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When you think about it, I’ve got a fair number of relatives. However, my core family has dwindled considerably. My step-mother, in her 80′s, is still living, but both of my “natural” parents have both passed. My mother died when I was a teenager and my dad died a little over 10 years ago. All my grandparents, aunts and uncles have also passed. That leaves my brother, my step-sister, and step-brother, all who have kids and most of them, grandkids. And while I love my step family dearly — couldn’t have picked out a better family if I’d tried — there’s something different about a “real” sibling. I don’t know whether it’s a shared history that the “steps” don’t have or something more biologic, being related by a common set of genes. And while my “real” brother and I can go for weeks or months without speaking, there is undoubtably a bond there.

My brother was admitted night before last to the hospital. The diagnosis? Kidney failure.

The good news is, is that they believe it’s acute kidney failure (which, if they can determine the cause, can be treatable with good recovery), rather than chronic kidney failure (which is a long-term degeneration of kidney functions).

But it’s serious, and 48 hours later, he’s not doing a lot better. While my brother isn’t expected to need long-term dialysis, I suspect that he’s facing 2-3 treatments to stabilize things, plus whatever treatment is necessary to correct the cause of the issue in the first place (once they figure out for sure what it is).

I can’t help but feel sorry for him. This came immediately on the heels of a rather uncomfortable procedure designed to relieve some of his chronic back pain. He got back from the hospital with that, just to turn around a few days later to be admitted with the kidney issues.

Hope that the people close to you are healthy and happy. Thanks for checking in.