We mentioned in our last post that we, Brandon, Brady, and Ben, did everything together, including playing the same sports. Brandon was the star football player amongst us, but we were all pretty athletic.
The trouble with Ben started when he got an injury one day at practice.
Another teammate tackled Ben, and he fell hard. Ben twisted and landed on his leg in such a way that he tore the tendons in his knee. He had to have a severe surgery, effectively ending his football season. We weren’t sure if his knee would ever be rehabilitated enough for him ever to play again.
Since Ben was always more the musician and less of the football star, we didn’t think the injury and threat to his football career would be such a loss to Ben. Looking back, we don’t think it was so much about the fact that he couldn’t play football, but that he couldn’t be the same as the other two brothers anymore. He missed some school for his surgery and recovery, while Brandon and Brady carried on with classes as usual. When he did finally return to school, he went home without us at the end of the day instead of joining us at football practice like we used to. Brandon and Brady would come home after practice when it was dark out, and find Ben in front of the television playing video games with his leg propped up, or plucking out a new song on his guitar.
It was clear that he was lonely, and the lack of physical activity was making him depressed. At first, he was needy, wanting to spend as much time as possible with us since he felt like he was missing out on so much. But eventually, he started pulling away and isolating himself more.
It was a weird time for all of us. We were so used to being the three musketeers, and it felt like a limb was missing without our third brother. We didn’t play as well as football practice. We didn’t play music together as much anymore. Things were just stilted and didn’t feel right.
Ben has prescribed some strong pain pills for his recovery from surgery. They kept him loopy and sleepy and were part of why he missed so much school and played videogames all day. But without the pills, Ben said the pain in his leg was horrible. He even got the prescription refilled a few times, even though he wasn’t supposed to be able to, by lying to the doctor and saying he had lost the pill bottle at school, or that he had fallen on his injury and the pain had gotten worse.
We wish we had known this was a warning sign of a problem.