Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.
The way in which my cousin Danny copes and deals with his disease of Muscular Dystrophy is mind boggling to most people. This especially applies to people who are just meeting my valiant cousin for the first time. The situations in which he is put in and the manner in which he deals with most problems are efforts to be respected and looked up to as courageous.
Sometimes Danny’s troubles and complications affect others, such as family members, more than he himself is bothered. If one were to ask Danny why this is so, his answer, without a doubt, would be that he realizes that there is not much in which he can do about it, but let nature take its course and continue his faith in God.
The primary and most significant conflict in my narrative is an inner one. It is the way Danny’s turmoils affect my emotions. The way his problems are my problems and the way I must sometimes block them out for myself to be able to go on with my own life. I analyze how he deals with his disturbances and how that relates to my faith in God, and the way I feel about his misfortune. Perhaps I am not as mature or faithful as my triumphant cousin is and that is why I ask the question I believe he should be asking . . . “Why him?”
The direct participants are mainly myself, and of course Danny himself. However, if one would view this as an internal conflict pertaining to myself, it would definitely be a quarrel between my faith and confidence that when Danny passes, he will be in good hands. Continuing to tell myself that everything will be alright just does not cut it anymore. That used to be a feasible idea with some real faith behind it, but the more years that go by, the less likely my good buddy will be free of this life-sucking disease. Praying for a cure just does not seem realistic anymore. Even if a cure was found today, it would only be a preventative cure and could not reverse the damage that has already occurred in Danny boy’s body. That would be a wonderful thing to rid the world of this horrible disease, but it still would not help my cousin. That upsets me tremendously, that I am finally realizing that there is not much short of a miracle that will save my cousin.
The indirect, but influential participants are Danny’s family, my family and everyone involved, such as doctors, nurses, etc. The faith in which Danny possesses comes from the faith our whole family gives to him. Without Danny’s family and all the help they have given him, I am positive he would not be the person he is today. The Doctors are also a major contribution to his success in “living” the way he does. Most of the time, he would have the best in the country. There is a wide variety of perspectives that were shown at diverse times throughout Danny’s troubles. For the most part, family members would be encouraging and optimistic in front of Danny but one knows that they do not believe in what they say or hint at about a recovery as if it is a cold or something. My father is one of those people who never thought he had a chance. It used to upset me when I was little and would hear him talk to my mother about how he doubts Danny. I am now beginning to feel the same way, and only now realize that my father was only being a realist. My grandparents however, remain faithful that no matter what happens, it will be the best for Danny. I still remain split down the middle and lately depending on what day it is I feel differently about the whole situation. The doctors and nurses, for the most part, always believed they can help Danny except for one exception when he proved them wrong.
Some beliefs that might have contributed to my brothers denial of the whole seriousness of the subject could be many things. However, the most likely is the thought that children think they are immortal. This is probably just as well though, that my brother does not feel most of the emotional pain in which some of the family feels. My grandparent’s faith most likely contributed to their perspective that everything is going to be alright. There were times when doctors did not want to do certain things that Danny wanted them to do. The cultural influences were probably the reason for that. Due to the fact that our whole society and culture is “sue-happy” it causes the problem of some doctors being scared to do a new or occasionally unsuccessful procedure in the fear of being sued.
It is utterly sickening to even think about. Instead of helping those who need help, sometimes the less fortunate are looked at like they have some sort of highly contagious plague. It is mind boggling how the disabled are obviously already going through enough difficulties without being looked down upon and discriminated against besides.
These unacknowledged influences whether they were direct or indirect proved to myself that there were many outside infuences that determined the way I believe in and feel about my cousin. Most of the time I would not put the effort in to even think about the numerous people involved in this whole conflict that was previously thought to be just inside my own being. Even delving into society and culture themselves, has shown me new ways in which they observe and treat people who are not like themselves. These are issues which I am just now realizing and did not see until I sat down and thought about the whole situation and what my cousin must go through on a daily basis.
Since this conflict has occurred, quite a few changes have occurred to both Danny himself, and my view of his disability. He is no longer an older cousin to me. I feel like I am surpassing him in many things. Danny is a smart young man and did well in high school despite his disability, but realized that there would be no purpose to him pursuing a college career. I was always behind him throughout high school and now he is a high school graduate and I am starting college. That fact makes me realize how he is penalized with so much more than “just” having to deal with muscular dystrophy. One can only wonder where this determined man would have wound up in this world if he was not cursed by this horrible disease. One can only try to contemplate how many great accomplishments and contributions he may have made to this world. Whether they would have been scientific, medical, cultural, or even just to his own family, no one will ever know or be able to enjoy such things. His days now consist of receiving his various treatments and being propped up to watch a football game all day or play video games. The latter are becoming harder and more difficult to do with his deteriorating muscle mass and slowing motor coordination.