Sweetheart, somehow we apparently have the worst timing ever when it comes to visiting the elderly folks in our family. First, it was your Great Grandmother on my side, who passed away only a couple of weeks before you were born. Then, it was your Great Grandmother on your mother’s side, who passed away about a month before our scheduled visit to Wyoming to meet her for the first time. And now it’s your Grandma on my side, who has yet to pass away, but has spent the last week knocking on death’s door. Knowing her, though, she’s probably at the wrong house.
I’ve kept a lot of details away from people other than friends I’m texting with updates every five minutes, other family members, and your Grandma’s close friends. Mostly, because, the details change so quickly that I’ve spent the last seven days cursing my phone without the QWERTY keyboard.
See, RR, we were planning on visiting Grandma (seeing her for the first time, actually, since August) on New Year’s Day. We had a dog-sitter scheduled and presents wrapped. We even had a nice hotel booked. I was so excited for her to see you smile, and laugh, and wave. I was even excited for her criticism and passive-aggressive comments. However, things have not gone as planned.
You aunt sent me a text at 2am on Thursday, 12/30, telling me that she was taking your Grandma to the hospital. The short story is, sometime the day before, no one heard from her, and my sister went over to check on her and found her delirious in the bed. The EMT’s came and whisked her to the hospital. The diagnosis? A combination of a stroke, heart attack, liver failure, kidney failure, staph blood infection, and pneumonia. Get all that?
I drove the 3 hour drive to see her on the 31st, leaving you and your mom here to ring in the new year without me. It broke my heart to leave you, and broke my heart to see your Grandma in her condition.
It’s been a week, and your Grandma is making progress. Very slow progress. Her liver and kidneys have recovered, and the blood infection is gone. The MRI of her brain says it should be OK, but she refuses to wake up fully to tell us so. The pneumonia and heart failure are next on the docket to fix, as well as removing (well, relocating) her breathing and feeding tubes. She has a long way to go, that’s for sure.
I spent five nights away from you, and had to come back yesterday to recharge and regroup with you and your mom. Spending one night away from you guys last month was hard enough, but five in the face of potential tragedy, proved to be just too much. You and your mom are my life-force. Hopefully, I can absorb enough of you two before I head back down this weekend. Assuming that there is still someone to head back down to.
RR, I really hope you get to see this Grandma again, and we don’t have to put you in your funeral dress again. I talk a lot of shit about her, but she’s still your Grandma. Mostly, I wish folks would stop be so dying to see you. We don’t have a lot of people left, so here’s hoping we can hang onto some of them.