, is an amazing individual.  She was born with Juvenile Diabetes and she was born in 1965.  The average life span for someone with this condition, born at that time was roughly about 25-29 years of age.  It's just the way it was back then.  The doctors would say that each day that she made it past that age was a gift.  While growing up, it was a time that you rarely ever questioned the doctor.  What the doctor said was correct and you went with it.  During her childhood we became quite use to my sister being literally at death's door and pounding on it a minimum of 2 times per year.  One was always around Christmas and the other around spring.  Don't get me wrong, there were other times and other years when it seemed that every few months, she would go in to what my mom called "insulin shock" and be rushed to the hospital at break neck speed because the orange juice or the candy didn't bring her back.  You would think that trauma like this would really screw a kid up, but it only made her a stronger, better person.

To make a REALLY long story shorter, let's jump ahead to later in her high school years.  She began to have all kinds of troubles that people with diabetes have when they are 70, not 17.  She began to have kidney trouble, she began to bleed behind her eyes, all kinds of horrible stuff.  As it turns out, that doctor nobody ever questioned had pretty much given her the wrong dosage of insulin her whole life!  Because of that, it had really taken a toll on her young body.  The blood vessels behind her eyes began to either collapse or burst.  They had given her some pain and some pressure but we had no idea at the time.  So here she is, 17 years old driving her bad ass Camaro Rally Sport, Judas Priest blaring on her 500 watt stereo rolling down the highway, lil 14 year old brother in the passenger seat smiling ear to ear feeling more cool than he had ever felt when suddenly she shot to the side of the road and pulled over!  "EVERYTHING IS RED" she said!  I laughed and said, "you are wearing rose colored glasses dumbass"!  But upon taking a second look, she had taken them off!  She would hold her hand over one eye and it would be crystal clear then the other eye and everything was like looking through a red lens!  It was not long after that it was both eyes!

Fast forward a bit and she graduates at the top of her class.  She goes off to college and is number one on the dean's list.  She was truly brilliant and an incredibly hard worker.  By the time she was 18 years old, she was a buyer for a department store back east called Bradlees.  She also began to have laser treatments to cauterize the bleeding blood vessels.  By this time, my parents had long been divorced and the only time we ever saw dad was when he would come down to take my sister for these treatments.  He always hated doctors.  If you remember an old post of mine that I wrote about him that went something like, "IF YOU NEVER GO TO THE DOCTOR, YOU WILL NEVER BE SICK".  This one day that he came down, they were sitting in the waiting room and it was standing room only.  The doctor was not in but there was a doctor covering for him.  He was way behind in his appointments!  My sister just kept saying, I don't feel good about this and that is all dad needed to hear, "let's get the hell out of here" he would say.  But my sister thought, he came all the way down here and if we leave, he would soon leave as well.  She said "no, we are here, let's just do it".  If only she had gotten up and left!  She went in to the treatment room where prior to the treatment, small injections of lidocaine would be delivered in to the retina to numb it for the laser.  A series of 3 or 4 shots each deeper than the last would numb it all the way to the core.  But the doctor was behind, he was in a rush so he pushed the needle in to her good eye, and pushed all of the lidocaine in, in one single shot.  HE MISSED THE RETINA AND GONE STRAIGHT IN TO HER EYE!  My sister felt nothing because he had numbed her but she knew something was wrong by the way the doctor screamed at the top of his lungs "NURSE"!  At the very same time, she heard my father gasp and fall back against the wall and collapse!  Now you have to understand, my father was a detective and the head of homicide for the city of Newark, New Jersey.  When he took the job, Newark had the highest crime rate on earth, it was quite an achievement.  There was nothing that he had not seen, nothing!  That is until it was his own daughter.  My sister's eye had blown up to the size of a lemon and was sticking straight out of the socket, barely hanging on by the retina!  FROM THAT MOMENT ON, my 18 year old sister would be blind!  My father blamed himself for not taking her out of the office of course!  My parents kept the doctors name from me because I was a maniac kid who wanted blood for this.  If he had just taken his time, if he had just checked where he was placing the needle, if he had just waited and done a little bit at a time like he was supposed to, but he didn't.  One month later, that doctor, under such incredible stress died from a massive heart attack and you know what?  HE GOT OFF EASY!  UNFORTUNATELY, THESE THINGS HAPPEN SOMETIMES!   That was the response from the Doctor's office, the attorneys involved and the insurance company.  She has diabetes and they would have happened eventually anyway, she never received a penny for this.

