My name is Fariq Asood. I am eleven years old.
I live with my family in Menlo Park, New Jersey. I have a mom, a dad, a big sister (she's away at college in New York City; her name is Sameera), and an older brother, who is named Hamish. Hamish is thirteen years old, but he seems much younger.
He was born with brain damage. It left him unable to walk, talk, or feed and dress himself. He is in a wheelchair. He can hear and see, but not much else.
Hamish may be thirteen, a teenager, but he seems more like a big, overgrown baby. He is not toilet-trained, and he is fed by way of a special tube in his belly. Every five hours, we feed him by pouring liquid nutrients into his G-tube; the stuff then goes to where it is supposed to: to his stomach. We also give him his medications in the same fashion. Or we hook an IV line to the tube, and we pour the stuff into the bag, put it on the IV stand, and let gravity do the work. It takes about an hour or so to feed him.
He can't chew or swallow without risk of choking; this is why he has the G-tube. Sometimes he's choked or ended up with pneumonia or a bad cold; when this happens, he has to go into the hospital because his resistance to germs or sickness is so low. It's always a scary time whenever Hamish ends up in the hospital.
When I am not in school, or on the weekends, I help mom out with taking care of Hamish. Daddy would, but he's at work a lot of the time, even on the weekend. He owns a convenience store. He has to work lots of hours to help pay for all the medical bills that run up. Mom stays home with Hamish; that way, if a problem comes up, she can try to help him and get the problem taken care of as soon as possible.
I love my big brother, but at times, I hate him. He takes up a lot of my time, and I often can't go outside and be with my friends because it's time for me to help mom with my brother's care. Or else he's in the hospital, and then I have to stay home and tell relatives of the latest news about how he's doing. Sometimes I go to the hospital to see Hamish, but more often than not, I stay home, and I wait on any news from mom and daddy; I then call friends or relatives. It's really a big pain!
Whenever we go anywhere, we have to make sure there's a wheelchair ramp because Hamish can't walk. No matter where we go ... to the library, to school, to the store, or even to mosque for prayer services (we do that every Friday, in the morning and again in the afternoon) ..., we have to make sure there's a way for Hamish to get in or else we're stuck home.
Well, I gotta help mom with getting Hamish ready for bed, so I will run along. I will write in here again soon. Until then, this is Fariq saying so long!