Earl is my eldest sibling of the 3 of us. He would always claim to be Mom's favorite because, He was/is 1st born & the only Boy!
In July 2006, I’d just turned 37yo in June and Earl was 47yo. He & I worked at the same company that made the safety features parts for Mercedes. I was struck in the head & across body by a 28ton Robot and my brother was there to see what had happened to me, held me, pleading for me not to leave him. I had many complications from it that caused, PTSD, TBI/CHI (Traumatic Brain Injury/Closed Head Injury). I couldn't walk, barely talk and with a severe speech impediment, and had memory loss among other things. I couldn't hardly do anything or even wanted to live, but my brother Earl, sat with me in the hospital for over 9 months and feed me, talked to me trying to bring me back to life, told me stupid jokes, pet me or held me when my head or body would hurt with excruciating pain; when I was able to get up, Earl took me to the bathroom, combed my hair, and used to tell me stories about how we were as kids or things that happened just before the accident. It was extremely hard for him to see his sister like this (a shell of a Human Being). He was so angry for the way our job treated & dismissed me, but he was thankful to God that his sister (Sidekick/Partner in Mischief) was still alive.
Since I had trouble remembering parts of my life, he and our baby sister Erica would tell me stories about myself and how I used to be. One day, I caught Earl staring at me trying to do a task to help with my coordination and motor skills, and again I was ready to give up. At the time, I regretted the paramedics reviving me after I stopped breathing, because I didn't want to live as a cripple and needing to depending on everyone to function in life (For me, that was no way to live). With tears in his eyes, he coached me by telling me, "How brilliant I was before the accident and I'm still brilliant after the accident & that I’ll just have to find ways to do things differently and that this will take time." Earl would get frustrated and upset when I would say that, “I wished I was dead!” because the pain was unbearable and relief was nowhere to be found. When I would get in those “Moody Episodes”, Earl will remind me what kind of “stock” we came from and our lineage, “that our family are Strong Fighters, WE DON’T QUIT & WE DON’T EVER GIVE UP!” As a teenage/young adult (between the ages of 17-21) Earl was an Amateur Boxer and had won several medals, plaques & trophies. That’s how I developed my gift of Massage Therapy, because before or after his training/fights, I would lay him out and learned instinctively and by his directions where/how to align his body and smooth out all the knots in his muscles (Which I still do til this day). Earl drove those mantras into my brain & psyche, because he didn’t want to lose his sister but also his confidant and friend. (Thank God for Big Brothers!)
Years later after I started to walk again and, my Doctors asked me, "what did I want to try doing the most again?" I said, "I would love to learn how to drive again!" Because, my brother and I would drive around together a lot or go out-of-town visiting family & friends, it was "Our Thing!" But when the driving instructor at the hospital mishandled me and forced me to drive long distance on a busy street which I hadn't done before (just drove around the parking lot and eventually only a few blocks in a quiet neighborhood) when I wasn't ready the PTSD kicked in full drive and I was having a panic attacks and was severely traumatized because the driving instructor and her assistant was yelling at me while I driving between two 18 wheeler & having a panic attack episode, Unfortunately, after that tremendous trauma & set back, I had given up on driving altogether!
Then a little over 6 yrs ago(I still hadn’t driven since the incident) Earl's dad was in the hospital for Cancer and my sister Erica and I dad (during the same time frame) was in a different hospital for a different reason, but our fathers both lived in the same state. So Earl & I took a trip to Cleveland Ohio from Birmingham Alabama to go visit them both in the hospital, by then, I was using between a cane and walker, depending on my gait and balance. Earl was driving through Tennessee or Kentucky and we had to stop for gas, he looked at me and asked, "Are you ready to start driving again?" I laughed, but he was serious and then unbeknownst to him I began to panic. After we filled up the truck, Earl said, “OK, now get on the driver's side!" I’d froze. It had been years since I've tried to drive again and had that horrible experience, but Earl grabbed my hand and looked me square in the eye and said, "I believe in you, you got this!" (What was I thinking?) I put the truck in drive and it started to as I call it, "Huck-a-Buck" (the same way when someone is trying to drive a manual/stick-shift for the 1st time).
