Why My Brother is in the Hospital

daniel adler
Beth Israel, where Matthew's staying.

Poor Matthew. One of the busboys was transporting lye from the bar to the kitchen and offered him a sip. It was a joke but Matthew leaned forward to drink the liquid from the busboy’s hand and swallowed a dime-sized sip. He thought it was cranberry juice, the worst-feeling-inducing cranberry juice ever. Then he went into shock.

When I visited him yesterday at the hospital he was drifting in and out of sleep. He was tired from not sleeping the day prior; he was afraid that if he did he might swallow and that would be agony. Every twenty seconds or so he used a sucker to clean his mouth of spit and mucosal buildup. He was warm and his mouth was swollen and my throat hurt from looking at him and being beside him; I could feel his pain.

Then the doctor came in and told us that the issue is the scarring. Matthew is young and will heal fine, but we won’t know how bad the scarring is for some months. He’s in the hospital till Saturday since his insides are still too swollen to eat or drink anything.

At home, Daniel Adler looks at his brother’s things and feels like he’s dead. His absence is ghostly, but then he remembers Matthew is coming home soon.

By Daniel Ryan Adler

Daniel Adler writes fiction and nonfiction and is finishing his MFA at University of South Carolina.


  1. This is bizarre and massively disturbing.
    I’m so sorry for this horrible circumstance.
    ‘Thinking of you guys and hoping for better news in the days ahead.

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