Some of you have seen me post about my big brother from time to time. He has been in poor health for a long time, through no real fault of his own. He was dealt a losing genetic hand at his conception. He has never been a tobacco, alcohol or drug user, he quit drinking soda over ten years ago and he tries to exercise and control his diet. But he has polycystic kidney disease that wasn't discovered until his late 30s. He became diabetic and, while on his last OTR run, fell into a diabetic coma with an A1C of over 13 and a glucose level pushing 1,800. He was hospitalized for three months, had to get veins replaced for fasciitis and went through a grueling round of physical therapy. He never drove truck again. Still, his love of the industry, coupled with his passion for teaching prompted him to continue contributing to our profession by instructing new drivers at a driving academy until he simply couldn't anymore due to being placed on dialysis when his kidney function finally dipped below Kaiser Permanente's 10% threshold. For reference, MediCare, the cheap federal government, requires a drop to 15% for dialysis eligibility. My brother hovered between 10 and 15% for.....years. During the time the criminals at KP continued to deny him dialysis, he developed edema, high blood pressure not related to cholesterol and congestive heart failure. Despite this and despite the horrifically painful neuropathy in his feet, forcing him to use two canes to walk, he continued to work. Until he became so desperately ill KP was forced to dialyze him. The three times per week schedule ended my brother's career. The amount of fluid that was removed from his body through dialysis over the first several months was staggering, somewhere near 10 gallons. His blood pressure began to improve, but the damage had already been done. The transplant he had hoped to be eligible for will never be. His heart is too weak. Anyway, ten days ago, in the middle of the night, he woke up feeling ...not right. Finding himself unable to yell for help and his right side too weak to control, he used one of his canes in his left hand to bang on the floor until his house-mate responded to his room. He was able to slur out that he needed help, so the roomy called the ambulance. That was the last time he communicated verbally. He had a hemorrhagic stroke. Part of his skull has been removed and preserved to relieve pressure to his brain and he has been briefly conscious and able to follow simple instructions like show me two fingers and give me a thumbs up. But only with his left hand. His right side has been completely paralyzed except for some random twitches that I suspect are spinal in origin, rather than brain generated. He is on a respirator (after being off it for a couple of days) due to bacterial pneumonia. He does not recognize our mother and he isn't able to stay awake more than a few minutes at a time. Ten days, now. I want more than anything to see my big brother recover from this. But I just think there are too many obstacles in his way. And me? I am absolutely furious with Kaiser Permanente for their ridiculous near-death criteria for dialysis, with no regard for the damage being done by the poisons and fluids building up in a guy's system because his kidneys cannot work while they're so full of cysts. They know the kidneys will never get better and so much of the body's vital functions rely on their ability to clear poisons and regulate fluids. Kaiser did this to him. Kaiser stole my brother from me. If he survives, he will be 51 at the end of September.