Well, we got on the highway and immediately, I realized the speed limit is 70mph and I had to "go with the flow of traffic." I had so much trepidation in trying to keep up with the other vehicles, my panic attack had increased. OMG, I started to have a Tachycardia episode... So, I didn't want to scare Earl, but the fact that I was driving 70mph on a two-lane highway with no where to pull over at the time, while having a Tachycardia episode and a panic attack at the same time, I told him as calmly as I could to get my medication out of my bag, and he did! Eventually, the attacks stopped and I had calmed down some, because he was "giving me the business" about “how I better not crash or I'll mess up my Perfect Driving Record!" He teased so much, (In a way that only big brothers could do) used "reversed psychology" by telling me that my driving was mediocre at best. He knew by telling me that (an Overachiever) that I would dig deeper, because I've always hated the word "ADEQUATE" and to prove him wrong which is what he was hoping for and eventually, I DID!
However, as soon as we needed to fill up on our next gas and restroom breaks, Earl strategically sent me back into the gas station after filling up to get him a beverage and I obliged. That’s when Earl swapped seats and got back in the driver’s seat to complete the trip. But that experience taught me, “that under the Right circumstances & the Right support group, I can do ALL THINGS...”
(Today as of August 2020, I still kept my "PERFECT DRIVING RECORD officially 33yrs later” and now I’m walking, talking and driving EVERYWHERE thanks to my Big Brother.)
Unfortunately, shortly after our hospital visits to our dads, Earl’s dad died from lung cancer among other complications and we had to go back to Cleveland Ohio for his funeral. Before we left for Ohio, Earl was diagnosed with a tumor on his kidney. When Earl was a baby he had a procedure done which caused one of his kidneys not to fully develop and our mother wasn’t told or knew about until after he was older. The tumor was located on the “overly-developed” kidney which compensated for both kidneys. The doctor knowing of Earl’s dad and his bout with cancer “assumed”, that he had cancer too without checking to see IF it WAS cancer. The day of Earl’s dads funeral, Earl broke down and was fearful about having surgery of his kidney since the other kidney wasn’t develop/working properly. He told me, “Chelle, I don’t want the surgery & don’t want to die!” I assured him that he was going to be fine, that we have faith and believe God. Besides he took a test with the QXCI Machine and the results were negative for Kidney Failure or Cancer. Before we left Ohio, Earl declared that he was “trusting God & was not going to have this (evasive surgery which his doctor insisted to use a Robot to operate on him with). The doctor that did the surgery of Earl's kidney, used the knowledge of his father having Cancer & eventually his death to SCARE Earl into taking the surgery with the Robot.
This Robot the doctor encourage to him use was a “New” (at the time) breakthrough that he wanted to try on him, but at the same time the doctor was not trained/nor had several hundreds of hours of training on that machine. Basically, the doctor used my brother and his valuable kidney as a guinea pig for his experimental surgery which he did not inform Earl that he was a novice with the Robot. When the doctor used the Robot, there were complications among other things and he caused my brother to have internal bleeding and ended up damaging the functioning kidney which resulted the removal of his kidney. Now Earl can only have a "Live Donor" which means no "Cadaver Donors" they must be living and then the doctor must try to find a space to place his kidney amongst the scar tissues (from the Robot) to see if the kidney will take. Before this, Earl was healthy & NEVER had kidney problems/disease nor did he have high blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol or CANCER. All my brother had was a NON-CANCEROUS tumor on the branch of his kidney that could’ve been easily removed BY HAND and he would’ve been fine.
After the fact, we got another opinion by a different doctor. That doctor stated: This doctor/surgeon should have NEVER USED A ROBOT for this kind of procedure! When that doctor caused Earl to almost bleed out on the table, he should’ve gotten off the Robot and stop the bleeding by hand not by an UNPREDICTABLE ROBOT. And that No seasoned/experienced surgeon would’ve ever used the Robot in the first place, because it wasn’t necessary, but negligent overkill! Now after 6yrs later, my brother is still on Dialysis, have had 3 heart attacks, 1 stroke and 2 stints in his heart. Our family hates Robots & we’re not very fond of that doctor either… Ironically, our mother has almost 2 out of 3 children’s lives to Robots.
Sometimes, I think maybe God used my brother’s love and tenacity to PUSH me to get better, so that I can help him through his turmoil. My brother in my eyes as a child/adult was/is a GIANT! Earl was always our protector, our big brother, our practical joker, our safety, but now he’s facing opponents in his body that he cannot see, nor does he know how to fight them... Now it’s my turn to remind him that “HE IS A FIGHTER!” That’s what this family do, when life throws us curve balls or low sliders, it doesn’t matter WE HIT THEM OUT OF THE PARK! It’s unfortunate that some of the feelings that I was going through at the time and he didn’t/couldn’t understand because he never walked in my shoes. But it took him to loose his kidney, due to negligence to understand what I’ve been going through which have made us as siblings more closer than I ever thought was possible. Now that I’m 51yo, Earl is 61yo and our baby sister Erica is 49yo, I cherish life again on a different level. It’s not that I didn’t cherish life before, I just wanted the pain to stop and for me to be “Normal” again, and now my brother sometimes wish he died on the table, because he doesn’t want to be a burden or have to depend on people, because he’s EARL, OUR BIG BROTHER! He wants to know how it feels to be able to “urinate” again like any able-body man should or to be able to make love with difficulties or pain. He wants to remember how it feels to walk long distance without getting tired, eating all the foods without monitoring if he can have it with his current condition, being physically fit when we were working together. Now, he’s mostly angry, snappy or bitter and rightfully so. This has taken away his energy, strength, passion, will to live & thrive, his happiness or his need to feel like a MAN!
