My brother, my only sibling, is 13 years older than me (he's 69; I'm 56). Based on my work with children with autism, I suspect that he's on the high functioning end of the spectrum himself. He never left home, married or had children and lived with our parents until they both passed away (Dad 4 years ago; Mom 2 years ago) and then moved into a senior housing complex 3 blocks from my home after we sold our parents' home. Our parents did everything for him and never fostered independence, although he's proven he's capable of living on his own. I manage his finances and am his legal representative because he has some cognitive issues.
He's generally very easygoing and doesn't ask me for much, but lately he's become difficult. He suffers from social anxiety and OCD and can be a bit of a hypochondriac. For the past month he's been battling constant congestion and post-nasal drip. With no fever and clear mucus, and based on the timing, I guessed it was seasonal allergies. He insisted he had a serious lung disease. I took him to his doctor, who confirmed allergies and recommended Claritin and Mucinex. My brother took his advice, then called to tell me a day later that they weren't working and took it upon himself to walk to the pharmacy and buy Allegra, which he said also wasn't working. He insisted that I take him to the hospital; I refused and patiently explained that his own doctor diagnosed him with allergies.
He called me at 9:00 this past Sunday morning saying he was weak and needed to go to the hospital. Not knowing if it was something serious, I dropped everything and took him. Three hours later, after blood work, nasal/throat swabs and a chest x-ray, he was diagnosed with...allergies and sent home with a prescription for Zyrtec and Mucinex. When I called him yesterday he said he felt better.
Today he called me again saying that the meds aren't working, despaired that he would never get well again and that he had to go to a "special" hospital. I asked him what he meant by that and he said a hospital that knows how to treat what he has. He resolutely refuses to believe he has allergies despite two diagnoses from two doctors and he's driving me nuts. I expect him to call me in the middle of the night soon to demand that I take him to the hospital again.
I was our parents' caregiver at the end of their lives and the stress nearly killed me. This is only the beginning with my brother, and I'm already feeling stressed. I have a household and business to run, and my time is already limited. Because of my brother I'm already two weeks behind in yoga teacher training, and I have to complete the course within six months. I can't go back to being a full-time caregiver again but I'm all he has. We have no other family and he has no friends due to his social anxieties and life-long self-imposed isolation.
I can't do this.