*He's my brother and I love him. He's my brother and I love him....*
That's what I repeat to myself, over and over, as I wait with Danny for the bus to come to take him to his 'school'.
He doesn't learn much there--his brain can't really hold onto much anymore--but it gives Mom a break from him for a bit. He *is* pretty high maintenance these days....
We have to spoon-feed him; holding utensils, let alone having the coordination to convey food to his mouth with them, is beyond Danny's capacity now.
He has to wear special protective mitts on his hands, anyway, as well as soft booties to protect his feet. At least he can still shuffle along by himself.
He *is* starting to smell bad--not just his diapers, but the--*progression*, I guess--of his condition....even keeping him cool as much as possible won't slow down flesh rotting forever....
But he's my brother, and I love him.
We used to joke about the Zombie Apocalypse, and the world ending....but no-one expected it to actually happen. Nor for it to be like this....
*two* strains of the Necrotosis virus--the A-strain being the typical horror-movie zombie virus, and infecting maybe a few thousand people...nothing world-ending, but it was terrifying.
It took my Dad.
But the B-strain, coming after, was much worse....that's what Danny has.
It moves much more slowly, sending its victims into violent seizures while not quite killing them.
But they are essentially brain-dead, and with weakened organ function, they slowly die, rotting as they go.
Mom could've just turned Danny over to the so-called hospice program the government offered, but they would've just incinerated him. That's standard procedure.
We had all his teeth pulled once they started to decay. That way, he can't bite--not that he's violent. B-strain victims rarely are.
And they have very occasional flashes of lucidity, which almost makes it worse--like yesterday, when Danny gave me a lopsided, drooly grin, after I flew his kite for him...
We'll have to turn him in eventually. He'll rot too much to even hold together....plus, we don't know if he might turn violent later. This *is* the same disease as A-strain, just slower moving.
Or maybe I'll just burn us all up together, one night, just set the house on fire while Mom's asleep, and---oh *fuck!*
Here I'm daydreaming about this mess, and Danny has somehow managed to open up the bowl of raw hamburger that's his lunch--dammit, raw hamburger all over his face.....
I just wipe him off, and remind myself this time next year, Danny will be nothing but ashes. Me too, maybe.
But for now, he's my brother, and I love him.