Saturday, February 16, 2008

Scared....

Scared......not a word I usually associate with myself, but tonight yes definately.

Phone rings at work, private line, and it's my Dad's fiancee'

"Shit your working"

Rut roh Spanky, I don't like the way THAT sounds as a phone converstation starter...

"Yup, sure am, or else I wouldn't have answered the phone here at the PD huh? *chuckle* What's up? Everything ok?"

"NO it isn't *pause*

"Dammit, how'd I know you were going to say that? What's wrong? Are you ok? OMG Dad's not had a wreck has he, please tell me he hasn't wrecked"

"No no, I'm fine, and your Dad hasn't crashed his semi again BUT ....*long pause*"

"Woman, don't do that, it scares me. What's the matter, what the hell is going on?"

"It's your Gramma"

At that point my heart dropped to my toes, and I started feeling my stomach tightening up.....

"OH NO, what? WHAT? WHAAAATTTTT? How bad is it?"

"Well not sure.....She fell today and and while I don't know too much yet, she's most definately badly bruised her replaced knee, her hip and her elbow. All I know is her and Dad (Grampa) stopped to get a get well card for a friend in the hospital, and when she came out to get in the car she went down, hit her knee, then her hip, and caught herself with her elbow"

Whew, while that's definately not good, I was expecting far worse in all honesty...

"Oh no, did she break anything?"

"Don't know yet for sure, but possibly"

Ok my Gramma is 91 years old with late stage osteoporosis, she fell on pavement, the chances are pretty good something broke or cracked.

"I was hoping you'd be able to go down to the hospital in Mtn Home with me tonight but since your at work guess not huh?"

"No because we don't have anyone to fill in unfortunately, I might be able to get someone for tomorrow night though, not sure I'll have to make a phone call or two to see if he can do it."

"Guess you won't be able to go down tomorrow either then if you have to work. *sigh*"

"Oh like hell I won't, what time do you want to leave? I can sleep while you drive if I can't find someone to work."

"OH I shoulda expected that shouldn't I have?"

No shit Sherlock, this is my Gramma, my hero, the woman who has taught me so much, and yet I have a suspicion has forgotten more than I'll ever begin to know, she ranks third only below #1 God & #2 my children....I will be there even if it means forfeiting a few hours of sleep

"Uh DUH ya this is GRAMMA we're talking about, so what time do you want to leave?"

Well after that we got into the mundane conversation of the logistics of our trip to the hospital and all that jazz.

Now as I mentioned my Gramma is 91 years old. She's lived through the Great Depression, mumps, measels, not one but TWO lightning strikes (the second one rendered her blind for 6 months and almost killed her), two very difficult pregnancies, loosing her husband (my paternal Grandfather) due to a massive brain aneurism that left him in a brain dead state with no hope of recovery, she had to make the decision to take him off life support facing having to raise my Dad and Aunt (ages 11 and 9 at the time) having over 200 acres of crops in the field to look after and the farm animals that made their living, 5 step children and another husband, 27 (no that's not a typo) surgeries over the years some major & thankfully most not, my Dad about being killed in a semi accident almost 37 years ago, loosing two step children to fatal accidents (one in 1957, and one in 2007) and I'm sure many other trying times and incidents that I'm not even aware of. She's my hero. No other way to say it. There is nobody in this world I look up to more or respect more than my Grandmother.

A few years ago she had to have rotator cuff surgery, which for most is a relatively minor surgery. Her's was a bit more serious as she has COPD and the anesthesia was a concern. Luckily they were in their winter home of Arkansas so I could go to be there just in case something happened. The surgery went wonderfully, a complete success. I was a nervous wreck as it took her a little while longer than expected to come out of the anesthesia and as soon as they said she could have visitors, I made a beeline for her room. I was totally unprepared for the sight that met me there. I was expecting her to be groggy, the IV's, the monitor equipment....sure. What I wasn't expecting was my normally vibrant, active Gramma to look so fragile. She had fallen back asleep in the few minutes it took that nurse to come and get us. She looked comfortable yes, but so vunerable at the same time. According to my Dad, my face went ashen and he couldn't begin to explain my expression, he said my face drained of color and just went slack. He seriously thought I was going to faint. That's when Gramma's age hit me, she was old. Even worse, our time was short with her. I smoothed her short permed white hair back like I would one of my children's when they were sick and she woke up. I guess my face was still pretty blank and she reached for me and said "Child, I'm ok, are you?" I couldn't speak very well but I managed to mumble "Ya I'm fine, I uhhhh wellll....." and she said "Ya honey, I'm old, we don't look so great when we're waking up" and chuckled. Oh the sound of that familiar laugh, it lifted all the weight off my shoulders, I KNEW Gramma was going to be ok then. Then she scared me, she asked everyone but me to leave. My Aunt, Dad, my Dh and her nurse all left and it was just me and her. She asked me to write down my full name and social security number and I did but I had to ask why. She just said that she needed them for some legal paperwork, her will. I told her I didn't want anything but her, whatever she was putting in there to give to the Dr's to keep her going for years to come. She smiled and looked at me with the MOST serene, thoughtful look I've EVER seen and said "Oh my dear dear girl, you've always been Grandma's girl haven't you?" "Yes Gramma, forever and always, you know that" in not much more than a whisper, it was all I could manage as I felt like my heart was being twisted. "Dear C, I'm old when God calls for me, I have no choice in the matter. You understand that day is coming don't you?" I couldn't speak, all I could do was hold her hand in both of mine and nod as a scared child would. "Good, now I've lived a magnificent, though at times, difficult life. I'm tired, I'm ready to go home. Not out of malice or spite mind you, but I am just tired. I don't expect you to understand, your still a child, but one day you will....." At that point the nurse knocked on the door because she needed to take Gramma's temp again, and the rest of my family came back in. Of all of the conversations I've had in my short life of 32 years, that one scared me the most of all. It was my realization that while Gramma is tough, she's not invincible and someday I will loose her too. The last few years I have made peace with that as I've watched her age. I'm not looking forward to it, and I'll do anything in my power to postpone it out of sheer selfishness.

Now we face surgery #28, and well.......

I'm scared....but I will be there no matter how scared I am, because this is MY Gramma.




2 comments:

Feisty Irish Wench said...

I love it when old people have their sense of humor intact! That kind of conversation would scare the bejesus out of me too. But the fact that your Gram acknowledges where she is in life is awesome too. I imagine I'll still be kicking and screaming when God calls for me...and I'll probably pay a heavy penance for that and all my other kicking and screaming in my life.

Shannon said...

Chris, I can't tell you how much this touched me. My Grandma is also 91 years young and she too is my hero. She is as much a fighter and has been through so much in her long life and has so many wonderful stories to tell. All I can do is hope to be half the woman she is. When the time comes for God to take her home, of all the people in my life, it will be the loss of my Grandma that I will feel the hardest. Bless you for sharing Chris! (((Hugs)))