I don't know what I would have done if this was me.  At that age, I think I would have curled up and died or played the woes me card, but not her!  She just adapted.  To show her that she was no different to us, my friends and I would move the furniture around from it's normal location and then hide.  You would hear her scream as she would bang her knees or stub her toes, "Jackie, you mother fucker"!  We would laugh and then later so would she!  11 surgeries later at Will's Eye Hospital in Philly and they were not able to give her any of her sight back, not one tiny bit.  To this day, if she looks directly in to the mid day sun, all she can see is the needle hole of light that passes through from where the injection went in.  Also during this time, from all of the different meds that she was on, she developed a kidney infection from being in the hospital.  It has been non stop trouble from there.  Nearly 20 years now they have been saying that she will need a transplant one day.  It appears that the day is fast approaching and when it does, I will make up for all of the furniture moving and for being a shitty brother.  I just pray that I am a match! 

Rather than curl up and die, she tried all that she could to stay in college but there was no way for her to get there.  She later enrolled in the school for the blind and we all raised money for her to get a seeing eye dog.  She was not giving up.  While there, she met another person who had lost most of his sight from being sick and they hit it off.  After a few years of separation but keeping in touch, they began to date and later got married.  They produced the most beautiful boy, who is growing up to be an amazing young man.  The neighborhood that we grew up in is where she still lives to this day.  She knows each and every street and she walks all over.  Her son, my nephew promises that he won't let anything happen to her and has been in karate for nearly 6 years now and at 12 already holds a black belt!  I believe that he won't let anything happen to her!  This past year, her beloved seeing eye dog Dorothy got cancer and had to be put down.  So now, she is trapped in the house unless someone comes and takes her out.  I can't imagine how she does it, yet each and every day, no matter how sick she is, no matter how bad she feels and no matter how much pain she is in, she gets up, faces the day and ALWAYS puts people before herself!  She is truly an angel walking this earth, I have never known anyone like her and I have known a great many people!  She has held and broken the record twice now for the lowest blood sugar ever recorded without brain damage!  Each time she falls in to one of these comas, she laughs afterward and says, "I could really feel my brain sizzling on this one". 

So this last time was no different, her blood sugar dropped to 24 and after a direct injection of glucose it rose to 36 and that is when they revived her and put her in the ambulance.  Her body temp was below the lowest numbers on a thermometer and it took over 3 hours to raise her temp up to 96 degrees and that is with a hot water blanket on her.  The type they use if you fell through the ice in to the water.  Shortly after reaching 96 it began to drop again.  Yesterday was a real battle for her.  Each time this happens, she can hear everything going on but can't respond, she calls them her "low sugar dreams".  This time, she was dreaming that for some crazy reason, Gordon Ramsey was yelling her name and screaming at her.  She could not answer and didn't know why he was so damn mad.  After bringing her blood sugar up to a level where she was pulled from the coma she realized that one of her paramedics was Australian!  It wasn't Gordon Ramsey yelling at her, but a paramedic yelling to her that she was going to be okay and that they were there!  She laughed her ass off about this today!

All I can say is that when the time comes that I need to be the toughest I ever have to be, that I have half the strength, courage and fearlessness that she exhibits each and every single day!  Her battle is not over, it never will be and she knows this.  She just faces it each and every day with dignity and faith!  So now again, today she feels a bit hungover, but she is okay.  Your messages to me were overwhelming and I can't thank you all enough, from the bottom of my heart I swear I am so lucky to have you each in my life!  So say a prayer for the ones you love and hope to God that no one you care about ever has to live like she does.

Until we see each other again,

Keep the wind in your face,
Tits in your back
and The Man off your ass!

Your friend,
Jack Shit


  1. Your sister is an amazing woman. Jack your a good bro! Much love and prayers with u all.
    Jackie boon

  2. Great story of a very strong woman, and a brother who loves her. Thanks for taking the time to write this, and share with us.

  3. Wow, what a brave family! And to think all the whining we hear from people with small problems that don't amount to a hill of beans! Sending strength and positive vibes to you and yours.

    Claudie (Jersey)

  4. What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful relationship with your sister. Its not always others are able to "get it" with the love of someone's struggles that have made such a grand impression to go forth. Your sister has, and just this post has inspired me. Prayers to you and yours.

  5. That's incredible Jack. She's way better off than we are now.