It breaks my heart to see him physically dwindle down to a shell and I realized, this is how he felt when I first got hurt. The ROLES HAVE REVERSED, but fortunately, I’ve been through and is coming out on the other side. I may still have some difficulties or set backs, but I’m nothing like I was and I want my brother to see the same future for himself. Since, my brother been on dialysis, I have created a “Sibling’s Day” for Erica, Earl and I. There’s not specific day, month or year, only impromptu moments that only the 3 of us share as Siblings. On our outings, we would go pick each other up & take one vehicle to a destination of our agreed choosing to “EAT, VENT, GIVE ADVICE, PRAY AND LAUGH” as if it was our last day on Earth together, and we try to do those as often as possible!
We love our brother with ALL WHOLE HEART & SOUL and wants him to be made whole again, because he’s just this: Earl is my eldest sibling of the 3 of us (Earl, Evelyn and Erica). He still claims to be Mom's favorite because, He was/is 1st born & the only Boy. But most importantly, HE OUR COMRADE, CONFIDANT, OUR SILLY-WILLY, OUR PROTECTOR, OUR ROCK, OUR BEST FRIEND AND OUR BROTHER, AND WE LOVE HIM TO LIFE!
Now my brother sometimes wish he died on the table, because he doesn’t want to be a burden or have to depend on people, because he’s EARL, OUR BIG BROTHER! He’s get deeply depressed a lot and has PTSD. He wants to know how it feels to be able to “urinate” again like any able-body man should or to be able to make love with difficulties or pain. He wants to remember how it feels to walk long distance without getting tired, eating all the foods without monitoring if he can have it with his current condition, being physically fit when we were working together. Now, he’s mostly angry, snappy or bitter and rightfully so. He doesn't sleep well or not at all, he has panic attacks that can be debilitating especially when he has a great fear of dying. This has taken away his energy, strength, passion, will to live & thrive, his happiness or his need to feel like a MAN! As siblings as well as our mother and step-dad we all have Passports and want to travel out of the country together or even out-of the-state without him worrying about how can he do it, while being on dialysis. Our first cousins which are sister & brother just got married last year 2019, Moya got married in April & her brother Kwame got married in November. Both times Earl wanted to go, but he didn't because he was stressed about dialyzing, and cutting the trip short if he goes, being tired and slowing us down. So, he didn't go.
This transplant would mean EVERYTHING to him as well as to our family. He could be able to live to the fullest, finally be able to participate in family activities & vacation/trips. To be able to get off some of those meds which the side effects are ruining the rest of his organs. Our family from our mother's side is so small, so we value and love each other and want to be able to have my brother a full life for as long as possible.
I am helping my big brother Earl to find a "Living Donor" to save his life. I don't know what I would do without my brother & best friend. Please help us to share Earl's story and please keep him in your prayers.
Thank you & God Bless!
If you are considering being a living donor please use links below to contact Earl Nickerson's Transplant Center. Begin by completing the donor questionnaire
There are currently 120,000 people waiting for a lifesaving organ transplant in the U.S. Of these, 100,000 await kidney transplants.
The median wait time for a kidney transplant is 3-5 years and can vary depending on health, compatibility, and where you live.
In 2014, 17,107 kidney transplants took place in the U.S. Of these, 11,570 came from deceased donors and 5,537 came from living donors.
Every 14 minutes someone is added to the kidney transplant waitlist.
A kidney from a living donor lasts longer and begins functioning more quickly than a kidney from a deceased donor.
In 1995, kidney donation became minimally invasive with a procedure called laparoscopic nephrectomy, which only requires four small incisions. Hospital stay is typically only 3 days after this operation.
Not blood type compatible with your recipient to be a living donor? Kidney Paired Donation (the “kidney swap” program) enables incompatible candidates with a living donor to receive a kidney from a compatible donor.
Last year, over 700 living donor kidney transplants occurred using Kidney Paired Donation.
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