As you have read, my beloved Gramma had to have surgery not to long ago. She was doing wonderfully, been moved from the rehab wing at the hospital to the nursing home to do less intensive rehab. Grampa had been going to stay with her during the days and leaving before dark as he can't drive after dark due to having strokes that has affected his vision. Things were going as well as could be expected. Her doctors, nurses, and therapists were astounded with her progress and were talking like she might possibly be out of there weeks earlier than expected. We were thrilled. We had a scare come march 14th. Gramma was found in her nursing home bed, unresponsive, staring at the ceiling. Come to find out, her blood oxygen level had dropped to the low 80's causing it. They transported her to the local hospital, where they began running tests as the question remained, What caused the drop in her blood oxygen?. I called the hospital inquiring as to what was going on.... No pneumonia, as they had done chest xrays, they had pulled blood for a complete battery of tests but no results yet. Then I asked the question that was nagging at me. Had they checked for the possibility of a blood clot? The nurse politely told me the Dr hadn't yet, and I felt my anxiety level rise as I KNEW with her type of orthopedic surgery, clots were a constant concern. Then I asked if they were planning ultrasounds or whatever they needed to do to check for clots, and the nurse kindly told me not as far as she saw on the chart. I was rapidly becoming pissed off and didn't want to take it out on the nurse so I bid her goodnight and requested that if anything came up that they call me as well as my Aunt K. Then I called my Aunt K to see if she had found out anything different and she told me no and thought it was odd too that no sonograms had been ordered on Gramma's legs. We couldn't reach the Dr so Aunt K told me she'd get ahold of him in the morning and we went about our nightly routine.
The next few days I called intermittently to bug the Dr, nurses, Grampa, Aunt K, and occasionally spoke to Gramma. She seemed to be gaining strength again and the prognosis was hopeful. I was getting irritated at the Dr as I was really concerned about the possibility of a clot, but I couldn't sway him to do the damned ultrasound. Now I wish I'd went down and kicked his ass, but that's beside the point now.
Sunday Gramma had another disoriented spell, and so I called into work just in case something came up and I had to make a flying trip down to Arkansas. I live almost 2 hrs away but I can make it down in an hour and a half if need be. They brought her outta it again and everything allegedly was "ok".
Monday I called down to the hospital and I talked to Gramma. She sounded as chipper and as wonderful as could be. She was looking forward to getting back to the nursing home to finish up her rehab and get home and back to "jitterbugging". We chatted for a good 45 minutes. Thank God I told her how much I loved her that day before I hung up the phone as it would be the last time I ever talked to my beloved Gramma.
I hung out around the house the rest of the day, the Irish woman in me wishing my corned beef would hurry up and cook, then resisting the urge to eat it before everyone got home that night for supper. About 7:30 my phone rang, it was my Aunt K to ask me where my Dad was as his fiancee' had been back in the hospital. I told her I didn't know and asked why. Just her tone of voice had already made my heart drop, my anxiety level rise, and my stomach twist into a Celtic knot. That's when she told me Gramma had passed about 15 minutes before. She also quickly brought up the fact that Dad maybe driving from the hospital home and she didn't want to tell him the news if that was the case. I totally agreed and told her to let me hunt him down and tell him, I knew how hard it was going to hit Daddy.
I called Jane and she told me Dad was at home and I told her about Gramma. I also told her to not call and tell him as I wanted to be there when he found out. She agreed that he shouldn't be alone and we got off the phone.
Daniel insisted on driving me as it was raining and cold. I think he knew I had kind of pushed the reality of the situation to the back of my mind. I was more worried about Daddy's reaction and so I was repressing my own sadness. (Damn that man knows me better than I thought) He also was intuitive enough to know it would hit in that hour drive to my Dad's house and he was frightened of the implications that brought along with it. He was right again. It was a quiet trip for the most part. I kept telling him I was glad it was short and sweet as they had told my Aunt K that she passed quickly, and felt no pain. I'm not sure who's benefit that was for or why I kept repeating it but I did. I occasionally cried, but they were short quiet spells as well. We were 15 minutes from my Dad's house when Dad called me on my cell phone asking where I was at. I told him on my way to his house and asked him why. Grampa had called Dad asking if he could ride with him up home to the funeral. UGH, I hadn't wanted Dad to find out by phone, but I should have thought to call Grampa and tell him not to call Dad till I got down there. Hindsight is always 20/20.
We got to my Dad's and Dad was doing much better than expected. We made and received some phone calls, chit chatted, and after a few hours we headed home.
The ride home was more chit chat about how well Dad seemed to be holding up, when the funeral may be as the following weekend was Easter, and Daniel asking me how I was. I told him fine, and I think at that point I honestly believed it.
It was well after midnight after we got home, and Daniel had to work early the next morning so he headed off to bed. He told me if I needed anything to wake him, and scooted off to bed. I wandered aimlessly around the house for a bit and sheer exhaustion hit me after I got on the computer for a few minutes. I took my before bed meds, and scooted off to bed myself.
As I laid down on my pillow, which I have had since I was a child when Gramma told me it had been her pillow as a child and I begged her for it. Gramma thought I was crazy as she put it "CHRISSY....that pillow is older than I am....MY Grandmother made that before I was even born I'm sure! You don't need that ratty old thing, if you need a pillow I have much better ones in the main house." I insisted to Gramma that was EXACTLY why I wanted it, it was a family heirloom. Again she smiled, shook her head and told me to go ahead and drag that ratty old feather pillow home with me. I was 9 when she gave me that pillow. I have slept with it just about every night since. My only separation from that pillow was when I was in the hospital having babies. I take that back, I did take it to the hospital for the birth of my youngest daughter. Gramma took great delight in that as my youngest daughter is a namesake baby. She was named after her father's mother, and I gave her Gramma's first name as her middle name. I shall have to post another blog about that another time.
Anyways, as I laid down on me and Gramma's pillow that night, it hit me. My Gramma was gone. No more long phone calls, no more admonishments from her for my sassiness to Daniel, no more chuckles at all of us picking on each other, no more lunches, no more hugs, kisses and loves back and forth... I went to bed at 1am, the last time I remember being able to see the clock was almost 4am(not sure what time it was, I had cried so much my vision was blurred), and mine and Gramma's pillow was soaked. I fell asleep in a fitful non restful sleep that was interrupted with me waking up to even more tears, prayers thanking God that Gramma was home with him and that he let her physical body go fast and painlessly, and more prayers to give me and my family strength to deal with what lay ahead for us in the next few weeks.